'You're good with animals' Sirius commented as Rina fed Buckbeak another rat. He remembered how she had been able to easily find an owl so he could let Harry, his Godson, know that he was safe. Admittedly he had been a bit dubious about using the owl because it seemed rather hyper active, but Rina had assured him that it would do the job. He just was hoping that Ron, Harry's friend liked him.
'When I was growing up, there was a herd of wild hippogriffs by the shore of the lake near our home. I used to race down the hill after my lessons with my mother and governess to watch them grazing near the lake. It was my own secret safe place, where I could hide from French lesson, needlework, behaving like a dutiful daughter and learning household spells. I would watch them fly through the sky and wish I was able to do that'
'Have you ever flown on a hippogriff?' Sirius asked as Rina continued to stroke Buckbeak's feathers. The Hippogriff gave a little sigh of pleasure as Rina found his favourite spot.
'I never was able to, I preferred to watch them from afar' Rina replied 'well until I was forbidden from seeing them'
'What happened' Sirius asked curiously, Rina had never opened up this much about her life before. Sirius found it strange that he was able to trust this woman, who he knew so little about, so much. He guessed it was because they were in similar circumstances, both running away and hiding from either something or someone. She had not yet told him why she was living in an isolated cave in the Pyreenes, only venturing out to find food in the villages at the bottom of the mountain or travel up to the spring nearby to wash. Sirius knew that he should probably move on, go further away, just in case the Ministry came looking, however every time he made plans to leave, he could not bring himself to do it, to leave RIna behind and only have a hippogriff for company. He liked having someone to talk to after his years of solitude in Azkaban.
'I shared my secret place with only one person, my best friend Tatiana' Rina replied. 'She was the daughter of our nearest neighbours, a wizarding family who lived the other side of the mountains, but in Siberia what was the closest people lived to us, unless you count the muggle peasents'
'Hadn't you realised?' she asked with a small smile. 'I can speak English well, but I'm not completely accentless, much to my mother's dismay. Anyway' she said continuing with her story. 'Tatiana lived with us because her mother had died and her father, one of my father's closest friends, was away on business a lot. We would escape from having a lecture from my mother about the importance of learning how to run a household, by running down to see the hippogriffs. As we got older, we used the secret spot as a place to practise spells away from by parent's gaze, using by older brother's spell books, which I had stolen from his room. My parents did not believe that girls should learn spells beyond household ones but I was so bored.'
'One day as we were watching the hippogriff, taking a break from duelling with each other, my brother, Ivan, appeared. He saw the hippogriffs and thought that it would be fun to ride one, something to boast to his friends back at school about. However he did not know that you have to bow and show a hippogriff respect before you near it. The hippogriff attacked him, slicing his arm. Tatiana screamed, Father came rushing down from the house, rescuing Ivan and killing the poor creature. After that mother forbade me from going down to see them because they were two dangerous but it did not matter, the whole herd disappeared one night after that one was killed, probably because they realised that it was not safe for them anymore'
'How did Ivan find you?'
'I thought that he had followed us down to the lake but it turned out that Tatiana had developed a crush on him and had told him in order to gain his trust and become closer to him. I was so upset by this betrayal, she was my best friend, I refused to talk to her and she left our house to go back and look after her father soon after.'
'What's the date today?' Sirius asked, trying to change the subject, seeing that Rina was clearly upset. He knew what it felt like to be betrayed by a friend.
'I think it's around the end of July, you've been here for about four weeks now' She replied, wiping her eyes.
'It's nearly my Godson's birthday' Sirius commented
'How old is he going to be?'
'Really?' Rina asked in amazement 'I thought he was younger'
'His parents had him young' Sirius replied remembering laughing at the look on James' face, when Lily had told him that she was pregnant. It had not been the right timing, they were both still young and there was a war going on, one which they were fighting in, but baby Harry had been a gift. He had been a light, brightening up the darkest of days with his babyish giggling and reason for them all to keep fighting.
'My sister would've been eighteen in June' Rina said sadly before standing up and heading out of the cave, leaving Sirius wondering why she had used the past tense.