Chapter 8 : Christmas at home
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It was four days to Christmas Eve, and Jaci was sitting in the sitting room, reading a book she’d found in the library. It was on the history of the Black family, and it seemed to be up to date. She guessed that the house-elf, Kreature was the one who kept the book up to date. At the end of it, she noticed that the latest chapter held Harry’s family history.
As she was going down the family tree she noticed Sirius’s brother’s name, Regulus Artemis Black. That was interesting. Hadn’t Harry said, while they were on the train coming back to Grimmauld Place, that the initials of the person who’d taken the real locket were RAB? Could it be possible that Regulus was the person who’d taken the locket?”
“Harry,” Jaci called, and nearly screamed when Kreature appeared suddenly.
“Master Potter isn’t here,” he said, almost as if calling Harry master was painful to the fullest extent. “He and the blood traitor, the mudblood, and the Spanish witch went to Diagon Alley to shop for Christmas presents. Master Potter told me to tell you, if you called for him.”
“Thank you, Kreature.”
Remus walked into the sitting room, as Kreature disapparated away with a crack. Jaci looked up at him, grimaced, before turning back to the book. Remus sat down next to her, looking over her shoulder at the book she was reading. He furrowed his brow, and angled his head to get a better look at the book.
“I hate it when people do that,” Jaci said, curtly.
“Sorry, but where did you get that book?”
“In the library, you know, where most people keep their books.”
Remus sighed. “That’s Sirius’ family history,” Remus answered.
Jaci rolled her eyes, and turned to face him. “Really, you don’t say? You know I didn’t notice that every line in this book connects to the great Siemon Black, and his wife Giovanna Montez.”
Remus rolled his eyes now. “Why do you insist on being antagonistic?”
“Why do you insist on trying to be my friend?”
Suddenly Remus started laughing. “You know, this is the one thing I missed with Dora,” he said, shaking his head.
It irked Jaci that he thought he could just bring her up every time they were together, and forget that she had, at one point, very strong feelings for him. She turned to glare at him. “And what did you miss about me, and dear Dora didn’t have?”
“A quick witted answer for everything,” Remus answered. “She was more concerned with proving she was tough enough to handle anything I or Moody could do.” He grinned. “She didn’t bother with quick witted answered. She just let her wand-work do the talking.”
Jaci turned away from him. He had a very happy, but bordering on sad smile on his face. He’d never looked so in love with her. She closed her eyes, and growled inwardly. She was jealous! For crying out loud she was jealous of a dead person! Things couldn’t get any worse for her. They just couldn’t.
“Is it still very hard to talk about her?” she asked, not really sure why. She didn’t want to hear about his relationship with Dora.
“No, not anymore.”
Jaci looked up at him. “Why not?”
“You keep me on my toes,” he said, with a grin. “I have found that I’ve grieved, cried, and have proceeded to move on, all in the short amount of time I’ve spent in your lousy company.” Despite herself, Jaci smiled at him. “There it is,” he answered, with a smile of his own. “There’s that elusive smile of yours. I’ve been waiting to see it, ever since we got here.”
“Your smile was the very first thing I noticed when I met you, you know?” Jaci shook her head. “It called to me. Just like it’s calling to me now.”
He moved forward, half an inch, and Jaci jumped to her feet. Remus looked at her curiously, and Jaci furrowed her brow. There was no way in hell that her heart was pounding the way it was. There was no way in hell that her palms were sweaty, her mind a little foggy, and her lips anticipating his kiss.
“Damn it!” she said, and turned away from him. She would not let this happen to her again. Not again.
“It’s a shame that Florean closed his shop,” Ron said, looking longingly at the building that had formerly held the ice cream shop.
“Ronald, it’s freezing out, and you want ice cream?” Hermione said, looking at him with astonishment.
“Well, yes, if you must know,” Ron said, turning away from the shop. “I want ice cream.”
“I can make you some, when we get back,” Kristie offered.
“No, ma’am,” Harry answered, shaking his head. “This would be the Christmas holidays, and nobody is doing any extra work they don’t have to.”
Kristie smiled. “Very well.”
“So, what are we getting everyone?” Ron asked, looking at the different stores.
