A week before Halloween I was sitting in the common room, reading a book. Well, sort of. I would only get a few lines then my mind would drift back to Dimitri’s letter. I’d received it over a week ago but it was still constantly on my mind. I wasn’t sure if the advice was helpful or not.
Dimitri told me he understood my anger and that I was right to be furious over Snape’s actions. Well he didn’t know it was Snape, or maybe he did by now. The code word I used for Snape was ‘my handler.’ To explain the situation I had to admit that my handler was at Hogwarts. That piece of information along with what I’d told Dimitri at Durmstrang and because he was smart enough to know only someone with vast knowledge of the Dark Arts could be my handler, well that pretty much narrowed it down to Snape.
The whole point was that Dimitri had agreed with my anger but also pointed out that I needed Snape. And he reminded me that I had explicitly told him that I trusted Snape. Dimitri said I had to answer the most important question for myself. ‘Did I still trust Snape?’ If I did, I needed to get past this, to talk to Snape and work it out. Dimitri had also pointed out that maybe I didn’t have all the facts, maybe there was more to the story. Thinking back, Snape had seemed to detest Lupin even before the boggart situation. Telling everyone about Lupin was wrong, yes, but maybe Snape felt justified about doing it.
So, did I still trust Snape? I was fairly confident that I did. Now I needed to get past what he’d done, justified or not. Thinking about it gave me a headache. I leaned back and sighed. Why does everything need to be so complicated?
“Rough night?” a voice beside me asked. I was so startled that I ended up with my wand pointed at the person. “Whoa, calm down, just me. I surrender.”
I looked at Fred Weasley sitting on the couch beside me with his hands up. “Why do you always do that?” I whispered feeling annoyed.
“I’m not the one always day dreaming. Can you not point that at me? I’m really rather fond of the way I look.”
I rolled my eyes and stashed my wand away. “I don’t daydream.”
“Well you think far too much then.”
“Maybe you don’t think enough,” I snapped back.
“Are you in a bad mood then? Or is just me you don’t like?”
“Why do you think I don’t like you?” I asked confused.
“You’ve been avoiding me,” he said seriously.
“No I haven’t.” Wait, have I been? No, more Snape and Moody, certainly not Fred.
“Ever since I-before the welcoming feast.” Well that wasn’t true at all.
“We sat together for lunch two days ago. And you were across from me during dinner on Thursday.”
“You mean the meals you ate in under two minutes and then immediately left? No, that doesn’t feel like you’re avoiding me at all,” he said sarcastically.
“I’m not avoiding you.”
“Then?” I internally cringed, I couldn’t tell him I was avoiding Snape. It would be difficult to explain why I was avoiding Moody though. Bugger it, the truth was better so I went with my second choice.
“Moody,” I admitted.
“Mad-Eye Moody?” he asked confused.
“Yes Moody. What’s wrong with that?”
“Why would you be trying to avoid Moody? He’s bloody brilliant.”
I glared at Fred. “Yes, he’s absolutely smashing,” I said sarcastically.
“What, you just don’t like any Aurors?”
“I’m not having this conversation,” I said standing up.
“I didn’t mean –”
“Goodbye,” I said, cutting him off.
I headed to bed feeling guilty about my reaction and ashamed that I couldn’t tell Fred the real reason I didn’t like Moody. Now on top of everything else I had this to worry about.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On Wednesday after Transfiguration, McGonagall called me back to stay after class. With a sigh I walked up to her desk. She waved her wand, closing the door after the last students exited.
“Miss Lestrange,” she began.
“Professor.” I wondered what I had done.
“This Friday, as I am sure you are aware, the delegations from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive.” Considering it was all anyone seemed to be talking about, McGonagall’s statement was quite obvious. “I realize you have had your…disagreements with Headmasters Karkaroff and Maxime.” That was an understatement. “However, you are now a Hogwarts student and are expected to uphold the standards we have for all our students. I’m sure you understand that.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Yes I was very aware about which school I attended and that Dumbledore was still monitoring my behavior.
