A/N: I meant to post this chapter for Halloween (even though it's not a Halloween chapter), but obviously that didn't happen. Regardless, this chapter has some interesting facts that I think some of you will find to rather...revealing.
Lucinda Powers stood over the stone basin of the Pensieve. She didn't necessarily want to go through her past, but she had to find out why Ursula became a dark witch. Lucinda fingered the golden shell necklace in her hand, the one that looked exactly like her dear former love Ursula's own necklace. Feeling it's cold weight, she fortified herself to go through the first-time Ursula walked that thin line between the dark and the light.
Following a deep, calming breath, she leaned over the Pensieve and felt herself falling into an almost-forgotten memory.
Lucinda found herself standing on the shore of the Black Lake at sunset, looking towards the silhouette that was Hogwarts Castle. She lowered her gaze to stare at a younger version of herself, floating in the water. The younger Lucinda was looking around her frantically, clearly frightened and worried. Her hair had looked more like white gold than her current light silver, and her eyes were a darker gray. She couldn't believe how much had changed in only 50 years, from when they were only sixth year students dreaming of changing the world, to Ursula trying to gain dark power.
"Ursula? Ursula, where are you?" she heard herself call out. She continued to swim around and around, looking for her friend. Suddenly, a whirlpool started to form to the right of her. Lucinda tried to get away from it, but she wasn't a strong enough swimmer and she could feel herself getting sucked into the swirling waves.
Just as suddenly as it appeared, it stopped and with it came a dark head rising from the depths. Ursula's eyes were closed, a mischievous smile gracing her lips. She slowly opened her dark brown eyes. When her gaze met Lucinda's, she started to laugh.
"Oh my goodness, you should have seen your face, Luce!" she managed to say between fits of laughter.
Lucinda narrowed her eyes and splashed water in Ursula's face. The other girl sputtered and tried to wipe the water drops from her hair and face.
"That wasn't funny, Ursula!" she yelled, turning her face away. "I was really worried about you! I thought the Giant Squid had gotten you! It's bad enough that you convinced me to go swim with you, but then you left me alone!"
Ursula immediately ceased her laughter. Slowly, she approached Lucinda. She moved around until they were face to face. When there was only a foot between them, she reached a hand out of the water and gently placed it on the other girl's cheek.
Reluctantly, Lucinda raised her eyes to look at the genuinely apologetic look Ursula had.
"I'm sorry, Lucinda. I didn't mean to frighten you." She whispered.
Lucinda sighed, giving her a small smile. "It's alright, I suppose," she replied. "Just…just don't do that again, please."
Ursula smiled as well, and moved closer until there was barely an inch between them. She then leaned forward until their lips touched.
Lucinda felt her heart tighten as she re-watched that embrace. It was their first kiss. Before then, they had only just barely admitted their feelings for each other. The kind of relationship they had was slowly being accepted by the wizarding world, but it was still a difficult thing to establish. For them, it was like falling in love with someone from a different Hogwarts house; Lucinda was in Ravenclaw and Ursula was in Slytherin. Even without the Pensieve, she could still recall the press of their bodies together, the touch of Ursula's soft lips on hers. Lucinda felt the sting of tears as she watched her younger self give in to the short-lived bliss. She could hear the crunch of leaves and twigs beneath someone's feet. She turned and saw the blond, younger-looking Duke Weselton come out of the trees.
Lucinda and Ursula were unaware of the person that had caught them in the act. They were caught up in their own little world until they heard a loud gasp coming from the shore. They pulled away and saw Duke gaping at them.
Lucinda could see the look of betrayal written across Duke's face. She knew he had always had feelings for Ursula. She felt a little guilty about what had transpired, but it didn't change what she felt about Ursula.
Ursula kept a tight hold around Lucinda's shoulders as she turned to face her fellow Slytherin.
"Duke, what are you doing out here?" she asked calmly.
They saw him shake and turn red with embarrassment. Out of the corner of her eye, Lucinda saw Ursula noticeably roll her eyes. When she turned her attention back to Duke, the action apparently made him more angry than embarrassed.
"You…you betrayed me…" he muttered.
Ursula shook her head. "I did no such thing. I had told you before that I didn't see you the same way you saw me."
Duke's eyes narrowed angrily. "I…I…I'm going to tell the Headmaster!" he sputtered as he started to leave.
"Oh no you don't, Weselton!" Ursula yelled.
She released her hold on Lucinda and started to swim towards the shore. Like a predator, she started to stalk towards Weselton, when all the sudden he was tossed into the air, pawing at his throat. Her skin started to change into a blue-purple hue and her hair started to whiten.
Lucinda saw Ursula's right hand raised in a claw-like gesture, like she was choking someone. Realization dawned on her.
She always knew that Ursula was a powerful witch – it was just recently that they had both discovered that they could do most spells without wands - but this…this wasn't good.
"Ursula!" she cried out, making her way out of the water, "Ursula, stop, you're going to kill him!"
Ursula turned to see Lucinda racing towards her. She returned her attention back to Duke and his purpling face when she felt a warm, wet hand tug her arm down.
Duke dropped in a pathetic pile, coughing and withering for air.
Lucinda forced her friend to face her. They stared at each other for a long time, both breathing heavily as the adrenaline began to subside. Ursula shook her head and glanced at her victim guiltily, then faced the other girl once more.
Lucinda could see the confusion and the worry play across her past self's young face. She even heard herself repeat those words that, in the end, would seal both her and Ursula's fate.
