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Chapter 26: Chapter 26
“Always have to be difficult, don’t you? I might start thinking you don’t like –” Wait a minute. “Karkaroff.”
“I don’t like Karkaroff,” Snape said, confused.
“No, Karkaroff. Wouldn’t the other Death Eaters hate him? Despise him for selling them out? Loathe him? I’ve never liked him, even before I met him. Is that only because of the other Death Eaters?”
“I wouldn’t say only. He’s not exactly the most likeable person, Death Eaters or not.”
“I know but sometimes I just want to…”
“Push him into the Black Lake? Throw him off a glacier? Cover him in gold and lock him in a room with a dozen rampaging Nifflers?”
“I like that last one. I do have some extra gold…”
“Doubtful that he is still at Hogwarts. He would have fled the instant the Dark Mark burned. He betrayed too many for his own freedom, likely he will be tracked down and killed.”
“Does it make me a bad person if I find it hard to feel sorry for him?” I asked, frowning.
“Considering you were nearly maimed by a werewolf he was paying to silence his critics, I would say your feelings are rather justified.”
“Hmm.” No, I shouldn’t have felt this indifferent about Karkaroff being killed but remembering Ivan Volkov made it difficult to find any pity. “Your house,” I recalled, “the boy and girl I saw there. I thought they were my father’s memories. Were they or was it something else?” When Snape didn’t answer I turned towards him. He was staring out over the lake with a look of sadness. The memory of the black haired boy returned. “It was you,” I guessed.
Snape gave me the briefest glance before focusing on the lake again. “It was…unexpected for Narcissa to bring you there. I do apologize for overwhelming you.”
It was you or my you?” I asked, baffled by his response.
“Me,” he admitted stiffly.
I would have liked to ask who the girl was but from Snape’s tone I could tell he wanted to drop the subject. We sat there in silence for a few minutes until another memory resurfaced.
“Black,” I mumbled, remembering the echoes I’d heard.
“When Shacklebolt came to Malfoy Manor to ask about Sirius Black. There was an echo. Huh, I suppose I really should have noticed these things. Maybe the journal is a good idea,” I acknowledged.
“You’ve made quite the impression on Shacklebolt,” Snape stated.
“What do you mean?”
“He looks at you different.” I rolled my eyes. Yeah most people in the Ministry looked at me different. “Not like the others,” Snape responded, guessing what I was thinking. “I’ve seen the memories, I don’t believe he ever felt right letting the Malfoys take you in.”
“You really think it bothers him that much?” I asked skeptically.
“Aurors tend to see many things, they get used to seeing the terrible things people do to each other. There always seems to be something though, something they never quite got over. A case they didn’t solve, a victim they couldn’t help, something that never sat right with them. I believe you were that thing for Kingsley Shacklebolt.”
“Bit of a stretch, don’t you think?”
“Just because you refuse to use Legilimency doesn’t mean I do. Past that rigid Auror persona he feels guilty. He probably believes if you had been sent to another family, the Tonks perhaps, you would not have…well, had issues in previous schools.”
“That’s a ridiculous thing to feel guilty over.”
“I quite agree. Especially when he could be feeling guilty over the years of abuse you’ve suffered from Lucius.”
“Exaggerating much?” I muttered bitterly.
“How many black eyes? How many busted lips?”
“I can take it,” I said defensively.
“You don’t deserve to take it. No child does –”
“Better me than somebody else.”
“It’s not your job to protect Draco and Narcissa.”
“Yes it is –”
“Two more years. I owe it to them.”
“You don’t owe –”
“I owe it to him. I have to do this for him.”
Snape let out a sigh before continuing hesitantly. “You can’t go back. Not with the Dark Lord returned.”
“I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“You’re in the same house as Potter. You’re the daughter of two of his most loyal servants. He isn’t going to pass over you. You are not safe near him.”
“Lucius would never allow me to go somewhere else.”
“I realize this, and I’m sure your me does as well. That doesn’t change the fact that you being within the Dark Lord’s grasp is not an option.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to start. Lucius would be suspicious of everything.”
