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Chapter 16: Chapter 16
The rest of the holiday break I spent between the library and dormitory. Ron Weasley and Potter weren’t speaking to Hermione because she had reported Potter’s Firebolt to Professor McGonagall. It seemed a poor excuse for being mad at her. Really she hadn’t wanted to risk Potter being injured by a tampered broom so they decided not to speak to her? Great friendship they had going there. Hermione kept to the library and dorm too, occasionally going for walks with Ginny Weasley.
Ginny, I found out, was the youngest and only girl out of seven. It was a bit surreal imagining what growing up with so many people would be like. Ginny seemed nice enough though, telling Hermione that she’d made the right choice by reporting the broom and that boys were stupid and Ron would see what a git he was being. She also didn’t mind spending hours in the library, but I could tell she wasn’t a huge fan of studying and books like Hermione was.
Ginny did seem interested in Ancient Runes, she would ask me how to say different words and phrases in various languages. Today she was asking about Arabic, her brother Bill worked in Egypt and knew a bit of the language.
“I hope I’m not annoying you with all these questions,” she said sounding guilty. I looked up from my History of Magic essay.
“Course not,” I said truthfully.
“Must be hard knowing all these words. I’d get them mixed up all the time,” she commented. I’d never really had that problem but I assumed most people would.
“After a while I think it just becomes second nature. Sometimes I’ll find myself thinking in Latin or be planning a sentence in French for an essay.”
Ginny’s face turned thoughtful, like she was trying to imagine thinking in a different language. “Weird,” she muttered after a minute.
“Just a bit,” I agreed, turning back to my essay.
“How do you do that?” Hermione asked five minutes later from beside me.
Both Ginny and I turned towards her. “Do what?” I asked, noticing she was looking at me.
“Your essay. All of them actually.”
“Er…” I was confused, this was always how I did them.
“You never use any books,” Hermione continued, “for any essay. You just…write.”
“Oh.” It hadn’t occurred to me that it was odd. “I just remember it I guess,” I responded casually. “I’m certain you could do it too, you remember these books by heart.”
Hermione frowned, I was saved from having to explain any more by Snape appearing behind us.
“Professor,” Ginny said startled. Both Hermione and I turned around.
“Weasley, Granger, Lestrange,” he greeted in a displeased tone. He glared at us before speaking again. “I’m here to inform Miss Lestrange that her detention will be tomorrow at eight a.m. I expect you in my office at that hour precisely.”
“I’ll be sure to pencil you in between reading and more reading,” I retorted sarcastically. I heard Hermione inhale a sharp breath and Ginny’s eyes went wide.
“Five points from Gryffindor for your cheek,” Snape said narrowing his eyes at me.
Of course being me, I opened my mouth to respond but Hermione stomped on my foot. With one last glare around the table, Snape swept out of the library.
“Are you trying to get more detentions?” Hermione whispered frantically.
“I had a really good comeback I’ll have you know.” Hermione sent me a quick glare.
“He already doesn’t like Gryffindor. You don’t need to give him more reasons to take points off,” she said stiffly.
“But that’s what makes it so fun,” I responded wistfully. Hermione frowned and went back to her essay. I caught Ginny’s eye, she was smirking in agreement with me. Huh, another enjoyable Weasley.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The next morning I arrived at Snape’s office fifteen minutes before eight. I knocked on the door but nothing happened. I tried listening for any noise, still nothing. The lights weren’t on either. I considered the consequences for a minute before I took out my wand. Snape had a spell on his door, several in fact. They were all intertwined and rather complicated. I doubt students could get it unlocked in under a day. Me on the other hand, it only took ten minutes. I walked inside, replaced the spells on the door and sat on the chair opposite Snape’s desk. I waited for a few minutes until I heard approaching footsteps. They stopped outside the door and two minutes later the door was opening.
“Morning,” I said cheerfully. Snape visibly jumped then glared at me, then the door, then me again.
“How the hell did you get in here?” He asked rudely.
“I don’t think that kind of language is acceptable for a teacher.” After another glare Snape closed the door and added some privacy spells then sat behind his desk. He sat watching me intently. “It wasn’t really your best work. Creative though, I’ll give you that much.”
“I didn’t realize how obnoxious inheriting a vault would make you.”
“I’m trying to live up to your Gryffindor expectations.”
“You’re exceeding them,” he said annoyed.
“My apologies then. Did you like your gift?” I asked curiously. This caused Snape to look more annoyed. “I thought it was nice,” I said frowning.
“It was a thousand Galleons worth of ingredients.” Damn, I hadn’t realized it was that much.
“You’re worth every Knut,” I said using my cheerful voice again.
“Where?” Snape demanded.
