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Chapter 18: Chapter 18
By the beginning of February it was clear Potter had solved my hint. He, Hermione, and Ron were practically living in the library, looking through as many books as possible. If Potter had been in his seventh year he’d easily know what to do to survive underwater. I had at least thought Hermione would know. Yet no, they were looking up charms instead of taking the easy route. Even Victor was taking the difficult path, spending hours looking over transfiguration books. People and their over complication of things.
The days passed until there were only two days until the second task. Still Potter, Hermione, and Ron were searching through charms books. I don’t want to admit it, but I was feeling a bit guilty. I will completely deny that feeling should anyone ask. It’s just…it was so easy. Potter could have ordered it from the apothecary in Hogsmeade. I bet even Snape had some, Sprout might too.
That night I watched the three Gryffindors pour over books until they couldn’t keep their eyes open anymore. I bit my lip while having an internal debate. Potter couldn’t order gillyweed in less than one day from Hogsmeade and unless I told him exactly what he needed he was probably going to show up with nothing for the second task. Even if I did tell him about gillyweed he was going to have to steal from Sprout or Snape. I couldn’t imagine that going over very well when one of them noticed it missing.
I could steal it though, from Snape at least. It would certainly get me the detention I still needed to earn so I could speak to him. That meant I would have to tell Snape I took it or he’d just blame Potter. He’d probably be upset about that too. However it could also get back to Dumbledore and risk expulsion if I was caught. Would he really expel me for helping Potter? Bugger it. I’d been sticking to his rules…mostly. It came down to what he could prove. I needed to get it without there being any concrete proof for Dumbledore yet look suspicious enough that Snape would give me detention. Snape handed out detentions to Gryffindors all the time so that wasn’t an issue.
Alright how and when? That was much more difficult since Moody could easily be watching. So I needed to take something from Snape while Moody was occupied or sleeping. During class would have been the ideal choice because I had absolutely no clue about Moody’s sleeping schedule but it was too late for that. I only had one night, the night right before the second task. How was I going to get back into Gryffindor tower without going through the portrait hole? No bloody way I was taking a broom out the window (I didn’t like Potter that much). My other options? Then it came to me. Dobby.
I had a few meetings with the elf in the early morning but kept them brief in case Moody was watching. There was one thing I picked up during those meetings though, Dobby was disturbingly infatuated with Potter. In fact Dobby went on for a good ten minutes about how lucky I was to be sorted into ‘Harry Potter’s house.’ Although I suppose I’d feel the same about someone who’d freed me from being Lucius Malfoy’s slave. I was certain Dobby would help me with this if I told him why I needed the gillyweed but we had to be discreet. We couldn’t risk Moody seeing Dobby in Snape’s supply room then coming immediately to me.
Merlin, I’m plotting ways to help Potter. Snape is not going to be happy. Hell, I’m not even happy about it. Bloody Potter.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It was nearly two in the morning. Less than eight hours until the second task. I’d been waiting in the bathroom connected to the fourth year girls’ dormitory. Dobby popped in, exactly as I’d planned. He handed me the gillyweed and after I thanked him several times he disappeared with another pop. I didn’t want Dobby staying too long due to Moody’s damn eye and its ability to see anywhere without me or anyone else knowing.
Quietly I made my way back down to the common room. Potter was still here, passed out over a charms book. I walked over to his table and slapped the jar containing the gillyweed down hard enough to startle him awake.
“What –?” he asked wildly, shooting up.
“Morning,” I said, faking a cheerful voice. Potter looked down at his watch, then looked confused.
“Where are Ron and Hermione?” he questioned, looking around the room.
“No idea.” Potter frowned. “You know it would probably be good for you to actually sleep in a bed. That’s generally what people do. Especially people who will be swimming with the giant squid in a few hours.”
“So you did know what the egg said,” Potter muttered as he closed his book. It was then that he noticed the jar of gillyweed. “What’s that?”
“Your salvation?” He looked at me skeptically. “It’s gillyweed,” I told him as I rolled my eyes.
