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The Girl from Slytherin by Lululuna
Chapter 38 : The Carrows
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 5


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Chapter 38
The Carrows



beautiful image by aigue-marie.


“Why didn’t you tell me that Demetria was back, and a prefect?” I hiss at Pyxis. We’re sitting in a new classroom for the first lesson of the day. The classroom appeared as a new block on our timetables, labeled only as ‘C.R.O.M. S.’ I avoided confrontation the first night by shoving the cat kibble into Pyxis’ arms, and rushing back up the stiars to my dormitory, climbing into bed, and drawing the curtains around my fourposter to feign sleep for when the other girls came in. This morning, I had awoken early, changed in the bathroom, and come to breakfast early to avoid the united front which I was sure Amaris, Demetria and Griz would be presenting.

There was no way Demetria was going to be friendly – I had, after all, provided the testimony which led to her expulsion from school. Part of me remembered Amaris’ attempts at friendliness, but there was something holding me back. I felt far better off sticking with Pyxis, who was keeping my secrets.

“I found out on the train and didn’t get a chance,” my friend hisses back. I pull out a sheet of parchment and a quill, laying my wand across the front of the desk in a line parallel to the edge. “Besides, she comes from a family of Death Eaters. Her cousin was killed this summer, for Salazar’s sake. I don’t think she has any malicious intentions towards you.”

“You’re forgetting, but I think she might know something about me and…you-know-who.” Pyxis smirks at me despite the severity of the conversation, and I poke him in the fleshy part of his arm with my quill. “Shut up. This isn’t a smirking matter, prefect.”

“Don’t rub it in,” Pyxis says darkly. “I’ve had a bad time of it. Can you quit from being a prefect? I had the worst partner for patrolling the train – she’s a Gryffindor, I reckon Theo wanted we Slytherins to keep an eye on the others.” He glances towards the front of the class, where a girl with a long, dark red ponytail is sitting cross-legged on her wooden chair.

“Who, that Gryffindor girl?” I say loudly, pointing at the prefect in question. She glances over her shoulder, and Pyxis pinches my arm, running his fingers through his curly hair and staring at the desk.

“Don’t point, you twat.” A couple other students are glancing at us, and he rushes to change the subject. “What do you reckon this class is all about, anyway?” Pyxis’ voice returns to normal volume.

Amaris, who is sitting in front of us, spins around, smiling tentatively. Her blond hair is tied into two pairs of neat blond braids, and she’s added another silver ring to the shell of her ears. I wonder if she’s perhaps added more piercings to her body as well, hidden beneath her robes. Or perhaps the bellybutton was enough – while Amaris’ parents had never been exactly attentive, I figured they paid enough attention to notice when she kept putting holes in her body.

Shaking my head, I concentrate on what my old friend is actually saying. She’s whispering something to Pyxis about the new class being about dark magic and on the evils of Muggles – sure enough, she’s already pulled out the mysterious books from our lists: A Cleansed Britain is topping the pile.

“…so I reckon the class has something to do with Muggle management techniques, which I read about last week,” Amaris is saying, patting the pile of vile books with her hand. Pyxis shrugs, pulling out his own copy of A Cleansed Britain and thumbing through it. My own copy is still smooth and crisp with an un-cracked spine, somewhere at the bottom of my trunk.

The class’ murmurs are silenced when the door to the classroom creaks open, and a witch steps inside. She has dark robes which cover her wrists and her ankles, and a whiff of something rotten, like old, squished fruit, travels in her wake. The witch spins around at the front of the class, surveying the room with small, shrewd eyes concealed by a face which looks like it has been moulded by speckled plaster. Hair the colour of dirt is tied back in a tight knot at the top of her scalp, and little flakes of white are sprinkled across her hair. She puts her hands on her hips, surveying the silent students.

Pyxis nudges me again, but my eyes are fixed on the new teacher. She looks very familiar, though I cannot quite place her doughy features. She raises her wand, and letters appear on the blackboard, scraping loudly.

