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As far back as I can remember, I’ve always known there was something a little different about me. I’ve always been a bit of a loner; I didn’t even fit in with the other children at home.
For me, home was an orphanage in Enfield, a small town northwest of Dublin, Ireland, where I had lived my whole life. I was brought to the orphanage by the local police when I was little more than eleven months old. Apparently, my parents and I had been involved in a late-night house fire which left me the sole survivor, and the police had no choice but to bring me to the orphanage because they didn’t know the names or whereabouts of any of my other relatives.
Growing up I knew very little of my parents. The only reason I even knew their names (Neta and Donald) was because the police were able to sort through county records and find the deed to their house with their names and signatures on it, as well as a copy of their marriage certificate. In fact, the only reason the police knew my full name (Jayde Alyssa Newsome) and date of birth (January 10th) was because they were able to find the hospital’s records of my birth.
I often felt sad and lonely because I didn’t know my parents. In fact, if the truth is told, I felt responsible for their deaths. Though my life at the orphanage wasn’t troubled, instead of playing with the other children I would often wander off by myself to imagine what my life would be like if my parents hadn’t died.
As the other children and I got older, all my peers began to view me as odd because I spent so much time by myself, and this didn’t improve when I got to elementary school. From then on I was known not by my name, but as “the smart girl” who didn’t wear the same clothes all the popular kids wore. All the other kids just kept their distance and laughed silently about my “odd” behavior, too-short jeans, and worn-out sneakers. One person in particular always seemed to start the antics against me, and ironically it was the person I’d known for the longest; Corey O’Doherty.
Corey was also an orphan; in fact he and I grew up together. Corey had been left on the front steps of the orphanage anonymously when he was less than a month old. Though Corey and I were never the best of friends, we had always been cordial to each other. He and I didn’t really play together, but he didn’t pick on me either. But as we grew older Corey started treating me badly at school because I wasn’t in the “cool crowd” and he didn’t want to be seen as a friend of someone so “un-cool”. When we got back to the orphanage every afternoon, however, Corey was a completely different person than he had been at school.
For years I let this go on and said nothing, but that all changed one November afternoon when Corey and I were 10 years old. On the playground at school, a short, blonde-haired girl named Gloria, one of Corey’s friends, had walked up to me with an angry look on her face and accused me of trying to kiss Corey, her "boyfriend". I’d told her that was not true and I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she didn’t believe me.
She'd shoved me in the chest, which shocked me. This was such a ridiculous and childish thing to be angry about, much less to be willing to fight over, especially considering we were only 10 years old. Nevertheless, Gloria was indeed very angry about it and I became frightened. I’d started looking around for an exit to no avail, and the swarm of children that surrounded the two of us started screaming things like, “Fight!” and “Get her Gloria!”
She shoved me again, this time so hard that I fell to the ground, stunned. I asked Corey, who was standing nearby watching, to tell her the truth, but he simply smirked and said, “This is what you get for trying to kiss me, you freak.”
At this, all the children in the crowd started laughing, and Gloria started kicking me while I was still on the ground. I threw my arms up in front of my face instinctively, and screamed as I received several blows to the forearms and shins from her white sneakers. Though the sun had been shining brightly just moments before, thunder now rumbled in the distance, but none of the other children seemed to notice.
Within moments Gloria had me lying on the ground, trying fruitlessly to crawl out of harm’s way; receiving several blows to my back and sides from all of her surrounding friends who had jumped in the fight. I felt like I might pass out soon, and I cried and prayed for it all to be over soon as the approaching storm grew louder. Just when it began to seem that the girls would never stop and that I would surely die, a frightened male voice had called out from the back of the crowd, “It’s the teachers! Run!”
The pain finally ended. Everyone who had been participating in or standing around the fight ran quickly away so as not to be caught too close to the scene of the crime. I could barely move, I just lay there on the ground crying until a teacher arrived and helped me up, dusting all the dirt off my face and clothes. When the teacher asked me what had happened I didn’t answer her and started limping back towards the schoolhouse, stepping inside just as the first drop of rain fell from the darkened sky.
I went to the bathroom and washed all the dirt and tears off my face, and carried on the rest of my school day as if nothing had happened. Before I left school that afternoon, however, I was called to the principal’s office. The principal wanted to know what had happened, and I’d told him that I’d simply tripped on the playground. Though he didn’t believe me at first, I convinced the principal I was telling the truth, and I left his office and started walking home. I felt guilty that I’d just lied but certain that I’d just saved myself from another beating from Gloria, in the immediate future anyway.
The storm that had started on the playground earlier had stopped and the sun had regained its perch by the time I began my walk home that day, though in some spots the sky still looked dark and threatening. I remember wondering to myself why all the kids at school hated me so much as I walked home, staring down at the road and kicking nearby rocks to see how far they’d roll. My heart grew even heavier than it had during the fight, as though it were a tree whose branches were sagging from the weight of a recent snow.
I felt utterly alone and rejected, and I didn’t understand why, out of everyone the other students could’ve picked on, it had to be me; it always had to be me. The only possible response I could come up with was what I had been hearing from those same children my whole life: I was a freak.
After thinking this way for several minutes, I realized I was getting close to home; I could see the break in the tree line ahead to my left that was the beginning of the orphanage grounds, so I wiped away the tears that had started pouring from my eyes and tried to regain my composure. I didn’t want Ms. Fitzpatrick, the orphanage director, to see me like this. She’d been there for me my entire life. She'd done a lot for me, and I felt I owed it to her to put on a smile and pretend everything was okay. I didn’t want to burden her; she already had enough to deal with at the orphanage. That was why I hadn’t asked her for new clothes when the children at school had started picking on me about my jeans being too short.
As I stepped into the orphanage’s yard, however, I could tell that Ms. Fitzpatrick wouldn’t be falling for the whole “nothing happened” act that day. She was standing on the wooden front steps of the orphanage with her arms crossed, and she was tapping her left foot impatiently. Just looking at her made me wary of what was coming, for surely her appearance meant this couldn’t be good. Her curly auburn hair and her dress and apron were swaying slightly in the light breeze, and her lips were bunched together in a pale pink line. Her eyes were fixed directly on me as I made my way across the yard, unable to mask my limp and the physical pain it caused me each time I took a step.
I soon found out that Corey had come running home and told yet another lie on me, telling Ms. Fitzpatrick that I’d called Gloria ugly names and pulled her hair, which had been the cause of the fight. I didn’t understand why Corey would do such a thing, and I felt tears welling up in my eyes.
Corey had never tried to cause me problems at the orphanage before; it felt like he’d betrayed me, like there was some boundary line in our part-time friendship that he had just crossed. I felt the overwhelming sensations of sadness and depression sweep over me, but for the first time they were accompanied by something more: anger. I felt my face get hot as I stared at Corey, enraged. I insisted to Ms. Fitzpatrick that Corey was lying and that I hadn’t started the fight, but of course Corey denied it, throwing out even more wild accusations as he did so.
Finally, for the first time in my life, I had had enough. The melting pot of all my pent-up anger, fear, and hurt had finally reached its boiling point, and I felt like a time-bomb that was about to explode. I started screaming at both Ms. Fitzpatrick and Corey. I told Corey I was tired of him picking on me and telling lies on me, and I told Ms. Fitzpatrick how the fight at school had actually started, angry tears rolling down my cheeks as I did so. Ms. Fitzpatrick asked Corey if I was telling the truth, and he whole-heartedly denied it, throwing out more wild accusations about me that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Ms. Fitzpatrick told Corey that she didn’t believe him, but I didn’t hear her. And Ms. Fitzpatrick didn’t see the change happening in my eyes. Unknown to me, my normally royal blue eyes were now growing lighter. They grew lighter and lighter until all the blue had faded from them, and the entire center of my eye, pupil and all, were a misty whitish-grey color; it was as if a great fog had set in on my eyes.
I became unaware of my surroundings and saw nothing but the image of Corey’s chubby, sandy-haired and green-eyed laughing face from earlier in the day. And I felt nothing but an uncontrollable rage that was taking over me, consuming me. Something was about to happen; I could feel it.
Amazing chapter image by my secret santa and dear friend, RoxiMalfoy from the forums!
A/N: There are two foreign language phrases in this chapter. The first, "Dia Dhuit", means "Hello", and the second, "Slan Leat", means "Goodbye". Please review!!
I am unsure of what happened next. All I have to go on is what Ms. Fitzpatrick told me years later when we discussed that day again. According to her, just as I began to zone out, she noticed a sudden chill in the air and darkening of the skies. She told Corey and I to get inside to get out of the approaching storm, and when I didn’t follow her she turned back to look at me. And as she looked directly at me for the first time in several minutes she realized something was horribly wrong.
What she saw filled her with terror; there I stood at the bottom of the steps, looking absolutely livid, but that wasn’t all. My eyes were completely void of color, and my entire body was stiff. My long, straight black hair swirled around my face from the strength of the wind, but it didn’t seem to bother me; I didn’t bother to try and keep it out of my face.
It appeared as though I was frozen, and Ms. Fitzpatrick could tell that although my eyes were open, I had no idea what was going on around me. It appeared almost as if I couldn’t see her, the orphanage, or the black clouds that were quickly moving towards us with occasional streaks of lightning in the midst of them.
Frightened though she was by my appearance, she was more fearful for my health and safety as the storm drew closer. She quickly ran down the steps and grabbed me by the arm, telling me to get inside; but I didn’t move. I didn’t even jump like Ms. Fizpatrick did when the sharp bolt of lightning flashed right above our heads, nor at the deafeningly loud thunderclap that followed it.
Panicking and wild-eyed, she took hold of me by the shoulders and shook me, begging me to snap out of whatever trance I was in and come inside as torrents of rain started pouring down, like a misty veil shooting down from the heavens. And just that quickly, as if I had been shaken awake from a bad dream, my entire body twitched involuntarily and I gasped loudly.
I remember none of this, but I do remember what happened after I snapped out of whatever daze I’d been in. Still unsure of my surroundings and feeling slightly frightened, I looked up at Ms. Fitzpatrick, who had a fearful expression on her face. “Are you alright, Jayde?” she asked with a hint of panic in her voice.
“I…think so,” I replied, “But why are you staring at me like that?”
As I spoke, Ms. Fitzpatrick noticed that my eyes didn’t look solid white anymore. They were now a very pale blue, and as she stood and watched in amazement, my eyes grew darker and darker until they were back to their normal, rich royal blue color. Thinking that perhaps she’d just been seeing things and not wanting to frighten me, she quickly said, “It’s nothing dear…I just wanted you to get in out of the storm.”
When I asked Ms. Fitzpatrick what storm she was talking about, she nearly lost her mind. “This one!” she said, waving her arms in the sky, “Don’t you see all the clouds, lightning and rain? Can’t you hear the thunder? Jayde what’s wrong? Are you feeling all right?”
“I feel fine,” I said, “But it isn’t raining, or lightning, or thundering, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky; the sun is shining.”
“Jayde what in the world are you talking about?” she asked, “It is absolutely dreadful...” She stopped mid-sentence as she looked up at the sky. I was right; there were no clouds, nor lightning or thunder, and it was definitely not raining. Ms. Fitzpatrick later said it was as if the past few minutes hadn’t happened at all. The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and the old man who lived across the street from the orphanage was still outside trying to lead his stubborn pony back into the stable.
Confused, she simply gave up trying to explain and told me to get inside before the storm came back. She was so shocked and confused about the storm’s abrupt ending that she didn’t even finish the conversation she’d been having with Corey and me. She went on about her duties and tried not to think about what had just happened.
We walked inside but didn't speak a word as she cleaned my wounds. When that was finished, she sent me up to my room to do my homework while she started making dinner. She called the other children and me downstairs when dinner was ready, and sent us all back upstairs to get ready for bed immediately after we finished eating.
The next few days went by rather uneventfully at the orphanage, and at school. Gloria had apparently had time to calm down about the situation, and I was just glad it was over. Though I stayed sore and my limbs remained bruised for a few days, I didn’t think much about the fight.
Ms. Fitzpatrick, however, said that she could not get the events that took place at the orphanage that day out of her head. She could still picture me standing there stiff as a board and the freakish storm in her head. She often had nightmares about it, though she didn’t tell me this until later. But from what she told me, what bothered her most about the events that took place that afternoon was the color of my eyes.
For some reason, it seemed to her that my eyes had lost their color just before the storm had set in, and that they’d regained their color just before the storm so rapidly ended. But she felt like a fool for thinking these things. What was she insinuating? That I had somehow caused the storm? That was completely ridiculous! She knew me, had practically raised me, and she also knew that sweet, innocent little girls like me didn’t cause storms, and the color of their eyes wasn’t affected by storms either.
She kept trying to convince herself that she had been hallucinating, but she found that very difficult to do. As for me, I was still hurt and shocked by Corey’s actions, but I had already decided what to do. From now on I was just going to completely avoid him, both at school and at home; even if he spoke to me I’d just completely ignore him. I decided that I didn’t want or need friends; that one time that I had been betrayed had been enough to let me know that I didn’t want to feel that way ever again. From now on, I’d be my own best friend.
A couple of months later, everyone had almost completely forgotten about the incident that occurred that afternoon. Unknown to me, however, another life-altering day was rapidly approaching; my 11th birthday.
I woke up early that Saturday morning to Ms. Fitzpatrick singing “Happy Birthday” loudly in my ear; a tradition she had performed on my birthday every year as far back as I could remember. I’d got up and dressed and went downstairs to help Ms. Fitzpatrick prepare breakfast, but she quickly refused my help and ordered me not to do any chores that day.
She told me I was to go outside and play all day; to enjoy my birthday. So I donned my coat, gloves and earmuffs and went outside to play in the snow for a while; I’ve always loved snow. I made several snow angels and an admittedly small and sloppy-looking snowman, and as I was looking for stones to use as the snowman’s eyes, I noticed a large brown owl sitting on the orphanage’s mailbox.
Shocked to see an owl out in daylight, I decided to slowly creep over to the mailbox, hoping to sneak up on the owl and get a chance to pet it. I started out on the left side of the orphanage’s wooden steps, where my pitiful-looking snowman was located. I slowly made my way around the steps and behind one of the snow-covered pine trees that bordered the orphanage’s yard to the right. I waited there for a moment before peeking out from behind the pine tree sheepishly, and then quickly darted behind another pine tree once I saw that the owl hadn’t noticed my sneaking yet.
I continued this process for several minutes, ducking behind pine tree after pine tree and peeking each time to make sure the owl hadn’t caught on to my scheme. I finally reached the tree nearest the mailbox and slowly made my way out from behind it, taking care not to step too loudly and alert the still-oblivious owl.
My target was directly in my line of sight now, still perched atop the black metal-clad and wooden-posted mailbox. I continued to approach the mailbox stealthily, and thought I’d surely catch the owl. The owl was too fast for me, however, and flew away only seconds before I reached the mail box. “Darn!” I thought to myself, disappointed that my mission had failed.
Having exerted so much energy trying to sneak up on the owl, I no longer felt like finishing my snowman and decided to go back inside; I was getting too cold to stay outside much longer anyway. Since I was already at the mailbox, I decided to check the mail and take it inside, so I pulled the mailbox’s handle forward and down and looked inside to see if there were any letters. There were, and I took the several letters out of the mailbox, closed it, and took the letters inside to Ms. Fitzpatrick, who had just finished setting the table for breakfast.
She didn’t bother to open the mail until after breakfast, at which point she called me into the kitchen and vaguely explained that she’d received a letter saying that someone was coming today to discuss possibly transferring me to another school. Neither of us had any idea who or where this letter had come from, and the idea of transferring to another school thoroughly frightened me, but Ms. Fitzpatrick assured me that everything would be okay before sending me out of the kitchen to enjoy the rest of my birthday.
I was in the living room watching cartoons two hours later when the doorbell rang, and I got up and answered the door. There stood a tall, thin woman whose blond hair fell in ringlet curls to her shoulders. She looked like she was in her late 30s to early 40s, and she had a very pleasant smile on her face.
“Dia dhuit,” I said in my native Irish tongue.
“Hello to you too dear,” the stranger said, “You must be Jayde Newsome. My name is Eva McGreggor, and I’m here to speak with you and your guardian about your schooling. May I come in?”
“Yes ma’am,” I answered as I pulled the large wooden door open farther to allow Mrs. McGreggor enough room to pass. Once she got inside I offered to take her coat and then escorted her to the living room and said I’d go fetch Ms. Fitzpatrick.
I found her in the laundry room and told her that the headmistress she’d received the letter from that morning had arrived, and Ms. Fitzpatrick followed me back to the living room where Mrs. McGreggor sat in a brown leather armchair, seeming very amused by the cartoons that were on the television. When she saw us enter, she stood up.
I introduced her and Ms. Fitzpatrick to each other and they shook hands and exchanged greetings. Mrs. McGreggor apologized for any confusion her letter had caused and asked that Ms. Fitzpatrick sign a confidentiality agreement before they began their conversation, which Ms. Fitzpatrick did hesitantly. Then Mrs. McGreggor began.
“Dunamase Institute,” she said, “is a school for students with special abilities. You received my letter this morning, and consequentially my visit today, because Jayde is one such student.”
“Oh!” Ms. Fitzpatrick exclaimed in excitement. “So Jayde’s been chosen to go to your school because she gets good marks in school?”
“Not quite,” Mrs. McGreggor replied, and she reached into her briefcase and pulled out a piece of paper. “This is a list of the courses Jayde would be taking in her first year at Dunamase, if she chooses to attend”, Mrs. McGreggor said as she leaned forward and gave the list to Ms. Fitzpatrick.
Immediately Ms. Fitzpatrick began scanning the page excitedly, but her face turned from an expression of excitement to one of confusion almost immediately. I leaned over to my left, looking down at the paper in Ms. Fitzpatrick’s hands, and immediately understood why she was confused. I couldn’t find ‘Arithmetic’ or ‘Reading’ anywhere on the course list. The list was comprised instead of words I didn’t understand, such as ‘Herbology’ and ‘Transfiguration’.
Apparently still just as confused as I was, Ms. Fitzpatrick lowered the paper and shifted her green-eyed gaze to Mrs. McGreggor. “I’m sorry,” she began, “But I’m afraid I don’t understand. This isn’t a list of real courses; half of these words look made-up! Why would Jayde need to take a course on ‘Potion-making’?”
“Because Jayde is a witch,” Mrs. McGreggor replied matter-of-factly, as though she’d just stated something that should have been obvious.
Neither Ms. Fitzpatrick nor myself could believe what we’d just heard Mrs. McGreggor say, and we both sat there on the sofa as though we were frozen, staring wide-eyed at this clearly insane woman.
It was Mrs. McGreggor who finally broke the awkward silence a few moments later; “I’m sorry”, she said, “I didn’t mean to startle you, but there simply isn’t an easy way to tell someone they’re a witch… especially when they don’t think witches exist”.
At this, Ms. Fitzpatrick scoffed loudly and gave a sarcastic smile before finally breaking her silence. “What kind of fool do you take me for?” she asked Mrs. McGreggor, to which the latter simply sighed.
It was evident from the look on Mrs. McGreggor's face that she'd gotten the same reaction from someone before, and that up until now she'd been hoping that this time would be different. She gathered her composure and took a deep breath before speaking.
“I don’t take you for a fool,” she began, but Ms. Fitzpatrick cut her off.
I'd never seen Ms. Fitzpatrick so upset before. Growing up she'd always told me not to interrupt people when they were talking, so I took the fact that she was breaking her own rule as an ominous sign. I knew that Mrs. McGreggor would surely not like what Ms. Fitzpatrick was about to say.
“You’re nothing but a scam artist!” Ms. Fitzpatrick began, “You send out these letters and come to people’s houses and try to convince them their children are devil-worshipping, broom-riding, wart-covered hags who cackle and cast spells on people for the sheer enjoyment of it. You think if you promise that you can make someone’s child extraordinary they’ll give you money for tuition and find then find out the hard way that ‘Dunamase’ doesn’t exist. You’re pathetic! You toy with people’s emotions and savings, and then run off with their hard-earned money! Well, this is one person you won’t fool so easily! I’m no fool; witches DO NOT exist!”
I could tell by looking at her that Mrs. McGreggor was very insulted by this accusation, and she immediately began vehemently insisting that witchcraft was not devil-worship, that it was actually a good thing.
She fruitlessly tried for several moments to convince Ms. Fitzpatrick of this, but only succeeded in making her more angry. “Fine then, I’ll prove to you that I’m not lying” Mrs. McGreggor said, but Ms. Fitzpatrick had had enough.
“You’ll do no such thing!” she said angrily, “You will leave this house RIGHT NOW before I call the police and have you arrested for trespassing and fraud!”
Having nothing else to say, Mrs. McGreggor nodded her head in agreement and got to her feet. I offered to get her coat for her, but she refused. But she simply stood in front of the chair she’d been sitting in, staring at the arch that led to the hallway. Ms. Fitzpatrick just sat there staring at her, but I saw something moving in the hallway out of the corner of my eye.
Turning so I could see which of the children had been eavesdropping on this strange conversation, I gazed into the hallway and what I saw made my eyes widen in fear and amazement. It was Mrs. McGreggor’s coat, coming towards us. But there were no arms or legs carrying it to her. There was no child’s face hiding sheepishly behind the brown fabric. There were no strings being used to pull the coat towards us. Mrs. McGreggor’s coat was floating towards us; floating in mid-air, with nothing to support it whatsoever!
I thought for several seconds, but could not come up with one logical explanation for why this was happening. The only way I could explain this situation to myself was by thinking, ‘It’s magic!’, but that couldn’t be true, could it? Coats didn’t just float by themselves! But this one was doing it anyway.
It continued to float towards us, defying gravity and several other concepts I'd learned in school. I began to question everything I thought I knew, and mentally argued with myself for several seconds. Feeling insane, I told myself that this must be some kind of dream, because there was no way this coat was actually floating across the room.
And I couldn’t be a witch, witches don’t exist! But somehow Mrs. McGreggor, who had just told both of us she was a witch, had made this coat float to her from an entirely different room in the house. And now she had pulled her coat on and had turned to face the two of us. Would she speak? Would she cast some sort of spell on us for not believing her?
Frightful of what would happen next, Ms. Fitzpatrick pulled me closer to her in a protective way, but Mrs. McGreggor simply smiled. “I’m not going to hurt you,” she insisted, “But you left me with no choice but to show you that I was serious. I will, of course, leave now if you still wish me to.”
This time, however, it was I who spoke up. “So you’re serious then, I’m a witch?” I asked incredulously, to which she simply nodded her head.
“Your mother was a very talented Irish witch, and your father was an English wizard,” she said.
I was flabbergasted; I couldn’t make sense out of anything that I’d just seen or heard. “This can’t be right,” I said more to myself than to anyone else. “I can’t be a witch! I can’t have powers! I’m a loser! A freak!”
At this, Ms. Fitzpatrick finally rejoined the conversation. “Jayde, how many times do I have to tell you?” she asked me, “You aren’t a loser or a freak. People pick on you because you’re special. Now I know this is just as hard for you to believe as it is for me, but if it was possible for Mrs. McGreggor to make that coat float to her, then it’s possible you’re a witch.”
“I’m glad you finally understand,” Mrs. McGreggor said. Ms. Fitzpatrick nodded her head and then asked Mrs. McGreggor what the next step in this process was. “Well, the two of you will need to decide if Jayde will be attending Dunamase in the fall and inform me of your decision. If Jayde will be attending, I’ll send you a list of books and materials required for Jayde’s first year.”
“And who is expected to pay for the tuition and books if Jayde decides to go?” Ms. Fitzpatrick asked.
“Jayde,” Mrs. McGreggor replied, “She’s the only heir to her parents’ account at the wizard’s bank in Dublin, so she’s got complete rights and access to her account. She can pay for her books, tuition, robes, wand, and anything else she needs or wants.”
“And where would she get such supplies?” Ms. Fitzpatrick asked.
“There’s a small wizarding village called Clonminam near the school,” Mrs. McGreggor replied, “If you’d like, I could take Jayde there to get her things before the school year starts.”
“So, I’d have to move, wouldn’t I?” I asked.
“Only during the school year,” Mrs. McGreggor replied, “Once the school year ends you’ll be right back here for the summer. And you can come back and visit over the Christmas and Easter holidays if you’d like. The school really isn’t far from here at all, but I know you’ve never been away from Ms. Fitzpatrick before and that this is a bit frightening for you. I’ll tell you what, I’ll give the two of you until July to decide, and I’ll come back here at the beginning of August to get your decision. If you decide you will be going, I will help you get your school things at that time, Jayde, how does that sound?”
When Ms. Fitzpatrick and I agreed, Mrs. McGreggor told us that we couldn’t tell anyone else that I’m a witch, not even the other children in the orphanage. She’d said that if I decided to attend Dunamase, we’d have to come up with some other story to tell the other children about what school I’d be attending.
She insisted that the wizarding world must be kept hidden from ordinary people at all costs; in fact witches and wizards can only use their powers in front of ordinary people in life-threatening situations. She said the only time this rule may be broken is if a witch or wizard has non-magic parents or caretakers, to show them that the headmaster or headmistress is not lying when we say that their child is a witch or wizard. She said that the consequences of ‘our’ world being discovered would be unimaginable.
Ms. Fitzpatrick then asked, “But if your world is such a secret, why did we discuss it here, inside the orphanage? There are many children roaming this house right now, how can we be certain one of them hasn’t already heard this conversation? How do we know they didn’t see your coat floating in here from the hallway?”
Mrs. McGreggor smiled in response to Ms. Fitzpatrick’s naive question. “Caroline,” she said, “You just saw me make my coat float to me from another room, but you think I’m not skilled enough to tell when a child is approaching or listening? There are other ways for me to ensure that I’m not being overheard besides constantly running to the door to make sure they’re nowhere around. They’re all either in the back of the house or upstairs, playing.”
“How do you..?” Ms. Fitzpatrick began, but Mrs. McGreggor interrupted her.
“I can’t tell you how I know, Caroline, just trust me when I say that I do,” she said.
Having finished discussing what she’d come to talk about, Mrs. McGreggor stood back up with her coat and briefcase in tow. “Well, I’d best get back to the castle,” she said, “I hope you both have a wonderful spring and Easter, and I look forward to seeing you both and hearing your decision in August. I hope you’ll join us Jayde, I know you’d be a wonderful addition to the school. Slàn leat.”
“Goodbye, Mrs. McGreggor,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said as she stood and shook the headmistress’s hand, “We’ll see you in August.” And with one final glance and smile at me, there was a loud ‘CRACK’ and Mrs. McGreggor disappeared into thin air.
After Mrs. McGreggor’s strange departure, Ms. Fitzpatrick and I sat on the sofa very quietly for a long time, completely perplexed. Neither of us spoke; we couldn’t believe what we had just seen and heard. Finally Ms. Fitzpatrick walked into the kitchen and started preparing dinner; I suppose the best way for her to deal with and process all this new information was to act as though nothing had happened.
She and I spent the next few weeks avoiding conversations about the big decision before us, but finally Ms. Fitzpatrick began to mention to me that I needed to start thinking about my choice. I put it off as long as I could, claiming that I had mountains of homework to do and hadn’t had time to think about the situation.
Finally, at the end of June, Ms. Fitzpatrick insisted that I couldn’t put it off any longer, and we sat down on the wooden front steps of the orphanage and had a talk as we looked out across the yard about whether or not I should attend Dunamase.
“Tell me what you think about all this, Jayde,” she said.
“I’m afraid to leave the orphanage,” I told her.
“I understand that,” she began, “but I honestly think it’s the right thing for you to do.”
I was completely perplexed by her statement. “What do you mean?” I asked her.
“A witch is who you are,” she whispered to me. “Who you were born to be. I think if you ever want to know anything about your parents, you should at least familiarize yourself with the culture they were a part of.”
Admittedly, I hadn’t thought of this before. I sat in silence for a few moments thinking about what Ms. Fitzpatrick had just said, but I still wasn’t convinced. She and I watched the sun set as we continued to discuss the situation, and after talking for quite a while, she convinced me to give it a try. I set my mind to attend Dunamase. I was scared, but I was determined to make both her and my parents proud of me.
Both excitement and fear built up in me as the school year drew to a close, and the school year ended somewhat bitter-sweetly for me, as I realized I wouldn’t be attending “regular” school any longer. I had decided to spend as much of my summer as I could with Ms. Fitzpatrick, since I wouldn’t be around in the fall.
Ms. Fitzpatrick made up a wonderful story to tell the other children about why I wouldn’t be around much from now on. At the end of July we had a dinner meeting with all the other children and told them that in the fall, I would be attending Sacred Heart Secondary School in County Cork, a boarding school for those who displayed academic excellence. Not surprisingly, none of my peers seemed shocked or upset about this information, nor did they ask any questions.
Finally, on Saturday, August 8th, I went out to the mailbox and found another letter from Mrs. McGreggor. The letter said that she’d be stopping by today to get our decision, and to hopefully help me buy my school things. Ms. Fitzpatrick and I had been sitting on the sofa nervously ever since we’d read the letter, waiting for Mrs. McGreggor’s return. When we finally heard a knock on the door, Ms. Fitzpatrick jumped up at once to answer it while I remained seated.
I heard the two of them talking in the hallway and then smiled up at Mrs. McGreggor as she entered the room. “How lovely, dear!” she said before I even spoke, “I’m so glad you’ve decided to join us!” I looked up at Ms. Fitzpatrick, wondering if she’d told her the good news, but Ms. Fitzpatrick just shook her head, looking a little stunned herself.
“How did you know what my decision was?” I asked.
Mrs. McGreggor simply shook her head and said, “You will know in time, my dear.” Then she asked if I was ready to go shopping in Clonminam, the wizard village, for all my things, and I said I was. Mrs. McGreggor said she’d have me back by sunset, and I gave Ms. Fitzpatrick a hug before walking outside behind the headmistress.
When I got outside I asked Mrs. McGreggor where we were going first, and she said, “To the bank, of course!” She motioned for me to follow her as she walked down the steps and across the yard. She continued onto the road and we had walked for about five minutes when I began to hope to myself that we weren’t really going to walk all the way to the bank. Mrs. McGreggor let out a snicker and said, “No dear, we’re not going to walk all that far. We just have to walk far enough that we’re out of the sight range of all your neighbors.”
"Out of sight of what?” I asked, curious.
“Do you remember the first time we met?” asked Mrs. McGreggor, “When I disappeared after we’d finished talking?”
“Yes” I answered, still not grasping the idea.
“Well, that’s how we’re going to get around today”, Mrs. McGreggor continued, “It’s called apparating.”
“But I don’t know how to apparate!” I said.
"I know that dear. Even trained witches and wizards aren’t allowed to do it until they’ve reached a certain age,” said Mrs. McGreggor, “And since you can’t do it for yourself just yet, I’m going to take you with me when I apparate. It’s called side-along apparition.”
“Oh,” I said, feeling a little embarrassed. “Does it hurt?”
“Well Jayde, I won’t lie and say it’s the most wonderful feeling in the world,” Mrs. McGreggor said, “but it doesn’t hurt. There now, I think we’ve walked quite far enough. Are you ready, dear?”
“I think so,” I replied.
“Good. Then take my arm, please,” she said.
I did as I was told, and the next thing I knew I felt like I was standing between four walls that were quickly closing in around me; it was like every inch of my body was being squeezed by an invisible force. And then, almost as suddenly as it had began, the sensation ended. When I finally felt safe enough to open my eyes, I noticed that we were in a small forest, and Mrs. McGreggor was staring down at me, concerned. “Are you all right, dear?” she asked.
“I think so,” I said. “I just need a moment to catch my breath.”
“I understand dear, that happens to all of us on our first time,” Mrs. McGreggor replied.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“We are in Dublin, in a forest near what’s known as the Mansion House,” Mrs. McGreggor replied.
“I’ve heard of this place,” I said, “but why are we here? Isn’t it closed to the public?”
“It’s closed to certain parts of the public,” Mrs. McGreggor answered with a smile.
“Then how are we to get in?” I asked.
“You’ll see,” answered Mrs. McGreggor, “Just take my hand and stay close by my side.”
“Okay,” I said, doing as I was told.
I heard Mrs. McGreggor whispering something funny that sounded like made-up words, but I didn’t interrupt. Then Mrs. McGreggor led me out of the forest and we walked down the road a bit before we came upon the Mansion House, with its gate sealed and ‘Keep Out’ signs posted everywhere.
It looked like it had once been a very beautiful place, but now it was forlorn-looking and unkempt. This didn’t seem to bother Mrs. McGreggor at all. She marched right up to the gate and tapped it with the stick she’d just pulled from her right pocket; I assumed it was her wand. Immediately the gate began to glow gold and then I watched in awe as it swung open in front of us. Mrs. McGreggor walked through the gate as though this were nothing new to her.
Once we had made it inside the yard, the gate automatically shut and re-locked itself behind us. “How does that work?” I asked, astonished. Mrs. McGreggor smiled.
“Only a witch or wizard can open that gate”, she said, “And even if a human was standing right outside that gate as we walked through it, they would not be able to see it open, nor us walking through it. That’s all part of the magic of this place.”
And it wasn’t until Mrs. McGreggor started walking towards the building again that I realized the change that had happened to the building in the past two minutes. It didn’t look run-down and forgotten anymore; the white and beige stone was sparkling as if it were brand-new.
We entered Gringotts, and it was there that I met goblins for the first time, to my sheer terror - the goblins frightened me. Mrs. McGreggor gave me the key to my vault and we rode a small cart down into the tunnels that ran underneath the bank. We opened my vault, number six hundred fifteen, and what I saw when I looked into my Gringotts vault for the first time shocked me, in both a good way and a bad way.
The vault was full, but not with what I had hoped it would be full with. I was hoping for a lot of money, or at least enough to pay for my school tuition and supplies. It was filled instead with piles upon piles of gold, silver, and bronze coins that didn’t look anything like the currency used here.
Somehow seeming to know what I was thinking again, Mrs. McGreggor spoke up and said, “Wizards use different money than the rest of the world does. The gold ones are Galleons, they’re worth the most. The silver ones are Sickles - one Galleon is worth seventeen Sickles. The Knuts are the bronze ones, they’re worth the least. One Sickle is worth twenty-nine Knuts. It might not look like much to you right now, but let me assure you that from looking at this pile I can tell your parents were very well off. They’ve left you a small fortune.”
Having said this, she pulled a brown money bag made of cloth from a pocket in the skirt she was wearing and handed it to me. “Hold this dear, while I put enough money in it to last you at least the first two terms,” she said, and I did as I was told.
We finished filling the bag with some of the Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, consequentially making it quite a bit heavier, and Mrs. McGreggor told me to close the bag. She told the goblin who’d been waiting patiently that we were ready to leave. I stowed my vault key in my pocket, and Mrs. McGreggor and I rode back up through the tunnels, walked through the bank, and then went back outside.
When we got outside the bank’s gate I took Mrs. McGreggor’s arm. I had the strange, walls-closing-in-on-me sensation again and when it stopped I found myself in a very busy small village. Mrs. McGreggor and I had landed on a cobblestone street in the middle of the small village, and there were children and adults alike bustling about. I accidentally bumped into several people as I looked around, before quickly apologizing. I stared in amazement at the busy little village, trying to take in everything at once; I didn’t want to miss one single detail.
There were quaint little shops lining either side of the street, with wooden signs hanging from them. “What do you say we get started, dear?” said Mrs. McGreggor, and she pulled me into the shop closest to us on the left, whose wooden sign, when translated from Gaelic, read ‘Campbell’s Wooden Wonders’.
I remember being more than a bit nervous as we stepped into the dark and dusty shop; the floor-length red curtains were closed and the sunlight shining through them cast an eerie red glow on the entire shop. I looked around at the shop, and when my eyes adjusted to the darkness I was amazed to see stacks upon stacks of multi-colored small rectangular boxes piled helter-skelter, not only on the wooden floor, but on the pine bookshelves and countertops as well.
Just as I began to wonder excitedly what could be in those boxes, Mrs. McGreggor spoke into the darkness. “Ms. Campbell?” she called tentatively. I turned to look up at Mrs. McGreggor and watched as she stood on her tip-toes in her black high-heeled shoes and cranked her slender neck in hopes of finding the shopkeeper. Only seconds later, a squeaky voiced called from somewhere near the back of the shop, causing me to look away from Mrs. McGreggor to search for the source of the voice. A thin woman who was even shorter than my eleven-year-old self soon stepped into view. Her short, jet-brown hair was cut into a neat bob just beneath her chin.
“Hello, Eva dear, it’s been a while,” the woman said, returning Mrs. McGreggor’s greeting as she fixed her beady eyes directly on me as she approached. She walked up to me; the top of her head was barely as high as the bridge of my nose. Very uncomfortable and slightly nauseous from the strange odor the strange woman was giving off, I stared down at the floor to avoid her piercing gaze.
The woman began to circle me, occasionally murmuring to herself as she did so, making me even more uncomfortable. When she finished circling me she came to stand in front of me again before speaking. “Ten and a quarter inches,” she said very loudly, “Not much spring to it. Either cherry wood or willow.”
When she finished speaking, she pulled a wand from the pocket in her dress and waved it in the air. As soon as she did so, a strange whooshing noise began, and when I looked up to see what was happening, my jaw dropped in amazement. Several wands were floating towards me; I assumed they’d come from the piles of boxes I’d noticed earlier.
The wands continued to float forward until they reached Ms. Campbell and me, and they came to a halt in midair when they reached us. Not wasting a moment, Ms. Campbell grabbed the nearest wand and extended her tiny, wrinkled hand, indicating that I should take the wand from her. I cast a timid glance up at Mrs. McGreggor, who smiled and nodded her head at me in encouragement, and then slowly inched my hand forward to take the stick from Ms. Campbell.
I slowly wrapped my hand around the wand and closed my fist, but as soon as I did Ms. Campbell pulled it through my fingers and tossed it behind her haphazardly. “Definitely not phoenix feather”, she said, and as soon as she did several of the wands started floating back towards their boxes.
Ms. Campbell immediately grabbed another wand and indicated for me to take it from her, but she once again snatched it away from me with a look of disappointment as soon as I touched it. “Not veela hair, either,” she said as she tossed this wand behind her, too. Once again, several wands floated back to their boxes after she made this statement. She extended another wand for me to take before snatching it out of my grasp and throwing it behind her. “Not leprechaun hair either,” she said. “So that just leaves unicorn hair and dragon heartstring. Let’s try a double-fisted approach to speed things up.”
Ms. Campbell now took a wand in each hand and extended both of her hands at the same time, and I did the same. I slowly inched my hands forward and enclosed my palms on both wands at the same time, and as soon as I did I felt a warm sensation in both hands. As I watched in awe, dark violet sparks erupted from the wand in my left hand while lavender sparks shot out of the wand in my right hand.
“Hmm... that’s odd,” Ms. Campbell said before taking both wands from me. “The cherry wood and dragon heartstring works better, but the hawthorn and unicorn hair sparked also. Perhaps cherry wood with unicorn hair would work even better,” she said, mostly to herself. She then turned to look at all the other sticks that were still floating in the air around her, examining each. “I don’t have any cherry wood with unicorn hair right now,” she said before turning back to face me. “So cherry wood and dragon heartstring it is. That’ll be 8 galleons, please.”
At this, she walked behind the counter she was standing in front of and started boxing up the wand I’d had in my left hand, and Mrs. McGreggor began digging into her pocket for some of the gold coins we’d gotten from the wizard’s bank earlier. Ms. Campbell finished boxing up my wand and placed it on the pine counter in front of her and then extended her hand, waiting for Mrs. McGreggor to give her the gold coins. Mrs. McGreggor did so and then took the pale blue box from the counter and handed it to me. Then she and I both thanked Ms. Campbell, who also thanked us for our business, before turning our backs on the counter and walking out of the shop.
I had to blink several times as I stepped back out onto the cobblestone street to allow my eyes to adjust to all the light, but Mrs. McGreggor seemed unfazed by the rapid change of brightness and walked into the shop directly across the road from Ms. Campbell’s. I scurried across the street to catch up with her.
At the second shop we went to I got my cauldron, telescope, and trunk, and we left there and went to an apothecary to get my scales, tools, and ingredients for my potions class. Next we went to a bookstore to get all the books for my first year, and a stationery shop to get my parchment, quills, and ink.
Our final stop was a clothing store, where I was measured for and received my Dunamase uniforms. I got ten black shirts with a hunter green “D” embroidered at the top inside a purple shield near the left side of the collar. I also bought five hunter green skirts with light purple and black plaid, five pair of tan stockings, a black travelling cloak with the same emblem from the shirts at the top left, two black sweaters which also bore the emblem, and two pair of black flat shoes.
Before we left the clothing store, I shoved all the clothes I’d just bought into my trunk, where I’d shoved everything else I’d bought to make it all easier to carry. Then we left the shop and Mrs. McGreggor pulled the list of required supplies from her pocket and crossed off ‘school uniforms’. “Well, that’s everything,” she said. “Now I’ll take you back to the orphanage. It’s getting late and I promised Ms. Fitzpatrick I’d have you home before dark.”
Mrs. McGreggor was right; she and I had spent the majority of the day shopping in Clonminam and I’d seen many things that had amazed me. I’d seen many people using magic as though it were an everyday thing for them, and then I realized it probably was an everyday thing.
Standing in one spot on the cobblestone street we’d walked practically every inch of that day, Mrs. McGreggor told me to put my money bag into my trunk, and I did as I was told. Once I had resealed the trunk, she took it from me and said that she’d carry it while we apparated to make sure I didn’t accidentally drop it in the process. Then she told me to take her arm again, and I felt those imaginary walls close in on me once more.
When I opened my eyes, we were standing back on the street in front of the orphanage, in the exact spot we’d left from earlier that morning. It seemed like such a long time ago that we’d set out to buy all my school things, and I was excited to get back and show Ms. Fitzpatrick everything I’d bought - especially my wand.
I took my trunk back from Mrs. McGreggor and practically ran all the way back to the orphanage and then ran straight to the kitchen, where Ms. Fitzpatrick was cooking dinner. She pulled me into a tight hug and then asked how my day was, but I didn’t answer. Instead, I opened my trunk and began pulling items out one by one as Mrs. McGreggor entered the kitchen and closed the door behind her, scolding me for not being more careful.
After I’d showed Ms. Fitzpatrick everything, I went back up to my room and put my trunk away - Mrs. McGreggor had locked it to keep the other children from snooping around inside it. Mrs. McGreggor said that she had to leave, but that the school year began on September 1st, and she would be back at the orphanage early that morning to take me to school. Then we said our goodbyes and that night after dinner I sat on the front porch talking to Ms. Fitzpatrick, telling her everything we’d seen and done that day.
I went to bed exhausted, but excited, and I spent the next few weeks close at Ms. Fitzpatrick’s side, spending as much time as I could with her, because I knew I’d miss her terribly when I was gone. And as it normally does, time flew, and before we knew it or were even ready for it, September 1st was upon us.
The night before, Ms. Fitzpatrick and I sat out on the front porch staring up at the stars. Ms. Fitzpatrick spoke up and said that I should get some sleep because I had a busy day ahead of me. We both stood up to head back inside, and I pulled her into the tightest hug I’d ever given her. “I’m really going to miss you,” I said.
“I’m really going to miss you too, Jayde,” she answered.
Chapter 4: Dunamase Institute of Magical Learning
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Ms. Fitzpatrick woke me up at seven the next morning. I pulled my trunk downstairs and set it in the hallway. She made breakfast and we ate in silence, as the other children in the orphanage were still asleep. Before we finished eating, Mrs. McGreggor arrived and sat in the kitchen patiently while I finished my breakfast. When I’d finished, she insisted that we really had to get going, so I walked up and gave Ms. Fitzpatrick one last hug.
We both cried for a moment before she told me I shouldn’t keep Mrs. McGreggor waiting, so I released her, grabbed my trunk from the hallway and followed Mrs. McGreggor, who had left the room to give us some privacy. I literally felt my heart break as I stepped out the front door. I walked down the steps and Mrs. McGreggor put her hand on my shoulder to comfort me. Just as we were about to leave the yard, I turned back to look at the orphanage one last time.
Ms. Fitzpatrick was standing at the door watching, and waved goodbye when I turned around. I had a terrible urge to run back and hug her again, but Mrs. McGreggor said, “Come on, dear,” and took me by the hand, leading me back down the road to where it was safe to apparate. Silent tears still ran down my cheeks as we walked. When we reached our ‘apparition spot’ beneath the huge oak tree down the road from the orphanage, I gave Mrs. McGreggor my trunk and took hold of her hand, and grimaced as the all-too-familiar squeezing sensation started. When it ended, I opened my eyes to a truly astounding sight.
There it was: Dunamase Institute of Magical Learning, in all its splendor. A large, chest-high stone wall enclosed the school grounds, which included one large, main building and a few smaller ones as well. All the buildings were made of the same grey stone as the wall. The school sat at the top of a hill, on a small, winding country road. There were no houses or other buildings anywhere nearby, just green, rolling hills as far as the eye could see. “Welcome to Dunamase,” Mrs. McGreggor said as she handed me my trunk and started walking up the winding, uphill road.
I followed, pulling my trunk behind me, looking up at the castle as I went. We passed through the opening in the wall and continued up the road, which led to a round stone gate, shaped like the many grey turrets of the castle. Mrs. McGreggor indicated several things about the school grounds as we walked; she pointed to the smaller buildings to our left and indicated that those were the greenhouses, and she pointed off to our right to indicate the school’s owlery and the flying field, where I’d be taught to fly a broom. As we approached the stone gate, the wooden double doors opened and I set foot in Dunamase castle for the first time.
I was immediately reminded of a medieval castle as Mrs. McGreggor escorted me up to the girl’s dormitories on the third, and highest, floor of the castle. The hallways were lit both by the light streaming through the ceiling-to-floor windows and by the flaming torches hung between the paintings that adorned the empty wall space on the opposite side of the halls. Identical green rectangular rugs ran the length of each hallway, covering the majority but not the entirety of the stone floors. Each rug bore the school’s emblem in the same purple from my recently-bought uniforms.
