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The Lesser of Two Evils

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Summary: AU With moments to spare, the monks decided to send the Key in human form to someone who would protect it: Harry Potter. Now, Harry must protect his younger sister from both new and old foes alike while trying to be a big brother. Detailed summary inside

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Dawn-CenteredfuturesnlwriterFR151063,6684268,11528 Dec 107 Dec 13No

Do You Hear What I Hear

Although I think that this will become abundantly clear once you start reading, please note that this chapter is more non-linear than usual due to the unique perspective.



Chapter 10: Do You Hear What I Hear



"…but then Dawn apparently slapped him and ran out of the Yule Ball crying. I just happened to be wandering around the castle and was there to comfort her. Ginny eventually came out of the Ball too and sat with us while Dawn cried. It was such a shame that her date acted like such a dick."

"Cassandra!"

"Sorry Mum," Cassie sheepishly shrugged.

"I don't know where you learned such language," Mum gently chided.

Cassie just shrugged again.

"So, when are we going to meet this Dawn?"

"Probably not until the summer before our fifth year at Hogwarts. Her muggle relatives hate wizards, but her brother turns seventeen during that summer, so they'll finally be able to leave their house."

It was her mother's turn to shrug. She had been getting oddly specific information about the future since Cassie learned to talk, but she never got used to her daughter's talents. Cassie had learned over the years to spare her feelings by talking about the future as little as possible. "Well, you should write to her. If she doesn't get much contact with wizards, she'd probably appreciate a letter."

"I can't Mum."

"Why not?"

Because Dawn won't exist until this time next summer. "Because Dawn has bars over her window that prevent owls from delivering the post." At the very least, she learned to lie when information would upset her mother.

"If you say so."

"I know so." She didn't know how, but she always knew.

..::..

"Miss Newton, please stay after class for a moment," Professor McGonagall announced as she dismissed class. Cassie shrugged off the jeering of her classmates; it was expected.

"You needed to see me Professor McGonagall?" she asked nonchalantly.

"I'm afraid so. It seems that Professor Trelawney is still insisting that you add Divination back onto your course load," Professor McGonagall said with more than a hint of disdain.

"Insisting?" Cassie prodded.

McGonagall responded by taking off her glasses and rubbing the bridge of her nose. "She's insufferable. But she believes that you are a true prodigy and that, under her tutelage, you shall become the world's greatest seer."

"Were those her words?" Cassie snorted. Quite honestly, she doubted that Trelawney could hiccup more than a few words at a time, let alone a full sentence.

Her joke was met with a glare that said far more than words. "Nevertheless, she wishes that you would reconsider."

Cassie sighed. "You know as well as I do that Divination is a load of rubbish, so why are you telling me this?"

"I'm doing this in part because I want Professor Trelawney to stop talking to me about your gift. However, I don't disagree with her. You do have remarkable talents."

"I'm no seer. You can tell her I respectfully decline her offer."

Professor McGonagall nodded. "I didn't expect anything less from you."

"Thank you professor," Cassie said as she left.

Cassie hadn't lied: she would never consider herself a seer. A seer was one who could determine the future by using his or her magic to create a prophecy. By creating a prophecy, they can ensure that a certain future would come to pass, as any course of action taken by those mentioned in the prophecy ensures that it is fulfilled.

Unfortunately, Cassie was not a seer. She didn't determine the future: she saw all of it. There were occasionally divergences and multiple ways a scenario could unfold, but they almost always led to the same end.

Every time she closed her eyes, Cassie saw family, friends and even strangers. She saw their lives intersect, intertwine, and tangle. She was them win, lose, and perish.

She dreamt of death.

Destruction.

And green.

..::..

"Confundo," Cassie muttered as she approached a table in the library.

"Hermione?" Cassie asked. "Do you have a minute?"

The girl in question looked up and smiled her Prefect smile at Cassie. "I'm doing some research now, and I have a professor's note to use the Restricted Section. How did you get in here?"

Cassie held up her own note. "Professor Slughorn. I have to do a potions essay on the history of the Death-Cap Draught. As you could imagine, it's not a pleasant history."

Hermione nodded. "So what do you need?"

