Spike stared at her notes. Hopeless. It’s all hopeless. They might as well be written in Gibberish for all the good they were doing. The slug crept up onto the table, took a deep swig of her beer. Its lips moved as it read over what she was working on.
Spike swatted at it absently. “Get off there.” A horcrux that would fool the casual Death Eater into believing it was the Ring Horcrux. Just for long enough to send them on a wild goose chase after the thing, track it down in the belief that their dark master – or his equivalent – had arisen to carry on the purge of the Second Wizarding War. “No, of course that’s not too much to ask of yourself,” she grumbled. “Surely you could have that completed by teatime, and a cure for the nargles by bed.”
Rings . . . what did she know about rings? The slug crept across the table, oozed down the leg, and out the door. “I made you to help me,” she accused at its retreating back over her shoulder, and then returned to her parchment. Behind her, unseen, it rolled its eyestalks, and continued on its errand.
Off to eat the daisies, no doubt. “They’re round. They go on fingers. They can turn you invisible, three for the elves, seven for the dwarves, nine for men. Uhm.” She drummed her fingers on the table. “Gaunt had a ring that was treasured and important to him, which was why Riddle chose it to house a piece of his soul. So it has to be something . . . special. Something unusual.” She poked at her supplies with a wand.
“I suppose I could go shopping at Borgin and Burkes . . . but I’d still need to get a pass to leave campus, as an underclassman. This would be so much easier if I were a Third Year.”
Something clattered on the table, and Spike turned to see the slug goggling hopefully up at her. It nudged a pale plastic ring a little closer to her, and she picked it up, smiling a little.
“I haven’t thought about this in ages. I found it in a box of treats back when I was little. I used to pretend it was . . . special. Magical.” She peered through the center hole, tossed it and caught it in one hand. “I wonder if enough pretense could have invested it with just a little –“ Yes. It tingled a little, there in her palm. Well.
“Worth a shot.” She cast a geminio and had four rings, all with the same little tickle of magic. “That should be enough, if I bind them together. Enough to feel substantial, right?”
With a little wand work, the rings were twisted and intertwined, and she and the slug examined them, lying on the table.
“Now all I need is a little death to give it the right flavor.” She sighed, and the slug flinched. “I don’t suppose you could –“ and the slug ran, squeezing into a small crack in the wall. “Wait! I didn’t mean you!” She heard a squealing shriek from within the walls, and the gastropod reappeared, clutching a rat by the scruff of the neck. In a moment, Spike had it by the tail, and the deed was done.
She added a drop of her own blood to the joined rings; wiped her hands on a rag, shivering. I don’t know that I could ever take the Dark Mark. I can’t see ever being comfortable with taking the light out of a person, if doing a rat in is like this.