Several doors led off each hallway, and the hallways formed one big rectangle, whose middle was made up of the dining hall, the healer’s office, and several large classrooms on the first floor, more classrooms and teachers’ offices on the second floor, and the dorm rooms on the third floor. The dorm rooms only had one entrance door from the hallway, which led to a large, open living area with couches and fireplaces for all the girls to share, and was also decorated in the school’s colors, purple and green. Countless doors led off the living area to the dorm rooms, and each dorm room was shared by four girls of the same year.
Once Mrs. McGreggor had taken me to my room, I’d started getting settled in. I put my clothes and other belongings in the oak dresser next to my new purple-sheeted, four poster bed, and I waited for my new roommates to arrive. The rest of that day, and that week, for that matter, were spent getting accustomed to the layout of the castle and meeting all my fellow students, as well as our teachers. I quickly found, to my delight, that I was just as skilled at learning magic as I had been at learning all the subjects in “normal” school.
I excelled in all my classes and was adored by all the teachers, though that made me less popular with all the students. I quickly got used to my new school and visited the orphanage over the Christmas and Easter holidays, spending as much time as I could with Ms. Fitzpatrick. I always dreaded having to say goodbye again, but each time I returned to Dunamase feeling refreshed and ready to get back to studying magic. I quickly grew very close to Mrs. McGreggor, who in turn grew very close to Ms. Fitzpatrick during all her trips to the orphanage to either bring me home from school, or to pick me up and take me to school.
My first year at Dunamase passed rather successfully, with every indication that I would finish out my educational career at the top of my class if things continued the same way for the next 6 years. And that should have been it. I should have had a wonderful seven-year career at Dunamase, got a wonderful job somewhere in the Irish wizarding community, met a man and got married, and lived happily ever after. But no, of course life wouldn’t make it that easy for me.
I did have a very successful career at Dunamase while I was there, though I didn’t have many friends. But I ended up only being at Dunamase for six years, because something happened at the end of my sixth year that changed everything. We had just taken our exams and had a week left in the school year. We were waiting for the results; we were told they’d be given to us after breakfast the morning before we left school for the summer. I was extremely nervous that morning - I barely ate.
When breakfast was finished, Mrs. McGreggor stood up and told all the sixth years to stay seated, but that all the other students should leave the dining room. They did as they were told and filed out in a single-file line, and about five minutes later the last of the other students walked out of the dining room. Mrs. McGreggor then said that she would call our names and that when she did so we should come up, take our results, and leave the dining room. I sat in my seat, practically bouncing because I was so nervous, and there were still quite a few people in the dining room when my name was called.
I stood, walked up to the front of the dining hall, and took my results from Mrs. McGreggor, who flashed me a quick smile before calling the next name. I turned and walked out of the dining room and outside, onto the grounds that were now filled with sixth year students, reading their exam results and then showing them to their friends. I walked as far away from the others as I could and sat down on a bench before opening my letter. “Yes!” I said to myself quietly as I read it. I had done it! I’d aced every class I’d taken and would be able to continue with the last year of N.E.W.T. level classes!
As I sat there quietly, basking in my triumph, I thought of how proud Ms. Fitzpatrick would be. She knew how worried I’d been about the exams; I’d written to her about it. And I got so immersed in thinking about how to tell her how well I’d done that I didn’t notice several of the other sixth years walking towards me. When I finally heard them approaching, I looked up and was immediately reminded of Gloria and her swarm of friends that day on the playground when I was 11 years old.
Five students were walking towards me with determined smirks on their faces. Their green and purple school uniforms were waving with the wind as they walked, and it was clear that they'd been searching for me because all of their eyes were fixed directly upon mine. I got a very ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was scared, but I wasn’t 11 anymore. I was 16, and if they wanted to fight for some dumb reason, I was going to defend myself. Unfortunately, defending myself was something I’d had to learn through experience at Dunamase.
I re-folded my letter and stood up, looking at them all approach. “Hey Newsome,” one boy called. “I aced every single class. Let’s see you beat that!”
I smiled at him politely and said, “Congratulations,” but nothing more.
“Come on then,” he said. “How many did you pass, Miss Perfect?”
I wasn’t sure if I should answer him, but I did anyway. “All of them,” I said quietly.
Everyone started whispering amongst themselves; a few of them were shaking with quiet laughter. I’d apparently embarrassed the boy. His face turned bright red. “Well, if you did so bloody well, then how come you were bouncing off your seat like you were nervous while you waited for Mrs. McGreggor to call your name? I mean honestly, I thought you were going to pee on yourself.” Everyone started laughing hysterically; it was my turn to be embarrassed.
“It doesn’t matter,” the boy continued. “I know the only reason you did so well is because you’re Mrs. McGreggor’s little pet. She feels sorry for you because you’re an orphan - or rather, because your mother and father were too stupid to use their powers to put out a house fire.”
At that, everyone roared with laughter. I, however, did not find that amusing at all. I pulled my wand from the pocket in my skirt and took full dueler’s stance: I extended my right leg out in front of me, raised my left arm and positioned my left hand slightly behind my left ear, and raised my wand to point it directly at him. “Leave me alone,” I said. He stood there looking dumbfounded for a moment. Then he turned around, and I thought he was leaving, but before I knew what was happening he’d taken his wand from his pocket, turned back around and disarmed me.
I quickly scurried to where I’d seen my wand fall, hoping to grab it before he hit me with another spell, but he reached it before I could. Laughing, he threw my wand behind him and said, “Now what are you going to do?” Just then, I heard Mrs. McGreggor’s voice in the background.
“Aaron,” she screamed as she ran towards us. “Leave her alone!”
“Oh look,” he said quietly. “Mrs. McGreggor’s come to rescue you. Probably because she knows you can’t defend yourself, especially without your wand.”
But it was too late for Mrs. McGreggor to rescue me. I’d already gotten too upset and started feeling just like I had that day at the orphanage before the freak storm had come up. I became unaware of my surroundings again and could think of and see nothing but Aaron’s laughing face. I felt the anger swelling inside me again, and I once again knew that something was about to happen that I had absolutely no control over.
In talking with Mrs. McGreggor later, I discovered that once again, my eyes had lost their color, and it appeared as though I were frozen and as though my mind was in a completely different place. And once again, the skies darkened and the wind began to pick up. Lightning pierced the sky and thunder roared, and rain started falling in torrents even though the sun had been shining just moments before. And Mrs. McGreggor later told me that just before she reached me, she heard Aaron ask in a frightened voice, “What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?”
When she reached me, she was extremely frightened by the change in my eyes and spoke to me, to try to convince me to go see the Healer and make sure I was okay. When I didn’t answer, she’d grabbed me by the shoulders, like Ms. Fitzpatrick had done five years earlier, and shaken me, trying to make me snap out of it. And once again, my whole body jerked and I let out a loud gasp. I’d blinked my eyes and looked up at her, asking what had just happened. She didn’t answer me at first; she simply stared at me for what seemed like an eternity. She later told me that she’d been staring at me because my eyes were quickly changing back to their normal color, which had amazed her.
Again, I remembered none of this, but I do remember what happened next, because it changed my life forever. Mrs. McGreggor asked if I was all right several times, and I insisted to her that I was. Then I looked around to see that all the other children were gone. I asked her where they had gone, and she said, “They must have run inside to get out of the…”, but then she stopped. She looked up at the cloudless sky and then back at me. “The storm!” she finished, before grabbing me by the shoulders and staring me straight in the eyes. I asked her what was going on, and the only response I got was a whispered, “Merlin.”
“What?” I asked, frightened.
“You’re a Nimbimagus,” she said.
“I’m a what?” I asked.
“Never mind dear, I’ll explain it to you later,” she answered. “It’s time for all you children to go home. When I take you home I will sit down with you and explain everything.”
“Okay,” I said as I walked to where my wand lay and picked it up, completely perplexed. An hour later we were walking back down the street in front of the orphanage. I was very excited to be home. I ran into the house, completely abandoning my trunk on the front lawn, and showed Ms. Fitzpatrick my letter; she was completely thrilled. Then Mrs. McGreggor stepped inside and said that she needed to speak with Ms. Fitzpatrick and myself on the front porch.
So the two of us stepped outside and Mrs. McGreggor relayed to us what had happened less than two hours ago at the school. I was puzzled, but Ms. Fitzpatrick spoke up and said that it had happened before, but she thought that was just a normal part of being a witch when she’d found out I was one. Mrs. McGreggor said that it certainly was not, and then said again that I was a Nimbimagus. “But what does that mean?” I asked her.
“Jayde, you know what an Animagus is, right?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “A witch or wizard who can choose to turn into an animal.”
“Very good.” she said. “Now what is a Metamorphmagus?”
“A witch or wizard who can change their appearance at will, depending upon their mood,” I answered.
“Right again,” she said. “Now then, a Nimbimagus is a witch or wizard who can change the weather in their immediate vicinity, depending upon their mood. They’re very rare, I’ve never even seen one before, and being a Nimbimagus isn’t something that can be taught, you have to be born with it. It runs in the family, so one of your parents must have been one as well, and since your mother attended Dunamase and I haven’t heard anything about her being a Nimbimagus, it must have been your father.”
“Wow,” I’d said, mesmerized by the idea that I could affect the weather.
“Jayde, I have to warn you,” Mrs. McGreggor continued, “this could mean that you will have to change schools.”
“What?!” I exclaimed. “What do you mean change schools? Change to which school? Why?”
“Calm yourself dear,” she said. “You may have to change schools because Dunamase has never had a Nimbimagus before; you need to be taught how to control your powers so they don’t consume you, and that’s not something I can teach you. The nearest wizarding school is in Scotland, but I’ll have to write to the headmaster first to find out if his school is capable of teaching you.”
“Scotland?” I shrieked, “Are you serious? But that’s a whole other country! So I don’t have a choice then -I’ll have to transfer?”
“I’m not sure yet,” Mrs. McGreggor answered. “You will return to Dunamase in the fall. If all goes well and you don’t have any more outbursts like the one today, then you may stay at Dunamase. But if this happens again, I’ll have no choice but to insist that you transfer, for your own well-being. Trust me Jayde, I don’t want to see you go either, but if it’s for your own good…”
“Okay,” I said, praying that when the fall came the same situation wouldn’t happen again, so I could stay at Dunamase.
But, of course, my life couldn’t be that simple. By the second week of my seventh year of school everyone had found out about my being a Nimbimagus somehow. And one day at lunch, Aaron walked up and said, “So Jayde, what’s the weather going to be like today? Mostly sunny, with a small chance of Jayde losing it and causing a tornado that kills us all?” before walking off.
Of course this had upset me, and another episode had ensued. This time it went a little further, though. This time, I passed out and had to be taken to the nurse. I’d been unconscious for quite a while before coming to in a hospital bed, with Mrs. McGreggor standing over me, looking very concerned. “I’ve written to the headmaster of the wizarding school in Scotland,” she said. Resigned, I’d flopped my head back down on the pillow, depressed.
It only took a few days for Mrs. McGreggor to receive a response. The headmaster of the other school, Albus Dumbledore, had written to tell her that I was more than welcome to come to his school. He said they’d taught a few Nimbimagi and that they had school records showing that my father was a Nimbimagus and that he had been taught there. As if that wasn’t enough to convince Mrs. McGreggor to send me, he’d also said that one of his teachers, Professor Severus Snape, was one of the few wizards in the world who could correctly brew the very complicated Nimbimagus potion, which when taken correctly, could help keep my powers in check. So Mrs. McGreggor wrote to Ms. Fitzpatrick to make sure it was okay with her if I was transferred, and of course Ms. Fitzpatrick had agreed that if that was what was best for me, then that’s what needed to be done.
Mrs. McGreggor then wrote back to Dumbledore and told him that I’d be transferring. Dumbledore responded to tell her where I could buy my new school uniforms, books and supplies and gave her a list of what I’d need. He told her that as soon as I could acquire my new books and supplies, I was welcome to start at his school.
Mrs. McGreggor and I argued for the next two days about the transfer. I kept telling her I didn’t want to go, and she kept telling me that it was in my best interest to go; it was a stalemate. I pointed out all my concerns about transferring, like the fact that I knew no one in Scotland nor at the school I was transferring to, and she kept pointing out all the bad things that could happen if I stayed at Dunamase and didn’t learn to control my newly discovered powers. She insisted that Albus Dumbledore was a famous, respected wizard and a colleague of hers and that she trusted him, and that I should, too.
Finally, just so I wouldn’t have to argue with her about it anymore, I conceded. The following Saturday, Mrs. McGreggor came into my dorm room early in the morning and said I needed to get up because she was taking me shopping for my new school things, and then to my new school. I hadn’t expected the transfer to take place nearly that quickly, but I got up and dressed in my regular clothes, packed my trunk and met her on the grounds with it twenty minutes later. We walked away from the castle and down the winding road a short way before she gestured for me to take her hand. Before we disapparated, I sadly took one final glance at Dunamase.
We disapparated and landed in Clonminam, and went to a second-hand shop to sell all my Dunamase things except my wand; I wouldn’t need them anymore. When we’d finished, we disapparated again and landed in Dublin, near Gringott’s. We went inside and Mrs. McGreggor explained the situation to the goblin behind the counter. She told him that my account needed to be transferred to the Gringott’s in London, and he assured her that it was no problem and that my money would be there before I would. As we left Gringott’s, I asked her, “Why does my money need to go to London? I thought the school was in Scotland.”
“It is,” she replied. “But the nearest Gringott’s is in London.”
“Great,” I’d said. “I’ll have to go to a whole other country every time I need money from my vault.” Mrs. McGreggor told me to stop being so pessimistic. Then we walked into the forest near Gringott’s and disapparated again. When we landed this time, we were in a small, dimly lit pub. When I asked Mrs. McGreggor where we were, she said we’d landed in The Leaky Cauldron, a wizard’s pub in London. She then led me through the crowd and in between tables to the back of the pub, through the back door and outside to a courtyard, closed in by a brick wall. She looked like she was counting bricks for some reason, and then she tapped a few of them with her wand.
Immediately the bricks began shifting and relocating themselves, and within a moment’s time they had cleared a large archway, which we walked through. The alley we’d walked into was very crowded, and there was sign hanging above our heads that read ‘Diagon Alley’. I looked around curiously as we walked past several shops, some of them large while others were small. We walked for a few moments before we came upon the tall, leaning white building that I knew had to be Gringott’s, even before I read the sign. We walked inside and up to the counter, explained to the goblin that my account should have just been transferred from the Gringott’s in Ireland, and waited while he went to the back and made sure everything checked out and grabbed the key for my new account.
Whereas my old vault had been number 615, my vault at the Gringott’s in London was number 681. We rode down to my vault, took out a few handfuls of coins, rode back up to the main room of the bank, and left, and I tucked the key to my new vault into my pocket. Then the London shopping spree began. We went to a shop to our left called Madam Malkin’s first, where I was fitted for and given my new school uniforms; personally I thought they were rather plain and ugly compared to my Dunamase robes. We left there and bought my cauldron, scales, books, ingredients for potions class, and all my other supplies.
I wondered why my new school required materials that were so much different from the supplies I had to have at Dunamase. In fact, I was amazed at how much of a difference there was between Diagon Alley and Clonminam. When we’d finished shopping, Mrs. McGreggor told me to take her arm again, and when I did we disapparated. We landed in a tiny, cramped toilet stall and quickly squeezed our way out. Luckily, there were no other girls in the bathroom at the time. We left the bathroom and I found myself inside a busy train station. “Where are we?” I asked Mrs. McGreggor.
“King’s Cross Station,” she answered.
“Why are we here?” I asked her.
“Because a train is the only way to get to Hogwarts, and Professor Dumbledore has arranged a special train to come just for you and me.”
“Okay,” I said, finally having heard the name of the school I was going to. Mrs. McGreggor pulled two train tickets from her pocket and then headed towards the platforms.
She slowed down when she got to platform 9, pointed to the wall between platforms 9 and 10 and said, “Jayde, the platform we need is there. Take my hand, we’re going to walk through that wall.”
“What?” I said, confused. Not answering me, she took my hand and led me towards the wall. I braced myself for the impact, but it never came. I heard a train whistle and opened my eyes, and we were standing on what the sign called ‘Platform 9 ¾, Hogwarts Express’. Mrs. McGreggor handed the ticket-master our tickets and we boarded the train. We picked a compartment, put my trunk in the overhead storage, and sat down and waited for the train ride to begin.
A/N: There are two Irish/Gaelic phrases in this chapter. The first, Slan leat, means goodbye. The second, An labhraionn tu Gaelige?, means Do you speak Irish/Gaelic? Please read and review!
Right now, at this very minute, I am still sitting on the train, on my way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and I’m beginning to wonder if this ride will ever end. Mrs. McGreggor and I are sitting in silence, having already exhausted every possible conversation known to man. I look out my window and see nothing but rolling hills and tons of trees.
I sigh loudly, and Mrs. McGreggor tells me to be patient, that we’re almost there. Great! I think to myself - the only problem is that she said the same thing 30 minutes ago after I'd sighed for the 10th time. After what seems like an eternity, the whistle blows and the train begins to slow down. I jump up out of my seat and start pulling my trunk down from the storage compartment.
The train jerks to a stop and Mrs. McGreggor slides open the compartment door and steps out into the walkway. I follow her down the walkway and off the train, onto the platform. We’re in the middle of nowhere, and the school is nowhere in sight. Just as I’m about to ask Mrs. McGreggor where the school is, a carriage pulls up, being drawn by nothing.
There’s a rather gangly, pimply-faced man riding in it. He says he’s Mr. Filch, school caretaker, and he’s here to escort us to the castle. He takes my trunk and helps Mrs. McGreggor and me board the carriage before sitting back down. The carriage takes off and we ride in silence for a little while. Then we round a corner on the winding, bumpy path we’re on and I see Hogwarts for the first time.
It’s absolutely beautiful, and huge, much bigger than Dunamase. We ride on, up to the gargantuan gates which are already open for us. The carriage stops just outside the gates and we all dismount, Mr. Filch bringing up the rear with my trunk. The carriage pulls off and we walk through the gates, which immediately close once we’ve passed through.
Mr. Filch tells me he’s going to take my trunk up to the castle and that Mrs. McGreggor and I should wait here for the groundskeeper, who will escort us to Professor Dumbledore, and off he goes. I look around at the grounds, and suddenly I hear a booming voice say, “Hello Mrs. McGreggor!” I quickly turn to see who has spoken, and rest my eyes upon the largest man I’ve ever seen in my whole life - and that’s not an exaggeration.
He’s shaking hands with Mrs. McGreggor; he says his name is Hagrid. He has long, frizzy black hair, a beard to match, and small, beady eyes. He looks very intimidating, but for some reason, I don’t believe he’d harm a fly. “And you must be Jayde,” he says to me. I give him a small smile and nod my head. “We been expectin’ ya,” he says, “Follow me - I’ll take ya up to Dumbledore.” So Mrs. McGreggor and I follow him across the grounds.
As we walk, he points out certain features of the grounds and explains what they are and what goes on there, like he’s giving a grand tour of the place. He indicates the Quidditch Pitch, the greenhouses, the Black Lake, and the Owlery, and I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the size of my new school; I can already tell this is going to take quite a while to get used to. We enter the castle and continue to follow Hagrid through a maze of hallways, doors, and stairways, passing many students who stop to stare at us curiously and consequentially make me very nervous.
We ride up a moving spiral staircase that leads us to yet another door. When Hagrid knocks on the door, a man’s voice answers, “Come in.” We enter, and there is an older man with long white hair, and an even longer white beard, sitting at the headmaster’s desk and wearing rather curious-looking robes. There is another man standing directly behind him with a rather unenthusiastic look on his face. He is wearing all black, and has shoulder-length black hair that looks rather greasy from where I’m standing just inside the door.
The headmaster has a very kind expression on his face. “Hello Jayde,” the old man says to me, “I’m very pleased to meet you. Please, sit.” He gestures for me to sit in one of the chairs in front of his desk. I do so, and Mrs. McGreggor sits in the chair to my right. Hagrid leaves the room and closes the door behind him.
“I am very glad you have decided to transfer to Hogwarts,” he continues. “I am delighted to be working with another Nimbimagus. I am Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of this school, and the person behind me is Professor Severus Snape. I knew your father when he attended Hogwarts; in fact, he was the first Nimbimagus I ever taught. He was a very talented wizard and a very powerful Nimbimagus”.
“Thank you Professor,” I say quietly.
The professor nods his head silently before continuing. “I cannot take credit for his talent,” he says. “The headmaster who was here when he attended had very much experience with Nimbimagi, and it was he who brewed the potion for your father and taught him to control his powers. As I do not have as much experience as he did, I have assigned Professor Snape here to teach you to control your powers and to brew your potion for you. The potion is very hard to brew and only a skilled hand such as his could do so. The information required to help you control your powers was passed down through his family for generations; several of Professor Snape’s family members were Nimbimagi”.
“But what does the potion do?” I ask him.
“The potion will not keep you from affecting the weather,” he says. “It will simply affect the magnitude with which you affect it; after all, we wouldn’t want to completely cut you off from your powers, you need to be trained to use them. Professor Snape will teach you how to harness your powers and use them, without losing control of yourself. I’m afraid it is not an exact science, however; if at any point you become extremely upset, no amount of training will keep you from losing control, which is where the potion comes in handy. The potion must be taken daily. Also, if you have any sudden, extreme outbursts of emotion, you may have to take another dose of the potion to decrease the chances of extreme inclement weather occurring. I really believe the potion will be a great help to you.”
At this I notice Mrs. McGreggor nodding her head out of the corner of my eye. “Now dear, do you understand everything?” he asks.
“Yes,” I reply.
“Good,” he says. “Now, on to other matters of business - your sorting”.
“My what?” I ask.
“At Dunamase,” he responds, “the whole student body is one. Here at Hogwarts, however, the student body is divided into four Houses. Students of the same House attend classes together, eat meals together, and dorm together. Each House is its own team, in a manner of speaking, and at the end of the year, the House with the most points wins the House Cup. Throughout the year, any student who does something good will receive points which are credited to their House. Any student who breaks rules will cause points to be deducted from their House. Points are also awarded to the Houses that win Quidditch games. The Houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Upon arriving at Hogwarts, students must be sorted into a particular House; we need to find out which House you belong in.”
“How do we do that?” I ask nervously. Professor Snape turns around and takes a pointed hat from a shelf behind him. He hands the hat to Professor Dumbledore, who then places it on the table.
“All you have to do is place that hat on your head,” he says. So I reach out, take the hat off the desk and place it on my head.
“GRYFFINDOR,” it says immediately, scaring me so badly that I nearly jump out of my seat. I hurriedly take the hat off my head and place it back on the desk.
“Very good,” Professor Dumbledore says happily. “Now there is just one last matter of business to attend to: your class schedule. As I understand it, you received 10 O.W.L.s in your fifth year, chose which subjects you wish to continue to N.E.W.T. level, and passed level one of each of those classes last year. Our equivalents of those subjects you were taking at Dunamase are the classes you will be taking here. As we have just learned that you are a Gryffindor, I will need time to prepare your schedule so that you attend classes with your fellow 7th year Gryffindors. I will have your schedule to you by Monday morning, so that you may begin work immediately and don’t miss any of your classes. In addition to your N.E.W.T. level classes, you will also have a private class with Professor Snape so that he may train you to use your newfound powers. I will examine your schedule and decide when the best time is for this class to take place, and will also get that information to you by Monday morning.”
“Okay,” I say, nodding and casting a quick glance at Professor Snape.
“Professor McGonagall will be your Head of House; you will meet her at dinner down in the Great Hall. Speaking of dinner, it has already begun. Let’s get downstairs before everything is gone. Mr. Filch will take your trunk to your dorm room in Gryffindor Tower, and you shall go up there to get settled in after dinner.”
At this he stands and walks around his desk, Professor Snape hot on his heels, and comes to stand beside me. I stand and shake the hand he’s just extended, and then he turns and shakes Mrs. McGreggor’s hand as well. “Won’t you join us for dinner, Eva?” he asks.
“I’m afraid I can’t, Albus,” she says. “I must get back to my own school”.
At this my heart drops into my stomach; I didn’t think she’d be leaving so soon. “Well then,” he says, “you can at least walk with us down to the Great Hall; you’ll be very near the exit from there, and you and Jayde can say your goodbyes down there.”
Like she’s been doing ever since we arrived at the castle, Mrs. McGreggor nods her head in agreement with what Professor Dumbledore has said, and she and I follow Professors Dumbledore and Snape out of the headmaster’s office and back down the moving staircase. We walk back through the enormous maze that is my new school. We don’t pass any of my fellow students in the hallways, and when we reach the entrance hall I understand why.
Off to our right there’s an enormous set of double doors, which are open, and I can hear the deafening roar that can only mean that there are lots of people in there talking all at once. This must be the Great Hall. “Here we are,” Professor Dumbledore says. “Eva, you and Jayde may step outside to say your goodbyes, Professor Snape and I will wait here for Jayde.” With this, he walks over and shakes her hand, and Professor Snape follows suit. She and I step out the doors Professor Dumbledore indicated while he was talking. Then the sobbing begins.
“Very well then, Jayde,” she begins. “This is it. I know you’ll do well here.” She pulls me into a suffocating bear hug, but I don’t mind that I can’t breathe. If Ms. Fitzpatrick has been like my mother, Mrs. McGreggor definitely counts as my aunt. She always looked after me while I was at Dunamase and she and I have grown very close.
We both stand there sobbing for a moment before she releases me and begins wiping her eyes, trying to calm herself. “I want you to promise me that you’ll write to me as often as you can,” she says.
“I’ll write to you just like I write to Ms. Fitzpatrick,” I promise.
"And let me know when you’ll be leaving school for holidays, and I will meet you in London and take you back to the orphanage,” she continues.
“Okay,” I say quietly.
“Very well then,” she says again. “You should get inside for dinner now. Slan leat,” she says before leaning down and kissing my forehead.
“Slan leat,” I say back to her sadly, and she starts walking off. Having lost the last bit of familiarity I had in this strange new place, I turn and walk back inside, where Mr. Filch has joined Professors Dumbledore and Snape. When he sees me come inside, he runs outside to catch up with Mrs. McGreggor and accompany her back to the train.
Then, seeing the streaks on my face where tears had been running down it, Professor Dumbledore places a hand on my shoulder and says, “There there, dear.” Professor Snape simply looks away, as if he doesn’t want to see this display of emotion. Professor Dumbledore gives me a moment to compose myself before saying, “Now Jayde, let’s go inside and get a bite to eat.” And he leads me through the double doors and into the Great Hall.
I’m already sad because I’ve just had to say goodbye to another person I am extremely close to, and when we enter the Great Hall things don’t improve. I am walking beside Professor Dumbledore, and Professor Snape is behind us. There are four long tables, two on our left and the other two on our right, and we are walking down the center aisle that separates the two pairs, right in the middle of all the other students, who are of course staring at us as we walk further up the aisle. As we approach the end of the tables, I see a single table sitting at the back of the room, turned horizontally.
This must be the teachers’ table, I think to myself. I follow Professor Dumbledore around the table and he gestures that I should sit down beside him in the empty chair to his left. Professor Snape takes the seat to my immediate left. As soon as we sit, the professors begin filling their plates with the items that are spread out across the table, and Dumbledore urges me to do the same. Every once in a while, he points at a dish and tells me that I must try some, it’s delicious, and though I was full ten minutes ago, I oblige.
Once he has finished his dessert, he stands and gestures that I should do the same thing. He then tells me to follow him to the podium standing in front of the teachers’ table, and I do so nervously, hoping he isn’t about to introduce me to the whole school. “Good evening everyone,” he says loudly, and all chattering in the hall stops immediately. “I have great news,” he continues. “As of today, you all have a new classmate. She has transferred to us from Dunamase Institute of Magical Learning, a smaller wizarding school in Ireland.”
I feel every eye in the room upon me. “This is Miss Jayde Newsome, a seventh year, and prior to coming to the feast she was sorted into Gryffindor House in a small sorting ceremony in my office,” Dumbledore continues. At this, all the students at the table slightly to my right start clapping. “Miss Newsome received 10 O.W.L.s in her fifth year and will continue her N.E.W.T. level classes and finish out her magical education here. She is a credit to this school, in more than just an academic way. You see, Miss Newsome is a very special kind of witch, a kind that hasn’t been seen at Hogwarts in a long time. Miss Newsome is a Nimbimagus,” he says.
Several people gasp audibly, while others begin chatting quietly amongst themselves. Great, I think, did he seriously just tell them all that?
“Now I want each and every one of you to make Miss Newsome feel as welcome as you possibly can,” he presses on. “She is one of us now. Now, if Mr. Ronald Weasley and Miss Hermione Granger would please come up here; everyone else is free to go.” With this, two students from the Gryffindor table stand and start walking towards us, while everyone else starts walking in the opposite direction, towards the double doors at the back of the hall.
The two students who are walking towards us are a boy and girl who appear to be around my age. The boy is tall, with shockingly red hair, freckles, and a pale complexion. The girl is shorter than he is, with bushy brown hair. They both smile at me as they approach; the girl seems to be very excited while the boy seems to have only forced a smile to be polite.
“Jayde,” Professor Dumbledore says as they reach us, “this is Miss Hermione Granger and Mr. Ronald Weasley. Miss Granger is the school’s Head Girl, and Mr. Weasley is the seventh-year Gryffindor prefect.”
“Hello,” they both say politely.
“Should you need anything,” Dumbledore continues, “just let them know. They will help you navigate the castle until you can do so by yourself. Now, follow them, and they will take you up to Gryffindor tower and introduce you to the other Gryffindors.”
“Okay,” I say quietly, nodding my head.
“This way,” the girl called Hermione says, and she and Ronald turn and head down the main aisle of the Great Hall.
There is still a large cluster of people at the doors to the Great Hall, trying to squeeze through as quickly as they can. We join the cluster and within a moment we pass through the double doors. The hallway is just as crowded as the doorway, if not more so. Trying to avoid a collision with another student, I find myself separated from Ronald and Hermione.
Panicking, I quickly turn in every direction, trying to spot them through the crowd. In my dismay, I forget to check the whereabouts of all the other students around me as I turn, and consequentially bump into one.
“Oi! Watch where you’re going!” an angry boy’s voice calls. I turn to see where the voice is coming from, so that I can apologize to him. “Who was that?” I hear the boy ask.
Finally finding where his voice is coming from, I turn to see the back side of a tall, slender boy with hair so blond it’s almost white. He is obviously looking around for whoever ran into him so rudely. There’s a boy at each of his sides, also looking for the culprit. “It was me,” I say to their backs, and the short, chubby boy at his right turns around and looks at me.
He then taps the taller boy on the shoulder and says, “It was her.”
“I’m sorry,” I say to the back of the blond boy’s head.
“Well, you’d bloody well better be sorry, you filthy…” he says, turning on the spot. He stops talking when he sees me, his eyes widen and his face softens. I can’t help but to notice how extremely attractive he is; my heart starts beating rapidly. He stares at me silently, but he doesn’t seem to be angry anymore. I look up at him, frightened. I find it hard to breathe under the gaze of his piercing grey eyes, probably because I’m afraid that I’ve very clumsily made an enemy in my first day at Hogwarts.
“I’m sorry,” I say again. He says nothing; it appears as though he’s in some sort of trance. I keep shifting my eyes away from his and then back to them, in hopes of decreasing the awkwardness I’m feeling. Suddenly, I hear someone calling my name. I turn to see Ronald and Hermione walking up behind me.
“Sorry,” Ronald says, “Didn’t realize we’d lost you until we got halfway to the common room.”
“Come on Jayde,” Hermione says. “The hallways are clear now so it should be easier this time around.” And with one final glance back at the handsome boy, who is still staring at me silently, I follow Ronald and Hermione. Just before we step out of sight, I glance over my shoulder, and sure enough, the boy is still standing in the exact same spot, staring at me, both of his friends looking at him, perplexed.
“What was all that about?” Ronald asks. “Why is he staring at you like that?”
“Who is he?” I ask quietly.
“Draco Malfoy, he’s a seventh year Slytherin and a Slytherin House prefect.” Hermione says. “Why was he staring at you like that?”
“I accidentally bumped into him,” I say, “He was very angry about it, so I was apologizing to him.”
Ronald snickers. “Don’t worry about it, you shouldn’t have even wasted your breath apologizing, Malfoy’s always angry about something,” he says. “Isn’t he?” he asks, looking at Hermione.
“That’s true,” she answers, nodding her head and smirking as though the two of them are sharing some private joke. I continue to follow them up the many staircases, some of which are moving. We finally come to a landing with a portrait of a rather large woman on the wall.
The woman speaks to us. “Password?” she says.
“Several doors in the castle are protected by portraits like these, and they require a password to enter,” Hermione says. “If you don’t know the password, you won’t be let in. The passwords change sometimes, so make sure you keep up with what the current password is. Right now, it’s ‘Mimbulus Mimbletonia’.”
Once she says this, the portrait swings open and reveals an archway, which we walk through. We enter the common room, where a large number of students are sitting, playing games or chatting. As my luck would have it, they all stop what they’re doing and look up at me, making me extremely nervous.
“Everyone, this is Jayde,” Hermione says. A few people mutter greetings before going back to what they were doing. One boy walks right up to me excitedly. He’s shorter than Ronald, with sandy-colored hair. I wonder why he’s so excited, but he quickly answers my question.
“An labhraionn tu Gaelige?” he asks, shocking me by speaking in my native tongue; I wasn’t expecting to meet any Irish wizards at Hogwarts. I answer, telling him that I do speak Irish, which makes his smile grow even wider. He extends his hand, which I shake politely. “I’m Seamus Finnigan,” he says, in a very thick Irish accent.
“Nice to meet you,” I reply. I look over and see Ronald and Hermione looking at the two of us. Ronald seems a bit confused, while Hermione appears fascinated.
“I’ll let you get unpacked, but maybe we can talk some more tomorrow,” Seamus says. I nod, and he walks off.
“What the bloody hell was that all about?” Ronald asks me after Seamus walks off, but I don’t have to answer because Hermione speaks up.
“Jayde is Irish, Ron,” she says.
“I know,” he responds. “What I want to know is what Seamus was doing. What was that language he talked to her in?”.
“IRISH!” Hermione groans, frustrated, and rolls her eyes.
“I’ve never heard any Irish person talk like that,” Ronald replies.
“Because you don’t speak Irish!” Hermione answers.
I can’t help but think that they’re fighting like an old married couple. I laugh at the thought, but cover my mouth so they won’t hear me. “You might want to stand back,” a girl’s voice says beside me. “They’ll be snogging any second”.
I turn to see who’s talking. There’s a slender girl standing there, with red hair and freckles. She’s fairly tall for a girl, and I can’t help but to think that she looks a lot like Ronald, who is still arguing with Hermione about whether or not Irish people have their own language.
“I’m Ginny Weasley,” she says. “And, unfortunately, the ignorant one is my older brother.”
“I thought you looked alike,” I say.
“Don’t say that, Ginny will hex you into next week,” says a handsome boy who’s just walked up beside her. He’s slightly taller than I am, with untidy black hair and glasses. “I’m Harry,” he continues in a matter-of-fact tone, as though I should already know his name.
“Hi,” I say, as I shake his extended hand. At this, Hermione, having apparently won the battle with Ronald, comes to stand beside me again. Ronald, though red in the face, joins us also.
“If you’re ready, Jayde,” Hermione says. “I’ll take you upstairs. There’s an empty bed in my dorm, so that’s probably where you’ll be sleeping.”
“Okay,” I say quietly.
“I’ll come with you,” Ginny says. “In case you need help unpacking."
I follow Hermione up the winding stairs at the back of the common room, with Ginny bringing up the rear. When we reach the top, we go through a door to our left that leads to a hallway with several doors on either side. I follow Hermione to the last door on the right and we enter. There are four four-poster beds placed around the room.
“Your trunk’s already in here,” she says, pointing to the bed to my immediate left. Sure enough, my trunk is sitting on the bed, but there are articles of clothing sitting on top of it that don’t belong to me.
“Whose are these?” I ask.
“Yours,” Hermione says. “That’s your Gryffindor tie, sweater, scarf, and robe. The school gives them out after sorting.”
“Oh,” I reply, picking the items up and examining them. I fold them up and place them back on my trunk. Then I lift the trunk and place it on the floor beside my bed. I sit down on my new bed and immediately realize how tired I am from all the day’s activities; I’ve been awake since very early this morning.
Apparently Hermione realizes how tired I am. She says, “Jayde, I’m sure you’ve had a very busy day, you must be very tired. Why don’t you get some sleep and we’ll help you unpack tomorrow?”
“Okay,” I say gratefully.
“Come on, Gin,” I hear Hermione say. “Let’s go back downstairs.” They leave the room, and I try to muster the strength to get up and change into my pajamas, but eventually give up and lie back on the bed and close my eyes.
The next thing I know, I’m waking up. As I open my eyes I can tell it’s still fairly early in the morning. I can see that the sun is just beginning to rise through the window on the opposite side of the room, casting a golden glow upon everything.
I suddenly realize why I awoke so suddenly; I have to use the bathroom. As I sit up and swing my legs to the right side of my bed, I realize I’m still in my clothes from yesterday. I decide that since I’m already going to the bathroom, I might as well take a bath and get dressed for the day.
So I open my trunk and dig through it until I find the clothes I want to wear today, set them on my bed, and then close and lock my trunk. I pick up my clothes and prepare to walk to the bathroom when I realize there’s one small problem: I don’t know where it is.
I don’t want to wake any of the sleeping girls in my room to ask them such a silly question, so I walk out of the room quietly thinking that I’ll just keep looking until I find the bathroom. When I get back into the hallway, I try to think of the most practical approach to take to find the bathroom. Unable to think of anything else, I decide to try all the doors in the hallway one by one.
I cross the hall and quietly open the door directly in front of me. Yes! I think upon seeing that door number one was clearly the right choice. I enter, set my clothes on the sink, and use the bathroom. Then I grab a towel, run myself a warm bath with lots of bubbles, and sit back in the huge tub, relaxing.
As I soak, my mind wanders to Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor, and I begin to feel sad. I think about how difficult it will be to get used to this new school and all these new people, and I start to feel anxious. I allow myself to cry for a few moments; it feels good to let all these emotions out. Afraid that I’ll get too upset and either space out or cause a hurricane, I stop crying and make myself focus on bathing.
When I’m finished, I let the water out of the tub and use a charm I learned at Dunamase to dry my hair. I dress, grab my towel and dirty clothes, and walk back across the hallway into my room. I fold my dirty clothes and towel and lay them on the dresser beside my bed, telling myself that I’ll need to ask Hermione where I should take them to be washed.
Not wanting to sit around and watch the other girls sleep, I decide to walk down to the common room and sit for a while. I dig through my trunk again to find one of my new school books; I’ll read it while I’m sitting in the common room. I leave my room and slip quietly down the hallway and through the door. I walk down the winding staircase and into the now-empty common room that’s still fairly dark, as the sun still isn’t completely up yet.
I walk around for a few moments, looking at all the paintings and portraits on the walls. Then I decide to have a seat and read my book, just to see if there are any major differences between it and the books I had at Dunamase. I look around to find a good spot to read and notice a sofa sitting directly in front of the fireplace on the left side of the room. There’s a small window on the wall to the left of the sofa which should provide ample light for me to read by. I sit down and begin reading through my new book, glad to see that I’m already familiar with many of the spells in it.
I stay there for nearly two hours reading and finally get bored with it. I am seriously considering going back to my room and unpacking when I hear someone coming down the stairs into the common room. I turn to see Hermione walking towards me.
“Good morning,” she says brightly. “Are you feeling better now that you’ve had some sleep? You looked really tired.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I say, amazed by how nice everyone here is being to me.
“Good,” she says. “It’s time for breakfast. Harry and Ron should be down any minute, you’re welcome to come with us, if you’d like. That way you won’t have to find your way back to the Great Hall by yourself.”
“Okay,” I say, realizing how hungry I am and glad to have something to do. “Let me just go put my book up,” I say, and I walk past her, up the stairs, and into our dorm. I place the book on my bed and then turn and walk back to the common room. Hermione is sitting on the sofa, waiting. I sit down beside her and stare at the floor, feeling a bit awkward.
After about 10 minutes of silence, we hear footsteps on the stairs. Harry is coming down the stairs, and Ron is dragging along behind him, yawning. Hermione and I stand as they approach. “Jayde’s coming down to breakfast with us,” Hermione tells them.
“Okay,” the boys say sleepily.
I follow Hermione to the portrait hole and climb out behind her, with Harry and Ron bringing up the rear. As we walk down the never-ending flights of stairs, I look around at my new school. There are hundreds of portraits and paintings scattered along the walls, some of their subjects moving.
We finally reach the Great Hall and enter. I notice that there are very few students in here; most of them must still be asleep. In fact, apparently we’re the only Gryffindors who are awake - the table is completely empty until the four of us sit down. As soon as we sit, food appears on the table in front of us, just as it had done last night. I place a few things on my plate and as I start eating a strange feeling sweeps over me. It’s the unmistakable sense of uneasiness you get when you’re being watched.
Unsure of who’s watching me or why they’re doing so, I try to just ignore it and finish my meal. When I’ve had my fill, I look over at the others to see if they’re almost done; I’m ready to get out of the Great Hall and away from whoever’s staring at me. Ron appears to have just gotten started, even though we’ve been sitting here for at least fifteen minutes, and though Harry and Hermione seem to be done, they’re talking to Ron, so I’m sure they’ll be here for as long as he is. So I stand up, thank the others for letting me have breakfast with them, and tell them I’m going back to my room to unpack.
I walk swiftly out of the Great Hall, but for some reason the feeling of being watched doesn’t go away when I walk into the hallway. Panicking, I start walking faster in hopes of getting away from whoever’s following me. That, however, was obviously a mistake, because as I walk quickly up the steps that lead from the Great Hall to the grand staircase, several little boys run around the corner on their way to breakfast. Trying to avoid a collision with one of them, I quickly jump back closer to the wall and out of their way, but my right foot misses the step and I fall on my butt hard. I let out a quiet, “Ow!”
Not realizing what happened, the boys continue down the steps and into the Great Hall. Someone else, however, has seen the whole thing. “Oi! Stop running and watch where you’re going!” a voice yells after the boys. Then the same voice calls up to me in a less menacing tone, “Are you all right?”
Extremely embarrassed, I look to my right to see the blond boy I bumped into last night walking up the steps towards me, and his friends are right behind him. Just great, I think to myself. I fall on my butt and of course the most handsome guy in the school just HAD to see it.
“Are you all right?” he asks again.
“Yeah,” I say quietly. He’s reached me by this point, and I start trying to get up, my tailbone throbbing. I expect him to start laughing at any moment, but he doesn’t.
Seeing my struggle, he extends his right hand and says, “Let me help you up.”
“Thanks,” I say, taking his hand. I notice that his hand is shaking, like he’s nervous or something.
As soon as my skin touches his, a tingling sensation shoots through my hand and up my arm. It feels like an electric current is passing through my body. I can tell he feels it, too, because his eyebrows furrow and he looks down at my hand. Ignoring the feeling, he pulls me up, and quite easily, I might add - he’s very strong. Once I’m back on my feet, I release his hand and the tingling stops. “Sorry about that,” I say, nodding my head toward his hand. “I didn’t mean to shock you”.
“It’s okay,” he says. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Yeah,” I say again, nodding my head.
“Good,” he says, smiling. His smile makes me want to melt. “When I see those boys again I’ll teach them a lesson about knocking people down in hallways,” he continues.
“No, really, that’s not necessary. I’m fine. They were just in a hurry to get to breakfast,” I say, a little wary of what he means when he says he’ll ‘teach them a lesson’.
Then out of the corner of my eye I see Harry, Ron, and Hermione coming out of the Great Hall. They look worried when they see us and start walking faster. “Malfoy, leave her alone, it’s her first day!” Ron says.
The boy steps away from me and turns to face them, a sour expression on his handsome face. His friends also look angry. “Shut up, you filthy Muggle lover!” he says angrily.
The next thing I know, five wands are drawn and everyone’s got their wand aimed at someone else, except for Hermione and I.
“No!” Hermione and I say loudly, and the blond boy turns to look at me. Just as he does so, Harry fires a spell at him, but he doesn’t see it. Panicking and not wanting my hero to be hexed for something he didn’t do, I grab him by the arm, ignoring the tingling sensation his skin is giving me, and pull him as hard as I can out of harm’s way.
I pull him so hard that we bump into each other, which causes more of the tingling I’d felt before. Moving in front of him and having no other way to defend him, I throw my arms up protectively; I left my wand in my dorm room. “STOP!” I yell. “Just stop!”
“We’re trying to help you!” Ron replies. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t need help!” I say loudly. “He didn’t do anything wrong! I fell down - he was just helping me up!”
“Oh,” Ron says, looking more than a bit confused. He looks around at Harry and Hermione, who also look confused. He and Harry lower their wands, however, and everyone else does, too. I lower my arms, feeling even more embarrassed now than I did when I fell down. I turn around and look at the blond boy, who is staring down at me with an odd expression on his face.
“Are you all right?” I ask him. He nods. My feeling of embarrassment grows by the second. I try to fight them, but the tears slowly begin to flow. “I’m sorry,” I say to him. Not wanting to seem like a big baby, I quickly walk past him and upstairs. As I’m running up the stairs, I hear Hermione fussing, though I’m not sure who at.
“Don’t you understand? You can’t upset her like that!” she says. Then she calls after me, “Jayde, wait!”
I ignore her and continue up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower. I pass many students in the hallways and on the stairways, but I ignore the curious looks they’re giving me. When I reach the portrait of the Fat Lady, I give her the password and enter the common room. Many of the other students are awake now, Ginny being one of them. I nearly run into her in my haste to get back to my room. She notices that I’m crying and asks me what’s wrong.
