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Chapter 28: Chapter 28
Going without food or water for this long probably wasn’t a good idea. I couldn’t muster up the energy to care though. All day I’d been out here, before the sun came up and now it was almost gone. Over 15 hours sitting here. That’s a lot of thinking time.
Since the Hogwarts grounds lacked private areas, after leaving Snape’s quarters I headed to the Quidditch pitch. I hadn’t expected to see anyone after last night’s events but I didn’t want to push my luck. I sat as far back in the stands as I could, out of sight of anyone who would be on the field. I only saw a few wizards and Hagrid removing creatures from the maze early in the morning, since then it had been a ghost town.
I preferred it this way. I had a lot to think about. Not just what happened after Snape closed my mind but everything from the past year. Every odd run in with Moody, every random thought I’d had, every moment with Fred. I’d lost him, just like I’d lost Draco. I was beginning to understand Snape’s solitude. You can’t get hurt if you don’t let anyone in. I think I would have wallowed in misery if there hadn’t been more pressing concerns, well one really. How was I going to avoid spending the summer at Malfoy Manor?
After going over the problem for hours, I’d actually come up with an idea. Making it work was the main issue. Firstly I’d have to go back to the castle, too bad I had no desire to do that. I guess I really was wallowing in misery.
As I was sitting there I thought I heard a noise. It sounded like someone coming up the stairs. Ugh, I bet it’s Dumbledore. Yeah, someone was definitely coming closer. I waited to see white hair emerging from the staircase.
However I was wrong. Thankfully, on second thought maybe not thankfully, it was Snape. He didn’t acknowledge me or even look surprised to find me here. After walking up the rows and sitting down next to me he pulled a wrapped bundle from out of his robes and handed it over to me wordlessly. Inside the bundle were a few turkey sandwiches cut diagonally, a sure sign that Dobby had made them.
“How much of the school did you have Dobby search before finding me?” I asked before taking a bite.
“A significant portion.”
“Thanks for the food,” I said after finishing half a sandwich in three bites.
“Dobby was rather determined to send me out with a whole turkey.”
“I would have liked to see you hide that in your robes.”
“How long do you intend to stay out here?”
I glanced down at my left wrist. “I don’t know. Another hour or so?”
“You do realize you aren’t wearing a watch?”
I looked down at my wrist again. “Huh, that would explain why I always seem to be running late.”
“Your flippant, nonchalant attitude is alarming me far more than you realize.”
“Do you wish to talk about it?”
“Is there anything you do need?”
“Hmm…help me persuade Dumbledore?”
“Persuade him of what?”
“Well I can’t go back to the Malfoys, right?”
“I hadn’t realized you were aware of that particular issue yet.”
“You don’t have to sound so surprised.”
“Pleasantly surprised,” he corrected, making me laugh. “You’re not easing my worries,” he said frowning. No, probably not. Even to my own ears I sounded frenzied, like someone who was about to crack. I suppose the least I could do was try and keep it together until the end of the year. Snape shouldn’t be wasting the last few days of the school year worrying that I was about to go off the deep end.
“Stop worrying about me. I’ll survive. That’s what people like you and me do – we survive.”
“You should –”
“We need to focus on convincing Lucius to let me stay elsewhere for the summer. He’ll be suspicious about whatever I tell him. He’ll think it’s Dumbledore’s idea. We have to make it seem like it’s not. For that we actually need Dumbledore.”
“You already have something planned?” Snape asked, sounding surprised.
“You’re not going to like it,” I warned.
“Never a good sign.”
“We’re going to end up indebted.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Getting Dumbledore to agree to my plan had been…well, awkward. Actually the whole meeting had been awkward. First we had to talk about my connection to my father and the other Death Eaters. Dumbledore was worried about other ideas they could plant in my back of my mind. I’d already planned on doing this, but I suggested the journal like the Snape inside my head had thought of. I agreed to let Snape and only Snape read it. Dumbledore consented if he would be permitted to tell McGonagall about my connection. He said it was incase I should collapse in school again. Fewer questions would be raised by my head of house tending to me. I don’t think Snape approved but I very reluctantly agreed as long as I didn’t have to be there and Dumbledore took steps to ensure no one would overhear.