Professor Alecto Carrow
Control and Regulation of Muggle Subordinates – O.W.L level

Amaris is staring straight ahead, but a few of the other students, particularly those not in Slytherin, are whispering. I glance at Pyxis, who mouths a word at me.

“Horzibah?” I whisper back, frowning at him. He shakes his head.

“Professor Carrow, ‘ere. This year is going to be a little different from before, under Dumblydore,” Professor Carrow says. Her voice is very raw and uncouth, and I notice how across the room Demetria and Phin are smirking at one another. Her accent is far from the polished, posh voices of the other purebloods, and I am sure that they are already building up cruel things to say about her. She looks oddly misshapen in her robes, as if her body is too lumpy to fit inside them properly.

“First, blood status.” The new professor flicks her wand and an image appears, projected up on the wall as the torches in the classroom fade. “For years, much magical blood has been tainted by those of a lesser status, creating a sub-breed of… wizard.” Her lip curls on this last word. “The Ministry seeks ter create an order where all them with the purest blood are respected fer their status, and them with lesser bloodlines, well…” Pyxis nudges me again, but I am staring at Carrow, realizing where I’ve seen her in the past. A dirty, desolate island, the cries of the prisoners and the silent terror of the Dementors: she was the cruel security guard at Azkaban, who rebuked me and called me a cow when I conjured my first Patronus, drawing on Terry’s tutelage, to cheer up Mr. Nott and give him some relief from the Dementors. Carrow was a warden then: I cannot be sure, but her new position indicates she found favour with the new regime.

“Azkaban,” I mouth across the desk at Pyxis, who nods slightly. He noticed far more quickly than myself, but it appears that Carrow has not – or, hopefully, will not – identify me as the girl who crossed her eight months ago.

Carrow assigns us the rather tedious task of tracing our family trees back to the old wizarding families, using the book of magical geneology which I forgot in my dormitory. Pyxis lets me share his, however, and I manage to trace the Yaxleys back five generations and the Greengrasses back six – it appears that the Notts and I are very distant cousins, like many of the purebloods.

“Gross, my great-grandparents were actually second cousins,” Pyxis mutters, and I snicker.

“Explains some things.”

“Are you students finding the lesson interesting?” Professor Carrow’s voice comes from the front of the room. One student, the prefect whom Pyxis was paired with for patrols on the train, tentatively snakes her arm into the air. The professor raises her bushy, bristly eyebrows at her. “What?”

“Erm, I was just wondering if we’re going to be graded on this? I… I’m afraid I don’t know so much about my father’s side of the family since it’s not in these books.” The girl’s voice falters, but she broadens her shoulders and raises her head. “Should I… owl him for information?” A couple of the other students nod in agreement, but Carrow’s face seems to split in a crooked, unhealthy grimace.

Carrow rises slightly unsteadily to her feet, and totters over to the desk where the Gryffindor girl is sitting. Picking up the piece of parchment, her lip curls, and I notice slight tufts of hair emerging from the sallow skin. The girl in question continues to hold her head up high, but I notice her fingers are clenched around her quill beneath the desk. Pyxis and the other Slytherins lean forward in their seats, exchanging curious looks at how this new teacher will handle the situation.

With a swift swipe of her quill, Carrow draws a large black line through half of the girl’s family chart, letting it slip through her sausage-like fingers to the desk. The Gryffindor picks it up, and I can see the sides of her frown from my seat.

“Why don’t you tell the other students what I’ve done to yer chart…Robins, is it?” Carrow’s face contorts into a sneer. “Though I reckon ye’d be better ter go by yer mum’s name from now on…”

“She’s just slashed through my dad’s side of the family,” the girl, Robins, says in a clear voice, turning in her seat to face the rest of the class. A faint pink blush has risen high in her cheeks. “Professor, I don’t understand…”

“Told you she was a dumbass,” Pyxis mutters to me, shifting in his chair. “Bloody girl doesn’t know when to keep quiet.”

