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Chapter 16: Chapter 16
Out of all the things Fred Weasley could have done, I don’t think kissing me ever crossed my mind. Well, I guess I had thought of him kissing me before, nothing more than a fleeting thought though. I certainly hadn’t expected it any time soon, especially not tonight. Unfortunately being caught off guard this much tends to have very bad consequences.
It took two seconds before I registered what was happening. After that my mind sort of…imploded. Really, it’s not a good idea to surprise me like this. In my shock of being kissed I slipped up. All of my mental shields collapsed. The first thing my mind latched onto was a sickening happy feeling coming from my father. Glimpses of Azkaban that only lasted a fraction of a second flashed before my eyes. My father was excited, giddy even. It was more disturbing than a regular person’s happiness because it was tainted with sinister hopes and dreams. It wasn’t just my father. Others in the cells near him felt it too. Even the Dementors could sense something different. What had happened, why were they like this? I saw a few flickers of recent memories and it made my heart drop and my head pound. The Dark Mark was coming back. The Dark Lord was getting stronger.
As soon as I realized this I jerked back into my own reality. I quickly restored my mental shields before I noticed that I had actually yanked away from Fred in my haste to escape my father’s mind. Fred looked confused about why I’d suddenly pulled away from the kiss.
“What…why did –?”
“I’m sorry,” I said instantly. That was not how I planned my first kiss to be. I definitely hadn’t pulled away because of Fred. How do I explain this?
“Don’t…it’s fine,” Fred said in a rough voice. “We should get back to the tower.” He turned away, avoiding eye contact.
“Fred, please.” I didn’t bloody well try and escape from you.
“We should go before Filch starts patrolling,” Fred responded as he began walking away.
I pulled his arm after I caught up to him. I had to explain myself before he got the wrong idea. “Fred, I didn’t –”
“Well, well. What do we have here?” A sneering voice from the shadows asked.
It was worse than Filch. It was Snape. I glared at him, remembering the Dark Mark. Snape would know full well this was happening and he hadn’t said anything to me, not a single word. I opened my mouth to confront him.
“Miss Lestrange, you are already out past curfew. Do you really wish to dig yourself into a deeper hole?” he asked snidely.
Honestly I would have been ok with punching him in the face. Fred was beside me though, so I guess I’d have to settle for glaring harshly at Snape.
“We were headed back to the common room,” Fred told Snape.
“Twenty minutes to get to a corridor no where near Gryffindor tower? My, how unfortunate that neither of you seem capable of seeing in the dark. So what punishment should I assign?” Snape glared at me now. It felt like a warning look but I was too annoyed at the moment to care. “Detention. Both of you. Tomorrow at six. Do not let me catch you out after hours again. Go. I will find out if you do not arrive at Gryffindor tower in a timely manner.”
Fred said nothing as he strode off. After another glare at Snape I took off too, quickly catching up to Fred.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Stunned by the cutting edge in his voice I said nothing until we were back in the Gryffindor common room. “Fred, please.” I grabbed his hand to stop him from heading up the stairs. “I need to explain.”
“Explain? Explain why all I get from you is mixed signals? I don’t know what you’re even thinking half the time and I’m tired of trying to guess. Sometimes I’m not even sure you want me or if I’m…just another way to cure your boredom.”
“Fred, I do –”
“I’m going to bed. Goodnight.”
I watched him disappear up the boys’ staircase as the sting of his words set in.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The next day I spent in bed eating only Christmas chocolate and wondering how last night had gone so wrong. We’d had fun at the Ball. Yes I, Jade Lestrange, had fun at the Yule Ball. And in a matter of seconds it had completely turned around. I liked Fred, I really did and I wanted to be with him. Even kiss him but he’d just surprised me too much. Some stupid fight over something I couldn’t explain to him. Sometimes life just really sucks.
Around five I finally got up to go shower and change. I needed to eat at least one real meal before Snape’s detention, not to mention I was completely starving and sick of chocolate. I purposely picked a spot as far from Fred as possible. He still looked moody and didn’t even glance my way.
This was ridiculous, it was a stupid fight. How could Fred think I didn’t want him, hadn’t I shown just how much I trusted him? And he knows I’m not good with the whole romance thing. It seems perfectly reasonable that I would be surprised by a sudden kiss. Let’s not forget that I even agreed to go to the Ball at all. I absolutely hate parties but I went because he asked me. And I’m sending mixed signals? That’s just…I was not. I thought I was perfectly clear. Mixed signals. I’ll show you mixed signals.
I viciously stabbed my pork chop feeling annoyed. In fifteen minutes I would be in detention with Snape. Snape, who I might remind you, did not tell me about the Dark Mark. Considering everything else that was going on around the country you think something like ‘Hey, just to let you know the Dark Mark’s coming back, thought you should be prepared for that’ was surely acceptable. Well maybe not exactly like that, but at least say something so I don’t get suffocated by it when some bloke decides it’s the perfect time to plant a kiss on me.
