Chapter 13 : Diagon Alley
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there everyone!!! I’m glad you’re still with me! Thanks for the reviews and
encouragement. Your inpatients have inspired me to work harder and longer to
get these chapters out ASAP. I’ve never dedicated a chapter before, but this
one is for Miss Rosa Crouch because we’ll be getting a piece of Mr. Lucius
Malfoy. Yum yum! I didn’t plan on making his appearance as sensual as this, but
for your enjoyment Rosa, I hope you like! Okay… on with the journey!
Thirteen – Diagon Alley
It was the third time now that Jessica reached her
warm fingers out to clasp Severus’ hand in her own only to have him bat her
away like a filthy pet. He barely looked at her or spoke a word to her as they
walked down the busy streets of Diagon Alley. Jessica looked up at him curiously
and subtly squinted her eyes as she tried to determine what in the world had
gotten into him. None of the emotions she sensed from him led her to believe he
was irritated with her. Although he wasn’t usually in
a sociable mood, Jessica was certain something about her being with him had
Severus on edge.
After a moment of awkward
silence, Severus turned his head and looked sideways at her. He saw the look of
scrutiny on Jessica’s face and twisted his own expression up to nearly
match her own.
“What?” he grilled with a hint of agitation in his
“Permission to read what’s on your mind?” Jessica
said before tying to tuck her hand around his arm once again.
Severus pulled the sleeve of his grey overcoat out
of her grasp and switched the parcels he was carrying into the arm nearest
Jessica to create some distance between them. “You know bloody well what I’ve
got to say about that,” he told her.
“Then talk to me Severus, why so tense?” Jessica
“I’m not tense, I just want to get the hell out of
here as soon as possible.” With his hands full, Severus whipped his head to the
side to move his hair out of his eyes. A small strand caught around the hook of
his nose. Jessica put both of her bags in her left hand and delicately reached
her fingers up to tuck his hair behind his ear. He held still long enough to
let her clear his view and then nodded her hand away with a small gesture.
Jessica slid her right
hand down his back and then held her palm flat against the small of his back.
She soothingly massaged her fingers into the thickness of his overcoat and then
began to slip her hand into his pocket.
“Stop it Jessica,” Severus
commanded. “Put your hands in your own pockets, I don’t want you getting cold.”
Jessica’s pace slowed
until she gradually came to a stop. Severus walked a couple of steps
ahead until he realized Jessica had stopped. “I really appreciate the concern
for my well-being, Severus,” Jessica said sarcastically. “What’s wrong with
you? Why won’t you let me touch you?”
“I don’t mind you touching me Jessica,” Severus
admitted honestly. “But now is not the time nor the place.”
“Why?” she asked him. “Is it because there are
people around and you’re uncomfortable being seen with me?”
“Yes Jessica, that’s precisely why. Now may we
please continue?” Severus began walking again and turned back once to look at
Jessica. She didn’t follow, but he didn’t care. He figured that sooner or later
she’d stop being stubborn and catch up to him.
Jessica watched him turn into the owl emporium and
then forced herself to follow after him. She stood in the old wooden doorway
and watched Severus as he arranged for some owls to transport his packages back
Jessica loudly cleared her throat. “Severus.” The
tone of Jessica’s voice was so firm and demanding it caught the attention of
everyone in the tiny shop. Flooding with silent rage and humiliation, the
Hogwarts professor looked at each pair of eyes that were looking back and forth
between him and Jessica.
Severus slowly turned back to the small white haired
man standing behind the counter. “Excuse me for one moment,” he said before
walking over to the door where Jessica stood with a very irate expression on
her face. He took her by the arm and hauled her outside back to the cobblestone
streets of Diagon Alley. “Look,” he began before giving her a moment to speak.
“To you this may just be a little shopping spree, but I’m not here on a
leisurely vacation. This is a professional endeavour and I would very much
appreciate it if you treat it like one!”
Jessica tore her arm from Snape’s grasp and took a
step away from him. “I wasn’t going to start ravishing you!” Jessica assured.
“I just wanted to hold your hand. Walking me across the snow doesn’t
look unprofessional. It’s polite and I’d appreciate it!”
“You’ve got your hands full!” Severus pointed out.