"It’s a plant. Guess what it does.”
“You know, sometimes you really sound like Snape,” he commented, sounding unamused.
“I can take it back you know. You can find yourself another way to breathe underwater.”
“What?” he looked fully awake now.
“Gillyweed is a wonderful little plant that allows you to breathe underwater.”
“Really?” Potter looked cautiously hopeful.
“Really. I’d show you a book about it but it’s in French so you wouldn’t be able to read it.”
“All I have to do is use that and I’m good for an hour?”
“You sound surprised that it’s that easy. Why are people always trying to overcomplicate things?”
“Why are you helping me?” he asked suspiciously.
“Just because I grew up with the Malfoys doesn’t mean I’m a cold hearted wench.”
“Didn’t mean it like that,” he muttered. “You just never seemed to care before.”
I frowned, he was right, I hadn’t cared before. Last year I wouldn’t have spared him a second glance. Now here I was handing him the perfect way to finish the task tomorrow. Why? “I happen to like Fred and George, also Hermione. Well they are rather fond of you. I suppose pity is part of it, oh don’t look so offended, I meant you didn’t ask to be in the tournament. Plus why not? You seem like a decent chap. Not like I’m giving you the gillyweed for free, I expect a Galleon back to replace it.”
Potter considered that for a minute. “What exactly do I do with it?”
“You want me to eat that?” Potter asked, looking at the plant that resembled a ball of slimy, grayish-green rat tails.
“That’s how it works. I would suggest being in water first. You don’t want to grow gills then end up choking to death on air.”
“Alright,” Potter said, reluctantly nodding. “Do you want the money now?”
“I’m sure it can wait till the party tomorrow. Fred and George are bound to throw one. You should really get some sleep. You look like crap.”
Potter rolled his eyes and muttered a quick “thanks” before heading up the boys’ staircase with the jar of gillyweed. I went up to bed as well, shaking my head in disbelief.
Gryffindor had made me soft.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You know, the second task was far more boring than the first. All we did was sit facing the lake for an hour. Hermione and Ron Weasley weren’t with us. It wasn’t until Bagman announced that the champions had thirty minutes to return with their hostages that it even dawned on me that Potter would need to save an actual person. Ron was likely for Potter. Hermione…only one hostage per champion would mean she was there for Victor? I guess Victor was more smitten with Hermione than I’d imagined.
Fleur Delacour was the first champion back. She’d used a Bubble-head Charm but had failed to get past the grindylows. Cedric returned one minute late with his hostage, Cho Chang, a Ravenclaw fifth year. Like Fleur, Cedric had used a Bubble-head Charm. Victor was next with Hermione. He had tried to transfigure himself into a shark. It hadn’t completely worked but I was impressed with the level of magic he’d attempted to learn in such a short span of time. It took several more minutes for Potter to reappear. I kept reaching over and looking at Fred’s watch, worried that the gillyweed would wear off when Potter was at the bottom of the lake.
Eventually Potter did return, he even had an extra hostage. I had to roll my rolls in disbelief. Potter had tried to save everyone. Maybe Snape was right about Gryffindors. I guess it worked out in the end since Potter ended up tied with Cedric for the lead. The next task wouldn’t be for four months so hopefully things would calm down. And with any luck Potter would have enough time to prepare himself and not need any more help.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So much for things settling down. Even with the Slytherins gossiping about something to do with Hermione I still thought it might be a normal double Potions class. Then Snape had found and read out the latest article by Rita Skeeter that the Slytherin girls had mocked Hermione about. I glared at Pansy Parkinson. What a lying little pug-faced troll. She tried to make Victor out to be some idiot attracted to Hermione because of a love potion. And claiming that Hermione and Potter were an item was ridiculous. Ron Weasley was the one who had thrown the temper tantrum about Hermione going to the Yule Ball with Victor.
Of course things got worse after that.
