The Sorting Hat had just barely left the last first year's head before Callie had her book back open on the table. She bit the corner of her lip as she scanned the page, skimming over the words to find where she'd left off. There it was; the theoretical composition of the Water-Making Spell. She leaned in closer, fully engrossed by the diagram of runes and fully accustomed to keeping her literal and metaphorical head down to block out the world around her as she read. She no longer bothered to even half-listen to the speech, since anything important would be repeated and discussed endlessly anyways. Instead, she allowed all thoughts of the upcoming year and concerns about the dark events of the summer to flee in the face of her latest Charms ambition.
So it was that Callie was woefully unprepared for the elbow that connected sharply with her side, nearly knocking her face-first into a dish of potatoes. She straightened back up, looked wildly around for the culprit, only to find Loretta giving her a look that didn't quite hide the amusement sparkling in her eyes. She leaned closer to Callie.
"Listen!" She hissed, eyes darting up to where Dumbledore was speaking and then back to Callie pointedly. Beside her, Daisy Corran was glaring at both of them.
Callie reluctantly closed her book and stowed it away again, tuning into whatever everyone else seemed so enraptured by.
"...the Inter-House Quidditch Cup will not take place this year," The headmaster was saying, drawing a collective gasp from most of the school.
This did pique her interest, though likely not for the same reason as the others; could Hogwarts' new quidditch policy be a response to the attacks at the World Cup? Surely they didn't believe that it had been motivated by the sport? Then again, Minister Fudge had never struck her as an especially intelligent man…
Her musings were interrupted as Dumbledore continued.
"This is due to an event that will be starting in October, and continuing throughout the school year, taking up much of the teachers' time and energy — but I am sure you will all enjoy it immensely. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year at Hogwarts —"
He was cut off by a great rumble of thunder and the bang of solid wood on stone that accompanied the throwing open of the Great Hall's doors. A grizzled, soaked figure limped in, leaning heavily on a long staff. Lightning flashed to illuminate his face. Callie's blood ran cold. She could do nothing but watch, frozen, as ex-Auror Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody passed, magical eye darting around the hall before finding her face and staying there. She got the uncomfortable feeling that it remained trained on her even once his back was to her and that thought, coupled with the overwhelming sense of foreboding that was creeping over her, made her shiver.
Callie knew exactly who the man was without listening to Dumbledore's introduction; he was the man that had brought her parents in, the reason that they had been locked in Azkaban for the last thirteen years of her life. He was the man who could ruin her life. For, unbeknownst to her fellow students, her name was not Callie Tonks. She was Callisto Cassiopeia Lestrange, daughter of two of the most hated criminals the wizarding world had seen and unwitting witness to far too many of their crimes. If the truth got out, she would certainly be torn to shreds before she could make it to the door. The mental image turned her stomach. Loretta gave her a look of concern, but she could only shake her head.
'Come on, Callisto, get it together,' She tried to slow her pulse. 'They've let you stay for six years, why would that change now? Dumbledore would have warned Auntie Andy before you showed up. You've done nothing wrong, nothing even close to wrong. You weren't even at the World Cup.'
Her logical side, as usual, won over and she felt her heart rate begin to slow back down. She did her best to push away her fear of the ex-Auror and force herself to focus on the headmaster again. It wasn't a moment too soon.
"It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year."
Now there was a logic puzzle to distract herself with! Why bring such a dangerous competition back after so many years? What would the tasks be like? Was it the Ministry or the schools that had pushed for this? Would the participants be volunteers, or was there a chance that she'd be required to compete? How much extra attention would this bring to the school, and what were the chances it could spill over onto her? Would the papers try interviewing students? Would her picture be taken? That was a scary thought.
Callie followed the rest of her house numbly after their dismissal, lost in the whirlwind in her mind, as they made their way up to Ravenclaw Tower with the new first years in tow. Even the familiar bed and warm sheets weren't enough to soothe her and she laid awake for hours until her body overrode her thoughts and forced her into unconsciousness. Her dreams were plagued by storms and vague memories of her parents, crooning at her even as they disfigured their victims. It was a long night.
Despite the nasty surprises and nightmares of the previous night, Callie was having a rather pleasant first day. Flitwick had praised her for the progress that she'd made with the more advanced charms he'd given her, and McGonagall had shocked her class with no written assignment. Lunch had even featured her favorite - steak and kidney pie. So it was that she allowed Loretta to steal her book and drag her off with merely a giggle. But, as they approached the Defense Against the Dark Arts room, the light feeling diminished and her throat began to feel too tight. Callie fiddled with her tie as she filed in with the other Ravenclaws, slipping quietly into the seat next to Loretta as the other girl peered around the room in fascination.