“I’m sure you have several…differing opinions from Headmaster Karkaroff –”
“He’s a Death Eater. Most of the wizarding population has differing opinions from him,” I retorted before I could stop myself.
“Be that the case, you are expected to remain civil and polite,”
“I don’t suppose you mentioned the same thing to Karkaroff?”
McGonagall pursed her lips in a disapproving manner. “Miss Lestrange, you are a Hogwarts student, you will behave in a manner that reflects positively on this school,” she said firmly.
“So no punching the greasy git in the face?”
“Absolutely not!” she said appalled.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Miss Lestrange, you will not tarnish the reputation of Hogwarts under any circumstances. You are certainly mature enough to hold your tongue no matter who you are speaking to. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes ma’am,” I said through gritted teeth. I wasn’t so sure I could be polite to Karkaroff but I didn’t need to add McGonagall to my list of problems.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
On Friday evening I lined up with the rest of school, awaiting the arrival of the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations. Unlike the rest of the school I was not excited. I’d been around Karkaroff and Maxime enough to last a life time. Beauxbatons arrived first in a powder blue, horse drawn carriage. I was surprised that the Hogwarts students were shocked by Maxime’s height. Honestly, she was just as tall as Hagrid and they didn’t gape at him like this. I looked at the students Maxime had brought with her, rolling my eyes when I saw them still wearing their silk uniforms. Let’s see how long you last through the winter wearing those. I recognized all of the students’ faces but hadn’t been at Beauxbatons long enough to learn all their names.
Next up was Durmstrang and to my great disgust, Karkaroff. They arrived in a ship that they anchored on the bank of the Black Lake. When Karkaroff greeted Dumbledore warmly, a feeling of revulsion and fury shot through me. He should be in prison where he belongs, not flaunting Victor around. The students around me broke out in excited whispers when they noticed Victor. I scoffed, obviously Karkaroff would bring his star pupil. I was more impressed he’d brought anyone but Victor.
Sitting in the Great Hall I, for once, sat facing the rest of the room. I could see Victor’s eyes darting around, looking for me. Just as he did and took a step towards me, Karkaroff stepped in and motioned for Victor to sit at the Slytherin table. Seeing that Victor was going to refuse, I discreetly shook my head. I really didn’t think the first night would be the best time to pick a fight with Karkaroff. Plus, there was the rest of the year to talk, Karkaroff couldn’t be watching Victor every hour of the day for the next eight months.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
October 31st I laid in bed able to hear the party raging down in the common room. Despite the fact that it was called the Triwizard Tournament, four wizards had been chosen. Cedric Diggory, a seventh year Hufflepuff, Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, and Victor Krum. I was happy for Victor, a chance to prove he was more than just talented on a broom would be good for him. However, my mind was more preoccupied with the fourth champion - Harry Potter.
From the sound of it, every other Gryffindor was downstairs celebrating. That was the last thing I thought this deserved. Something was happening, something very wrong. Death Eaters marching at the World Cup wouldn’t have been so worrying except for the fact that the night ended with someone sending up the Dark Mark. There had also been a couple strange articles in the Prophet, not to mention the whole Sirius Black thing from last year never being resolved. Add that to the fact that Dumbledore had hired Moody for just one year. Sure it could have just been to keep an eye on Karkaroff, but it felt like more. Someone had confounded the Goblet of Fire to spit out four names and I hardly doubted it was a student. Involving Potter made one thing clear, whoever it was, odds are it concerned the Dark Lord as well.
Almost a year ago Tsukino had sent me a letter saying the world was changing. Was this the beginning of it?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rubbing my eyes I slowly chewed some toast. It had been a very long week, in fact I hadn’t even slept at all last night. Everything was so hectic, I couldn’t fall asleep. My mind was turning chaotic, something that was never good. I would have liked to go shut myself in the dormitory behind my hangings but it was Friday and I had class. In Charms I was rubbing my head so much that Flitwick asked if I needed the Hospital Wing. That wasn’t an option so I lied, saying I was fine and made sure not to rub my head for the rest of class.