“What the hell is all this stuff anyway?” Severus slipped his fingers into one
of the bags she held in her hand and tried to pull it open so he could peek
“Get out of there,” Jessica demanded and pulled the
bags away. “One of them happens to be your Christmas present, so if you want
it, you’d better work for it you ruthless git.”
Severus resented the name
she had just called him. Jessica could feel his shock spread throughout her
body like pins and needles. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I didn’t mean to hurt
your feelings. I just want you to cheer up a little. I don’t want your dismal
mood to turn tomorrow night into an awkward engagement.”
“Tomorrow night won’t be awkward because
we’ll be in the privacy of our own chambers,” Severus assured. “This is
awkward because we’re in the middle of Diagon Alley and-”
“I know, Severus.” Jessica reached her hand up to
his lips and hushed him. “I understand and I’m sorry. I’ll try not to make any
suggestive gestures. I wouldn’t want to ruin this
brooding, desolate image you have manufactured for yourself."
Jessica grinned cleverly as Severus gave her one
more defiant stare and turned around to go back into the shop so he could see
his parcels off. Jessica watched him through the window for a moment and then
stepped over to the next shop and browsed at the Christmas displays in the
A few feet away Jessica saw Professor Quirrell
standing by himself under a snow covered awning. A few clumps of snow started
to tumble down the side and fell to the curb of the street right next to
Quirrell’s feet. He looked up to where the snow had come from just in time to
see a large section of the crusted snow breaking apart and start sliding down
over the awning heading straight for his head.
Jessica was just about to say hello to the professor
when she saw him cover his head with his arms before the snow hit him. She saw
the snow coming down from the awning and quickly lifted her arms up as if to
catch the snow in her hands. In one swift motion, Jessica swished her hands off
to the side and directed the snow to fall where she had intended rather than on
top of the professor.
The block of snow fell a few feet away from where
Quirrell was standing and crumbled. Quirrell let out a small cry and jumped
back a step. “D-Dear me,” he stuttered and looked at Jessica. “A c-close one,
“Very close,” Jessica agreed. “In fact, missed a
bit.” Jessica laughed very quietly and reached her hand up to Quirrell’s purple
turban to brush away the snow that had fallen onto it.
Quirrell jumped again when he saw her hand reaching
for the purple cloth wrapped around his head. His hands came up in front of his
face and blocked her from touching him. “S-Sorry,” he muttered when he saw the
surprised look on her face. Quirrell reached up and brushed the snow away
“There, you’ve got it all,” Jessica told him.
Quirrell looked back up at her and began to smile
before he saw the dark figure looming just behind her.
“S-Severus,” Quirrell began when the professor’s
eyes locked with his. His bottom lip bobbed up and down as if he had more to
say, although it didn’t seem like any words had come to mind.
“You’d best get a move on,” Severus spoke instead
when he noticed Quirrell’s empty hands. “We’ll be leaving shortly.”
The rest of the necessities Snape needed to purchase
were all down Knockturn Alley, which was a tiny lane just off of Diagon Alley.
He’d planned to pick them up on the way back to Hogwarts after seeing Jessica
off at the Leaky Cauldron. Nothing could ever convince him that it would be
wise to bring her along with him down Knockturn Alley, even if she never left
his sight for a moment. Too many people, and all the wrong people would
Quirrell had gone ahead to collect what he needed
for his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes while Snape waited with Jessica
several shops away from the opening of the shadowy alley. He’d been gone for
nearly twenty minutes and Severus was beginning to lose his patience.
“So what exactly have you got planned for tomorrow
night?” Jessica asked Severus after an uncomfortable moment of silence.
Remembering not to touch him or draw any unnecessary attention to him, Jessica
kept a respectable distance from Severus but didn’t let her smile hide the fact
that she was crazy about him.
“Nothing spectacular.” For the most part, Severus
stood perfectly still and kept his eyes open for Quirrell. “I’ll take you to
dinner with the rest of the staff. Then afterwards, provided you haven’t
already driven me insane, we can retire to my quarters if
you’d like. I’d be willing to share a drink with you.”
“If I’d like?” Jessica repeated as if there
could possibly be the slightest chance that she wouldn’t care to join
him for a drink after dinner. “Come on Severus, if we don’t wind up alone in
your quarters tomorrow evening you’ll never find out what’s in these bags,” she
said and held the two pink paper bags up a little ways.