"Well, I've seen you in this section quite a bit, and I'm afraid I can't find the text that I need."

"Well, texts on the history of poisons should be right over there," she responded with a vague gesture.

"I've tried looking there, but I can't find anything."

Hermione got up and began searching the shelves. "Huh, it was just here yesterday."

"How utterly bizarre," Cassie mused. It wasn't that unusual, since Cassie had just confunded her. But she had a perfectly good reason to do so.

Cassie turned around and grabbed a text titled A History of Secret Magical Societies. Acting quickly, she earmarked a page entitled "The Order of Dagon and The Knights of Byzantium."

"Remarque," Cassie incanted upon the book. She hoped that the Noticing charm would be strong enough to make them pick up the tome sooner rather than later. She quickly returned the book and pointed her wand at Hermione. "Finite," she whispered.

"Oh, here's what I was looking for: Notorious Potions Through the Ages. This should help you."

"Thank you Hermione! I really appreciate it."

She nodded. "I can see why you were having trouble finding that book. Hard to find anything in this section of the library." As she pulled out her chair, her eye caught a glimpse of Cassie's noticing charm. She shook it off though, much to Cassie's disappointment. "I… I think I've been in the library for too long."

Cassie nodded along. "Happens to the best of us." She sat down across from Hermione and half-heartedly read the book, taking random notes as she read. Truthfully, she had finished her essay on the subject last night and had no intentions of revising it when her current version would get a passing grade. But, she needed to maintain appearances so she wouldn't appear suspicious to Hermione.

About twenty minutes later, Ron entered the Restricted Section of the library and gave her a critical look. "Hey," he said as he plopped down on the nearest chair. Cassie stifled a chuckle as his head slammed into the table with a loud thud.

"Difficult practice?" Hermione asked without looking up from her book. He groaned in response. "Well, if you want Harry to ease up, you know what we need to do." He groaned and looked around briefly. Cassie could see his eyes linger on the shelves where her book was, and though he picked up the book nearest him, a volume titled Forbidden Magicks of Memory, his gaze didn't leave that shelf.

"I think I should be going," Cassie announced. "Thanks again for all your help Hermione." She shuffled some books and parchment into her bag and walked out of the Restricted Section.

As the conversation behind her turned into a muffled buzzing, Cassie smiled.

..::..

"An' then I tol' him to get the fuck off the pitch!" Ritchie excitedly exclaimed.

"Watch your language." Cassie calmly replied. "You're going to get a detention from Snape." Tuesday, right before Defence, to be exact.

"Cassie, look aroun'. We're in the fuckin' common room! That dick can't hear me!"

"Alright," she chuckled. "Just promise me you won't say that word outside the common room."

"I won't," he promised.

But you will, Cassie groaned internally, next Tuesday before Defence.

"If that dick gives me anotha fuckin' T, I'll fuckin'…"

Cassie shook her head. She didn't need any ability to see where that vision was heading. Besides, she'd already seen it a few times.

"Anyway Cassie, I was wond'rin' if you might be int'rested in goin' down to the lake tomorra night…"

"Why?" Cassie cut him off. Ritchie had been trying to ask her out for a few months now, and she knew that it wouldn't end well.

Cassie saw a flash of green light fly straight towards her. She paused momentarily, accepting her fate.

"Well, I thought we could grab a few butta beers an' watch the sun set."

Damn, that sounded really romantic. "Sorry, I have an essay that I need to work on that night."

"Wha' essay?" he scoffed. "I'm in all ya classes and we don't have any essays due fo' weeks!"

"It's Dawn's essay for potions. She's really behind and she'll need my help."

"Alright," he responded suspiciously. "But promise you'll think abou' it afta she's betta, yeah?"

"Yeah," Cassie replied. "I promise." Ritchie flashed her a huge smile as he collected his stuff and walked upstairs. As soon as he was out of sight, Cassie sighed and collapsed her head onto the table.

"Everything alright?" a new voice asked. Harry, Cassie realized a split second before she looked up at the boy who had sat down across from her.

"Yeah, everything's fine," Cassie said stoically.

"I didn't know that you and Ritchie were friends."