Then I had to explain my plan for avoiding the Malfoys. I don’t think Dumbledore fully approved but it’s not as if he had another idea up his sleeve. Having Snape on my side probably helped too. Though I wasn’t sure if Snape went along with it because he felt guilty or because he thought my plan was so crazy it might work. In the end, with less than five days left of term, Dumbledore agreed and the three of us smoothed out the details until I was convinced that this would work. I wrote a letter, one that could only be opened by the recipient, and Dumbledore used his phoenix, Fawkes to deliver it to Minister Obolensky.
Two days later, ten minutes into Herbology, McGonagall pulled me out. With the way Hermione, Ron, and Potter were eyeing me I was glad to leave this early. Well Hermione and Ron mostly, Potter seemed a little out of it. I imagine facing the Dark Lord and watching someone be murdered had that effect.
McGonagall took me straight to Dumbledore’s office where Obolensky was waiting. Without having to outright lie but not telling him everything either, I explained the favor I really needed. Desperately needed. Really desperately needed. To my immense relief Obolensky agreed to help. He also believed Dumbledore about the Dark Lord returning and seemed worried that a war might spread over Europe as Fudge did nothing to stop it.
Now all I had left to do was convince Lucius Malfoy. Piece of cake, right? Right?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Seven in the evening. That meant Snape should be walking up from the Hogwarts’ gates with Lucius. He’d be feigning confusion about a “foreign guest” in Dumbledore’s office. Someone Dumbledore seemed to distrust. Snape would ask if this was someone’s (the Dark Lord’s) plan, one Snape hadn’t been let in on. This would throw Lucius off, that was part one.
Dumbledore, Obolensky and I were waiting in Dumbledore’s office when there was a knock on the door. Time to give the performance of a lifetime.
“Enter,” Dumbledore said tentatively. All of our reactions were planned. Dumbledore would live up to his part and I was confident Obolensky would too. I needed to focus on mine now. I needed Lucius to fall for this. Lucius entered the office and closed the door behind him. “Mr. Malfoy,” Dumbledore greeted, not sounding pleased.
“Mr. Malfoy,” Obolensky said, standing up. “Ve have not been introduced.”
“Minister Obolensky,” Lucius responded, sounding confused.
“I vished to speak vith you. I hope I did not trouble you.”
“No, of course not. I was not expecting to find you here.” I could already see the gears grinding in Lucius’s head. He didn’t know what this was about and he was trying to calculate what was happening. Was this Dumbledore’s idea? Why was Obolensky here? I’m guessing he was also a bit apprehensive seeing me here considering the only times Lucius ever got summoned by a Headmaster was when I ended up expelled.
“Yes, vell I –” Obolensky stopped and looked towards Dumbledore. “Vould it be fine to have some privacy vith Mr. Malfoy?”
Dumbledore did not look happy at this and it took him a minute to answer. “As you wish Minister Obolensky. Miss Lestrange, Mr. Malfoy.” He rose and reluctantly left his office with a last distrustful look at Lucius, one Lucius didn’t miss.
“He is very nosey, that one,” Obolensky said after Dumbledore closed the door. “He vould not even permit me to inform Miss Lestrange vhy I vos here vithout leaving.” Lucius looked at Obolensky, surprised by his attitude towards Dumbledore. “Vell ve have some privacy now. Sit, Mr. Malfoy.”
I sent a quick bored look to Lucius as Obolensky summoned a comfortable chair for him to sit in. After giving me a threatening look when the Minister couldn’t see, he sat down.
“I must admit, I am rather curious about this visit, Minister.”
“Yes, I understand,” Obolensky said, sitting again. “I am asking for a favor. I am not sure vhat you know about Bulgaria’s history. Ve are attempting to…reform our country’s vizarding community. Ve have dealt vith years of corruption, I am attempting to change that.”