I don’t answer her, but push past her and continue up the winding stairs, through the hallway door, and into my now-empty dorm room, with Ginny hot on my heels. I sit down on my bed, still crying, and she sits down beside me. “Jayde, what happened?” she asks.
I shake my head and don’t answer her. We sit in silence for a moment before Hermione bursts through the door, out of breath. She sits down on my bed also; Ginny’s on my left, Hermione’s on my right. “Are you ok?” Hermione asks me.
“Look, I know you’re just trying to be nice and make me feel welcome because you’re Head Girl,” I say quietly. “But don’t even bother; it’s just a waste of time. I’m used to being alone. In fact, I’m better off that way.”
“Nobody’s better off alone,” she replies.
“Hermione, what happened?” Ginny asks.
“Jayde’s just a little embarrassed is all,” Hermione replies.
“A little embarrassed?” I ask incredulously. “I’m more than a little embarrassed. In my first twenty-four hours at a new school where I don’t know anybody, I’ve managed to run into someone, fall on my arse, get helped up by the same someone I ran into, and then get the same person who helped me up off my arse into a fight! It doesn’t look like I’ll be making anything but enemies here.”
“Jayde, that fight wasn’t your fault,” Hermione says. “Harry and Ron thought they were helping you, they thought Malfoy was picking on you or something.”
“And why would they just assume that when they saw me standing near him?” I ask, looking up at her.
“Wait, did I hear that correctly? Did you just ask her why Harry and Ron might think Malfoy was picking on you?” Ginny asks. I’m not sure what to make of the tone in her voice.
“Yes,” I say, turning to look at her and nodding my head.
“Because he’s always picking on everyone!” she exclaims. “He’s a spoiled, selfish prat who enjoys giving people grief!”
“Really?” I ask Hermione.
“Yes,” she says. “Draco Malfoy is not the kind of person you want as a friend, Jayde. Or at least, not the kind of person I’d want to make friends with if it were my first day at Hogwarts. Honestly, even if he had helped me up, I wouldn’t have pulled him away from Harry’s curse. You shouldn’t worry about what he thinks of you at all, he doesn’t like anyone.”
“But why?” I ask.
“I don’t really know,” she replies. “He and Harry had it out their first day here and they’ve been at it ever since. He comes from one of those old, wealthy, pureblood families who think they’re better than everyone else. He thinks Muggle-borns and half-bloods are scum and they shouldn’t be allowed to learn magic, trust me. The disgusting git has called me a Mudblood quite a few times.”
“That’s horrible!” I say, shocked to learn his true nature.
I’ve stopped crying now, and wipe away my last tears with my index finger. “That’s what Harry thinks, too,” Hermione says. “That’s why he and Draco fight all the time. Draco picks on Muggle-borns and Harry defends them.”
“Oh,” I say quietly. By this point I’m starting to feel bad for being angry with Harry and Ron. “But if he’s so despicable, why did he even bother to help me up?” I ask her.
“WHOA! Hold on a minute!” Ginny exclaims, “Draco Malfoy helped you up?” I turn to look at her and nod my head. She looks absolutely bewildered, but Hermione doesn’t give her the chance to speak again.
“I don’t know why he did that,” she says quietly, “but he must’ve had something up his sleeve.”
I’m shocked. I feel as though someone just splashed a lot of cold water on my face and woke me up. I’m amazed that someone who looks so much like a god apparently acts so much like a devil. “Wow,” I say quietly. “It’s probably a good thing that you three walked up then.”
“I’ll say,” Ginny says.
“Hermione, where are Harry and Ron?” I ask.
“They started walking upstairs behind me, so they’re probably in the common room,” she answers.
“I think I need to go apologize to them,” I say, standing. “They were just trying to help and I got way too upset.”
“Okay,” she says, “Ginny and I will go with you.” The two of them stand and we head down to the common room.
Harry and Ron are sitting at a table near a window on the right side of the room, playing a game of wizard’s chess. I’m nervous as we walk up to them, but they look up when they see us approaching. “Jayde, we’re sorry,” Harry begins, but I cut him off.
“No” I say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how much of a prat Malfoy is. Hermione and Ginny just finished telling me about some of the things he’s done. You were just trying to help me and I appreciate it. I just lost my cool for a moment.” Harry and Ron both look up at me and smile.
"It’s okay,” Ron says politely. “You’re probably just stressed out. I mean, it can’t be easy transferring to a new school in your seventh year, and having to make new friends. You just didn’t want anyone getting a bad opinion of you on your first day… although I should warn you that Malfoy has a bad opinion of everyone who isn’t a rich, arrogant git who’s also a pureblood in Slytherin.”
I can’t help but laugh at his last statement, and Harry, Hermione, and Ginny do too. “Point taken,” I say, smiling down at him. Then the other two girls and I stand there watching Harry and Ron play wizard’s chess for a while.
I finally decide I’d better get started unpacking, and head back up to my room. I spend the entire morning and most of the afternoon getting settled in, rearranging things several times before I’m satisfied. When I’m finished, I walk back down to the common room in hopes of finding Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but they’re not in there.
Ginny is, however, and she says she’d rather bat-bogey-hex herself than spend the rest of the day cooped up in the common room. She offers to give me a grand tour of the castle and grounds, and, delighted to have something to do and grateful for the opportunity to look at the castle without getting lost, I accept. She takes me throughout the entire castle, even to the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor. She shows me all my classrooms so I’ll stand a better chance of finding them tomorrow.
Then we go outside and she shows me the courtyards, greenhouses, Hagrid’s hut and the Whomping Willow. She tells me a little about herself as we walk, and I can’t help but start to like her - she’s funny. And I imagine that if I had older brothers like her twin brothers Fred and George, I’d be funny, too. She asks me about my life, and I tell her as much as I know about my parents. I tell her about Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor and what Dunamase was like, and she seems fascinated.
At dusk, she tells me that we should get to the Great Hall for dinner. So I follow her inside and we sit together at the Gryffindor table and continue talking while we wait for the rest of the students to arrive. Harry, Ron, and Hermione join us a few moments later. The whole time I’m eating I feel someone staring at me again, but I ignore it as best I can by concentrating on the conversation going on at the table. Just after I’ve finished eating my dessert, Hermione gets my attention and tells me to turn around. As I turn, I see the dark-haired man from Professor Dumbledore’s office standing to my right.
“Good evening, Miss Newsome,” he says, “You will need to come to my office after you’ve finished eating to take your potion”.
“Yes, sir,” I say politely, and he quickly walks off. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny all give each other a knowing look, but I decide to ignore it. When I finish my dessert, I ask Ginny to remind me where Professor Snape’s office is. She tells me and I thank her.
As I stand up to leave the table, Harry stands and says, “Jayde, I’m finished, I’ll go with you.” I find this a little odd and uncomfortable. I’ve never walked anywhere alone with a boy, but I figure I owe it to him to make up for my behavior this morning. So I say okay and head towards the doors to the Great Hall. Harry, who had sat on my right since Ginny was sitting on my left, starts out walking behind me but quickly catches up to match my stride. As we walk through the doors, I still feel someone’s eyes on me but now it’s a more intense feeling - it feels like whoever it is will soon burn a hole through my back with their piercing gaze.
Harry and I walk in silence for a moment before he, too, asks me about my life before coming to Hogwarts. I tell him basically the same information I told Ginny earlier, but I leave out the part about my parents. He asks a few questions about Dunamase, clearly interested. Then he asks what my parents are like, and I hesitate before answering him. I explain to him that I don’t know what they’re like because they died when I was very young, and he apologizes for asking. I tell him it’s okay, but he still seems a little embarrassed.
“So what do you know about them?” he asks me. I tell him their names, and that my dad was a Nimbimagus and Englishman, and that Dumbledore told Mrs. McGreggor in one of his letters that my dad and all his family members before him attended Hogwarts. “What about your mother?” he asks. “Do you know if she was a witch?”
“Yes,” I answer. “She went to Dunamase. According to Dunamase’s records she came from a very old Irish wizarding family.”
“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” he says after a moment of silence, “but how did they die? You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“The story I’ve been told is that they died in a house fire, but I survived. But that doesn’t really make sense to me - they were wizards. They should’ve been able to put out a simple house fire. And I don’t understand why I survived either. Sorry,” I say as I realize I’m rambling on. “I sort of started thinking out loud there.”
“It’s okay,” he says. “I wonder about the same things all the time.”
“What do you mean?” I ask him.
“You know,” he clarifies. “I wonder about the night my parents died, like you do.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I reply, feeling a bit embarrassed. “I didn’t know your parents were dead.” Harry gives me a look that clearly says he can’t believe I didn’t know this, and I immediately wonder why.
“Oh,” Harry says. “I’m sorry, I thought I told you who I am. I’m Harry Potter,” he says slowly, as if hoping I’ll get some hidden meaning out of his words.
“I know, you told me yesterday,” I reply.
“You mean, you don’t know who I am?” Harry asks; I simply shake my head in response. “What about the Dark Lord? Have you heard of him?” he asks. Again, I shake my head in response. “How can you not know about him?” Harry asks with a hint of frustration in his voice. “He was only the darkest wizard of all time! Surely you’ve read about him in your History of Magic classes at Dunamase!”
“We didn’t have a History of Magic course at Dunamase,” I reply. “The headmistress felt that if we were taught about previous wars and violence, it would only be more likely to start another war. History books were banned from the school and we weren’t allowed to talk privately about history either.”
Harry is completely taken aback by this statement. “Oh,” he says quietly. “Well, then I guess you don’t know who I am.” Though I can’t be sure, I thought I detected a hint of a smile on Harry’s face when he said that, as though he were pleased that I didn’t know who he was.
Harry proceeds to tell me how his parents were murdered by some wizard called ‘Voldemort’ when he was just a baby, and he alone survived. “I’m sorry, Harry,” I say quietly, feeling a wave of sympathy for him - he had it worse than I did. At least my parents weren’t murdered, I think to myself.
We reach the door to Professor Snape’s office, and Harry opens it for me but doesn’t step inside.
“Aren’t you coming?” I ask.
“No, I’ll wait out here,” he says, “Professor Snape and I don’t exactly see eye to eye.”
So I step into the professor’s office and close the door behind me. It’s a very dark room; there’s barely enough light to see by. The professor is sitting behind his desk, and doesn’t look up when I enter. I walk over and stand at the front of his desk, and after a moment he puts down the quill he’s writing with and stands up. He walks over to a cauldron sitting on a table to the left of his desk and uses a ladle to scoop some of the violet-colored potion into a vial he picks up from beside the cauldron.
“You should feel no adverse affects from this potion,” he says. “Unless you get very upset, you won’t even be able to tell you’ve taken it. If you do become very upset, you’ll need to come see me immediately to take another dose.” He hands the vial to me and says that I should go ahead and take it. When I’m finished, he extends his hand and I give the empty vial to him. “Now,” he says, “you will need to come here every evening before dinner to take your potion.”
“Yes, sir,” I say respectfully. Then he hands me a piece of parchment.
“This is your class schedule,” he says. “The headmaster asked me to give it to you. I took the liberty of writing the day and time of our private class at the bottom. Now I suggest you get to bed, you’ve got a full day tomorrow.”
“Yes, sir, thank you,” I say, before turning and leaving his office. I didn’t necessarily have a bad experience in his office, but I am glad to get out of it - it’s so dark and gloomy. I shut the office door and turn around. Harry is leaning against the wall just to my left.
We start making our way back through the hallways silently. The silence is almost deafening; I’m very grateful when we get back to the common room. I thank Harry for walking with me and go up to my room. I change into my pajamas and lay down on my bed, both nervous and excited about the next day. I decide to go ahead and get some sleep even though it’s still early. I’ll need to be up early in the morning to get a bath and eat breakfast before my classes start.
The next morning, I wake up, take a bath and get dressed. I go down to breakfast by myself, thankful that I don’t feel that awkward, someone’s-staring-at-me sensation this time. I finish my breakfast before most of the other students have even gotten downstairs, and head off to the first class on my list for Monday: Potions.
I take a seat at one of the two-person tables at the front of the classroom and place my knapsack on the floor beside my chair. I get out my book for the class, as well as my wand, quill, ink, and parchment, arranging them all on my desk neatly. Since none of my fellow students have arrived yet, I start reading my book from the beginning in an effort to ensure I’m not too far behind my classmates.
As I read, however, I hear a noise at the classroom door and turn to see one of the professors, a kindly-looking older man, walking into the classroom. “Ah, Ms. Newsome!” the man calls. “I’ve been meaning to have a word with you!”
“Me, Professor?” I ask.
“Absolutely!” he replies. By this point he’s reached the front of the classroom and is standing just to the left of my seat. “I’m Professor Horace Slughorn,” he says as he extends his hand for me to shake. “And I’ll be your new Potions teacher.”
My brow furrows as I shake the professor’s hand, and once he’s released my hand I decide to ask him the question that’s been at the back of my mind for the past few seconds. “But sir,” I begin, “if you’re the potions master, why aren’t you brewing my potion for me, instead of Professor Snape?”
Professor Slughorn seems a bit embarrassed by this question but answers nonetheless. “Ah, I’m afraid the Nimbimagus potion is a very complicated one, one that can only be learned through experience. And you, my dear, are the first Nimbimagus I’ve ever met,” he says.
“Oh,” I reply, unable to hide the hint of surprise in my voice.
“But not to worry, dear,” he continues. “Professor Snape was one of my own students - very skilled at potion-making. And he’s had years of practice with your potion. As I understand it, his grandmother was a Nimbimagus and taught him how to brew the potion; he's been successfully brewing it since he was ten years old.” I smile shyly and nod my head in response, and the professor keeps right on talking. “I must say, it’s absolutely fascinating to meet you. I shall be hosting several parties this year, open to only a select few of my best pupils, and I’d love it if you could come to them.”
“Okay,” I reply, nodding my head and smiling all the while, amazed that he already considers me one of his best pupils. I wonder if, perhaps, this has something to do with the fact that I’m a Nimbimagus.
“Marvelous!” he exclaims. “Now dear, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go round up some of the ingredients for class today. I shall see you shortly.”
“Okay,” I reply. As the professor walks from the room I look back down at my desk, deciding to continue reading through the potions book.
By the time the first of the other students arrives at the classroom, I’m already halfway through Chapter 2, and I decide to just keep reading until Professor Slughorn returns. A few moments later, however, that plan is completely ruined. As I continue reading I hear the scraping of a wooden chair’s leg against the floor to my immediate left and realize that someone’s sitting down beside me. I don’t even have to turn my head; all it takes is a sideways glance for me to realize exactly who is taking a seat beside me. It’s the gorgeous, blonde-haired Slytherin boy from yesterday; the one Ron, Ginny and Hermione referred to as Draco Malfoy.
I turn my eyes back to my book immediately, trying to pretend I haven’t noticed his presence. Malfoy, however, has other plans. “Do you mind if I sit beside you?” he asks as he sets his bag of books down on the table. My heart flutters when he speaks to me, and the sound of his voice is like music to my ears.
Though I know it’s rude, I force myself to keep looking down at my book instead of looking up at him as I say no quietly, hoping he won’t be able to hear how nervous I am when I speak. I seriously hope he doesn’t speak again; just his presence is making my heart rate increase, and I promptly get very angry with myself for still being attracted to him after everything I’ve heard about him. Not to mention I’m still embarrassed that I ran off crying yesterday like a three year-old.
My hopes are short-lived, however, because as Malfoy takes his things from his knapsack, he accidently bumps against my elbow, causing me to feel even more nervous than I already did. “Oh, sorry,” he says quickly as I slide my elbow away from him in what I hope is a conspicuous manner.
I sit on the edge of my seat, as far away from him as I possibly can, and hope to somehow manage to get through the entire class without him speaking another word to me. But of course Professor Slughorn wants us to brew a potion today - a potion he says Draco Malfoy and I will now have to share ingredients for, as he places a few vials of ingredients on our table. Damn! I think to myself when he makes this announcement. Why didn’t I just walk up here with Hermione so I could sit with her?
My nerves are so bad as I stand and light a flame under my cauldron that I seriously consider informing the professor that I’ve already brewed this potion at Dunamase and asking if I can leave class. I decide that this particular plan of action, however, would be rude, and I don’t want to be rude to one of my teachers in my first day of classes. So I decide to just ignore Malfoy and open my potions book to the page Slughorn indicated.
I stare down at the page, allowing my work to engross me; I can always count on schoolwork to get my mind off things. I begin adding the first few ingredients and then stir my potion the suggested number of times. I reach out for the next ingredient on the list without looking up from my book, and quickly find that Draco is also currently reaching for the same ingredient. Our hands collide and some sort of electric energy shoots through my arm once more, starting from where our skin made contact.
I quickly jerk my hand away and apologize nervously, refusing to look up into his face. With my peripheral vision I see Malfoy pick up the ingredient, put a bit of it into his cauldron, and then extend his arm out to the side, offering me the vial containing the ingredient.
“Here you are,” he says quietly. I slowly glance to the side and carefully take the vial from him, making sure not to touch him as I do so. I hope to just continue my work as though nothing’s happened, but Draco apparently has a question. “I hate to ask this,” he begins, “but are you doing that on purpose? Shocking me, I mean.”
“No!” I reply, horrified that he’d actually think this. I turn my head to the side and look up at him. “It was an accident,” I continue, “and I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” he says in response. There’s an awkward silence for a few moments as I return my concentration to my potion, and then he speaks again. “Do you think it could have something to do with your powers?” he asks randomly. I stop to think about this for a moment, but honestly can’t come up with an answer.
“I… I don’t know,” I reply. “It’s never happened before.”
“Oh,” is his only response. Thankfully, Professor Slughorn returns to his seat at the front of the desk a few moments later, preventing Draco from talking to me anymore.
We finish our potions in an awed silence, the air between us seemingly full of the same electricity that coursed through our bodies earlier. As soon as my potion is cleared away I grab my books and race out of the classroom, ready to get away from Malfoy.
To be honest, I’m afraid of Malfoy… well, afraid of the way he makes me feel. Since finding out I’m a Nimbimagus, I’ve been a bit more in tune with my emotions, trying (rather unsuccessfully, I might add) to learn how to control them on my own. This experience, however, is wholly new to me. I’ve never felt like this before; there’s a fluttering in my stomach and my heart is beating rapidly. I don’t know what this feeling is, but I’m sure I don’t like it, probably because I don’t know how to deal with it. I race down the hallways and away from the situation - away from my feelings.
I catch up with Hermione on the way to our next class and ask if I can sit with her, to which she agrees. I simply tell her that it’s because I don’t know anyone else in my classes, though I know it’s really to avoid any more uncomfortable scenes like the one in Potions class. I sit with Hermione during all the rest of my classes that day, and again on Tuesday.
The next few days pass in a blur; I hardly have time to breathe between classes and homework. I’m happy to find, however, that I’m not behind the other students in any of my subjects. Though I’m starting to like all my classes and teachers, the classes Gryffindor takes with Slytherin are proving to be a bit difficult. I accidentally catch Draco Malfoy’s eye at least once in each class, and my heart starts beating faster each time. I quickly look away, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less awkward.
I still find him very attractive, but after what Hermione and Ginny told me about him, I’ve decided I’m not going to have anything do to with him. I don’t owe him anything - he’s just like Corey; the boy I grew up with at the orphanage who always gave me grief. Having decided my plan of action in the 'Malfoy' situation, I immediately and effectively execute it... now if I could just get the dreams I’ve been having about him to stop. In one of the dreams, I was standing in front of a mirror and he walked up behind me, wrapping his arms around my middle before kissing me on the cheek. Every time I’ve seen him since then my heart starts racing as I remember that dream. I feel completely ridiculous and can’t understand why this boy always gets me nervous so easily. Why is it that him looking me in the eyes is enough to make my palms sweat? And why, for Merlin’s sake, am I dreaming about him? Why am I always aware of his presence, without intending to be?
This situation is rapidly becoming very awkward. I press on through the awkwardness, however, and just before dinner on Thursday night I go to Professor Snape’s office for our first lesson. I’m very anxious to begin learning how to use my powers. The first thing the professor does is take out a large glass ball and ask me to concentrate on it for a moment. Then he tells me to think of a happy thought while still focusing on the glass ball. He then tells me to try to use my happy feeling to cause some sort of weather event inside the ball.
I don’t think this will work, but I do as I’m told, and within seconds, as if the glass ball were a small planet, it starts snowing inside it. “Very good, Miss Newsome,” he says, before telling me I can stop. Then he tells me to focus on that same happy thought again, but this time he wants me to try to use it to make it snow in his office. This task proves to be much more difficult. He keeps telling me to make it snow inside the ball for practice, which I complete on the first try every time, but when he tells me to try making it snow in the office again, nothing happens, no matter how hard I try.
I’m still trying to complete his request, totally unsuccessfully, I might add, when he tells me that our session is over and it’s time for us to go to dinner. Then he tells me for homework I am to work on trying to make it snow inside the room I’m in, and he gives me a smaller glass ball to practice with, which I tuck away inside my robes. I follow him out of his office, a little disappointed in myself, but also very curious.
“Sir,” I say as we walk down the corridors towards the Great Hall, “do you mind if I ask you something?”
“As long as it’s pertaining to your classes, no,” he says firmly.
“I was wondering how I was able to affect the weather inside the ball without… you know… losing it, like I have every other time I’ve affected the weather.”
“The potion,” he says quickly. “Dumbledore told you it affects the magnitude with which you affect the weather. It keeps you from affecting the weather without trying to. Unless, of course, you do get too upset and lose control.”
“So what’s the difference between ‘upset’ and ‘too upset’?” I ask.
“It’s not an exact science,” he says. “It all depends on how powerful the emotion you’re feeling is.”
“Sir,” I continue cautiously, “did Mrs. McGreggor tell Professor Dumbledore about the time I passed out?”
“Yes, she did, and I’m assuming you want to know why you passed out,” he says.
“Yes, sir,” I say timidly. “Is that normal?”
“It is rare”, he responds, “but not unheard of. It’s what happens when you can tell you’re getting too upset and try to stop it. Your emotion is trying its best to take over you, and you’re trying your best to regain control of your emotion. This sort of internal battle is very draining, your body doesn’t know what to do, so it basically ‘puts itself to sleep’ until you regain your strength.”
“Oh,” I say quietly.
At this point we’ve reached the Great Hall, which is already packed. I join Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny at the table and immediately start eating - I’m starved. They ask how my first lesson with Professor Snape was, and I tell them what we worked on. They’re all amazed. When we get back to the common room, Hermione insists that I show her how I made it snow inside the glass ball. I do so, and she stares in awe at my homemade snow globe. Before going to bed, I lay the glass ball on top of my dresser and try to make it snow inside my dorm room, to no avail.
Friday’s classes fly by, and that evening is the first Quidditch match of the season: Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff. Though I know what Quidditch is, I’ve never played or seen a Quidditch match before since Dunamase didn’t have Quidditch teams, so I have to keep asking Hermione what the announcer means every time he says something. Gryffindor wins the match on Friday, and I spend most of my weekend either doing homework, studying, or on the castle grounds alone with my glass ball, practicing.
When the next Thursday rolls around, I still haven’t managed to make it snow inside any room yet, but Professor Snape says he can tell I’ve been trying. He tells me to stop trying to make it snow in the room and focus on the large glass ball again. This time, he wants me to think of a sad thought, and try to use that to cause a weather change in the ball. Immediately the ball becomes overcast and torrents of rain start pouring down.
Once I’ve successfully completed that task, he tells me to think of something that makes me angry, and to use that feeling to change the weather inside the ball. The ball becomes overcast again, but this time with the rain comes thunder and lightning. We continue to work through all the emotions to see what effect they’ll make me have on the ball. When I feel nervous, the ball becomes one giant hurricane; when I’m scared several tornadoes form inside the ball; and when I feel lonely a giant tidal wave consumes it.
After we’ve gone through all the emotions, Professor Snape gives me my potion and my homework, and we walk down to dinner. Over the following weeks, we continue working with the glass ball to discover which type of weather event each of my emotions causes. When I’m shocked, hail descends upon the glass ball; when I’m ashamed, a dust storm overtakes it; and finally, when I feel betrayed, the ball is once again engulfed by a thunderstorm, the same thing that happens when I feel angry.
As September draws to a close, Professor Snape tells me to try to cause a weather event in his office again, and all progress stops. For some reason, I can’t seem to get this part right, no matter which particular emotion I’m working with at the time. Whenever I have spare time - between classes, after finishing my homework, and even while I’m bathing - I keep practicing, but to no avail. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny try to help me whenever they can; even Seamus and Neville, another boy I’ve started talking to in Gryffindor, offer their help.
Although I’m doing well in all my other classes, the fact that I can’t get this right bothers me very much. Finally, one Thursday night in the middle of October, Professor Snape has had enough. “Miss Newsome,” he says, “what good is it doing me to waste my time trying to teach you how to control your powers if you obviously don’t want to learn?”
“I do want to learn, Professor, I’m trying,” I say pleadingly. I can’t help but feel a bit depressed that my teacher is now at his wit’s end with me. I try to focus on a happy thought and make it snow, but all I can think about is what he’s just said to me. I can feel his eyes on me, but then I feel something else fall on my arm: water. Just as I look up at the ceiling, torrents of rain begin to pour down inside the office. I’ve done it! My clothes are getting soaked, but I don’t care, I’ve done it!
I look at the professor, who is staring at me with a smirk on his face. “I thought that might motivate you,” he says. And suddenly, just as quickly as it had started, the rain stops, and is replaced by a heavy downfall of snow. After a few moments, the professor tells me that if I don’t mind, he’d appreciate it if I’d stop burying his office in snow, so I close my eyes and rid myself of all emotion, and the snow stops. The professor clears all the snow away before drying out his office and clothes, and then gives me my potion and tells me I can go ahead down to dinner. I reach the Great Hall triumphant and tell Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny, who congratulate me on a job well done.
I spend the next few days working on causing weather events inside by myself in my dorm. It’s still hard to get started every time, but once I’ve used one emotion to cause weather in the room, it’s easy to do the same with the others.
As the first term rapidly progresses, both my class work and homework loads grow significantly. When I do find myself with free time on my hands, I spend most of it in the common room fine-tuning my indoor weather abilities. All my fellow Gryffindors find this amusing; they like to sit around and watch me and then yell out requests like, “Make a tornado again, Jayde!”
The free time that I don’t spend practicing, I spend writing to Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick, as promised. I’ve been writing as often as possible the entire term, and when I have free time, I write more frequently. I tell them about my newfound abilities, and they tell me how proud they are of me in their responses.
Finally at the end of October, Professor Slughorn stops me after Potions class one day and tells me he’d like to invite me to his first party of the term, which will be held in the Great Hall on the following Saturday, November sixth. I happily agree to come, glad to have a distraction from all the hard work I’ve been putting in so far this year. Once I’ve agreed, he says I’m welcome to invite a date if I’d like, and I immediately wish I hadn’t agreed to go. I realize I can’t back out now, however, and simply smile at the professor and walk out of the classroom.
When I get back to the common room that afternoon, everyone is talking about Professor Slughorn’s upcoming party excitedly. Apparently, Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny have all received invitations. Hermione and Ginny are extremely excited and are talking about dresses; I, however, am not too excited by this news and think I might vomit. I’ve never been to a party - won’t I be expected to dance? I certainly don’t know how to dance. And not only will I be expected to dance, I’ll be expected to dance with a boy; I’m expected to have a date. I can already tell this is going to be a disaster.
From what I can hear it sounds like the boys aren’t too happy about this either, and Ron complains loudly about his dress robes. “What’re you on about?” Harry asks him quietly. “You’ve got new dress robes, remember?”
“Oh, yeah,” Ron replies, perking up a bit. Ron continues, apparently just realizing something he’d forgotten. “Bloody hell, Harry, you mean we’ve got to go through the torture of asking someone out again?” Ron asks.
“It looks that way,” Harry answers. “But this time we know not to wait until the last minute. We’ll think about who we want to ask tonight, and we’ll ask them as soon as we wake up in the morning, agreed?”
“Agreed,” Ron says quietly.
I decide to just keep walking to avoid being pulled into the conversations going on about the party. I reach the stairs and start climbing them, sincerely hoping that nobody asks me to the party and wishing I could just avoid it all together. When I reach my room, I immediately write to Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor. When I write to Mrs. McGreggor, I inform her that I’ll be going to a party and need her to help Ms. Fitzpatrick pick out a dress and send it to me as quickly as possible. After writing the letters, I change into my pajamas and lay down in my bed, pulling the covers up around me. I hope that sleep comes quickly so I won’t have to lay here thinking about the party for long.
I get a response the next day from both women, telling me how excited they are for me and that they’ll have a dress to me soon. They ask if I have a date yet, but I carefully avoid answering this question in my reply on Wednesday. On Thursday, I go to Professor Snape’s office just before dinner for our lesson. I’ve been practicing every chance I get, and he says my speed has improved and that it’s time to move on. This week he tells me we will begin working on the phenomenon a Nimbimagus can cause that’s the most difficult to learn: using the weather without controlling it. Great, I think. Just what I need - more hard work!
The professor gives me my potion early in the session before telling me to come outside with him. He tells me to throw a snowball at him without bending down and scraping snow off the ground or using my wand. I have absolutely no idea where to begin, and just stand there looking dumbfounded for quite some time. Eventually, the professor lifts his wand and points at the snow, causing several snowballs to fly towards me. I duck, avoiding them all. Then he tells me to focus on a happy thought, think of nothing but that happy thought, and extend my right hand out in front of me, palm up. I do so, and as if by some miracle, a ball of snow appears in my hand, which I throw at him, as hard as I can.
He steps out of the way just in time to avoid being hit with it. He tells me that what I’ve just done is use the weather that’s already around me… I basically made the snow jump in my hand. Now he tells me to lift both of my hands and try to make the snow sweep off the ground and towards him. I follow the same instructions as before, but this time I hold both my hands to my sides before moving them towards the Professor, which causes the desired effect. He uses a shield charm to protect himself from the snow.
As soon as he releases his shield, tons of snowballs start flying at him from every direction. Apparently, half the students in the school have been watching our lesson and can’t resist the opportunity to throw snowballs at him. The professor turns around, clearly livid. I have to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. With a flick of his wand, he slams the castle doors, and all the culprits, who are now running to get away from him, are trapped. “Everyone in this courtyard except for Jayde Newsome will have detention with me in the Great Hall after dinner tonight, and you’ve all just lost your Houses ten points each!” he yells.
The students moan in complaint, but to no avail. The professor tells me that our lesson is over and flicks his wand to unlock the castle doors; the students storm through the doors silently. I walk inside behind them and into the Great Hall. At dinner, everyone is talking about what just happened in the courtyard; those who weren’t involved find it funnier than those who participated and now have detention. After dinner, I go up to my room and study until I’m too tired to study anymore and go to bed.
I receive the dress from Mrs. McGreggor one day later, early Friday morning. She says she found it in the last clothing shop in the village after four hours of searching. It’s purple, my favorite color. It’s a full-length dress with a halter top. A sash sits around the waist, clasped by a large diamond pendant, and the top of the dress is lined with smaller diamonds. Lavender lace spans across the fabric from the neck area to the waist, and small white flowers are stitched here and there throughout the lace. I absolutely adore it, and it fits me perfectly. Mrs. McGreggor found lovely white sandals with small heels to wear with the dress, with diamonds lining the top of the bands. She says it’s a rather expensive ensemble, but it’s well worth the price paid. She says when she showed it to Ms. Fitzpatrick, the latter started crying about how beautiful and grown-up I will look, and how I’m not a little girl anymore - I’m practically a grown woman.
Over the past week the entire atmosphere in the castle has changed significantly; everyone who was invited is growing frantic about the upcoming party. All the boys have waited until the last minute to ask anyone to go with them, and all the girls are getting worried that they won’t be asked. As I walk down the hallways, every student I pass is whispering to another student, whether it’s to ask whether or not they’ve been asked to the party yet or to tell who they’ll be going with.
As I’m walking down one of the corridors on Friday, I see Draco Malfoy and his two cronies sitting on a bench up ahead on the left. When they see me coming, they stop talking and Draco starts staring at me again, though I pretend not to notice. As I pass them, I hear one of his friends whisper something to him, to which his response is, “Shove off, Goyle, I’ll do it when I bloody well feel like it!” I’m curious as to what they’re talking about, but I don’t have much time to wonder about it because just then, I hear someone calling my name from a short distance behind me.
I turn around to see Harry running to catch up with me. When he finally reaches me, he says, “Thought I’d never catch up with you,” breathlessly. He takes a moment to catch his breath before continuing. “Jayde,” he says, “I’ve wanted to ask you something.”
Oh no, I think. Here it comes. “Go ahead,” I say quietly.
“Well,” he says, scratching the back of his neck with his left hand and looking extremely uncomfortable, “I, um… I was wondering if you already had a date to the party.”
“Um… no,” I say, glancing down at the floor.
“Great!” he says enthusiastically. “So, um… would you… go with… me?”
“Okay, sure,” I say quietly, my cheeks reddening.
“Great!” he says again.
Suddenly, as soon as he finishes talking, a burst of green light that can only be a spell comes flying towards us from somewhere to our right. As Harry’s standing with his back towards it, he doesn’t see it, so I drop my books and quickly shove him to the left and out of harm’s way. The spell hits me, instead, with full force. My body stiffens and I can’t move, I feel myself falling straight backwards towards the floor and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Damn, I think to myself, Someone's hit me with the full body-bind curse. My head hits the floor with a sickening thump and pain shoots through it. Harry abandons his books, runs over to me and kneels down.
“Jayde, are you all right?” he calls down to me. He tries to sit me up but it doesn’t work; my body is completely rigid. When this fails, he realizes someone has used Petrificus Totalus on me and performs the counter curse, Finite Incantatem. By this point, all the students who had been walking through the hallways have stopped to observe what’s going on. Once I’m able to move again, I start trying to sit, with Harry’s assistance. When I’m sitting upright, he asks if I’m all right again.
“My head,” is all I say, placing my right hand on the back part of my head that just hit the floor.
“Let me see,” he says, and I move my hand away so he can take a look at my head. As Harry examines my head, I look around at all our observers and see Draco Malfoy standing in front of the bench he’d been sitting on with his wand drawn, but he doesn’t have it aimed at anyone. He’s looking down at me, his face pale and his eyes wide. His face is contorted into an expression of utter terror. He’s not gazing into my eyes; instead, he’s looking down at my lap. Wondering what’s so terrifying about my lap, I look down. There sits the hand I’ve just taken from the back of my head, and it’s completely covered with blood. I stare at my hand for a moment before Harry says, “Jayde, we’ve got to get you to the hospital wing. Now. Come on, I’ll help you up,” and he puts my left arm around his neck and lifts me to my feet. He doesn’t release me when I’m standing though, which is probably a good thing because I’m very dizzy. He starts pulling me back down the hallway, towards the hospital.
Several students stop to watch the procession, a few of them asking Harry if I’m all right, but he doesn’t answer. When we reach the hospital, he pushes the double doors open with his right hand and starts tugging me inside. Before we reach Madam Pomfrey’s office, however, she comes running towards us, looking very concerned. “Potter, what’s wrong with her?” she asks.
“Someone hit her with a full body-bind in the hallway and she fell and hit her head,” he answers. “It’s bleeding pretty badly.”
“Here, sit her here,” Madam Pomfrey says, indicating a bed to our immediate left. Harry pulls me over to the bed and eases me onto it. By this point, I don’t even have the strength left in me to help him - he has to do it all himself. Madam Pomfrey runs into her office and comes back with a cloth and a bowl full of a blue potion. She dips the cloth in the potion, tells Harry to move out of her way, and dabs the potion on the back of my head. She pulls the cloth away from my head, covered in blood, and dips it back in the potion, which turns purple from all the blood coming off the cloth. She places the cloth back against my head and holds it there.
After a few moments, she takes the cloth down and examines the back of my head. “Now that that’s taken care of,” she says, “how do you feel dear?”
“Dizzy and tired,” I answer truthfully.
“Well, that’s to be expected,” she says. “You’ll need to stay here for a few hours, until you’re feeling better.”
“Okay,” I respond.
“Mr. Potter, you’ll need to get to your next class,” she says.
“No,” Harry says defiantly. “I want to stay here with Jayde.”
“Mr. Potter, I assure you, she is fine. And besides, if you don’t go to class who’s going to tell the teacher why she isn’t there?” Harry looks up at me, as if looking for a confirmation from me that I’ll be all right.
I smile weakly at him and he finally says, “Okay. I’ll be back after class to check on her, though,” and leaves the hospital. So I sit there in the hospital wing, extremely bored, for what seems like an eternity before Harry comes back, and he’s brought all my other friends with him. Hermione, Ginny, Ron, Seamus, Neville, and Dean all ask how I’m doing; I tell them I’m fine. Then Harry asks if my head is still bleeding and I tell him it hasn’t been since Madam Pomfrey administered the blue potion. He asks if he can see the back of my head, and I oblige; after examining it he tells me it’s completely healed. Then Madam Pomfrey comes from her office and asks if I’m still dizzy.
“No,” I tell her honestly, and she tells me I’m free to go, but that I shouldn’t do any strenuous activity for the rest of the day. When I stand, Harry tells me he picked my books up out of the hallway for me, but that he’ll carry them so I don’t have to. We all leave the hospital together and walk up to Gryffindor Tower. As it’s nearly time for dinner, I walk up to my room and put down my books, which Harry reluctantly handed me before I walked upstairs, and Hermione tells me all the class work and homework I missed, which I immediately write down on a scrap piece of parchment and lay on top of my books. Then she asks me if I know who jinxed me, and I explain to her the entire situation, even Draco Malfoy’s suspicious behavior.
“Well, if it was him, it makes sense,” she says. “He’d be the first person I’d suspect of trying to jinx Harry.” Then she and I walk back down to the common room and rejoin the others, and we all walk down to the Great Hall together for dinner. My friends and I all reach the Great Hall and eat dinner before going back up to the common room. I immediately start working on my missed class work and homework, with Hermione’s help.
When I’m finished, she asks if anyone’s asked me to the party yet. I tell her about Harry, and she asks if I agreed to go with him. “Yes,” I say. “After all, he asked me first.”
“But do you really want to go with Harry?” she asks. “I mean, do you like him?”
“Well, I think he’s handsome and I do like him,” I say, “but I’ve never really thought about dating him or anything; of course, I’ve never dated anyone, though. Do you think he likes me?”
“I can’t be sure,” she says. “But I don’t think he’d have asked you if he didn’t.”
“Oh,” I respond, feeling a little embarrassed at the thought. “To be perfectly honest, I was surprised when he asked me, I wasn’t expecting it.”
“I know how you feel,” she says. “Ron finally asked me yesterday.”
“Really?” I ask. “That’s great!” She smiles, blushing quite a bit, before continuing.
“Neville asked Ginny again. They went to the party together last time and had quite a bit of fun.”
“Oh, are they an item?” I ask.
“No, they’re just good friends,” she says, and we continue talking about the party and who’s going with whom for quite a while before going to bed.
Before I know it, Saturday, the day of the party, is upon me, and I’m actually beginning to look forward to it. It’ll be the first break I’ve had in a while. After breakfast, Hermione, Ginny, and I spend the entire day showing each other our dresses, talking about how we’ll fix our hair and makeup, and talking about how excited we are and what our expectations are for tonight.
Even though the party doesn’t start until seven, I get my bath at three. When I get out, I wait for Hermione and Ginny to finish their baths so they can help me fix my makeup before putting on my dress; I’ll save the hair for last since I’m sure it will take the longest. Once Hermione and Ginny finish, we all pile into the crowded bathroom to get started. We decide we might as well have fun while helping each other get ready - two of us will fix the third girl’s hair and makeup while she relaxes as if she were at a spa, and then we’ll switch.
First, Hermione and I do Ginny’s makeup, then Ginny and I do Hermione’s. When Hermione and Ginny finish mine and I look in the mirror, I’m amazed. They did a really great job; for once, I’m pleased with my appearance. Then we all go put on our dresses and stand around admiring them for a few minutes before going back in the bathroom to start fixing our hair. Ginny and I spend 30 minutes straightening Hermione’s hair before pulling the sides of it back in a small clip. Hermione is pleased and she should be - she looks great.
Next, Hermione and I braid the front strands of Ginny’s hair and pull them around to the back of her head tying them together with a rubber band. It’s a very simple style, but Ginny’s hair makes it look elegant. Finally, Hermione and Ginny start on my hair. They spirally curl all of it, and then pull it back into a long pony tail that starts at the very top of my head. They leave two small strands hanging though, which they curl even more before spraying them with half a can of hair spray each. Again, I’m impressed, as it looks beautiful.
By this time, it’s already six-thirty, so we run to our rooms and slip into our shoes before heading down to the common room to meet our dates. As the other two girls and I walk downstairs into the nearly empty common room, Harry, Ron, and Neville stand up to greet us, smiling. We each walk to our respective date; I approach Harry timidly. He’s wearing black dress robes and it almost looks like he’s combed his hair for once. “You look fantastic,” he says, smiling from ear to ear.
“Thanks,” I say. “You’re looking pretty sharp yourself.”
“Do you want to go ahead downstairs?” he asks.
“Yes, I’ve got to,” I say. “Professor Snape told me to meet him in the entrance hall before the party so he could give me my potion, since we won’t be eating dinner in the Great Hall tonight.”
“Okay,” he says, and he extends his arm, which I take timidly. We walk through the portrait hole and start making our way to the entrance hall.
Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville all walk with us until we reach the sixth floor, and then they head off in the direction of Professor Slughorn’s office, where the party is being held. When Harry and I reach the entrance hall I see Professor Snape standing to the right of the doors to the Great Hall with my potion in his hand. I release Harry’s arm and walk over to Professor Snape. He hands me my potion, which I take immediately before thanking him. I walk back to rejoin Harry, and then we begin the long journey back upstairs to the sixth floor.
When we arrive, we find our friends as well as many other students standing in the hallway outside Professor Slughorn’s office, waiting for the doors to open. When they do, we begin the slow procession inside along with all the other students; as Professor Slughorn has come outside to greet his guests, we shake his hand as we pass him. When we finally enter, I look around at the “The Slug’s” office, which has been completely transformed.
Most of the candles and torches have been extinguished, and the dim light provides for a very romantic setting. The large table that normally sits in the middle of the room is gone to make room for dancing; it’s been moved against the wall at the back of the room and is serving as the refreshment table. A small, round table sits in each of the four corners of the room, providing a place to sit while eating or when exhausted. Soft music is playing in the background, though I can’t tell which song it is because everyone’s talking excitedly.
Several other couples have already started dancing, and once we get out of the doorway, Harry asks if I’d like to dance. I agree, and he leads me to the left side of the room. He places his hands on my hips, which makes me very nervous, but I put my arms around his neck and we start dancing. As we dance, I notice that Ron and Hermione and Neville and Ginny have all started dancing, also. The other two girls catch my eye and smile at me. I can tell they’re already having a great time. I smile back; I’m already having a great time, myself.
By the time the song ends, all the other invited students have entered the office, as have some adults that I don’t recognize. The only people still talking are the ones who’ve decided not to start dancing just yet and are either sitting at one of the round tables or standing against the wall. The second song is a fast one, and my friends and I all stand in a circle and dance together merrily. A slow song starts next, and Neville walks up and asks Harry if he can cut in. Harry agrees to let Neville ‘borrow me’ as long as he promises to ‘give me back’, which makes me giggle. I dance with Neville for the next two songs, and then rejoin Harry.
As I’ve been dancing nonstop for quite a while I’m breathless, so I ask Harry if it’s okay if we sit the next song out. He agrees and leads me over to a table on the left side of the room, near the back. As soon as I sit down he asks if I’d like something to drink, and he walks off to get us both a glass of pumpkin juice. I smile as he walks off, amazed by how wonderful my night’s going thus far.
I look around at all my friends, who are still dancing and laughing, and then I scan the rest of the room, looking at all the other students dancing. There’s a couple dancing very close to my table, and they seem to be enjoying themselves immensely; I can hear them laughing. I cast a glance their way, trying to find out who the couple consists of. The girl I immediately recognize as Pansy Parkinson, a Slytherin in my year. The boy, however, has his back to me, but it doesn’t matter… the white-blond hair tells me it’s Draco Malfoy.
I quickly look away as I recognize him, not wanting him to catch me staring for some reason. I wasn’t even aware that he was invited to the party; I start to feel very nervous, and for some reason it feels like my heart’s just jumped out of my chest and hit the floor, like my eyes and heart are offended by what I’ve just seen. I’m near tears but I’m also angry, and I don’t know why. I’ve never felt this feeling before, but I’m sure I don’t like it.
I immediately wish I was somewhere else, anywhere else. I look around, trying to find Harry to tell him I want to get out of here, but when I spot him he’s still in the long line of students waiting to get to the refreshment table, and I decide I can’t wait that long. I’ve got to get out of here now before I make it rain in the office, on all my dancing friends. I stand up and make my way through the crowd and out into the hallway, nearly bumping into Professor Snape on my way out. He asks if I’m all right, and I quickly tell him everything’s fine before walking hastily away.
Deciding that I don’t even want to be on this floor of the castle right now, I walk down to the girls’ bathroom on the second floor and run inside, and I burst into tears as soon as the door closes behind me. I sit down cross-legged in a corner on the bathroom floor and sob into my hands, and I immediately feel guilty for leaving Harry like that. I’m not even sure why I left; I know I should return to the party, but for some reason I simply can’t make myself get up off the bathroom floor and go back upstairs.
I continue to sit there and soon the ghost of the bathroom, Moaning Myrtle, rises out of a toilet and floats over to me. “Why are you crying?” she asks.
“I don’t know,” I sob.
She asks me to tell her why I’m not at the party, and I explain to her that I suddenly just felt upset after I saw Draco Malfoy dancing with Pansy Parkinson. “Oooh, jealous, are we?” she asks.