"What do you think's in all those jars?"
Callie squinted at the shelf in question before wrinkling her nose and turning away.
"Nothing good, I bet. Hopefully we won't find out."
"Oh, come on, Cal! What do you have against Professor Moody? He can't possibly be worse than Lockhart."
That succeeded in drawing a giggle from her and Loretta grinned in triumph.
"Merlin, we're lucky to have passed our OWLs after him. The idea of that man teaching our NEWTs classes…" Callie shivered and dramatically laid a hand to her forehead.
"That's the spirit! If only Professor Lupin was still around; he actually taught, at least." Loretta shot her a sly look. "And he was quite fit, to boot."
Callie rolled her eyes, opening her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the hush that fell over the room as Moody appeared at the door with a scowl. Even as she tried to quell the sudden racing of her heart, she had to admit that she was impressed he'd been able to quiet even the assembled Gryffindors.
"You can put those away. You won't need them," He growled, jabbing a gnarled finger at the textbooks everyone had out on their desks.
A surprised murmur rippled through the space as they hurried to comply, but silence soon fell again as Moody took out a register.
"Right then, be prepared to move; I've assigned seating for the lot of you."
Only a few students on the Gryffindor side dared to grumble, but Callie was still too focused on the anxiety that the ex-Auror sent coursing through her to take notice of who they were.
'There's nothing to worry about,' She told herself. 'Dumbledore's certainly made him aware of my situation. Besides, my real name is only listed on official documents, not class lists.'
Moody began reading through the list with an air of disinterest, assigning students to seats seemingly at random. His magical eye darted up at every name he read but returned to the paper just as quickly without lingering. Nobody dared to argue with his choices. Loretta let out a barely audible sigh and squeezed Callie's hand as she moved to go sit by a vaguely familiar boy who had been identified as 'Jordan, Lee'. The dullness of the process was comforting, and Callie found herself beginning to relax. She was at the end of the alphabet, after all, and by that point would be able to gauge where she would be placed by process of elimination. She idly wondered how exactly what had possessed him to mix up the class in the first place. Perhaps he-
Her heart froze. No, not her heart; her chest, her lungs, her everything from the tips of her ears to the bottoms of her toes were unbearably cold and completely locked into place. The class erupted in whispers and Loretta was shooting her a confused look. Before she could force herself to do something, anything, that cursed name was coming out of his mouth again.
"Lestrange, Callisto Cassiopeia." When there was again no response, Moody looked up and locked both magical and normal eyes with her. "Miss Lestrange, are you present?"
The tension in the air was palpable - every student who wasn't a Muggle-born knew the name Lestrange. To think that one of those monsters walked the same halls as them… The class held its breath as they waited for her to deny it. To correct the blatant mistake. But Callie couldn't tear her eyes from his gaze and could only stand there, transfixed and feeling oddly detached as she felt her mouth open.
That did it. A dull buzz filled the room as the students broke out into whispers, eyes wide. Those who were unfamiliar with Callie's family history were quickly filled in. Moody didn't appear fazed.
"You'll be over there, Miss Lestrange."
He finally broke eye contact, looking back down at the register, and she could move again. Callie made her way, unfeeling, to the indicated desk near the back and took her seat, focusing on the scuffed wood in front of her. She dimly noted that some previous student had carved a rather crude image into the surface. Her surroundings were a blur, and some indeterminate amount of time later she was finally jolted from her stupor by someone throwing themself heavily in the seat next to her. The implications of what had just happened flooded in, and she had to choke back the bile that was rising in her throat.
The careful, quiet life that she'd meticulously toiled to build was crumbling around her. Chancing a look around the room found nothing but dark looks directed her way. The boy beside her - one of the Weasley twins, she realized now - was leaning as far away from her as he could and had fixed her with a steady glare. She hurriedly returned her attention to scrutinizing the flaws in her desk.
Callie had to face the facts; for all her careful planning and longing for normalcy, her parents would always ruin it. She found she wasn't actually surprised. After all, she was well aware of the results of bad blood.
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed this first chapter! I have the vast majority of this fic and its sequel outlined, but I'm still struggling against writer's block/finding its voice. If you're interested in being a beta for this fic, please PM me! Otherwise, I would love it if you dropped a review and let me know what you think so far.
Much love, Miss Luxe