“We’ll figure something out.”
“There’s only a week left.”
“Yes, well we’ll have to do it quickly then.”
We sat there silently again. I was trying to think of anything I could say to Lucius. Honestly I didn’t have any idea where to start. Every idea would make him realize that I was purposely trying to avoid him and the Dark Lord. I suppose if I couldn’t think of anything I could just slip away at King’s Cross. I’d find some deserted place to spend two months. I’d have to make sure owls couldn’t find me and I would look rather suspicious hauling my trunk around so I would need to shrink that as well. I’d need access to money and clothes without using magic every time too. What else besides that?
Somehow between imagining what I would need for life on the run for two months and trying to think of any other ideas, my mind became curious about something. I wondered if this Snape would know.
“Er…you understand my you, right?” Snape looked at me with a raised eyebrow.
“We are the same person with the same mind, only currently divided. Why do you ask?”
“Do you think…er…you think he knew Fred Weasley would…accept me?” I asked awkwardly.
“Most Gryffindors are easy to predict,” Snape answered, rolling his eyes. “Especially when it’s obvious to see how dreadfully smitten Weasley is with you. Disturbing as it is to admit, I assume I believed Weasley would make you happy. Unfortunate that he did not consider what I would be subjected to.”
“You?” I questioned, confused. Snape gave me a very pointed look and it clicked. If Snape saw everything I did then, “You’re there when we’re kissing?!”
“If anyone should feel outraged it should be me. All those sickening kisses and deplorable glances. Not to mention the revolting gestures. It’s beyond vomit inducing.”
“OI! I’m sitting right here!”
“It is rather trying, blocking out all instances of your blooming relationship,” Snape continued, ignoring me. “Especially when he unexpectedly showers you in affection.”
“You’ve effectively ruined any and all affection,” I grumbled. Here I thought my Snape seeing one kiss was bad, bloody hell.
“I would consider that a large blessing. However, I’m certain you will forget all about this the next time he gives you that nauseating smirk of his.”
Desperate to change the subject I asked the first thing I could think of. “How do you think my you would react to Tsukino?”
“Hmm,” Snape said thoughtfully. “I’m not sure. Personally I was alarmed the first time. I thought you had been poisoned with something that would cause hallucinations. Besides being overly suspicious, I don’t know how I would handle it.”
“Any insights on the training?”
“Not the slightest clue.” I looked at Snape waiting for more. Usually he at least had a theory about things. “I’ve spent a long time sifting through all of your knowledge –”
“You can do that?”
“Yes, why wouldn’t I be able to? As I was saying, I haven’t found anything that would explain them or their desire to teach you muggle defense. Nor how they are able to transport your mind to their estate as you sleep. It is quite abnormal. I do not believe Kuniye is a witch –”
“She’s not a muggle –”
“No, definitely not. She doesn’t use a wand though.”
“That doesn’t mean she’s not a witch.”
“I’ve never heard of any wizard estates like theirs.”
“Well they are Japanese,” I pointed out.
“Yes, but they don’t strike me as wizards…” Snape drifted off.
“They aren’t muggles and if they’re not wizards, then what?”
“Who ever said they were human?”
“They’re not hags,” I replied a bit rudely.
“There are several magical beings that can appear human.”
“What, you think they’re like veela?”
“Not veela per se, something else that’s magical but looks human. They are helpful, whatever they are. You’re becoming stronger and smarter. I’m confident that you would win nearly any duel you fought in.”
“Only because you couldn’t stand losing,” I teased.
“There is no reason to lose. You’re physically stronger than the average wizard your age, stronger than the average wizard in general actually. And you know enough spells to disable nearly every opponent. As long as you stay focused there shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Want me to take up dueling?” I joked.
“I’m not sure Dumbledore would approve.”
Mentioning Dumbledore reminded me of the chess game. I snuck a peek at Snape wondering why he hadn’t mentioned it yet, or for that matter, why I hadn’t brought it up. Now that my mind was on it, I became very self conscious about what happened and the choice I’d made.