You didn't notice me at all until your sister popped into existence, Cassie thought. She nodded though, and said, "He's fancied me for some time now."

"And you don't fancy him?" Harry guessed.

She wasn't sure why Harry was taking such an interest in her personal life, but for some reason she felt compelled to open up to him. "No, I just know that it's going to end in heartbreak."

"You should take a chance," he said with a quick glance over his shoulder. Cassie looked in that direction and saw Ginny sitting in a loveseat with Dean. "What's the worst that could happen?"

The life left his eyes in that split second: he was dead before her hands left his head.

"Unfortunately, I don't think he and I will have the same happy ending that you and her deserve," she said ruefully.

They sat there in awkward silence for a minute. "How's Dawn?" she asked, guessing at Harry's reason for taking such an interest in her.

"She's fine," he admitted. "Madam Pomfrey says she'll be released tomorrow."

"That's wonderful."

"Yeah, it is. Say, speaking of Dawn, do you remember a conversation we had last spring?"

On the morning that Dawn first appeared—how could she forget? "Vaguely."

"You mentioned that I was noble for protecting Dawn, but you said I wouldn't be doing it alone for very long."

Yes, and suddenly all the pieces are falling into place. "Sounds like something I'd say."

"What did you mean by that?" Harry asked.

"Your sister is special Harry," Cassie admitted as she began to collect her things. "People are beginning to realize that. And I think you'll find that there are others that would give everything to make sure that she's safe."

"You're saying…" Harry stumbled over his words, unsure of what he was trying to ask. "Others are willing to die to protect my sister?"

"You're catching on," Cassie said with a wry smile. She picked up her belongings and started to head up to the dormitory, but in the corner of her eye she could see Harry rising and starting after her.

"Who?" he asked impatiently.

"You'll know who you can trust in due time."

..::..

Dawn walked into the dormitory, but she wasn't alone. She was followed by a young blond girl, who walked up to a new four-poster bed that hadn't been in the room before. The girl appeared to be their age, though Cassie had never seen her before.

"I hope you don't mind my asking, but who are you?" Cassie asked.

"Oh, I'm sorry Cassie, I didn't see you there. This is an exchange student from America."

The girl extended her hand, with a tacky charmed bracelet hanging off her wrist. "Buffy Summers. Nice to meet you."

"You're American alright," Cassie said with a chuckle. "No witch in this castle would ever consider wearing that. Nice to meet you too, I suppose."

"You 'suppose?' Did I do something wrong? My first day as an exchange student and I've already messed up some cultural thing, didn't I? Is this one of those countries where shaking hands means that I want to murder you?"

"Oh, it's nothing like that, I'm sorry to worry you," Cassie chuckled. "It's just…I always thought you would be older."

..::..

"Dawn, you're out of the Hospital Wing!" Cassie happily exclaimed as she hugged her best friend.

"Not a moment too soon," Dawn chuckled. "If I had stayed one minute longer I would have done something drastic…like write my potions essay!"

"You were that bored, but you somehow convinced Madam Pomfrey to keep you the entire day and release you after classes were over?" Cassie asked.

Dawn shrugged. "I was bored, not suicidal. Besides, if I would have gone to class today, Professor Slughorn could have asked for that essay, and I haven't even started it."

"You can copy my notes if you'd like," Cassie said as she pulled out a long scroll of parchment.

Dawn looked over the parchment with a critical expression. "You wrote your notes in complete paragraphs?"

"I wouldn't say that."

"You even used transitions between the paragraphs."

It was Cassie's turn to shrug. "It was a rough draft. Besides, Professor Slughorn will give you a better mark because you're in his precious Slug Club."

"Don't remind me," Dawn groaned. "We have another meeting coming up next week and he's starting to schedule them around our Quidditch practices, so I can't even use that as an excuse."

Dawn took a seat at a table in the common room and began copying Cassie's extra essay. After about an hour of working, Harry entered and approached their table.

"Hey Dawn."

"Hey Harry. How was your detention with Snape?"

He paused for a moment. "Brutal." That was a good word to describe Occlumency lessons, Cassie thought to herself. "Is that your potions essay that was due last week?"