“No!” I reply immediately, laughing at the thought. “Me? Jealous over Draco Malfoy? No way! I probably just got a little too excited and needed to calm down. I mean, sure he’s good-looking, but he’s a complete prat! I might be a little attracted to him, but that’s all… and that’s no reason to be jealous over him.”
Myrtle simply gives me a knowing look and asks me who I'm trying to convince, and I quickly dry my eyes and get to my feet, ready to get out of her presence. After all, I came down to this bathroom to be alone, not to be harassed. I walk to the door and step out of the bathroom, into the hallway. I still hear music playing off in the distance, confirming my suspicion that the party still hasn't ended. I contemplate my situation for a moment before deciding to run straight to my dorm room and barricade myself there for the rest of the night, crying. As I turn to do so, however, I realize I’m not alone in the hallway; there are two students walking towards me, and they’re Slytherins at that.
Great, I think to myself. Anxious of what they’ll do when I walk past but determined to display my Gryffindor-like bravery, I continue down the hall until I’m almost nose to nose with the forms of Goyle and another boy called Blaise Zabini. "Excuse me," I say quietly, trying to get Goyle to step out of my way, but he simply stands there staring down at me.
“What’s wrong, Newsome?” he asks.
“Nothing,” I reply, “Could you please just move?”
“Not until you tell me what’s wrong,” he says. “Your eyes are red. You’ve been crying.”
“What do you care?” I snap. I try to move around him but Zabini steps in my way; I can’t help but notice the smell of alcohol on his breath. He thwarts my efforts to step around him and then extends his left hand.
"Oi, Newsome," he says. "Why don't you come down to the Slytherin common room with me? We’re having a party down there… a real party. It’ll cheer you up.”
At this, Goyle feels the need to protest to his behavior. "Blaise!" Goyle says. "What're you doing? Malfoy will kill you if you take her down there!” Zabini rolls his eyes in response.
Suddenly, a thought comes to me - Goyle’s words have given me an idea. I would love to get back at Malfoy… though I’m not sure what I’m getting back at him for. And what better way to get back at him than to go to a party in his common room with one of his best mates? “Come on,” Zabini says. "Unless you’re afraid..."
"I'm not afraid of anything," I say.
"Then prove it," is his quick response.
Although I know it isn’t a good idea and that I’ll probably regret it later, I decide I simply can’t let Zabini make me, a Gryffindor, out to be a coward, or pass up on a chance to get back at Malfoy. “Fine,” I mutter, and I turn around without taking his extended hand and begin walking with the two Slytherins down to their common room.
Zabini has a smug look on his face the entire time we walk, and when we reach the dungeons he stops beside a blank spot in the stone wall and mutters the Slytherin's common room password. Immediately a stone door hidden in the wall slides open, allowing us entrance. The first person I see when I enter the common room is Draco, sitting in the center of the party with a cup in his hand: the Slytherin prince surrounded by all his loyal subjects. I can’t help but notice he’s not wearing the same robes I saw him in earlier. Apparently, I was in that bathroom for much longer than I thought I was, as it gave Draco enough time to get downstairs and change clothes.
I immediately begin to wish I hadn’t agreed to this; the several Slytherins who are in the common room turn and stare at me. “What are you doing in here?” I hear someone ask angrily.
“Shove off, McNair,” Zabini says. “I invited her”.
I quickly find the nearest wall and practically glue my back to it, trying to avoid the eyes of the other students. I look around at the common room for a moment, noticing the differences between this one and mine, one of the main ones being that this is decorated in all green and silver, whereas mine is decorated in red and gold, and there are skulls everywhere here. Zabini walks over to a table in the middle of the common room and picks up a cup before walking over and handing it to me.
“What is this?” I ask.
“Firewhisky,” he replies. “Go ahead and drink up. If you’re not scared, that is.” Several of the other Slytherins laugh when he says this.
I know I should say no, but the pressure to prove my bravery is even more severe now that I’ve got nearly twenty Slytherins staring at me - not to mention my emotions are still a bit unstable from what happened at the party. I reach up and take the cup from him, and as I do so I can’t help but notice that Malfoy’s eyes are fixed directly on me. I quickly look away and take a sip of the Firewhisky, and I grimace at the taste. Zabini dares me to finish the cup right then, and I turn it upright and don’t stop drinking until it’s all gone.
“Yes!” Zabini and several of the other Slytherins say, cheering me on. “Who knew a Gryffindor could be so much fun?” I hear Zabini call.
As soon as I finish several people offer me another cup; I take baby sips this time, unsure of how much alcohol it’ll take to intoxicate me. My whole body is starting to feel warm when Blaise comes to stand directly in front of me a few moments later. “You drunk yet?” he asks.
“No,” I reply defiantly.
“We’ll see about that,” he says, and he hands me another cup of Firewhisky. I sip this drink slowly also, and by the time I’m finished with it I’m feeling numb. I start to giggle at inappropriate times and when Zabini notices this, he walks over and places a hand on my shoulder. “Newsome… you’re drunk,” he says.
“No I’m not!” I insist between hysterical fits of laughter. Blaise has to hold me up to keep me from falling, and each time I stumble I burst out laughing again before thanking Blaise for saving me and referring to him as my ‘best friend’. He makes to hand me another cup of Firewhisky, but Draco Malfoy stands up and walks over to where we’re standing - or at least, where Blaise is standing.
“I want a word with you,” he says angrily to Blaise. Zabini helps me over to a chair and has me sit down before walking off, but when he and Draco return a few moments later, Blaise doesn’t walk back over to me. I don’t mind, however - I’m amusing myself. I stand up and start dancing whimsically along with the music that’s playing, and I try to pull Goyle out of his seat to dance with me, but he refuses.
“Why don’t you ask Draco? Maybe he’ll dance with you,” he suggests.
I look to my right and stumble over to where Draco’s sitting, and I take him by the hand. “Dance with me,” I say with slurred speech as I pull him away from his seat; he says nothing and gives me an apprehensive look, but he allows me to pull him up. When he’s standing I start to move with the rhythm, encouraging him to do the same. He just stands there staring down at me with his hands on my hips, however, and as the song comes to an end I take a step back from him and walk over to the table the Firewhisky’s sitting on, taking another cup.
Before I can press it to my lips, however, Draco takes it from me. “Hey! What’s your problem?” I ask.
“You need to stop drinking,” he says. “You’ve had quite enough.”
“You can’t tell me what to do, Malfoy!” I say loudly, poking him in the chest with my finger. I stumble and immediately begin to fall backwards, my head heading straight for the floor. I close my eyes, preparing for the impact, but it never comes. Instead, I feel a pair of strong arms wrap around me, and I open my eyes and look up into Malfoy’s concerned face.
“Are you all right?” he asks.
I’m sure that in a sober state I’d have answered him as quickly as possible to get him to let go of me, but I can’t help it; I like the way his arms feel around me and I start laughing uncontrollably. He shakes his head and smiles down at me, and his smile makes my heart skip a beat. “Like I said,” he says, “you’ve had enough. Now get somewhere and get still before you end up killing yourself.” He helps me to my feet and I slowly stop laughing.
“Why don’t you go away?” I ask. “Go back up to the party and dance with your girlfriend again.”
“What are you on about?” he asks. “I wasn’t invited to the party… and I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“You’re lying,” I reply. “I saw you dancing with Pansy at the party! That was why I got jealous and left and came down here in the first place!”
“Wait a minute,” he says. “You were… jealous because you thought I was dancing with Pansy?”
“Uh huh,” I reply. “But don’t tell Draco… it’s a secret,” and I press my finger to his lips.
He stares at me with an unreadable expression on his face; it’s like a mixture between shock and confusion, but when I ask him what’s wrong he doesn’t answer. Instead, he comes closer to me and puts his hand on the back of my head and pulls my face towards his, pulling me into a fierce, passionate kiss. Oh my God, I think with my eyes closed. I’m kissing Draco Malfoy… and it’s great.
I wrap my arms around his neck and we continue to kiss for a few moments, but then he slowly pulls away and stares down at me. He pulls me over to the sofa and sits down, and as soon as I sit down beside him he places his hands on my face and pulls me close, and we start making out like there’s no tomorrow. I practically climb into his lap a few moments later and he rubs the side of my face. “Merlin, you’re beautiful,” he says breathlessly between kisses; he stops snogging me and pushes me out of his lap a few moments later. “Come with me,” he says as he gets to his feet.
“Okay,” I say, anxious to continue our snogging session.
Draco stands up and extends his hand for me, which I take quickly while smiling up at him. Everyone else in the common room is still enjoying themselves, so much so that nobody notices or says anything when we stand. Draco leads me to the stairway at the back of the room, and we both stumble up it laughing. “You’re drunk,” I say loudly.
“Not as drunk as you,” he replies.
When we reach the top of the stairs he opens the door to our left and pulls me inside. We walk down the hallway and he opens the last door on the left, and we enter. Draco releases my hand and shuts the door before pulling his wand from his pocket and locking it. I don’t have time to get a good look at his room, however, because he quickly stuffs his wand back in his pocket and grabs me by the waist, gently pushing me up against the door. He leans down and presses his lips against mine firmly, and my knees get weak.
I wrap my arms around his neck before sliding my hand into his hair again and pulling him closer to me. He starts kissing me harder, more fiercely; apparently he likes this. He finally pulls his face away from mine and kisses my cheek, then my ear.
He whispers, "I think I love you, Jayde," with slightly slurred speech.
"I love you too," I manage to respond as goosebumps cover my skin.
Everything seems surreal to me, like this is some wonderful dream, because it can't possibly actually be happening. Draco finally moves his lips to my neck, and I close my eyes and take a deep breath in, savoring the feel of his lips on my skin. My eyes remain closed, but I smile when I feel him reach around to my back and unzip my dress as far as he can. The zipper won't go any farther the sash that sits around my waist, even though I'm trying my best to help him get my clothes off as quickly as possible, so he tells me to turn around and he unties the sash before throwing it onto the bed to our left, which I assume is his. He finishes unzipping my dress, slides it down, and helps me step out of it.
I quickly step out of my shoes as he stands up, and I pull him close to me before rapidly unbuttoning his shirt and sliding it off his shoulders and throwing it onto the floor carelessly, kissing him ferociously the whole time. After revealing his smooth, muscular chest I allow my fingers to linger on his abs while I continue to kiss him.
He removes the last remnants of my clothing hungrily before bending down and grabbing my legs with his left arm while supporting the rest of my body with his right arm. He carries me over to the bed and lays me on it; I lay there and watch as he finishes undressing. He climbs onto the bed beside me and we kiss for several moments.
A few moments later, our bodies finally unite. I place my hand on his back, pressing my fingernails down into his skin, which, like mine, is lightly coated with beads of sweat, and I lean up to kiss him before laying my head back on the pillow.
Later, we lie there holding each other for a few moments before Draco rolls over onto his back and extends his right arm for me to lay my neck on. I roll onto my left side and snuggle up close to him. I lay my head on his chest and wrap my right arm around him sleepily, while staring up into his gleaming eyes.
Out of breath, we both lie there quietly for a moment before I say, "Ugh… do I really have to go back to Gryffindor Tower?"
"Oh, no!" he says quickly. "You're not going anywhere. You're going to stay right here so I can hold you while we sleep. It's taken me long enough to get to hold you, and now I'm not letting go."
"But what about the other boys who sleep in here?" I ask.
"It's just Crabbe, Zabini and Goyle," he says. "And they're probably already passed out in the common room.”
"Okay," I agree, not wanting to leave his side, and I notice my eyelids are getting heavy.
Apparently seeing that I'm about to fall asleep, Draco kisses my forehead and cheek and says, "Good night, beautiful."
"Good night," I say quietly before closing my eyes and allowing sleep to take me.
I wake with a start, laying on my right side. I can tell it’s either very early or very late; I can just make out the moon shining through the window with my half-open eyes. I sit up at the edge of my bed, rubbing my eyes with my hands. I wonder what made me awaken so suddenly with such a terrible headache.
It must have been that crazy dream I was having, I think to myself. I can’t believe I was having a dream about shagging Draco Malfoy. I’ve had dreams about him before, but none like this. I feel ashamed of myself, like it’s somehow my fault I’ve had this crazy dream. I push myself off the bed and am shocked to discover every inch of my body is sore, and as I look down at myself I notice I’m naked.
What the hell? I think to myself. I don’t sleep naked! I look around at my room, confused. Though there’s barely any light shining into the room, I can still make out its features. Everything appears to be normal… wait… no, it doesn’t. None of the other girls are in their beds. Where could they be at this time of night? I think to myself. I re-scan the room, once again gazing at the other beds. In the dim moonlight, the empty beds’ sheets look green.
Wait, I think, looking more closely at them as my sleepy eyes come into focus. They are green! Green bed sheets? But the only dorm rooms in this school that would have green bed sheets are the… "Slytherin," I say this last word out loud, terrified by what this means. I slowly turn around to look back at the bed I’ve just risen from, praying that I won’t see what I fear may be there.
Sure enough, once I’ve completely turned around my eyes confirm my worst fear: Draco Malfoy is laying there asleep. The covers are pulled up to his mid-chest, which is completely bare. My eyes widen and my heart starts racing. I hadn’t been dreaming about shagging Draco Malfoy… I’d actually shagged him! “Oh no! No, no, no, no, no!” I say quietly. “This can’t be happening!”
I slowly back away from the bed as though it’s a snake that may bite me if I make any sudden moves. I back into the bed to its right and slide from a standing position down to the floor, my hands covering my mouth and my entire body aching from the strain of moving. My eyes, which are still locked on Draco’s sleeping form on the bed, now fill with tears. I allow myself to lose it for a moment before trying to regain my composure.
Calm down, Jayde, I tell myself. There must be some mistake. That had to have been a dream… maybe I’m still dreaming! This thought cheers me up a bit, and I dry my eyes and stand back up. I pinch myself, which wasn’t a great idea because it actually does hurt. I let out a surprised gasp of pain. Then I slowly walk over to the left side of the bed Draco’s laying on and stare down at him. He looks real, but I refuse to accept that this has happened, so I lean down and lightly touch his upper arm. The touch of his skin once again sends a wave of electric energy shooting through my body.
Bloody hell, I think, it was real. It was all real! Oh my God, what was I thinking? I told him I loved him! I shagged him! Three times! What the hell happened to me last night? What am I going to do? No, more like what have I already done? I stand there for a moment, contemplating my situation, when a brilliant idea hits me: run. I turn around to find my clothes on the floor to the left of the bed and immediately begin pulling them on as quickly as humanly possible. I’m not sure where I’m going or what I’ll do when I get there, but I’ve got to get out of here right now.
Once I’ve pulled my dress on, I grab the door handle and pull as hard as I can, but it won’t budge. Remembering that Draco had magically locked it last night, I run over to his clothes laying abandoned on the floor and dig through them until I find the pocket he shoved his wand into last night. I pull his wand out and unlock the door before throwing his wand down and quietly slipping out of the room.
I take a quick glance at the corridor, which is empty, before quickly walking to the door that leads back to the stairs to the common room. I walk through the door, down the steps, and into the common room quietly. I can just make out the form of Crabbe lying on the sofa asleep, while Goyle sleeps in the chair next to him. I quickly tiptoe past them, keeping my eyes on them to check for any signs of movement. I should have kept my eyes on the floor; I trip over something, though I’m not sure what, as it’s still fairly dark in the common room. I stumble into the wall next to the portrait hole, hitting it with a loud thump.
Goyle, who is nearest me, sits up with a start, his wand drawn and aimed straight at me. Frightened by his sudden movement, I take a deep breath in. “Lumos,” he says, and the tip of his wand lights up. “Jayde,” he says, lowering his wand when he realizes it’s me. “What’s wrong?”
"N-n-nothing,” I say quickly.
“Well, where’re you going, then?” he asks.
“I’ve got to get out of here before I get caught,” I say.
“Where’s Draco?” he asks.
“Still asleep,” I say quickly, “I didn’t want to wake him, he’s very tired.” Goyle seems a bit confused. “I’ll see you later, Goyle,” I say as casually as I can, hoping he won’t think anything’s wrong, and then I turn and quickly exit through the stretch of stone wall that hides the Slytherin common room.
Certain that Goyle will be waking Draco up any minute now to question him about my strange behavior, I take off running as soon as the portrait hole’s shut, which makes my sore body ache even more, and I don’t stop running until I reach Gryffindor Tower. I wake up the Fat Lady, give her the password, and climb through as quietly as possible. Then I sneak through the common room, up the stairs, and into my room. Luckily, all the girls are fast asleep.
Knowing that sleep won’t come anytime soon for me, I decide to have a bath. For some reason I feel that taking a bath will make everything better, like it will wash away what’s happened. I grab my pajamas and leave my room and walk across the hall into the bathroom. I run a warm bubble bath and slide my clothes off, slipping into the soothing water. The warm water calms my aching muscles, and I lean back and rest my head on the back of the tub and close my eyes. Though I try not to think of the night’s activities, I find it impossible to do.
Ashamed and embarrassed, among other things, I begin to weep uncontrollably. I simply can’t believe this. I’ve fornicated before marriage, and with someone I’m not even dating! With the biggest arse in this entire school! How had I worked up the nerve to do something like this? How had I even known what I was doing? I’ve never shagged before! I wonder what Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor would think if they knew what I’ve done. I wonder what my friends will think when they find out. I wonder how Harry will take the news that his date ran off and shagged another man, especially his arch enemy.
As I sit here and dwell on these things, I begin to notice that I’m starting to feel out of it, like I did at Dunamase last year. I try to stop myself by splashing water on my face. It helps, but a few minutes later I feel myself starting to zone out again. This time I decide to get out of the bath and get dressed, hoping that will distract me from my emotions. I climb out of the bath, all my muscles aching in protest, and dress myself, but the emotion won’t stop. I try to find something else to distract me, but I realize that won’t work. I need another dose of my potion now.
Feeling the emotion take over again and knowing I’ll never make it to Professor Snape in time, I quickly run from the bathroom and back into my room. I push myself forwards towards Hermione’s bed and fall down beside it. I’m beginning to black out; I can’t see anything but the image in my head of Draco’s naked form lying on his bed. Gathering my strength, I reach up and grab hold of the side of Hermione’s bed and pull myself up. I reach for her blindly and accidentally hit her, hard.
“Who’s there?” she asks, frightened.
“Hermione,” I say as loudly as I can, though it comes out not much louder than a whisper. She sits straight upright and gasps.
“Jayde, what’s wrong?” she asks.
“Proff-fessor… Sn-n-ape,” I mumble, realizing that I’m losing the last bit of strength I have. Though I’m worried that she might not have heard me, she doesn’t ask me to repeat myself. I hear her jump off her bed and run from the room just before everything goes black.
When I wake up, I open my eyes to see that the sun has almost completely risen. Hermione is sitting at the foot of my bed on the left; Ginny is at the foot of my bed on the right. When I open my eyes, they both ask how I’m feeling at the same time. “Dreadful,” I say. As I sit up, I notice that my muscles are still aching.
As it normally does when you wake up for the first time after something horrible happens, realization washes over me and I remember everything that happened before I passed out. Not ready to have to confess what happened down in the Slytherin dorms, I try to keep a straight face in front of my friends, but I can’t help but wonder if they can tell by looking at me that I’m no longer a virgin. “What happened after I passed out?” I ask.
“I ran as fast as I could to get Professor Snape like you asked,” Hermione answers. “When we got up here, you were already out and he said there was nothing to be done but to wait until you woke up, that you just needed some rest. He told me to watch over you while you slept. He said when you woke up to tell you that he will speak to all your teachers for you and have you excused from all your classes today, and when you feel able you should go to his office.”
“Okay. Thanks, Hermione,” I say quietly.
Though I don’t want to miss my classes, I think a little rest would do me some good, besides; I’m definitely not ready to face Draco yet. I lie back down on my bed and close my eyes. “Jayde, what happened last night at the party?” Ginny asks. Great. I’m going to have to confess a little sooner than I’d hoped. I try to pretend I’ve already fallen back asleep, but it doesn’t work.
“What Ginny means to say,” Hermione says, “is that we were worried about you. Harry told us he went to get you a drink, but when he went back to the table, you were gone. Where’d you go?”
I open my eyes at this, finally seeing a way around this whole 'confessing' thing; I can lie. My heart fills with hope, but I realize I have to come up with a good lie, and fast. “I had to be taken to the hospital wing,” I say quickly. “I went and found Professor Snape and he took me to see Madam Pomfrey; I was there most of the night.”
“But why?” Hermione asks. The wheels in my head start turning faster; I hadn’t worked out a why yet.
“Apparently I was a little too nervous and excited about the party,” I say quickly. “I got too upset and had to go and rest.”
“Oh my goodness!” Hermione says quickly. “That must have been very frightening! Why didn’t you tell us? We’d have gone with you!” Ginny nods her head in agreement. Relieved that Hermione and Ginny seem to believe me, I feel a little more comfortable now. Can I really be this lucky? Can I really get away with never having to confess?
“I didn’t want to ruin your night; you were all having such a good time, and I figured you’d have seen me leaving with Professor Snape and would know what had happened,” I answer quickly.
“Well, what made you get so upset this morning?” Ginny asks.
“I felt horrible for leaving Harry like that. I was afraid he’d be mad at me,” I lie.
“Oh no,” Hermione says. “He was just worried - we all were. He’s not mad at you at all. In fact, when we tell him what happened he’ll probably want to come up here and see you. Will it be okay with you if we bring him up?”
“No!” I say quickly.
“What’s wrong?” Ginny asks.
“I’m still just a little afraid,” I say. “I’m not ready to see him yet. Besides, I’m sure I look dreadful.”
“Okay,” Hermione says quietly. “We understand. We’re going down to breakfast - do you feel up to coming?” Afraid that Draco will approach me, I quickly decline, claiming that I don’t feel well enough. The girls leave my room and tell me to get some rest; Hermione promises to bring me all my class work and homework, and I close my eyes and drift back to sleep.
When I wake up this time, I’m feeling better, but still not as well as I normally do. I slowly get out of bed and dress, but instead of putting on my school uniform I decide to wear my regular clothes, since I don’t have to go to class today. Realizing that I should probably go see Professor Snape right away, I walk down to the common room and glance at the clock above the fireplace.
Its 11:05, which means Transfiguration is just starting, and Gryffindor has Transfiguration with Slytherin. Since I know Draco is in class and there’s no chance of me running into him in the hallways, I decide to head down to Professor Snape’s office and try to get back up to Gryffindor Tower before Transfiguration ends.
I climb through the portrait hole and make my way to Professor Snape’s office. I’m not sure if he has a class right now or not, but I’m hoping to catch him in his office so we can go ahead and get this over with and I can get back up to the tower. When I reach his office, I tap lightly on the door. When I don’t get an answer, I tap lightly once more, and the professor’s voice calls out, “Come in.” I carefully open the door and step into his office, before closing the door behind me.
“I heard you wanted to see me, Professor,” I say quietly as I approach his desk.
“Yes, Miss Newsome,” he says. “I was going to ask you what got you so upset this morning, but as it turns out someone else has already filled me in on that bit of information.”
My mind starts racing, wondering who’s told him what. I know Draco’s a prat, but surely he hasn’t told Professor Snape what happened, has he? “Have a seat, Miss Newsome,” the professor says quietly. I sit down carefully before he continues. “Miss Newsome,” he says, “I received a visit from a very distraught Draco Malfoy very early this morning. Now, since we both already know what his visit was about, why don’t you tell me your side of the story? What happened?”
“I don’t know, Professor,” I say, the tears already pouring down my cheeks. “One minute I was at the party and everything was fine, and then I got upset when I saw Draco for some reason. So I left and ran into some Slytherins and they invited me to a party in their common room. And I know I shouldn’t have drank, but I got drunk and then… he walked over and we started kissing and then he took me to his dorm room and we… well, you already know. But when I woke up this morning, I thought it had all been a dream, until I turned around and he was laying there in the bed. I got upset and ran up to Gryffindor Tower and that’s when I passed out. Professor, I honestly don’t know what came over me last night. This isn’t like me at all! Why did Malfoy come to you? Is he trying to blame this on me?”
“Not at all,” Professor Snape answers apathetically. “In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He was very concerned about you and was afraid you’d be mad at him. When I told him you were ill I thought he was going to faint.”
“Why?” I ask, confused.
“Perhaps you should ask him that yourself,” he says.
“I can’t speak to him, Professor,” I say quietly. “I’m too ashamed. Besides, he’d just Stun me or something.”
“And what makes you think that, Miss Newsome?” he asks with his eyebrows furrowed.
“I’ve heard stories,” I reply.
“I wouldn’t believe everything you hear about someone in this castle,” the professor says. “Especially when it’s coming from the person’s enemies. Don’t be fooled; Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have been at each other’s throats since their first day here, but Potter’s caused Malfoy just as much grief as Malfoy’s caused him. Now, Miss Newsome, I have another question for you. Draco tells me that the first time he touched you when you arrived at Hogwarts, he felt an ‘electric spark’, for lack of a better word, between the two of you. Did you feel that as well?”
"Yes, sir,” I answer, unsure why this has anything to do with what happened last night.
“Is it possible that you have some positive feeling or attraction towards him, even if it’s only a little one?” he asks with a smirk.
I quickly say, “I don’t understand why that matters.”
“Because the feeling you and Draco described is normally only felt between a Nimbimagus and their lover, and it only occurs when one of them is trying to hide their feelings for the other,” he replies, giving me a knowing look.
“That's... that's just ridiculous!” I reply. “I don't like him... but even if I did, it’d never work between us. He’s arrogant and… well… we’re just too different.”
“Miss Newsome, how can you say that without giving Mr. Malfoy a chance?" Professor Snape responds. I can't help but notice that there's a somewhat accusatory tone hidden within the apathy in his voice, and his lips curl up into a sneer as he continues. "I’m sure that you were afraid of what people would think of you when you arrived at Hogwarts; you thought people would judge you before they got to know you. Look, I won’t keep pestering you about this. I’m not your mother or a matchmaker. Just know that, for what it’s worth, I think you should at least talk to him. Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised. And if you could express your feelings to him then it’d certainly prevent something like last night from happening again.”
What is this? I think to myself. Why am I having this conversation, with Professor Snape of all people? Malfoy doesn’t like me. In fact, he doesn’t like anyone, so what’s it matter if I like him... even though I don't? I look down at the floor but don’t speak, and Professor Snape continues.
“Now, Jayde,” he says, “you are free to go. I assure you, you’re not in any trouble and I will not tell anyone else. Try to get some rest today, and think about what I’ve said.”
“Okay,” I say quietly. “Thank you, Professor.” And at this, I turn and walk from his office.
As I walk back towards Gryffindor Tower my mind is racing with dozens of thoughts at once. What is Professor Snape trying to say about this ‘spark’? That Draco and I are secretly in love with each other? Impossible! I mean, sure he’s absolutely gorgeous, but he’s a complete arse! But then, why did he help me up that day in the entrance hall? Why is he so mean to everyone else, but so nice to me? Why did it feel like heaven when I was in his arms last night? I blush at this thought, thoroughly angry at myself for believing that anything that happened last night was like heaven. Though my mind could keep going on like this all day, it isn’t allowed to.
Just as I reach the fourth floor, I hear a voice call after me. “Jayde, wait!” the voice calls. I turn around on the landing of the stairs to see who’s called me and find myself face-to-face with the one person I was hoping to avoid for at least twenty-four hours. He and I stare at each other for a moment before I turn away; I can’t stand to look into his piercing grey eyes. I feel a sense of panic sweep over me.
“What do you want, Malfoy?” I ask quietly.
“I want to talk to you,” he says gently, stepping closer to me.
“I don’t have time to talk right now,” I say coldly. “I’ve got some studying to do.”
In no way am I prepared for what comes next. Draco slams his fist into the wall angrily and yells, “Damn!” which makes me turn on the spot and stare at him. “Would you stop avoiding me?” he yells. “You’ve been avoiding me ever since the day I helped you up in the entrance hall… why?”
Startled to discover that he knows I’ve been avoiding him, I yell back, “Because I found out what kind of person you are!” without intending to; I have absolutely no idea where that outburst came from.
“You think Potter and all his friends are going to give you an unbiased idea of what kind of person I am? They hate me, and I hate them. But why does it matter how I treat the rest of the world, as long as I treat you well? Have I ever done anything like that to you?”
“You cursed me!” I accuse. “You made me fall and cut my head!” He looks down at his shoes, confirming my suspicions.
“I didn’t mean to hit you with that spell,” he says quietly, “And I felt horrible about it… I was trying to hit Potter.”
“And why?” I ask. “What had he done to you? Nothing!”
“He asked you to the party,” he says, finally looking up at me again.
“And?” I ask impatiently.
“And I couldn’t bear it; I couldn’t bear the thought of you dating him,” he replies.
“I’m not dating him,” I say, exasperated. “We’re just friends.”
“Well, then why’d you agree to go to the party with him then?” he asks.
“So I wouldn’t have to go alone!” I reply.
“Wait,” he says. “That’s why you agreed to go with him?”
“Yes!” I reply. “And I don’t see where you get off fussing at me about going to the party with Harry when you went with Pansy!”
“I told you last night,” he replies, “I didn’t go to the party! I don’t know who you saw, but it wasn’t me… I didn’t even want to go to the party and watch you and your… boyfriend... dancing.”
“He’s NOT my boyfriend!” I scream. “And what does it matter to you anyway?”
“It matters to me because I have wanted to be with you since the first time I saw you,” he says boldly as he stares deep into my eyes. My mouth drops open. Did he really just say that?
“I know this doesn’t sound like the Draco Malfoy your friends have told you about,” he says. “Hell, I’m not so sure it sounds like me. I’ve never felt like this before, I’ve never been… crazy… over someone before. The thought of someone else even talking to you drives me mad! I can’t stop thinking about you, and I would kill to have a chance to be with you. Jayde, will you please give me a chance?”
“No!” I say immediately, turning to walk off. He follows me.
“Look, you can pretend all you want,” he says. “But I know you want me, too.” At this I turn on my heel.
“You’re so conceited!” I yell. “What makes you think I want to be with you? I don’t even know you.”
He doesn’t answer, and I turn and start walking away again, but he grabs me by the arm, sending that electric current through it once again. I turn back and look at him again. “Because you told me you were jealous over me last night, and because of this,” he says, nodding towards our touching, tingling arms. “You can’t tell me everything we did last night didn’t feel just as good to you as it did to me,” he continues.
“Of course last night felt good,” I say. “I was drunk!”
“So was I!” he retorts. “But all this tingling started before last night… you liked me before you were drunk… but all that’s beyond the point. The point is, I want you and I’ve been too afraid to say it, too afraid that you didn’t feel the same way. But after last night, I can’t go back to being without you. I can’t go back to watching you from afar and wishing you were mine. Last night was amazing, Jayde, and you can’t deny it! Maybe we don’t know each other very well, but we’ll come to know each other in time. All I’m asking for is one chance to get to know you, one chance to be with you.”
At this, he moves closer to me and places his other hand on my free arm. “Let me go,” I say angrily.
“Why?” he asks. “I know you love it! Why do you fight it? You can’t tell me this doesn’t feel good! You can’t tell me this…” His voice trails off; it appears for a moment as though he’s run out of words. But then he quickly tightens his jaw and looks straight into my eyes, as though he’s made up his mind about something.
He quickly releases both my arms at the same time and moves his hands, instead, to both sides of my face. My face tingling, he tilts my head upwards, bends his neck down and forcefully presses his lips to mine, which makes my lips tingle as well. I resist at first, but I suddenly get caught up in the kiss and find myself enjoying it, a lot. Within a matter of seconds we’re snogging each other forcefully. He slips his tongue into my mouth and our tongues intertwine for what seems like forever. My heart starts pounding rapidly just like it had the first time I saw him.
He releases me from the kiss for a split second to get some air, looks deep into my eyes, removes his hands from my face and places them on my hips before pulling me closer to him and starting another infinite kiss. When we stop for air this time I push him away from me; I need a moment to breathe, and to think. He looks down at me, his beautiful grey eyes gleaming.
“So, does this mean you’ll give me a chance? Will you be my girlfriend?” he asks hopefully.
I stand there thinking for a moment. I can’t deny that I want to be his girlfriend, and have wanted to be since the first time I saw him, but I’m afraid; I’ve never had a boyfriend before. Hell, I’ve never even snogged anyone before him, and I don’t want to date someone who could potentially turn out to be just as much of an arse to me as he is to everyone else. “I don’t know,” I say quietly.
At this, he pulls me into another long, forceful kiss which I eventually have to pull away from, because I hear the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs. “Okay, okay, I’ll stop,” he says breathlessly. “We wouldn't want anyone else finding out about us before we've had a chance to figure us out... but I’ll come find you later and we’ll continue this discussion in a more private setting.” He quickly walks off, but I just stand there in complete shock. Us? Did he just say 'us'? I think to myself.
Several students brush past me moments later, staring at me as though I’m insane, but I barely notice. Finally I gather my composure and walk back up to my dorm room. When I get there, I flop down on my bed, crying and not knowing what to do. I couldn’t bear to have that conversation with Draco again, because I’m too embarrassed and I know I’d surely give in to his kisses and pleas. I decide that the only thing I can do is to avoid him at all costs from now on; to make sure that any time I walk anywhere in the castle or grounds, my friends are with me. Surely he won’t approach me with all my friends around, will he?
The next few days pass by in a haze, the already tense atmosphere now growing even tenser as teachers pile mountains of homework on us in preparation for the rapidly approaching N.E.W.T. exams. The only class that seems to be getting easier is my private class with Professor Snape; I manage to make it rain outside for the first time. Even though it still takes me a while to get started, once I’ve created the first weather change it’s easier to create the others. Now the Professor wants me to work on getting faster before he teaches me anything new.
So in between classes, homework, and practicing, I literally have no time for anything else. I make sure that every time I leave Gryffindor Tower, I’m with my friends. If Hermione or Ginny have to go to the bathroom, I walk with them, unable to bear the thought of what would happen if I were left alone with Draco again.
A few times he sees me standing by myself and smiles over at me before making a beeline directly for me, but luckily one of my friends steps closer just before he reaches me, stopping him dead in his tracks and saving me from imminent doom, without even realizing they’re doing so. His face immediately turns into a scowl each time, and he stalks off angrily. Though I’m glad this plan has worked so far, I wonder just how long I can keep this charade going. I couldn’t live with myself if I had to face Draco alone again, out of sheer embarrassment of what I’ve done… not to mention the fact that had we not been interrupted the other day, he’d probably have convinced me to be his girlfriend.
I find out a little more than a week after the incident, however, just how serious Draco is about the situation. Over breakfast one morning I receive a letter from an owl I don’t recognize. I quickly open the letter to find a message in a neat, slanted handwriting written in all capital letters. JAYDE, it says; I’M SORRY I HAVEN’T FOUND A TIME FOR US TO TALK YET. ALL YOUR FRIENDS KEEP INTERFERING. I PROMISE YOU, THOUGH, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER I WILL FIND A TIME FOR US TO TALK SOON. SINCERELY, D.
Panicking, I ball the letter up quickly and stuff it in my pocket, terrified of what means Draco will go to for a chance to talk to me alone. I don’t dare to turn around and acknowledge the receipt of Draco’s letter. I stick close by my friends for the rest of that day, just as I’ve been doing, in an effort to thwart Draco’s continued attempts at getting me alone with him. Thankfully, it works; I feel a sense of accomplishment as I prepare for bed that night, amazed that I was able to avoid Draco for another day.
Another week passes in much the same manner and I start to feel relieved when I don’t catch Draco smiling at me anymore. My false hopes are very short-lived, however, for two weeks after my receipt of the letter, I go down to Professor Snape’s office for my private lesson. I have Harry walk me down there, and also make him promise to come back and walk to the Great Hall with me for dinner after the lesson is over.
My lesson finishes a bit early, however, and I decide to simply stand outside Professor Snape’s office and wait for Harry to arrive. From a distance I see Harry approaching down the corridor a few moments later, but just as I start walking forward to join him, there’s a loud banging noise and a deep darkness overtakes the hallway. “Jayde!” I hear Harry call as he disappears into darkness. I can’t respond, however, because I feel a pair of arms grab hold of me. One hand comes to rest on my mouth, preventing me from screaming, and the other arm wraps around my waist, pulling me down the hallway through the darkness.
I kick and try to scream and fight back, but my captor is too strong. They pull me into an abandoned classroom a short way away and immediately release me, closing the classroom door behind us. I look around into the darkness in search of my captor, but to no avail. Finally I hear a familiar voice muttering a counter-curse, and Draco’s form appears at the classroom door.
“I’m sorry about that,” he begins as he walks over to me. “But I figured this was the only way to make sure your friends didn’t interrupt.” I am too shocked to answer him, and simply stand there staring at him in silence as he comes to stand directly in front of me. I’m nearly shaking with fear, wondering what’s about to happen.
I’m finally able to speak a few moments later. “How… how did you do that?” I ask quietly, unable to hide the hint of surprise in my voice.
Draco smiles slyly in response. “I’m not in Slytherin for nothing, darling,” he replies matter-of-factly; my entire body shivers involuntarily when he calls me ‘darling’. “I cast a Disillusionment Charm upon myself so Potter wouldn’t see me,” Draco continues. “Then I just threw down some Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder and snatched you. It’s a simple plan, really, but I’ve been perfecting it all week... I knew I had to get it right on the first try.”
Amazed and admittedly impressed, I gaze up at Draco in silence. “That… that must have taken a lot of time,” I finally manage in response. Instead of answering, Draco stares down into my eyes for a moment before placing a hand on my cheek tenderly, ignoring the electricity that seems to be running through our bodies.
“It was worth every minute just to get to see you… to talk to you. You’re so beautiful,” he whispers. Then, without warning, he leans down and presses his lips against mine firmly, causing my body to shiver once more as the electricity now begins to course through my lips.
I make to protest, but he quickly silences me by kissing me wildly, passionately. Oh my God, what am I doing? I think as I begin to participate in the kiss hungrily, though the thought of stopping never crosses my mind. I’m amazed at just how quickly he can make my resolve disappear, and I can’t help but notice that once I stop resisting Draco’s kiss, the ‘electric spark’ feeling ceases as well, just as Professor Snape said it would.
I wrap my arms around Draco’s neck and pull him closer to me, deepening the kiss. He moans against my lips and places his hands on my hips, pressing my back up against the classroom wall gently. We continue to snog as though our lips are magnets, irrevocably and inexplicably drawn together. I hate to admit that it feels wonderful to be kissing him again… it just feels… right.
He slowly pulls his lips away from mine and leans forward, kissing my neck, and I can’t help but sigh with pleasure. I lean my head backwards to allow him to better reach my neck, and he slowly kisses a trail up to my left ear. “Give me a chance to prove myself to you,” he whispers deeply.
“Oh… okay,” I reply instantly, all thought of resistance gone.
“No, say it,” he insists. He stops kissing my neck, places his hands on the tops of my shoulders and stares down into my eyes. “Say you’ll be my girlfriend,” he says with an air of urgency.
“I’ll… I mean, I am your girlfriend…” I reply immediately.
Draco smiles as though he’s a child on Christmas morning and then wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me closer to him. This time, however, I’m prepared for what’s coming. I lean my head upwards slightly, greeting Draco’s waiting lips with my own. My heart swells with a happiness that I’ve never known as we kiss. The feeling is so strong that I actually lose control of my good emotion for once, and I accidentally make it start snowing inside the classroom.
When I feel the wet flakes hitting my skin, I pull away from the kiss and look around at the room, while Draco does the same. Realizing that it’s me causing the snow, Draco smiles at me once more and leans in for another kiss. Feeling the need to state the obvious, however, I place my hand on Draco’s chest and push myself away from him, delaying the reunion of our lips and causing him to look down at me in curiosity.
“Just promise me one thing,” I say quietly.
“What’s that, love?” he asks eagerly.
“Don’t be mean to my friends,” I reply.
Draco looks like he’s actually been physically hurt when I make this statement, and I can’t help but laugh. “But… can’t I at least be mean to Potter?” he asks playfully.
“No!” I reply, “Especially not Harry! He’s already going to be upset when he finds out about us!” I feel more than a bit strange referring to Draco and I as “us”, but Draco interrupts my thought process.
“All right,” he replies in a resigned tone, rolling his eyes. I give him a significant look, causing him to repeat himself. “All right! I said I wou…,” he begins, but he’s cut off by the sound of Harry’s voice shouting my name from somewhere nearby. Draco and I freeze immediately. “Shh!” Draco says quietly, placing a finger over my lips. “I’ll go take care of Potter,” he continues in a whisper, “but I won’t be mean to him. You just wait here… girlfriend.”
With a devilish smile on his handsome face, Draco quietly walks over to the classroom door, quickly re-casting the Disillusionment Charm he’d used before to “kidnap” me. He vanishes instantly and opens the classroom door, walking off to find Harry. I stand there waiting for him for a few moments wondering how he’s going to ‘get rid’ of Harry, but then my guilt finally takes over once more.
Oh my God…what was I thinking? I just agreed to date Draco Malfoy! And I could have ended up shagging him again just then if it weren’t for Harry… and sober, too! I think to myself. What is wrong with me? Why is it that every time I’m around this boy I lose control of myself? I don’t feel like… Jayde… when I’m around him… I don’t feel the loneliness and sadness I’ve felt my entire life. Suddenly all Corey’s teasing, as well as the hell I was given by all the students at Dunamase, doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like I’m a whole other person when I’m with Draco; I’m changing. And change, in my experience, is never good.
I quickly decide that I’ve got to get away before Draco comes back; I need some time to clear my head. I quickly sneak out of the empty classroom and begin to make my way down the hallway and towards the Great Hall, but Draco returns much quicker than I thought he would. He quickly catches up to me and grabs hold of my arm, spinning me around to face him, though he’s still invisible.
He quickly removes the Disillusionment Charm he’s placed on himself and starts interrogating me. “What the hell, Jayde?” he asks furiously once he’s visible again. “You’re running from me again now? When five minutes ago you agreed to date me?”
“Let me go, Malfoy!” I sob in response, trying to pry my arm from his hand, mostly because the ‘sparking’ sensation has once again returned. The expression on his face is unfathomable, and he releases my arm but then quickly backs me up against the nearest wall.
He places his hands on either side of my head, preventing me from being able to get away. I stare up at him in fear, afraid of what he’s about to do. “Fine!” he says angrily, his jaw set and his eyes almost burning a hole through my skin. “I’ll let you go… you don’t ever have to worry about me speaking to you again… it’s a bloody waste of time.” He leans his head down and plants a rough, angry, electric kiss on my lips before stalking away, muttering “You’ll be sorry,” as he does so.
Sobbing, I sink to the floor in a distraught heap, burying my face in my hands. Though I wished he was away while he was here, the fact that he’s left and the thought that he’ll never speak to me again have completely broken my heart. The happiness I’d felt earlier in that abandoned classroom is completely gone. I feel like myself again - lonely and sad. And I immediately wish I could go back to be being the carefree Jayde I was ten minutes ago. Though I have friends now and I’m not always actually alone and am indeed happy most of the time, there’s still some sort of hole in my heart… a hole that only Draco can fill, apparently.
I didn’t realize until now just how strongly I feel for Draco... now, when it’s too late. Beginning to feel myself losing control of my powers, and not in a good way, I quickly push myself up off the floor and slowly make my way towards Gryffindor Tower, deciding to skip out on dinner for the night and not even bother with going to Professor Snape for another vial of my potion. By the time I reach the common room there’s already a heavy rain falling inside the castle, but I don’t care; I’ve got to make it up to my bed before I pass out.
I finally reach my four-poster and just manage to crawl under the covers before the darkness takes me. I feel better the next morning, though I’m still slightly depressed, but quickly decide that what happened last night was for the best; if I don’t speak to or look at Draco then I can just pretend this whole thing never happened. Though I long for the happiness I felt in Draco’s arms, I personally feel that happiness is only short-lived; it would never have worked between Draco and me, anyways. And when it didn’t work, I’d have gone back to being lonely and sad again, so there was really no point.
Ginny questions me about the previous nights’ activities on the way to breakfast the next morning; of course she and everyone else in the castle noticed the downpour I caused last night. I lie to her as best I can, telling her I was just upset over a bit of homework I was having a problem with. Though she doesn’t seem to believe me, Ginny doesn’t ask any more questions. I’m very nervous as I walk into the Great Hall that morning, unsure of whether or not I’ll be able to face Draco. But, as he promised, Draco doesn’t speak to me, or even look my way for that matter, both depressing and delighting me at the same time.
I now have no need to walk around with my friends wherever they go. Draco simply acts as though I don’t exist. I wonder if I should speak to him, or at least apologize for the way I behaved. As it’s now early December, however, I barely have any time to devote to sleep, much less my social life.
The mood in the castle has changed to a festive but nervous one; everyone is ready for the Christmas holidays to begin. Teachers are assigning more and more homework, which the students are scrambling to get done before the holidays begin so they won’t have to spend their entire break fussing over schoolwork.
I find myself nearly buried under the growing load of pre-Christmas homework, and it causes me a severe amount of stress. I can't seem to get enough sleep anymore due to late-night homework marathons, and spend all my days exhausted. I start to wonder if I haven't caught some stress-related illness; though I don't have any specific symptoms, there's a constant aching in my back accompanied by a sense of generally not feeling well. Even my menstrual cycle has been affected.
The rest of the first term finishes out in this very stressful and difficult manner, causing me to count the days and cross my fingers, eagerly awaiting Christmas break. Professor McGonagall comes around the week before the Christmas holidays are to begin, asking all the Gryffindors if they’ll be going home or remaining at Hogwarts over the break.
Since I know that Ginny and all the rest of my friends are going home over the holidays, I decide to go home as well, and write Mrs. McGreggor a letter, informing her of when the Hogwarts Express will be arriving at Platform 9 ¾, so she can meet me there. On the night before Christmas break begins, a grand feast is held in the Great Hall. Before the feast I go to Professor Snape’s office and he gives me a huge bottle of my potion to take home with me, so I don’t miss my potion while on Christmas break.
