"You know you're terrifying," Nymphadora Tonks commented, taking a quick look at where the two of them had landed. "Annnd, now we're in Hogwarts."

Iris held back a snort. Their visit to a cave in the middle of nowhere on the coast of England had been a success. With those restless souls now laid to rest and confirmation that Tommy didn't put a different Horcrux there, the two could continue with the more critical portions of their mission for the night.

"Well, I don't know why I am terrifying; it's not like I invented Alchemical Fire. Nor did I make that particular batch; I just sort of borrowed it."

Nymphadora just stared at her.

"Good stuff if you want a controlled magical fire, unlike Fiendfyre, which can be a bit tricky and also tiring to cast. Thankfully, the alchemic stuff is exceedingly rare and devilishly difficult to make. I just assumed you weren't interested in dancing with Inferi."

Nymphadora nodded, conceding the point asked, "And your fellow Unspeakable aren't going to miss the fact that some of theirs went missing."

"One of the benefits of being a time traveler, my dear, is that my co-workers aren't currently aware that there was some in storage. So, nothing to apologize for." Iris smirked and then stopped in front of a large tapestry. "Can I have a Hogwarts house-elf, please?"

Tonks raised an eyebrow when a voice answered, "How can Mimsy help you today, Headmistress."

Ignoring her cousin's incredulous look, Iris leaned down at the little creature who appeared before her. "Dumbledore has left for Austria?"

"Yes, Headmistress, he be leaving right after dinner."

"Excellent. Please inform your fellow House-Elves that I will be repairing part of the wards tonight. It won't directly affect them, but they will feel it once it's complete."

"Yes, headmistress."


Iris chuckled. "He's having wand issues."

Tonks rolled her eyes as the creature vanished. "You know, a small part of me still thinks this is some sort of elaborate prank, then you do something like this. I mean, we apparated into Hogwarts, for Merlin's sake. So, when the headmaster returns, won't he feel the change?"

"Doubtful, and even if he does, I don't care. They're brittle as hell, and although I cannot do everything I want to do in one evening, I can at least start to make it safer for everyone in the castle. Anyway, his absence wasn't really necessary; it will just make things easier for us."

"Ok, so for this one I don't have to do anything but watch you, right?"

"In theory," Iris shrugged, then began to pace in front of a blank wall. "Remember the cave? So, I don't want to assume this particular soul shard has no protections. I wasn't the one who found it during my time."

Reading her wand, Nymphadora stepped into the Room of Requirement only to find it full of the detritus of centuries of schoolchildren passing through. From broken chests, to lost books, pieces of assorted clothing, and odd pieces of furniture were scattered about. Almost too much to even comprehend.

"Blood hell, Iris. How are we going to find this diadem of yours? It's going to take all night!" she exclaimed.

"Because it's not mine to find," Iris stated as a third member of their party suddenly appeared. "Helena Ravenclaw, you have failed in your duties to this school."

Tonks, who gave a small eep when the ghost appeared, looked at Iris in confusion.

"You left one of your charges to fend for herself in the cold dark hallway late at night." The 'Girl Who Lived' sighed. "I can't blame you for falling for Tom Riddles's tricks. He was brilliant, handsome, and had a way with words. I, too, fell under his charm, unaware of who he was when I wrote in his diary. But this has to stop. You claimed yourself as the ghost of Ravenclaw, its protector. It's time you acted like it."

Helena nodded sadly. "Yes, Mistress."

Iris approached her and said warmly, "Please escort us to your mother's diadem. With it, you and I can both find some closure."

It was like wandering around a canyon of school supplies. Although various non-school items also drew their eye, ancient weapons, armor, and various cages were mixed in with the various books and chests.

After the three passed a skeleton with five legs, Iris pointed to a large wooden box. "I forgot about that bloody thing."

"Looks like an old Vanishing Cabinet." Tonks walked up, opened it up, and peered inside. "It's empty."

"It doesn't work, but its companion is inside Borgin and Burkes. I will need to deal with it later."

Tonks would have missed the diadem if not for her other two companions. Iris had to reach over and grab her hand to realize that something was causing her to move away from a particular direction.

"It's over here, Mistress," Helene quietly called out.