Dawn nodded. "I just finished actually, thanks to Cassie's notes."

"Cassie's notes? Let me see those."

As he reached for the parchment, Dawn quickly pulled out her wand. "Incendio!" Cassie's extra essay burned quickly, thanks to a charm Cassie put on it earlier. "Whoops, guess you can't see it," she chuckled.

Harry nodded amusingly.

"Say Harry, now that Dawn's finished her essay, do you think you could try teaching us the Patronus charm again?" Cassie asked.

"Sure. Why the sudden interest?"

"Don't let her get away!" The woman yelled. "Bring me The Key!" The Darkness behind her leapt into motion and began flying after her.

"It's about time," Cassie responded as she pushed the image out of her head.

"I agree," Dawn said. "You never know when someone will attack me."

Harry blanched, but he led the way to the Room of Requirement. Cassie was mildly surprised when the door opened on the first try, but she supposed that Draco had to take a night off every once in a while.

"So, how much do you remember?" Harry asked.

"You think of a happy memory and you say 'Expecto patronum,'" Dawn recited. She had been given private lessons on this spell before, but she was never able to use it. Cassie had high hopes and was nearly certain that tonight she would be able to master it.

"That's the basic gist, yes, but there's more to it," Harry said. "You have to let your happiest memory fill you up. It's not enough to just think about it, you have to become it." Dawn and Cassie nodded. "Now, give it a try."

Cassie shut her eyes and tried to think of a happy memory without giving into the darkness of the future.

Dawn smiled at her: "You're my best friend."

"Expecto patronum!" she incanted. A silvery wisp emitted from her wand, but it didn't take a corporeal form.

"Expecto patronum!" Dawn yelled. Nothing came out of her wand.

"Try again!" Harry encouraged. "But this time, take more than a moment and really immerse yourself in the memory."

Breathing in deeply, Cassie again closed her eyes.

He thrust his wand into her face, and for a boy who probably couldn't even use it, he was doing a great job of intimidating her. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't hex you into oblivion!" he demanded.

Cassie shook off the vision and tried to think of something happier.

The Sorting Hat was placed atop her head.

"I think you see more of the future than I do."

Cassie nodded. "I think you're probably right."

The Hat chuckled. "Of course I'm right. I think you would do well in Ravenclaw, a smart girl like you, consumed with such knowledge, but it appears as though you see the future differently."

"I think I need to be in Gryffindor," she said as she looked towards the queue of first-year students.

"Is there someone there you need to be brave for?"

"I'm not sure yet," she responded with confidence.

"Well then, I guess I have no choice but to put you in GRYFFINDOR!"

"Expecto patronum!" Cassie yelled with the same confidence she showed the Sorting Hat. Another stream of silver light emitted from her wand, this time forming a corporeal shape. However, before it had time to become an animal, it dissipated.

"Expecto patronum!" Dawn yelled again. Once again though, nothing came out of her wand.

"I'm thinking of my happiest memory, but nothing's happening," Dawn complained. "What am I doing wrong?"

Harry frowned and pulled out his wand. He shut his eyes, and after a moment they snapped open. "Expecto patronum!" A wisp emitted from his wand, but it failed to become the stag that they were accustomed to seeing.

"Let me try again," he said. Again, he shut his eyes, but when they opened, he appeared more determined. "Expecto patronum!" he yelled again. This time, a silvery stag burst forth from his wand and did a lap around the room. "I think I know what's wrong. Apparently, recent memories are more powerful than old memories."

"Come again?" Dawn asked.

"Well," Harry sighed, "the first time I thought about Hagrid telling me that I was a wizard. You remember that day, right Dawn?" She nodded. "That memory wasn't powerful enough because it was so long ago. The second time, when I thought about Madam Pomfrey telling me that you were going to be alright, I was able to create a Patronus."

"So when I thought about staying at the Weasleys or discovering that I was a witch, those wouldn't be as powerful as, say receiving the photo album."

"The memories have to be real. Really powerful, that is," Harry quickly corrected.

Cassie nodded in understanding. The memories needed to be recent and real, not fabricated by the monks. Cassie took a deep breath and tried to remember something recent.

