After angrily pacing back and forth three times, Evan blasted through the doors. The room read his mood perfectly. He slashed his wand forward and sent a blasting curse toward the series of target dummies the room had graciously provided.

Curse after curse flew out of his wand. He was the epicentre of a natural disaster sweeping across the room. Everywhere he looked, spells followed, and flying bits of dummies careened.

Why did this always happen to him? Why couldn't he just stay where he was? Voldemort was dead. His dream was right in front of him, just out of his grasp. Now it was gone forever.

He could hear his laboured breathing, but the rage within him was still an angry concoction that demanded further release. Spells flew from his wand. Any and every one that was the least bit destructive was conjured and unleashed.

The dummies were imploded, exploded, burnt, blasted, beheaded, dismantled, destroyed, and pulverised.

When would it be enough? How much more did he have to give? How much longer did he have to fight?

"I'm not even from this world!" he yelled as he sunk to his knees.

His wand clattered as it fell out of his hand.

With his heart racing and sweat dripping down his face, he looked around and saw utter devastation. He shook his head. Not a single dummy left standing.

Evan sank lower, his chin dropping to his chest as his thoughts dwelled on all those that he was missing. Seeing the younger counterparts of his friends that were total strangers only served to make it worse.

"You're not going to cry now, are you?"

Helena's voice broke him out of his debilitating thoughts.

"That's the problem with young men. Sure, you have endless energy and enthusiasm but then you get all emotional after," she shook her head in displeased disappointment. "You need to learn to get over yourself. You're seventeen, not seventy. You've got your whole life in front of you."

"My whole life is in another reality," he spat back. "I'd just won! I was done!"

"Yeah?" she asked. "And then what?"

"Then I'd rest. I'd be done. No more Dark Lord trying to kill me every year," he said, his thoughts flashing to the redhead he'd hoped to date again. "Have a family, raise kids, and enjoy life."

Raucous laughter burst from Helena.

"You- you'd-" she kept laughing. "A quiet life after you defeated Riddle?" She threw her head back and kept going.

Evan stood up, dusting off his knees. "Yeah, yeah," he said. "Laugh it up."

"If you wanted a quiet life, you've come to the right place," she said, after regaining her composure. "You'd have been in the press spotlight for the rest of your life. Look at this world's Boy-Who-Lived: Headlines for being a Seeker. Front page for being a Parselmouth. Endless speculation after Black's escape, and even this year, there were articles on whether Potter could be the next Krum."

While he was reticent to heed her and felt sharp annoyance at her laughing at him, her logic had merit. Too much merit.

"It's not like I'm not in the spotlight here," he groused. "Everyone stares at me. I can't go anywhere without drawing attention."

Helena shrugged. "That's a flash in the pan," she said. "Once the tournament ends, you'll be the older relative of the Boy-Who-Lived."

"Not if I'm the only one that can defeat Riddle here too," he said.

"Ah," Helena said, snapping to attention. "Is that your task?"

"My- my what?"

"Your task," Helena repeated as if he was simple-minded. "Each Master of Death has one."

Evan opened his mouth to speak, but his thoughts were too jumbled to say anything coherent.

"Each time this happens, you get one thing you need to accomplish that you can't disclose to others. Something you must accomplish alone."

"Bugger," he said. How the bloody hell was he supposed to hunt down all the Horcruxes and kill Voldemort?

"You can't tell me the specifics, but maybe you can talk around it?"

Evan chuckled mirthlessly. He tried to talk about breaking into Bellatrix's vault, but his voice refused to cooperate.

"Nothing specific," Helena said. "Try telling me a profession or the skills you'd need to accomplish it."

Taking a second to think, one word came to the forefront of his mind. "Thief," he said, relieved that he was able to say that. "I need to learn how to break into the most secure places in the wizarding world and steal irreplaceable and unique items. Oh, and get away without anyone knowing they were taken."

She smiled brightly. "Is that all?"

He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, that's all."

Her grin grew. "You do know what I'm famous for, don't you?"

"You're Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter."

Helena sighed. "Yes, and what did I do?"

"You…" his lips started to part, but it took him a second to recall, "stole your mother's diadem."

"Exactly."

"So?" Evan said, crossing his arms. "You probably just grabbed it off her nightstand."

She laughed again. A high, tinkling laughter that mocked him far more than it sounded like it had humoured her.