“I see,” Lucius said. “I’m not sure I understand how I can be of assistance though.”
“This is vhere your niece is helpful. She has been to many schools.”
“Unfortunately,” Lucius interrupted, glancing at me.
“Ah, but it is good for me. The top three schools in Europe and also Salem. She knows how these schools vork, yes?”
“I’m not sure what you’re getting at Minister,” I cut in.
“I vould like you to come vith me to Bulgaria. To vork vith our school. Help our new Headmaster, vhat is the word? Restructure our school.”
“You want me to help restructure your school?” I said skeptically.
“Yes, of course. You have been to four of the best vizarding schools.”
“Er…I don’t think that qualifies me to help, sir.”
“Nonsense. Ve need a young, fresh look. You know how these schools vork. Vhat they each offer and how vell that connects vith students. You can help us take the best of these schools to help lift Bulgaria. Ve are looking to compete vith other countries and cannot vith our current system. You are smart, I remember that and your information vould be unmatched by most. I also owe you for convincing Victor to join our national team. You do not know how much pride our home had for being in the Quidditch Cup for the first time in over a hundred years.” Now came the part that I felt extremely uncomfortable about, the part Minister Obolensky had thought up and insisted upon. “I vould like to offer you and your family one thousand Galleons for your assistance.”
“Excuse me?” Well that sure caught Lucius’s attention. Then again, money normally did.
“One thousand Galleons for Miss Lestrange’s help. Ve could find her a room at our school and provide all meals. I vould also personally bring her back to London for next year.”
“You’d like her to spend the entire summer in Bulgaria?” Lucius asked. This is where he would become the most suspicious and try and work out what was really happening. It was up to Obolensky to convince him that this was a legitimate offer.
“She vould be able to write. I realize this is a lot to ask, however it is a very rare opportunity. She is smart, I vill admit I vould very much like to find a position in my Ministry for her after Hogwarts.”
“I’m not even a fifth year,” I interrupted rudely. Lucius gave me a warning look.
“I expect good things from you,” Obolensky responded in a knowing manner. Lucius looked like he severely disagreed, probably because the only good thing he ever expected from me was the day he could legally kick me out of Malfoy Manor. “Vould the two of you like a moment to discuss?”
“Yes,” Lucius answered and I let out a barely audible sigh.
“I vill vait outside the office, if Dumbledore is not still there,” Obolensky said with a small laugh.
As soon as the door closed behind Obolensky I whispered furiously to Lucius. “I am not spending two months in Bulgaria.”
“You are going to do whatever I tell you to do,” Lucius said, standing.
“I’m already gone ten months a year, that would be good enough for most people,” I replied harshly.
“This is not a debate.” I could tell by his tone that I was pushing my luck.
“You just want the money,” I said, disgusted.
He placed his hand on my left shoulder, his thumb over where he knew my scar was. “That isn’t even half of what I’ve wasted on you,” he said cruelly, pushing uncomfortably on my scar. “You are going to go to Bulgaria and do everything they want. Do I make myself clear?” When I didn’t answer he pushed down harder. “Do I make myself clear?” he repeated viciously.
“Yes, sir,” I amended bitterly.
He released me and turned towards the door. I rolled my eyes as I rubbed my shoulder, following him. Obolensky was standing close to the stone gargoyle that led to Dumbledore’s office. Lucius graciously accepted his offer and gave me a cold look before I thanked the Minister for his generosity. Obolensky then offered to get a drink with Lucius in Hogsmeade, which made me think Obolensky was having far too much fun with this ruse. As they left together I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. It hadn’t been nearly as difficult as I’d imagined.
“Shoulder alright?” Snape asked from behind me. I turned around but couldn’t see him anywhere. “You’re not the only one who knows the Disillusionment Charm. Or have you forgotten who taught it to you in the first place?”