“Ten points from Gryffindor fer speaking out of turn, Robins,” Carrow says easily, scratching her hair with very long fingernails. “And… another twenty for having such a diseased family tree.” She bares her teeth again. Robins bows her head, face flashing a bright red colour – I wonder if she’s biting her tongue not to have another outburst, or to cry. I see her scratch something from the top of her parchment, and wonder if it’s her last name.

My hand flies into the air, and Carrow’s yellow gaze fixes on me. I resist the urge to nibble nervously on my lip, and do not wait for her to give me permission to speak. After all, my father is the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement – I should not have to wait for the likes of his horrid woman to say my piece.

“Professor Carrow, I was just wondering if you should show us your own bloodline, please,” I say, my voice echoing the falsely pleasant chimes of my own mother when she’s speaking to an employee at a shop. “I do not think we should be coerced into spending time on this sort of activity until we know what sort of person is being permitted to scrutinize our family trees. The likes such as you surely aren’t permitted to criticize those who come from the great families.” My back is very straight, and my voice free from only the hint of a quiver. My heart floats up inside my throat, where it pulses slightly.

Pyxis kicks my ankle very hard beneath the table, but I do not wince. Close by, Amaris is hiding a smirk.

Carrow splutters. “I… I assure you, mi- I assure you that I am very much… I have been granted this position out of the great respect and appreciation from very important people.” Her face has turned very red, and some of the other Slytherins are smirking. There have always been those of us who put the professors in their place: the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in my first year, for example, endured constant abuse from some of my yearmates, as, I hear, does Hagrid in Care of Magical Creatures classes. But I have usually left the undermining and cruelty to bolder peers like Demetria or Phin, and so this is a first, but hatred and disgust boils in me at this dreadful, lower-status maggot of a witch.

“I do not see much about you to be respected, frankly,” I say. To my surprise, the other students who are not in Slytherin are not egging me on – after all, though the Slytherins are distracted by my chastising of Carrow, I am effectively defending Robins and the other students who, like Terry, don’t have pure bloodlines to fall back on. But they are staring down at their desks, or pursing their lips. Robins herself has not even looked back at me.

Carrow is saved from this confrontation by the chiming of a bell indicating that classtime is over, and the students immediately set to gathering up our things and shoving the half-completed family trees into school bags. I surface from fitting my quills into a secure pocket in my bag to find a long-nailed hand extending over my books, holding them in place, and a smell of rotting things and bad hygiene permeating through the space.

“You will stay behind, my dear,” Carrow says, and a piece of spittle flies from between her crooked teeth to land somewhere in my hair. Pyxis moves away immediately – it is clear that he does not approve of my insubordination and wants no part in its punishment. I clear my throat and nod, watching as the last of the students flood out into the hall. I expect Carrow to step away so that I can rise, but she stays in her close proximity, forcing me to remain seated and looking up at her.

“Can I help you?” I assert.

“I remember you, little girl,” Carrow smirks, shifting slightly, and the smell of pungent, unwashed body invades my nose. I consider moving my hand to my nostrils in order to block out the smell with the scent of my soap, but refrain from this gesture of weakness. Carrow taps her fingernails against the books. “Defiant, entitled and rude, you are. Such behaviour is not acceptable in this classroom, Ms. Greengrass, and as a Slytherin I would expect to behave better in front of your peers.” She squints at me, lowering her face and revealing the yellowish, milky eyes. “We are on the same side.”

“I do not see anything about yourself which merits my respect,” I tell her. Once again, my blood has risen up in my throat, and my ears enclose upon themselves with the thrill of defiance.

Carrow chuckles slightly, and her foul breath – smelling of eggs and chewed bacon – wafts over me. “I was ‘oping you’d say something like this,” she says quietly. “Detention, Ms. Greengrass… starting, well, shall we say Friday night, after the feast in this classroom.” Her eyes glimmer with the hint of something dangerous, but in a moment the opening is gone, her mind closed and unreadable. “You are dismissed.”