"My mother–and I'm using that word loosely, only because she did technically birth me– was too enraptured with her own accomplishments to notice me," she said, scowling as her eyes bored into his. "When she realised that I had inherited her talent, Mummy did everything she could to stymy me."

"What?"

Evan had his mother and Molly Weasley in his mind's eye: Mothers that would sacrifice their very lives or take on the darkest witch of the age to protect their children. Jealousy, hubris and sabotage? As awful as she was, even Narcissa cared deeply for Draco.

"Aunty Helga raised me, with Uncle Godric and Salazar helping me far more than the witch who birthed me," she said. "She had me late in life…an accident. One she never wanted."

"That's- that's…" Evan struggled to find the right word for it. "That's awful."

She smiled at him, but the action scarcely moved her lips. "One time, once we had made peace after another brutal, remorseless row, I asked about my birthright."

Her eyes were on him, but she appeared to be looking far, far away, into the distant past.

"She laughed at me. In front of everyone, she laughed." Helena shook her head and floated backward, away from Evan.

Sensing the change in mood, the Room of Requirement shifted into a smaller version of a common room. A small fire crackled nearby, and two cozy chairs appeared. The tangible one was clearly for him as the other was spectral, a ghost chair.

"So I stole it."

Evan nodded. "Your counterpart told me the story," he said before pausing. There was no benefit to bring up that the Bloody Baron had killed her in a fit of rage before remorsefully taking his own life.

Lowering her head, Helena hid her face from him. Evan thought it was from shame until he heard her chuckle darkly.

"It's a good story," she said after composing herself. "Technically true, but no doubt conveyed without crucial context."

With rising interest, Evan sat up straighter.

"Mother had gotten an Unbreakable Vow from the Bloody Baron to return the diadem," she said. "I had vowed to never let her have it again. She cared more for her precious bauble than she ever had for me. She would have hidden the diadem in Hogwarts for eternity. Stripped of its power, because no one else could be allowed to challenge the intellect of Rowena Ravenclaw. A timeless relic for all to be in awe of."

Helena paused and gazed into the fire. The logs cracked and popped as it burned.

"The Bloody Baron hadn't given a vow without recompense," she spat. "He'd been after my hand since I attended Hogwarts, and she'd sworn to force me into marriage with him if he returned the diadem."

Sitting back in his chair, Evan frowned. "You hid it and told him you'd never return it."

She dipped her chin. "He always had a terrible temper," she said, musing aloud. "I told him I'd rather die than return the diadem, and he stabbed me. Not one of my better moments."

The obvious statement hung in the air, and it wasn't until Evan had a sudden thought that he spoke again.

"Why'd you come back to Hogwarts?" he asked, gesturing towards her translucent appearance.

"For Helga," Helena said. "She was the mother I should have had. And I repaid her kindness by running away, filled with anger at the woman who birthed me. I was her apprentice, her daughter of choice, and I threw it all away for petty revenge and spite."

Evan bowed his head. What was there to say to that?

"You're young," Helena said, staring at him. "You've had a rough upbringing but barely an adult. You can fulfil your purpose here and live the life you'd dreamed of afterwards. Don't focus on what should have happened. Live, Evan. Live."

Running his hand through his hair, he held her gaze. "But you had people who cared about you," Evan said. "Everyone I know and love is gone. How can I just move on?" he said in a near whisper.

Tears fell down his face, and his throat felt dry. "And I can't accomplish my task," he said. "I may as well commit suicide. At least I won't be caught, put on trial, and killed."

The idea of trying to rob Gringotts terrified him. Hagrid was right. You'd have to be mad to try and steal from their vaults. Even with the help of a goblin, they'd only gotten out on the back of the dragon through an unrepeatable combination of daring, madness, desperation, and sheer luck.

In the most desperate of times, he had Hermione, Ron, the Weasley's, the DA… He may have been a focal point, but it took everyone to win the Battle of Hogwarts. Now he was here, alone, without support.

"You may not realise it yet, but you're well on your way," she said, smiling gently. "Harry adores you. You are family to him. His older brother; smarter but maybe not wiser," she teased. "But it's not just him. Hermione will be alongside him, and don't think I missed you flying with Victoria."

"You were watching me?"

"Of course," she said. "Helga told me another Master of Death would arrive one day."

"Another?" Evan exclaimed. "She was one too?"

Helena laughed, her musical timbre echoing through the room. "Building Hogwarts and protecting it was a herculean task, wouldn't you think?"