Severus eyed the pink bags curiously and then showed
Jessica an equally interested look. “If there’s anything pink in there
for me, you’d best take it all back right now.”
“Relax Severus,” Jessica told him. “If there’s
anything pink in these bags they’re surly not for you. However, if you don’t
think you’ll fancy seeing me wear pink under my clothes, I will take it all
“Under?” Severus whispered silkily. “May I ask, what
exactly have you got planned for tomorrow night?” He took a step closer
to her and leaned his shoulder up against the wall she’d been resting against.
Jessica managed a weak grin. It grew, however, into
a beautiful seductive smile. “I know you’re a little disappointed that we won’t
be able to spend this evening together and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to tell you
myself. Uncle Albus told me it would be best if he spoke to you instead.”
Hidden by the bags she held in her left hand, Jessica delicately ran her
fingers along the sleeve of his overcoat and paced one step closer to him.
“Anyway, I want to make it up to you. I want tomorrow night to be special…
romantic, if you’ll permit me to use that word.”
Jessica could feel the flood of emotion that was
beginning to swell in the pit of his stomach. Passion mixed with anxiety.
Excitement, anticipation and trepidation all at once. He’d been waiting a long
time to hear her say those words. She knew how badly he wanted her. Since the
moment he first laid eyes on her Jessica could sense how much he wanted her,
and not because she was an empath, but because of the way Severus looked at her
on that Halloween night. With such hunger for passion in his dark eyes, who
could miss such obvious yearning?
“Do - do you really want to…” The mental image of
having Jessica in his quarters wearing nothing but a tiny piece of pink silk
kept Severus from being able to find the words he wanted to say before Jessica
began to giggle.
“My goodness Severus,” she said between giggles.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard you stutter.” She smiled glamorously at
him and raised a hand to the side of his face. To her surprise, he didn’t bat
her away. “But in answer to your question, yes I do. I love you, Severus.” She
took her hand away from his cheek and picked his hand up by his wrist and
dotted him with a kiss. “You don’t have to say it back to me now, but I do want
you to know that it will be the last thing I hear from your lips before you and
I become lovers.”
He knew immediately that those words weren’t going
to come very easily. With the exception of the time Jessica had bewitched him
near the Quidditch pitch, he’d never once told a woman he loved her. He’d told
her he loved her because he had no choice. Jessica’s ability to bewitch him
drove the truth out of him. Although it was true, and he knew it, Severus never
would have told her he loved her if she hadn’t manipulated him.
“Ah, if it isn’t my dear friend Professor Snape.”
Severus turned his head around at the familiar sound
of the sleek icy voice. Just emerging from Knockturn Alley, Lucius Malfoy
approached the pair with his cane in a gloved hand. He was wearing a black
overcoat buttoned up to his neck and a shiny pair of black boots that squeaked
quietly as he stepped over the fresh powder-like snow.
“Lucius,” Severus greeted and extended his hand.
“I’ve just spoken to Professor Quirrell,” Lucius
said and raised his eyebrows elegantly. “He said I’d probably see you here with
a lovely young lady.” His eyes slithered over to Jessica and the refined grin
that appeared on his face ensured that he very much agreed with Quirrell’s
opinion of her.
Severus led Jessica by her arm in front of him.
“Jessica Van Eden, meet Draco’s father Lucius Malfoy.”
His eyebrows rose inquisitively again as the sound
of her name sparked great interest. “Van Eden,” he repeated interestedly and
extended his hand towards her. The reaction she sensed from him when he said
her name churned uncomfortably in her stomach.
“It’s a pleasure to-” the moment Jessica touched her
hand to his she felt a sharp pain burn at the small of her back. It had only
lasted for a second or two but had taken her by surprise. “-to meet you, sir.”
Jessica pulled her hand away from Lucius rather quickly and took one step back
closer to Severus.
“Likewise, Miss Van Eden.” If Jessica weren’t an
empath she would have believe that the confident look in his eyes and the calm
way he spoke suggested that the man had nothing to hide. Nonetheless, she could
feel a scheming flood of motivation swimming around in his head. “I knew of
your mother,” Lucius continued. “You have my sincere condolences.”
“Thank you,” Jessica said softly, although she knew
he didn’t feel any pity for her at all.
“Tell me Lucius,” Snape began, “is that bloody oaf
anywhere near assembling his provisions? I’ve got to have Jessica at the Leaky
Cauldron very shortly.”
