Chapter 12 : Secrets
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The time leading up to Halloween and the Hogsmeade visit was some of the busiest time I had ever experienced at Hogwarts. The trip and Halloween were within a day of each other and the excited students meant that I spent half my time chasing first years and telling them off. Between my Head duties, April and the Potter brothers I thought I might go insane.
My Head duties were pretty self-explanatory. Along with the usual patrols and planning for parties and trips, Professor McGonagall was determined that James and I started the planning for the Christmas Ball well in advance.
April was stuck between depression at her break-up with Fred and delight at her oncoming motherhood. She hadn’t confided in Paige, worried that she would be ashamed of her. So, every day I was forced to sit through hours of her talking about everything baby- from names to toys. After a conversation all it took was for someone to mention the word doll or bear and I would almost be in tears.
As for James and Albus, between them I thought they might drive me insane. After the night he had saved me on patrol, things between me and James had been awkward. I still didn’t know what I felt for him and with Albus and me getting closer I was scared to really think about it. And to make matters worse ,since that night, James had refused to let me do patrols alone and if he was busy with quidditch it meant I was stuck with a random 6th year boy or if I was lucky, Albus.
Albus and I had a strange kind of relationship. We hadn’t been on our Hogsmeade date yet but it seemed like we were in a dating stage. At first, I had been determined to just be friends but as the weeks had passed and we met up more and more frequently I couldn’t help but want more. Albus seemed to want the same and slowly we began to hold hands and spend even more time together. I wondered what would happen on our date and if we’d decided to actually become ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’.
On the day of the visit, I woke up early. I was excited and nervous and sleep was impossible.
James was already awake and I jumped when I saw him sitting on the couch in the common room.
“How come you’re awake?” I said, taking the seat opposite him.
“I was thinking too much, I couldn’t sleep once I woke up.” He stared at me with his hazel eyes as if he was trying to figure something out.
“Wow. James Potter- thinking. Never thought I’d here that!” I teased, trying to stop him staring at me that way.
The corners of his mouth twitched a little and he seemed to realise that he was staring. He shook his head and stood up.
“I’m going to shower. You can get in once I’m done.” And with a final smile he was gone.
I sat still for a moment. Things with James seemed to get more awkward the closer I got to Albus. At one point I would have been delighted, but now it made me feel sad that by being friends with one Potter, I couldn’t be anything with the other.
I walked back to my bedroom and pulled an outfit for the day out of my wardrobe. Something simple- just a pair of skinny jeans and a pretty crimson silk shirt- but that would make a nice impression.
I heard James leave the bathroom and I showered quickly and then dried my hair with a charm. I plaited it to one side then pulled on my clothes before scrutinizing myself in the mirror. I was happy with what I saw and with a last smile, I grabbed my bag and a jacket and stepped into the Common Room.
I rolled over in bed and stared at the clock on the bedside table: 8:30. Great, I thought, I was already running late. Today was the Hogsmeade trip and despite it just being me and April, I liked to be on time.
I quickly got ready, pulling on jeans and a jumper and yanking a brush through my tangled hair. When I was satisfied, I grabbed my wand and my coat and ran down the stairs. At the bottom, I stumbled out and crashed straight into Ryan, who caught me easily and smiled at me.
“Sorry,” I grinned and he laughed back at me.
“That’s okay, I don’t object to pretty girls falling all over me,” he grinned. He glanced around for a second before taking my hand and leading me out of the portrait hole.
A smile spread over my face as he led me into an empty classroom. He closed the door behind us, and locked it before turning to me.
He reached me in less than 2 steps and his hands cupped my face as his lips came crashing down on mine. I felt my smile widen and I wrapped my arms around his neck, desperate to get closer to him.
We kissed for what seemed like forever before breaking apart. Ryan lowered his arms from my face to the small of my back, pulling me close to him.
“Good Morning to you too,” I mumbled under my breath as Ryan tucked a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
“Merlin, I missed you last night!” he whispered into my ear as he kissed my neck.
“April wanted me to help her study, she would have been suspicious if I had left,” I said, my disappointment evident in my voice. I had wanted just as much as Ryan to make it to our rendezvous last night.
“I’m sick of hiding things!” I moaned, cuddling into him.
“We could always just tell them?” Ryan suggested. I rolled my eyes and looked up at him. His handsome features, his amazing grey eyes. I still couldn’t believe he was mine.