"Ursula…what have you done?"
Far and away from Hogwarts, somewhere dark and by the sea, Ursula snarled and threw her crystal ball against the wall. She started to pace angrily, trying not to destroy any of her other treasures while she raged. Flotsam and Jetsam stood by idly, patiently waiting for to calm down.
"Damn that…that…that conniving enchantress Lucinda!" Ursula hissed.
She turned sharply towards her henchmen. "Get me Jafar and Facilier. I want them here now." She ordered.
"Yes, My Lady." They answered with a bow.
Ursula stood in the middle of the dark room, glaring at the shattered pieces of her crystal ball. It reminded her of what her heart – that thing that used to beat proudly in her chest – looked like after her first failed attempt to gather power.
She closed her eyes and attempted to calm down. It was a vain attempt, but she tried anyways.
When she opened her eyes again, the floating heads of Jafar and Facilier appeared in her fireplace.
"You called for us, My Lady?" Jafar greeted.
"What is happening? Why haven't you countered any of Lucinda's tactics?!" Ursula yelled.
Jafar and Facilier looked at each other then back at their mistress.
"We…haven't heard or seen anything that related to Lucinda's plans. In fact, she has been oddly quiet." Facilier answered hesitantly.
Ursula growled in frustration. "Well, what do you know?!"
"Minister Nedakh will be coming to collect his daughter in two days," Jafar said, "The school's defenses will be weakened to admit him. Perhaps we can organize a first strike?"
Ursula was quiet for a moment, mulling over the idea, "How long will the Atlantian Minister be at Hogwarts?"
"Seeing as he's coming all the way from Atlantis…about three days." Facilier replied.
"Excellent. Then you two have five days to prepare the students," Ursula said with a wide smile, "Instead of attacking right when the Minister arrives, we attack right as he's about to leave. Powers won't suspect a thing!"
She quickly told them her plan and the two men gave their solemn vows to obey her orders.
Everything was starting to move along just swimmingly.
Merida grunted in pain and clutched her left arm. The Dark Lady must have been upset about something.
It seemed to be happening more frequently. Merida wasn't sure why. Perhaps whatever her mistress had planned wasn't going accordingly.
She found a place to sit down in one of the open courtyards and waited for the pain to subside. When it finally did, Merida slouched in relief.
"Merida?" a soft voice said.
She jumped at the sound of the unfamiliar voice and looked up to see Aladdin's girlfriend, Jasmine. She held her miniature tiger Rajah in her arms. Jasmine stood in front of her with a small smile.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
Merida was so surprised to see her, she simply stared at her.
"Do you mind if I sit down?" Jasmine indicated to the empty space on the bench.
Merida chewed her bottom lip, hesitant to answer before finally nodding in agreement. The other girl smiled warmly and sat down. She stroked her pet's ears as they sat quietly together. Merida looked out at the courtyard, staring blankly at a statue of a hippogriff.
"You know, Merida, I know what you're going through." Jasmine said suddenly.
Merida turned her focus back at the younger girl, her eyebrows scrunched together as she looked at her quizzically.
"What do you mean?" she asked hotly.
"Just that…I know what it's like to have a parent who has…certain expectations of you," Jasmine explained. "My father wants me to get married as soon as I finish Hogwarts. It's traditional in Agrabah, where my family is from. And while I love my culture, it's not something that I want. I don't want to be some trophy to be won. I want to be free. I want to travel the world and play Quidditch."
"You…you want to play Quidditch? Like, professionally?" Merida wondered.
Jasmine smiled and nodded. "Oh, yes. I love being a Seeker. Just as much as you loved being a Chaser, I would imagine."
Merida tilted her head, giving her a questioning look.
"Aladdin filled me in on the details. He talks about you all the time. He really misses you, you know."
Feeling her cheeks burn, Merida turned her head away. "So your father allows you to continue to play?" she said, trying to turn the conversation back to Quidditch.
"Well, sort of. I think he only allowed me to because it keeps me out of trouble for the most part," the other girl replied, "Plus, I'm sure that once Adam leaves, I'll be made Captain. And that's at least a mildly prestigious position."
Merida sighed longingly. She remembered having dreams that once Kida graduated, she would be up for Captain as well. But those days were over.
She turned her gaze back to the other girl, and told her as much. Jasmine nodded in understanding. They fell silent once again.
Rajah hopped out of Jasmine's lap and went off to go explore the statues. Jasmine turned to fully face the Gryffindor, looking her straight in the eye.
"Why did you stop being friends with Aladdin?" Jasmine asked.
Apparently, the obnoxious little Slytherin wanted to ask all the hard questions. Merida closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths to quell her anger. It wouldn't do to bite Jasmine's well-meaning head off. And, Merida relented, it would be nice to talk to someone who could at least vaguely understand what she was going through.
Merida opened her eyes to find Jasmine looking at her intently. She didn't realize how quiet she was, and that Jasmine was looking for her to answer her.
But, she couldn't explain. Even if Jasmine could understand everything else, she just couldn't understand this.
"It's…it's complicated." Merida mumbled lamely.
Jasmine raised a disbelieving eyebrow, but gave a curt, understanding nod before standing up.
"Merida…if you ever need someone to talk to, come find me. Or Aladdin," Jasmine said, "It would mean a lot to the both of us. And, I think, to you as well."
With a small smile, she left.
And Merida had never felt more conflicted in her entire life.