Chapter 1 : Theodore Nott: Exposed!
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No, I will not come and visit father in Azkaban with you. And most
certainly I will not come to your annual Winter Ball. I have plenty of other
things that are far more interesting to occupy myself with. I'm staying at
Hogwarts during winter holidays if you haven't guessed by the time you
PS – I'm moving out of your manor when I come back in the summer.
PPS – Do not, I repeat, do not try to find me a girl. I am perfectly capable
of doing that on my own. And anyway, my love life does not concern you.
I finished my letter to Grandma Vivian, from my father’s side, of course. She should have known what my response would have been. I mean, I am her grandson and she should know me. Ahh, but no one knows me, not really. Well, they do know who I am, but I tend to keep to myself. Sometimes it’s better to not be very well known, especially after my father was imprisoned in Azkaban for breaking into Ministry of Magic and for being a Death Eater. Most people would expect me to be the same way.
Luckily, my mother managed to put some of her wisdom and kind words in me before she died when I was ten. Grandma Vivian never liked her, even though she was of pure-blood lineage. Audra Yaxley, that was her name. I miss her sometimes. Okay, that is a blatant lie – I miss her constantly, especially after my father got himself arrested. Not that he was much of a father – I was actually glad when Harry Potter exposed him in The Quibbler.
I do believe that my mother died of sorrow when she saw what my father had become during their years together. Can a person die of sorrow? Healers didn’t know what was wrong with her. For days she just lay in my parents’ bed, pale like a ghost and barely able to keep her eyes open. On my tenth birthday she tried to sit up against the bed frame but failed, the next day she died. I found her dead when I woke up and went to say ‘good morning’ to her. That’s the reason why I have aversion towards mornings. Oh, and the fact that I have developed a fancy for sleeping till late.
I got up from the desk in the Slytherin Common Room and stretched my legs. I must say I was somewhat surprised when I was sorted into Slytherin. I always considered myself more of a Ravenclaw. Years ago I thought that the Sorting Hat sorted me into Slytherin because of my father and grandfather – it yelled ‘Slytherin’ as soon as it hit my head. Associated with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and all that rubbish. Rubbish it is.
My father spent years trying to persuade me to call You-Know-Who the Dark Lord; I didn’t listen to him, obviously. When I was in my third year though, I got myself in Dumbledore’s office somehow. Don’t ask how because I don’t remember and don’t you think I would say it if I knew? Never mind. I had a little chat with the headmaster and asked him eventually if I could speak with the Sorting Hat. I was quite curious back then and wanted to know if I was in the wrong house seeing that I let myself grow distant from the others in my house. No one had an appeal to me that would cause me to hang out with them. Dumbledore had kindly said yes to my question and given me the Sorting Hat to put it on my head. He sprung back to life when I put it on. I still remember the exact words it responded to my question.
“Ah. Theodore Nott you say... Boy, I have never misplaced a student since the time of brave Godric! You are supposed to be in Slytherin not because of your father – it is not he who was sorted instead of you. I put you in Slytherin because you fit in well with Slytherin! You want to excel, to be the best and you want to be different than what people may think of you and you’ll make that happen – by any means. Though I doubt that you would go to the extreme of hurting someone who didn’t deserve it – you are good at heart, boy. Now, off you go.”
I don’t need to say how happy I was that day. I wanted to hug the Sorting Hat and even Dumbledore with his twinkling eyes and half-moon spectacles, and I don’t do hugging. Well, I did hug my mum but that was six years ago.
I went through the passage that led out of the common room and passed the many dungeon corridors until I came to the Great Hall. It was time for dinner and it was quite a cold day (which wasn’t surprising considering that it was a few days until winter holidays).
However, being the way I am, mysterious reputation and such, I didn’t wear a cloak. So I had to force myself to stop shivering. This was a hard task when you’re walking around the old, medieval castle that is heated by a few candles, in just trousers, a shirt and a jumper.
I sat at my usual spot at the far end of the table and grabbed some odd food. Odd because I loved experimenting and the house-elves would always experiment with some food and put it up for dinner (probably for crazy people like myself that loved unimaginable food combinations). Basically, my dinner was a draw of luck every time. If the house-elves had a little Butterbeer (they occasionally do that), my dinner would reach a whole new level. Like a Chinese duck filled with butter crackers and spaghetti in a Firewhiskey sauce. Interesting, huh?
Sometimes Tracey Davis would come and sit across from me, hoping to get my attention. In that, she would fail. Err; she would get my attention but not the kind that she would want. I would usually try to start a conversation, an intellectual one, and she would just giggle and say, “Oh you’re soooooo smart and interesting!”