There was a knock on the dungeon door and Karkaroff strode in. My hand clenched around the knife I was using to cut up ginger roots for my potion. Karkaroff didn’t notice me and walked up to talk with Snape, though I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Snape muttered something back and sent a swift glance my way that Karkaroff didn’t notice. I thought for sure that Karkaroff would leave now, but no such luck.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said viciously while glaring at Karkaroff as he hovered behind Snape’s desk.
Karkaroff immediately turned towards me and narrowed his eyes. “Lestrange.”
“Don’t sound so surprised, I actually belong here. We both know exactly where you belong,” I replied mockingly. Karkaroff’s eyes flashed with anger but before he could respond Snape spoke.
“Miss Lestrange unless you wish to sit through another detention I suggest you hold your tongue.” Hold on, didn’t I still want a detention so I could tell Snape about Crouch?
“Sorry Professor,” I said smirking, “just reminding Headmaster Karkaroff that there was a nice little room in Siberia for him.” A nice little prison room right beside Ivan Volkov. I bet the Russian werewolf would love to see Karkaroff again. Karkaroff knew what I was insinuating and looked even more furious.
“You insolent, little –”
“Enough,” Snape interrupted firmly while glaring at me. “Lestrange if you are incapable of restraining yourself then leave.”
I should have sent a message to Snape earlier so he would know I actually did want detention. Now if I took down my mental barrier he could find his way to information about Volkov and what really did happen at Durmstrang. I worked hard for years to keep that from Snape and I wasn’t about to slip up now. I did need to make him angry enough to give me detention though.
“Fine,” I said, reaching into my bag. I withdrew a gold coin and marched up to Snape’s desk. “I owe you that.” I threw the Galleon at Snape and turned back to my table. Potter, who had been moved up to the front of the class, had the expression of someone who just figured out the last piece of a puzzle. He knew what that Galleon was for, he knew I had taken the gillyweed from Snape. The rest of the class was watching with wide eyes.
“Detention. Tonight at six,” Snape said angrily, I guess it didn’t take him long to figure out what I was paying him back for either. I could also hear the very really anger in his voice, making me internally cringe but I just couldn’t stop myself.
“Make sure you get rid of your rubbish first,” I told him sarcastically, nodding in Karkaroff’s direction.
“Leave now,” Snape ordered threateningly.
Snape was probably going to be in a bad mood tonight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At six I was back in the dungeons, knocking on Snape’s door.
“Enter.” There was an edge in Snape’s voice. Yep, still angry. I entered his office and he immediately had me start picking wings off of dead dragonflies for his N.E.W.T classes. Snape didn’t say much but he was roughly going over essays looking very annoyed, well much more annoyed than he normally was. After fifteen minutes I cautiously spoke up.
“It’s getting darker, isn’t it?” I guessed.
Snape paused a minute before speaking. “Why did you help Potter?” he asked, sounding frustrated.
“Do not lie to me,” Snape shot back, sending a harsh look my way.
I let out a sigh before giving him an honest answer. “I don’t know.”
“I don’t know,” Snape repeated in a mocking voice. “You risked expulsion and you don’t know why you helped Potter.”
“Are you really this mad or am I just an easy target?” I asked annoyed.
“You should have done nothing!” Snape barked at me. “But you decided to steal from me instead.”
“I’ll go buy you fifty Galleons worth of gillyweed if you’re going to act this moody,” I muttered.
“This is not about the cost!”
“No it’s just you throwing yourself a pity party because I might place someone else’s needs above yours.” I wasn’t sure why I said it but it did cause Snape to narrow his eyes and glare suspiciously at me.
“Why did you help Potter?” he asked again.
“I said I don’t know.”
“No. Think harder. Give me a reason.”
“I told you –”
“Give. Me. A. Reason.”
I tried to think of why. Why had I really helped Potter? Yes he was friends with Fred and Hermione but he’d always been before. Why did I feel the need to help him this time? “I…I don’t know. I just…wanted him to do well. I’m not sure.”
“Do you want him to win the tournament?” Snape watched me very carefully as I pondered this.