"Sally Hannon," McGonagall called about halfway through the sorting. The blond eagerly walked up to the stool and the hat was put on her head. It shifted briefly but eventually announced "GRYFFINDOR!"

Dawn gave the loudest cheer from the table and the young girl excitedly sat next to her older friend, clearly relieved by the result. A little while later, "Danielle Mitchell" was called too and the brunette was also sorted into Gryffindor, much to Dawn and Sally's mutual delight. Danielle took a seat next to Cassie.

Taking a deep breath, Cassie again incanted, "Expecto patronum!" A bright silver flash emitted from her wand, taking the form of a raven. It flapped around the room excitedly.

The sight of the silver bird made Cassie smirk. Not just because Harry was right about needing real memories, but because of the old legends. Some seer had declared that England would fall if all the ravens in the Tower of London were removed. Perhaps it was egotistical to assume that her wisdom could save England, or that her absence would doom it, but her visions showed her otherwise.

"Cassie, look out!"

She shook off the vision just in time to see Dawn snap her eyes open and yell, "Expecto patronum!" Dawn looked downright giddy as a silvery wisp emerged from her wand and took a corporeal shape.

Dawn stood up, clutching her wand in her bleeding arm. She raised it slowly, using all the energy she had left. "Expecto patronum!" she called.

Cassie again shook off the vision, but she wasn't expecting to see Dawn's Patronus take the shape of a spider. Her raven squawked around the spider happily before they both dissipated.

"A spider?" Dawn asked. "That seems lame."

Harry laughed. "Well, you know what they say about spiders."

"Then get it. See what you missed out on." Ginny stopped on a page. "What does this mean? 'Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey; along came a spider, who sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away.'"

"What do they say?" Dawn asked suspiciously.

"They say spiders are the most terrifying creatures in existence."

"And who exactly said that?" she asked again.

"Ron of course. Show him that and he'll never bother you again."

..::..

"Cassie, your friend Dawn is here!" Mum called from the foyer.

Cassie calmly walked down the steps, but Dawn appeared to be in a hurry, judging by the way she was anxiously tapping her foot. Behind her stood a tall, black wizard. She knew it was Kingsley Shacklebolt, but they had never been formally introduced.

"Dawn," Cassie said as she hugged her best friend. "What brings you here?"

"Hey Cassie," Dawn replied. "There's going to be a huge werewolf attack tonight, and I think you're the only one that can help me stop it."

"That's unfortunate." She extended her hand to Kingsley. "I don't believe we've met Kingsley. My name's Cassie Newton."

Kingsley seemed taken aback. "Pleased to meet you."

"She does that sometimes," Dawn explained.

"I gathered. Listen, no…"

"'No one can know of your involvement.'" She gave Kingsley a moment to let his expression of shock set in. "Sometimes I just know things," she shrugged.

"All we're going to need is your dad's Ministry clearances, then we'll be good to go."

"He already left for America, since the Ministry is going to fall in a few weeks. But I made him write down all of the access passwords."

"The ministry is going to fall in a few weeks?" Kingsley asked.

"Give or take a few days," Cassie shrugged. "Don't worry, your position's safe."

Dawn raised an eyebrow. "So you knew this was coming."

"Unfortunately, I did. Now are you ready to leave? We don't have much time."

..::..

Cassie and Dawn arrived to their Defence class a few minutes early. Cassie was relieved that they hadn't arrived earlier: the class was receiving the results from their last duels today, and the Gryffindors were expecting low marks compared to their Slytherin counterparts.

"I know that you don't have anything to worry about," Dawn began as she took her seat in front of Cassie, "but I don't think I'm going to receive a good grade."

"Why would you say that?" Cassie asked.

"Your spellcasting is just so fluid. You don't react; you just act."

Cassie snorted. It helped that her years of dreaming the future had helped her read people's spells by the way they moved while casting them. But Dawn didn't need to know that.

"There's something you're not telling me. Which should be impossible, but I trust you," Dawn said.

She shook her head to dismiss the comment and the vision.