After that I’d say something concerning her intelligence and she would nod profusely while not realising that she’s agreeing on the fact that her IQ is a two digit number. Ahh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually go around and insult people – it’s just that Tracey... Well, she’s trying to ‘get it on’ with me and by just talking with her I manage to fend her off. She gets bored easily, you see, and is more concerned with gossip and appearances than, for example, Centaurs’ gift for Divination and their cloudy, and sometimes worrying, prophecies concerning the Wizardkind.
They quite like me, the Centaurs, though I’m not sure why – they aren’t really known to like humans. I was in my fourth year when I ventured in the Forbidden Forest for the first time, eager to see why exactly it is forbidden. While I walked around, I somehow stumbled upon a centaur by the name of Ronan. He asked me a few things despite the fact that he was distrustful of humans and we talked for a while. Apparently, my answers and the way of thinking impressed him. He said that I was ‘rather open minded and unprejudiced’ and that he’d like to continue our talks. So we met up on occasion up until now.
Back to my dinner - it seemed that the house-elves were perfectly sane and not completely pissed so the dinner was uninteresting. Just a Kelpie soup with cucumbers and rabbit meat with peanut butter. I was lost in my thoughts by the time I was eating dessert (fried shiitake mushrooms in a strawberry sauce) my thoughts trailing to the possibility of Rufus Scrimgeour being a vampire.
Upon departing the Great Hall, I bumped into Luna Lovegood, a Ravenclaw I had always enjoyed the company of. We talked for a while whilst wandering the castle – strangely enough, she didn’t seem to mind my father’s involvement with the You-Know-Who. Mid sentence we were all of a sudden rudely interrupted by the one and only Draco Malfoy.
“Nott, I need your help.”
I raised my eyebrows at his words, I didn’t think that Malfoy could ask anyone nicely for the help, but motioned for him to continue – I might as well hear him out.
“Do you know anything about Vanishing Cabinets?” he asked, his eyes darting to Luna beside me as his hands shook slightly at his sides.
Ah, so this is what this was all about. His great Task for You-Know-Who. I shouldn’t really know anything about his task but I overheard a conversation (okay, maybe I used Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ Extendable Ears) between my grandma (a big supporter of the You-Know-Who) and Narcissa Malfoy over the summer. Malfoy’s mother seemed quite concerned. My grandma scolded her for talking about the Task so openly, but that she was lucky that grandma knew all about the Task.
I told Dumbledore by owl what You-Know-Who was planning, but when he answered he informed me he already knew everything and that I shouldn’t worry myself with him – just to take care and preserve my own life.
Even though I knew a fair bit about the Cabinets, I decided to play stupid so I made a confused face and answered him. “Vanishing Cabinets? No, nothing except what they do. Why do you ask?”
He contemplated how to answer me and eventually just frowned and shook his head as he left. I felt sorry for him, though.
After this little event, I wished Luna a good night and took a walk around the castle. I needed to clear my head and decide what I actually want to do concerning Grandma Vivian and my life. Now that father was in Azkaban I was free like a bird. Sort of. If we exclude grandma from my plans.
Plans? Ah, yes, I didn’t tell you ‘bout those. Well, I always wanted to live a bohemian lifestyle, you know – travel a lot, collect interesting artefacts on the way. Live the life to its fullest without having to worry about father wanting to continue family business – smuggling and making of Pixie Dust. Though later on, I thought about becoming a Curse Breaker for Gringotts.
Obviously, with You-Know-Who around and a war going on, I can’t very well do those things. And grandma would die of a heart attack if she knew that I actually resented You-Know-Who. Or that I do pay a great deal of importance to education and intelligence as well to living and letting others live – peacefully. I’m a pacifist really, but I have to oppose Grandma Vivian. I mean, who would want their life being governed by some old hag - Sorry grandma but you have like 118 years? - and in such a manner!
Preposterous! She wants me to become a Death Eater. Like father. Like grandfather. Pfft, no way. And her constant meddling in my love life, which is more or less non-existent if you don’t count a relatively short relationship with Daphne last year - well, she is a great girl indeed but being myself I pushed her away in fear of maybe really fancying her as much as she fancied me - its sickening. Imagine your grandma talking to you about sex! Eww. Not the sex part, but discussing it with Grandma Vivian and her descriptions. Ahh!
I collided with someone and that someone fell to the floor. I should probably pay attention to my surroundings when I’m wandering the castle. I offered my hand to the person who was trying to sit up. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was actually Daphne. She took my hand and gracefully stood up, saying a quiet ‘Thank you’ and looking me in the eyes with her dashing chocolate ones. I had the strangest urge to just kiss her then and there. I almost succeeded in resisting it.