For the rest of the day, the smells of unwashed body and chewed bacon seem to follow me, no matter how many times I hold my breath.

**




Classes with Alecto Carrow and her brother, Amycus – nicknamed the ‘she-troll’ and the ‘oaf’ for the private satisfaction of my own mind - quickly escalate in the level of perversity and clear bias against Muggles and those with Muggle blood.

After our family histories are complete, the she-troll arranges us in the classroom in order of blood ranking. I find myself sitting in the second row, right behind Pyxis, Phin, Demetria and a couple of students from other houses, sandwiched between Griz and Amaris, neither of whom are too pleased with their position in the class. The she-troll announces that the class rankings illuminate worth, and that the front row are to demonstrate their superiority over the other sections. One good thing about this is that it does not sit well with Amaris, and we start up a sort of amiable system of rolling our eyes and gritting our teeth at one another during class when the front row – notably, Demetria and Phin, who have become practically insufferable even outside of C.R.O.M.S, exert their superior status.

“I could punch his stupid, ratlike face,” Amaris mutters during the second day of this arrangement and glaring at Phin. She takes out her quill and sketches a picture of a boy with closely cut dark hair and a rat’s nose and whiskers, then slides it across the desk to me. Snorting quietly, I add a pointed wizard’s hat on top, decorated with a badge depicting the Black family crest.

“I think I spelled Toujours wrong,” I pout, and Amaris giggles. Carrow looks up from her desk, squinting at us, and for a moment I’m concerned she’s going to assign me another detention – though it might not be so bad, if Amaris is being somewhat kind to me again. But when class is over, she goes back to her boyfriend and her new friends, and I go to the library and tuck myself away in a corner. I take especial satisfaction in putting my feet up on the books assigned for C.R.O.M.S.

Nobody mentions my insubordination of Carrow the first day of class, though I do notice a few students sending me expectant and curious glances on occasion, as if expecting me to speak up.

But the problem with the class is that in some ways, I find myself agreeing with Carrow’s mispronounced and very prejudiced teachings. When she explains that Muggles are less powerful and enlightened than wizards, I find myself nodding along. When she says that wizards should not cower from Muggles, should prevent those who are weak from further damaging the country which we have been forced to share, I find the voices of my own family and mentors from childhood echoing in my head. It is true, that Muggles and Muggleborns are weak in relation to magical kind. It is true that I am proud and defensive of my pureblood heritage, that when one with less magical blood asks a dumb question in class it’s hard not to raise my own head a little higher and know I would never behave in such a fashion.

But then I think of Terry, and the brothers and parents he adores, being treated as subordinate human beings. I think of Professor Burbage, who has disappeared from Hogwarts this year, speaking earnestly about the pain wrought upon groups in the Muggle world who were considered a lesser form of human. And I know that I can never condone it, not if good, whole people who have done far more right in their lives than myself are going to be hurt by it. The uncertainty is bewildering.

I resolve to keep my mouth shut in the Carrows’ classes, and a low profile in the classes with the other professors. Though my History of Magic and Ancient Runes professors indicate that nothing has changed, there is a certain intensity in my other classes. Professor Sprout looks exhausted when she comes to class, hardly bothering to wipe the smears of soil from her formerly plump and robust cheeks. McGonagall is even snippier than in the past, and far harsher on the students, taking away House Points for even the smallest of infractions. Even Slughorn is not himself, and the ends of his large, walrus moustache droop slightly as he observes the depleted class size. The potions assigned are far more dull and depressing as well, filling the dungeons with dank smells and misty fumes which add to the attitude of silenced indignation radiating from those who are not Slytherins.

Amycus Carrow – the oaf – is just as horrible as his sister, and possibly even crueler. While the she-troll is content to preach about the evils of Muggles, her brother’s taking over of Defense Against the Dark Arts focuses more on actually performing the Dark Arts and wondering over the power wielded by the caster of the Imperius Curse, or a tender explanation of the damage caused by an attacking Inferius in a case study from one of the nasty new textbooks.