I leave his office and head straight for the Great Hall, and I’m amazed by what I see. There are Christmas trees and Christmas decorations everywhere; the Great Hall is hardly recognizable. My fellow Gryffindors and I have a great time at the feast, but I begin to feel that something’s missing. Unsure of whether or not I’ll be able to pull off what I’ve got in mind, I close my eyes and think of the happiest thought I can... the night I agreed to date Draco. It takes a few moments because this thought causes me to have to fight back tears as well, but a downfall of snow begins to fall upon the Great Hall.
When the Gryffindors notice the snow, they all immediately turn to look at me and say things like, “Brilliant!” or “Excellent!” and begin sticking their tongues out to catch the snow. Everyone at the Gryffindor table is smiling and laughing. The students in the other Houses, however, look a bit confused. They start whispering things like, “Is she doing that?” And once again, the feeling of being watched that has come and gone all term, is back. I pay it no mind, however - I’m having too much fun.
“Jayde,” Seamus says, laughing hysterically, “look at the high table!” I turn and see Professor Snape looking straight at me, his eyes wide in shock. He sees me looking at him, and then furrows his eyebrows as if to ask whether or not it’s me causing all this. I nod my head, smiling, and he looks around at all the precipitation I’m causing. To his left, Professor Dumbledore is staring up at the snowfall and smiling. After a few moments all the other Houses, except Slytherin of course, are also laughing and enjoying the snow.
The chatter and laughter become almost deafening. Finally, Professor Dumbledore stands and walks around the high table and to the podium, and says, “Everyone, let’s all thank Miss Newsome of Gryffindor House for that wonderful display of holiday spirit.” He starts clapping, and everyone else follows suit, though many of the students at the other tables seem to have just realized I was causing it; they turn around in their seats and stare at me after Dumbledore’s finished speaking. My cheeks redden. “Now, Miss Newsome, if you could please stop the snow, at least until I’ve finished talking,” he says politely. I close my eyes and think of nothing, and the snow stops.
“Now,” Dumbledore continues, “you’d all best get off to bed and get prepared for the long train ride home, and I wish you all a very happy Christmas.” Once he has finished speaking, everyone stands up and starts making their way towards the double doors, causing yet another traffic jam.
The next morning is a blur; books, clothes and trunks are scattered everywhere. Having packed the night before, I dress and go downstairs for breakfast as soon as I wake up. Then I spend the rest of the morning helping all the other Gryffindor girls find things they’ve misplaced. Just before noon, we all head downstairs and onto the snow-covered castle grounds and wait for the carriages to take us to the train. I ride to the train with Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Seamus, and Neville.
When we reach the train, Hermione and Ron have to go to the front of the to ride in a compartment with the other school prefects, but Harry, Ginny, Seamus, Neville, and I share a compartment near the middle of the train. When we reach London I say goodbye to them all and quickly make my way through the crowds of people, looking for Mrs. McGreggor. I finally realize that moving around probably isn’t the brightest idea, so I pick a spot to stand and wait for Mrs. McGreggor to find me. It only takes a moment for her to find me, and she runs up and wraps me in a suffocating hug.
We walk through the crowded train station and into a stall in the girl’s bathroom before disapparating. When we land on the road in front of the orphanage I start running, I can’t wait to see Ms. Fitzpatrick. I run across the yard and straight in the front door, abandoning my trunk on the snow-covered lawn. I find Ms. Fitzpatrick in the living room watching television with many of the other children, and when she sees me her entire face lights up and she jumps up and runs to pull me in yet another suffocating hug.
“Jayde,” she says, “I swear you get more and more beautiful every time I see you!”
“I said the same thing, Caroline,” Mrs. McGreggor says, walking through the front door with my trunk in tow.
Ms. Fitzpatrick takes me by the hand and pulls me into the kitchen. “Come on, dear,” she says. “You must tell us everything about your first term at Hogwarts.” So she, Mrs. McGreggor and I sit down at the kitchen table and I tell them everything. I tell them about my new-found friends, my classes, and my private lessons with Professor Snape. They ask me to give them a demonstration of my abilities, and I turn an empty cup upside down on the table and make it snow inside the cup. “My goodness!” they both say enthusiastically.
“See, Jayde,” Mrs. McGreggor says. “We told you Hogwarts would be a better school for you. Just look at you! You’re happy, you have friends now, and you’re learning to control your powers. You love it there, don’t you?”
“Well, yes,” I respond quietly.
“And how was the party?” they ask.
“Great!” I lie in a happy tone, and we continue talking about my first term at Hogwarts. Mrs. McGreggor stays and eats dinner with us and then leaves with the promise of returning over the weekend. Ms. Fitzpatrick and I get started on Christmas decorations and preparations the next day, and we have a wonderful Christmas together.
The day after Christmas, Mrs. McGreggor arrives to spend some time with me, but unfortunately I wake up feeling very tired and queasy that morning. Afraid that I’m coming down with some sort of virus, Ms. Fitzpatrick makes me stay in bed all day. I remain in my pajamas and sleep for the majority of the day, but I also finish my remaining homework and watch a movie, which Mrs. McGreggor watches with me. The movie fascinates Mrs. McGreggor; she’s never watched a film ‘the Muggle way’ before.
Ms. Fitzpatrick brings me breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed, serving me soup, which is the only food I feel that I can stomach at the present. Mrs. McGreggor stays in my room and talks to me for a while, but leaves a after dinner and tells me that she’ll be back to check on me the next day. She arrives to find me in no better shape than I was the day before, however, and it’s the same story when she returns the next day. Now worried that I’m coming down with some sort of non-Muggle illness, such as Dragon Pox, Mrs. McGreggor leaves for Saint Mungo’s Hospital and returns an hour later with a vial of light-blue colored potion that she says will tell us what’s wrong with me.
She has me drink it while she leaves the room to fetch Ms. Fitzpatrick, and when the two of them return they discover, as I did a few moments ago, that my skin is glowing as though I were made of gold. The two women stare at me in an awed silence for a moment, but then a deep scowl crosses Mrs. McGreggor’s face. “JAYDE ALYSSA NEWSOME!” she screams at me.
“Now, now,” Ms. Fitzpatrick says quietly. “Don’t scream at her Eva. She’s already not feeling well. Why don’t you tell us what’s wrong with her? Then perhaps we could understand why you’re so upset.”
“WHY DON’T WE LET JAYDE TELL US WHAT’S WRONG WITH HER?” Mrs. McGreggor replies with her hands on her hips. “IS THERE ANYTHING YOU NEED TO TELL US, YOUNG LADY?”
I’m unsure of what she’s talking about, but my thoughts automatically drift to Draco. “No,” I lie.
“Eva, what are you on about?” Ms. Fitzpatrick asks her in a frustrated tone.
“She’s pregnant, Caroline! That’s what the glowing means! She’s bloody pregnant!” she replies in a whispered tone, so as to prevent the other children in the orphanage from overhearing the conversation. Ms. Fitzpatrick gasps and looks me straight in the eyes at this bit of information, silently begging me to say it’s not so.
I stare at Mrs. McGreggor, completely confused. “I can’t be pregnant, that’s not poss..” I begin, but my voice trails off as my mind begins to wander. My mind wanders to a completely different place and time, a night almost two months ago that I’ve been trying to forget: the night of the party. I can picture all the events that happened in the Slytherin common room that night in my head as clearly as though I’m watching a movie about them - Draco pulling my dress down and helping me step out of it, him laying me down on his bed, and him moaning while I dug my fingernails into the skin on his back.
Realization suddenly hits me like a ton of bricks and I take a deep, loud breath in as my mind jerks out of my memory and back into my present predicament. I look up into both women’s eyes and tears begin to form in the corners of my widened eyes. Then I quickly look down at the floor and cover my mouth, my entire body shaking. I find it difficult to breathe; this can’t be right. I can’t be pregnant, I just can’t be! Everything was supposed to go back to normal, as if the night of the party had never happened!
I continue to stare down at the floor with my hand over my mouth, and breathing becomes even more difficult. Within a span of just a few moments, I find myself hyperventilating. Ms. Fitzpatrick quickly walks over and sits beside me on the bed. “Jayde, you need to calm down,” she says quietly as she places a comforting hand on my back. “I’m not mad at you.” Though I’m still shaking and hyperventilating, I slowly lower my hand from my mouth and turn my head to the left, looking at her. “I’m not mad at you,” she repeats with concern and horror both etched across her face. “But I need you to tell us how this happened. You’re a responsible girl, Jayde, this isn’t like you!”
“It’s that bloody Albus Dumbledore!” Mrs. McGreggor interrupts. “I trusted him with her safety, and he let her wander around the school alone with some boy and wind up pregnant! Just you wait, I’ll have his job for this! He’ll pay!”
“No!” I plead through tears. “It wasn’t his fault, it was mine! I made a stupid decision.”
“I’ll say,” Mrs. McGreggor retorts.
“Please, Eva, this isn’t helping,” Ms. Fitzpatrick scolds before turning her attention to me. “Jayde, tell us what happened,” she pleads.
“There’s… there’s a boy at school that I really like,” I begin. “But my friends told me he was bad news, so I avoided him… and my feelings. The night of the party I saw him dancing with someone else, and it upset me. So I left the party and ran into some of his friends; they convinced me to go to another party they were having. I knew they were drinking but I didn’t care… I just wanted to get back at him for dancing with the other girl. I… I got drunk and one thing led to another and… and now I’m having his baby?!” I sob.
Ms. Fitzpatrick shushes me and pulls me into a hug, patting me on the back in a comforting way. “I’d never felt that way before!” I sob into her shoulder. “Jealousy was a new emotion for me… and I didn’t know how to handle it!” Apparently touched by my sobs and pleas, Mrs. McGreggor now crosses the room and joins Ms. Fitzpatrick and me on the bed. She wraps her arms around me and whispers in my ear, telling me everything will be okay.
“Oh, Jayde,” she sobs after a few moments. “What are we going to do with you? You can’t go back to school now; you can’t finish your education! And you’re so smart, too… it’s such a waste!”
“I’ll be damned!” Ms. Fitzpatrick replies. “Jayde is going to finish her schooling, pregnant or not! She’s already decided she wants to be a doctor… or Healer, whatever you call them in the magical world, and she’ll never accomplish that if she drops out of school. Besides, she has to go back to school to tell this boy he’s going to be a father.”
I immediately sit up out of both ladies’ arms and plead with Ms. Fitzpatrick. “No, please! Don’t make me tell him! I couldn’t bear to face him again!”
“Jayde, I’m sorry dear,” Mrs. McGreggor says, “but she’s right. The boy will have to know.”
“But there’s no way I can raise a child on my own anyway!” I sob. “Why don’t I just give it up for adoption?”
“Honestly, I think that’s your best option,” Mrs. McGreggor replies, causing Ms. Fitzpatrick to sigh heavily. “But nevertheless, you still have to tell him. He has a right to know,” Mrs. McGreggor continues.
“But he said he’d never speak to me again!” I cry, silently begging her through my tear-filled eyes.
“What?!” she and Ms. Fitzpatrick both exclaim.
“That boy got you in the sack and then said he never wanted to speak to you again?!” Mrs. McGreggor asks angrily.
“No… not exactly,” I explain a few moments later, after calming down. “Oh God… what have I done?”
“Jayde, what do you mean?” Ms. Fitzpatrick asks.
“Draco came and found me the next morning,” I begin, before quickly being cut off by Mrs. McGreggor.
“So that’s his name, then?” she asks. “Draco?”
I nod my head in response before continuing, deciding to give the ladies the abridged version of the story. “Draco came and found me the next day and told me he wanted to be with me. We couldn't finish our conversation then, but he told me he'd come and find me later so we could talk... but I was scared and confused, so I avoided him. He spent weeks trying to get a chance to talk to me, and when he finally caught up with me, I ran from him. And he said he’d never speak to me again because it was a waste of time!” I fall onto Ms. Fitzpatrick’s shoulder as I finish my tale, and she pats me on the back reassuringly.
“Oh, Jayde,” she says with tears in her eyes. “Darling, you’ve got to learn to control your emotions. I know it’s harder for you because of your powers, but you must learn to confront your feelings instead of running from them!”
“I know!” I sob. “I really like Draco… but now I’ve ruined my chance with him. And now I’m supposed to just walk up to him and say ‘I’m having your baby’?”
“I know it’s hard, love,” she says. “But it’s got to be done.”
“Indeed,” Mrs. McGreggor says. “I’ll inform the staff at Hogwarts, but I’m afraid you’ll have to tell Draco on your own.”
“You can’t tell the staff!” I exclaim in horror.
“They’ll have to know, Jayde!” she replies. “In case something happens to you or the baby! Speaking of which, you need to get dressed… I’ll have to take you to Saint Mungo’s for an exam.”
I make to protest, but she and Ms. Fitzpatrick quickly walk out of my room and shut the door behind them. I hear the two of them crying and consoling each other out in the hallway, and it makes me feel even worse. Sobbing the entire time, I change out of my pajamas and get ready to go to Saint Mungo’s… for my first maternity checkup.
When we reach Saint Mungo’s maternity ward a while later, Mrs. McGreggor speaks to the witch behind the reception desk. “This is Jayde Newsome and she needs to have her initial checkup”.
“Yes, ma’am”, the witch says, and she hands her a stack of papers, telling her I’ll need to fill them out before I can be seen. She indicates a row of chairs up against the wall, and Mrs. McGreggor and I sit down and get started on the paperwork. Most of the questions are fairly simple, asking for my name, date of birth, and other basic information. Several of the questions, however, ask about family history of illnesses or troubled pregnancies, and I honestly don’t know the answers to them, so I leave them blank. The very last question on the final page is ‘Is there any reason we should know about that could cause this pregnancy to be exceptionally difficult for you?’ Mrs. McGreggor tells me that I should indicate that I’m a Nimbimagus, so I do. Then she takes the paperwork back up to the secretary, and a few moments later she leads us down the hallway and into one of the examination rooms.
As soon as the secretary leaves the room, I start looking around at it nervously. There are pictures of babies and pregnant women all over the walls, as well as a sign that says, ‘If you’re ready for sex but not ready to be a parent, use the contraception charm! Ask your Healer for details’. I roll my eyes and stare down at my feet, my entire body shaking. I nearly jump off the table when the door opens and a nurse walks in to get my weight and height, and when she pulls a needle from a drawer my eyes widen and I ask, “What’s that for?”
Mrs. McGreggor places a comforting hand on my arm and tells me they’ll have to take a bit of blood just to make sure everything’s okay. I squeeze her hand and close my eyes as the witch takes my blood, and breathe a sigh of relief when she’s finished. The nurse tells us that the Healer will be in soon, and when she leaves the room I get even more nervous, wondering what other horrors await. When the Healer comes in she’s got my paperwork with her. She greets me and begins reading the paperwork I filled out, and she asks me several questions as she does so. When she reads my response to the last question, she gives me a questioning look.
“You’re a Nimbimagus?” she asks; I nod my head. “Okay,” she says. “I’ll be right back.” She leaves the room. Ten minutes later, however, it’s an older witch who walks into the room. She greets Mrs. McGreggor, who returns her greeting delightedly.
“Are you going to be Jayde’s Healer?” she asks the woman.
“I am,” she replies. “Rose was going to take her, but she doesn’t have the experience that I do with Nimbimagi.”
“Oh, but this is wonderful!” Mrs. McGreggor exclaims. “Jayde, this is Mary Taylor - she was my Healer when I was pregnant! You’re going to love her, she’s absolutely terrific!”
“Thank you, Eva,” Mrs. Taylor says before looking over my paperwork. “You’re 16 years old?” she asks me with raised eyebrows, to which I nod my head. “And you’ve taken an at-home pregnancy potion which came back positive?” she continues. Again, I nod my head. “And your approximate date of conception?” she asks.
“November sixth,” I reply.
“Okay,” she says, laying down the paperwork and lifting her wand. She asks me to lie down and lift my shirt before performing several complicated spells, none of which have any effect on my stomach. “Very good,” she says. “Everything’s just fine. Now we’ll just need to get the results of your blood test, and you’ll be free to go. I’ll be right back,” and she leaves the room.
I sit up and pull my shirt down before glancing over at Mrs. McGreggor, who is smiling up at me. We sit there in silence for a few moments before Mrs. Taylor walks back in. “Well, Jayde,” she says, “your blood work looks good, everything seems to be in order. You’re about seven and a half weeks along and your due date is July thirtieth.”
“That’s great,” Mrs. McGreggor says unenthusiastically. “But Mary, I was wondering if you’d be able to give Jayde anything for the morning sickness; she’s been feeling rough for the past few days.”
“I’m afraid not,” Mrs. Taylor replies. “All the medicines we have would interfere with her Nimbimagus potion, and we don’t want that.”
Then Mrs. Taylor hands me a paper sack. I open it to find several informative booklets as well as several vials of a potion that she says will give my body the extra nutrients it needs during the pregnancy; she says I’ll have to take it daily. Mrs. Taylor tells me to go see Madam Pomfrey in four weeks for my next check-up and that I need to make sure I read those booklets. Then she bows us out of the office and we apparate back to the orphanage.
Though she seemed cheerful while we were inside St. Mungo’s, Mrs. McGreggor doesn’t speak a word to me as we walk down the dirt road leading back to the orphanage. When we arrive, she, Ms. Fitzpatrick and I have a long and very stressful conversation about lifestyle changes I’ll have to make for the baby, and Mrs. McGreggor teaches me how to use a concealment charm to hide my belly, once it starts growing; she says it’ll only make the pregnancy more stressful for me if all my friends find out about it.
The entire time we’re having the conversation, I’m unable to believe that this is actually happening; it feels as though I’m in some sort of dream-like state or trance, and I keep hoping to wake up from this nightmare soon. I go to bed that night feeling very upset and wondering what the hell just happened. Today flew by much too quickly and stressfully for me to even grasp the concept of being pregnant.
Unfortunately, when I wake up the next morning, the queasiness in my stomach is still there, confirming that everything that happened yesterday was indeed true; I’m almost eight weeks pregnant with Draco’s baby. I spend my entire day in my room alone, mostly crying. I think of Draco, I think of my situation, and I try to think of a way to avoid having to approach Draco with this horrible news once I get back to Hogwarts.
The rest of the break flies by in this exact same manner, and the night before my return to Hogwarts I spend several hours begging Ms. Fitzpatrick not to make me return. None of my pleas work, however, and before I know it I’m saying goodbye to Ms. Fitzpatrick bitterly and disapparating with Mrs. McGreggor again, promising the former that I’ll take care of myself and write to her as often as possible. And just a few moments later I say goodbye to Mrs. McGreggor on Platform 9 ¾, with the agreement that Mrs. McGreggor will be coming to Hogwarts later this evening to have a meeting with the staff about my… condition.
I board the Hogwarts Express, feeling very much condemned. I don’t see any of my friends, which actually pleases me… I want to be alone; I’m afraid my friends will know something’s amiss if they see me. I find a compartment by myself, and I nearly jump out of my seat when I see Draco and his cronies walk past the compartment door a few moments later. My stomach twists into a thousand knots and I seriously feel as though I’m going to vomit, but somewhere in the midst of all this chaos, an idea occurs to me.
Instead of being nervous about this until I tell Draco what’s going on, why don’t I just go ahead and spill the beans right now? I think to myself. I could catch up with him before he reaches the front of the train to sit with the other prefects. I contemplate this idea for a few moments and then suddenly find myself leaving my compartment and walking down the crowded train corridor, without even realizing I’ve done so.
I see Draco a short distance ahead, standing outside the door to his compartment, and nearly consider turning around, but I keep walking in his direction. A billion thoughts run through my head as I get nearer to him, none of them good. What if he still doesn’t want to talk to me? What if he thinks I’m lying? I keep walking forward, with all these thoughts running a continuous loop. Before I know it or am even ready for it, I’m standing right beside Draco, who is looking off in the opposite direction.
Not knowing what to say, I stand there silently for a moment before speaking. “Um… Malfoy?” I finally say, barely louder than a whisper. Draco immediately turns his head, looking for whoever called his name. When he sees me standing right beside him his eyebrows furrow slightly and he seems quite a bit surprised.
“Newsome?” he replies with a nod of his head. My stomach churning and my heart beating rapidly, I stare up into Draco’s beautiful grey eyes, almost getting lost within their depths. Then, realizing I’m staring, I try to focus on the matter at hand.
“I… uh… I was wondering if we could… talk,” I stutter.
“Yeah… sure,” Draco replies. His eyes widen in response to my question and a hopeful look crosses his face, but then quickly disappears. Apparently remembering that he’s supposed to be mad at me, Draco crosses his arms and presses his lips together in a fine line. “I mean, I suppose… if we must,” he corrects.
“Okay,” I reply quietly, “but we shouldn’t talk here… can we talk in private?”
“Yeah, okay,” Draco replies, looking extremely confused. Then he nods his head towards his compartment, indicating that’s where we should go, and places his hand on the handle, pulling the door open. Before he’s got it open far enough for me to enter, however, we both hear a loud squeal from somewhere off in the distance. The noise makes both Draco and I jump involuntarily, and Draco’s hand accidentally releases the compartment door and it slams shut.
Turning to find the source of the noise, I’m horrified to see Pansy Parkinson walking down the corridor towards us. She appears to be walking directly towards me for a moment, but when she gets close enough she walks right up behind Draco and wraps her arms around his neck, flinging herself upon him. I watch in disgust as she places her lips on his cheek and says loudly, “Dray-Dray! Oh, I’ve missed you so much!” I nearly faint at the realization… Malfoy and Parkinson are dating!
I feel jealousy building up inside me once more, but at this point my sadness is even greater. During Pansy’s entire display, Draco’s eyes remained fixed upon me. When Pansy notices that her man’s eyes aren’t looking at her, she follows his gaze to determine what he’s staring at. When she notices me standing there, she speaks. “Newsome? What are you doing here?” she asks coldly. I open my mouth to speak, but Draco answers for me.
“She was just saying she needs to talk to me about something,” he tells her quietly.
“Oh, well - let’s hear it then!” Pansy says loudly. “Anything you have to say to my Draco can be said in front of me.” I stare at Pansy in terror and begin shifting my eyes back and forth between her and Draco without speaking. Pansy grows annoyed with my continued silence very quickly and speaks again. “Well, what is it?” she asks with an angry tone in her voice.
“N… nothing,” I reply quickly. “It doesn’t matter anymore.” After all, I think to myself, how am I supposed to tell Malfoy he’s the father of my unborn child with his girlfriend standing right there? He’ll think I’m just trying to split the two of them up!
Without waiting to see what Pansy’s reaction will be, I turn and start walking away from the couple. Confused, hurt, and slightly dizzy, I nearly stumble as I walk down the crowded corridor once more. Trying to stabilize myself, I stop walking and place my hand on the glass of a nearby compartment door, waiting for my dizzy spell to stop. I notice the sky outside beginning to darken, and I hear Draco’s voice call out to me.
“Newsome?” he calls loudly. Then, somehow managing to pry himself from his girlfriend’s death grip, he walks forward and turns so that he’s facing me. “Newsome, are you all right?” he asks with concern. My breathing labored, I quickly gaze up into his eyes for a moment before looking down at the train’s floor.
“I’m… I’m fine,” I whisper between breaths.
“No… no, you’re not,” is Draco’s only response. In an effort to prove that I’m okay, I start walking towards the back of the train once more, but only manage to make two steps forward before nearly falling flat on my face. Still directly in front of me, Draco catches me and holds me up, causing that electric current to flow between our bodies once more. Draco pays it no mind, however, and continues to support my weight. I hear Draco start speaking once more, and I look up into his eyes weakly but am unsure of what he says; darkness overtakes my eyes and my body goes limp as I pass out.
I wake in the hospital wing at Hogwarts, completely confused. I’m unsure of how I got here or what happened after I fainted on the train. Before I open my eyes I hear several people talking quietly, and judging by the voices I know that one of the people is Mrs. McGreggor, and at least two of the others are Professors Dumbledore and Snape. A moment later, two female voices interrupt the conversation, alerting me to Madame Pomfrey’s and Professor McGonagall’s presences. It’s no surprise to me what they’re talking about - my condition.
I open my eyes slowly, allowing my eyes to adjust to the light in the room, and I find all the staff at Hogwarts looking down on me with concern. Professor Slughorn has an embarrassed and ashamed look on his face. In all honesty, all this staring makes me feel like a museum exhibit: The Girl Who Got Pregnant At Sixteen. “Ah, Miss Newsome,” Professor Dumbledore begins, “it’s good to see you awake.” I look up at the professor silently, and he continues. “I’m afraid I have a few questions to ask you,” he says quietly. “Do you feel up to answering them?”
“I won’t know until I hear them,” I reply truthfully.
“Very well,” Dumbledore replies. “As I’m sure you’ve deduced, Mrs. McGreggor has told us about your situation. I understand that this term will be a very difficult one for you, and I want you to know that you have the full support of the entire staff. If you should need anything, just let us know.”
“Thank you,” I reply quietly.
“Now, Miss Newsome,” Dumbledore says, “Mrs. McGreggor informed us about the other activities that took place the night of Professor Slughorn’s party, and I’ve assured her that nothing like that will happen again. I’ve informed Professor Slughorn that there will be no more parties at Hogwarts this year. In order to take the necessary precautions, however, I’m afraid I must ask you… who is your child’s father?”
I open my mouth to protest to this question, but there’s no need; Mrs. McGreggor steps in and saves the day. “Don’t answer that, Jayde,” she says loudly. “Dumbledore,” she continues, “Jayde hasn’t had a chance to tell the young man about the situation yet. Once she has done so, she will inform you of his identity, but not a moment sooner.”
Though I can tell the staff members don’t agree with this statement, Dumbledore stares at me intently before answering. “Very well,” he says finally.
“Now I want it clear,” Mrs. McGreggor continues, “none but the staff are to know about Jayde’s pregnancy. She’ll already be going through enough stress, and I won’t have the students here teasing her and putting her through even more.”
“I completely agree,” Madam Pomfrey interjects. “I’ve spoken with Mrs. Taylor, the Healer Jayde saw at St. Mungo’s, and she’s indicated to me that this is already a high-risk pregnancy because of Jayde’s abilities. We’ll need to make things as easy as we can for her. Mrs. Taylor’s sent me Jayde’s charts and I shall be performing Jayde’s examinations while she remains at Hogwarts.” I look over to see Mrs. McGreggor nodding her head in response.
“And I’ll still be providing Jayde with her daily dose of the Nimbimagus potion,” Professor Snape says loudly, “but I’m afraid that taking more than just the one dose could harm the child. From now on, Jayde, if you get upset, you’ll simply have to control yourself… I won’t be able to give you another dose. Speaking of which, here’s your dose for today.”
Great! I think to myself as Professor Snape gets to his feet and hands me a vial of my Nimbimagus potion. Could this get any worse? Mrs. McGreggor interrupts my thought process a moment later with a question of her own, as I gulp down my potion and return the vial to Professor Snape’s waiting hand.
“Dumbledore,” she begins, “you still haven’t answered my question. Exactly how did Jayde wind up in the hospital wing on her first day back at Hogwarts?” Dumbledore opens his mouth to respond, but I quickly intervene on his behalf.
“I fainted on the train,” I interject, causing Mrs. McGreggor and everyone else to look in my direction once more. “But I don’t remember anything after that,” I continue. At this Mrs. McGreggor turns to Dumbledore once more, obviously willing him to tell her what happened. Dumbledore obliges a moment later.
“One of the seventh-year prefects alerted the school to Jayde’s condition, and apparated from the train to Hogsmeade with Jayde in tow. Professor Rubeus Hagrid met him and brought Jayde up to the castle,” he informs us. I’m already fairly sure which prefect brought me up to the school, but Mrs. McGreggor is curious.
“Which student was it?” she asks. “I’d like to thank them for looking after Jayde, and I’m sure she would as well.”
“Draco Malfoy, of Slytherin House,” Professor Snape replies with a satisfied-looking grin on his face. I panic internally when he says this and hope Mrs. McGreggor doesn’t make the connection between Draco and my pregnancy, but she’s unfortunately a very keen woman.
“Draco Malfoy?” she asks coldly.
“Indeed,” Professor Dumbledore replies. Mrs. McGreggor casts an angry look my way and I stare at her in response, silently begging her through my eyes not to tell the professors that he’s my child’s father. I cast a quick glance in the direction of Professor Snape, who has a puzzled look on his face.
Also noticing the awkward silence and the way Mrs. McGreggor and I are staring at each other, Professor McGonagall interrupts. “Is there a problem?” she asks, her confusion evident in her tone of voice.
“No, there’s no problem at all,” Mrs. McGreggor replies through gritted teeth, turning to look at her.
Great, I think, if she keeps acting that way, they’ll all figure out Draco’s the father on their own! To my immense shock and satisfaction, however, Professor Dumbledore stands up immediately, excusing himself and the rest of the professors from the room.
“I suppose the two of you have a bit of talking to do,” he says politely, “so we’ll leave you to it. Dinner’s already being served in the Great Hall; the two of you may come up whenever you feel ready.”
“Oh, I can’t possibly stay for dinner,” Mrs. McGreggor replies, “but thank you anyway, Albus. I won’t keep Jayde long.”
“Very well,” Dumbledore replies as he and the last of the teachers make their way out of the Hospital Wing.
As soon as the door is closed, Mrs. McGreggor starts interrogating me. “What happened?” she asks.
“I was trying to tell him,” I begin quietly without looking into her eyes.
“And did you?” she asks.
“No,” I reply quickly, “I was about to, but then his girlfriend walked up.” There’s a sinking feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth as I refer to Pansy as Draco’s “girlfriend”. Then, without warning, I start crying like a two-year-old and bury my face in my hands.
“Oh, Jayde,” Mrs. McGreggor says softly, rising from her seat to come wrap me in a warm hug. “I know this makes things even worse for you,” she whispers in my ear as she continues to hug me, “but you’ve still got to tell him… and the sooner, the better.”
“I know,” I reply, removing my hands from my face and leaning back to face her as I wipe my eyes and try to calm myself. “It just… hurt so much to see them together; it felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest,” I continue.
“And it always feels that way when someone we really love hurts us,” Mrs. McGreggor replies as she releases me and looks down into my eyes. Then, seeing the look of shock on my face, she continues. “And yes, I said that you love him, because you do,” she says meaningfully. “I know you’re still in denial about it and I hate to be so blunt, but part of the problem here is that you need to learn how to deal with your feelings, and that will be much easier once you admit what your feelings are. I don’t expect you to all of a sudden agree that you love him, but at least think about what I’ve said, okay?”
“Okay,” I reply as I nod my head in response.
“Good,” she says with a smile. “Now, I’ve got to get back to Dunamase,” she continues, “but you should go up and get a bite to eat. And then try to get some rest.”
“Okay,” I reply once more.
Mrs. McGreggor says, “Come along dear, I’ll walk you up to the Great Hall.”
“Um… I think I’m just going to sit here for another moment, if that’s okay,” I reply.
“All right,” she says quietly. Then she pulls me into another long hug before releasing me and heading towards the hospital doors. “Goodbye, Jayde,” she says.
“Bye,” I say in response, and without another word Mrs. McGreggor opens the doors and steps out of view, closing the doors behind her.
I remain seated on the bed for another moment, contemplating everything that’s just happened. Then, realizing that I’m actually quite hungry, I slowly push myself up off the bed and begin making my way down the aisle between the two rows of hospital beds, just as Mrs. McGreggor did a few moments ago. I slowly pull the doors open when I reach them, secretly wishing that Draco would be standing there waiting to see if I’m okay. The corridor is completely empty, however, causing me to curse Draco under my breath for not being concerned with my well-being. I take a deep breath in and sigh deeply before taking my first step out of the hospital and beginning the long trip to the Great Hall.
I finish my voyage and reach the Great Hall without interruption, and see my friends sitting about half-way down the Gryffindor table. Still worried that they’ll be able to tell I’m pregnant just by looking at me, however, I decide not to sit with them this evening, and take a seat among a group of first-years instead. The younger students all eye me apprehensively, clearly wondering what I’m doing at “their end” of the table, but I ignore them as best I can and begin eating ravenously. I feel a pair of eyes, which I assume to be Draco’s, on my back once, for only a moment, as I eat.
Once the meal and dessert are finished, Professor Dumbledore stands to make his start-of-term announcements, after which he dismisses everyone to bed, as we’ve all got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow. I wait for the majority of the crowd to leave the Great Hall before I get to my feet, and I make straight for my bedroom when I reach Gryffindor Tower, instead of stopping in the common room to talk to my friends as I normally would.
I change into my pajamas and get in bed immediately, praying for sleep to come soon. Apparently concerned because they haven’t seen me all day, Hermione and Ginny enter the room a little while later, both of them quietly calling my name out into the darkness to see if I’m awake. Laying there crying silently, I decide not to answer my friends in the hopes that they’ll think I’m already asleep. It takes what seems like a small lifetime for the girls to give up, and I sigh a breath of relief when I hear them close the dorm-room door. I fall asleep a short while later, and wake early in the morning to have a bath before the bathroom gets too full with other Gryffindor girls getting ready for the first day of classes.
I finish getting ready for class and go down to breakfast alone, and then head off to the first class on my list for today. And, just as if it had never ended, the school year starts back up, full force. The teachers pile homework on us and, once again, I’m so busy between that and my Nimbimagus lessons that I barely have time to breathe. I’m thankful for the distraction, however; having all this homework gives me less time to think about my predicament and how I’m going to break the news to Draco. Somehow, though, my mind always seems to wander to these two subjects, regardless of how hard I try to focus on other things.
Though there are several similarities between this term and the previous one, such as the fact that Draco is still completely ignoring me, there are also quite a few differences. Now wishing to be alone to avoid having my secret discovered, I spend little-to-no time with my friends. In fact, the only time I do spend with them occurs when they approach me. I’m slowly reverting back into my old self - back into the shy little “Jayde-shell” I was in at the orphanage and at Dunamase... it’s sort of my ‘safe haven’. My friends sense that something’s wrong, and Hermione and Ginny question me about it more than once during the first few days of the new term. I insist to them, however, that I’m simply stressed out and worried about the upcoming N.E.W.T exams. After several tries, I finally convince them of this, buying myself a little time.
Another difference between this term and the previous one is the Malfoy-Parkinson sensation. Nearly every girl I pass in the corridors is blabbing on about how Pansy finally landed Draco, the man of her dreams. I quickly distance myself from these conversations, simply to escape the nauseous feeling that overtakes my stomach and the involuntary twinge my heart gives every time I hear the names “Pansy” and “Draco” mentioned in close proximity to each other in a conversation. I get the same feelings several times a day when I round a corner to find Draco and Pansy snuggled up on a bench, snogging ferociously.
Speaking of nausea, that’s another thing that’s different about this term; nearly every morning now I wake feeling extremely tired and sick to my stomach. The feeling makes it very hard to eat breakfast or to concentrate during my first class, and always hangs around until about mid-day. After only a couple of days of this, I begin to wonder how much more I can take.
On the first Thursday after Christmas break, Professor Snape and I have my first private lesson of the term. During the lesson, Professor Snape tells me that I’ll have to be careful when trying to control the weather due to my pregnancy; he says that the possibility of me losing control is now even greater, and the consequences are now more severe. Then he tells me he’d like me to make it snow outside. This task proves to be impossible; the only weather change I can manage is rain, for which the related emotion is sadness. Clearly frustrated with my failure, the professor calls off the lesson very early before giving me my potion and sending me downto the Great Hall for dinner.
A few days later, the following Sunday, is exactly one week after I arrived back at Hogwarts. It’s January tenth, and is also my seventeenth birthday. I don’t tell anyone, not wanting to draw attention to myself. I’m amazed by the thought that as of now, I’m considered an adult in the wizarding world, and I can apparate by myself. I’m also amazed by the thought that I’m now nine weeks pregnant and I’ll be a mother before my next birthday.
I’m sitting in the Great Hall eating breakfast when I get a Howler from Mrs. McGreggor. I open it to hear Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick singing “Happy Birthday” to me loudly, apparently trying to make the best of a tough situation and make me feel better. I quickly try to bury it in my pocket to quiet the noise, but it’s too late; everyone in the Great Hall now knows it’s my birthday. Everyone at the Gryffindor table begins telling me happy birthday; a few of the younger students, who I’m still sitting with during meals, ask me what it feels like to be an adult. I blush a violent shade of red and don’t answer and finish eating as quickly as humanly possible, trying to hurry up and get out of the Great Hall.
I head straight up to my room and bury the Howler in the top drawer of my dresser. Then I decide to go down to the common room and catch up on the reading for one of my classes. After I’ve been sitting on the sofa reading for about an hour, I hear a loud tapping at the nearby window. I turn to see a large brown owl with a letter tucked in his beak. I put my book down, walk over to the window and open it. There’s no name written on the outside of the letter, and I wonder if it’s meant for me. I take the letter from the owl and open it, slowly and cautiously, not wanting to invade someone’s privacy in case this letter isn’t mine.
Once I open it, I realize it isn’t a letter at all; it’s a drawing. Someone has drawn a vase of flowers on the paper, and as I stand and watch, the flowers grow larger and larger until they take up most of the page. Just below the drawing, in a neat, slanted handwriting I don’t recognize, are the words ‘Happy Birthday Beautiful’. There isn’t a signature. I sit back down on the sofa and examine the front and back of the letter, but there are absolutely no clues as to who it’s from. I’m completely perplexed. Who thinks I’m beautiful? I think to myself.
Though the letter should cheer me up, it actually depresses me even more. It doesn’t matter who thinks I’m beautiful, because the person I wish this letter was from is probably downstairs snogging his girlfriend right now. The thought makes me want to vomit. I spend the rest of my day in the common room studying, avoiding large crowds of peoplein the hopes nobody else randomly bursts into a chorus of the birthday song, and wondering who could have sent me the anonymous birthday message.
I go to bed early that night, relieved to know that I’ve got my birthday behind me, and start my day Monday with the same mentality I’ve had since arriving back at Hogwarts: If I can just get through today, I’ll be all right. This mentality seems to be the only thing that’s gotten me through this past week, even though Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick have both written me very encouraging and uplifting letters.
Amazingly, this day-by-day mentality gets me through another week of morning sickness and the sickening displays from Draco and Pansy, though at the end of each day I end up crying myself to sleep, and I’m still unable to cause any weather change except for rain. Even more amazing still, I get through a third week in the same manner. On the Sunday of this week, however, exactly two weeks after my birthday, I realize I can’t keep going on in the same fashion when I receive scolding letters from Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick, who are both thoroughly upset at me for not making any progress on the “Draco” front. Without intending to, the two women put an intense amount of pressure on me, nearly causing me to have a breakdown.
I retreat to my dorm room after reading the letters and lay down on my bed, sobbing uncontrollably. To my horror, Ginny and Hermione, who have been spending a lot more time together now that I’m being so stand-offish, walk in right in the middle of my moment of weakness, and the two of them immediatel yrush to my side to comfort me. “Jayde, what’s wrong?” they plead urgently. As it normally does when you’re upset, hearing someone ask you ‘what’s wrong’ makes me even more upset, and I bury my face in my pillow and continue to cry. Feeling two pairs of comforting hands on my shoulders and back, I cry until I feel I can no more, by which point I’ve upset myself to the point of feeling sick. I practically have to make myself stop crying to avoid throwing up, and I sit up feeling very embarrassed for crying like a baby in front of my friends.
“Jayde, what happened?” Hermione asks quietly.
“Yeah Jayde, what’s wrong?” Ginny echoes.
I shake my head, trying to silently tell them nothing’s wrong, but they don’t buy it. I feel like a filled glass, so full of emotion that I’m about to spill my contents. I want so badly to confide my secret, and all my problems, in Hermione and Ginny… if for no other reason than to get them off my chest. I look up into the expectant eyes of my friends, and though I want to tell them the truth, I quickly think better of it; I can’t burden my friends with my problems. No, this is something I have to take care of on my own, I remind myself firmly. “Look,girls,” I begin, but I’m quickly interrupted by Ginny.
“No, Jayde!” she exclaims as she gets to her feet angrily. Her cheeks flush red as she continues; I can tell she’s getting pretty upset. “Don’t sit there and try to give us that ‘nothing’s wrong’ crap again!” she continues. “You’ve changed since Christmas break; you’re not yourself anymore! You weren’t on the train when we rode back to Hogwarts, and you keep to yourself all the time now! We’re not stupid; we know you well enough to know something’s going on that you’re not telling us!”
“She’s right,” Hermione says quietly. “Jayde, we’re your friends… we want to help, but we can’t help you unless you trust us enough to tell us what’s wrong.”
Great! I think to myself; I was already having a bad enough day with Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick being angry with me, now I’ve got to deal with Hermione and Ginny, too! Trying my hardest to appease the situation, I quickly come up with the only answer I can provide my friends without giving away my predicament. Dry sobs escape my throat as I speak, the last bits of evidence of my recent crying spell. “You’re both right,” I begin quietly, “and I’m sorry for my behavior. Yes, I am going through something right now…”
I’m once again interrupted by Ginny, who exclaims, “I knew it!” loudly.
“Ginny!” Hermione scolds our overly-excited friend, “Jayde was just about to tell us what’s wrong!”
“Right. Sorry,” Ginny replies, sitting down on my bed once more and giving mean eager look.
“As I was saying,” I continue, “I am going through something right now… but I can’t tell you what it is just yet; I’ve got to figure out how to deal with it on my own. I promise you, though, as soon as I figure it out, I’ll tell you both all about it.”
Both girls look extremely disappointed, but perk up a bit when I promise to tell them the truth eventually. I’m not even sure if that’s a promise I can keep, but it works as a deterrent to keep the girls off my back… at least for a little while, that is.
After our stressful conversation, Hermione and Ginny ask me to go outside with them and have a walk on the school grounds. I politely refuse several times, but they simply won’t take no for an answer. They say I need to clear my head and get my mind off things. So, about an hour later, I find myself walking down to the Black Lake with my two best friends. To my surprise, talking to and spending time with my friends actually does help; I already feel loads better than I did this morning. For some reason, thinking and talking about other, everyday things, seems to ease the tension I’ve been feeling about my not-so-everyday problems.
As we approach the lake, I notice Harry and Ron sitting under the shade of a tree, and I also notice a certain blonde-haired Slytherin and his cronies grouped together nearby. Surprisingly, Pansy’s nowhere near her boyfriend for once. There goes my temporary escape from my troubles, I tell myself. “I think I’ve changed my mind about coming down here,” I say quietly, but Hermione and Ginny quickly intertwine their arms in mine, preventing me from leaving.
“Oh no, you don’t!” they both exclaim in unison. Though I appreciate what my friends are trying to do, I seriously consider hexing the both of them to get away from this scary situation. They practically drag me all the way to the tree on the edge of the lake, however, where Harry and Ron are sitting. As we approach, Harry and Ron both look surprised, but pleased to see me, and Harry calls out to me excitedly.
“Oi, Jayde! It’s good to finally see you out and about again!” he says. I open my mouth to answer and tell Harry that I was forced to come out here, but I don’t get a chance; just as soon as Harry closes his mouth, someone behind us repeats exactly what he’s said, putting on a feminine tone in their voice... mocking him. Though he’s masking his voice, I don’t have to turn around to know exactly who it is, and my heart drops into my stomach.
My friends and I all turn to face Malfoy and his followers, who are all laughing hysterically. “Merlin, Potter!” Draco calls sarcastically with a devilish smile playing around the edges of his lips, “Are you that happy to see her? Newsome’s got you wrapped around her pretty little finger, hasn’t she?” Every one of my friends’ faces turns to a scowl immediately, and Ron and Harry quickly draw their wands; just not as quickly as I draw mine.
How dare he say something about Harry and me? We’re not even dating! And he has no right - he’s always all over that slag, Parkinson! I think to myself. I immediately want revenge, but I’m not sure if that’s because of what he’s just said or the fact that he’s dating Pansy. Or it could be the fact that I’m carrying his child and he’s ignoring me, I think to myself. Whatever the reason, it makes me furious; I quickly cast a Stunning Spell on the un-expecting Malfoy, who goes flying backwards and hits the ground with a thud, causing all my friends to burst out laughing, and his friends to scramble to help him to his feet.
He shoves all his friends away from him as he stands on his own, however, and he looks me straight in the eyes when he regains his feet… the look on his face is a clear mixture of confusion, anger, and hurt. Though somewhat satisfied with my revenge, I am in no way appeased. I lower my wand, not needing it anymore; I start to feel myself losing control of my powers as the sky begins to darken, and lightning flashes in a threatening way overhead. “Miss Newsome!” I hear Professor McGonagall’s voice call off in the distance, but I ignore her.
Zoning out, I see Professor McGonagall hurry over to where I’m standing, stepping right in front of me and blocking my view of Draco and his cronies.“Miss Newsome!” she exclaims, “Exactly what do you think gives you permission to Stun a school prefect?” Now nearly completely spaced out, I find myself unable to answer the Professor’s question. “Miss Newsome, I’m speaking to you!” she says angrily. When I don’t answer her this time, the Professor realizes that something’s wrong and bends down to look into my eyes. Just as she reaches my eye level, the last bit of light fades from my eyes, sending me into complete darkness. I hear Professor McGonagall cry out worriedly, “Severus! Her eyes!” just before my sense of hearing disappears as well.
The first thing I notice when I reopen my eyes is that Professors McGonagall and Snape are standing directly in front of me with their wands drawn. Both professors are staring at me intently, clearly concerned. "Miss Newsome," Professor McGonagall begins, "are you all right?"
"I… I think so," I reply slowly, looking up into the professor's widened eyes. "What happened?" I ask.
"You lost control," Professor Snape says in a scolding voice, causing me to shift my gaze to him instead. "You got too upset and your eyes went white. You caused a terrible thunderstorm that would have reached us by now, had Professor McGonagall and I not stepped in when we did."
