Pre Edit Count – 2,435 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Beauty of the Unhidden Heart (Feat Sister Crayon) by The Glitch Mob
Nodding his head, “I know. And I can’t do anything for it. All the houses lost their brightest. I tried to get them put into the house they were meant to be in, but I was stopped when the Board ended up agreeing. I will do what I can.”
With that Severus nods his head and sweeps out of the office, his robes trailing behind him as he makes his way angrily to his classroom. He may be late if he doesn’t hurry.
Bella is sitting in her office, leaning her head back trying to get her mind around the busy night they have all had. The Chamber had opened and of course, Harry and his friends had been there.
Fawkes rustles on the stand that the elves had been kind enough to add in her room when he had decided to become her familiar. Bella smirks to herself knowing Albus had lost something very precious to him when Fawkes joined her.
Though it shouldn’t shock him. Fawkes was her familiar in the beginning. It was only when rumors of her death spread that the phoenix went to Albus and he had become the symbol of his order and so forth.
Now the bird is happy and it shows with how fast he regenerated. Phoenixes will allow others to use them as a familiar but they truly bond with only one person. Bella is the lucky one for Fawkes and she couldn’t be happier. She missed the bird.
Chuckling to herself, she didn’t hear the door open but she greets the person before they even close the portrait. “Hello. What am I to call you? My Dark One?”
A low chuckle is heard. “I prefer not to have a name that may be mistaken as his.”
She laughs. Then turns her head just enough to see him. “Then what shall I call you?”
The man smiles. “Yours, milady. For that I am most assuredly yours in every way you can imagine.”
Sighing, Bella waves her hand at the other chair in the room. “Hmm. I will have to think on that one. I need to have something to call you and ‘mine’ is not really a name…”
He chuckles again but ignoring her invitation, he moves behind her chair and reaches down to start massaging her shoulders.
She starts but soon the feeling is one that soothes her and she chuckles. “I am not sure what I should be thinking but don’t stop.”
The stranger smiles behind his disguise, loving the fact he can do what he has wanted to do since he’d heard she was back. “You needed it if all the reports that have leaked out are correct. I wanted to let you know that they know and you need to be on your toes since they are merely sitting back to see what is going on. I expect your other spies will be reporting to you also.” He concentrates on the slow thread of healing magic he is using to relax her even further.
She sighs in content. “How the hell did everything go to hell so fast? There was no hints at all. Except the odd way Harry had come to school and I am still trying to get him to tell me that one. He refuses to say anything and to tell you the truth, it is a little aggravating.”
The stranger sighs to himself but he tells her, “He has much reason to keep to himself. You may be his godmother and have taken him from his abusive home to one of paradise but he has lived there for such a long time, Bella. He will be slow to trust you and Sirius. He has not had an easy time here; Severus himself has made his life hell. All of your hidden allies have made his life as difficult as possible so that there was no idea of how they truly supported him. So how would he know to fully trust you yet?”
Leaning her head back as she relaxes more under the skilled fingers of her stranger, she sighs, “I guess you are right. But how am I to protect him, to assist him, if I do not know what is going on?”
He sends another healing strand around her shoulders to hopefully keep her relaxed enough to sleep. He had heard that everyone is concerned about her sleeping. She is pushing herself to the edge to make sure Dumbledore has nothing to criticize her on.
However, it is all in her head. Well, not that Dumbledore won’t leap on something to critique on, but that anyone else would think it a failing.
He moves to the chair and sitting on the edge, he asks, “What is really troubling you, milady?”
She cracks one eye open and lifting an eyebrow, she asks, “What do you mean?”
Wishing he didn’t need the disguise he had, he tells her frankly, “There is something else bothering you. My job is spying and listening to the rumors, to differentiate fact from fiction, and I can tell there is another thing bothering you. Think of me as those confessionals that the Muggles use. I will never tell another soul what you tell me and you will never have to be embarrassed or hide all your secrets from me. The only secrets I will keep to myself is of my true identity. All else, you will be told. You need a confidant. We all do. Mine is you. Will you allow me to be yours?”
She stares at him and he can tell she is thinking over the options, and she finally says, “And after the war?”
He repeats, “After the war, milady?”
She nods. “Will you allow me to know who you are? He, who knows all my secrets, or will you disappear on me?”
The being clouded in shadows sits still, and finally tells her, “I will allow you that choice, milady. If you wish to know me when it is all over with, you will.”
She stares at him, then names him, “You are Mysterium Peregrine meus, or for short, Peregrine.”
Though his smirk is hidden, he translates, “My Mysterious Stranger. Fitting, I suppose.”
Bella laughs. She settles into the chair and the figure waves something at her. A soft cashmere blanket in her house colors settles over her.
She grins at him. “Thanks!”
The figure nods his head at her and then asks, “The issue, milady?”
“Do you know what I did while I was gone?”
Confused, the figure nods his head slowly.
She turns and stares into the fire. “My last mission had me as a clumsy version of myself. No magic, nothing to make me stick out. However, my skills at occlumency were unable to be hidden. They are as much part of me as my hair color is. This allowed me to be used to spy on a coven of vampires that have claimed to be humane. You know their law; their main law.”
Peregrine nods. “Let no one know.”
She nods. “So I had to go and get them to accept me. They did, but only because the fucked up pixie told them I was the mate of the youngest of them. That I was to become one of them.”