"Don't be modest! You even beat your partner! Astoria and I duelled to a standstill. After five minutes, Snape scowled and told us to go back our seats."

"Yeah, but you and Astoria are the best in the class! That's why he put you together. The only reason he called off your duel is because he didn't want to send you to the Hospital Wing."

"Apparently I can do that on my own," Dawn snorted.

Their conversation was cut short when Astoria and Flora took their seats next to Dawn and Cassie respectively. "So Dawn," Astoria said with a flick of her hair, "ready to receive our grades?"

"Yep," Dawn said without giving in to Astoria's taunts.

"I'd be worried if I were you. After all, you did lose to a Slytherin."

"We duelled to a standstill. If anything, we tied."

Astoria snorted. "A Gryffindor tying with a Slytherin? In Snape's eyes? You must have hit your head harder than we thought." Flora laughed at her joke.

Dawn's nostrils flared, but she was saved by Ritchie, who was sitting next to Astoria. "Wait, are you sayin' we get our grades back today? Shit, if that dick gives me anotha fuckin' T, I'll fuckin'…"

He was interrupted by Snape banging on Ritchie's desk to get his attention. Snape stared at Ritchie in silence for several moments. "You'll what?"

"Um…I don't unde'stand."

"Finish your thought," Snape sneered. "You'll do what?"

"I'll uh…smile, and say, 'Thank ya fo' not givin' me a detention."

Snape slapped Ritchie's grade on his desk. "One week for each curse."

"Each curse that I said or each one you heard?"

Snape ignored the comment and tapped the pile of parchment with his wand to distribute the grades. "Overall, I was disappointed with your duelling skills. Do you believe that you will not be forced to defend yourself in this war?"

Dawn could barely suppress a squeal when she saw the E on the parchment in front of her. Astoria growled at an identical E.

Cassie quickly folded up the A that appeared in front of her and stuck it in her pocket.

"If rumours are to be believed," Snape began with a smirk, "only one of you is actively trying to better your abilities. Even if it did land her in the Hospital Wing."

Dawn slumped in her seat.

"Miss Potter, to the front of the class." Dawn stood from her chair and walked to stand beside Snape, clearly mortified by the situation. "Now, if you believe the rumours, Miss Potter decided to go above and beyond the curriculum to learn wordless spellcasting. I however, have my doubts. So Dawn and I will duel in front of the class. And she will not be permitted to speak."

Dawn blanched and tried to talk, but nothing came out of her mouth.

Dawn looked as though she was going to scream, but nothing came out of her mouth. She backed away using her elbows, but the darkness was encroaching.

"I took the liberty of applying a silencing charm on you. We will each take three steps, turn and bow."

Dawn continued to protest wordlessly.

Snape nodded as though he understood, which caused Cassie to shudder. No doubt he used his Legilimency to read her thoughts. "Yes, I suppose I should give you some incentive to win the duel. If you can last three minutes without being stunned or otherwise disabled," he smirked, "I shall release your brother from his detention for one day to play in the next Quidditch match. However, should I manage to overcome your wordless defences," he paused to allow the Slytherins to snicker, "you will join him in detention that day."

Dawn nodded feebly and turned to take her three steps. Snape did the same, and they bowed once they were facing each other. Snape then flicked his wand at an hourglass on the counter, which turned itself and began to count the three minutes

Cassie was panicking on the inside. She was one of the few people who knew the truth about the incident, and she knew that Dawn would never be able to deflect one stunner without her voice. More problematic was that Cassie had never seen this duel in her dreams before, and thus she had no idea how this scenario would play out.

Dawn stood in a defensive pose, her feet square with her wand held in front of her. Snape waited a few minutes in a more offensive stance, with his right foot a half step in front of him and his wand outstretched. He waited several seconds, and once he saw that Dawn wasn't going to take the first move, he silently fired off a spell: a stunner.

Though Dawn winced at the stunner, her arm moved into position and she silently cast a shielding spell to deflect the stunner. The entire class broke out in whispers. Even Dawn appeared confused that she was still standing.

Not accepting that Dawn actually was able to cast a wordless spell, Snape threw more stunners at her. This time, Dawn stared them down and moved her wand to intercept each stunner with a silent shield. More whispers broke out, and a few brave souls even applauded.