“I don’t know,” Harry answered, keeping an eye to the right. He’d just noticed Malfoy walking down that way, and he didn’t want the prat to see Kristie. “Do you have a broom?” he asked her.
Kristie shook her head, her eyes wide. “No, and please don’t waste your money. I won’t ride it. Terrified of heights.”
“But that’s not all, is it?” a very snide voice said behind them. Unfortunately for Harry, Pansy’s voice attracted Malfoy’s attention too. He glared at Kristie, who hadn’t noticed him yet. She rolled her eyes at Pansy, and turned to keep talking to Hermione.
“Didn’t I tell you I didn’t want to see you with these…wizards?” Malfoy’s voice growled.
Kristie jumped ten feet in the air, and turned to look at him. Her eyes were wide, and her hands moved behind her back. She looked down, then back at Malfoy. Harry wanted to throttle him.
“I’m sorry, Draco,” she answered.
“Get over here,” he said, low and menacingly.
Kristie made a move to go to him, when Harry grabbed her arm. “She’s not going anywhere,” he said, calmly, so as not to frighten Kristie more than she already was. She turned to look at him, then at Malfoy.
Draco laughed. “You don’t understand, Potter. She’s coming over here, right now, or she’s going to be taught a lesson when we get back to Hogwarts.”
Kristie trembled, and tried to take a step towards Malfoy, but Harry held her fast. “She’s not going anywhere near you, and you’re not touching a single hair on her head,” Harry said, still sounding very calm. “She’s staying here with me, and Ron and Hermione, and there’s not one thing you can do about it.”
Malfoy laughed once again. “Very well,” he said, nodding at Harry. He then turned to Kristie. “See you at school, darling,” he said, cold and menacingly.
Once Malfoy was out of sight, Kristie turned to Harry. “Why didn’t you just let me go with him?” she asked, close to tears. “Why didn’t you just stay out of my way, and let me go?”
“Because,” Harry said, taking hold of her arms, and pulling her into an embrace. “He’s bad news, Kristie, and I don’t want to see you mixed up with him. It kills me every time I see you with him, and I’m not giving you over to him when he’s angry at you.”
“Come on, let’s continue shopping,” Hermione said, leading Ron down the alley. “I’m sure we’ll find something for everyone.”
By the time they got home, everyone had been shopped for. The second that Harry arrived, Kreature appeared, ready to take his coat, and anybody else’s, on Harry’s orders. Kristie smiled down at the elf, and handed him her scarf.
“Thank you, so very much, Kreature.”
The house-elf bowed, then bowed lower for Harry, and walked to the closet. Harry turned to Kristie.
“How did you do that?”
“Make him bow down to you.”
“I didn’t,” she said, smiling at him. “Sometimes, kindness and politeness go a long way. Try being nice to him once in a while, and you’d be surprised how different he acts.”
“Told you,” Hermione said, glaring at Harry. “Just be nice to him!”
Harry turned towards the kitchen, where mouthwatering aromas were wafting towards him. Kristie made her way to the kitchen, to help Mrs. Weasley, while Ron and Hermione held Harry back. He looked at them curiously, while they both looked very worriedly back at him.
“Malfoy’s going to do something to her,” Ron said, shaking his head. “I hate to say it, but Kristie was right. You should have let her go with him.”
“No, I wasn’t going to just let her go with that bastard, when he was practically threatening her there in front of us.”
“You don’t understand the way purebloods work, Harry,” Hermione said, shaking her head. “He believes that Kristie is his, because they’re dating. He tells her what to do, and she obeys, it’s that simple.”
“Mrs. Weasley isn’t like that.”
“Because dad isn’t your typical pureblood wizard, and mom isn’t your typical pureblood witch,” Ron answered. “I guarantee that the Malfoys are your typical pureblood family. He’s going to punish her for disobeying him.”
“What am I supposed to do? Tell her to go to him?” Ron and Hermione looked at him with a mixture of confirmation and sympathy in their eyes. Harry shook his head. “No way! You said so yourselves, he’s going to punish her!”
“Yes, but if she goes to him, before we go back to school, he might turn a blind eye,” Ron said. “She’d be obeying him, if only a few hours too late.”
Harry gritted his teeth. “And if we just keep a real close eye on her once we’re at Hogwarts?”
