I woke early on an uncharacteristically Monday September first to the tapping of Scarecrow's beak against my window pane evidently with the response from Bruce to my Friday letter. I rose groggily and let her in taking the letter and leaving her a bowl of Owl Treats to nibble on after her no doubt long Trans Atlantic flight which by all accounts would be exhausting. I left the letter on the dresser and prepared for the day and our departure for Hogwarts. After I had completed my task I took the letter with me and my trunk which was shrunken into my school bag down to the dining room, I had left the window open so that Scarecrow could make her own way to school knowing that she was always unruffled by external means of travelling. I greeted Narcissa and Draco who were both somewhat subdued probably anxious about the day's travel and sat down to a piece of warm toast which I nibbled at while opening the letter. I smiled fondly at Bruce's stationery and read on.
I hope that this reaches you on time so that you are not taken by complete surprise when the media reaches you. I am glad that your friend has managed to teach you some "interesting mental techniques" in order to better focus you and calm you down enough so that you do not experience any more horrible nightmares so please pass on my thanks. I hope that you are sitting down for this next part because I wasn't and that was a very hard stumble
Our mutual batty friend has been lurking in the streets to look for any upcoming threats to the city and he stumbled upon a piece of terrifying news. After his life support was turned off a one Salvatore Maroni has died and his son Anthony Maroni recovered his forces and has gathered the remaining crime families together to unite against a common "enemy" and this time they aren't interested in killing the Batman. Anthony Maroni has clearly held a vendetta against your father for some time after the events of summer last year and has put a revenge hit on you offering a large sum of money for you dead or alive. I think it would be unwise to not inform you of this after your coma and the causes for it as you need to be vigilant. I am not sure about how many people he has linked in the Wizarding World, but the words will probably have hit Britain where the media is aware that you are attending school and Maroni has gathered up enough steam for either the inhabitants wanting a piece of the money or for many criminals going to Britain to bring you back. I am working on neutralising the threats on home soil at the moment and when I am satisfied that no one is going to be flying over I will come and sort out security on your side. I have already made sure that the King's Cross will be covered by as much surveillance as possible and that the police are aware of the present situation. It is because of this that I think it unwise to expose you over Christmas and that your school would be the safest place for you to be at regrettably so because I would really enjoy to see you again. Your task is to remain vigilant of everything, even magical as you never know until it is too late, and to avoid the media's eye as much as possible so that your location is hard to pin point for the mob.
I am so sorry to burden you with this horrible knowledge, but I don't want you to be left in the dark about this. I wish you well for the term ahead and try not to stress too much, just be vigilant.
I blinked several times and re-read the letter to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating or misread anything, but on the third time I had conceded defeat with a slump of my shoulders and a large sigh of distress. This piece of news should not surprise me really seeing as my father had put away half the criminals in the city and nearer to his death killed several mob connections even threatening Salvatore Maroni and crashing his car which probably led to his death. It was only natural that the mob and especially Anthony Maroni would want full scale retribution and what better way to do it than hurting the perpetrators loved ones, but I couldn't let go of how unfair this was as I was kidnapped at the time and had no involvement whatsoever. I could lie and say that I wasn't scared, but the truth was that I was terrified at the possibilities that the hit had implied and felt rather weary at the renewed sense of hyper vigilance.
"Uh," I started after some time of internal reflection. "What are the mechanics behind our getting to the station?"
"Mechanics," Draco started to ask, but was cut off by Narcissa.
"A Ministry employee will accompany you to the station at half past ten via Side-Along Apparition," she interjected her face betraying signs of distress.
"Okay," my hands were shaking as I folded the letter and placed it in my bag.
"Is there any reason why you wanted to know?" she asked noticing the way I placed my hands in my lap to prevent the shaking from becoming obvious.
"Oh, no!" my voice pitched slightly. "I just heard that security has become tighter."
"Where did you hear that? You don't read the paper." Draco scrutinised me.
"I, uh, assumed that's all," my appetite was definitely killed for this morning and I pushed away from the table. "I am going to wait in the drawing room."
"I will have an Elf call for you when it is time to leave," Narcissa called out to me as I left the room not at all content with people at the moment.
I felt cold, that mental creeping cold that eats at one's mind, even in front of the raging fire place which I constantly jabbed my wand at to get the flames to rise and become hotter. I let the minutes tick by with my anxiety gripping me tightly by the throat and constricting my airways quickening my breathing and letting pin pricks of tears form in my ducts. If the media has received word about this then they are going to have a field day; I concluded as the Elf popped in making me jump about a foot off the arm chair and spinning with my wand faced in its direction. After apologising profusely to the poor stuttering creature I had checked my belongings and made my way to the entrance where I heard Narcissa telling a chagrined Draco not to turn into a slug on the train again while the Ministry employee sniggered at the conversation. It wasn't too long before we were staggering around in a public restroom which was thankfully empty and walking the remaining block to the station with my scarf and sun glasses obscuring my identity to the befuddled expressions of my companions. I felt no need to explain my behaviour to them and was glad that I had remembered this precaution because as we entered the station, we had to walk around the clamouring media which was blocked by a wall of police men. It was with huge relief when we passed through the barrier that I was able to remove my scarf and stop looking around as if someone was about to jump out and shoot me at any second.