Unfortunately because it was Friday, I had double potions in the afternoon. Life just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? I thought bitterly, walking down the stairs to the dungeons. The rest of the class was already there. The first thing I noticed was all of the Slytherins wearing ‘Support Cedric Diggory – the Real Hogwarts Champion,' pins. Draco was talking to Potter as he pushed his pin, changing the message to ‘Potter Stinks.’
It wasn't long before spells flew across the dungeon, Potter’s hitting Goyle, and Draco’s hitting Hermione. Wouldn’t it figure that Snape would show up now? Draco told a very biased version of what happened, making me clench my fists. Honestly, I didn’t care that it was Draco explaining, I was just angry at his attempt to feign innocence.
Snape sent Goyle to the Hospital Wing as Ron Weasley started shouting at Snape, showing him Hermione’s now very long front teeth. Snape, never one for compassion, gave Hermione a cutting remark that sent a spark of rage through me. Hermione’s eyes filled with tears as Ron and Potter opened their mouths, furious at Snape. This on top of everything else finally got to me and I snapped, responding before Ron or Potter had a chance.
“Even you can’t be that blind you greasy, bitter, old bastard.”
Everyone froze, hell even Snape froze. He glared at me, eyes narrowed and I stared right back. After a long silence he spoke.
With a last glare I grabbed Hermione’s bag with one hand and her shoulder with my other. Turning her around, I led her away from the dungeons and up to the Hospital Wing.
Hermione didn’t say anything but I could still see the tears flowing over her cheeks. I wish I could have stopped the spell but with my emotions all over the place, I didn’t want to risk using magic on anyone. Madam Pomfrey, who I hadn’t met before, didn’t ask very many questions. The first thing she did was hand Hermione a claming draught. I probably could have used one too but I kept my mouth shut. Hermione finally relaxed and the mediwitch was able to begin shrinking the very, very long teeth Hermione currently had. I sat in one of the guest chairs, trying to stop the chaos in my head.
It took a while but eventually Hermione’s teeth were normal size again, actually they were a bit smaller. After Pomfrey gave Hermione a piece of chocolate and went back to her office I raised an eyebrow at Hermione.
Hermione blushed a bit. “Is it really that obvious?” she asked, worried.
“No, it looks fine. Don’t worry about it. I don’t think many people stare at teeth. Five Galleons says Ron and P-Harry don’t even notice.”
“Thanks,” she muttered, looking a bit embarrassed. I waved my hand, there was nothing to thank me for. Ron or Potter would have done the same if I hadn’t beaten them to the punch. “You got detention though. I –”
“It doesn’t matter. Fred and George are always telling me I should.” I stopped, talking about the twins made me feel guilty about how I’d treated Fred and how I was currently avoiding him.
Hermione didn’t say anything until we’d left the Hospital Wing. “You like him, don’t you?” she asked as we walked towards Gryffindor tower.
“What?” This was not a conversation I would choose to have with someone.
“Fred Weasley. Sometimes you just look at him during meals or when he passes you.” Oh bloody hell, please tell me I was not that obvious. “Sorry,” she muttered. “Probably not something you want to discuss with someone else.”
“I –” Merlin, this was horrible, but I couldn’t stop myself. “I was rude to him. He isn’t even talking to me now.”
“You could apologize.”
“That would be the logical thing to do,” I agreed.
“It’s…complicated.” Yeah, just a bit.
“Complicated like how you’re related to the Malfoys or complicated like why you don’t like Professor Moody?”
I stopped in the middle of the corridor. “You’re far too observant.”
She smiled and shrugged. “Someone has to be.” As much as I liked Hermione, I couldn’t risk her finding out more about me. I made a mental note to be more careful around her. “Apologize to Fred, you’ll feel better afterwards.”
“Yeah.” I still wasn’t sure how I felt about Fred Weasley, but I really didn’t want to keep this conversation going.
“Thanks again for…for what you did. I am sorry you got detention though.”
Well that makes two of us. I’m not really looking forward to this detention.
A/N: The details about the arrival of the other schools is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 15, Beauxtons and Durmstrang and the scene before Potions class is from Chapter 18, The Weighing of the Wands.
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