“We can’t keep an eye on her all the time,” Hermione said, shrugging. “She’s bound to be alone at some point, and you can bet that Malfoy and his cronies will be ready.”
“Damn it!” Harry said, looking in the direction of the kitchen. “I don’t want her to go.”
“Tell her to tell Malfoy that she can’t stay over there,” Ron said, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder.
“Of course she’s not staying over there,” Harry answered. “She’s going to be there for an hour, and then she’s coming back, or else I’m going to find her.”
“He’ll expect her to be there all night. You can tell her to tell Malfoy that the reason she didn’t try harder to obey him, is because you think you’re dating her too. That it’s the only way to keep you from guessing about their relationship.”
Harry growled. “Damn it, I don’t like it!”
“But it’s for her own good,” Hermione said, placing another hand on his shoulder. “If not, then things could get very ugly for her.”
Harry turned towards the door, and gripped the entire way to the basement kitchen. Kristie was in there, cheerily helping Mrs. Weasley with treacle tart. Harry almost turned back, but he didn’t. He cleared his throat, causing both women to turn to him. Kristie smiled.
“Harry!” Mrs. Weasley gushed. “Kristie has made the best treacle tart!”
“Try some,” Kristie said, giving him one.
Before he could say no, Kristie put the tart into his mouth. It melted on his tongue, and Harry was in heaven. He looked up at her, and through the tart, he praised her.
“This is good! No, this is brilliant!” She beamed at him, and turned to go back to the tarts. Harry caught her hand. She turned to look at him. “We need to talk. Let’s go to the study.”
“You need to go to Malfoy,” Harry said, once they were locked up in the study together. She furrowed her brow. “I don’t want to risk him hurting you at Hogwarts, where there’s a chance that one of the three us might let you out of our sight.”
“I was thinking of sneaking off to see him anyway,” Kristie answered, looking down. “I know you don’t like him, but you don’t know how awful a wizard’s wrath can be.”
“I want you to tell him that you can only stay for an hour, an hour and a half, before I go looking for you.”
Kristie looked at him curiously. “Why? He’ll want me to stay there indefinitely.”
“Tell him that you’re my girlfriend, and that it was the only way to keep me happy enough to let you see him.” Kristie looked down. “Tell him that I think you’re going to the Leaky Cauldron, and that in an hour and a half, tops, I’m going to go and find you.”
“All right,” Kristie answered, looking up at Harry. “I’ll see you in an hour and a half.”
Harry closed his eyes, placed his hands on her shoulders, and nodded.
“My, my what are you doing here?” he asked, walking up to her.
“I told Harry that I was going to the Leaky Cauldron. I have an hour, an hour and a half at the most.”
“No good, if you’re here, you’re here.”
“Please will you let me explain?” Kristie asked, looking down, showing him she was submissive.
“You can try.”
“Harry thinks I’m his girlfriend too,” she whispered. “It was the only way he’d let me out of his sight to be with you. That’s why I didn’t try harder to go with you this afternoon.” She looked at him through her lashes. “He’s going to look for me after an hour and a half.”
“Well, then I guess we better get a move on, huh?” Draco answered, taking her arm roughly. “We have lots to do, before that hour and a half wears off.”
Kristie nodded, and allowed him to pull her into his house. She didn’t question where he was taking her, but they met no one as they went up the stairs in the house. When he started to lead her to a room, she knew, even before she got there, that they were headed to his bedroom. Kristie braced herself for what she knew was coming.
Jaci walked into the kitchen, just after Harry returned from the study. He looked troubled, and Jaci looked at him curiously. He shook his head, indicating that he didn’t want to talk about it. Jaci didn’t push the matter. Instead, she snapped her fingers, and called him to her.
“Harry, what were the initials on the note in the fake locket?”
“RAB,” he answered, furrowing his brow. “Why do you ask?”
“Because, I think I found out who that is,” Jaci answered, holding out the book she’d been reading in the study. “See, Regulus Artemis Black, it could be him. I mean how many other wizards would, coincidently enough, have those initials in their names?”
“I know a sure way to know,” Harry answered. “Kreature, please come here.” The house-elf appeared, looking at him curiously. “Did your old master, Regulus, have a locket with an S on it?”