“Here and there,” I answered vaguely.
“Did you steal them –“
“Or the money for them?”
“Thanks for thinking so highly of me,” I said offended.
“Jade,” he warned.
“They were obtained legally, thank you very much, and at a bargain rate.” Free was pretty much the best rate.
“How?” he asked looking less annoyed.
“Isn’t that where trust comes into play?” Oh, now he looked annoyed again. “Really, I didn’t steal them. They are legitimately yours. Can’t you just trust me on this one?”
Snape scoffed. “Rather frustrating that you’re able to keep things like this away from me.”
“You’d be surprised what I can keep from you.” Russian werewolves, Japanese Seers and ninjas, need I go on?
“Like your blossoming friendship with the Weasleys?”
“You’re not nearly as discreet as you imagined. You are spending more time around them.”
“Well Ginny is spending more time with Hermione during the holiday. And Ron’s in my year so I don’t think that particularly counts.” Snape raised an eyebrow at me.
“Not the Weasleys I meant.”
“Oh, Fred and George?” I took Snape’s eye roll as a yes. “They’re alright, interesting enough.” Honestly I liked the twins, it was nice being around people that seemed so carefree and enjoying life.
“They’re obnoxious.” Now it was my turn to roll my eyes. “Oh Merlin, you actually like them,” Snape said sounding disgusted.
“It’s nice being around people who can…make others laugh and who enjoy life.”
Snape was eyeing me in a critical and calculating way that I wasn’t used to. “Hmm.”
“Hmm? That’s your response?”
“For now,” he said in a mysterious tone that annoyed me. Suddenly he changed topics. “What of Narcissa’s gift?”
“She gave me her Black family vault.”
“Yes, but that seemed to bother you.”
“It’s a lot of money.”
“I’m certain you will restrain yourself and not go on a spending spree for useless items.”
“It’s fifteen hundred Galleons.”
Snape paused for a minute, digesting that. “Perhaps a spend spree is acceptable then.”
“Wanting more petals?” I teased.
“For yourself. There are plenty of potions that I could make now. It truly was a rare gift.”
“I’m still not telling you how I got them.”
“I can make you write lines all day,” he threatened.
“Bring on the parchment and quills.”
“Such a Gryffindor attitude.”
“I do try.”
“Happy birthday by the way.”
“That’s not for two days.”
“I’m saying it early.”
“I don’t think that counts.”
“Shut up and start your lines.”
“Are you allowed to talk to a student like that?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
New Years day I woke up only expecting one birthday gift. The same gift I received every year. It was on my bedside table, unwrapped with no card, the same as my last five birthdays. I picked up the chocolate frog box, examining it from every angle. It was a bit depressing knowing this was all that was left from a previous happier time. It was also comforting knowing that there had been a happier time and it wasn’t all just in my head.
Carefully I opened the box, being sure I didn’t rip it. I ate the frog and took out the wizard card, then closed the box again. I got up, noticing two small packages on my trunk. I set them on my bed and opened my trunk. In the third compartment I pulled out a box. I added the empty frog package to the other five and slipped the card into a small booklet I kept in here. I returned the box to the compartment and dug around the other items. At the bottom I found a long rectangular box. I pulled it out and opened the lid.
I’m not sure how long I stood there, staring at the wand but eventually Crookshanks brushed up against me. Startled, I closed the lid and sat the box back down and closed my trunk. Six years. I wondered if that sharp pain in my heart would still be there in sixty years.
I spent most of the day outside, eating only the two small cakes I received. One from Dimitri the other from Japan. In the late afternoon I heard someone approach me from behind.
“This seems a rather unfavorable spot to spend your birthday.” I turned around quickly to find Dumbledore there.
“I like it,” I responded as I turned away from him.
“Why is that?”
I shrugged. “Does there have to be a reason?”
“The reasons affect our choices. Our choices make us who we are.”
I sat there silently considering that. “You think I’m like him,” I finally said. “Like Sirius Black. Waiting in Gryffindor, baiting my time.”
“You seem to know quite a bit about him.”
“The result of being a curious child.”
“Are you like him?” Dumbledore asked sounding genuinely curious.
I could have given him a witty, sarcastic answer, I could have said yes just to see his response, I could have even said nothing at all. Instead I gave him the truth.
“I don’t know who I am. Isn’t that part of the reason for all this?” I said gesturing around me. “Seven years to figure out who you are.”
“It is,” Dumbledore said softly. “You should return to the castle, it will be dark soon. Perhaps we should stop by the kitchens for a mug of hot chocolate. I find that warms me up nicely on days like this.”
Not having anything better to do, I followed him. Plus knowing where the school kitchens were would be convenient.