“I can’t say for certain,” Lucius told him. “If
you’d like to go on and take a look for him yourself I wouldn’t mind staying
here with Miss Van Eden.” The brilliance of his glacier blue eyes sparkled in
the bright sunlight and his shiny blonde hair looked almost white. He had his
long hair pulled back and tied behind him at the base of his neck.
“That’s very kind of you,” Severus said. “But I
“It’s all right,” Jessica interrupted. “I don’t mind
at all.” Whatever it was that Lucius was hiding, Jessica felt certain that
she’d have a better opportunity to find out what it was if Severus weren’t
“Be that as it may, you know perfectly well that as
long as we’re here together you are my responsibility,” Severus reminded.
Jessica nodded confidently and smiled as she touched
a warm hand to his. “Go on, let Mr. Malfoy and I get to know one another.” Her
bewitching touch sent warm tingles up his arm.
His dark eyes slithered over to Lucius Malfoy. He did
trust Lucius. Maybe not alone with Jessica, but at least in the middle of a
crowd he did. They’d known each other for years and had never turned on one
“Very well,” he finally said. “Stay right here, I’ll
be back very shortly.” His hands hugged tightly around her arms before he
stepped around her and made way for Knockturn Alley. Jessica watched him until
he disappeared into the narrow dark alleyway.
“He seems to very deeply for you,” Lucius observed.
“After all, Knockturn Alley is no place for a girl like you.”
Jessica looked up into Lucius’ stunning blue eyes.
“A girl like me?” she repeated. “And what kind of girl am I?”
His head shook as if he were disappointed to hear
her ask such a thing. “You’re going to be a legend. I suppose you think I no
one knows much about you just because you disappeared from the wizarding world
after your escape from He Who Must Not Be Named. The story of you and your
mother is practically legendary. Who could forget the rescue of Espiranza Van
Eden and her illegitimate child?”
“You were one of them,” Jessica affirmed. “Weren’t
“All in the past,” Lucius declared. “Then was a time
of great confusion and-”
“You’re still one of them,” Jessica interrupted.
“Nothing’s changed other than the fact that your leader has disappeared. You’re
still loyal to him, waiting faithfully until he returns.”
An intriguing expression appeared on his face.
“Well, well, well,” he whispered. “Clearly you are your father’s daughter. I
can’t easily put anything past you.”
“Not easily,” Jessica agreed.
She intimidated him. Only slightly, but Jessica
could still feel the trepidation eating away at him. “Anyhow, it’s only a
matter of time before you’ll be united with the Dark Lord. He’s waited
twenty-five years for you.”
“I’ll never unite with the likes of him,”
Jessica assured. “I’m nothing like my father.” She’d changed her mind about
wanting to stay here with Lucius. Obviously the anxiety he felt earlier had
everything to do with knowing that she’d see right through him and know that he
was still deeply involved with the Dark Arts. She threatened his freedom and
yet he made no attempt to deny his involvement.
Jessica peeked over Lucius’ shoulder hoping that
she’d see Severus coming back from Knockturn Alley with Quirrell right beside
him. He wasn’t there.
Perhaps he wouldn’t fret too terribly if she went to
find him. Compared to the company she had out in the openness of Diagon Alley
Jessica felt she’d be a lot safer at Severus’ side down Knockturn Alley.
As soon as she tried to step around Lucius Malfoy,
she felt his hand quickly grasp a lock of her hair. He held her tightly and
lured her back to him. “He won’t let you slip away so easily,” Lucius assured.
His face was a mere inch away from hers when he eased up on the hold he had of
her hair. Lucius took a deep breath of her hair as he let the strands slip
through his gloved hand.
As the last of her hair fell through the gaps of his
fingers Lucius lifted the head of his cane to the side of her face and ran the
silver snakehead down along her cheek and then along her jawbone. Jessica
lifted her chin and looked deep into his eyes.
Lucius stared right back at her and pondered. He
looked inquisitively at her and then hummed for a moment. “Remarkable,” he said
proudly. “Except for the brilliance of your mother’s eyes, you look just like
your father when he was a young man.”
Jessica narrowed those emerald green eyes he was
talking about and glared at him. “Well that puts an ‘X’ through your name.”
Jessica lifted her chin over the head of his cane and started to step away.
