As I headed down to dinner that night I wondered if Percy would ever know about the Babbling jinx. Fred had been careful to remove it as Percy and Penny finally left the pub. I was also rather impressed that Penny had sat through an hour of crazy rambling and the occasional outburst of singing.
Overall it had been an enjoyable Halloween. I entered the Great Hall, which was fully decorated for the holiday, and took at seat at Gryffindor table. Fred and George sat across from me minutes later.
“Lovely day in the village,” George stated, glancing up the table. I followed his gaze and saw Percy chatting with an older student. I smirked remembering the songs Percy had come up with.
“I quite agree, George,” said Fred. “And how was your first visit to the village?” he asked turning to me.
“Memorable,” I said rolling my eyes. Fred and George Weasley were absolute nutters.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After dinner I made my way up the stairs with the other Gryffindors. I was ready to lie down and get some sleep. Unfortunately there was a hold up in the corridor near the portrait of the Fat Lady. People were grumbling, trying to find out what the problem was.
“Make way!” I heard Percy yelling. “Head Boy coming through,” he was calling out as he made his way forward. “Somebody get Dumbledore, now!” I heard him say when he was closer to the portrait. My curiosity peaked and I tried shifting to get a better view. Too bad I was near the back and couldn’t see anything.
Soon Dumbledore was here, pushing through to the front with much more success than Percy had. I couldn’t hear what anyone but the people around me were muttering until Peeves arrived.
“Saw her running through a landscape on the fourth floor, ashamed she was,” Peeves was saying. “She wouldn’t let him through.”
“Who?” I thought I heard Dumbledore ask. It was really annoying only hearing parts of the conversation. However I and every other Gryffindor student clearly heard Peeves’s last words.
“Nasty temper he’s got, that Sirius Black.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sleeping in the Great Hall with every other student is not enjoyable. Normally I slept with several charms on my hangings. A silencing and privacy charm at the very least. A cushy, purple sleeping bag was not an appropriate substitute. I stayed awake all night, watching the night sky on the ceiling. I closed my eyes whenever a teacher or Percy walked my way.
After a tense breakfast where Dumbledore announced that Black was no where in the castle or on the ground we were finally allowed to leave the Hall. Whispering and muttering broke out amongst most the student body but I ignored it, heading straight for Gryffindor tower. A new painting hung at the entrance, a knight with a fat pony. Sir Cadogan, the knight introduced himself as. One of the fifth year prefects gave him the new password and I followed several other students inside. Back in the third year girls dormitory I cast a few spells on my hangings and promptly fell asleep.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Over the next two weeks I heard so many rumors about Sirius Black, it was maddening. The most annoying part was that none of them were even possible. If you’re going to make up a rumor at least make it plausible.
Another constant was the miserable rainy weather. All of the school grounds were wet and muddy. Walking to or from Care of Magical Creatures was always annoying, yet alone spending the hour outside. At least in Herbology we were in a greenhouse. A cynical part of me considered that it was a conspiracy of the Dementors to keep the school as miserable as Azkaban was.
On Thursday I walked into Defense class and was surprised to find Snape instead of Lupin. I raised an eyebrow and caught his eye. I let a bit of confusion through my mental shield. Snape’s eyes flashed to an empty desk which I took to mean ‘sit.’
As I sat there waiting for class to start I wondered if this was usual. Does any available teacher fill in if someone is unable to teach? Looking around at the other Gryffindors I figured the answer was no. They all seemed surprised and wary of Snape’s presence.
“Silence.” Snape called as the bell rang. I quickly noticed Potter was missing, Snape noticed it too. “It seems Mr. Potter couldn’t be bothered to show up for class today. Ten points from Gryffindor and I shall deal with him personally later.” I saw Ron Weasley and Hermione give each other a worried look.
Dean Thomas had his hand up now. “Sir, where’s Professor Lupin?” Snape’s eyes flashed with anger and something I didn’t recognize.
“Obviously he is unable to teach today and I have been given the task of suffering through the next hour with all of you. Believe me when I say I take no pleasure in this.”
He was lying, I could tell that much. There was just a hint of excitement I could feel from him. Excitement? That’s a bit confusing and weird. I closed my eyes, focusing on that emotion, trying to find out why it was there. Usually the link between Snape and myself went one way. There were rare times though when I was sure I could sense something from him. I felt like I was tethered to my own mind and thoughts, slowly I reached away, trying to grasp Snape’s emotions. I could feel myself at the edge of my own mind, but so close to Snape’s. He remained out of reach.
