Chapter 20 : Chapter 20
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Harry had shared a dorm room with Neville Longbottom for four years. Four years and not once had Harry asked about Neville’s parents. Harry never knew the Longbottoms were tortured into insanity. Did anyone else at Hogwarts know? Harry remembered the woman he’d seen in Dumbledore’s Pensieve. She had black hair and heavily hooded eyes. She’d been proud of what she’d done. Claimed that the Dark Lord would return and free them because they had remained faithful.
Harry glanced at Dumbledore. “Professor?” The woman’s face was familiar, Harry had to know for sure. “The woman. The one with Crouch’s son.”
Dumbledore observed Harry for a moment before speaking. “Bellatrix Lestrange.”
“Is she…Jade Lestrange’s mother?”
“Yes. Miss Lestrange’s father and uncle were also there.”
“Does she know?” Harry asked before he could stop himself. “Does she know what kind of wizards they were?”
“Miss Lestrange is aware of her parents' crimes. I believe it is something she struggles with everyday.”
“Place yourself in her shoes, Harry. Everyday she sees Mr. Longbottom, a constant reminder of who she came from. I believe you noticed how similar she and her mother look. There are several in the Ministry who will always see her as nothing more than Bellatrix Lestrange’s daughter. That is why she was questioned after Sirius entered Gryffindor tower.”
“Do you…do you think she…er…”
“Do I believe that Miss Lestrange is responsible for the events this year? No Harry, I do not.” Harry looked at Dumbledore, surprised. “As I said before, you are not Sirius’ only correspondent.”
“How can you be sure though?”
“I suppose I could never be absolutely certain. However I firmly believe Miss Lestrange does not want Voldemort or her parents back.”
Harry nodded. He certainly didn’t want to believe that the person helping Voldemort was sleeping on the other side of Gryffindor tower.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I felt a pair of arms wrap about me. “You’re doing it again,” Fred whispered in my ear.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“Sometimes I wonder what you’re always thinking about.”
“A bit of everything.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“Just worried about tonight.” That wasn’t a lie. Tonight was the third and final task.
“You think something’s going to happen?” Fred guessed.
“Somebody put Harry’s name in the Goblet,” I said while rubbing my shoulder. “They went through a lot to get him into the tournament. Tonight’s the last night they have.” I still had no idea what was going to happen though. The past three weeks had been eerily calm.
“Dumbledore will be there. I reckon they’d have a hard time getting past him.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Yes, Dumbledore would be hard to get by, but not impossible.
“I bet he’ll have Moody watching Harry at all times.”
‘That hasn’t stopped anything else from happening this year,’ I thought bitterly. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to happen. I looked back up at Fred and bit my lip. I’d been mentally debating for the past four days whether to say something. I would be much closer to Fred than Snape tonight. Fred should have at least some warning.
“Fred?” He looked at me inquisitively. “Er…I don’t exactly know how to phrase this. Can you…er, do something for me tonight?
“What do you need?”
“If I do something…something that’s not normal or it’s out of character for me. Will you sort of get my attention and well…point it out to me?”
“You want me to tell you if you start acting weird?” Fred asked, sounding very confused.
“Or say anything that’s…er, odd.”
“What if you flirt with me?” I raised an eyebrow at him. “You don’t normally do that, so technically it’s out of character.”
“Then tell me I’m acting odd.”
“But what if I like it?” I gave Fred a light punch but couldn’t keep a smile off my face. Even with so much on my mind, Fred Weasley knew how to make me laugh.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
At lunch I was walking towards Gryffindor table with Fred and George when ahead of us I heard Ron Weasley suddenly call out, “Mum, Bill, what are you doing here?”
I froze and glanced at the table. Bill Weasley was there looking the same as the night I’d met him in the Weasley tent. Next to him was a middle aged woman with the same red hair that every Weasley seemed to inherit. This was Fred’s mother. Bloody hell. I quickly released Fred’s hand and took a small step back.
“I’ll talk to you later,” I muttered. Fred turned to look but I was already leaving. I’ll just eat in the kitchens…yeah, that seems like a good idea. That was a smashing idea actually.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“No you don’t,” Fred said, hooking his arm through mine. “You’re eating dinner in the Great Hall.” Not if I could help it.
“Not hungry,” I responded instantly. Dinner’s overrated, am I right?
“Are you avoiding me? That’s a bit out of character you know.”
“I’m not avoiding you,” I said, refusing to be led into the Great Hall.
Apparently I put too much emphasis on ‘you’ because Fred looked at me oddly. “Are you avoiding my mother?” he asked, sounding deeply amused.
“I’m not hungry,” I told him again, refusing to answer his question.
“Then you can sit and watch us eat.”
“It looks crowded –”
“I was going to pop out for some fresh air –”
“You just came back from Care of Magical Creatures.”
“This book I wanted to check out from the library –”
“It’ll be there tomorrow.”
“I feel light headed –”
“We can sit down in the Hall.”
“And a headache –”
“I’ll take you to the Hospital Wing.”
“I need to study for –”
“You never need to study.”
“I…er…” Out of the corner of my eye I saw Snape coming up from the dungeons. ‘Help me!’ I internally pleaded, lowering my mental shield to him. He looked startled for a fraction of a second before his eyes found me. He strode towards Fred and me.
“Weasley, Lestrange, is there a particular reason you are blocking the entrance into the Hall?” he asked snidely.