I did not bother to linger and set off in search of Luna Lovegood who I found holding onto a copy of her father's magazine which was promoting a free pair of glasses and after a brief greeting we set off in search of more people to share a compartment with. We had eventually found Neville Longbottom and we climbed onto a very busy train full of people with Neville spotting Harry Potter and rushing up to him with Luna and me following him. Harry had greeted us and after enquiring about the Quibbler which was doing very well we set off in search of a compartment with the talk turning to our popularity in the school. After we had settled in our empty compartment Harry and Neville spoke about how Neville's grandmother was so thrilled about last year that she had even purchased him a new wand which had been the last one that Ollivander had sold before his disappearance which piqued my interest slightly. Luna had asked Harry if there were going to be any more Dumbledore's Army lessons to which he had replied that after the Bridge's expulsion from the castle they wouldn't be necessitated, but I had supported Neville and Luna in that it was fun and very engaging. Harry was about to say something when a gaggle of giggling girls had intruded on our privacy by asking him if he wanted to join them in their compartment to which he had supported us by telling them that we were his friends. The girls had looked much put off and retreated leaving us feeling awkward with Luna expressing what we all thought, but Harry had rebuffed her by saying that we were the ones at the Ministry with him and I had thanked him after he had said that we were cool. The subject had quickly turned to O.W.L scores and I turned to watch the passing landscape which seemed to blur into the country rather quickly and I wondered about the mechanisms of the train. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley had come back from their prefect duties with Ron complaining about the lunch trolley and his hunger and telling Harry about an interesting titbit of information about how Draco wasn't present for the meeting. After Hermione had remarked that after the Inquisitorial Squad being a prefect would probably seem rather tame Harry was about to say something when a third year had called him and Neville away to meet the new professor who was on the train. I slumped and made a mental note to tell Harry about Draco's new allegiance when I got the chance to and he gave off the impression that he would believe me.
"Emily," Luna had called my attention to her as she peered over her magazine. "You never told me how your holiday went; was it better than the last?"
"Oh, yes!" the others had made a bad attempt at looking like they weren't eaves dropping. "Gotham's crime rate has been rather tame in comparison, no unexpected explosions at hospitals and armed kidnap."
"That's nice," she said loftily. "In your last letter you said that you had some great news to tell me in person."
"Yeah!" the others were shifting around. "You know that very bad criminal who made a lot of bad things happen which resulted in my father's death?"
"Yes. Was he caught?" she asked hopefully.
"Uh, he was found dead by the police after several explosions alerted them of his whereabouts." I said recounting the public version. "No one knows what killed him, but everyone was very happy because it meant that the city has now gotten much safer."
"Are you sure that you are happy?" she asked.
"I think so, but at the same time I guess that I am more relieved because I don't have to look over my shoulder every time I go out and I don't have to worry about my loved ones getting caught in the cross fires of a very dangerous situation." I frowned and suppressed the image of a flash of green light.
"I suppose that is good then," she smiled. "What did you get up to other than celebrating?"
"I learned a bit about Bruce's business for the future and some estranged relatives tried to cling on to my new publicity that last year has given me," the last bit wasn't entirely a lie if one squinted at the truth long enough.
"What did you do with them?" she asked intrigued as I had never really opened myself up on the matter of family.
"They tried to convince me of their beliefs and took me for a whirl wind of reconnecting family activities," this was a bit of the actual truth with nothing extreme mentioned.
The return of Neville ended the conversation and was my cue to change into my robes so I had left with them stuffed in bag to the lavatories where I kept the mirror blanked out. I returned to the compartment with a few probing stares which I ignored in favour of staring at the darkening sky as I thought about the new threat of the mob and how to deal with it. I considered returning the gesture by killing Anthony Maroni myself, but I pulled myself out of that thought quickly with a startled shake of my head shocked at my direction of thinking. When I reviewed the plan, however, it seemed like the most logical decision to make because it would wipe out the core of the problem and everything else would shatter like glass without a frame to hold it in place, but another consideration jabbed me at the side telling me that I wouldn't be so lucky to have another murder go unnoticed. That concept cowed me into deciding to lay low for a while and let the adults sort this one out in the most legal manner as possible although I was sure that the Gotham Police Department wasn't publically aware of anything just yet and an "anonymous" tip off from the Batman would only serve to raise their hackles in the wrong direction. The train jerked to a stop bringing me out of my mind to realise that everyone had managed to change while I wasn't locus mentis and were standing to leave.