This is where I usually stopped, accepting that Snape had access to my mind and knowing I could never see his. The Lupin mystery and Dimitri’s words echoed through my mind. I couldn’t give up, not when I was this close. In a last ditch effort I pushed myself farther.
I immediately fell off the edge. A blur of images raced through my mind so fast that I couldn’t make anything out. Panic flew through my body and I opened my eyes. The images stopped but the panic remained. My hands were shaking and the rest of the class was turned around, looking back at me. Snape was glaring.
“Lestrange,” he barked, “detention Friday after dinner for your inability to pay attention in class.”
I put my hand under my desk, trying to hide them from view. Hermione had turned around quickly and opened her mouth to defend me. I wish I could have told her to be quiet. Thankfully another distraction came. Potter burst through the door, apologizing for being late.
I tuned out the conversation, concentrating on getting my hands to stop shaking. It had been over a year since I felt like this. The last time I had accidentally set fire to Beauxbatons library. At least I hadn’t lost control that badly this time.
I heard Snape yelling at the class to turn to page 394. I did it slowly, my hands were shaking much less now. I looked at the page before me. Werewolves. Internally I cringed, I remembered my last encounter with a werewolf.
Ivan Volkov was one of the most vicious werewolves in the Eastern European/Russian area. I’d been unfortunate enough to come across him near Durmstrang my first year. In his human form he’d been deadly, I couldn’t imagine how unstoppable he could be in wolf form. I tried very hard not to remember him. It was impossible for me though. I could still remember his hand wrapping around my throat. Feeling my life slowly slip away, him hovering over me. It still sent chills down my spine. That feeling, it had been – I went rigid as I remembered – it had been the exact same feeling I’d had when I woke up with Lupin leaning over me.
No. No, Lupin couldn’t be a werewolf. I froze-Dimitri. He said he had more in common with Lupin. Dimitri had known what Lupin was. He wouldn’t have said nothing if he thought Lupin was dangerous, that must mean Dimitri’s father had known Lupin.
Mikhail Pravdin, Dimitri’s father was apparently a rather well known werewolf in Russia, not for the same reason as Ivan Volkov though. Mr. Pravdin believed a person’s life didn’t end with a werewolf bite. He’d set up a community for other werewolves and their families. They abided by magical laws and helped others in their community, showing that not all werewolves were murdering beasts. Mr. Pravdin had even married a witch and had five children. Four girls and Dimitri. Thankfully none of the children had been born a full werewolf. Dimitri didn’t transform during the full moon but he did tend to be a bit moodier. He also had quick reflexes, heightened senses, and amazing strength. This made Dimitri perfect for the other plans his father had-capturing werewolves like Ivan Volkov.
Dimitri had been at Durmstrang, undercover, getting information on Karkaroff who, rumors had it, was in business with Volkov. I hadn’t learned all this until after Volkov had tried to kill me. Dimitri had saved me and handed Volkov over to some desolate Siberian prison. Karkaroff would have been headed there too except for one thing-me.
Karkaroff, being the slimy git that he was, had threatened Dimitri and me. He’d gotten to stay as Headmaster while Dimitri and I were forced to leave, or Lucius and others would be informed about the not exactly school or Ministry approved guidelines we’d followed.
Dimitri had also found out about my connection with Snape. Well I suppose he didn’t actually know that it was Snape’s work, but the risk of other people learning about it was too high. Grudgingly I had followed Karkaroff’s conditions. Dimitri promised me that someone would remain close to Durmstrang to keep an eye on Karkaroff. Lucius had been furious about my expulsion over ‘breaking several school rules and being incapable of controlling myself,’ but it was better than him knowing the truth.
Focusing back on Snape’s lecture I realized that he must know about Lupin. Surely Snape wasn’t the only person, though I was pretty certain students were not supposed to know. That would create a panic even if it was obvious to me that Lupin wasn’t one of the vicious werewolves. So why was Snape here, teaching about werewolves on the day of a full moon, basically shouting ‘hey dunderheads, notice how Lupin has the same symptoms as a werewolf?!’
Because he hated Lupin. Every moment Snape saw Lupin he glared at him, eyes full of fury. He’d been even more furious after the boggart. He’d punish students who mentioned Lupin or Defense class. Snape wanted others to know, he wanted Lupin to suffer.