Evan's jaw lowered. Helga Hufflepuff was a Master of Death, and her task had been founding and protecting Hogwarts?

He shook his head. "But that's–"

"A story for another time," Helena said, floating toward the ceiling. "Your friend Victoria spends all of her time training. You should join her. We can meet tomorrow and begin turning you into a Master Thief."

x-x-x

Helena hadn't been wrong. Victoria was outside flying. She was currently doing some specific form of manoeuvres that Evan was unfamiliar with as a drill.

He watched as she sped along, parallel to the ground, pressed against her broom, pushing it to its maximum speed. Then, at a floating magical beacon that functioned much like a cone would for muggle sports, she began a trite turn to her left, holding it until she did a perfect u-turn.

If that was where she stopped, Evan would have been impressed.

Turning at full speed was strenuous. Your body wanted to go one way while you cranked on the handle in the opposite way. Far more difficult than most would expect. Fighting g-forces was tiring work.

But after completing her lap, Victoria had gone back to start the drill again. Except this time, instead of staying parallel, she climbed and then did an inverted roll to swoop down to complete the U-shape.

"What's the point?" he thought, placing the broom between his legs. With a soft kick, he powered his way upwards, toward her.

In the middle of the quidditch pitch, with no one else around, Victoria floated, her wand out.

"Hey," he said, as he reached her altitude.

Victoria wiped the perspiration off her forehead with her forearm. She nodded at him before conjuring a water bottle. After unscrewing the cap, she filled it with water.

"What was that drill?" he asked, gesturing towards the floating markers. "I've done the first bit loads of times, but the second part? Why would you climb and turn like that?"

She put up a finger as she continued drinking.

With the sky setting behind her, Evan couldn't help but notice how her dark hair lit up and the way her sweaty skin glowed.

A single wave of her wand vanished the conjured bottle. "You fly flat. You'll see."

Shrugging, Evan flew over to line up a straight run at it.

"You go, I'll follow," she said, lowering her torso to the boom.

Evan copied and shot her a grin as he took off.

His stomach dropped with the sudden burst of pure speed, and Evan relished the feeling.

Life might suck right now. Helena might be enigmatic and oh-so-fascinating but on a broom up in the air? Evan felt at home.

The Firebolt was at its top speed as Evan reached the marker, and he snuck a look at Victoria. She was trailing him, two lengths behind. As Harry pulled on the handle to lift with all his might, he saw her begin rising.

Dropping his left hip, he leaned into the corner while he tried to keep track of where she was. But unless he craned his head way out of position, he couldn't see her.

Urging his broom on, he held his speed and powered through the corner.

Just ahead was the marker, he was coming out of his turn when, from above, Victoria swooped down and ripped past him, moving faster than his broom would allow.

Scowling as he straightened up, Evan slowed his broom. "How'd you beat me?"

He'd started ahead, hadn't backed off on the speed, and he was no slouch. Evan might be a little rusty for a quidditch match, but his skills hadn't atrophied enough to lose two broom lengths in a single u-turn.

"Kinetic energy," she said, a small smile on her lips.

"Kinetic what?" he asked, rubbing the side of his head.

She gave him a flat look. "Speed for height, then height for speed."

Evan blinked. "Ohhhkay…Height for speed.. like when you dive you go faster than your broom's charms," he said, thinking aloud. "That I get. But how does losing speed when you climb help?"

"Slow speed, fast turn."

Evan squeezed his eyes shut and tried to picture it but he had always been a more practical learner. "Can you show me?"

She dipped her chin and took off back to the starting point. "Go to the line, then climb for two seconds. Turn, then drop down. See if you can beat me."

Though she didn't actually say the words 'this time' out loud, he heard them loud and clear.

"Start even, or you won't have a chance," she said, as Evan was ready to begin.

"You sure?"

She turned her head quickly, her hair, which was tied up in a ponytail, whipping.

With that lack of reply, Evan pulled even with her. "Go on three?"

"One."

Evan lowered his chest to his broom.

"Two."

He braced his feet on the pegs and hugged his knees tight to it.

"Three."

The two shot off, neck and neck. But as they neared the marker, Victoria began to edge ahead, getting it to half a broom's length ahead.

Pulling with all his might, Evan wrangled his broom upwards before yanking it to the left.

She was right. His slower momentum allowed him a tighter turn. Though she was moving faster, he was well ahead in his turn.

