Belle set the three-quarters full bucket on the floor of the carriage in front of Eric. The odd slug was still squeezing through his lips but the worse of it seemed to have passed.

“Rufus is a dead man.”

“I’m not…. I’m not sure it was…. Bleeeeech… him,” gasped Eric as another six inch long slug oozed from his mouth. “I never saw… I never saw who zapped me.”

“It was him Eric. We both know it.”

“Don’t’… get yourself into trouble for me Belle.”

“It’s not for you Eric. It’s for everyone here. He’s a menace and has to be taught a lesson.”

Belle reached over and put a comforting hand on Eric’s shoulder, then slipped the golden snitch into Eric’s pocket.

“What would you do to him anyways Belle,” asked Cass. “You can’t go and get yourself expelled.”

“Cass, I’ve been in more fights then the rest of our year combined, and I’ve barely even got detentions. I’m getting good at meting out some justice that the heads of house don’t seem to get around to.”

“Belle…”began Cass, beginning to regret that he and Rose had made the suggestion that Rufus deserved some payback.

“Don’t worry about it Cass,” she said succinctly, putting an end to the conversation, just as another slug escaped from the Eric’s lips. “And you better get yourself healthy. Quidditch practice starts tomorrow

“ Belle… I’m never going to make the cut for the quid…”

“Practice. Starts. Tomorrow.” she interrupted in a fierce tone.

As Eric put his head back over the bucket and Cass gazed off to the distance, admiring the dark shadows of the lake as it glinted in the twilight, Belle gazed at the Thestrals pulling the carriage towards the lights of Hogwarts which were growing brighter and more distinct by the second.

She had never been around Thestrals until the start of her second year, but after she went to Hagrid’s cabin the next day and discovered why she was able to see them and some of her friends could not, she realized that she would have been able to notice them as early as the age of eight.

The war had left the spectre of death hanging over many families in the wizarding world, but thankfully Belle’s was not one of them. No, her exposure to death was just as violent, as ghastly, but it was rooted well within the world of Muggles. Her father had stopped at a convenience store on the way home from picking her up from school. As her dad went to the back to fetch a loaf of bread, she lingered by the counter eyeing the chocolate bars and other unwholesome treats. What happened next came quickly but it still seemed so clear to Belle. A young man had entered the store and brandished a gun, one which he first pointed at the cashier as he demanded the contents of the cash register. Unfortunately, the clerk hesitated, and he instead pointed his pistol towards Belle, using her as a hostage, threatening to shoot the little girl if the clerk didn’t do exactly as he said.

The gun did not stay pointed at her for long. Her father had snuck up from behind the gunman and wrested his arm away from his daughter. There was a scuffle, and they both fell to the ground as the gun discharged. Belle recalled clearly how she screamed from fright. But her father quickly stood up, grabbed the phone and called for an ambulance, to come to the aid of the young man, her would be killer, his police instincts switching quickly from the protection of the innocent to the preservation of life. But the ambulance did not arrive in time, and Belle watched as the man slipped away.

As the carriage the three fifth years rode in passed the giant statues of winged boars that framed the gates of Hogwarts, Belle reflected on how much that day had influenced her, and how it was such a guiding factor of why she worked so hard in school. Her father through his actions that day, and through his calming voice later that night as he tried to calm his little girl’s tears, engrained in her a fierce sense of justice, of true justice. The first duty of any right thinking person is to protect the innocent, but even those who prey on the weak deserve justice as well. Although his attempts to get the lad aid were futile, he still made the attempt, and in that moment she felt awe for her father, an amazement at his sense of right and wrong, that has never left her.

She knew then she wanted to be a cop, a dream that was taken from her three years later when she received her letter. She would not be able to work in the Muggle world in that position if she agreed to enter the wizarding world. Fine then, she thought, she’d become the next best thing, an Auror.

As she lifted Eric’s bucket and helped him down from the carriage, his vomiting finally having stopped, she looked at the light pouring out of the main entrance, and thought to herself “That is why I’m here, that’s why I work so hard. I want to serve justice, to help the weak, and if the only way I can do that is by becoming an Auror, then I’ll put in every ounce of effort it takes to make sure that when I leave here I can move on and do exactly that.”

“All my work has a purpose,” she said out loud, yet quietly, drawing a quizzical look from Cass as they made their way to the door, and then into the great hall and parting ways to go to their seperate tables, her to Hufflepuuf, the two lads to Ravenclaw.

Their timing seemed perfect as it looked like the sorting was about to begin, Cee and a few other fifth years following in after them just as they took their seats.

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