We had debated about a still absent Harry and after concluding that he was fully capable of finding his way back we had found a carriage to complete the final leg of the trip. We had split ways with Luna and me wondering off to the Ravenclaw table and the others heading to the Gryffindor table. I looked around for Harry, but when I did not see him and instead saw Draco mimicking something to do with a nose to the laughter of his friends I got a bad feeling about his fate. The Sorting was the same as it always was with the Hat giving some advice about uniting with old enemies which was all fair and well except none of the advice was accompanied with instructions on how to get this done. Harry had confirmed my suspicions of Draco having something to do with his disappearance when he arrived half way through the feast sporting a bloody face and a set expression. I was too anxious to even bother with eating anything as I sat stewing over my newfound paranoia that Anthony could have people placed in the Wizarding World ready to strike at me.
Professor Dumbledore had risen after the food had cleared away which stole my attention to his right hand which was blackened and with a curious twinge I had realised that the limb had become infected by an extremely Dark curse. I recognised the magic and with a narrowed glance to professor Snape I suspected that he could have been the one to aid in trapping the curse to the one limb although I was sure that time wasn't exactly favouring professor Dumbledore at the moment. The headmaster had dismissed everyone's attention to the limb and set to reminding the school at large about the main school rules, but my mind stored the thought that he was working on something to defeat Voldemort despite Harry's new status as "the Chosen One". The new staffing arrangements sounded grim with professor Slughorn becoming the new Potions Master while professor Snape took over the role of the new Defence teacher which I wasn't upset about because he was clearly competent in the subject. The one year jinx had me worried and while nothing terribly bad has happened in the past, professor Snape's departure from the position would truly be something else. My worrying had little time to properly process much of professor Dumbledore's warning speech about Voldemort and his urging of safety measures. Nothing impressed me more, however, than his switch from his dark and sombre tone to his enthused manner in dismissing everyone to bed. I was torn about whether or not to warn Harry about Draco, but when I saw that he was otherwise engaged in conversation I decided that I would wait for the apt moment. I trudged up to the Ravenclaw common room and prepared myself for the evening after dismissing that old feeling of restlessness which urged me to explore the castle. I struggled to clear my mind, but I understood the implications of not doing so and did not give up eventually feeling cleared enough by midnight to fall asleep confidently.
The first day back in the swing of lessons was surprisingly refreshing as I expected the boredom which I had experienced in my previous term's worth of lessons and I was pleased by them. I had arrived at breakfast early eager to quickly sort out my subject elections which excluded History of Magic and Care of Magical Creatures, the former lacking in any worth to me and the latter due to my difficulty with being on friendly terms with magical creatures. I also decided against Astronomy for study time reasons and the fact that I would be able to learn about it in so much more depth in the muggle world. After shoving down a piece of warm toast in my throat I had sprinted off to my first class being Ancient Runes which I had taken for linguistics reasons as it could be applied liberally. I smiled at the amount of home work we had received in the lesson while the others groaned at the work load.
I was excitedly bouncing on my feet when it came to the next lesson which was Defence with professor Snape. While everyone had a gloomy sense of foreboding about his new position I was happily anticipating the lesson because if one thought about it logically: professor Snape would be shades better than the rest of our teachers who only had knowledge of Light magic while he had experience with knowing about the Dark Arts. I had been the first to enter and sit in the front to his new decorations of several paintings depicting the Dark Arts in action with the curtains drawn highlighting the seriousness of the subject. He had requested that we put our books away and had launched into an introductory speech about how we have had several teachers and spoke of the Dark Arts as if it was a precise and very fine art that needed finesse in order for one to properly defend one's self. After praising the merits of non-verbal magic he had told us to partner up with Draco clamping to my side probably not trusting any of his house mates to mess anything up.
"Now I know that you have an arsenal of nasty spells up your sleeve, but could you please use a Light one?" he asked in a low voice.
"Sure, how about you try to jinx me and I will deflect?" I offered after a snigger and he faced me while screwing up his face in concentration.
"That sounds preferable," he pointed his wand at me and I became alert. "I have been doing some research for my plan and I need for you to cast a Protean Charm for me."
"Concentrate," I ordered him as professor Snape passed as and continued when he was out of ear shot. "Why can't you do it?"
"Because I need you to secure it," he frowned and flicked his wand producing nothing. "You are the only one I can think of that will get it right."
"Security as in making the charm resilient and undetectable, right?" he nodded and flicked his wand half heartedly. "I can do that. How dark do you need it?"