Lucius made a swift move and pulled her back even
closer to him. He stared intently at her for a moment and then let the vicious
curves of his face soften. A laugh sounded from the back of his throat. “I was
only a small boy when you came along. It would be far more likely to believe
that you and I were lovers than it would be to believe that I could be your
An involuntary shiver worked it way through
Jessica’s body and lingered deep in the pit of her stomach when Lucius ran his
pointer finger down the side of her face and then grasped her silky hair. He
closed his eyes and forced himself to imagine what it would be like to have
Jessica alone with him in his bed. A soft moan escaped from his mouth just as
Jessica tried to pull away from him.
“You’re a sick man,” Jessica proclaimed as soon as
she sensed the explicit sensuality of his thoughts.
As Lucius opened his eyes all of the erotic images
vanished and a sly smile appeared on his face. “I see you’re empathic and
telepathic abilities are still very well in tact. Obviously everything else is
still intact as well. I’d have thought you’d given yourself to him by now.”
“I beg your pardon?” Jessica snarled at him in
disgust and tried once again to pull her arm from Lucius’ strong grip. He held
on tightly and refused to let go of her.
“Severus,” he said almost gleefully. “You haven’t
given yourself to him after all. You’re still a virgin.”
Disturbed by his remark, Jessica yanked once more on
her arm and tried to free herself from Lucius’ grasp. His grip was too tight.
Her arm began to feel numb he was squeezing so hard. The tips of her fingers
tingled in the cold and started to hurt her.
“You’ve no right to know such a thing,” Jessica
assured. “Who I give myself to is of none importance to you.”
Not the least bit intimidated by her fierce tone,
Lucius returned to the delicate personal subject without hesitation. “You’re
right, it isn’t,” he agreed. “However, I do know that there is someone who
would be awfully upset to hear that a former Death Eater made love to his
“What are you talking about?” Jessica questioned.
“I’m no one’s woman.”
For a brief moment as another couple passed them by,
Lucius loosened his grip around Jessica’s arm and smiled at the passing witch
and wizard. They nodded in return and then carried on down Diagon Alley.
Immediately afterward Lucius resumed his secure hold around Jessica’s upper
arm. For that brief moment that he had released her Jessica felt a mad rush of
hot blood race down the length of her arm. It burned and tingled all at the
“Surly you must know that your father chose a mate
for you long before you were born,” Lucius said in a low velvety voice that
shared none of the warmth Severus’ did. “You’re destined for another, Jessica.”
“You lie!” she shouted at him.
“Oh I’m being perfectly honest with you,” Lucius
promised. “If you’re still a virgin – which I believe you are – you can sense
it.” His eyebrows turned up in anticipation of seeing the conquering look on
her face. Slowly, it did come. She could sense that he was telling her the
truth. “But, if I happen to be wrong and you’re not, I can guarantee someone
will be very, VERY upset. Your gifts will no longer be of use to him and
twenty-five years of preparation will all have been for nothing. And you can
imagine how much that would infuriate the Dark Lord. You’d become expendable,
just like Espiranza… and so would the man who robbed him of his glory.” Lucius
took another step closer to Jessica so that his lips were but an inch away from
Jessica’s ear. “Now, we both know Severus is a good man, you don’t want to be
the cause of another loved one’s death, do you?”
The tainted words from his lips dripped like ice and
drove shivers up and down her spine. Jessica swallowed hard and felt the
sensation of his mind penetrate through her entire body. He spoke no word of a
lie. Voldemort would do as the man had said. Lucius and Jessica both knew it,
“No,” Jessica finally whispered once her voice found
its way past the swelling lump in her throat.
“Good,” Lucius said and took a step back from her.
“Now, remember that when he pretends to whisper sweet nothings into your ear to
lure you into his bed.”
Jessica glared at him and fought to keep her tears
back. The moisture that swelled in the corners of her eyes glittered in the
sunlight and Lucius could see how near she was to tears. “Severus would never
do that, he respects my body and he loves me.”
Lucius tilted his head back a little ways and
laughed at her. “Come now Jessica, you and I both know very well that he could
never love you. He’ll never love anybody. When he finds out he can never grasp
the full intimacy of your embrace, the love you think you have will
crumble, I guarantee it.”
