The clock on the wall was the only sound Atropa could hear. Light flooded through the large windows, but it was oddly muted, washing everything out, yet making it dark at the same time. Things felt fuzzy, making her dizzy. She was sitting at the large dining room table, which had no food or place settings at the moment, only two large candles, which were unlit. All the seats were empty, except the one she sat in. Obviously it was not dinner time. Her body trembled with fear, and she could both hear and feel her heart racing beneath her thin t-shirt. It was cold, and her skin was covered in goosebumps. Nervous, she began fiddling with her skirt, looking up at the clock every few seconds. The door opened, and her parents walked in, both grim faced as usual when they saw her. "Have you decided?" They asked, voices cold and lacking any type of emotion. Atropa stood, suddenly defiant. Biting her lip, she could feel the anger flood her chest, leaving a white hot heat behind. "I've told you no every time! My answer will not change." She told them, voice oddly steady. Her parents looked sad, as they shook their heads. Her mother took a step closer to her, while her father turned his back, bending down to poke the fire. And then her mother was upon her, holding her hands behind her back tightly. "Too bad. We've chosen for you." She said, a horrifying smile on her face. Turning back to her father, Atropa realized what they were doing. They were going to brand her with the Dark Mark. Against her will. She began to struggle and scream, as her father pressed the hot branding rod to her arm, she could smell her flesh burning... ------ Atropa woke with a start, heart pounding with fear, covered in sweat. It took her a moment to realize she was safe at Hogwarts before she stopped trying to free her arms. Sighing, she pushed the hair that had gotten stuck to her sweaty face away, behind her ears, and took a deep breath. It was the same nightmare she'd been having for months, making her sleep irregular at best. Now, she was awake an hour before she needed to be, once again. Slipping out of bed, she grabbed her bathroom bag and made her way silently to the girls' bathroom, deciding to get ready before anyone else was up. As of late, she'd been having a bullying problem, which wasn't helping matters. So it actually wasn't that bad for her to be up early. She could shower and dress without other girls making fun of her. She turned on the hot water, stripping out of her nightdress, and got into the shower. Smiling softly to herself, she hummed a quiet tune as she washed and shaved, glad to have total use of the hot water. When she was done, she put on her clean uniform and did a quick drying spell on her hair, not bothering with any makeup. Not that it really would have helped anyway. Due to lack of sleep, she had bags under her eyes, and she looked sickly. Paler than usual- and she'd also lost weight, making her look as if she had the flu. Although she wasn't fat, Atropa was curvy, with an hourglass shape, but her uniform now hung on her small 5'5 frame. As she got back to the dorm room, girls were beginning to wake up. She passed by them quietly, returning her bathroom things and grabbing her bag for class. She left the Common Room and made her way to the Potions classroom, which was her first class of the day. Typically, she showed up early, especially since she wasn't eating breakfast lately, and did work quietly until class began. Professor Snape didn't seem to mind. Taking her regular seat, Atropa pulled out her notes and began editing them, waiting for class to begin.