After learning about the latter, Phin actually vomits his roast beef into his pumpkin juice when a Hufflepuff at the next table pulls out their textbook and is showing the gruesome images of the Inferius’ victim to her friends.

“I see the resemblance,” Pyxis says, poking at his own roast beef. But I do notice his mouth curls a little in digust and he sticks to his potatoes and carrots after that. Phin hastily waves his wand over the orange liquid floating with half-chewed bits of brown meat, then takes a large sip of water.

Among the Slytherins, at least, there is little discussion about Snape’s usurpation of the Headmaster position. Among a House populated with the children of those who murder and others who condone it, as well as students who are too frightened to publically object to the principals of the Death Eaters, it seems most natural that the killer would win his victim’s crown, like in a wizard’s duel of the olden years, when a conquering sorcerer was granted control of his dead opponent’s property, trade and even his family. My mind drifts to what Dumbledore would think of his betrayer, his Judas, gaining control over the school he had watched over for so long and the students he had cared for. The whole situation makes me uneasy.

Friday at supper, I receive a note delivered by a nervous first year which says that I am to report to my detention at eight o’clock in the she-troll’s classroom. Pyxis refuses to offer me any sympathy, saying that I deserved what I got, and Daphne walks by and, pursing her lips, makes a snide comment about keeping my big mouth shut. We haven’t spoken about the incident on the train with the Ravenclaws, but I do know that she hasn’t written to our parents, about that or my detention for speaking up against Carrow. Daphne has been very busy with her Head duties, from what I can tell, which mostly involves dragging Theo around to meetings and scolding students who are lingering in the hallways.

“I had best go and head up to my detention,” I tell Pyxis, glancing at the high table where Carrow is stuffing her face with roast beef and downing it with red wine. I wrinkle my nose. “I’ll see you in the common room later.” The boys nod their goodbyes, turning back to a discussion of who is going to make the Quidditch team this year. I side-step Harper, the substitute Seeker from last year, who has gravy on his sallow face, and weave my way towards the doors of the hall. Dessert is just beginning to appear on the table – apple pie and custard.

The Entrance Hall is empty save for the suits of armour, though a clinking sound follows me as stones fall through one of the great hourglasses which counts the house points. It appears like someone from Ravenclaw has been misbehaving during the feast. I am at the foot of the stairs when Peeves the poltergeist swooshes by overhead, cackling something to himself. I duck on impulse, but am pleased to realize I’m not his target.

Drakey so flakey and full of hot air,
So skinny and sneaky and with greasy hair,
Knocked off old Dumbly and -


Peeves’ song is brutally cut short with a sound like a quick inhale, and I glance back to see the poltergeist clutching his windpipe, face turning purple and tasseled shoes pumping the air as he tumbles through the stones into the Great Hall. A figure at the far end of the Entrance Hall is still holding his wand, and in the growing twilight trickling through the large windows over the doors, his pale skin and almost-silver hair glint.

Draco Malfoy is back at Hogwarts, and from the sour expression twisting his thin face across the hall and the slump in his bony shoulders, he doesn’t seem too happy about it.

Malfoy raises an arm in greeting, then drops it loosely, letting it dangle at his side. I wave slightly and then dart back up the stairs, hoping Peeves will stay out of my way if he recovers from the Silencing spell. Malfoy is, whether directly or indirectly, the reason the Headmaster – my road out of the Death Eaters – was killed, and he’s engrained with the Dark Lord, branded and singled out in a way Pyxis and Theo have still managed to avoid. I don’t really want to make small talk with Malfoy.

Instead, I move up the stairs to wait in the corridor outside of Carrow’s classroom. Arriving slightly out of breath and with five minutes to spare, I am surprised to find Michael Corner sitting on the floor outside the classroom, lanky legs stretched out in front of him. He’s wearing mis-matched socks, and has his eyes closed, head tipped carefully back against the wall.