Stupid blokes. Stupid Yule Ball. Stupid Fred Weasley’s amazing kiss. What the hell – amazing?! No, absolutely not. It was not an amazing kiss. It was stupid, just like his stupid adorable grin or his stupidly nice chest that felt nice to lay my head on. Stop it! You’re supposed to be mad, not thinking about how good-looking Fred Weasley is. Good-looking?! Bloody teenage hormones, just bugger it all.
I stood up. It was close enough to six. I’d just wait for Snape outside of his office. Fred must have gotten up shortly after I left because he arrived a minute after me. We both stood there, leaning against the wall, not speaking. Snape didn’t arrive until a minute before our scheduled detention.
“Weasley, the Potions room.” He led us both there, opening the door and waiting for Fred to enter. “Scrub all of the cauldrons. No magic. I will be checking them before you are released.” Then Snape shut the door and strode back to his office. He opened the door and indicated that I should go in first. “You,” he said levitating a large bucket onto a table he must have set up before dinner, “collect the venom pouches from these.” I looked into the bucket to find it filled with three inch long maggoty, worm like creatures. Snape set a knife on the table and glass jar that was half filled with a preservative. “Put them in here. Do not rupture them.”
“You have got to be kidding me,” I said, disgusted.
“Are you not the one who said I needed to hand out more Snape like detentions?” he sneered as he sat down behind his desk. I cringed, picking up one of the creatures. “Cut along the vein at the top. The venom pouches are dark purple, two per worm.”
Sighing, I followed his directions and placed the pouches in the jar. One down, Merlin knows how many to go. “You enjoy torturing students, don’t you?” I muttered as I picked up another worm. “Where do you want the…er, leftovers?” Snape waved his wand an empty bucket appeared on the floor beside me. “Right. Fantastic. Really lovely set up you’ve got here,” I said dropping the first worm down.
“I’m sure you and Mr. Weasley can comfort each other as you reminisce about your separate detentions.” I sent a furious glare at Snape. “Ah, yes. Still having that lover’s quarrel I see.”
“You know my hand may slip. You could end up peeling one of these off your face,” I threatened.
“How very bland you’ve become. To imagine there was a time I found you interesting. Teenage mood swings seemed to have changed that.” I angrily stabbed the worm, nearly nicking a venom pouch. “Do you really think you are the first teenage girl to have a fight with your significant other?”
“If it hadn’t been for you there wouldn’t have been a fight,” I snapped.
“Me? Do you see me overreacting?”
“No, I see you being a complete ass.”
“Here I thought Karkaroff rants and library burnings were going to be the most trying obstacles. That was far too optimistic of me.”
“Can you shut up?!”
“After you realize how overly dramatic you are being.”
“Overly dramatic?! The Dark Mark is coming back! HE IS COMING BACK! And you said NOTHING! I have to find out from my father, feeling that sickening hopefulness from him. You expect me to tell you everything and when something like this happens you stalk around the castle like everything’s perfectly fine.”
“There is nothing concrete to tell you,” Snape said in a level voice. “Yes the Dark Mark is coming back but there is nothing more. There’s no crystal ball that will provide any more information than you already have.”
“You should have told me anyways,” I shot back, glaring at him.
“Did it ever occur to you that just perhaps I was trying to keep you happy?”
“Happy?” I sputtered out. “HAPPY?! What the hell does being happy have do with anything?!”
“Despite what you may believe I do in fact care if you are happy.”
“You only care because it affects you.”
“I will not insult you by trying to deny that. However, I do also care if are happy with your life. After everything you’ve been through, what you still deal with everyday, you do deserve a chance to be happy. To actually enjoy what little of your childhood you have left. The past few weeks have been the happiest you’ve felt since you were eight.”
“Some things are more important than happiness.”
“Yes, some things are. Should I have had any inkling of what was happening I would have told you immediately.”
I roughly grabbed another worm and cut it open. “Well my happiness doesn’t really matter now, does it?” I said bitterly.
“Again with the over dramatic reaction. Just tell him he caught you off guard. He’s probably pining for you as we speak,” Snape responded, sounding disgusted.
“I tried, he doesn’t listen.” Bloody hell, I sound pathetic.
“Make him listen.”
“It’s not that easy.”
“It is that easy.” I growled in frustration. Snape was over simplifying this. “You are over thinking this.” I looked at Snape skeptically. “Simply be…happy with him. Stop analyzing every move and worrying so much before saying anything. Just...let your over hormonal heart decide.”
I looked at Snape disbelievingly. “Are you, Severus Snape, telling me to follow my heart?”
“As much as it defies everything I value, yes. Follow your bloody heart.”
“Effing hell, you’re dying, aren’t you?” Snape did not just tell me to follow my heart unless something traumatic was happening.
“I’m not dying,” Snape spit out, furiously. “I’m trying to…advise you. Same as I always have.”
“Follow your heart?” I said sarcastically.