No, this was Snape for Merlin’s sake. I trusted Severus Snape. He saved my life several times now. This couldn’t be intentional. Yes, Snape could be coarse and unapologetic, but this? I would have liked to claim ignorant bliss, like maybe he’d just done it on a whim without much thought. That wasn’t Snape though. He always rationalized things, considered every option. Snape was always thinking ten steps ahead. So why? Why do this to Lupin? A student’s boggart hardly seemed like enough motivation. I’d have to wait until my Friday detention to find out. Easier said than done.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Friday morning, around 2 a.m. I woke up. Instead of getting out of bed, I laid there, staring up. Over the past two and a half months my view of Snape had shifted. Instead of the rigid, calculating, brilliant, yet still caring Snape, I had come to see him like most of the students saw him, someone to tiptoe around. The teacher to avoid, making sure you kept your head down lest he turn his displeasure on you. It bothered me an unusual amount. It was easy to tell myself that he had to play his role more clearly here. That he had to be this way. A small part of me worried though, what if Snape had never been that caring? Maybe being with Rodolphus Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy had skewed my perception of what father figures should be like? If Snape didn’t really care, had my life for the past nine years just been an experiment in the Dark Arts for him?
Dimitri once asked if I was sure about Snape. I’d replied instantly and honestly-yes. Did I feel that way now? I wasn’t so sure.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At 6 p.m. Snape left the Great Hall. After waiting a couple of minutes I headed down to his office. Outside of his door I hesitated. My hand was half way up when the door swung open.
“In,” he ordered. After closing the door he told me to sit then started spelling his office. I sat there nervously waiting until he was finished. “Care to tell me why I was woken up at two in the morning with mind numbing sorrow and guilt?” he asked after he sat behind his desk. I cringed, I was supposed to be better at keeping my emotions to myself. “You’re doing it again,” he pointed out sounding bored. I put more into my mental barrier. “Please don’t insult me, I hardly need that when I can see the emotion on your face.” I made my face go into a neutral expression and turned to one of the walls. “Finally approaching the sullen and with drawled phase then?” he asked mockingly.
“Do you always have to insult someone when you talk to them?” I snapped back.
He leaned back in his chair, letting out a frustrated sigh. “You know this would be a lot easier if you just told me what was bothering you.” I said nothing. “You were far more enjoyable nine years ago,” he said scornfully.
“So were you,” I replied instantly.
“Ah, so this is about me. Well at least we’ve established that.” I sent him a glare. “You realize I can keep you down here all night.”
“Are you going to force me?” I asked snidely.
This made Snape pause and watch at me. “You know I wouldn’t,” he said at last. “I had believed this was a teenage thing, phase possibly, something that related to the other students. I see that I was wrong. I cannot and will not force you to confide me. I will however, point out that my loyalties have always been to you.”
“I feel like I don’t even know you anymore,” I whispered.
“Nothing about me has changed.”
“It feels like it has.”
“I was never a…nice person, Jade”
“You were never cruel.”
“I do not have the patience to deal with most of the students I teach. I am certain you are aware of that. I also hope you will appreciate that I do have a role to play, more so here. I do understand why you feel that my actions against particular students are rather harsh-“
“You’re trying to ruin Lupin’s life,” I bitterly cut in.
“I hardly think Lupin needs to be coddled,” Snape said briskly as is eyes flashed in rage. A flash of anger cursed through me and one of the jars on a shelf behind me shattered. “This is really just about Lupin?” Snape asked disbelievingly.
“Are you really trying to tell everyone he’s a werewolf because he got the job you wanted?” I shot back as another jar shattered. “Or because of Neville’s boggart?” Two more jars exploded behind me. “Or maybe you really are the cold” –shatter- “hearted” –two more shatters- “bastard” –five jars this time- “everyone says you are!” The rest of Snape’s jars shattered.
Snape sat there unmoving, which annoyed me even more. I wanted him to fight back. I reached for my wand but it was gone.
“I assume you’re looking for this,” Snape said lazily. He was twirling my wand in his fingers. “You and I both know you can’t attack me with this, it won’t work.”
“I’m smarter and stronger than you,” I growled.
“Smarter in some things, yes. Overall, perhaps. Stronger though? Doubtful.”
“Give it back and we can find out,” I said furiously.