I glance down the corridor on the off-chance that Daphne has followed me up here and is going to chastise me for speaking with her Ravenclaw attacker from the train. The coast is clear, so I nudge Michael’s foot with my own. His eyes jerk open and he twitches against the wall, then winces.

“Oh, hey Tor.” He pats his head gingerly.

“Are you alright?” I hesitate, then sit down a little ways away from him, leaning against the wall. I’ve never sat down in a Hogwarts corridor before, and one of the witches in the portrait across the corridor, sporting a red dress with impressive cleavage, gives me a saucy wink.

“Yeah – well, that mate of your sister’s did some real damage to my head, Madam Pomfrey reckons,” he tells me, folding his hands in his lap. “She prescribed me a potion and some rest, though it’s been giving me headaches all week – medium-level concussion’s what she said.”

“Oh – about that.” I bite my lip, staring at the stones. “I’m really sorry. Daphne, she…well, she’s under a lot of stress. And she’s really a lovely person, she didn’t know Haynes was going to hurt you.”

“That brute has a name?” Michael mutters. He turns his head to look at me – he really is quite handsome, and I fight a smile as I remember Terry telling me about how despite Michael being a fit bleeder, that he’s absolutely terrible with relationships.

“I may not have the golden eyes or the chiseled jaw, but at least girls actually want to be around me, eh,” Terry had winked, then tugged me onto his lap. I had wrapped my arms around his neck and giggled into his sweet-smelling hair. “Well, one girl in particular.”

I push away these thoughts. Michael pauses for a moment, then runs a hand through his fringe, tugging the long hair over his eyes. His face twitches as his fingers brush over the back of his head.

“You know, Tor, you don’t need to defend people just because they’re your family,” he says quietly. “You’re not your sister, and it’s not your responsibility to atone for her cruelty. You don’t-”

His thoughts are cut short with the sound of footsteps in the corridor, and I scramble to my feet, Michael moving a little slower behind me. We turn to see the she-troll huffing down the corridor, a smudge of gravy on the collar of her robes and a quiet smile twisting her bloated face. The door to her classroom creaks open of its own accord.

“Ah, excellent,” Carrow says quietly, and steps inside, motioning for Michael and I to follow her with an imperious jerk of her chin. We follow, and I glance at the Ravenclaw, whose jaw is set and his stony stare straight ahead. Carrow leads us to the front of the room, where the desks have been cleared away. I wonder what sort of tedious or nasty punishment she will imagine for us: Pyxis suggested we might be scrubbing the bunions off her feet, though writing lines is a more typical punishment from the lazier professors, and from our lessons thus far the Carrows hardly seem creative.

Ah, how wrong I was. It is most dangerous to underestimate your enemies.

"Ms. Greengrass, take out yer wand," Carrow growls at me, drawing her own and waving it lazily in my direction. Unsure of whether or not I am controlling my body I draw my wand from the pocket of my robes, holding it tightly and glaring at her. "Now, fer this detention we're going ter 'ave a bit've fun. Corner here --" she waves her wand in Michael's direction, and without an incantation or a sign of warning his own wand flies out of his hand and onto the desk behind Carrow.

Michael glances at me, his brows furrowing. His shoulders are set in a stern stance of the offensive, but he does not speak up for his right to carry his wand.

"Now, Ms. Greengrass, fer me own amusement let's see you, well, shall we start with casting a Jelly-legs curse," Carrow says. I blink at her.

"You mean you'd like me to use the curse on you, professor?" I retort, then gasp as there is a quick, invisible jab of pain in the space between my ribs. I recoil, my fingers tightening on my wand and the other hand going to touch and cover the spot where her unspoken jinx hit me. Carrow laughs, while Michael stares at the floor.

"I can stay 'ere all night, Ms. Greengrass! I'm sure Corner 'ere is eager ter get this business finished with and back ter 'is studies. But if ye want to play stubborn ye can come back every day this week until you please me." A glint in her eye tells me she is serious, but there is something more malicious coming from the place behind her gaze: a dreadful delight, a desire that I will continue to resist her.