“It was you that didn’t want to tell anyone originally- it’s better if everyone thinks I’m single. We get away with more. Those were your exact words. And I didn’t complain, I just nodded and went along with it even though it hurt- a lot. And now you want to tell everyone?” I could feel anger building up inside me, and I took a step back from Ryan.
“How do you think they’d feel? Knowing we’d been sneaking around and lying to them all this time. Jenny has wanted to get us together for years! She’d be crushed that I didn’t tell her. And what about James? And Fred and Liam?”
Ryan stared at me for a second. His face showed nothing, but his eyes betrayed him. He was upset.
“I didn’t realise that hurt you,” he started softly. “Not being able to tell anyone. I thought you were fine about it.”
“Yeah, well girls have a special ability- they can conceal their emotions at will. It’s quite handy really.”
And then I was crying. For apparently no reason whatsoever. Ryan wrapped his arms around me, his apologies flowing out of him just as fast as the tears were flowing out of me. I didn’t want the secrecy or the lies.
“I want to tell them,” I said softly when the worst of the tears had stopped. “They deserve that- they’re our best friends.” I smiled at him. “No more secrets, okay? Just the truth, even if it hurts.”
He nodded and smiled back at me. I wiped the last of my tears from my eyes and took his hand. If we were going to tell them, there was no time like the present to do so…
I sat next between Fred and April at the Gryffindor table, desperately trying to make conversation. No one else had arrived for breakfast yet and the tension was killing me. Fred was all for talking to April but she wanted nothing to do with him at all. Every time he spoke, even to me, she made a face or made a comment which would make us lapse back into awkward silence.
I had never been so grateful to see the morning owls in my life! I rarely got letters, but I subscribed to the Daily Prophet and was looking forward to reading the paper. At least for once there would be silence for me to read it in!
The screech owl dropped a newspaper in front of me then flew off without taking its usual piece of bacon. The horrible atmosphere at this table was even driving the owls away.
I unfolded the newspaper and gasped with horror as I read the headline on the front page: DEATH EATERS ESCAPE AZKABAN.
I looked around. I was one of the only people in the hall reading the Prophet at the moment and the smiling faces of my fellow students calmed me. I turned my attention back to the article and read.
My heart dropped as I read further and further down the page. At least fourteen ex-death eaters had escaped. All of whom had been shouting about their master returning for the last few months. The guards assumed they had just gone insane. Apparently not insane enough to stay trapped in prison. The article went on about the last break out and wondered how the ministry intended to deal with it. Hogwarts had already been secured as it was likely the death eaters would be coming here if revenge was what they wanted. Aurors were currently searching for the Death Eaters up and down the country. Harry Potter had said he was confident that his men would do everything they could to secure the country and he promised that he would not rest until everyone was safe.
By the time I had finished the article, many other students were reading the paper with looks of horror and fear on their faces.
“Jenny? What’s wrong?” Fred asked, tugging the paper out of my hands. I saw his eyes travelling down the page and his face went white.
“It is suspected that the Death Eaters will attempt to infiltrate Hogwarts in an act of revenge against Harry Potter. Currently in attendance at the school are all three of Mr Potter’s children along with many of his nieces and nephews…” Fred read aloud and I noticed that April was actually listening to him, fear in her eyes.
“So I guess that means we’re all goners then,” said Fred, sarcasm thick in his voice and a grin spreading over his face. I raised my eyebrows at him and he explained.
“Well c’mon, it been 38 years! Even the ones in their twenties at the time are old enough to be our grandparents now. The real threat is from their families, or the ones who eluded capture. The smart ones are dangerous but let’s face it, a bunch of granddads in masks aren’t exactly scary are they?”
In many ways I agreed with Fred. In reality, what were 14 escaped convicts who were all old enough to be retired to the teachers and students of Hogwarts? We already outnumbered them and I was pretty sure even a third year with a brain could take them on. But Fred had also hit the nail on the head- what if they approached their families? Families with children who also wanted revenge. Families who were young enough and powerful enough to cause just as much of a threat as the original Death Eaters.
I was pondering this when I began to feel dizzy. The room got warmer and I felt a wave of nausea come over me. Not now I though wearily. I stood up. If I was quick I could at least make it to a classroom or a broom cupboard.
“Jenny where are…” April’s voice faded as I began to fall towards the floor and the world swirled into darkness…
The room was cold and felt like a prison cell. The fireplace contained no merry flames and the outline of a man was just visible in front of a large window.