As he pushed the handle down, Evan's eyes met hers, and a fierce determination to win shot through him. "C'mon," he urged his broom.

Dropping in altitude, he used the momentum to push his broom to its maximum velocity. The marker was just ahead now. He'd completed his turn, but he didn't know where Victoria was.

Instead of looking, he focused on keeping his body flat. Wind whipped through his hair as he passed the finishing marker. As he did so, he caught sight of Victoria, just above him. Ahead of him.

"But you said my way was faster," Evan said, huffing.

"Faster than the other," she said, floating down to him, "but it wasn't a fair contest. A Chaser can't compete with a pure Seeker." She waved her hand back towards the markers.

"Ch- Chaser?" Evan squawked.

"You fly well for one," she said, with a dip of her chin.

"But I'm a Seeker," he said. "Ever since I first got on the broom."

Victoria squinted as she looked him up and down. "You….could be a Seeker for a mediocre club team," she said after a moment.

"For a mediocre club?" Evan said in shock. "Without extenuating circumstances, I've never lost a game or missed a snitch. How is that mediocre?"

Though he'd always tried not to get a big head about it, it was a source of pride for him. Though he'd wanted to be an auror, he'd always thought he could have made quite the professional quidditch player.

She rolled her eyes at him. "Against who?"

"Seekers with years more experience than me when I was a firsty," he said, his words clipped. "I'm not sure if any of the Seekers went on to pro leagues, but they were the best in their house."

"Have you never considered the numbers?"

"The numbers?"

Lifting her chin, she sniffed. "There are four teams at Hogwarts across seven years of birth dates," she said, taking time to enunciate each integer. "The good starters play well into their sixties. To be a top Seeker, you not only need to be the best of your Hogwarts career but for that and fifty more years of school-aged students that have decades more experience than you."

Evan curled inward, feeling rather small.

"That's just Hogwarts. The Euro leagues are the highest paying, most coveted, and most competitive in the world," she said. "More often than not, the World Cup winner is European. They attract the best players from across the world across six decades of wizards."

"Maybe being a Seeker on a mediocre team is quite the accomplishment," Evan said before snorting. He'd thought she was belittling him but, if anything, Victoria was giving him a compliment.

"Sorry," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "It's been a long day."

Victoria waved him off.

"Why'd you think I'd be a Chaser?"

She stared at him for a moment. "You have the build for it."

"But not Seeker?"

"You're too heavy to be as agile and fast as me," she said. "And you're not broad enough to use angles to out-muscle me."

Being so light on his Nimbus has been an advantage. Now that he thought back, Krum was a stocky, well-built young man.

"Guess that ends my Quidditch hopes," Evan said, his arms dropping limp beside him. Though he wanted to say it, he suppressed the unsaid words 'like the rest of my life'.

Victoria frowned. "It's not that hard. Seekers make the switch to Chaser often enough. They have to adjust how they fly, learn attacking and avoidance, shooting, and the basic play sets. Just takes practice, determination, and time."

"Yeah," Evan said, shaking his head. "Years."

The corners of her eyes crinkled in thought. "A few hours a day and you'd be ready to make a team. Probably not start but a good spare that could develop well."

"Right, just a few hours a day," he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Her eyes flashed with something he couldn't decipher. "That's your choice to make. But I'm going to finish my drills," she said, shifting on her broom. "If you want it enough, you'll make it work. Think about this though, what else do you have to do this year?"

Victoria raced off, heading back to the same starting area.

As he sat on his broom and thought, Evan couldn't help but feel like he'd missed something. She'd seemed disappointed at the end. Was it in him or something else?

"Bugger," he stuck open his mouth and lightly bit down on his tongue.

He watched her for a moment, but she was ignoring his presence, repeating the same manoeuvre over and over. "Whatever," he said, turning to head back to the castle. "I've had enough of this day."

His situation was wearing on him, Helena's obtuseness had annoyed him, and now he'd somehow vexed Victoria. It wasn't that late, but he was done for the day. An early night's rest would be good.

Hopefully, he'd wake up in a better mood. Though if Helena could actually help him, that'd make his day. Year, really.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

AN: Thanks to Petrificus Somewhatus, Nauze & Taliesin19 for the beta help. Always appreciated. Ch4 was the end of the pre-written material. 5+ is published as written. We'll see how the pace of that goes.