Ashamed, I find myself unable to look into Professor Snape's eyes any longer. I look down at the ground and mumble a quick apology. "Yes, well, as I told you before, you'll have to be much more careful from now on. You're going to have to try harder to keep control when you're upset," Professor Snape says in an apathetic tone.
"And besides," Professor McGonagall pipes in sternly, "it's not us you should be apologizing to; it's Mr. Malfoy you cursed. You are well aware of the rules, Miss Newsome: no cursing other students… especially not a Prefect! You will come to my office tonight just after dinner for detention." All my friends gasp when Professor McGonagall says this, but she gives them a stern look that quickly silences them all before walking away briskly with Professor Snape following closely behind her.
Once the professors have stepped out of earshot, the full weight of what Professor McGonagall's just said comes crashing down on me as all my friends surround me supportively. "D…detention?" I say quietly, already nearing tears and beginning to panic.
"It's all right, Jayde," Ginny says reassuringly as she places a comforting hand on my shoulder. Not listening to her, I continue to gape down at the ground in front of my feet.
"I can't have detention!" I say disbelievingly. "I've never had a detention in my life!"
"It's not a big deal, Jayde," Ron says soothingly. "Every one of us has had detention at some point."
"Well, you and Harry might not care about having detention, but that doesn't mean it's not a big deal to Jayde!" Hermione snaps in response.
"Oh, God..." I begin, looking up at Hermione, who I'm sure will have the answer to the question I'm about to ask. "It'll go on my permanent record, won't it?"
"No," Hermione says kindly, "you don't have to worry about that." Though somewhat relieved, another terrifying thought crosses my mind.
"Will she write a letter to my guardian?" I ask, still looking into Hermione's eyes.
"I don't think so," she replies. "Normally the teachers will tell you if they're going to send your guardians a letter."
"But… but what if she does?" I ask, too terrified to think of what Ms. Fitzpatrick's reaction would be, especially if she found out it was Draco I cursed. Hermione doesn't answer but gives me an apologetic look, and then Draco, who I'd completely forgotten was standing nearby, takes a step closer to me, drawing the attention of myself and all of my friends. He's apparently witnessed my "freak out" at the thought of having detention.
"Newsome… I'm sorry; I didn't mean for you to get a detention," he says quietly. "It wasn't your fault that you jinxed me… I upset you." My friends all stare at him in shock while I give him the death-glare, completely livid at him. "I'll… I'll go talk to McGonagall right now and try to set this straight, so…" he continues, only to be cut off by Ginny.
"Haven't you done enough already?" she asks angrily, coming to stand face-to-face with him. Harry, Ron and Hermione nod their heads in agreement. I'm glad that my friends seem to take this as another of Draco's attempts at being mean; otherwise I'm sure they'd have some questions about why he's apologizing. "It's bad enough you got her in trouble - now you've got to rub it in, too?" she asks furiously.
A little taken aback by Ginny's rapid descent upon him, Draco backs away from her nervously but then immediately looks back over at me, staring me directly in my eyes. There's a somewhat apologetic and pleading look upon his face; though he hasn't verbally asked for my forgiveness, his eyes are silently begging for it. I, however, am much too upset to care at this point. I knew coming outside was a horrible idea, I think to myself, it only made things worse. I should have known; there's no escaping my fate… not even temporarily.
I quickly look away from Draco and back down at the ground once more. "I'm… I'm going back to my room," I say quietly, silent tears beginning to flow down my cheeks. I turn and quickly begin walking towards the castle doors, and hear Draco call after me.
"Newsome… " he says loudly. Ginny interrupts him once more, practically screaming at him.
"Are you happy now?" I hear her yell. "We finally get Jayde to stop crying and come out of her room for the first time this term, and you send her back up there, crying again!" I cringe when Ginny tells Draco I've been moping about in my room all the time; I don't want him to know what this whole 'Pansy' situation is doing to me. I quickly scurry the rest of the way up to the castle and upstairs, not stopping until I've reached my dorm room inside Gryffindor Tower.
Once I get there, I breathe a sigh of relief and flop down on my bed in anguish. I replay the incident in my head as I lie there, unable to rid myself of the image of Draco's saddened face, begging me to forgive him. I temporarily bask in my memories and thoughts. For just a moment, I start to feel sorry for Draco. None of this is his fault: the fact that he's dating Pansy, the fact that he's ignoring me, nor the fact that I just got my first detention. It's all my fault.
We were together, even if only for a few moments… I remind myself, and I was happy! If only I hadn't run from him; if only I'd faced my feelings and my fears... he'd be snogging me every day instead of Pansy. Though I know all this is true, it hurts far too much to continue thinking this way. I suddenly begin mentally defending myself, coming up with weak excuses and lies that allow me to lay the blame on Draco… after all, it's much easier to blame someone else than it is to blame oneself. I wallow in my misdirected anger for a few moments, and suddenly become very tired of staying cooped up in this dorm room. Why should I sulk because he's an arse? I ask myself. It isn't fair! If he can walk around carefree in the midst of this situation, why can't I?
I promptly get off my bed and walk down to the common room, sitting down in one of the arm chairs near the window. I look out at the sunlight, pondering what to do with the rest of my day. I've got a good mind to go back down to that lake and snog Harry right in front of Draco, just to piss him off, I think to myself. I quickly think better of this plan, however; that would definitely only make matters worse… as if that were even possible. Not to mention that Harry would probably end up getting hurt if I did that. I decide to just work on homework to pass the time until my detention; I'm ready to get the latter over and done with. Though the thought of having detention thoroughly frightened and upset me before, I now face it gladly; I'll take the detention… it was worth it just to give him a bit of what was coming to him, I think to myself as I open one of my textbooks.
Before I finish reading the first page, however, my friends all enter through the portrait hole and seem very surprised to find me downstairs reading, instead of upstairs in my room sulking. I call out to them and wave happily, and they all seem a bit taken aback. I'm sure I must be really confusing them right now; one minute I'm crying and the next, I'm smiling. I suddenly feel like the worst person in the world for avoiding them so far this term, and I quickly make a silent promise to myself that I'll make it up to them. Of course, I still can't tell them the truth, but I won't avoid them anymore, either. I put my book away as my friends join me by the window, and we spend quite a while talking, catching up on the bits of each other's lives that we've missed thus far this term.
About an hour later, we all go down to lunch together, after which my friends and I decide to go up to the Room of Requirement and play a few rounds of Gobstones. I feel much better after spending time with my friends; for a few short hours I'm able to forget all my cares and the seriousness of my current situation, though I'm not sure that's such a good idea. Avoiding the truth can only lead to disastrous results, as I saw by the Black Lake today, I remind myself.
My friends and I remain in the Room of Requirement for the rest of the day, and emerge just in time for dinner. Having had a wonderful day, I sit with my friends again during dinner instead of sitting with the first years as I've done all term. Once dessert is finished, I stand and tell my friends that I'll see them all in the common room later; I've got to get to Professor McGonagall's office for my detention. My friends all try to reassure me before I go, and though I'm thankful for their support, I'm no longer dreading my punishment; I'm just ready for it to be over. I walk down the main aisle of the Great Hall, between the Slytherin and Gryffindor tables, and make my way out into the Entrance Hall. From there, I make my way up the stairs to the second floor.
Just as I pass Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, I begin to get the strange feeling I'm being followed. I ignore it, however, and continue to make my way down the corridor, to Professor McGonagall's office. When I reach the office door, I quickly raise my hand, balled up into a fist, to knock. Just seconds before my knuckles hit the door, however, I'm distracted by someone calling my name from a short distance down the corridor. I don't even have to turn around; I'd know that voice anywhere. I won't let him know that, however, as I'm still thoroughly angry at him and hurt by his actions, so I slowly turn around, wondering what in Merlin's name Draco could possibly want with me.
He approaches cautiously, with a look of determination on his face. Pretending that I've only just now realized it's him, I roll my eyes and sigh loudly as I cross my arms. "What do you want, Malfoy?" I ask bitterly. Coming to a stop just a short distance away from me, Draco replies.
"Can we please not start this conversation with you rolling your eyes at me and assuming the worst?" he asks. Though his presence makes my heart flutter nervously and I seriously wish he'd just take me in his arms, I also wish he'd go away; I have no excuses now for not telling him my secret, and I can't stand the thought of him being so close to me, but still so far away.
"I thought you weren't going to speak to me anymore," I remind him.
"Well, I wasn't…" he begins. ”But I thought that what happened today by the lake warranted an apology."
"I am not going to apologize to you, so you can just get that out of your big head right now," I snap in response.
"I meant me apologizing to you," he says semi-angrily.
"You said what you had to say down by the lake," I reply.
"No… no, I didn't," he says, "because that bloody Ginny Weasley kept interrupting me. I was trying to tell you I'm sorry; I didn't mean to get you in trouble. I was just picking on Potter… I didn't know it would upset you that much."
Frustrated, I roll my eyes and sigh again. "Of course it upset me!" I snap, "Harry's my friend! And you embarrassed the both of us!"
"Oh, he's just your friend, is he?" Draco asks sarcastically.
My eyes widen and I stare at Malfoy, dumbfounded. What is he getting at? I decide to ask Draco the exact same question I've just asked myself, word for word. "What are you getting at?" I ask suspiciously.
"Oh, don't play dumb," he snaps, "I've seen the way he looks at you, and friends don't look at each other in that way. And you wouldn't have gotten so upset about me teasing him if what I said wasn't true."
"Are you mad?" I ask him, unable to believe what he's insinuating, when he's the only one I want. "I don't have to explain anything to you… but there's nothing between Harry and me. And what business is it of yours who my friends are and who looks at me in what way? Why does it matter?"
"You know damned well why it matters!" he responds as he points an incriminating finger at me, now clearly angry. There's a momentary silence as I try to figure out how to respond to Draco's statement, and I find it horrible that we can't stop arguing for five seconds, long enough for me to tell him 'I'm having your baby'. When I do gather my thoughts, they're very angry ones. I decide not to hold back my frustrations at him any longer; he's yelling at me about Harry, so I'm going to give him an earful about Pansy.
"Okay, so let me get this straight," I begin slowly and very sarcastically. "I can't even speak to Harry, who's just my friend, but you can play suck-face with your slag of a girlfriend all day long. Is that about right?"
Instead of answering me, Draco smiles and looks up at the ceiling as he rubs his chin with his right hand, chuckling as though he's pleased with himself. He finally removes his hand from his chin and looks back down at me, meeting my royal blue eyes with his beautiful grey ones. "I knew you were jealous," he says matter-of-factly. Quickly incensed that Draco's cocky enough to think I'm jealous of Pansy, and partially because he's right, I adamantly deny his accusation.
"Jealous?" I ask incredulously. "I'm not jealous of you and Pansy! I'm sickened by it! The whole school is! It's disgusting,the way you two are always all over each other! I mean, seriously, if you're going to be all that intimate, you should go to your room!"
"Oh, we've already done that, too," Draco replies with a devilish grin on his face. I'm unableto mask my reaction to this statement; I gasp loudly and my jaw drops as far as it possibly can. Hot tears of hurt and hatred build up in the corners of my eyes. As he watches my reaction, Draco seems pleased with himself at first, but I watch as a flicker of regret crosses his face, as well.
I don't know why I haven't realized this fact before with the way Draco and Pansy have been behaving, but of course they've been shagging… they are a couple, after all… and I know for a fact that Draco's not a virgin. I guess I've just been trying to evade the undeniable truth all this time; I truly meant nothing to Draco… he's now holding and kissing and even shagging Pansy, probably telling her all the sweet things he once told me. What little bit of my heart that wasn't already broken by this point is now completely shattered, but now is not the time to grieve; I can't let Malfoy know he's getting to me.
Realizing that I'm still staring at him in horror, I quickly turn away from him. Grasping for straws, I throw the best comeback at him that I can muster. "Well, good for you then, Malfoy!" I finally reply.
"Well, it's all right," he says, not missing a beat, "but I couldn't have who I really wanted… you made sure of that." I consider Draco's words for a moment before quickly turning back around to face him.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I ask. "Why are you doing this?"
"Doing what?" he asks loudly.
"Pretending to care for me!" I reply. "We both know you don't, so why do you keep playing this sick little game of yours? I'm not going to fall for your little prank, so why don't you just sod off and leave me alone?!" I find it slightly confusing that although I really wish I could tell Draco how much I care for him, all I can seem to do when we do speak to each other is cut him down.
Though Draco's expression was clearly an angry one before, it's nothing compared to the scowl that's now etched on his handsome face. I honestly don't think I've ever seen him this angry. "A game?!" he asks incredulously. "That's what you think this is? A bloody game?!" I open my mouth to respond to his question, but I'm interrupted by a loud creak that draws my attention, and Draco's, towards Professor McGonagall's office door,which has just opened. The professor steps out into the hallway with confusion evident on her face.
"Miss Newsome? Mr. Malfoy? What in Merlin's name is all this yelling about?" she asks. I personally can't come up with a believable answer, but Draco responds just seconds later.
"I was trying to make things right with Newsome," he says coldly, "but unfortunately she's still as stubborn as ever." I cast him a quick look that's a mixture of gratitude and anger before looking down at the hallway floor.
"Well that was very noble of you, Mr.Malfoy," Professor McGonagall replies, "but since the two of you can't seem to get along, perhaps it would be best if you and Miss Newsome stayed away from each other."
"I'm beginning to realize you're exactly right, Professor," Draco replies. "I guess there are some people you just can't get through to, no matter how hard you try. Good night, Professor." With that, Draco turns and stalks away angrily, towards the Slytherin common room, leaving me both angry and hurt.
"Well now, Miss Newsome," Professor McGonagall says promptly, "shall we get started?" She extends an arm in front of her, indicating that I may lead the way into her office. I nod my head in response and push on the wooden door, with the professor hot on my heels. Once inside the office, she closes the door behind her and tells me that my assignment for tonight will be to organize all the supplies used in her Transfiguration classes without the aid of my wand.
Still seething and broken-hearted from my recent argument with Malfoy, I get to work immediately, glad to have a distraction. My anger actually helps me; I work much faster than I would normally. Though the task is grueling, I don't mind; I'm used to helping Ms. Fitzpatrick with similar tasks without the aid of magic, and I'm actually quite a neat-freak, if I do say so myself. I spend almost two hours helping the professor, after which she says my detention is finished and I may go upstairs to bed.
I leave her office, naturally replaying my memories of the events that took place just before my detention started as I walk up to Gryffindor Tower and give the Fat Lady the password absentmindedly. I find all my friends sitting down in the common room, waiting for my return, and when they ask how my detention was, I reply truthfully, "Not bad." I don't, however, tell them about my argument with their arch-rival. I go up to bed a few moments later, glad to have this day behind me and certain that tomorrow can't be as bad. And even though I try my best to fight it, I slowly begin to cry as Draco’s and my fight scene flashes before my eyes again.
When I wake the next morning, I get dressed and go downstairs for breakfast. I go about my day as I have the past few weeks, taking it one step at a time. Though I can't quite pinpoint why, today seems like it's going much better than my past few days have, even though the memory of my horrid fight with Draco still runs through my mind.
I can't help but think that all this arguing that Draco and I are doing is going to make it much harder on me when the moment finally comes for me to tell him about the baby, but I try not to focus on that too much right now. I think I somehow foolishly hope that if I simply ignore the fact that I'm pregnant, it will cease to be a fact altogether. I know somewhere deep down, though, that all this will catch up to me one day, and it'll be horrible when it does.
I get through all my classes without a moment's trouble, and actually feel happy enough to spend time with my friends between classes. By the end of the day, I find myself humming the tune of one of Ms.Fitzpatrick's favorite songs. I'm unsure of what's got me in such a good mood, but I plan to take full advantage of it. After discarding my textbooks in my room, I walk out into the grounds with Ginny, and we take a seat by the edge of the Black Lake. She and I sit there conversing for quite a while, and a rather strange subject comes up during our talk: Draco.
"So I hear that Malfoy got what was coming to him," Ginny says matter-of-factly, as though she expects me to know what she's talking about.
Though thoroughly interested, I try to act apathetic. "What do you mean?" I ask her quietly.
"Haven't you heard the rumors?" she asks as she looks up at me in shock.
"No… what rumors?" I ask, now slightly worried that someone might have overheard our argument last night.
"Everyone seems to think Malfoy and Parkinson have split up," Ginny replies. "That's what everyone's been talking about today."
My selfish heart gives an involuntary leap when Ginny says this; I feel as though I could run a victory lap around the Black Lake, and I secretly hope that I was somehow what brought about their separation. And then it hits me; I haven't seen Draco and Pansy snogging all day long! That's probably why I'm having such a good day!
Ginny begins throwing out wild scenarios, trying to guess what might have happened to cause Hogwarts's most popular couple to break up, but I barely hear her; I'm too excited. I pretend to listen to what Ginny's saying and offer nods or mumbled agreements every so often, but in reality my mind is in a totally different place. I hardly notice when Ginny stands to go inside for dinner; she has to call my name several times to bring me out of my thoughts and into reality. I quickly get to my feet and follow her inside, taking a seat right beside her at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall.
I eat hurriedly, suddenly ravenous. As I eat, I hear several more students talking about the ongoing rumor that Malfoy and Parkinson have split up, which only serves to improve my mood even further. I finish my dinner and fly through dessert, after which I walk with Ginny, Neville, and Seamus up to the common room. Ginny and I watch Seamus and Neville play a round of wizard's chess, which Neville loses by a landslide. I go straight up to bed immediately after that game, and get the best night's sleep I've had in a while.
I wake up on Tuesday morning in an even better mood than I was in when I went to bed, and find myself humming again on the way down to breakfast. When I head off to my first class for today however, which is Transfiguration, I see a dreadful sight; Malfoy and Parkinson standing outside the Transfiguration classroom together. Though they aren't snogging like wild animals any more, they're holding hands. So much for that rumor, I think glumly. Still, though, the fact that they're not snogging must be a sign that they're having some sort of trouble, and I cheer up a bit at this thought.
I have another good day, even though it's admittedly not as good as yesterday, but I'm not so lucky the next day, which is Wednesday, January twenty-seventh. Though I don't have to watch any Draco-Pansy make-out sessions, I still feel horrible by the end of the day. I'm in Potions class when the bell rings, dismissing the students. When I get to my feet, however, Professor Slughorn calls me up to his desk.
I join him at the front of the room, and he waits for all the rest of the students to leave before he tells me that I've got to go to the hospital wing today to see Madame Pomfrey for my next maternity checkup. Having completely forgotten about that, I blush and thank the professor before leaving the room. Deciding to go ahead and get the uncomfortable situation out of the way, I make my way to the hospital wing, where Madame Pomfrey is waiting for me.
"I take it Professor Slughorn gave you my message," she says with her hands on her hips.
"Yes, ma'am," I reply quietly.
"Very well, then," she says. "Have a seat on the first bed over there." She indicates a bed to my immediate left as she walks forward and closes the doors to the hospital wing, locking them behind her to keep anyone from seeing or hearing our discussion. I place my books on the nearby nightstand and sit down on the bed as she does so, and once she's satisfied that we can't be interrupted, she walks over to the area beside the bed I'm sitting on.
"Now then," she says, "lie down and lift your shirt."
"Right," I reply, immediately obeying her and feeling very awkward. As soon as I'm situated and have lifted my shirt, Madame Pomfrey begins performing several complicated spells with her wand. I gaze down at my stomach, unsure of what I'm supposed to be looking for. Though she performs quite a few spells, I don't notice any change in my stomach, just like when I went to St. Mungo's with Mrs. McGreggor when we first found out I was pregnant.
Madame Pomfrey tells me that she's finished a few moments later; she says that the fact that none of the spells caused any changes is a good sign and is, in fact, the result I should be hoping for on each visit. I thank her for her time, but as I make to re-cover my stomach, she stops me. "Don't you want to see your baby?" she asks curiously.
I'm thoroughly confused; I didn't know that such a thing was possible, and therefore haven't given it much thought. "I'm… I'm not sure," I reply truthfully. After all, I don't want to get too attached to a child that I'll be giving up for adoption once it's born, I think to myself.
"Oh, come now," Madam Pomfrey replies. "Everyone should see their child at least once while it's in the womb."
With that, she starts flicking her wand again, performing the most complicated spell I've ever seen. I don't notice anything for a moment once she's finished, but a few seconds later I start to notice a grey, smoke-like substance rising from my belly. The substance twists and turns as it continues to rise into the air above my navel, and I watch in awe as it forms the image of what I assume to be my baby. The image looks nothing like a baby, however; it looks like a little bean with tiny sprouts coming out where the arms and legs should be.
Completely amazed, I stare up at the image, suddenly very close to tears, though I have no idea why. Noticing this, Madame Pomfrey asks me what's wrong. "There's… there's a… baby… in there," I say shakily.
"Well, you knew that, Miss Newsome," she replies quietly.
"Yes, I did," I respond. Realizing I'm acting like a big baby myself, I quickly apologize. "I'm sorry," I begin, "but it just hit me… how real this is. I'm really having a baby."
"I understand, dear," she replies. "I'll just give you a moment alone."
"No," I say, "I don't want to look at it anymore." I have no choice but to make this decision, because even though I've only seen the baby once for about a moment's time, I already now feel some sort of connection with it that I didn't before. And the thought that the baby is half Draco's doesn't help. Though she seems unsure, Madam Pomfrey quickly flicks her wand, causing the image to dissolve into the surrounding air.
I quickly re-cover my stomach and sit upright, suddenly very angry at myself for trying to ignore the fact that I'm pregnant; I've been ignoring a human life, when I should have been doing everything in my power to make sure the baby has everything it needs while it's inside me. After all, until I give the child to its adoptive parents, it's my responsibility, and thus far I have been very irresponsible. I realize that I need to start acting more like a… well, more like a mother. This thought is scary, since I never knew my mother and am not quite sure how a mother's supposed to act.
Suddenly eager to know everything I can about pregnancy, I ask Madame Pomfrey if there's anything I need to know that I don't already. Instead of answering, she walks across the room and into her office, returning a few moments later with a small book in her hand, which she hands to me, telling me I'm more than welcome to keep the book. I take a look at the cover and read the title: “The Pregnant Witch.” I quickly open the book and scan the first page, happy to find from the table of contents that this book has just about everything I could possibly want to know about pregnancy and how to make sure the baby's got everything it needs while it develops.
I thank Madame Pomfrey for the book as I close it and make to get off the hospital bed. "Now then, Jayde," she says kindly, "your next appointment will be February twenty-fourth, just before you reach sixteen weeks pregnant. And I feel I should warn you, dear, you may be showing by the next time I see you. There's no exact date for when you'll start showing, but you're fairly small-framed, indicating that you may be showing earlier than other women do. Just remember to use a concealment charm to hide your stomach if necessary, and you can always stretch your clothes if they get too tight."
My eyes widen at Madame Pomfrey's words. Showing? I think to myself. There's a possibility that I could be showing within four weeks' time? Evidently not noticing my sudden paranoia, Madame Pomfrey walks over to the hospital doors and unlocks them before pulling them open for me. Still flustered, I grab my textbooks off the nightstand next to the bed I was laying on, placing the pregnancy book on top of them, and hurry towards the hospital doors. I thank Madam Pomfrey as I walk past her, and she bids me goodbye and reminds me to come back to see her on February twenty-fourth.
I'm in a daze as I walk away from the hospital wing, and I can't help but think that this situation just got a lot more dire and serious than I've been taking it these past few weeks. I suddenly feel very fragile and start walking a little more carefully, terrified that I'll trip and fall and harm the baby. I feel like someone who's been given a mission to carry a priceless porcelain doll… only the doll's inside of me.
I make a vow to myself, right then and there, that I will somehow let Draco know about this pregnancy before my next maternity check-up, and that I will do everything in my power to make sure this baby arrives happy and healthy at the home of its adopted parents. I decide to start working on that by reading the pregnancy book Madame Pomfrey just gave me. I head straight up to Gryffindor Tower,where I abandon all my other books, picking up only the pregnancy book.Terrified that someone will see the title, I quickly transfigure the cover to look like an old copy of Quidditch Through the Ages and scurry back down to the common room. I take a seat by the fireplace, where all my friends are lounging around and talking excitedly about the upcoming Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and dive into the pregnancy book, reading almost four chapters before dinner.
The next two weeks pass by much too quickly for my taste. My days are completely full, from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed at night. Now I have tons of homework for each class, including practicing for my private lesson with Professor Snape. I have been making some progress in my private lessons; now I can not only make it rain, which means I'm sad, but I can also cause tornadoes, which mean I'm nervous. I'm also frantically trying to finish reading the pregnancy book Madame Pomfrey gave me. Since I've started reading the book, I've been trying to get a full eight hours' rest every night, get plenty of exercise by taking a walk on the grounds each day, and I've been trying to eat healthier as well.
On top of all that, I've also started trying to think of ways to break the news to Draco. Speaking of Draco, he and Pansy still appear to be together, though they still haven't been spotted snogging in the corridors since the night Draco and I had our last falling out, and Draco is still ignoring me. Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick have both continued to urge me to tell Draco about the baby, and are both pleased that I've told them I'm trying to think of the most delicate way to tell him. All the changes, new situations, and homework are taking their toll on me; I'm nearly always tired now.
The atmosphere in the castle has grown electric over the past few days, as the highly-anticipated Gryffindor versus Slytherin Quidditch match will be held this Friday, February twelfth. Harry, Ginny, Ron and the rest of the Gryffindor team have been practicing nearly every night, to ensure their victory. Hermione has been going down to watch the practices, leaving me alone in the common room to study, practice controlling my powers, or to read.
On Thursday night I'm reading the pregnancy book when the entire Gryffindor team comes clambering in through the portrait hole, distracting me. They all look exhausted and are soaking wet; they've apparently been practicing in the rain. I admire their dedication and playfully cheer for them as they trudge through the door. Everyone, including Hermione, smiles at me in response and indicates that the practice went well; they think they've got a good shot against Slytherin tomorrow.
I fold over the page I'd been reading to mark my place and set the book aside, asking everyone to fill me in on what they accomplished at practice. We stay up talking for about thirty minutes before everyone decides to head off to bed to get some sleep in preparation for the big day tomorrow.
When I wake Friday morning, I'm horrified to find that my clothes are fitting me a little more tightly than usual, but not so tightly that I need to stretch them just yet. Investigating the newly discovered tightness, I place my hands on my stomach and gasp when I feel the tiniest of bumps there, where my skin is normally flat. It's hard to the touch and brings tears to my eyes. Though I've been forewarned, I'm completely taken by surprise; it's like the bump just appeared out of nowhere overnight.
Perhaps I have noticed it and have simply tried to ignore the fact for as long as possible, I tell myself. I pull up my shirt and glance down at my stomach, and though it could just be my paranoia, I can actually see the bump. Though realistically, nobody will be able to see it with my clothes covering it, I'm not taking any chances; I hunt down my wand and quickly cast a concealment charm on my infinitesimal bump, thankful that none of my roommates are awake yet to see this. I have a shower and don my uniform, slightly stretching the shirt just for good measure before heading down to the Great Hall, which is a sea of red, gold, green and silver.
I feel very self-conscious and look around constantly as I eat, terrified that someone will notice there's something different about me this morning. I hear people yell out "Go Gryffindor!" or "Go Slytherin!" several times during the day, followed by an eruption of both cheers and boos each time. By the time classes end, the entire castle is full of excitement; you would think school had just been released for the summer. Though I know there's quite a few things I could be doing instead of watching a Quidditch match, I feel as though I could really use a break from all the stress I've been going through lately and decide to go anyway.
Around five p.m., my friends and I all walk down to the Quidditch Pitch to make sure we get a good seat before the game starts at six. Harry, Ginny, and Ron all make their way to the changing rooms while Hermione, Neville, Seamus, Dean, and I all find seats together. We talk happily while we wait for the match to start, and all the other students start to arrive a few moments later. The stands fill slowly, and by five-forty-five, there's not even any standing room left in the stadium. The teachers are all seated in their usual seats, and Professors McGonagall and Snape both have rather determined looks on their faces, from what I can tell.
At exactly six-o-clock, the announcer begins introducing the Gryffindor team, causing a tremendous uproar from the stands. The team, led by Harry, flies around the pitch once before taking their places. Immediately afterwards, the announcer starts naming off the Slytherin players, causing the green-and-silver section of the stands to cheer loudly. The Slytherin team, of which Draco is the captain, also circles the pitch before taking their places, sneering at the Gryffindors the whole while. The referee, Madame Hooch, steps onto the pitch and releases the balls, and with another loud uproar, the game begins.
For some reason, I don't know what's happening in the game; my eyes remain locked on the blonde-haired captain of the opposing team. I watch as he flies around flawlessly searching for the Snitch, occasionally barking orders at his team members. When I finally tear my eyes away from him ten minutes later, I find that Slytherin has quickly taken the lead; they're ahead of Gryffindor by thirty points. I feel like a traitor, because although I want my own house to win, there's a girlish voice inside me that keeps squealing, "Go Draco!" In an effort to make up for this horrible display of house spirit, I begin verbally cheering Harry on, raising my hands in the air along with Hermione and Neville when Gryffindor makes a particularly good play.
A few moments later, Hermione gasps and points towards the left side of the field, where Draco is furiously trying to catch the Snitch that Harry still hasn't spotted yet. Now having every excuse to look at Draco, I take full advantage of it. Apparently catching on to what's happening, Harry flies over to where Draco is and begins racing him, trying to see who can catch the Snitch first. The boys are both so completely consumed with trying to catch the Snitch that they don't notice the Bludger that's just taken off in their direction. The entire crowd gasps loudly, but the boys pay it no mind, and I watch in horror as the Bludger hits Draco square on the nose, knocking him clean off his broom.
Clearly unconscious, he begins to fall to the ground, spread-eagle. I gasp loudly, causing Hermione to turn and look at me in confusion, but she's quickly distracted by the loud cheers coming from our fellow Gryffindors as Harry catches the Snitch and wins the game for Gryffindor. I seem to be the only person in the entire Gryffindor side of the stadium who's staring wide-eyed at Draco, who's falling rapidly to the ground below him. My heart begins to beat nervously in my chest, and I feel a small, involuntary spasm in my stomach, causing me to look down and place my hands upon it. What? I think to myself, now the kid can tell when its father's in danger?
Thankfully, nobody notices this; all the other Gryffindors are on their feet, cheering wildly. I glance back up at the horror scene before me and notice that Professor Dumbledore has his wand drawn; he's apparently trying to prevent Draco from hitting the ground with full force. Oh, please let it work! I plead silently, please let him be okay! I suddenly feel no anger towards Draco at all for any of the things he's said or done; there's only the hope that he'll be all right. Professor Dumbledore manages to stop Draco just before he hits the ground, and Madame Hooch, along with the other members of the Slytherin team, goes running over to the area where Draco's limp body now floats just above the ground.
I watch as Madame Hooch checks on Draco, then conjures up a stretcher before levitating Draco upon it and sending it floating towards the hospital wing. I desperately want to go running behind her, to ask her if he's okay, but I know that would only raise suspicion. I keep watching until Madame Hooch and Draco are out of sight, and then I glance back around at all my celebrating friends. I get to my feet in the stands and try to act as excited as my friends are about the Gryffindor teams' victory, but my mind isn't in the stands; it's in the hospital wing with Draco. And I know somewhere in the back of my mind that that's exactly where my heart is, too.
I follow my friends out of the stands and towards the Great Hall, and I eat dinner distractedly and half-heartedly. I accompany my friends up to Gryffindor Tower, where a huge victory celebration is being held, and though I participate, I secretly wish there was a way I could sneak down to the hospital to check on Draco. I decide to wait until the morning, however; I'm sure word of his recovery, or lack thereof, will have reached the entire school by then. I celebrate with my friends for a little longer before going to bed, but although I'm exhausted, I'm unable to get to sleep.
After battling with my heavy eyelids for two hours, I give up and get out of bed, deciding that I'll use a Disillusionment Charm to sneak downstairs and check on Draco; maybe if I see that he's okay I'll be able to sleep. I quickly perform the charm, making myself disappear entirely, and make my way down to the Common Room and through the portrait hole. I creep down the many flights of stairs, nearly running straight into Peeves, and am pleased to find that the Hospital doors are still open when I arrive.
As I walk through them, I notice, to my utter delight, that Draco is awake and sitting up in his bed, arguing with Madame Pomfrey with a scowl on his handsome and unharmed face. "I told you, I'm fine!" he says angrily, "Now release me so I can go sleep in my own bed!"
"Mr. Malfoy, I'm afraid that's quite impossible," Madame Pomfrey replies calmly. "Now, get some rest, and you can go back to your room first thing in the morning." Having said all she will on the subject, Madame Pomfrey turns and walks away, towards her office. As soon as she closes the door, however, Draco throws back the covers on the bed and slowly starts clambering out of it.
I can't help but chuckle at his stubbornness, and at my relief that he's okay. My chuckling, however, is a bit louder than I intended for it to be. It draws Draco's attention and he snatches his wand up, calling out, "Who's there?" Realizing that I've got to get out of here or risk getting caught, I slowly start tiptoeing away. Draco, however, is much too clever to let that happen. He quickly casts the anti-Disillusionment Charm, revealing me to him. I gasp at my unfortunate luck and stare up into his eyes, terrified of what he might say or do. "Newsome," he says angrily as he lowers his wand, "what are you doing down here?" I don't answer him at first, but continue to stare at him. "You do realize I'm a prefect, don't you?" he asks a moment later. "I can give you detention if I so desire, and we both know you don't want that. So tell me, Newsome, why are you out of bed after hours? And you had better tell the truth, too."
I consider Draco's statement for a moment, and quickly decide that telling him the truth is exactly what I should do; I'm tired of playing games with my emotions, even if Draco doesn't feel the same way. I swallow my pride and gather my wits and courage. I'm unable to look into his eyes as I speak, so I look down at the floor, but I quietly say, "I… I just wanted to make sure you were all right." When Draco doesn't respond right away, I look up into his eyes, to gauge his reaction to my confession. The look on his face is unreadable; it's like a combination of confusion and sheer joy.
It takes him a moment to respond, but when he does, it isn't what I'd hoped he would say. "Oh, now you care? Now that I've been maimed, you suddenly give a damn?" he asks angrily. Though Draco's question would normally upset me, it doesn't now.
I can't help but think that he's exaggerating the situation a little bit. I don't answer him, I simply say, "I'm sorry," and look down at the floor again. "I shouldn't have come," I continue, "I didn't mean to disturb you. I'll just… go." And without waiting for Draco's response, I turn and walk away from the hospital wing, not bothering to re-cast the disillusionment charm on myself.
When I've gotten just outside the hospital doors, I could swear I hear Draco mumble something in response, but I ignore him and keep walking. I go straight up to Gryffindor Tower, and am immediately able to fall asleep once I lay down; even though Draco's still being horrible to me, at least I know he's safe and unharmed.
When I wake on Saturday morning, I once again place a concealment charm on my stomach before getting out of bed. I try my best not to think of what happened last night, but I find it an impossible task. And even though I know Draco's fine, I can't help but wonder; what if? What if Draco hadn't been okay? What if he'd… Merlin forbid… died? Would I have been able to cope with knowing that I'd never told him how I truly felt? Never told him about the baby?
These thoughts plague my mind all day long, and by dinner time I decide I've got to do something about it. I decide that I have to tell Draco everything… tomorrow. Though I find it ironic that the day I've chosen to reveal my secrets is in fact, Valentine's Day, I can't allow myself to get my hopes up. I'm telling Draco the truth and I don't expect anything in return, I tell myself. Besides, he's got a girlfriend. I just want him to know how I feel… and I have to at least inform him of the child's existence. I'll be as gentle as I can and hope for the best. I know there's no chance of us ending up together, but I've got to get this off my chest.
I find it a bit funny how much my perspective on things has changed since I saw the image of the baby a couple of weeks ago; I've matured greatly in a very short amount of time. I spend the rest of the day on Saturday trying to find the right words to say, trying to think of the perfect time to tell Draco what's going on. I lay awake for most of the night, extremely nervous but positive that I'm doing the right thing. I decide that the first time I see Draco tomorrow, even if he's with his friends, I'll tell him that we need to talk and spill my guts right then and there.
I somehow manage to fall asleep, but not for very long. I wake several times throughout the night, and when I wake for the final time on Sunday morning, I decide to take my pregnancy book out onto the grounds for a bit of early-morning reading; I'm too nervous to eat right now. I re-conceal my belly before making my way to the common room and out of the portrait hole, and I'm just about to head down the first flight of stairs when I see Draco and his cronies walking upstairs, towards the seventh floor corridor. I'm immediately curious as to what they're up to, but it looks like they're headed for the Room of Requirement.
I'm very shocked; I hadn't planned on seeing Draco this early in the morning. But, nevertheless, a promise is a promise… and if you can't keep a promise to yourself, what good are you? So, nervously and reluctantly, I tuck my pregnancy book safely underneath my left arm, pressing it against my body. I walk off in the same direction that Draco and his friends just went. I follow them up the staircase and through the door, into the hallway. When they round a corner, I do the same. I mimic their every move, and catch up to them just as they're around the corner from the Room of Requirement.
Realizing that I need to stop him before he enters, I call out to Malfoy, who turns on the spot quickly. He gives me a puzzled look, as do his friends, and as I approach I say quietly, "We need to talk."
"What's the matter, Newsome?" he calls back menacingly, "Want me to shag you again?"
Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn't that. I stop dead in my tracks and gasp loudly, unable to believe that he just said that. Though there's nobody else in the corridors, it's bad enough that he's said it in front of all of his friends. More embarrassed than I've ever been in my life, I stare into Draco's eyes for a moment, completely horror-stricken. Suddenly giving up on my mission, I walk quickly past the group of boys and around the corner. Just before I get out of ear-shot, I hear one of Draco's cronies say, "I think you went a bit too far there, mate."
I run past the Room of Requirement once before turning around and running past it a second time, and then again a third time, thinking I just need to get away. I burst through the doors frantically once they appear, and into the Room of Requirement. Immediately in tears once I've reached the seclusion of the room, I drop the pregnancy book I was carrying and fall to my knees, covering my eyes with my hands and sobbing into them uncontrollably and inconsolably.
I sob for several moments before hearing the door open, but I don't particularly care who's entering right now; my feelings have been hurt beyond repair. "Newsome?" Draco's voice calls apprehensively; I ignore him and continue weeping. I hear him close the door behind himself, and the sound of his footsteps approaches slowly. "Look, Newsome," he begins apologetically with a heavy sigh, "I'm sorry, all right? What I said back there was totally out of line. Please, don't cry."
"I'm fine, Malfoy," I reply through tears without even bothering to look up at him. Though still sobbing, I lower my hands, get to my feet blindly and turn to walk back towards the doors, trying to get out of the Room of Requirement and away from him as soon as possible. Draco speaks again, however; stopping me.
"Um…Newsome?" he says quietly.
"Yes?" I respond, still not looking at him as I wipe away the tears that are still steadily flowing from my eyes.
"Wasn't there something you needed to tell me?" he asks. Merlin, in my embarrassment I'd forgotten all about that. Come to think of it, now would be a goodtime to tell Malfoy my secret; we're alone in a private place where nobody else can hear our conversation. But of course, now that it comes to it, I'm really nervous and suddenly don't want to tell him anymore; not after what he just said to me.
"Um… no, Malfoy," I reply frantically.
"But you said you needed to tell me something," he says, clearly not intending to give up until I've told him my secret.
"No, I didn't," I reply, hoping it'll throw him off long enough for me to escape the Room of Requirement.
"You know, you're not a very good liar," he says sarcastically.
"Shove off!" I snap in return, before marching out of the Room of Requirement, allowing the door to slam loudly behind me.
I find Draco's friends standing just outside the door, and they look at me curiously as I walk past them; I just ignore them. I march off determinedly, mentally cancelling my plans to go down to the grounds and read, and I've gotten nearly half-way back to the common room when I realize I've made a horrible mistake; I left my pregnancy book laying on the floor in the Room of Requirement right beside where I was crying… Draco will know it's mine! Of course, the cover is still transfigured to look like a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages, but if for any reason Draco opened the book, he'd know my secret.
I turn on my heel and run straight back to the room, flinging the doors open, earning myself more strange looks from Draco's friends, who I simply ignore again. Once I'm inside the room, however, I realize with terror that it's too late… Draco's already leaned down and picked up the book. He's got it in his hands, examining the page that it opened to when I dropped it. I immediately freeze mid-step, wide-eyed with fear.
He looks up at me, eyeing me with such intensity that I think I might explode. "During the first trimester of pregnancy?" he reads from the page incredulously. "What are you doing with a pregnancy book?"
"N… nothing!" I lie, trying to regain my composure. "I want to be a Healer when I finish at Hogwarts; I was just doing some research."
Though Draco doesn't seem convinced, I walk over to him and snatch the book out of his hands, turning to walk out of the room once more. "Newsome…" he calls quietly.
"Leave me alone!" I snap in response.
"Just as soon as you tell me what you're hiding from me!" he snaps in return.
Without thinking, I place my hand on my stomach at his words and yell back, "It's none of your business what I'm concealing!" Freudian slip, anyone? I instantly freeze in my spot with my back facing him, hoping he didn't pick up on my little mishap. But, of course, he did.
"Concealing? You're using a concealment charm against me? Why?" he asks. Then, piecing two and two together, he asks another question, only it sounds more like an accusation. "Bloody hell…" he says, "You're pregnant… aren't you?"
"No, I'm not!" I reply frantically, finally lowering my hand from my stomach and turning to face him in an effort to convince him I'm telling the truth. "Look, I meant to say 'hiding', all right?"
"Yeah… okay," he says angrily.
"Look, I've got to go, Malfoy," I reply. "I have to get to class." I wonder to myself if he realized I was looking for an excuse to get out of that conversation as I turn around and start walking towards the double doors again. He speaks again just as I extend my hand to open them.
"That's funny," he says quietly, "because there are no classes today; it's Sunday." I immediately freeze; I'm caught. I turn around and put on my most convincing face, hoping I can persuade him to leave me alone.
"I've got a private lesson with Professor Snape today," I reply weakly.
"No, you don't," he says calmly, "I happen to know your classes with him are only on Thursdays."
"Not this week," I reply. "This week we're having lessons Sunday and Thursday." Malfoy eyes me curiously for a moment after I say this but eventually nods his head in agreement.
"Okay, sorry," he says sarcastically. I flash him a reassuring smile before turning to walk away, thankful to have dodged that bullet. As I'm turning, however, he speaks again. "You've forgotten, haven't you?" he asks. Wanting to leave the room but too curious to ignore his question, I turn around to face him again.
"Forgotten what?" I ask impatiently, placing my right hand on my hip. Draco abandons the pregnancy book on a nearby table and takes a few steps forward, closing the distance between us.
"That I know your body," he says meaningfully, surveying me with his eyes. He takes a few more steps closer, coming to stand directly in front of me. Wondering what he means and feeling slightly flustered by the statement he's just made, I look down to avoid his piercing gaze. Draco leans down and whispers quietly in my ear, "I remember what you feel like." The warmth of his breath on my skin gives me goose bumps, and I can't help but wonder why what he remembers has anything to do with what we were discussing. Draco stands up straight again and places his hand on my chin, gently lifting my face and bringing my eyes up to meet his.
Noticing something I haven't, he speaks again, his eyebrows furrowing. "Our skin," he says matter-of-factly. "It's not tingling. You're… you're not resisting me anymore?" This last statement actually sounds more like a question, and it makes me realize that he's absolutely right. Amazed, Draco stares down into my eyes for a moment before slowly leaning down and lowering his lips towards mine. I know full well what's about to happen, but I don't care; I want him to kiss me.
I don't even hesitate; as soon as his lips reach mine I close my eyes and start kissing him gently. Within a matter of mere seconds, we're both gasping for air as we snog passionately, our lips and tongues intertwining seamlessly. Draco places his hands on my hips as we continue to kiss, pulling me closer to him and pressing my body against his. A few moments later, he stops kissing me, causing me to open my eyes and look up at him. He's smiling down at me, and I smile up at him in response, wondering what he's thinking.
I feel him move his left hand to the edge of my shirt, and I assume he's going to touch my stomach to see if he can tell if I'm pregnant. So this is what he meant when he said he remembers how I feel, I think to myself. I personally don't mind him touching my stomach, however, because I know he won't be able to see my baby bump because it's still concealed. I allow him to slide my shirt upwards slightly, and I tremble when I feel his hand on my bare skin, still smiling up at him the whole while. I soon realize that I should have never allowed this to happen, however, because I was unaware of what's in Draco's right hand: his wand.
Suddenly looking very serious, Draco quickly says, "Absconditus Revelio!" and flicks his wand in the direction of my stomach, quickly glancing down at the bare skin of my belly.
Bloody hell! I think to myself. Who taught him how to remove a concealment charm? I gasp and lean down, completely horrified as I try to re-cover my stomach with my shirt, but it's too late; Draco's already revealed my bump. And, though it's admittedly small, it's enough of a difference to be noticed; the fact that it wasn't there before and suddenly is now that he's removed the concealment charm tells Draco everything he needs to know.
Startled and completely gob-smacked, Draco jerks his hands away from my abdomen and simply continues to stare down at it through the fabric of my shirt as he exclaims, "Merlin! You are pregnant!"
I turn away from him, crying, and sink to the floor in a distraught and very hurt heap. He tricked me! I think to myself, And now he knows! This thought is followed by a long and very uncomfortable silence, filled only by the sounds of my continued sobs.
Finally pulling himself together, Draco speaks. "You, um… you should probably try to calm down," he says. "You know… because of the… bloody hell!" he finishes, finally giving up on comforting me. I hear the sound of his feet walking away heavily; he's clearly trying to make sense of what's just happened.
He walks over to where I'm sitting a few moments later, standing directly in front of me. "Come on, let me help you up," he says quietly, extending his hand for me to take. I shake my head in refusal, but he won't have any of it. "I'm not just going to let you keep sitting there on the floor like that," he says kindly. "Take my hand."