"I don't want it to kill the intended users, but it has to be so that if anyone finds it they won't be able to use it or see any messages," he frowned again.
"I see," my eyes swept around for any eaves droppers and finding none I continued. "There is a magical signature which will require all users to be present, understood?"
"I understand," our conversation was cut short when a clutter had averted our attention to professor Snape giving Harry a detention for whatever cheek he had given him.
"Let the users be aware of their required presence and I will contact you when I have figured out a method of combination," I had told Draco silently as we walked out of the class room. "And do be a dear and not mention my involvement, I am only doing this to save your neck."
"Understood," he had called out to my retreating figure heading off to my next lesson of Arithmancy.
Arithmancy was a great deal engaging with the mathematics required in the subject which was my reason for my continuation in it. Mathematics was a much needed quality to be proficient in dealing with the muggle world as many developments all needed a figure or a complex calculation. After my double free period, I had decided against lunch in lieu of doing a home work power session, Potions was a very interesting experience with a new teacher and I was eager to take part in a casual comparison project. There were very few people who had made it into N.E.W.T level Potions which did not surprise me and I delighted in finding myself a seat in the front of the class. While Harry and Ron were given temporary books for the subject as they did not anticipate their acceptance professor Slughorn set to questioning the class about the three cauldrons in front. I listened while Hermione shot off information I already knew about Veritaserum, Polyjuice Potion and Amortentia while I discerned that the fourth "mysterious" cauldron contained Felix Felicis. After the teacher and Hermione told the class about its properties as "liquid luck" we were set on to a competition to win the illusive luck potion by brewing a perfect Draught of Living Death potion. As I lazily set to task I contemplated what I could possibly need luck for when I remembered that it would be the perfect way to sort out the issue that Anthony had created for me. I entertained fantasies of finally being free of my troubles while slowly going about my work realising that if I won the potion and if I found myself in a compromised frame of mind the temptation would be too dire and that the pendulum would always find a way to re balance my bad luck. When Harry had won the potion he was showered by a rain of praising from professor Slughorn who by the sounds of it had taught his mother, Lily, and seemed to cling on to her memory as if she was his only ray of sunshine. I ignored everything else as I packed away my belongings wondering if, with the right amount of determination, I could make the potion myself before frowning as I mentally scolded myself for thinking down that path. I had turned to the door with the class already empty before a clearing throat had caught my attention.
"If I am not much mistaken you are Emily Wayne, right?" I turned to the pensive looking professor.
"Yes, sir, excellent lesson and perfect strategy to gauge the competency of the class," I complimented him and he smiled.
"Yes," he took the compliment well by the tone of his voice. "I was just wondering though, you did not seem eager to win as you looked rather deliberate about your slowness."
"Ah, that," I smiled sadly. "While I am sure that professor Snape and the other teachers have passed on a good word about my academic performance I am very sure that I could have that potion done quickly with a few magical alterations that I have picked up. I did not want to win."
"Why is that?" he frowned in confusion, but also seemed taken by my admission that I had figured out magical means of improving potions. "One is always eager to have a bit of extra luck."
"I am positively a very unlucky person, but in the several cases where my luck has been astronomical the pendulum always swings back in unfavourable situations," I explained. "Besides with my disposition I may be badly tempted only to have everything lash back at me in several years time."
"I see," he considered something. "I don't recognise your surname, who may your relatives be?"
"Uh, my father was a major law enforcer who managed to get a lock on many criminals, but he died sometime ago and I was adopted by a successful business man." I said this unsure of where the conversation was headed.
"What is his name?" he was clearly befuddled.
"Bruce Wayne, but he is a muggle so I don't think that you will find anything on him unless he has a few magical divisions of his company," I was now befuddled although the professor had beamed at me.
"That's all right, I was just curious," the gears in his mind were turning. "I have kept you long enough, I am sure that you are famished because you missed lunch. Now head along and do remember that sometimes luck can be a good thing."
"Thank you, sir, and do have a pleasant evening." I left him to pack up his class room for the night.
I had decided against dinner in favour of completing home work and starting assignments while the back of my mind worked on putting together the Protean Charm adjustments that Draco had requested. I was also thinking about how I was going to tell Harry about Draco's descent into the ranks of Voldemort without him immediately suspecting me of foul play as well as information like this was rather precarious to have. I had worked well into midnight and after I had put my finished work away I decided that while the Room was a great temptation I was reticent about falling back into the habit that had started all of my worries. I would instead work in the relative silence of the Ravenclaw common room and if needed I would go to the Library; the Room would only be my last resort for extra information. As I lay in bed after clearing my mind I randomly decided to practise a simple non-verbal Lumos to fall asleep and I found by my fifth try I was doing it proficiently enough. I fell asleep to the great emptiness of my mind.