“No,” he said, causing me to clench my fists. “Would you mind sitting back down so I can deal with you and not Rodolphus’s anger?” he asked in a bored voice. I hadn’t even realized I’d stood up. ‘Rodolphus’s anger’ also made me pause. “I can, in fact, recognize the difference between the two of you by now.” Was this really my father’s anger? Why was I mad at Snape? Lupin. Snape was trying to tell people about Lupin’s condition. Did I really just challenge Snape to a duel? “Sit.” He took a vial out of his desk, a calming draught. “Drink this,” he told me holding it out. I reached my arm half way and stopped, unsure.
Drink it, a voice inside my head said. I snapped my arm back. “You’re forcing me!” I accused him, filled with anger again.
“No I’m not. You aren’t even looking me in the eye,” he pointed out sounding annoyed. No, I wasn’t I realized. “Some part of you realizes this is what you need. Just take it. Please.” Snape was not one to say ‘please’ very often. I took the vial and swallowed it all.
I felt the effects almost immediately. Somehow I’d become enraged very quickly, that ashamed me. I was supposed to be able to keep my father out by now.
“I don’t know what I did wrong,” I said hanging my head while I rubbed the back of it.
“During Defense, you made a connection, I believe.”
“I was focusing on you.”
“You were excited to be teaching the class, excited you could give hints about Lupin being a werewolf. I tried to follow it, trace it back to you to find out more. I went too far,” I tried to explain. “I should have stopped. It was the same thing that happened at Beauxbatons, but I kept going,” I told him miserably. It had been stupid and reckless for me to try. I’d endangered everyone in the class, including Snape.
“Unwise as it was, I do understand your reasoning.” Snape held out my wand, but I hesitated. “I’m certain you are yourself now or I would not offer it back.”
“It was stupid,” I muttered, putting my wand away.
“Curiosity is not unheard of.”
“Your understanding and sympathetic tone is disturbing,” I said rudely.
“Ah, even more evidence of you being in control of yourself again.”
I sent a glare at him before looking away. We sat there silently for a few minutes. I couldn’t help but ask him the question that was nagging my mind.
“Why do you hate Lupin so much?” When he didn’t answer I turned to him, he appeared to be doing some quick thinking. “I would prefer an honest answer,” I muttered.
“I’ve never lied to you,” Snape responded quickly.
“I wouldn’t be able to tell if you were lying anyways.”
“You said you knew in class,” he reminded me.
“You weren’t doing a very good job at it,” I said rolling my eyes. “If you were truly attempting to, I wouldn’t know.”
“I suppose that is where trust comes into play.” Did I trust Snape? He risked his life to save me. He still risked prison every day if anyone were to find out. Yes, I trusted Snape. “I am…” he appeared to be finding the right word, “…sorry-“
“You’re never sorry,” I blurted out instantly. He glared at me.
“I am regretful that I put you in this situation and that I cannot give you a proper answer to your question. My lesson was perhaps…seemingly rash, from your point of view. However, I would ask that you trust me enough to let it go.”
“He doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined that way,” I said softly. I heard Snape left out a frustrated sigh.
“If you feel this strongly about it, then I will attempt to reign in my actions.” Snape didn’t seem too happy about this.
He scoffed then we sat there in silence for another minute.
“I expect you to repair my office.” I looked around at the shattered jars and their contents spilling over the shelves and floor. Guilt flowed through me. “Not more guilt,” Snape said in a sneering voice.
“Why do you have all of this stuff in here?” I asked, pulling out my wand and repairing the jars.
“It terrifies most of the students,” he said indifferently. “Rather efficient way of instilling obedience.” I hovered the items back into their proper jars. A few of them were small brains, from rodents most likely.
“Only most students?” These were rather creepy.
“You get the occasional oddball who finds it all alluring and mesmerizing.”
“I can’t imagine what house they’re from,” I said sarcastically.
“I’ll have you know one of them was a Ravenclaw a few years back.”
“Well it’s nice to know Slytherin isn’t the only place for creepy gits.”
“No offense to you,” I amended quickly. “You’re not a git.”
“You’re keeping rat brains in your office,” I pointed out.
A/N: Yes, I do realize Jade seems change moods very quickly. She is not quite…mentally balanced. She does have her father in her head and grew up with Lucius Malfoy though, that certainly doesn’t help matters. Plus the fact that mental instability does tend to run in pureblood families.
Also I’m pretty far in, but I should add this disclaimer that I don’t own any of the characters in Harry Potter.
Keep reading, I hope you enjoy the story. Feel free to leave a review. Let me know what you think.