Realizing he's not giving in any time soon, I slowly lift my right hand and place it in his open palm. Draco gently pulls me to my feet, standing almost nose-to-nose with him. I immediately release his hand and am unable to look him in the eyes; I stare down at the floor instead. Draco stares at me in silence for a moment before speaking. "I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this," he begins, "but I need to hear you say it. Is it… mine?"
I continue to stare at the floor, but my eyes widen at Draco's question. I think I see a way out of this, I tell myself. "N… No, Draco, it's not," I lie as my stomach twists into a thousand knots.
There's an awkward silence between us for a moment, after which Draco says, "Like I said… you're not a good liar. It's no matter, though, because I will find out the truth. Hmm… I wonder if there's anything about paternity in your little pregnancy book."
I freeze immediately as Draco walks back across the room and picks the book up off the table he'd abandoned it on earlier; I'd completely forgotten about the book. And unfortunately, there is a chapter on paternity; it even provides a spell which will identify the child's father. I continue to stare down at the floor and don't say anything, silently hoping that Draco won't notice that chapter on the table of contents. No such luck. "Ah, here it is!" he says a moment later.
I turn around and stare at him in response and immediately start begging him; "No Draco, please!" I urge him.
"I'm sorry," he replies, "but you've left me no choice." Draco flips to the page with the paternity spell on it and skims the page briefly before aiming his wand at me. Feeling like a sitting duck but knowing that I might as well let the whole truth come out at the same time, I decide not to run from the spell and simply let fate take its course; I've been avoiding this for long enough. I begin to shake nervously as Draco performs a few quick movements with his wand and loudly says the incantation. "Paternum Revelio!"
Immediately, my skin begins to glow gold once more, just as it did when I took the pregnancy potion over Christmas break. But that's not all; I risk a sideways glance and discover that Draco's skin is also glowing. I'm somewhat used to the sensation and am therefore not fazed by it; Draco, on the other hand, stares down at his skin in wonder before glancing back up at me, muttering "Bloody hell" under his breath. Tears streaming down my face, I look deep into Draco's eyes for a moment before looking away; I can't bear to look at him anymore because I'm so ashamed of myself for lying… and I'm wary of what his reaction will be.
"I'm not exactly sure how all this works," he says quietly a few moments later, "but… exactly how pregnant are you?" he asks.
"Fourteen weeks," I reply with resign, barely louder than a whisper.
"Fourteen weeks?!" he asks incredulously, causing me to look back up at him once more. I find that he's staring at me in an accusatory way, and I've got a feeling I know what's coming. "And exactly when were you going to tell me?" he asks angrily, confirming my suspicions.
"I found out over Christmas break! I tried to tell you on the way back to Hogwarts that day on the train," I insist, "but…"
"Pansy," Draco interrupts. "She walked up and ruined that. Merlin; I've been so stupid!" Draco grimaces as he makes this statement and turns around in anguish, facing away from me for a moment and placing his hand on his temple. I'm not sure what he means when he says he's been stupid, so I don't say anything at all, and a few moments later he turns back around and continues, suddenly angry at me instead of himself.
"Still though," he says, "you shouldn't have given up so easily! Do you even realize what you've done?"
"What I've done?" I ask incredulously, glaring at him. I assume he's implying that the pregnancy is entirely my fault.
"Yes, what you've done!"he exclaims, pointing an accusatory finger at me. "Because of you, I've missed the first three and a half months of my child's life! That's three and a half months that I can't get back, Jayde! If I'd only known, I'd have done something… I'd have been there for you, every step of the way! I'd have been there with you when you found out you were pregnant! But you didn't even give me a chance!"
My eyes widen in shock and my face softens at Draco's statement. He's upset, not because I'm pregnant, but because he hasn't been there for me? Because he's missed the first three months of my pregnancy? I don't have time to verbally respond before he continues.
"Because of you, I feel like a horrible person now! A horrible father!" he exclaims. Then, he softens his voice and a sad expression crosses his face. "No, I am a horrible father," he says quietly, staring down at the floor. "Bloody hell!" he continues, "I'm going to be a father? Now? I've been giving you hell all this time, and you're carrying my child. I was just trying to convince you to be with me, but all I've done is make things worse. Your friends told you all those terrible things about me, and you believed them. I wanted to show you I'm not like that… but all I've done is prove them right. Even after everything I've seen, I've still been acting like an arse towards you."
Though I wonder what he means when he says 'everything I've seen', my heart breaks at Draco's statement, and I immediately feel sorry for him. "Look, Malfoy," I begin, but he quickly interrupts me.
" Dammit! Don't call me Malfoy anymore!" he yells, clearly frustrated. "I think we're past that now, don't you? We passed that ten minutes ago with the whole 'you're having my baby' scene!"
"Well you call me Newsome!" I accuse, feeling like I'm being attacked.
"Not anymore… Jayde," he says softly.
"Okay, fine," I reply. "Look, Draco, you shouldn't feel guilty… it's not your fault that you didn't know… it's mine. I was just too afraid to tell you, and you can't be a bad father if you didn't know. I'm only telling you now because I promised my guardian I would; she said you needed to know. But you don't have anything to worry about… I don't… expect anything from you; I'm going to handle it."
"What the hell do you mean you're going to handle it?" he asks suspiciously.
"Well, I've been considering my options," I begin. "And to me it seems that it's best if I don't keep the baby…"
I don't get to finish my sentence because Draco interrupts. "Options?" he yells incredulously, "I don't know what kind of options you think you have, but you killing my child isn't one of them!"
"I'm not killing it!" I yell, "What kind of person do you think I am? I'm giving it up for adoption!"
"Like hell you are!" he snaps, seeming slightly relieved but still very angry, "That child is just as much Malfoy as it is Newsome; you can't make that kind of decision without me!"
"Excuse me?" I ask sarcastically, stunned by Draco's cockiness. "I'm carrying it without you!"
"Only because you're so damned stubborn and didn't tell me!" he replies, "All this time we could have been together… you, me, and… Merlin… our child… but no! You had to avoid me for over a month back before Christmas; when if you had just talked to me we could have worked things out. And now you tell me you're giving our child up for adoption? I don't think so!"
"Draco this isn't some… game, or… competition to see who has the most say-so. This is a baby," I respond.
"I know that!" he snaps in response.
"Well are you ready to be a parent then?" I ask.
"No, not yet!" he replies, clearly taken aback by this question, "But I will be by the time it gets here!" Draco grabs my arm as he says this, trying to emphasize how important this is to him.
"Okay, but what am I supposed to do? I'm not ready to be a mother, Draco! It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice and… money… to raise a child. I can't do this alone!" I reply.
"Who said you were going to do anything alone?" he asks meaningfully.
I shake my head in response to his statement and roll my eyes. "And how well do you think your girlfriend would like it if you and I were raising a child together?" I ask bitterly.
"Pansy's not my girlfriend," Draco says quietly.
"Well you might want to tell her that! I'm sure she's pretty confused by the way you're holding her hand every day, and the way you used to snog her!" I reply.
"I stopped snogging her when I realized what it was doing to you!" he exclaims. "And besides, she already knows we're not together… we never were… I only pretended to be dating Pansy… to make you jealous."
Now I'm completely floored. "You… you were pretending to date Pansy to make me jealous?" I ask incredulously.
"Y… yes," he replies, looking down at the floor as he does so. "I know; I'm a bloody hypocrite… yelling at you for lying when I've done the same thing."
"But… why?" I ask.
I was so… mad at you…for running from me," he begins. "Well, I wasn't really mad at you," he continues, "I was mad because I wanted you and I couldn't have you; I'm man enough to admit that much. I… I don't handle rejection very well, apparently. And I don't know how to express any emotion besides anger very well, either. I wanted to find a way to make you realize we should be together; to show you how wrong you were for running from me. And Pansy, she likes Blaise a lot, but he won't give her the time of day. One day over Christmas break we got to talking and Pansy came up with the solution to all our problems; she said if we pretended to be dating it'd make both you and Blaise jealous at the same time, and we'd both get what we wanted out of it."
Though my heart gives an involuntary leap inside my chest, Draco's story is too far-fetched to believe. I stare at Draco suspiciously with my eyebrows furrowed for a moment. Knowing what's going through my mind, he defends himself.
"I'm telling the truth!" he says seriously.
"Yeah, okay… I believe you," I say sarcastically. "I suppose you and Pansy were just shagging to make Blaise and I jealous as well, then," I continue.
Draco rolls his eyes and sighs deeply. "That was a lie," he says, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. "That was the stupidest thing I've done so far," he continues. "It killed me to see how much I hurt you when I said that, but Pansy told me I had to make myself seem unavailable; that you'd come running back once you thought I was with her. Hell, that's why I didn't go see you in the hospital that day you fainted. I wanted to, so badly, but Pansy told me to stay away and give it some time. I was… I was really worried about you. And now, I find out that you fainted because you're having my baby."
I suddenly feel very light-hearted and care-free; I have to try hard to disguise my happiness at the thought that this bit of news might actually be true. "Pansy told you that if you seemed unavailable I'd want you more?" I ask, not waiting for a response before continuing. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" I laugh.
"Well it's not like I had a lot of other options," Draco retorts. "I don't know anything about how girls' minds work. And besides; it worked. You were jealous; you can deny it all you want, but I know. Hell, jealousy's the only reason you got drunk and wound up sleeping with me in the first place."
I know that no response is required on my part, and I blush and look away from him. A moment later, I feel Draco's hand on my chin once more, pulling my face towards his. "Draco… what are you doing?" I ask as I look up into his eyes.
"What I should have been doing all this time," he responds. Then, without another word, he leans down and presses his lips against mine gently. I close my eyes and respond to his kisses hungrily, and he pulls away from my lips a few moments later to speak.
"Promise me that you won't give our child away," he says meaningfully.
"Draco, I've already decided," I say firmly as I try to ignore the involuntary lurch my heart and stomach make. "I'm not ready to be a mother; it's what's best for the child. And you kissing me isn't going to change my mind."
"I know that," he says, "just… hear me out. I know this is going to sound crazy, but Jayde… I know we're meant for each other… and not just because of the 'electricity' thing. This isn't just some accident or… mistake; this is a sign! I think this is someone or… something… trying to give us a nudge in the right direction." I furrow my eyebrows in response, but Draco continues. "I know… I told you it would sound crazy," he begins, "but just think about it for a moment! Imagine for just a moment that you believe as I believe… that we're supposed to be together. We're going to be married someday, Jayde, I know it! I've seen it! I've seen the baby; I just didn't know it was already on the way! We're going to be a family! What does that do to your opinion of what's best for our baby?"
Completely taken aback but secretly pleased when he says we'll be married one day, the only response I can come up with is, "You're a Seer?"
"No… not exactly," he replies, "but there were Seers in my family. And they were real Seers, not wannabes like Sybil Trelawney. I didn't inherit the gift, but I've had dreams all my life. And what happens in my dreams always winds up happening in real life." I consider this for a moment and stare down at the floor, puzzled. "What do you think is best for our baby now?" Draco asks again. I don't respond, and he keeps pushing. "You can't answer me, can you?" he asks, "Because the thought that we'll be a family one day makes our child too invaluable to you… it makes it harder for you to think about giving it away."
Again, I don't respond, but I can't help but internally agree with everything Draco's just said. I was already beginning to feel a connection with the child when I saw it a couple of weeks ago, and Draco's statement has just made that even worse. "Think about something else," Draco continues. "What if you give the baby away, and we do end up married one day? I know I'll want a child, and I'm sure you will too... but if we give this one away, we can't get it back. What if we try to have another child, and can't for some reason? What if… Jayde, what if this is our only chance? How would you feel, knowing you gave our child away?"
Tears immediately start flowing from my eyes, and I feel like the most horrible person on the planet. I can't help but think that Draco is taking the news much better than I thought he would. He's being very mature about it; but then again, he claims to have seen this already. This is much too hard to decide at seventeen years old; I don't know for sure what my future holds, but I know someday I will want a husband and child. After all, that's every girl's dream. And knowing my feelings for Draco, I hope somewhere deep down that he will be my husband one day. But, being so young, I find it hard to imagine how my point of view will change when I get older. What if Draco's right? Will I regret giving the baby away? I think like this for a moment and find myself absent-mindedly placing my hand on my stomach. "Our… baby," I whisper through tears. "I… I can't give it away!"
"That's right," Draco says quietly. Then he places his hand on my chin and turns my face towards his, gently wiping the tears off my cheeks. "Look, there's something I want to ask you," he says tenderly. "I know we've gotten off to a rocky start, and I know I don't deserve another chance… but I would love it if we could just start over where we left off that night that you agreed to date me. And no running or hiding… let's just admit we care for each other and… be together."
Though I'm touched by Draco's tender words, a suspicion creeps into my mind. I consider my words very carefully before saying them. "That sounds really nice," I begin, "but Draco, how do I know you're not just doing this because of the baby?"
"Well… because I already got you this," he replies, pulling a small box from his right pocket and holding it up for me to see. It's not just any box, however; it's a ring box. I stare down at the box in awe.
"Wh… what is that?" I ask incredulously.
"It's your engagement ring," he replies matter-of-factly.
"But that can't be for me… you must have bought it for Pansy!" I reply breathlessly.
"No, I told you," Draco replies, "Pansy and I were never together. I know this is a bit of a shock, but just look at the ring if you don't believe me." With that, he reaches his left hand over and opens the box slowly, revealing a simple but beautiful white gold ring with a single heart-shaped diamond in the center. Upon further examination of the ring, I notice that a hand rests on either side of the heart, above which rests a crown. I gasp, for now I know this ring was indeed intended for me.
"Oh, Draco! It's… it's a claddagh ring!"I say in an awed voice.
"Exactly," Draco replies. "And why on earth would I get Pansy an Irish ring?"
"But… but you already had it," I half-state, half-ask as I look up into his eyes.
"Yes," he replies, smiling slightly. "I told you, I know we're meant to be together; I've known it since the first time I saw you. And then I had a dream over Christmas break that only confirmed it. So I bought you the ring the next day. I knew I'd want to use it someday, I just didn't know that day would be so soon. I've been carrying it around with me ever since I bought it, in my pocket. I know it sounds stupid, but it reminds me of you and of that dream, of what I know will happen one day."
Still in complete shock, I don't answer Draco and simply stare at him. Blushing slightly, he continues. "Merlin," he says quietly, "I'm going about this all wrong, aren't I? I wanted the day I proposed to be romantic. I should be down on one knee, begging for your hand." With that, Draco stoops down, coming to rest on his left knee. He smiles up at me sweetly, but I simply stare down at him with my mouth agape.
"I'm… I'm so confused!" I finally manage.
"What are you confused about, dear?"Draco asks.
"Not even an hour ago, you insulted me in front of your friends!" I exclaim, "And now you're asking me to… marry you? And I'm not supposed to think that it's just because of the baby?" A very sad expression crosses Draco's face immediately after I finish speaking. He takes a moment togather his words before responding.
"I… I know I've been horrible to you, and I'm sorry. I guess it's just a maturity thing; I knew we'd be married and have a child one day, and I should have started acting more like a husband and father instead of continuing to act like a childish, spoiled prat. But I swear to you Jayde, I will never behave that way towards you again. The only reason I did it in the first place is because I want you so badly, and I couldn't have you. I told you; I don't know how to express any emotion besides anger very well. I only did those things because I care for you; because I love you."
My whole world seems to stop spinning at the sound of those three little words coming out of Draco's mouth. He loves me? My heart feels as though it's about to explode, and I suddenly find it hard to breathe. Sure, he's said those words to me before, but we were both drunk when he said them; now they actually have meaning behind them that's not just 'I'm drunk and my hormones are going wild'.
"I know it's kind of scary to think about starting a relationship and being engaged, and even becoming parents," Draco continues. "We're only seventeen and I've never been in a real relationship, and I don't think you have either… but I know we can do this… together. And there's no… pressure… or anything; we don't have to rush. You accepting this ring doesn't mean we have to be married within a certain amount of time. We'll take everything one day at a time, one step at a time. We'll work on the whole ‘relationship’ bit first, until the baby gets here. We'll get that down pat, and then we'll talk about marriage. I just… I want to give you this ring now; I want to hear you say that you'll be my wife someday… even if that day is still far away. All I'm asking is for you to think about the possibility that we were meant for each other; I know you care for me, too… so all I need from you now is one little word… Yes."
"What… what did you just say?" I ask Draco breathlessly, placing my hand on my chest.
Looking a bit taken aback, Draco starts repeating everything. "I said, 'We'll take it one day at a time…'"
"No, not that," I interrupt, "what did you say just before that bit?" I ask.
Thinking back for a moment, Draco realizes what I'm talking about. Softening his facial expression, Draco stares me directly in the eyes and repeats his statement. "I said, I love you, Jayde," he replies. I start hyperventilating almost immediately.
"I… I can't breathe!" I exclaim. Immediately concerned, Draco quickly gets to his feet and places his hands on my arms.
"What's wrong?" he asks worriedly. Unable to answer him, I focus on trying to control my rapid breathing. "I'm… I'm sorry!" he exclaims, "I shouldn't have sprung so much on you at one time… it's too much! Please, calm down!" Realizing that I've made Draco feel guilty without meaning to, I try to think of a way to appease the situation. After all, I'm not hyperventilating over the whole "marriage" thing, I'm hyperventilating because he just told me he loves me! I stare into Draco's concerned eyes for a moment, and finally think of a solution. I quickly fling myself into his arms and wrap my hands around his neck, closing my eyes and pressing my lips against his.
He's a bit taken aback at first; he just stands there stiff as a board, but then he gathers his wits and places his hands on my hips, beginning to return my kisses passionately. We enjoy a snog-fest for a few moments, but I eventually pull away and stare into his eyes, thinking. Do I love him in return? I ask myself.
Of course you do, my inner voice tells me, you wouldn't have almost had a heart attack when he said that if you didn't.
Well then, shouldn't I tell him that? I ask myself again.
Draco interrupts my thought process, saving me from arguing with myself any longer. "What was that for?" he asks with a smile.
"I… I love you too, Draco," I reply.
At this, a huge smile spreads across Draco's face, and he closes his eyes for a second, as if trying to savor the moment. "I can't tell you how good it feels to finally hear you say that… without being drunk, that is," he says sweetly. I take a deep breath in before continuing, wanting to express all my concerns to Draco before this conversation goes any further.
"I really want to be with you," I finally admit, "but I don't know how to be a girlfriend, or… fiancé… or mother. I just don't know how."
"I completely understand," Draco says sympathetically, "I'm a little nervous myself. I don't know what I'm doing either; all I know is how I feel. I want to be around you as much as possible. I feel… protective over you – I don't want anything to happen to you. I want to hug you and kiss you and be with you and take care of you every day for the rest of my life. And that feeling lets me know that everything will be all right. So what do you say, darling? Will you marry me?"
I smile up at Draco in response and think for a moment, feeling more ecstatic than I ever have. Somehow, though, my subconscious worries manage to sneak up on me at this most unwelcome of times. I suddenly find myself reliving all the memories I have of people being mean to me, as though they're playing on a movie screen in my head. The memories nearly draw me into them; I no longer see Draco in front of me, only the horrid details of my past.
I watch as Gloria once again starts beating me up on the playground, and as Corey lies to Ms. Fitzpatrick about me. I hear Draco call my name and ask me what's wrong, but he seems very far away and his voice does nothing to stop the memories. Then I hear him whisper in my ear, "I'm sorry, but I have to know what you're thinking right now," just before he quietly says "Legilimens."
Though I haven't realized up until this point exactly what Draco was doing, it's now evident; he appears in my memories standing right beside me as I watch the bad points of my past unfold; he just entered my thoughts. I immediately start trying to force him from my mind, but I find that task to be an impossible one. Draco watches as Corey picks on me at school one day, and as Aaron picks on me that day at Dunamase, and then again the next year. Finally, he watches as he himself makes fun of Harry and I on the castle grounds, and then watches himself repeat the horrible phrase he said to me outside the Room of Requirement. Here, my chain of memories stops, and both Draco's mind and mine return to the present.
I don't even have time to gather my composure, though, Draco immediately questions me. "That's why you avoided me?" he asks. "People have been horrible to you your whole life, and so was I. This whole time I thought you avoided me because you thought you were too good for me… and all this time, you were just scared… scared I'd start treating you just as badly as those other children did." I don't answer Draco because I know there's no need; he knows he's right. "I am so sorry," he continues, taking my hand, "you've got to believe me. I never meant to hurt you, and I swear I'll never do it again, but I know that after my actions, none of my words will convince you I'm telling the truth. Instead, let me show you something."
At this, Draco releases my hand and extends his wand for me to take. "I'm going to remember that dream I had, and then I want you to enter my mind,"he says, "I want you to see it for yourself."
"Draco, I don't think that's a good idea," I say slowly.
"Please," Draco pleads.
"Oh… okay," I say quietly with a nod of my head. Already knowing the incantation, I watch as Draco begins to relive his dream and then immediately say "Legilimens." Instantly, I find myself in Draco's memory, standing right beside the "real" Draco. We're standing in Madam Malkins' shop, in Diagon Alley, watching the memory unfold.
I watch in awe as "dream" Draco walks into the shop, wearing a business suit. He looks around for a moment before greeting Madam Malkin, who's currently helping another customer. "Excuse me, Madam Malkin," he says, "but have you seen my wife?" I feel my eyes bulge at this question, and even more so when the shopkeeper replies.
"Yes, Mr. Malfoy," she says with a smile, "she's just there." Madam Malkin extends her right hand and points to an area just a short distance away, down one of the aisles in the shop. I immediately look off in the direction she's indicated and watch with amazement as "dream" Draco heads off in that same direction, towards a girl about my size who has her back towards us. Further examination of the girl lets me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's me.
"Dream" Draco walks up behind "dream" me and places his hands on my shoulders, whispering something in my ear. My dream-self immediately turns around, smiling from ear to ear. And that's not all; I'm holding an infant in my arms. The child can't be more than a few months old, and Draco and I don't appear to have aged much, either. I find it hard to breathe as I continue to watch the scene before me, especially when I look at the child in my arms; I feel my stomach and heart give involuntary lurches once more.
Apparently knowing what I'm feeling, the "real" Draco, who's standing right beside me, takes my hand into his own. I look down at his fingers intertwined with mine, and then look up to the left to see his face. I find an enormous smile there, and he nods his head forwards, indicating that I should watch the rest of his memory of this dream. I immediately return my gaze to the projections of Draco, myself, and our child. "Hello, little one!""dream" Draco says, "Come to Daddy!"
He immediately extends his arms and takes the child from me before giving me a light kiss. "Are you ready to go home, love?" he asks. My dream-self nods in agreement and begins making her way out of Madam Malkins' shop right beside "dream" Draco, who's still carrying the child. I watch as our dream-selves walk past our real selves, and as I examine my dream-self I notice there are two rings on my left hand… one of which is the claddagh engagement ring Draco just showed to me less than twenty minutes ago.
I gasp at the realization, and just as "dream" Draco and I exit the store, I feel my mind being dragged out of Draco's memory and back to the present. Once back focused on the current situation, Draco takes a step forward, closing the distance between us.
"That was beautiful, wasn't it?" he asks, to which I nod my head in response. "Now that you've seen that, what do you say, love?" he asks. Not even needing a moment to consider it, I nod my head as tears start pouring from my eyes.
"Yes, Draco," I say quietly, "I will marry you."
Author's Note: So Draco and Jayde are finally together! What did you think? Please let me know in a review! By the way, please let me know if you see any spacing issues; my computer has been acting really strangely lately. Also, I'd like to give a HUGE thanks to the people on the forums who helped me with ideas for this chapter, especially TojoursPadfoot. Your help is greatly appreciated!
Immediately after I’ve finished speaking, Draco breathes a sigh of relief and smiles the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Then he gently leans down and takes my left hand in his own before removing my engagement ring from its box. I watch, and slowly and carefully he slides the ring onto my finger with shaking hands. As soon as he’s got the ring all the way on, I grab his face and pull it towards mine, crashing my lips down upon his.
Eager and immediately excited, Draco begins to return my kisses passionately. As we’re kissing, a heavy snow starts to fall inside the Room of Requirement… the first time I’ve made it snow since before Christmas. The snow wets the exposed areas of our skin as it makes contact and melts. We’re too happy to care; Draco and I continue to kiss as though we’re the only two people in the world, hoping that this moment will never end.
Much too quickly for my taste, however, Draco’s curiosity gets the better of him, and he stops kissing me and stares down into my eyes. “You’re making it snow,” he says matter-of-factly, a smile playing on the edge of his lips. “You’ve done this before… the night you agreed to date me the first time. What does that mean?”
“The snow?” I ask for clarification. Draco nods his head in response. “It means I’m happy,” I say quietly. This response causes the smile on Draco’s face to grow wider.
"I love you,” he says sweetly.
My heart melts and I come dangerously close to tears again before whispering “I love you, too.” Immediately Draco and I start kissing again, full force.
After we've kissed for a small lifetime, Draco pulls away from me before wrapping his arms around my waist and lifting me into the air, spinning me around in a circle. I laugh in delight at first, but that is soon replaced by a feeling of queasiness in my stomach. "Draco," I begin quietly; Draco doesn't appear to hear me and keeps spinning. "Draco!" I exclaim more loudly this time, "I'm going to be sick!" He stops spinning immediately and sets me back on my feet gently. His face suddenly pale and his eyes wide with concern, he looks into my eyes deeply and places his palm gently against my left cheek.
"Are you all right, love?" he asks quietly.
I nod my head in agreement and close my eyes in an effort to subdue the queasiness in my stomach and the spinning in my head. Draco, however, is unknowingly making this task much harder; his hand against my face combined with the fact that he just called me 'love' only serve to release a dozen more butterflies into my already fluttering stomach. After a moment of trying to compose myself, I open my eyes and meet Draco's curious gaze.
"Here," he says immediately. "Sit down." He carefully guides me over to a nearby chair and eases me off my feet and into a seated position. Then he squats in front of me and takes my left hand into his own, placing both of them atop my left thigh. "Better?" he asks a moment later.
"Mhmm," I reply barely louder than a whisper.
"Good," he says with a relieved tone. "I'm sorry about that... I didn't realize it would make you ill."
"I didn't either," I reply truthfully.
"I guess it must be because of the... because of the little one," he says, turning his gaze downward towards my abdomen. Then, out of nowhere, he gives me a pleading look. "Can I... um...?" he stutters as he raises a hand apprehensively. It takes me a moment to realize that Draco's asking if he can touch my stomach, and I start to feel rather awkward once I do realize this. Nevertheless, I nod my head in silent agreement. As soon as I do so, Draco eases his shaky hand closer towards the area, and it finally comes to rest on its destination somewhat awkwardly. Draco looks at his hand on my stomach in wonder, as if bewitched by the sight. The image of my baby's father with his hand on my abdomen is a very endearing one, and both my heart and stomach give an involuntary twinge at exactly the same moment.
Simultaneously, a mood of surrealism strikes me with full force. I feel like I'm dreaming, like this beautiful moment can't possibly be real. I've been avoiding this situation, but also hoping for this outcome, for so long that my mind can't comprehend that it has finally taken place. I start to think about all the events leading up to this: our fights, my ignoring the fact that I was pregnant, and my insistence on giving the child up for adoption, and all of these things seem so small and insignificant now in light of what's just happened. I've never known a greater amount of happiness than this exact moment; I feel more alive all of a sudden.
As I continue to dwell in my thoughts of how quickly my perspective has changed, Draco seems to come out of the trance he's been in for the past few moments. Quickly removing his hand from my stomach and looking back up at me, he calls my attention back to him and the current situation.
"Right," he says, banishing my thoughts immediately with that one word. "I'm going to resign from the Quidditch team, and from my duties as prefect." It takes a moment for me to realize the full meaning of his words.
"What? Why?" I finally ask.
"Because I need to be there for you when you need me," he answers simply. "I've got to look after you and the baby, and I can't do that if I'm patrolling the corridors or playing Quidditch." Suddenly feeling like Helen when she caused Hector's death, I protest immediately.
"Draco, no!" I exclaim, causing him to give me a curious look. "You can't give up your titles," I continue. "It's an honor and a privilege to be chosen as Quidditch captain and prefect, and I won't have you giving up those things because of me. Besides, Ginny and Hermione can be with me when you can't; they won't let anything happen to me."
"Wait," Draco replies immediately. "Your friends know you're pregnant?" he asks, clearly horrified by the idea.
"No!" I reply, curious as to why it would upset him so much if I had told Hermione and Ginny about the baby. I mean, I know it would cause a scandal if word got out, but his reaction makes me feel as though he'd be ashamed for everyone to know he got me pregnant. Draco breathes a sigh of relief, but then realizes that I'm curious as to his meaning.
"I only asked that because I'm afraid they'd tell everyone," he explains, "and I don't want word of this reaching my parents before I get a chance to tell them."
Draco mentioning his parents gives me an apprehensive feeling; I remember how ashamed and afraid I was when my guardians realized I was pregnant... I can't imagine having to tell them. Furthermore, as bad as Mrs. McGreggor and Ms. Fitzpatrick reacted, they're just my guardians; Draco's biological parents are likely to react much worse.
I start to feel afraid for Draco... I can't imagine how hard it's going to be for him to gather the courage to tell his parents. After all, it was so hard for me to find the courage to tell Draco that I never managed to do so; it took him finding my pregnancy book for him to learn the truth. As I continue to dwell in my fear and uncertainty, Draco seems to pick up on it.
"Don't you worry about it at all," he says as he cleans close and presses his forehead against mine. "I can handle my parents."
I can't help but detect a hint of cockiness in his voice as he says this, and I wonder what he means when he says he'll 'handle' his parents. As I think this, however, he continues, answering my question before I've even asked it.
"My mother," he says, "will probably just cry for a while about how her only son is all grown up and about to be a father." He shakes his head and chuckles slightly as he says this. "But she'll be all right after a few days," he finishes.
"What about your father?" I ask quietly. I watch as a flicker of what looks like fear crosses Draco's handsome face very briefly, but he regains his composure quickly.
"My mother can calm him down," he replies apprehensively, as if he's hoping this is true. "I'll just make sure she's there when I tell him."
"And when will you tell him?" I ask.
Draco pauses for a moment, considering his options. "Next weekend," he says a moment later with resolve. "It's a Hogsmeade weekend; I'll write them tomorrow and ask them to meet me in Hogsmeade on Saturday." Stopping to think for a moment, Draco then reaffirms his decision. "Yeah, that'll work," he says quietly, more to himself than to me. "In fact," he continues, "it might be better that I tell him in public."
A look of horror immediately crosses my face as I catch on to Draco's meaning, but he quickly reassures me.
"He's just going to be upset about me resigning as prefect and Quidditch captain; that's all, love," he says with a small, forced smile on his face.
Having now had my attention drawn back to this previous matter, I once again insist to Draco that I'll feel horrible if he resigns.
"But then who will look after you?" he asks. "I won't be able to concentrate on my duties anyway if I'm worried about you, so I might as well quit."
"Hermione and Ginny can hang out with me... and I'm not a child anyway," I reply. "I don't need 'looking after'."
"You know what I mean," Draco replies. "Anyway, Granger and Weasley don't know you're pregnant, and they're certainly not going to come and find me if something goes wrong."
"Well, maybe I can tell them I'm pregnant and ask them to keep it a secret. And then they'll understand why they have to go find you," I reply.
"Darling, they're going to be upset enough when they find out we're dating," Draco responds. "Besides, I don't trust them."
My hopes suddenly fail as Draco says this; he's absolutely right. Hermione and Ginny are going to be mortified when they learn that Draco and I are dating. In fact, all my friends will be. I start to feel very apprehensive, because I know that I'm going to have to tell them all very soon. I begin to wonder what their reactions will be, and then my mind drifts to Harry, who's likely going to take the news the worst. Knowing this, I find myself unable to think on the matter any longer; I try my best to concentrate on the situation at hand instead.
"You're right," I finally admit quietly. "I can't tell my friends... but there's got to be another way."
I fall silent, contemplating a way for Draco to be able to keep his positions in the school. Draco, seeming to wonder the same things, falls silent as well.
"I think I've got it!" he exclaims a moment later. "Crabbe and Goyle!"
"Um... if I can't tell my friends, you certainly aren't telling yours," I reply.
"But they can be trusted!" Draco replies defensively. "They'll do whatever I say! I can make them swear an Unbreakable Vow to look after you and to keep our secret until we want it known."
"An Unbreakable Vow?" I ask incredulously.
"That's just for caution," he explains. "I probably won't even need it." Seeing my apprehensive look, he continues. "Come on, love," he says. "You've seen the way they follow me around and imitate my every move. All I have to do is order it, and it's done. I guarantee they're still standing in the hallway now, waiting for me to come out."
I chuckle in response to this, partially because I know Draco's right.
"See, you know I'm right!" he says with a playful chuckle.
"Well yes, I suppose so," I reply hesitantly.
"Good," Draco answers. "I'll go out into the hallway and get them."
Then, before I can protest, Draco gets to his feet and walks away, winding his way through the Room of Requirement. I watch from my chair as he pulls open the door and cautiously peeks outside, summoning his goons to him. Then he turns around and begins walking back towards me with a huge smile on his face. I can't help but to smile in return.
Crabbe and Goyle have barely entered the room when Draco reaches me, and he stands next to the chair I'm sitting in and wraps his arm around my shoulder while he waits for his friends to arrive. When they're standing in front of us, I can't help but notice that Crabbe and Goyle are grinning from ear to ear, and they keep casting glances towards each other, and then Draco and me.
"What's so funny?" I ask, slightly confused.
Neither boy responds, but each emits a quiet chuckle, which seems to anger Draco.
"Jayde asked you a question!" he snaps. "Answer her! What are the two of you laughing about?"
Suddenly growing very serious, Crabbe and Goyle now turn their gaze to the floor, ashamed. After a moment's silence, Goyle speaks up.
"We were just thinking," he begins, "that it was about time you two got it figured out."
A small smile plays on the edge of my lips at this, and I shake my head slightly. There's a momentary, expectant pause, and then Draco speaks.
"Well I'm glad you two like seeing Jayde and me together, because you're going to have to get used to it," he says with a smirk.
"And why's that?" Crabbe asks, looking up from the floor for the first time in moments.
"Because," Draco says matter-of-factly, "we're getting married. And Jayde's pregnant."
At this, Crabbe and Goyle don't utter a word. No words are necessary, however; their gaping mouths and stunned expressions tell me everything I need to know.
It takes quite a while for Draco and me to get Crabbe and Goyle to calm down after hearing our news, and then a while longer to explain everything to them. Once they've finally been subdued, Draco tells them how we'll need their help in the coming months to keep the entire school from finding out about the pregnancy and engagement, and describes their roles in maintaining said secrecy. Finally, and much to my dismay, Draco makes his friends swear an Unbreakable Vow to protect me and not to tell anyone what they know.
After all this has been accomplished, Draco and I decide to go down to the Great Hall for lunch before we miss it, having already missed breakfast due to being in the Room of Requirement since very early this morning. Knowing, however, that us being seen together right now would definitely cause some sort of mischief since I haven't had a chance to tell my friends about mine and Draco's relationship yet, I insist that we go to lunch separately.
I can tell that Draco doesn't like the idea, and I get the feeling that he's afraid that once I'm away from him, I'll change my mind about being with him as I've done in the past. I know, however, that this time is different; I can feel that things have finally changed, both between us and within myself. I give Draco a kiss and assure him that I'm not running away this time, and I insist to him I'd prefer to go to lunch with him as well. I tell him that although I'm ready for the entire world to know that we're together, I'm going to have to break the news to my friends delicately, and for the time being, us not being seen together is for the best. Seeming somewhat reassured and convinced, he reluctantly agrees.
We decide to leave the Room of Requirement separately, so as not to raise questions among our peers just yet and give me a chance to tell my friends before they find out the hard way. Draco gives me a quick kiss on the cheek and allows me to leave first, while he, Crabbe and Goyle remain the Room of Requirement to allow me enough time to reach the Great Hall.
As I step through the enormous double doors that lead back into the corridor, I feel an enormous smile spread across my face, though I'm unsure why. Feeling as though I'm walking on clouds, I begin the descent from the seventh floor still wearing that same smile. I'm full to bursting with excitement, and as I reach the second floor I realize that this excitement was caused by Draco.
Knowing that my friends will immediately be suspicious if they see me grinning like the Cheshire Cat, I decide to make a pit stop in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom to release some of my pent-up excitement before I start boiling over. I make my way down the second floor corridor, and when I enter the girls' bathroom I peek underneath each stall door to be sure I'm alone. I'm happy to find that not even Moaning Myrtle is in the bathroom at the moment, and feel that I have enough privacy to let out my excitement in whatever way I wish.
I immediately let out a squeal of delight before bringing my hands to my face and covering my mouth, surprised at just how loud my squeal was. Still smiling so much that it's making my face hurt, I stand in the same spot for a moment, just considering the events of the past few hours. A thousand thrilling thoughts rush through my head in a pattern-less blur as a heavy snow begins to fall inside the bathroom, and I fear my brain may soon explode from all the activity.
I'm dating Draco Malfoy , I think to myself. Then, still finding that statement to be unbelievably good, I repeat the phrase out loud with much more enthusiasm.
"I'M DATING DRACO MALFOY!" I half-state, half-scream.
I gasp and cover my mouth with my hands at the sound of my scream reverberating off the blue bathroom walls, laughing at myself for being so childishly excited. Other thoughts continue to swarm around my brain, one occasionally standing out a little more than the others, such as the thought that we've decided to keep the baby, and the thoughts that we're going to get married and be a family.
Unfortunately, bad thoughts make their way into my mind along with the good ones. When I realize this is happening, however, I refuse to let those worries overtake me and push those thoughts as far from my consciousness as possible, replacing them with more excited ramblings. Then, remembering that I need to be in the Great Hall before Draco and his friends enter, I take a few deep breaths in, stop the snow that's been falling in the bathroom for the past few moments, and make a serious effort at straightening my face into a look of relaxed concentration. Then, before I get too excited again, I leave the bathroom and walk the rest of the way down to the Great Hall.
As I walk into the crowded and chatter-filled room, I notice that my friends are already seated and talking, having apparently finished their meals. I walk up and take my usual seat, pretending not to notice when all conversation between them stops as I approach.
"Hi everyone!" I say cheerfully.
The curious looks I receive from Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny let me know that their conversation was about me, and that they're all wondering where I've been all morning. Thankfully however, none of my friends express this question verbally, and I begin filling my plate eagerly, suddenly ravenous.
As I'm eating, I feel a pair of eyes on my back, alerting me to the fact that Draco, Crabbe and Goyle have just entered the Great Hall. It takes every ounce of restraint I have not to squeal again, and I concentrate on finishing my food as a way of distracting myself. When I've finished eating I place my fork on my plate delicately and dab at my mouth with my napkin. I can't help but feel the four pairs of prying eyes on me as I do so, and it makes me terribly nervous. I immediately feel the need to get away from my friends before they start barraging me with questions, and I decide that I'll go have a seat near the Black Lake and try to clear my head.
I look up at Hermione as I quietly say, "I'm going to go practice my powers," because I realize that if anyone will understand my rushing away from lunch to do homework, it's her. She gives me a quick nod in response, and I turn and get to my feet quickly. Before I can escape, however, Harry stops me.
"Would you like for me to come with you?" he asks hopefully. I have to restrain myself to keep from cringing in response, and immediately begin concocting an excuse. Thankfully, Hermione steps in and saves the day.
"Harry, Jayde needs peace and quiet while she's practicing," she says in a matter-of-fact tone. Though seeming somewhat rejected at Hermione's answer, Harry looks up at me for a final confirmation.
"I'm afraid she's right, Harry," I reply to the question his eyes are asking me. "I'm sorry." I flash him a reassuring smile in the hopes of cheering him up, and by the smile that Harry returns to me, I can tell it's worked. Thankful to have averted that crisis, I start walking hurriedly away to avoid any further questions.
Though there's no more urgency once I've escaped the Great Hall, I keep walking at a fast pace and don't slow down until I've reached the Black Lake. I sit down carefully, cross my legs, and decide that I actually will practice for my next lesson with Professor Snape. As I begin to practice, however, I start to shiver and realize how very cold it is outside; I didn't think to bring my cloak with me. Just as I press my hands down onto the cold ground and make to push myself up to go inside and grab my cloak, someone slides their hands in front of my eyes.
I smile when I realize that the pair of hands before my eyes is masculine, for I know there's only one boy in the whole school that this could possibly be. "Hello, Draco," I say before placing my hands atop his and removing them from my eyes. I look up to the right to find Draco smiling down at me with his two cronies right behind him, and he leans down and kisses my cheek softly.
"Hello beautiful," he says sweetly, his soft grey eyes shining down at me.
"How did you know where I was?" I ask, furrowing my eyebrows in curiosity.
"I didn't," he replies. "I was on my way up to the Owlery to write to my parents and saw you sitting there. By the way, you left this in the Room of Requirement earlier."
At this, Draco reaches down into his cloak and pulls out my disguised pregnancy book, which I take from him graciously.
"So what're you doing?" he asks.
Having completely forgotten about being cold in his proximity, I explain to Draco that I'm practicing my weather-control abilities, and he immediately asks, "Can I watch?"
Thrilled that he wants to spend so much time with me now, I quickly say "Yes, but you have to promise not to distract me."
Draco doesn't respond to this question, and I assume that he's silently agreeing with my terms. He walks off to the right a short distance and takes a seat, followed closely by Crabbe and Goyle.
Though having an audience – especially having Draco as my audience – makes me a bit nervous, I try to focus on my homework assignment from Professor Snape, and attempt to form a ball of fire in my hands by using the sun's rays. Draco, however, is making this feat impossible. He's leaned back and propped himself up on his hands, and is staring at me. Feeling his eyes upon me causes my heart to flutter with nervousness and excitement, and instead of a ball of fire forming in the palm of my hand, a ball of snow develops. This causes me to giggle and blush, which distracts me even further and causes light flurries of snow to fall from the sky.
"Your staring is distracting me!" I exclaim a moment later in a half-joking and half-serious manner.
"I'm sorry, love," he apologizes, but then he also chuckles quietly, trying to mask the fact that he finds this funny. I try to concentrate on the task a few more times, but each try produces the same result due to Draco's staring, though I've indicated to him several times now how hard he's making this for me. Finally, after the fourth time I've made a ball of snow instead of a ball of fire, I decide to teach Draco a lesson. I cast him a playful look and then, without warning, get to my feet and throw the snowball I've formed at him, hitting him square in the face. I burst into a raucous fit of laughter at his stunned expression, but I can't help but notice that Crabbe and Goyle look a bit frightened.
I start to wonder if perhaps my little prank has upset Draco, but then he quickly jumps to his feet with a devilish grin on his face. Somehow automatically knowing what's coming, I turn and start running away from Draco as fast as I can, laughing the whole time; I'm unsure of how he's planning on getting me back for the snowball-to-the-face trick. As he's taller and isn't carrying around any extra baby-weight, however, Draco's faster than me and catches up quickly. He wraps his left arm around my waist and sweeps me off my feet with his right arm in one swift, smooth motion.
Still laughing, I tell him, "Put me down!"
"Nope," he says with a mock tone of anger. "You threw a snowball at me, so now I'm afraid I've got to throw you in the Black Lake with the Giant Squid, dear. It's simple cause and effect." Knowing that Draco's not serious, I start laughing even harder. Apparently, however, Draco's not done scaring me yet. He carries me over to the edge of the lake and leans forward. Then he jerks his arms upward quickly, but doesn't release me. Terrified of being tossed into the freezing waters, I wrap my arms around his neck tightly and close my eyes in fear.
"No Draco, don't!" I yell in horror, causing him to laugh heartily.
"That horrified face you just made was adorable," he says with a grin. When I don't respond, his expression becomes a more serious one. "You really thought I was going to throw you in?" he asks with his eyebrows raised. When I nod my head, he gives me a reassuring smile in response. "You know I won't throw you in, love," he says. "You're carrying my child."
I make a face of mock surprise and gasp in response. "Oh? Is that the only reason?" I ask, which causes him to burst out laughing once more.
"No," he says seriously, with a smile still playing on the edges of his handsome face. "I'm not going to do anything that might cause you to break up with me," he says, "but I am going to need a kiss before I let you down."
With that, I immediately lean in and press my lips against his, and though I'd originally only intended for this kiss to be a quick peck, it turns into a mini snog-fest. When the two of us finally finish kissing a moment later, Draco eases me out of his arms and back onto my own two feet, but as he does so his eyebrows furrow.
"You've got goosebumps," he says while rubbing my left arm. "Are you cold?"
Oh yeah, I'm cold, I remind myself, having completely forgotten about it once again. I look up at him and nod my head in response, and the next thing I know, Draco's unfastened his cloak, removed it, and wrapped it around my shoulders.
"Better?" he asks a moment later.
Smiling and amazed at his chivalry, I nod my head in response and say "Thank you" quietly.
"You're welcome, love," he says with a grin, "but maybe you should get inside now... I don't want you to get sick."
Realizing he's right, I nod my head once more and quietly say, "Okay." When I start removing his cloak to hand it back to him, however, he tells me to keep it on for now, that he'll get it back from me later. Then Draco kisses my forehead and sends me on my way back to the castle as he and his friends continue the rest of the journey up to the Owlery.
Once inside, I start making my way up to the Gryffindor tower, unable to think of anything else to do at the moment. Instead of sitting in the common room when I arrive, however, I walk up to my dormitory and flop down on my red-clad four-poster, re-thinking the day's events once more. As I'm laying there, my stomach starts to feel fluttery. I place my hand upon it, wondering if the baby's just as excited as I am.
Then suddenly, I hear the sound of footsteps approaching and move my hand away as quickly as possible. Seconds later, Hermione walks through our dormitory door, followed closely by Ginny. I start to feel wary as soon as I see them, but smile up at them nonetheless.