“Stop having Weasley issues and I won’t need to say rubbish like this if it bothers you that much,” he snapped.
I rolled my eyes and grabbed another worm. ‘Follow your heart,’ what kind of Snape advice was that?
“Where did you get those?” Snape asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Get what?” I responded, with an edge in my voice.
“Your earrings,” he clarified.
“They didn’t have any in your color,” I said mockingly. I’d completely forgotten about Narcissa’s earrings. I’d spent nearly a day not even noticing them, even through a shower. I guess that proves how distracted I really was.
“Always with the attitude,” Snape lamented, leaning back in his chair, watching me closely.
“Thank yourself for that.”
“I’m not nearly that obnoxious.” I let out a derisive snort, making Snape’s eyes narrow. “Excuse me?”
“You think I’m obnoxious?” he questioned, threateningly.
“Nooo,” I answered in a false voice. “Of course not.”
“I know you can lie better than that,” he said darkly.
“It all depends on the size of the lie,” I replied, cheekily.
“So ungrateful,” he muttered. I shook my head, realizing what he was doing. In his own bizarre way, he was trying to make me feel better. It was Snape’s way of easing the tension or helping me get my mind off of whatever was bothering me. That’s not to say it was always appreciated, sometimes it was downright infuriating and made me want to hit him. I suppose that’s just how Snape was, infuriating at times, arrogant all the time, slightly obnoxious and a ‘to hell with other people’ outlook on life. It suited him, it suited me. If Snape has been a happy go-lucky optimist and passed that on to me, I think – actually I don’t even want to imagine the torture that would have been.
“…and I’ve lost you,” Snape said in a bored voice, catching my attention.
“I’m still here,” I replied, raising an eyebrow.
“How thoughtful of you to rejoin the conversation,” he sneered. I rolled my eyes as he continued. “You’re not leaving until that bucket is empty so I suggest you keep working.” With great reluctance I resumed my task. I really shouldn’t have told him to hand out ‘better’ detentions. “I believe it would be wishful thinking to assume you heard what I was saying before.”
“Very wishful thinking,” I agreed.
“Am I really that boring?”
“I get distracted easily,” I answered flippantly.
“I’ll be sure to store away any and all shiny objects next time,” he responded dryly.
“As I was saying before, you had quite a bit of attention last night,” he said, ignoring my outburst.
“You’ll have to be more specific.” Was he talking about Dumbledore or maybe he’d seen a glimpse of what happened before the Ball in the fourth year dormitory? I suppose it just could have been Moody, adding to the ex-Auror’s creepiness factor.
“You didn’t notice?” Snape asked, sounding slightly surprised.
“Notice what exactly?” Snape considered me before answering.
“Draco was watching you. Quite a bit.” I cast my gaze downward, away from Snape’s piercing stare. Yes, I had noticed Draco last night, even if I had tried to ignore it. “He didn’t seem pleased,” Snape added cautiously.
“Pansy Parkinson tends to have that affect on people.”
“So you did notice him.” I let out a sigh thinking that Snape knew very well that I always noticed Draco. "Hmm.”
“What?” I asked, wondering what else there was to it.
“Nothing,” Snape answered in an unconvincing manner. “How’s Moody?”
“I assume you are restraining yourself.”
“You’d know if I wasn’t.”
“As would Dumbledore.”
“Is Moody always so…?”
“That appears to be a requirement for becoming head of the Auror Department.”
“So it would seem.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After I was finished with the bucket of worms, Snape dismissed me and told me I could relieve Fred as well. When I poked my head into the Potions’ room, Fred was sitting on a stool looking bored as he drummed his fingers on a desk. We walked back to the common room silently. ‘Follow your heart’ that was Snape’s advice. I took a discreet look at Fred. So what did my heart want? Fred Weasley, that’s what.
We got back to the common room a little past midnight. It was completely deserted, apparently everyone was still recovering from the ball. Fred headed towards the boys’ staircase. I should stop him and explain things to him, but how? He didn’t seem too keen to listen to me, I had to try though.
“Fred.” He stopped and paused a second before turning around to face me. I didn’t have a clue what to do next. What did my bloody heart want me to do? Well…without much thought I closed the gap between us and pulled Fred down for a kiss.
After a couple of seconds I pulled back. Fred looked a bit confused and rather surprised. “Wha–”
“There are no mixed signals and I am very sure I want you. You’re not just a cure for boredom, but you have to understand, there’s some awkwardness that comes from being close to someone, especially when I’ve spent years distancing myself from nearly everyone I’ve met. This is sort of scary for me, especially when I think about how much you matter to me. You surprised me last night, I’m sorry. I certainly didn’t pull back because I didn’t want to kiss you.”
I waited for Fred to digest everything I’d just said. After a minute he opened his mouth to speak. “Can we go back to kissing?”
It wasn’t what I’d expected and before yesterday I might have been insulted by it. Today though? Oh to hell with it. “Yeah, we can.”