“Let go of me,” Jessica demanded in a low voice. She
could feel how much Lucius enjoyed tormenting her. The smirk on his face was
enough to ensure that much. He was a hard man to read, but nonetheless wasn’t
impossible. Jessica knew very well he was everything a Death Eater was.
“Let go of me!” Jessica demanded again. “You’re
hurting me. Let go before I-”
“Before you what?” Lucius questioned. He tightened
the agonizing grip he had around her arm and stared deep into her eyes as he
waited for an answer.
“Before I bite you.” Jessica stilled her arm and
gave Lucius one more opportunity to release her. She’d had enough of his
company and was more than ready to go look for Severus down Knockturn Alley.
Lucius chuckled at Jessica and reached the head of
his cane up to touch her face. Tired of the way he’d been treating her, in the
blink of an eye Jessica suddenly transformed into the Fierce Snake. She wrapped
the length of her reptilian body around his neck and swiftly dashed her small
head down and plunged her fangs into the opening of his hand between his thumb
and pointer finger.
An ear-piercing scream sounded from the depths of
Lucius’ lungs. He howled in pain as the sharp fangs penetrated through his
leather gloves and contaminated his veins with the most toxic snake venom known
Before his agonizing scream could attract anyone’s
attention, Jessica transformed back into her human appearance and stood in
front of Lucius as he fell to his knees, his punctured hand held face up in
front of him. His good hand wrapped around his wrist and squeezed to keep the
venom from flowing up his arm. His bloodshot eyes looked up at Jessica in sheer
pain. His face reddened and Jessica could see his entire body beginning to
Jessica slowly reached into her jacket and pulled a
small vial out from her pocket. She dangled it in front of him and swung it
back and forth for him to see.
Unable to do anything more than keep his hand
squeezed around his burning wrist, Lucius stared up at Jessica with a look of
pure hatred. The poison was travelling through his body so quickly he couldn’t
even move his jaw to curse her.
“You’re experiencing muscle contractions because
you’re under respiratory distress and your body is going into shock,” Jessica
told him as Lucius’ body began to stutter. “I’ve just injected your body with
nearly one hundred milligrams of toxic venom. This vial right here in my hand
is probably the only thing within your reach that will spare your life.” She teased
him again and let the vial dangle just a few inches out of his reach. Lucius
tore his eyes away from the vial when the nauseating feeling in his stomach
forced him to turn his head to vomit. He coughed repeatedly and spat into the
snow next to him. “Soon you’ll experience convulsions, perhaps even paralysis.
You’ll feel dizzy and confused shortly before you slip into a coma, then within
the next ten minutes you’ll be dead.”
Blood began to trickle from each of his nostrils.
Lucius stared up at Jessica and glared malevolently at her. “You… wouldn’t…
kill… me,” he managed to stutter. Jessica could see the bouts of sweat
trickling from his forehead. His body began to jerk around uncontrollably in a
“Why wouldn’t I?” Jessica asked. “I was bred to
become a killer. Killing you would make my father proud, wouldn’t it? He
doesn’t take pity in killing his own kind, does he?” Jessica knelt down to his
level and popped the cork to the vial. She put her hand under Lucius’ neck and
poured the antidote down his throat.
As horrible as it tasted, Lucius desperately tried
to swallow the vile. He choked on the last drop but instantly felt it move
through his body and stop the convulsions. His head still ached in fury and the
dizziness enveloped him.
“I’ve spared your life for one reason, Mr. Malfoy,”
Jessica began and stood up straight. “You’ll deliver a message to my father at
once. Tell him that I’m not afraid of him or his Master. His threats are
meaningless to me and from now on Severus and I are going to live happily with
one another. I’ll not have anything to do with him or his people.”
The antidote finally spread throughout his entire
body and Lucius could stand up again. His heart still racing, he straightened
his clothes and backed cowardly away from Jessica. “You want me to tell your
father that?” he questioned.
“Yes,” Jessica said, her answer as assuring as the
antidote that had just spared his life.
“Well, Miss Van Eden,” Lucius said respectfully.
“I’m afraid I cannot do that.”
“Because my lady, he’s dead. Voldemort killed him
after he failed to bring you to him last summer.”
* * *
Sorry about the length of
this chapter, but hey… I didn’t want to make it too compact. Anyway, let me
know what you’re thinking so far. Your reviews have been wonderful!!! I’m so
glad you all love the story so far!!! Now… what happens next on Christmas
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