“Master Regulus, the pride and joy of my mistress, did have a locket with the letter S engraved on it, master,” Kreature said, through gritted teeth. “Kreature seen it many times in Master Regulus’ hands.”
“Where is it?” Ron asked, but Kreature ignored him. It didn’t matter, because Ron turned back to Harry. “We found a locket in the study, remember? It didn’t open, so we said we were going to throw it away.”
“Yes, but Kreature was taking things out of the trash bag, and hording them, weren’t you Kreature,” Harry said, kneeling to be eye level with the elf. “Did you take the locket? Please tell me you did, if you did.”
“Kreature did,” he answered, looking at Harry still more curiously.
“Where did you put it?” Harry asked, making sure to keep his voice calm, and not give away his excitement. Kreature suddenly looked wary. “I’m not angry, Kreature, you might have just saved everyone in the world. Where did you put it?”
“Master Regulus’ locket is in my home,” Kreature answered.
“Bring it to me…please,” he added hastily.
Kreature bowed down deep, and disapparated with a crack. A few seconds later, he appeared, with the locket in tow. Harry took the locket from him, and smiled wide. He pulled the other locket from his back pocket, and handed it to Kreature.
“I think that Regulus would want me to reward your loyalty with this. This was also his locket, and I need you to keep it safe for me, Kreature.”
Kreature’s eyes widened, as he looked from the locket to Harry. “Of course, master,” he said, without flinching this time. “Kreature will keep the locket safe for master.”
Reverently Kreature took the locket, and ran off to his nest, apparently forgetting that he could apparate. Jaci placed a hand on his shoulder, and nodded. Harry turned to the stairs, and sprinted up them, with Ron and Hermione close on his heels. Jaci took in a deep breath and let it out. Maybe this getting rid of the horcruxes would be much easier than she’d thought when Harry had told her about it on the train ride back.
“What are Harry, Ron, and Hermione all excited about?” she heard Remus say suddenly.
She turned to the entrance to the kitchen, and silently cursed. Her heart had started to pound suddenly, and her palms had started to sweat. She turned her back to him, and went to help Molly.
“They found something they were looking for,” Jaci answered.
“We have to talk,” Remus said. “Let’s go into the study.”
“No, I don’t think so.”
She turned to look at him, glaring at him. “When are you going to get it!” she said, letting her frustration surface. “I don’t want you near me! Just get out of here, leave me alone!”
“No,” Remus said, taking her arm, and leading her into the study. “Did you get upset, earlier today, because I mentioned Dora?”
Jaci gritted her teeth. “No,” she said, shaking her head.
“What is it about her? You didn’t even know her.”
“I don’t care about her!”
“Then what is it? How come every time I bring Dora up, you get upset?”
“You know something,” Jaci said, glaring at Remus. “There are much more important things to be worrying about, instead of what I think of your precious Dora!”
“You’re jealous of her?” Remus asked, as light dawned in his eyes. “How can you be jealous of her?”
“I’m not!” Jaci answered, shaking her head. “We’ve got plenty to deal with, without you adding your own theories to the mix. Just bugger off, and leave me alone, ok?” she said, walking to the door.
“You were always my first love, you know,” Remus answered, just as Jaci made it to the door.
Cursing silently, Jaci turned to look at him. He was standing in just the spot where she had left him, his head still hanging down. He took in several deep breaths, as if what he was about to say was very hard.
“You were the first thing I ever regretted.” Jaci winced. “You were the first thing I loved, that I had to let go, and I deeply regretted letting you go. I told Sirius and James about you, and that I was breaking up with you, as soon as the year started.” He turned to look at her. “I gave them all the excuses I gave you, and you know what they said?”
“No,” Jaci answered, tears filling her eyes.
“They said that I was the biggest coward they’d ever seen. They said that if I loved you, then I shouldn’t let some prestigious title keep me from having you. They also said that my becoming a werewolf was just an excuse for the real reason. They said I was terrified of my relationship with you, and what you’d say if you found out about my condition.”
“Why are you telling me this now?”
“You’re going to get upset, but I have to let it out. Dora was the first person, aside from you, that truly scared me.” Jaci turned away from him, but didn’t exit the room. “See, she didn’t care that I was a werewolf. She said that she loved me, even when the moon was full, and that we could make it work.”