“Do you think I made the right choice?” I blurted out. Snape looked at me inquisitively so I explained further. “For the chess game. Do you think greed was the right choice?”
“Do you think it was the right choice?”
“I don’t want any body to die.”
“You weren’t asked who you wanted to die. What do you fight for? You want to save as many people as you can, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a very noble cause.”
“You think it’s naive,” I summarized.
Snape stared at me a minute before responding. “You can’t save everyone.”
“I can try,” I said quietly.
“I know you will. That is the stubborn Gryffindor attitude.”
“Do you wish we were in a different house?”
“No,” Snape replied a bit too quickly. “We’d never know what was happening if we couldn’t listen in on Potter’s golden trio of misfits.”
“You realize we’re misfits.”
“Yes but we have the shrewdness of a Slytherin making us vastly superior.”
I laughed as I stared out over the lake. Something about the scene was different then it had been minutes ago. “Snape?”
“Why is everything getting a bit blurry?” I asked, realizing the change.
“I suppose you are waking up.”
“It had to happen eventually. Surely you don’t wish to remain here forever.” I frowned thinking that I sort of enjoyed sitting here talking with Snape. “Don’t get sentimental,” he groaned. “You have your me who I am positive is very worried about you.”
“Does he know about the Dark Lord?”
“The Dark Mark would have altered me hours ago.”
“Do you think the others know? Dumbledore?”
“Unfortunately I trapped myself in here as well, so for certain I cannot say. I assume that yes, I would have told Dumbledore immediately.”
I nodded, that sounded just like what Snape would do. “What happens now? To the Death Eaters in Azkaban? My parents?”
“The Dark Lord will free them,” Snape reluctantly answered.
“My father, will he…will he know about me being there if he’s taken away from the Dementors and clears his head?” I asked, fearing the answer.
“That is always a possibility,” Snape whispered.
“I don’t know if I could handle that.”
“You can,” Snape said firmly. “I know you can.”
The world was slowly becoming fuzzier. Yet there was something I still felt obligated to tell Snape, even if he would scoff and call me sentimental.
“Thank you.” Snape whipped his head around to give me a bewildered look. “Not just for this. Thanks for…well everything. I don’t think I could get by without you,” I said truthfully.
“You’re far too hard on yourself,” he said after scoffing. “You’re more than capable on your own. I am merely the nagging voice in the back of your head that needs to give you a push every once in a while.”
“Still, thank you,” I said sincerely. If it wasn’t for Snape I wasn’t sure I would even be alive today and if I was I’d probably be in St. Mungo’s.
“Jade,” Snape said, looking worried as his features started to blur. “I’m going back to the Dark Lord.”
“You – what?” Clearly I hadn’t heard right.
“Your me, he is going back –”
“That’s ridiculous, you aren’t –”
“Why do you think I’m not in Azkaban? You know the Ministry is aware of my past associations. How do you think I avoided prison this long?”
“You aren’t a Death Eater,” I said stubbornly.
“I agreed to be Dumbledore’s spy. The Dark Lord is back –”
“That doesn’t mean you have to go waltzing back!”
“Don’t go back. It’s your life. You don’t have to go back.”
“Dumbledore needs a spy –”
“To hell with Dumbledore!”
“There isn’t another choice.”
“We could leave. I have well over a thousand Galleons. We could just leave.”
“Draco, Fred, Narcissa, Hermione, the other Weasleys. We both know you wouldn’t just abandon them. You have too much here to fight for. Wasn’t that the choice you made?”
“He’ll kill you,” I whispered desperately.
Snape said nothing but the look on his face said it all. He knew that was a possibility but he had to go back. Just like I had to go back to the real world and try to protect the people I cared about. I could feel myself slipping away from this dream world but a small part of me longed to stay.
“Go,” Snape told me. I opened my mouth but didn’t know what to say. “Just go. I don’t want anything more sentimental.” I couldn’t help but smile, that was the Snape I was used to, snarky and sarcastic. “I’ll make sure you don’t do anything too rash,” he promised.
Then in a single blink of my eyes, I woke up.