The shadows hid his clenched fists as he wished to be able to claim this witch as his. He would tear into the vampire if he dares to claim his witch as his – and to turn her! Ha! “This is impossible with your curse. Much less that you are a witch and unable to be turned. You are past the age that it would be possible.”
She nods. “I know this. But I couldn’t say anything. I had to act…helpless. I had to let go of my true self and even ended up burying me under several layers when I had mistakenly reacted as myself a couple times. There is a reason for the law. It is to help the muggles remain oblivious to the other worlds. Since most vampires have no idea there is more to the world than just them, they often try to flaunt that law. I helped make it safer for all of us.”
Her hand trembles slightly. “To do that, I ended up suffering a bite, along with many broken bones. Thankfully, the venom was sucked out before I exposed myself but I suffered those broken bones as well as loss of blood. I truly thought I may actually die and wondered how the curse would effect it.”
She swallows before continuing. “The boy I had been assigned to was named Edward Cullen. He was foolish, much more foolish than any child here in this school, and so stupid, it amazed me. He could read your surface thoughts and thought that this skill had made him omnipotent. Same as his so-called sister who had the ability to tell the future. He never noticed how much she lied, the fool.”
Staring in the flames, they both are silent. Then she tells him, “It was my birthday. Just this year, and to him, I was a naïve 18 year old. A drop of my blood was spilled and he caused my protector to attack me. Not that my protector knew it was me, but still…”
Peregrine blinks. “You have a protector?”
She nods. “And he has no idea. He is not the mate of the pixie, but she binds him to her. I suspect it is so he will never fulfill his destiny in life. To be honest, I am not sure he will enjoy being my protector. It is why I made sure he will never be killed, and if he is subject to the true death, I am to be notified. I will claim him as mine and save him that way.”
“But as your protector, he will yearn to find you. Even hidden as you were, he would have felt the need to protect you!”
Her eyes flick to the shadows. “And he did. Fuckward sent him his lust. For, get this my Peregrine, my protector is an empath.”
The shadows move and the voice comes out of them, “That would be handy for you, milady. So what is the issue? You know it will cause him eventual pain to have his charge out of his sight, his senses.”
She looks at him oddly, saying, “But he never was claimed. How would he be in pain? I checked with Aro, Caius and Marcus on that to make sure.”
The being blinks and finally asks, “Are you joking, milady?”
Frowning, she slowly shakes her head.
He stands and pacing, fights with himself. Her protector would be useful here but he will be a close person and may bring down the whole operation if he tells his charge, his mistress, of the true feelings of many of them. But knowing his Lady Swan, he finally admits to her, “If he protected you, killed for you, then he is bonded to you. Claiming him would have prevented the bloodlust, even from another, from overtaking him. You need to call him to you before he is in too much pain to be able to come to you.”
Bella’s hand flies to her mouth. “No! He has no idea what he will be dealing with!”
He turns to her. “Then you will be torturing him. I did not think my Lady would do that to another being.”
A tear falls down her face. “Never.”
She bows her head, and Peregrine wished nothing more than to comfort her. He stays where he is, his heart breaking.
She finally sighs, and says to the air, “I claim you, Jasper Whitlock as my Protector. When you wish to be here, just agree out loud and my magic will bring you to me.”
The being tells her softly. “It is for the best.”
She looks up at him. “He is enslaved to remain by my side until I die and with my curse, he will never be free from now on. How is that for the best, my Peregrine?”
“Would it be better for him to be in unbearable pain?”
She sighs. “No.”
He nods. “Now, I don’t think that this Jasper is what is causing you pain. What is?”
She tells him. “Cedric Diggory.”
He frowns. “Diggory? I thought… wait. He is part of your house now, isn’t he?”
She nods. “And it seems he is the doppelganger of Edward Cullen.”
The being blinks. “What else did this vampire do to you, milady?”
Laughing softly, she tells him, “If he had my heart, he would have shattered it in the cruelest way I have ever heard of anyone doing it. Luckily, another has it, though they will never return its affection, but it is safer that way, methinks.”
Hearing this, the being put it in its memory for him to discover who held her heart. To know who he needs to work to win it from. He will do anything to claim the love of this woman. She deserves her heart to be loved and to be given their heart in return.
Bella, though, takes no notice of the silence of her stranger.
She tells him, “It threw me for a loop. I know he is not Edward, but the physical appearance is identical.”
The shadow moves in front of her, and kneeling, proclaims, “It would be since he is the doppelganger of the vampire but if he was sorted into your house, milady, he would not be the cruel one.”
She looks up into the shadowy smoke to where the eyes of her Peregrine would’ve been and she nods slowly. “You are right. I need to remember that. But…”
He finishes her statement, “It is hard when you see him each and every day. Perhaps slowly expose yourself to him. The boy doesn’t deserve any hatred for something that he had no control over. I suspect he is nervous thinking he has done wrong if you are ignoring him. I know my Lady is not that cruel. She has accepted her protector to protect him from pain.”
He then jerks his head, feeling the call, “I need to go, my Lady. I will come and speak with you later. I think your knights will be contacting you soon to tell you of what they found. If you have need of me, just call for me in the fire.”
She nods and tells him, “Thank you.”
He bows to his lady and then is gone.
Final count: 2,454