Sitting on a marble bust was a beautiful crown. Part of Tonks felt herself stepping forward to place it on her head, but again, Iris reached out to stop her.

"That's one ugly compulsion," she growled but was happy when her cousin levitated the thing into a silk bag. "You really didn't need me tonight, did you?"

Iris tilted her head. "You think so? This night could have gone pear-shaped in all sorts of ways. For example, I would have needed your assistance if we had to go through the front door at Tommy's cave instead of from the rear."

"I meant to ask you what made you think about entering that creepy cave from the back?"

"Ward breaker trick, it's not uncommon to make a path into a protected tomb from another direction. Tom, for all of his brilliance, was an amateur. At least we confirmed he didn't place another Horcrux in there before we burned it."

By the time the three were finished, it was well past midnight, and Tonks knew her Iris wasn't done for the night.

Watching the ghost disappear through the wall, she said. "So, this Mistress thing. It has something to do with the whole being in charge of the Death room?"

"Do you really want to know?" Iris closed the bag tightly before the two started to leave the room.

"Not really," Tonks laughed. "Ok, the Inferi were a little too much of an adventure for me, so as much as it sounded like I was complaining, I'm glad this task was less exciting. Still, you sure you don't need my help."

Iris gave her a grateful smile. "I appreciate the offer, but it's not a place where you can go. I hadn't even planned on doing this ward work tonight, but it's not something I can leave until later."

"So, what are you going to do now? You told me earlier that you don't need to remain at school with the diadem in your possession. I mean, do you really have time to play schoolgirl?" Tonks asked.

"Not really, and it's going to cause all sorts of problems if I vanish. I'm half tempted to put Umbridge on ice until Tommy is taken care of. Dumbledore, too if I could get away with it. At least with Sirius out of the picture and safe behind family wards, he won't be able to contact him if I disappear."

She looked away, seemingly lost. "I'm running out of time, Tonks. There are so many things left to do. There is a library I have to visit in France and an old ritualist that I will need to beg for help in Spain. And let's not forget that I need to meet our bosses."

Tonks gave her a sympathetic smile. "Well, I'll help with whatever you need me to do."

Iris slipped her arm into her cousin's. "Thank you, but now, let's get you to bed, so I can start working on those wards."

Saul Croaker was not promoted to the Director of The Unspeakables due to his knowledge of ancient languages. Nor his ability as a researcher in that field. No, he was promoted because he was politically neutral, from a good pure-blood family, and, unlike most of his colleagues, wasn't a total introvert.

In the decade that followed, he discovered that it was more like herding cats. The researchers tended to get lost in whatever they were doing, some of them actually getting lost. The number of times one of his colleagues vanished only to turn up a week or so later had become something he had to deal with on occasion.

However, it's situations like these that he wished he was still sitting in a cubical trying to decipher ancient tomes. The Death Chamber and Arch were remotely magically monitored because most normal individuals had no desire to be in its presence. A few weeks ago, a magical storm of energy knocked out all those monitors and disrupted several experiments.

So, it was no surprise to anyone that something confronted one of Dumbledore's little club members. The name Raven and the Scythe confirmed it, guardian of the veil. Oddly enough, it had returned, even signed itself in like any other researcher.

What he did not expect to find was the creature sitting in his chair, playing with a Rubik's Cube.

"Morning, boss," it chirped merrily as he entered his office.

"You in my chair," Croaker replied automatically.

Cackling, the entity bounced up and moved around to sit across from him, then raised a hand in front of itself to reveal its symbol.

Staring at it for a moment, he stated, "You must be the new guardian of the Arch. Do you wish for me to call you Raven?"

"Well, that's my official title," it said, setting the toy on the desk. "But you normally call me something else, as we have known one another for quite some time."

Croaker's blood froze at that unexpected comment, then froze again when the entity pulled back her hood, revealing a familiar face.

"Don't worry, Saul, no need to call Timekeeper; this is not a Kronos incident," Iris Potter said warmly.

A Kronos Incident was when someone or someones time-traveled, and the person's presence could cause some catastrophic temporal accident. However, with Iris being a child of prophecy, there was absolutely nothing the Unspeakables could do about it without causing other reality-ending issues.