"Just do it, Tor," Michael says, and puffs out his chest. "Reckon I've survived worse than an old Jelly legs." He tips his face slightly away from Carrow, and smiles grimly at me, extending his arms out - a regular Ravenclaw saviour without a cross. "Give me your best shot, then."

"Ah, there's the spirit," Carrow giggles. I sigh, and point my wand at Terry's best friend. His legs jiggle and give out from underneath him, and he tumbles to the floor in a sprawling pile of limbs.

I remove the curse quickly and reach out a hand to help him up, before finding my body once again thrown back by an invisible hand, pulling me away from the boy on the stone floor. I turn to glare at Carrow.

"Not quite yet, Greengrass." Her piggy little eyes squint at me. "Now, I can't do much ter you, of course, yer daddy being who 'e is and all. Pity, that. But a little birdie's come and told me that you've been carrying on some secret...liaison with a Ravenclaw boy, and 'ere we are, 'ere we are..." A fleck of spittle flies from her mouth. The classroom suddenly feels very small and the rest of the castle very distant, and I wish desperately for one of the other professors, Terry, Pyxis, Theo, Daphne, Ginny, anybody - to come in and stop Carrow from what she is determined to do to me. To make me do to Michael, a friendly, well-meaning boy who has done nothing wrong save stand up for me against my own sister, and be friends with the boy I secretly love.

My heart beats in my throat. Carrow's eyes say it all. "I won't do it, you know," I tell her, my instincts screaming to run away, and a tiny voice in the back of my head which sounds somewhat like Terry Boot's telling me to stand my ground. "I won't do what you want me to. You can't win that way, I - I'm stronger than you."

"Well, we'll see about that, won't we, Greengrass," Carrow mocks. Michael is beginning to raise himself to his feet again, oblivious to the silent exchange going on in the room. The horrid woman knocks him back down again, and he writhes on the floor for a moment, gasping.

"You can't do this to students," I tell her furiously, fighting against the invisible binds in order to move towards Michael. He goes very still, but Carrow shrugs.

"Me master and yer daddy put us in charge of the school, didn't 'e? Sure old slimy Snape ain't going ter protest - bet 'e's been longin' ter turn 'is wand on you petty little idiots fer years."

"I'll talk to McGonagall. I'll tell the Ministry." Michael groans from the floor.Carrow simply shakes her head, and raises her wand again.

My father taught us all about the Unforgivable Curses. You have to mean it, he would say, his lips in a firm, taut line. The person who taught me always said that. My father had done something terrible under the Curse, something he had never forgiven himself for. I myself thought I was worthy to outsmart the curses. I used them in the ASS club against my housemates, I bragged to Pyxis and my other friends of my inherited skill of casting and throwing off the Imperius Curse, I stepped in and out of others' minds without a care. I learned to throw off the Curse in a controlled environment when my father had me dance little ballets in the back garden or to dig up plants and touch the filthy worms until my disgust overpowered his magic, and then he praised me for my skills, unique among students, blessed among children.

But all of that flies away in this moment of horror when I catch a glimpse of Michael's puzzled, frightened face on the classroom floor of Hogwarts, and Carrow's Imperius Curse invades me through my pores, through my gasping mouth, easing with creeping claws to tie puppet strings to my arms and my legs, my lips and my wand. A feeling of calm indifference spreads over me, of the easiness of letting go.

Forget, forget it all. Just obey.

My puppet self raises her wand, smiles serenely. A small voice somewhere deep inside, a male voice, ringing with Terry's concerned tones shouts something but his cries go unheard among the music of the Curse. A word leaves my lips, and somewhere in the room, Carrow is laughing and Michael Corner is screaming.

My shadow, puppet body waves her wand in tune to the cries and groans of the boy writhing before her - the true daughter of a Death Eater.


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