“I guess. Why not? Somebody has to.”
“Victor Krum is your friend,” Snape reminded me. “Don’t you want him to win?”
I considered Victor winning. He’d be happy for sure but me? As much as I liked Victor, if I was truly being honest, I didn’t want him to win. A win for Victor was a win for Karkaroff and that was unacceptable. I felt horrible for feeling this way but I really hated Karkaroff.
“I don’t want Karkaroff to win,” I admitted. “I’m an awful friend,” I muttered.
“No, you’re just human. Not everyone places others before themselves. We do tend to act on our own selfish needs now and again.” I looked at Snape doubtfully. “Think whatever you like, I surely don’t believe you are being overly selfish.” Snape paused before turning stern again. “I need to ask you something. I don’t care about the answer, I just need you to be honest.”
“Er…I’ll try.” There were some things I never wanted Snape to know, but I didn’t like lying to him if I could help it.
“Jade, this is important.”
“What if I agree not to lie?” I offered. He narrowed his eyes at me, but consented.
“Fair enough. When did you take the gillyweed?”
“It was taken the night before the second task.” If he found my wording odd he didn’t mention it and continued on.
“Have you ever taken anything from me any other time this year?”
“Did you…suggest to someone that they could find certain items in my office?”
“Er…nothing besides the gillyweed.” Snape stared at me, trying to decode my answer. After a couple of minutes he must have given up because he nodded. “You know this is leading to the reason I’m here.”
“You’re here because you seem incapable of controlling yourself around Karkaroff despite me giving you ample opportunity to leave without –”
“Your office was broken into, right?” I interrupted, not really being in the mood for what would have turned into lecture. “Then there was a golden egg screaming and Moody came and covered for Potter who was under his invisibility cloak. I suppose that cloak is why Potter gets away with so much sneaking around. ‘Invisibility Cloak, the rich man’s Disillusionment Charm.’”
“How long have you known about this?!”
“About a month.”
“And you said nothing?”
“You said not too many detentions. Plus I had no idea how it fit into everything.” Snape glared at me some more.
“Who was it?”
“Potter said it was Crouch.”
“Crouch? As in Barty Crouch?”
“That’s what he said. How is Crouch getting here in the middle of the night when he can’t even be bothered to show up for the tournament?”
“You’re absolutely sure it was Crouch?”
“Potter said he saw him on ‘the map.’ I don’t know what ‘the map’ is though. Well whatever it is, Moody has it now.”
“Potter gave Moody the map?”
“Yes. Wait, you know what the map is?”
“It’s a map –”
“Funny enough I had worked that part out.”
“–of Hogwarts, it’s not important at the moment,” he said dismissively. “Why would Crouch be in my office?” Snape muttered to himself more than me.
“Because he thinks you’re evil.” Snape sent a hardened glare my way. “I don’t think you are. Just saying he probably thinks you are,” I clarified.
“It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Hence why I thought it would be ok to wait a while to share.”
“Keep an eye on Potter. Especially if you get the urge to assist him again. And tell me immediately about it. Discreetly though…I assume you’re capable of that. If not Moody will become suspicious.”
“Right,” I replied, resisting the urge to roll my eyes at him. I waited a minute until I spoke again. “You never answered my first question.”
“Yes,” Snape answered, letting out a sigh. “It’s worrisome along with everything else.”
It was another ten minutes before I could voice the question that had been sitting in the back of my mind ever since Christmas.
“If he comes back,” I asked quietly, “will he free them?”
I didn’t know if Snape would answer at all but finally he gave me a reluctant response.
A/N: Sorry for the really short 2nd task but you have to remember the rest of the school was pretty much doing nothing but staring at a lake for over an hour.
The information about the second task is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 26, The Second Task. The Potions lesson with Karkaroff interrupting is from Chapter 27, Padfoot Returns. And of course Jade’s repeating of Crouch being in Snape’s office is from Chapter 25, The Egg and the Eye.