Snape was fuming, but he glanced at his hourglass. Snape had at least two minutes left. He smirked, and launched into an all-out volley of spells. He unleashed hexes and curses of every colour. Too many to count. There was no telling what horrors would strike if Dawn didn't deflect them all.

Dawn's wand jerked about, deflecting each and every spell. Several loud cheers broke out among the class. However, their cheers were silenced when Snape jerked his wand and knocked Dawn off her feet. She quickly rolled over so she could face him, but she wasn't able to stand before Snape launched another volley of spells. Dawn cringed and covered her face with her non-wand arm.

Her wand arm wasn't quite so scared. She continued to jerk her wand about, blocking each spell with an expertly placed silent shield. Snape didn't relent, continuing to launch hexes and spells, but Dawn continued to block them, even as she stood.

The class remained silent, transfixed by the sight, until Snape abruptly stopped. He motioned towards hourglass, which had run out of sand. "It appears as though Ms. Potter was telling the truth. I will award five points to Gryffindor for her efforts." Half the class began to cheer, which prompted Snape to smirk and say, "However, I will take ten points for the constant interruption of our duel." The class was silent, save a few snickers. "I will honour our arrangement and allow your brother to compete in your next Quidditch match." This time, the class contained their joy for fear of losing more points.

He waved his wand in her direction. Dawn audibly gasped, clutched her throat, realizing that Snape returned her voice to her. He then motioned to her seat and Dawn quickly returned to it.

"Now, as I was saying, it appears as though only one of you is actively trying to better your abilities."

"How did you do that?" Cassie whispered to Dawn.

She shrugged. "I have no idea."

..::..

In bed, Cassie started trashing around. Her body tried to fight her visions, as they caused her dream to transform into something terrifying.

..::..

Several wizards and witches were seated at a large table. The room was light only by a handful of candelabra scattered about the room. Only one face was illuminated properly.

His piercing red eyes contrasted sharply with his pale skin, and the weak candlelight was just bright enough that she could see the features he was lacking. Growing up in a magical household, she had long feared his name, but that never prepared her from the nightly terror of seeing his face. A chill went down her spine as he stared straight into her eyes, despite her detached vantage point. Cassie found herself unable to avoid his stare.

"Severus, do you have any other news to report from Hogwarts?" His cold, dispassionate voice said slowly. "Lucius has head rumblings about an American squib attending the school."

"Yes, My Lord, there is an American girl attending Hogwarts," her professor answered. Though Cassie felt ambivalent towards him as a person and a teacher, she was amazed by his ability to stare You-Know-Who in the eyes without flinching. "I would not describe her as a squib, as she has tremendous power."

"What is her purpose at the school?" he hissed. "Does Dumbledore believe that she can oppose me?" As he asked the question, snickers broke out around the table.

"I don't believe that she is part of Dumbledore's plans to defeat you."

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named banged on the table, causing Cassie to jump in fear. "Why else would he bring her?"

As Snape was about to answer, the door to the room flew off its hinges and crashed into the wall. Cassie jumped again; she had never seen this vision before. The Death Eaters assembled drew their wands at the door, with some even firing hexes at the new opening.

Emerging unscathed was a woman with curly blond hair. Though Cassie wasn't usually one to take note of such things, she couldn't help but notice that her makeup and lipstick were impeccable, and her red dress and stilettos were more suited for a night on the town than busting a secret Death Eater meeting.

One Death Eater launched a killing curse at her. The woman caught it in her hand.

"Who threw that?" she asked violently. Cassie gasped when she heard her voice. This was no woman: this was the monster that had haunted her dreams for years. This was the Hell God that would stop at nothing until she returned to her home.

This creature was death personified.

The foolish Death Eater was stupid enough to keep his wand drawn and pointed at her. "What kind of witch are you?" he stuttered.

The Hell God walked up to him coolly. "I'm no witch." In one foul motion she grabbed his wand and shoved it straight through his skull. As his body collapsed onto the floor, she laughed to herself. "And now, neither are you."