I raised an eyebrow and stared closely at the wall. Eventually I could make out Snape’s form leaning against the wall a few feet away. I stepped over there, standing beside him, and set up a few privacy spells so we wouldn’t be overheard. “I’m fine. Perhaps a little disappointed.”
“It was far too easy. Obolensky had him hooked at a thousand Galleons.”
“Yes, how dreadful that your plan to avoid being within the Dark Lord’s grasp for two months was perfectly successful,” Snape sneered.
“Well when you put it that way…”
“I must admit,” Snape said after a pause, “I’m rather impressed.”
“What? You didn’t think this was going to work?”
“More so that you were the one who came up with it.”
“Oi!” I exclaimed, offended.
“Would you have preferred a lie?”
“Would it kill you to be nice?”
“Yes,” he answered immediately, sounding revolted.
I shook my head but stayed silent. Ten minutes passed before I spoke again.
“You made the right choice,” I said softly. I wish I could have seen his reaction, at least that would have helped more than his silence. “About telling them,” I clarified, in case he didn’t understand. Still he said nothing. “I’m not mad that you did it.”
“That makes one of us,” he muttered.
“You kept the most important part safe, nothing else matters.” Snape let out an annoyed huff from beside me. “Stop beating yourself up over it.”
“I think I like you better when you’re not patient and understanding,” he mumbled darkly, making me smirk. “I know you didn’t want anyone to find out, especially…him, especially this way.” No, I didn’t want people to find out but I wasn’t going to let Snape worry about me all summer. He had more urgent matters, like playing the role of loyal Death Eater. That was far more important than him worrying about me and how I was handling things.
“Like I said, you kept the most important part safe. I can handle the rest. One day at a time, right?” We fell into silence again and the concern that had been growing ever since Snape told me about confessing the connection to my father came forward. “If they ever find out about…us –”
“They won’t,” Snape interrupted quickly.
“But if they do –”
“I will not let that happen. I won’t let you spend the rest of your life in St. Mungo’s or become some…Ministry experiment,” Snape said sternly.
“It’s not me I’m worried about,” I admitted. I could feel Snape shift uncomfortably beside me but he didn’t speak. “I’ll come for you.”
“What?” he asked sharply.
“If anyone ever finds out, I’ll come for you. I don’t care if it’s a Ministry holding cell, Azkaban, or some desolate place I’ve never heard of, I will come for you and I will free you,” I promised.
“So dramatic and disgustingly sentimental,” Snape complained after a moment. Even as he was trying to sound indifferent, I could hear the slight strain behind his words.
“Only for you,” I teased lightly, nudging his arm. He let out an irritated groan making me laugh.
“Unbearably obnoxious,” he criticized, sounding appalled.
I smirked again and then after a short pause I couldn’t help myself from pointing something out. “You know, this is a really good way to spy on students.” Snape scoffed. “Jealous that you didn’t think of it first?”
“You are overestimating your peers. Quidditch, friends, late homework, and the opposite sex. No one is interesting enough to waste time spying on.”
“Not even me?”
“Perhaps you are the one exception,” he replied thoughtfully.
“That was nice of you,” I informed him, grinning a bit. I’m willing to bet everything I owned that he was glaring at me now.
“Don’t expect it again,” he said rudely.
A lot of things where probably going to change over the next year but it was comforting to know that Snape’s revulsion over being unintentionally nice was always going to be the same.
A/N: Uh…slightly anti climatic The End? There’s a lot left to deal with. Jade/Fred for starters but that’s for the next story. You should also feel excited that you’ll finally get to learn what’s happened to Jade, not just between her and Snape but you’re going to get a good look at her life. That includes lots of Draco, how she met Dimitri, and of course the mysterious pair from Japan. And a new, or maybe not so new for Jade, adversary is stepping up. Also Shacklebolt, because why not? He’s pretty awesome.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a comment, I do try and respond to them all. Expect the next story to be up soon even if I only have half of it actually written. I’m still steadily working on it though, promise!