"Explain." The Unspeakable almost found himself begging.

Iris walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled out a bottle of fire whiskey and a couple of shot glasses; she then poured one for herself and another for her boss.

"I am a dimensional hopper, not a time traveler."

Taking a sip, she went over her entire story, leaving nothing out, starting off with the unexpected job offer from the Unspeakables, the start and end of the Second Wizarding War, and her job as a Ward Mistress and ICW agent afterward. She ended with her unexpected appearance in this world.

"We heard rumors of a couple of Dementors disappearing," Croaker commented with a frown.

"My entry into this world must have destroyed them." Iris shrugged uncaringly.

Croaker, who thought the world a better place without them, felt another chill and asked, "What about the 'Girl Who Lived' from this world? What happened to her?"

"She was kissed." The young girl sighed sadly. "At least when the Dementors were destroyed, she and all the other souls imprisoned were released. And like you, I was immediately concerned about time travel, but it soon became apparent it was not. Between, my cousin in this world is named Dudley, not Violet; I'm in Gryffindor, not Ravenclaw; Bianca Zabini is named Blaise, among other things."

"And if you're to be believed, Sirus Black is innocent, and 'You Know Who' has returned," Croaker dryly noted.

Iris gave the director a sympathetic smile. "Those two are things that haven't changed, Saul. Oh, and let's not forget the Horcruxes."

"Merlin, as in plural," Croaker groaned, then seemly collapsed into his chair while murmuring a string of curse words in some ancient language.

"Well, only a few of them are left, but yes, Riddle made multiple."

"The man was insane." Rubbing his forehead, Saul now understood her sudden appearance. "So, you need our help to collect the rest."

"Not at all," Iris replied, surprising him. "What I need from you, in particular, is your connections and expertise in ancient languages. There are some books that need to be retrieved and passages that need to be translated. Or, well, some of them double-checked, really."

Croaker frowned. "All right, but you were saying something about my connections?"

"One in particular, Dame Camila Isabella Peña."

"The ritualist?" Croaker asked. "While I have met her several times, I would say we are little more than acquaintances."

"But you have met," Iris insisted. "Right now, I am nothing more than a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl. Even with my ridiculous moniker, I doubt I could even arrange that much. See, I apprenticed under her, along with her granddaughter. Right before I was transported here, I was finishing up my master's work as a Ritualist."

"You were working on becoming a Master Ritualist?" Saul asked excitedly.

Iris laughed, then became more serious. "My thesis started as an intellectual exercise, thinking about what we would do in the event that someone else foolishly split their soul multiple times. Looking back, I am positive that something pushed me in that direction before I was pulled into this universe."

Croaker took a small sip of the fire whiskey before closing his eyes. "How many?"

Iris opened her mouth and then nodded in understanding. There were a lot of things that could still go wrong with her being here, even as a dimensional traveler. What he was asking was if the risk was worth it.

"Too many, Saul. Too many."

The Director of the Unspeakables gave his new employee a look before putting away the whisky bottle back into a drawer. "Changing the subject, I have been told by Director Bones that you have been borrowing one of her Junior Aurors,"

"Nymphadora Tonks, yes, she's a cousin. Plus, her abilities are allowing me to be here in the middle of a school day. I imagine she isn't terribly pleased with me right now, but I trust her."

"You are going to need to explain that to Director Bones," Croaker insisted. "Today, if possible."

"That's fine; I am going to need her help too. While we deal with Riddle, the DMLE will have to take care of his followers. Although I can't say, I am all that impressed or surprised with what Tonks discovered about her fellow Aurors."

Croaker nodded. "I also want to know what you're doing and when. I will see about getting you access to whatever you need. I'll make some excuse to the headmaster if we need to pull you out of Hogwarts."

"Thanks, Saul. I'll leave all of that to you."

The Director of the Unspeakables chuckled. "I'm sure you will, Raven. I'm not a ritualist, but you wouldn't have come to me without having a date in mind."

"Samhain, the voices are the loudest." Iris grinned.

Croaker returned it; the irony of that date was not lost on him. "All right, we don't have much time then; let's get cracking."