At the end of the table, You-Know-Who didn't move a muscle or allow any sign of fear to cross his face. "What brings you to this meeting?"

She turned her attention to him. "Are you Voldemort?" A hushed murmur went around the table. Cassie could almost hear the question on their lips: Who dared show such disrespect to their master? And, more importantly, what could he do to stop it?

He rose and used his wand to flourish as he bowed. "The one and only. Who might you be?"
She scoffed at the question. "They didn't have names when I first arrived in this backwater dimension. I've been called Beast. Abomination. I prefer Glory."


Cassie gasped. She had never had a name to describe the horror that haunted her dreams for so many years.

"Glory. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

She didn't buy into his suaveness. In an instant she had him by the neck and was choking him. The entire room quickly turned their wands on her, though they knew spells would be useless. "What have you done to my babies?"

"Your what?" he coughed.

"My babies. They have consumed so few souls."

Cassie and You-Know-Who both stared at Glory with wide eyes as they realized what she was referring to. "The Dementors?" he spat out.

Glory smiled, which made Cassie want to scream. Whenever that smile appeared in one of her dreams, someone's neck was snapped. "What a perfect name for them. Dementors."

"If you…release me…I'll tell you…what I know." Glory dropped him on his arse. "I released them from their imprisonment, working for the Ministry in exchange for a pittance of souls. I allowed them to run free, to feast and feed on whatever Muggles they wanted."

Several Dementors began entering the room. Cassie felt the chill go up her spine, and the temperature in the room lowered enough that the Death Eaters could see their breath. She could see Snape struggling with his role strain: his wand was already out, but casting a Patronus to keep the Dementors at bay would do him no good.

"Needless to say," Glory smiled, "they no longer do your bidding."

"And why is that?" You-Know-Who calmly asked.

"I need souls to regain my full power."

Dementors began flying in every direction, raising their hoods to the nearest target. Their flight caused the candles to extinguish, bathing the room in darkness. Many Death Eaters, including Snape, disapparated on the spot. Cassie wanted desperately to leave, but her vision wouldn't release her.

Voldemort, however, remained to watch the carnage. "And what do you want with your full power?"

Glory's smile was newly illuminated by the extracted souls the Dementors were consuming. "The Key."

..::..

Cassie let out a blood curdling scream as her eyes adjusted to the pale light of the moon streaking in from the window in her dormitory. She shot up like a rocket, and thankfully noticed that she hadn't woken anybody up. Cancelling the silencing charm against her drapes, Cassie got out of bed and sat on the floor, focusing only on regaining her control over her breath.

As she inhaled and exhaled slowly, Cassie's eyes fixated on Dawn's sleeping figure. So far, she was safe. Cassie was one of six people that knew the truth about Dawn, and though that number would soon be increasing, there was no immediate danger.

According to her newest, most recent vision though, that danger had a name and was fast approaching. There was no use in praying that this particular vision was far from being realized, for she knew that Glory was coming and there was nothing that could stop her.

Cassie had been wracking her brain for months, trying to come up with ways to better prepare Harry, Dawn, and all of Hogwarts, and though her efforts had been largely successful thus far, she was frankly running out of ideas. With one idea left, Cassie walked over to Dawn's trunk. Although she knew that she shouldn't, Cassie rummaged through Dawn's belongings until she pulled out one of her books: Muggle Legends, Myths, and Nursery Rhymes. She opened up to the page that Dawn had earmarked and began to write under the text.

"Miles to go; Little Miss Muffet counting down from." She finished the incomplete sentence by underlining and circling the page number: 730.

Cassie returned the book into Dawn's trunk and rearranged everything so she wouldn't notice. As she returned to bed and reinstated the silencing charms against her drapes, she had to stifle another scream.

Beyond her four-posters, the future was coming to get her. The Slayer would bring It. It would mobilize the Dementors in due time. And all the while, the Death Eaters were chomping at their bits, waiting for their turn to enter the fray.

None of her premonitions could prepare her for horrors she knew were coming.



Thank you for reading! Please review, especially if you have any questions about the timeline or grammar corrections.

The End?

You have reached the end of "The Lesser of Two Evils" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 7 Dec 13.

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