Jaci looked at him again. “Again, why are you telling me this now?”
“Because I’ve learned to take my fear and harness it into something useful,” he said, stalking up to her.
Jaci furrowed her brow. “What?”
“You still scare the hell out of me,” Remus answered, as he stopped in front of her.
Then he moved down, and crushed his lips to hers. Jaci gasped, her hands moving up to his chest. She had fully intended to push him away from her, but her traitorous hands moved up around Remus’ neck, and got lost in his hair. Remus growled deep in his throat, making Jaci want to grin against his lips.
What the hell are you doing! He’s already hurt you once. Are you in a hurry to feel that pain again!
Jaci started, and moved away from Remus quickly. She looked down at the floor, and took in several deep breaths. She saw his feet move in front of her, and stop inches from hers. His hand touched her shoulder, and she jumped back, hitting the desk behind her.
“Get away,” she whispered.
“No!” she said, and moved around him to the door. Once she was a safe distance away from him, she glared at him. “I’ve been burned by you once, Remus,” she said, her voice dripping with anger, and her eyes spilling over with angry tears. “I gave you everything I thought you needed. I’m not in a hurry to have you throw it back in my face, thank you very much. If this is your intention, this friends with benefits, find somewhere else to spend your time with.”
Jaci slammed the door, and ran up to her room. Remus sighed, and looked around the room. Where Jaci had been concerned, she’d always been very delicate to be around. She’d been a true blue Slytherin, with the temper to match, and he’d known it. Why in the world did he think she’d be different now that she’d grown up?
Kristie was two minutes later, and Harry was loosing his patience. He turned to walk out of the kitchen, so that he could apparate, and find her, when she appeared in front of him. She fell to her knees, and Harry rushed to her side.
“Hijo de su pinche madre,” Kristie said softly, her voice laced with pain. (1)
“Kristie, are you all right?”
“I will be,” she answered, a sob escaping her lips.
Kristie looked up at him. Harry cursed, nice and colorfully, as he helped her stand. Her right eye was black, and her lip was split. Her right cheek was starting to bruise, and her neck had marks around it, like someone had tied her up around the neck.
“What did that bastard do to you? I’ll go over there and kill him, right now!”
“No,” she whispered, wincing. “Harry, don’t let me go, or I might fall.”
“Harry, is she back?” Hermione’s voice sounded in the kitchen. She took one look at Kristie, and her hand came up to her mouth. “Oh Merlin,” she gasped.
“Conceal them,” Kristie said, looking at Hermione pleadingly.
“But you look like you need Madam Pomfrey!”
“No,” Kristie answered, fire in her eyes. “I’m not giving that ferret the pleasure of knowing how much he hurt me. Just conceal them, and if you can a draught for the pain will be great.”
Harry wasn’t sure whether he wanted to smile down at her, for her spirit was shining through, or if he wanted to kill Malfoy, for the pain he’d caused, or if he wanted to tighten his hold on her, and never let her go. Hermione took out her wand, and concealed the bruises and cuts. Then she busied her self with a potion for pain. In half an hour, Kristie was sitting calmly at the table.
“What happened?” Harry asked.
“He was upset that I didn’t go to him earlier. He didn’t care that you thought I was your girlfriend. He said that he was to take priority in my life.”
“Then what happened?”
“I told him that I was going to go to him, when I could. That if Harry didn’t want to let me out of his sight, then I wasn’t going to trick him into leaving me alone so that I could sneak off to him.”
Harry grinned. “Bet he didn’t like that.”
“Of course not,” Kristie said, looking at Harry. “That was when the first blow hit my eye. Then he told his father that he had a present for him. That he had half an hour to do with me what he wanted.” Harry clenched his fists, but Kristie covered them with her hand. “I groveled to Malfoy, and he changed his mind. He said I’d better learn my lesson.” She took in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “I’m fine, but you’re right, it would have been much worse at Hogwarts, where there are plenty of dark corners.”
“I don’t want you near him again,” Harry said, growling low in his throat. “I know that the choice has to be yours, but I don’t want you near him.”
Kristie smiled at him. “I shall try, but I can’t promise you anything.”
(1) Son of a bitch *roughly translated*
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