"Jayde, Ginny and I were wondering if we could talk to you," Hermione says plainly.
Oh no, I think, here come the questions .
"Sure," I reply before swinging my legs off to the right side of my bed and sitting up. As soon as I'm in a seated position, Ginny walks over and takes a seat at my right side, and Hermione does the same on my left. Since Hermione's the one who spoke to me a moment ago, I turn my head to the left to look at her, preparing for the start of what I'm sure will be a long and stressful conversation. Hermione opens her mouth to speak to me, but then she looks off slightly to my left, seeming thoroughly confused. My eyebrows furrow and I immediately wonder what's caught her attention that's so confusing, but I don't have to wonder for long.
"Jayde," she begins with a hint of surprise in her tone, "why are you wearing a Slytherin's cloak?"
A tidal wave of panic immediately washes over me, and I'm certain that same panic is evident on my face. I had completely forgotten I was wearing Draco's cloak, but of course someone as observant as Hermione would notice it.
"O- Oh," I stutter, unable to mask my surprise. "I, um... I went outside to practice earlier, but forgot my cloak. A boy in Slytherin noticed I was cold and let me borrow his." I mentally cringe at this answer, hoping it won't raise more questions. But of course, it does.
"What Slytherin boy?" Ginny asks incredulously, drawing my attention to her.
"Um... Malfoy," I reply matter-of-factly, as though there's nothing unusual about my response.
"Malfoy?" Hermione asks suspiciously. "Why in Merlin's name would Malfoy lend you his cloak?"
"Because I was cold," I reply, again trying to act as though there's nothing unusual going on.
"And why would it matter to Malfoy whether or not you're cold?" Ginny asks pointedly.
I find myself unable to look at either girl as I consider my answer to this question, and quickly decide that telling the truth is the best approach to take; I know my friends would be very upset if I lied to their faces. That thought, however, doesn't make it any easier to find the courage to do what I have to do.
"Because we're sort of... um... dating," I reply, barely louder than a whisper, staring at the floor the whole while. From Ginny's reaction, you'd think I had just told her I’d killed someone.
"What the hell do you mean, you're dating Malfoy?" she yells as she jumps off the bed, making me cringe. "He's supposed to be dating Parkinson!"
"They, um... they broke up," I quietly answer, deciding that stretching the truth is the only way I can make the girls understand the situation.
"So?" Ginny yells again, "What's that supposed to mean? They broke up, so now you're required to date him or something?"
"N- No," I answer, finally daring to look up at her. As I do so, I can't help but think that Ron's right when he says nobody wants to see Ginny when she's upset. "I... I ran into him this morning, and he asked me... and I said yes." At this point, I turn to look at Hermione, who has remained silent this whole time; I want to gauge her reaction to the news. I find her staring at me with her jaw dropped, clearly too shocked to speak.
"Why on Earth would you agree to date Malfoy?" Ginny roars, causing me to look up at her once more. "You hate him! He's a complete arse to you and all your friends, Hermione and myself included!"
At this point, Hermione finds her voice and uses it to attempt to calm Ginny down. "Look, Gin," she says, "all this yelling is getting us nowhere. Why don't you just calm down, have a seat, and let Jayde explain."
"Fine," Ginny snaps, taking a seat beside me once more and crossing her arms in disgust. "I can't wait to hear this."
Ashamed and feeling my face get hot, I look down at the floor and find myself unable to speak, though I know my friends are waiting.
"Go on, Jayde," Hermione says a moment later. "Tell us what happened."
Positive that nothing I say will make one bit of difference, I slowly begin to wonder exactly which parts of Draco’s and my strange story I should tell my friends. Deciding to go with the simplest answer, I simply tell them that I've liked Draco since the first time I saw him, and that this morning he confessed to liking me as well. I tell them that Draco was very sweet this morning, and that he told me he'd love to have a chance with me. I leave out, of course, the fact that we've already slept together, the fact that I'm having his child, and the fact that we're sort of engaged.
As I knew it would, my answer leaves my friends' curiosities unsatisfied, but fortunately for me they're both so dumbfounded that they no longer want to discuss the issue.
"What about Harry?" Hermione asks when I've finished speaking. "I thought you liked him."
"I do – as a friend," I reply.
"You know damned well that's not what she means," Ginny interrupts, suddenly furious again. "You know Harry wants to go out with you... he'll be crushed when he finds out you're dating the foul git, and Hermione and I shouldn't have to be the ones to deal with the mess you've created. You're going to have to tell him yourself."
Feeling more and more horrible by the second, I nod my head in response. "I'll tell him tonight," I reply with a gulp. "Just after dinner."
When Hermione, Ginny, and I have finished our very stressful conversation, my friends, who I can tell are very upset with me, exit the dormitory and leave me to myself. In an effort to avoid more uncomfortable situations like the previous one, I decide to remain in my dorm room until time for dinner.
Though I start out spending my self-induced seclusion doing homework, I open my eyes groggily some time later to find myself laid out flat atop my school books, and realize that I’d fallen asleep. The semi-darkness of the room tells me that I’ve slept for quite a while, and I immediately jump out of bed and rush from the room to make sure I don’t miss dinner... if I haven’t already. I slow my pace as I begin descending the many flights of stairs, becoming extremely nervous as I suddenly remember that, after dinner, I’ve got to break the news about Draco and me to Harry.
When I reach the Great Hall a few moments later and take my usual seat at the Gryffindor table, Hermione and Ginny glance up at me momentarily before looking away nervously and continuing their conversations. Harry, however, gives me a troubled look. “Are you feeling okay, Jayde?” he asks.
“Y – yes, I’m fine,” I lie with a puzzled look, wondering what Harry’s seen in my appearance that’s caused him to realize something’s amiss.
As I start eating, I feel the eyes of Ginny and Hermione practically burning a hole through my skin, and I’m certain that they’re wondering if I’m going to keep my promise to tell Harry what’s going on when I’ve finished eating. Though I was actually very hungry before I came downstairs, my nerves now make it nearly impossible to eat. After several moments of pushing food around on my plate aimlessly, I decide that trying to keep eating right now is futile; I might as well go ahead and get this horrible situation over with.
Though I really wish one of my friends was going to be there to support me at this difficult time, I understand that they’re both very upset with me right now. Besides, it’s not their fault that Draco and I are dating, and therefore it’s not their responsibility to help me tell Harry. Feeling as one who’s about to lead themselves to their own demise, I look up at Harry cautiously to make sure he’s finished eating. When I notice his empty plate, I begin trying to find my voice.
It takes a few moments, but I finally ask Harry anxiously, “C – could I talk to you for a moment… out in the hallway?” Though he furrows his eyebrows in bewilderment, Harry quickly nods his head in response and gets to his feet. I can’t help but feel Ginny’s eyes on me as I get to my feet as well; she’s giving me the death-glare.
Feeling as though I might faint at any point, I walk out of the Great Hall quickly, with Harry following closely behind me. When we get to the entrance hall, I turn and walk up the small flight of stairs before stopping; Harry walks around the corner, stands in front of me, and asks what’s going on. I’m not sure how to even begin to tell Harry what I’ve got to say, and I find myself speaking without forethought.
“I have to tell you something, Harry,” I say quietly.
“Okay,” he says, looking a little apprehensive.
“Hermione says she thinks you want to date me,” I say inquisitively.
His cheeks turn red, but he answers me regardless. “Well, yeah,” he says quietly, “I thought you knew that, though. I mean, that is why I asked you to the party, after all.”
“Right,” I say, looking down at the floor. “Well, you shouldn’t.”
“Why not?” he asks, his eyebrows raised.
“Look, I like you, Harry, I really do, as a friend… but I’m no good for you,” I say quickly. “I’m… tainted, and you deserve someone who can be everything you want, and I just can’t do that.” He looks confused, and stares at me with a blank expression on his face.
“What are you on about?” he asks. “What do you mean, ‘you’re tainted’?”
“Harry, look,” I say, finally getting down to the point, “I don’t want to hurt you, but there could never be anything between us.”
At this, something in Harry’s face changes; he looks angry. I wasn’t expecting that, but I understand it. Then something else happens that I didn’t expect. “What do you want, Malfoy?” Harry asks angrily.
“Just to say hello to my girlfriend,” Draco’s smooth voice says behind me, causing me to turn and look at him. “Hello, love,” he says, and he steps up beside me and wraps his left arm around my waist before kissing me on the cheek.
I turn back around to face Harry, hoping to explain, but he’s no longer angry; he’s furious. His face turns red and his eyes narrow – not at me, but at Draco. Then he turns his angry glare to me. I soften my eyes and my facial expression, trying to show him that I’m really sorry about all this. Finally, he speaks.
“Jayde,” he begins angrily, “would you mind telling me what the hell is going on here? One minute you’re at the party with me, the next minute you’re gone, and then all of a sudden you tell me we can’t be together and you’re letting Draco Malfoy kiss your cheek. Not to be rude or anything, but doesn’t that seem a bit slaggish to you?”
Though I’m hurt by his words, I don’t answer, but I don’t have to. Draco releases my waist and steps in front of me, getting so close to Harry’s face that their noses are nearly touching. “How DARE you talk to her that way?” he asks angrily.
Before I know what’s happened, Harry and Draco are both pulling their wands. “NO!” I scream, grabbing Draco’s wand arm and trying to pull him away from Harry. His arm is too strong, however, so I step to his right side and try pushing him away, instead. “No!” I say to Draco loudly. “You promised, remember?”
“I promised I’d try to avoid fighting with your friends,” he says, his eyes still focused on Harry. “But you can’t expect me to do nothing while he talks to you that way!”
“It doesn’t matter!” I say. “He’s just upset! He didn’t mean it!”
“Like hell I didn’t,” Harry snaps. Having heard enough, Draco casts a spell at Harry, but Harry quickly ducks, and it misses him. Then he shoots a spell back at Draco, which hits him square in the chest and sends him flying backwards and down the stairs. I quickly run down to him and kneel beside him, afraid that he’s badly hurt. As I lean over him and caress his face with my hand, asking if he’s all right, I hear Harry directly behind me. “Move, Jayde,” he says.
I turn around and look up at him pleadingly. “No, Harry,” I reply, “Please don’t. I’m sorry, all right? This is my fault; don’t take it out on him.”
“I said move!” Harry yells. “I don’t want to jinx you, but I swear I will if you don’t move.”
I start to panic, afraid of what horrible spell Harry has in mind for my boyfriend. “No, Harry, please!” I plead.
“Have it your way, then,” he says angrily, and I close my eyes and brace myself for whatever jinx might be coming. The spell never comes, though, and I open my eyes to see Harry’s lowered his wand.
“Thank you, Harry,” I begin with a sigh of relief. I don’t get to finish what I’m saying, however, because Draco sits up, nudges me out of the way, and fires another spell at Harry.
“Move, Jayde!” he yells as he gets to his feet. Terrified, I back away from the dueling duo, unsure of what I should do, since entering the fight myself is out of the question – doing so could harm the baby.
“Stop It! Stop!” I yell over and over, to no avail. Knowing that there’s nothing I can do to stop my boyfriend and friend from trying to kill each other, I feel absolutely horrible… I know that this fight is all my fault . I’m unable to prevent sad tears from escaping my eyes, and the pair continues yelling insults and rhetorical questions at each other as they fight with renewed fervor.
“You couldn’t just leave well enough alone and let me have her, could you Malfoy? You just had to interfere, didn’t you?” Harry bellows before flicking his wand angrily in Draco’s direction.
“She’s not an object , Potter!" Draco snaps. “I didn’t take her from you – she never even liked you! How can I take something that never belonged to you?”
“She would have liked me if you’d stayed out of it!” Harry retorts, firing off another spell. “You just couldn’t stand to see me have something you wanted!”
“Contrary to what you think and how the rest of the wizard world acts, Potter, my life doesn’t revolve around you!” Draco counters, blocking Harry’s spell. “Our relationship is about Jayde and me… not the famous Harry Potter!”
“Relationship?! What relationship?!” Harry asks incredulously. “The two of you barely know each other! You’ve never even had a conversation!”
“Oh we’ve had a lot more than one conversation, Potter, trust me,” Draco quips with a smirk on his face. “Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
At this, Harry’s eyes break away from Draco and focus on me for the first time in moments. The look he gives me clearly questions whether or not what Draco’s said is true. Just seconds later, however, Draco fires another spell at Harry, distracting him again.
Feeling as though I’m watching a pair of three-year-olds compare their toys, I slowly start to realize that this fight has nothing to do with me … it’s all about the age-old rivalry between Harry and Draco that Hermione told me about. However, I have given the boys something else to fight about, which certainly hasn’t helped matters. Tears begin to flow more steadily and heavily as I start to feel like an infection that attacks an open wound on the body, making things even worse than they were.
Maybe I should just stay away from both of them, I think to myself. The way my heart starts aching at the thought of avoiding Draco again, however, tells me that’s no longer an option. After a few minutes of crying while continuing to watch the fight, I start to feel out of it, just like I did that day at Dunamase last year.
My vision starts to dim, and I realize that I’m losing control of my powers, but I’m unable to fight it. With the last bit of strength I have left, I call out to Draco as loudly as I can, but he doesn’t appear to have heard me. Finally, the last bit of light fades from my eyes, shrouding me in darkness.
I gasp, and slowly the light starts coming back into my eyes. As the scene before me finally starts coming into focus, I can see that Draco is standing right in front of me and Harry is a few steps behind him. Both of them look very concerned.
“Jayde,” Draco says, his hand gripped around my left arm, “are you all right?” I nod my head, and when my eyes have fully finished focusing, I notice just how strange the scene in front of me is.
Harry, Draco, and I are all drenched, as are the walls and floor in the hallway. Several people who weren’t in the hall previously are now staring at the three of us in bewilderment. Harry’s nose is bleeding, as is Draco’s bottom lip. Both their wands are lying on the floor at the bottom of the stairs; it looks like they abandoned them and resorted to fist fighting, instead.
“What happened?” I ask quietly.
“Your eyes turned white,” Draco answers. “It was raining in the hallway.”
“I’d gathered that much,” I reply. “What happened to you two?”
“We were arguing,” he replies. “But not anymore. It’s over now.”
“Just arguing?” I ask, raising my eyebrows. Further back, Harry nods his head, and Draco quickly does the same. “Oh, so that explains why you’re both bleeding,” I say matter-of-factly. Both boys quickly press their hands to their faces and pull them away before staring down at their blood-covered fingers. Realizing they’ve been caught, they look at each other before looking back at me.
“I’m sorry,” Draco says quickly, “I just didn’t like what he said to you.”
“But you promised you wouldn’t fight him,” I reply sadly.
“Jayde, it’s my fault,” Harry says. “He was just defending you. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have called you a slag; I was just angry. If you were my girlfriend and someone else called you that, I’d have done the same thing.”
As Harry says this, Draco’s eyes begin to bulge and his eyebrows furrow. He turns his eyes away from me and the look he gives Harry tells me he’s clearly amazed by what he’s just said. I can’t help but wonder if Harry’s rapid change in attitude has anything to do with my recent loss of control of my powers. As Draco continues to stare at Harry in wonder, the latter starts walking over to the flight of stairs on my right.
“Harry, please wait,” I call out to him. Harry stops walking, but doesn’t turn around to face me.
“What is it?” he says solemnly.
“I – I may be dating Draco, but I still want to be your friend,” I reply.
“Jayde, I care about you,” Harry says quietly. “I’m not going to stop being your friend just because you’re dating him ... but don’t expect me to be his friend.”
“I don’t expect that at all… but could the two of you at least try not to fight?” I ask in response.
“Yes,” Draco says immediately. Harry, however, seems a bit less certain.
“We can try,” he says, “but I can’t promise you that we’ll never fight. That’d be like asking a dog not to chase a ferret .” For some reason, this statement causes Draco’s eyes to glaze over with malice. Before I can wonder about the reason for Draco’s reaction to this statement, however, Harry continues speaking. “Just don’t be surprised when this fling between the two of you ends badly,” he says, finally turning to look at me for the first time in several moments. “I’m warning you now, Jayde… you’re going to regret this decision.”
“Is that a threat, Potter?” Draco asks menacingly.
“No, Malfoy,” Harry replies, still in that same monotone voice. “It’s a promise. I know you, and one day soon Jayde’s going to see you for who you really are. And when she does, I’ll be there for her… but I won’t just stand by and watch you break her heart.”
“You won’t have to,” Draco replies angrily, to which Harry rolls his eyes in response. Then, without another word, he turns around once more and makes his way upstairs, clearly still very upset.
Well... that went horribly, I think to myself.
After Harry’s dramatic and abrupt departure, Draco walks down to the bottom of the stairs to pick his abandoned wand up off the floor, ignoring the wide-eyed stares of the fight’s observers. As he leans down to do so, I notice that Harry’s wand is still lying on the floor a short distance away. For some reason, seeing Harry’s wand lying there on the floor makes me feel horrible; I realize that Harry’s leaving his wand is a sure sign that he was quite upset when he left a few moments ago.
Walking down the stairs behind Draco, I stoop down and pick up Harry’s wand, pocketing it and telling myself that I’ll give it back to him when I reach the common room later. Draco eyes me curiously at first as I recover Harry’s wand, but a moment later he walks over to me with a tender look in his eyes. “Here, love, let me dry you off,” he says, lifting his wand. I nod my head in response, and he immediately uses a drying charm to dry my clothes from the indoor rainstorm I caused. When that’s finished, he pockets his wand and looks into my eyes with concern as the spectators, who have assumed at this point that the fight is over, continue up the stairs accompanied by the grumble of footsteps and excited chatter.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” Draco asks, ignoring the passersby. I start to answer, but he feels the need to explain himself. “I mean, really,” he says with intensity, casting a quick glance down at my mid-section before returning his gaze to my eyes, “are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine,” I reply with a nod of my head.
“Okay, good,” he says, placing his left hand against my cheek gently.
Feeling slightly confused at how quickly Draco has made the switch from angry warrior to loving, caring boyfriend, I stare up at his face in puzzlement. That puzzlement is quickly replaced by a pang of guilt, however, as I once again notice the cut on his lower lip. “We should get something to clean your lip with,” I say quietly. “Maybe Professor Snape has a potion or something…” I continue, but I’m unable to finish my sentence, and my voice fades to nothing as Draco interrupts.
“I’m fine,” he says meaningfully, wiping the blood from his lip with the back of his hand.
“I’m sure you are,” I reply, standing my ground, “but I still think you should go see Professor Snape.”
“How about a compromise?” he asks. “Let me walk you up to Gryffindor Tower; it’s getting late, and you need your rest. After that, I’ll go straight to Professor Snape’s office. Deal?”
I raise my right eyebrow and eye Draco with suspicion, wondering if he’ll really keep his end of the bargain. After a few seconds I decide to go along with it and nod my head in response. “Deal,” I say quietly.
With this, he reaches forward and takes my right hand into his own, setting a flock of butterflies loose in my stomach as we turn and begin the long ascent to Gryffindor Tower. Several students who are on their way back from dinner are walking behind us; I can hear them whispering about us, but I try my best to ignore them. Draco and I walk in silence for a few moments and I feel my cheeks flushing with excitement and nervousness, which I try to conceal by not looking at him. Seeming to mistake my nervousness for something else, Draco questions me once we’ve reached the third floor.
“Are you angry with me?” he asks, causing me to whip my head to the right quickly and gaze into his eyes with a questioning look. “For fighting with Potter, I mean,” he explains a moment later when I still haven’t answered him.
Instead of answering, I look forward in silent contemplation as we continue to climb the stairs, feeling as though my attention has just been called to something that should’ve already been settled. Am I mad at him? I ask myself, feeling his eyes on the right side of my face.
No, not really… not nearly as mad as you should be, or as mad as you’d have been if that fight had happened yesterday, my inner voice replies.
These thoughts cause my eyebrows to furrow in confusion, and I wonder what could have changed so much in the past twenty-four hours, besides the fact that Draco and I are now a couple. Then I realize why I’m not mad at Draco, despite his recent behavior: It’s because I wasted so much time being mad at him before we were dating. We’ve already had so many ups and downs in our short relationship, and I’ve spent so much time being mad at him... now that we’re finally together, I don’t want to fuss and fight anymore; I just want to be with him and be happy. I realize, though, that I need to say something to Draco that will let him know I don’t approve of him fighting with Harry. Taking another moment to gather my thoughts, I finally respond.
“Well, I’m certainly not happy about you and Harry fighting… but I’m not angry with you either,” I state calmly, looking over at him to judge his reaction to my statement. Seeming much more at ease and breathing a sigh of relief, Draco nods his head in response.
“Right… I understand, and I’m sorry,” he says pointedly. “I promise… I’ll try not to fight with Potter anymore… but for your sake only. If he insults you like that again, though, I’ll have no choice.”
Though I’m not exactly pleased with this statement, it does make me feel somewhat better, and I muster the biggest smile I can manage under the current circumstances. A few moments of expectant silence pass between us after this, but Draco finally speaks again as we near the fifth floor, asking me questions about myself, such as my middle name and favorite color, and about my life before Hogwarts.
I’m surprised by the rapid and random subject change, but I answer his questions and ask for his answers to the same ones. Somehow, this question-and-answer session lasts all the way up to the seventh floor, and I’m actually quite a bit sad when it’s over. “Wait here,” I say when we reach the Fat Lady’s portrait. “I’ll go get your cloak.”
“No," he says. “You keep it for now.”
“Are - are you sure?” I ask, feeling a bit puzzled.
“Yes, you hold on to it for me until I need it again, okay?” he asks in response.
“Okay,” I reply, shrugging off my puzzlement.
After this, we stand there by the portrait silently and awkwardly for a moment as my fellow Gryffindors file into the common room, neither of us wanting to or knowing how to part for the night. Finally, Draco calls my name, causing me to stop examining the cracks in the floor and look up at him in curiosity. As soon as I do, he leans forward and places his right pointer finger under my chin, leaning forward and pulling me in for a tender good-night kiss. I close my eyes and lean forward into the kiss, but our lips meet only a few times before I feel the murderous, staring eyes of my fellow Gryffindors upon us and pull away, my cheeks red with embarrassment.
Sensing my uneasiness, Draco doesn't press the matter or try to kiss me again. Instead, he flashes a handsome smile at me and says "Good night, love," quietly.
"Good night," I reply, returning his smile and feeling as though my heart is currently running a marathon in my chest.
"I'll see you in the morning," Draco replies sweetly, and with that he releases my hand and turns to begin his descent to the dungeons, grinning from ear to ear the whole while. I stand rooted to my spot and watch him descend the stairs until he's no longer in sight before turning, giving the Fat Lady the password, and entering the common room.
Once inside, I ignore the accusatory looks I receive from several fourth years who are seated near the fireplace and head straight up the stairs and into my dorm room, thinking I'll work on homework for a while and then have some time to reflect on the day's many activities before turning in for the night. When I reach my room, however, I find Hermione and Ginny sitting on my bed, evidently waiting for me. Though I feel a sense of foreboding at the sight, I try my best to mask my uneasiness and disappointment at having my planned seclusion interrupted.
"We heard about the fight," Ginny explains as I take a seat between her and Hermione. "Are you okay?" I am not at all surprised that Hermione and Ginny have already learned about the fight, knowing how fast information spreads through Hogwarts. I am, however, surprised to find that my friends were waiting to ask if I'm okay rather than blame me for the fight, and I nod my head and smile weakly in response.
"We feel horrible, Jayde," Hermione says sympathetically from my left side. "We should have gone with you... we knew Harry wouldn't take the news very well."
"No, no, you've got nothing to apologize for," I assure her as I turn to look at her sincerely. " I'm the one who's dating Draco... it wasn't your responsibility to tell Harry. It was mine."
"Still," Ginny interjects, "even though we don't have the slightest idea why you're dating Malfoy and we definitely don't approve, we should have at least been there for moral support... that's what friends are for."
Hearing Ginny's apology sounds strange to me; it's like I'm listening to a completely different person than the one I was talking to this afternoon. It seems that Hermione and Ginny's opinions have changed somewhat over the past few hours, and though I'm grateful, I'm completely taken off guard by it. I don't respond to Ginny's statement; instead, I stare across the room in silent contemplation, wondering what could have caused their sudden change in attitude. One part of me wonders if they were simply upset earlier and have had time to clear their heads, while a second part of me wonders if they've heard about my indoor rainstorm and feel sorry for me, and a third part of me wonders if they're just glad I kept my promise to tell Harry about Draco and me before he found out the hard way. Whatever the case, I'm glad that my friends aren't as angry at me anymore, but I still feel the need for some time alone to clear my head.
Suddenly remembering that I need to return Harry's wand to him, I decide to use that as an excuse to leave the room and buy myself some alone time. "That reminds me - I need to go give Harry his wand. He forgot it downstairs," I state in a matter-of-fact tone, trying to make the rapid subject change seem as inconspicuous as possible. I quickly get to my feet and reach into my pocket, recovering the wand and preparing to make a beeline for the dorm room door.
Before I can take two steps, however, Hermione jumps to her feet and races around me, standing in the doorway and blocking my path with a wild look in her eyes. "Wait, Jayde," she says frantically. "You can give Harry's wand to me; I'll take it to him." Startled and more than a bit confused, I furrow my eyebrows and look at Hermione in bewilderment.
"Well, that's nice of you," I reply a moment later, "but I can do it myself. Besides, I'd really like to talk to Harry... I don't want anything to be different or awkward between us now just because I'm dating Draco."
"I'm sorry, Jayde, but I really don't think that's a good idea right now," Hermione replies.
Then, as if speaking on cue, Ginny gets to her feet and comes to Hermione's aid. "She's right, Jayde," she says quietly. "Harry needs some time to calm down; it's probably best if you don't try to talk to him right now."
"What are you two on about?" I ask, staring from one girl to the next. "Harry told me that we could still be friends... why should I avoid talking to him?"
"He only said that because you were so upset!" Ginny retorts. "Your eyes had gone white - he was saying and doing anything he could to keep you from hurting yourself!"
My face falls at this statement because I know for a fact that Harry must have said something similar to it; nobody else but Draco was around when I first lost control of my powers, and Harry is therefore the only possible way Ginny could know about it. Sensing my sadness at this realization, Ginny lowers her voice and tries to comfort me.
"Look, Jayde, I know you care about Harry and you still want to be his friend, but you've got to realize... he likes you, and he's just found out you're dating his worst enemy. He's crushed; it's going to take him a while to get over this." Looking down at the floor and feeling like someone's just popped my happiness balloon with a pin, I remain silent but nod my head in response, before extending Harry's wand in my left hand, allowing Hermione to take it.
"You're right," I reply. "I should give him some time. Maybe we can talk tomorrow."
"You can try to talk to him tomorrow," Hermione says apologetically, "but don't be surprised if he doesn't answer." With that, she turns and walks from the room, and Ginny casts me a pitying glance before doing the same.
Now that I've finally got the peace and quiet I've so eagerly awaited, I don't really want it anymore. I walk over to my four-poster and flop down on my back, trying to make sense of all the day's activities and drama. This has certainly been a long day, and a very emotional one as well. I've gone from crying to laughing and back again several times throughout the day, and it's been such an emotional roller coaster ride that I'm not sure whether today counts as a good day or bad day. At this very moment it's certainly bad, I think to myself. Things are awkward now between my best friends and me, all because I've finally started dating my baby's father.
They just don't understand, a voice from somewhere deep inside tells me. If they only knew about the baby... if they only knew how truly happy Draco makes me and how we've wanted to be together for so long, they wouldn't be so upset.
This thought cheers me up a little, although I still feel ridiculous for having to defend my own decision to myself. I realize, though, that rationalizing like this is the only way I can make myself feel better about the day's many ups and downs... the only way I can convince myself that I haven't done anything wrong to deserve my friends' anger and disappointment.
Intertwining all ten of my fingers and laying them beneath my head, I stare up towards the ceiling without seeing anything, completely lost in silent contemplation. Somewhere between the happy, excited thoughts of Draco, our relationship, and the baby, and the sad, worried thoughts about Harry and the rest of my friends, I fall in to a deep, peaceful, and much-needed sleep.
Having completely forgotten to change into my pajamas, and thus having fallen asleep in my regular clothes, I wake up late on Monday morning and run around in a frazzled hurry, trying to get a bath and don my uniform while still having time to rush down to the Great Hall for a frantic breakfast. Still feeling as though I haven't gotten enough rest, and feeling the dull lower-back ache that has accompanied me through the past several weeks of my pregnancy, I find myself in a rotten mood as I grab my books and fly from my dorm room, down the spiral staircase, and into the nearly completely empty common room.
I scurry forward blindly, the long black locks of my still-damp hair flapping into my face. As my hands are currently loaded down with my textbooks, however, I can't move the annoying strands. Instead, I shake my head violently in an effort to clear my vision as I make my way through the portrait hole. As the Fat Lady swings her portrait closed behind me, I begin shuffling towards the staircase. Looking up momentarily to make sure I don't accidentally bump into any students who are re-entering the common room, I see Draco directly in front of me, leaning against the railing and wearing a concerned look.
Though curious as to what's got him so concerned, I'm more shocked and excited to see him here, waiting for me outside of the common room. My heart and stomach do coordinated flip-flops, and a huge smile spreads across my face as I think to myself how wonderful it is to finally be Draco's girlfriend... how great it feels to see him - my boyfriend - standing near the Fat Lady's portrait early in the morning and to know he's waiting for me. I'm also pleased to see that the cut on his bottom lip is gone; he must have kept his promise to go see Professor Snape after he dropped me off at the common room last night. I open my mouth to greet him as I approach, but he speaks before I get a chance to.
"You've nearly missed breakfast," he says quietly. He begins shuffling his textbooks into his right arm so that he can wrap his left one around my waist as a guide as the two of us start making our way down the first flight of stairs. I walk at a hurried pace alongside him and revel in the feeling of his arm around my waist but don't feel that a response is necessary. After a moment of silence, however, he speaks up again, indicating that he'd like a response. "I was getting really worried," he says, casting me a sideways glance. "Is everything all right?"
Still overwhelmed by how much Draco’s and my attitudes toward each other have changed recently, I'm curious as to why my tardiness would cause Draco to worry, but my heart swells at the notion of his concern nonetheless. "I'm fine," I reply. "I just woke up a little late." I look up at Draco to catch his reaction to my response and watch as some of the concern eases off of his features, but not all of it. I start to feel sorry for causing Draco to worry as we walk in silence for a moment, nearing the fifth floor. A few seconds later, curiosity gets the better of me and I ask the question that's weighing on my mind. "Why were you so worried?" I ask as I cast a sideways and upward glance at him.
"I just... don't want anything to go wrong," he replies quietly, without meeting my gaze. "I don't want to lose you. I've wanted you for so long... now that I've finally got you, it all seems almost too good to be true. I'm afraid something's going to go terribly wrong soon... like this is all some sort of dream. I keep hoping that if it is a dream, I never wake up."
Though Draco's sweet words bring tears to the corners of my eyes and I have to blink to prevent them from escaping onto my cheeks, I'm unable to keep myself from shifting my gaze down to the floor as a feeling of uneasiness begins to grow in the pit of my stomach. I'm unsure whether to take his concern as a sign of love for me, or as a sign that he regrets the decision to be with me. Seeming to sense my uneasiness, however, Draco speaks again, dispelling my uncertainty.
"I'm sorry... I don't mean to make you worry," he says, wrapping his arm around my waist a bit tighter in an effort to comfort me. "Don't pay me any mind... I've just had a rough night, is all."
At this, I look back up to find Draco smiling down at me with a tender look, but as I gaze into his beautiful grey eyes I see something hiding there behind his smile. I realize at once that there's something more... there's something he's not telling me. "Draco, what's wrong?" I ask, feeling the uneasiness build up in my stomach once more.
"Nothing," he replies, immediately looking away as we near the second-floor staircase. "There's nothing for you to worry about, love."
"Your insistence that there's nothing to worry about is making me worry!" I reply, coming to a halt.
At this, Draco stops walking and looks at me intensely; I can tell he's having an internal argument over whether or not he should divulge what's got him so worried this morning. Then, seeming to have made up his mind, he pulls me off the staircase and onto the second-floor landing. Looking around to make sure there are no students or ghosts anywhere nearby that might overhear our conversation, he takes a deep breath before beginning.
"It's Professor Snape," he says quietly, with concern. "He knows."
"He knows what?" I ask, thoroughly confused.
"He knows about the baby," he replies, lowering his volume to barely above a whisper.
Immediately feeling at ease and breathing a sigh of relief, I take a moment to calm my nerves before responding. "I already knew that," I say sweetly, with a nod of my head. "He had to know... he makes my potion for me. In fact, all the teachers know. It's nothing to worry about... they won't tell any of the students."
"Darling, you're missing my meaning," Draco replies, and I'm surprised to find that he still looks just as nervous and worried as before. "What I mean is, he knows the baby's mine."
My heart sinks slightly in my chest at this statement, but I'm still not quite sure why that's got him so worried. "Well, I didn't know that," I reply, "but you still don't have anything to worry about. If Professor Snape won't tell anyone that I'm pregnant, he certainly won't tell anyone that you're the father. He's your Head of House, after all; I'm sure he's got your best interests in mind." At this, I pause for a moment to gather my thoughts and catch my breath. "How did he find out, anyway?" I ask a moment later.
"He just... guessed," Draco replies, looking more and more uneasy as time passes. "When I went to his office and asked for a potion to heal my lip last night, he asked me about it. He'd heard that you and I were dating and wanted to make sure I knew about the baby... he said he'd figured it was mine as soon as he heard you were pregnant because I'd gone to him for advice the morning after we... you know... after the baby was conceived. I tried not to answer, but he's a Legilimens, and a damned good one at that... he saw right through me, and I wound up having to confess."
A look of disgust crosses Draco's face as he finishes speaking, and I still can't help but wonder why Professor Snape's knowing about him being the father of my baby has him so worried. I am surprised to learn that Professor Snape has known my child's paternity the entire time, and can't believe I'd completely forgotten that he knew Draco and I had been intimate, and I can't help but wonder whether or not he's told Professor Dumbledore. However, the only reason I was afraid to reveal the paternity of my child at first was because Draco didn't know about the baby, and because I didn't want to have to face him... it honestly makes no difference to me now who knows that Draco is the child's father, and I'm admittedly confused as to why it matters so much to Draco whether or not Professor Snape knows.
I'm slightly upset at the way he said he “had to confess,” as though being the father of my baby were a crime he was afraid of being punished for, but I try my best to ignore that feeling and concentrate on easing his fears. After all, he's had less than forty-eight hours to get used to the whole “I'm going to be a father” thing, and he's been taking the news very well so far... I can excuse his fretting for the time being. I take a deep breath and gather my thoughts before responding to his obvious paranoia.
"I understand that this is all really new to you," I say slowly, "but like I said, you don't have anything to worry about... Professor Snape won't tell any of the students what he knows."
"Darling, you don't understand," Draco replies immediately with a shake of his head, "It's not the students I'm worried about him telling! Professor Snape is a good friend of my father's, and..."
Though Draco wasn't finished speaking, I don't hear another word of what he says. My eyes widen and my heart feels as though it's in my throat as I gasp loudly and cover my mouth with my hand in shock. I suddenly and completely understand why Draco's so worried about Professor Snape knowing he's my child's father, and a sense of foreboding crashes over me with such force that I fear I might faint. "Oh no," I say quietly, more to myself than to Draco. Then, panic evident in my tone, I press Draco for more information. "Well, he's not going to tell your father before you get a chance to, is he?" I ask.
"I'm not sure," Draco replies, looking at me sympathetically. "I told him that I'm meeting my parents in Hogsmeade on Saturday to tell them, and I practically begged him not to talk to Father until I've had a chance to tell him. He said he wouldn't say anything... but I'm afraid he will anyway... he's more loyal to my father than he is to me."
Now completely terrified and nervous, I find myself incapable of looking up into Draco's eyes any longer, and instead find myself staring at the bare wood of the second-floor landing. For what seems like the millionth time in the past twenty-four hours, I feel extremely guilty; Draco is clearly horrified of his father's reaction to the baby news, and I can't help but feel that his having to face his father in this difficult situation is entirely my fault. In addition to the guilt, however, there's also a feeling of foreboding as I wonder what Draco's father's reaction will be when (and if) Professor Snape tells him about the baby.
"I shouldn't have told you," Draco says suddenly, causing me to finally turn my eyes upward towards his face once more. Seeming angry with himself, he continues. "I knew it'd only upset you and make you worry, not to mention it's making you even later for breakfast, if you haven't missed it already."
"No, Draco, I needed to know," I reply, casting him a serious look. "I'm glad you told me. Besides, I don't think I could eat now anyway."
"See, that's exactly why I shouldn't have told you!" he says in an exasperated voice. "Come on, love, you've got to eat something. You going all morning without eating can't be good for the baby." With this, Draco wraps his arm back around my waist and begins trying to lead me back to the staircase and downstairs. Though I'm once again amazed by how quickly he's grasped the concept of being a father, and I know he's right, I keep my feet rooted to the floor, refusing to move.
"Draco, I'm sorry, but I really don't think I can eat right now... I'm too nervous," I explain.
"Listen, love," he replies, releasing my waist and coming to stand right in front of me, "I know it's hard, but you've got to try not to worry about this. We'll just take this one day at a time... we'll play it by ear and hope that we can make it to Saturday without Snape telling my father. If he doesn't, great! But even if he does, I don't want you to worry about it at all - I'll deal with my father. And I promise you, no matter what, everything's going to be okay... Okay?"
Though I'm no less concerned or nervous, I can't help but feel slightly more at ease at Draco's words. "Okay," I reply quietly, nodding my head in agreement. Draco smiles in response.
"Good. Now let’s go get you some breakfast," he says meaningfully, wrapping his arm around my waist once more.
I allow Draco to guide me to the staircase and down the next flight of stairs this time, though I'm still unsure of just how much I'll be able to eat when I reach the Great Hall. He makes small talk in an effort to distract me as we descend the final flights of stairs, and though I occasionally comment on a statement he's made or ask him a question, my mind is anywhere but here at the present... it's hiding up in Gryffindor Tower, staring at a calendar in horror, dreading the surprise that could be waiting on each of the next five days and thinking that Saturday can't be here and over with fast enough.
I am a complete basket case over the next few days, and though he tries to hide it, Draco is as well. Since nearly everyone now knows that Draco and I are together, almost all the students of Hogwarts, with the surprising exception of the Slytherins, have started spreading gossip and malicious lies about us and our relationship, including the very popular belief that Pansy is planning revenge on me for “stealing her boyfriend.” Though we know that this isn't true, the dirty looks Draco and I receive several times a day, combined with our constant fear of his parents showing up unexpectedly, make for a very stressful first week of our “official” relationship. Even more stressful for me is the fact that neither Harry, Ron, nor Seamus have spoken to me - or even looked at me, for that matter - since they found out that Draco and I started dating.
Hermione and Ginny are still being fairly nice to me, though I occasionally catch them rolling their eyes any time they see Draco approaching. There are also times when, out of consideration for Harry's feelings, they have to avoid speaking to me. Though this fact doesn't make me happy at all, I try to be understanding; I've put my friends in a very difficult position.
In addition to all of these stressful situations and changes, homework begins to pile up on Draco and me. At my insistence, we spend many of our free periods together in the library, trying to eliminate some of our mountain of assignments. Draco seems a little less concerned with his homework than I am, though; although he does work on his homework some during these library sessions, he spends the majority of the time watching me and starting conversations by asking me questions about myself and my life before coming to Hogwarts. He says he's making up for the time together that we've lost by avoiding each other; I say he's being distracting.
Although we're both severely stressed this week, our relationship progresses smoothly enough; we're nearly inseparable, unless we're in class, asleep, or Draco's making his rounds as prefect, of course. Though we've spent five months avoiding each other and less than five days actually together, it feels as though we've known each other for all of our lives, which makes me wonder if Draco is really on to something when he says that we're “making up for lost time.”
Together we press on through the classes, homework, and jeers from other students, and as the week progresses into Thursday and Friday, we become less afraid of Draco's parents finding out early and more nervous about what their reactions will be when he tells them on Saturday. Though Draco tries to hide his nervousness in an effort to comfort me, I am so nervous that, by the time Saturday morning rolls around, I find myself in the bathroom with my hands wrapped around my stomach, feeling almost certain that I'll vomit at any moment.
When I finally meet up with Draco outside of the Fat Lady's portrait a short while later, he smiles at me nervously, but doesn't speak. The two of us make our way down to the Great Hall for breakfast silently, and when we arrive, I'm unable to eat anything, and simply stare down at my empty plate the entire time. When it's time for the students to leave for Hogsmeade just after breakfast, Draco tries to reassure me and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek before departing for the day, with Crabbe and Goyle walking ahead of him for once.
Per a plea from Draco, I remain behind at Hogwarts, and decide to go back up to my dormitory, thinking that, if it's at all possible, I'll sleep until Draco gets back, thereby avoiding having to deal with this nervousness the entire time he's gone. As I lay there trying to sleep, however, I realize just how foolish of an idea that was. I toss and turn every which way, trying to make myself more comfortable. While I continue to lay there fruitlessly, a thought occurs to me that makes me sit straight up and widen my eyes in horror; I haven't told Ms. Fitzpatrick or Mrs. McGreggor about the "Draco" situation yet... they have no idea that Draco and I are together, that we've decided to keep the baby, or that we're planning on getting married at some point.
Although it would seem that the solution to this problem would be an easy one, the paranoid part of my mind starts to worry about what effect the Malfoys' reaction will have on how my guardians will find out about this recent string of developments. Will they storm up to Hogwarts, demanding a meeting with Dumbledore and my guardians? Will Dumbledore be forced to send for Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mrs. McGreggor? Will he tell them about this situation before I get a chance to?
These thoughts make me even more nervous, if that were even possible, but instead of crippling me, this nervousness puts me into action. I realize that the only hope I have of avoiding another disaster like the one that's sure to come this afternoon is to do exactly what Draco's doing right now; tell my guardians myself. I scramble off of my four-poster and locate a quill and several pieces of parchment; I'm going to write to my guardians and hope to God that my letters reach them before Dumbledore does. I realize that my chances for success are slim-to-none, but I've got to at least try.
I use up nearly all of my spare parchment, and have to write several drafts, but I finally come up with a two-page letter that I feel will best explain the situation to both ladies in the most delicate way possible. I prepare to make a second copy of the letter for Mrs. McGreggor, but quickly think better of it; Mrs. McGreggor is the more hot-headed of the two women, and would almost certainly Apparate to Hogwarts immediately after receiving the letter, fussing the whole while. I quickly scribble a note on the bottom of Ms. Fitzpatrick's letter, giving the excuse that I was nearly out of parchment and asking if she wouldn't mind passing my letter along to Mrs. McGreggor for me. Then I fold the letter, stuff it in an envelope, and slowly begin making my way through the castle and out onto the grounds, up towards the Owlery.
I walk over to a nearby owl that just so happens to be awake, hand him the letter, and ask him to get it to Ms. Fitzpatrick as fast as he can. Just as I watch the owl fly out of the window, the Owlery door bursts open, permitting a cold gust of air to blow in and push my hair up all over my face. I hear someone call my name as I fight to free my face and eyes from their hair-covered prison, and once my vision has been unobstructed I glance towards the still-open door and find Crabbe and Goyle standing there, both of them red in the face and gasping for air.
"What are you two doing here?" I ask, a little wary of the answer I might receive.
"Draco sent us," Crabbe manages to gasp out. "He said... his parents are... on their way to the castle... to talk to Dumbledore. He wanted us to... warn you."
I wince at Crabbe's statement, and at the way he and Goyle are both still panting heavily. They've clearly run all the way up to the Owlery to catch up with me, and the fact that Draco's urged the two of them into doing physical labor tells me just how serious the situation must be. "So his parents took the news that badly, did they?" I ask, already knowing the answer.
"His father's... not happy," Goyle replies, bending over and clutching his side with a grimace. "His mother's trying to... calm him down, though."
"Okay, boys, thank you for telling me," I reply, suddenly feeling the urge to run up to Gryffindor Tower and hide under the covers of my four-poster. At this, I leave the Owlery and slowly make my way back up to the castle, followed closely by Crabbe and Goyle. Just as I step into the entrance hall, a little Hufflepuff first year walks up to me, a letter in his hand.
"You're Jayde Newsome, right?" he asks. I simply nod my head in response, and he continues. "Professor Dumbledore asked me to give you this," he says, extending the letter towards me. I take the letter from him, and he scurries off as soon as I do so. With shaking hands, I open the letter slowly and begin reading it.
Miss Newsome, it reads. Please come to my office as soon as you receive this letter. Sincerely, Professor Dumbledore. P.S. I rather enjoy treacle tart.
Though this last line causes me to raise my eyebrows in confusion, I am more concerned with what will happen once I reach Dumbledore's office. Still clutching the open letter in my hand, I start walking in the direction of the headmaster's office, feeling more dread build up inside of me with each step I take.
When I reach the familiar corridor in which the entrance to the headmaster's office is located, I'm terrified to find that Professor Snape is standing in front of the stone gargoyle waiting for me, wearing a very serious expression. He and I step onto the first steps of the staircase without a word to each other, and he quickly says, "Treacle tart," which was apparently the password to the office's entrance. My palms start sweating profusely and my breathing becomes labored as the staircase moves upward in a spiral motion.
By the time I can see the headmaster's office door a few moments later, I can hear my heart pounding in my ears. Professor Snape opens the door quickly and silently indicates that I should enter ahead of him. Taking a deep breath in an effort to steady myself, I can't help but think Here it comes, as I warily step into the headmaster's office.
Well, here's another chapter, folks! I know it seems like every chapter recently has been about revealing either the relationship or the pregnancy to somebody, but I promise that'll change soon; there's just really a LOT of people who have to find out about this! :P I apologize for the ridiculous amount of time it has taken me to get this written, but I hope the fact that it's fairly long will make up for that somewhat, and I really hope you enjoyed it. And now for the shameless plug: PLEASE review!