“You have done well,” a cold voice said. “Our men are out of that prison and on our way here. Our special informants are ready for tomorrow’s plans.”
Another man stepped further into the room, his face showing delight at his praise. His blonde hair looked shaggy and he was unshaven but a smile was playing at his lips making him look slightly mad.
“Thank you. We are delighted that you are happy. But I still do not understand how we will get him when he is so protected?”
A smile was just visible on the other man’s face. “We do not need to be certain of that for the moment. That plan is for another day. Tomorrow, we will bring fear into the hearts of many- it is our first step to revenge…”
I gasped and looked around me. The face of every student at Hogwarts was turned towards me fear and shock on their faces. Next to me, April and Fred were looking at me with concerned faces and James (who seemed to have appeared while I was unconscious) was looking at me with a mix of concern and amusement.
“What do you think is so funny Potter?” I asked jokingly, but my voice was so weak I would be surprised if he even heard me. That shocked me a little bit- I never felt this bad after a vision.
Madame Pomfrey appeared a moment later. She floated around for a moment, flapping her hands uselessly before looking at the boys like they were mad. “Well help her to the Hospital Wing, the poor girl doesn’t want to lie here all day!” she said brusquely, pushing James slightly so that he would help me.
I started to protest- I certainly wasn’t spending any of my day in the Hospital Wing- when I felt my head spinning again. I stumbled over to the side and felt James’ strong arms wrap around me.
“Are you okay?” he asked, concern now evident in his voice. He was right to be concerned.
“Why do you have three heads James?” I asked seriously before flopping forward once again into blackness.
This time I saw no men in dark room. Instead I was surrounded by a thick blackness that scared me. I was so used to having a vision and then feeling fine that now I was worried that something must be wrong.
After what seemed like years but in reality was only minutes I opened my eyes to be greeted by the Hospital Wing and my friends staring at me again like I’d grown an extra pair of eyes. In the time that I was unconscious again, Paige and Ryan had arrived and they were looking at me with worried expressions.
“Stop staring at me,” I mumbled sitting up and brushing my hair out of my eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with me!” Relief flooded their faces and April glared at me.
“You had us all worried there for a minute. We thought you’d died or something,” she said, her anger not managing to cover her relief.
“Oh, come off it! I’m fine! It was probably just the heat and excitement of going into Hogsmeade.” Everyone easily accepted this story. Except for James who stared at me until I met his gaze. He knew what had happened and it worried him. I gave him a small nod to confirm he was right, and then winked at him to let him know he shouldn’t be concerned. Admittedly, I was a little worried about what I’d seen and what had happened. I never felt that bad after a vision. But that would have to be considered later. I had more pressing issues at hand.
I spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince the others that I was okay. I already felt much better, the last traces of the vision leaving my system. However, I felt bad that I lied to the rest of them about what had happened, about my visions. I hated the secrets that seemed to be filling my life lately. But despite feeling slightly ashamed, I was determined to get out of there. I jumped out of the bed with ease and was ready to make a run for it when Madam Pomfrey spotted me and ran towards me, a look of determination on her face. “And just where do you think you’re going?” She asked, staring at me with hawk-like eyes.
“Into Hogsmeade,” I said uncertainly, looking to the others for support. They all nodded without looking up. Traitors.
I knew she would find nothing wrong with me and therefore had no reason to keep me here. I told her this, which resulted in a full medical check-up which consisted of me drinking potions I hadn’t even heard of before. Half an hour later, I walked from the Hospital Wing feeling triumphant but more than slightly nauseous.
The others had disappeared in this time, Albus standing alone waiting for me in the entrance hall. He smiled as I walked towards him and offered me his hand. I took it easily as we walked out of the front door and started walking down towards the gates.
“James told me about this morning. They left a while ago. Are you sure you want to go out today, Jen?” He asked concerned, his green eyes meeting my own.
I rolled my eyes at him. “There is nothing I want more than to spend my day in Hogsmeade with you. As I have just spent the last half hour trying to convince Madam Pomfrey, I’m fine!”
And with that, we walked through the gates and onto the path that would lead me to one of the worst dates of my life…
A/N- Hi! So, it’s been a while since I last updated, but I now have a few weeks free just to focus on this story, yay! Unfortunately, this chapter's a bit of filler. Originally this one and the next were one chapter, but it was getting a bit too long… So, what do you think? Any thoughts? I’d love to know, so please review! J