“Just heading in for dinner, sir,” Fred said as he attempted to lead me inside.
“Shove off Snape, we’re having a snogging session,” I blurted out.
Fred’s eyes went wide and Snape raised an eyebrow at me. Ok, maybe that wasn’t my best work but I was a bit desperate here. ‘Do something,’ I told Snape through the connection. Snape gave me a calculating look then his eyes flickered towards the Great Hall for a moment. ‘No,’ I begged when I saw him smirk. 'Don’t you dare!'
“Twenty points from Gryffindor.” 'Don’t you bloody well effing even think about it!' “Go sit down at your table or it will be more,” he threatened. 'You son of a –' “Now.”
I glared at Snape as Fred dragged me over to the Gryffindor table. So help me, he was actually smirking. 'You treacherous snake.' Snape sent me a final look that clearly said, ‘what are you going to do about it?’
“Did you really just do that to avoid my mother?” Fred asked in disbelief.
“I regret nothing.”
“Sometimes you act like a complete nutter.”
“It’s your mum,” I whispered furiously. We were now beside the Gryffindor table and I could see a pack of Weasleys with Hermione and Potter. Mrs. Weasley was sitting there right in the middle. Snape is a cruel, malicious man and I will never forgive him for this.
“Honestly, you’ll be fine. Can’t believe you’d rather take on Snape than her.” We had reached the mass of red hair and I cringed internally as Mrs. Weasley looked up at Fred and me curiously. “Mum, this is Jade. Jade, my mum,” Fred introduced as he sat down.
“Mrs. Weasley,” I greeted politely before sitting next to Fred.
“Hello dear,” she said kindly but she was observing me with a look I was very used to. I looked familiar but she just couldn’t place it. The same as always until they realized my last name. By some miracle I was saved by that when Ginny spoke up and Mrs. Weasley switched focus onto her.
“Jade’s in Ron’s year. She was the one I wrote about, helping me and Hermione find a Yule Ball dress.”
“Oh yes, I remember. Lovely to meet you dear.”
I nodded silently and began serving myself. It just felt so wrong sitting here, knowing I didn’t belong.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Fred must have pitied my extreme discomfort from his mother because he let me sit farthest from her when we filed into the quidditch stands. With Fred, George, and Bill between me and Mrs. Weasley I didn’t have a view of her at all so I was able to push it out of my mind. Hermione, Ginny, and Ron were seated in the row ahead of us.
As Bagman announced the champions my worries about the third task returned even stronger than before. I looked around the pitch, seeing the judges’ stand. Karkaroff looked nearly as worried as I felt. Minister Fudge was taking the place of Crouch instead of Percy this time. And Dumbledore was staring down at the field intently. He was probably watching something or someone. In the evening light I could just make out Moody giving the swiftest of nods as soon as Potter entered the maze.
I tried to find Snape but had no luck. Likely because he was on the other side of the stands, in the usual Slytherin section. He was close enough for me to sense him though, that was comforting at least.
An hour ticked by, it was very dark now. Every once and a while I could see a flash of light coming from within the maze. This was mind racking. At least with the dragons I could see what was happening. Here there was nothing except me getting worried every time I saw a spell or heard a distant noise.
“Are you ok?” Fred whispered in my ear. I turned to look at him, slightly startled. “You keep rubbing your shoulder is all,” he explained.
I lowered my hand immediately. I hadn’t even realized what I’d been doing, though it was a habit of mine. Still I was doing it enough for Fred to notice and now he was giving me a worried look.
“I’m ok,” I reassured him. “Just a little unsettling not being able to see what’s coming. Truthfully, I think I’d prefer dragons again.”
Fred nodded and turned back to the maze. I felt him reach for my hand and give it a small squeeze, letting me know he was here for me. I focused my attention back onto the quidditch field. Surely the task was at least half way done by now.
Another half hour went by when suddenly a shower of red sparks filled the air. The crowd got louder waiting to see who was being pulled out of the maze. An excited murmur broke out around me as McGonagall approached the judges. After a moment she went back to patrolling.
“Ladies and gentlemen, our champions are down to three! Victor Krum has been removed from the maze,” Bagman announced to the stands.
People started talking loudly and there were even a few shouts. This felt wrong. Very wrong. I couldn’t imagine what Victor would have seen to make him willingly leave the task.
Twenty more minutes dragged by, the crowd was quiet again but a knot had formed in my stomach. Almost. It was Almost over. Five more minutes. The anticipation was overwhelming. He was so close, so very close. Soon it would all be over.
“Jade.” I jumped a bit as Fred squeezed my hand.
“What?” I whispered back, feeling annoyed.
“You keep repeating to take the cup,” he said, sounding confused.
“I don’t know. You just kept muttering ‘take the cup.’ You told me to let you know if you did anything odd.” Now Fred looked really worried. “Are you alright?”
I ran my fingers through my hair. I should remember saying ‘take the cup.’ I could relive the past few minutes over and over but for the life of me I couldn’t recall saying to take the cup. This had happened before, years ago. When I was very young Draco had been worried when I started muttering strange things. It had been well over ten years since then. Not since Snape had helped me.
Fear seeped into my veins. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. A flash of pain and an image burst in my mind and I knew. I knew Cedric Diggory was dead. No. No I couldn’t know. Absolutely not. My father was in Azkaban. There was no way…
“Jade!” Fred grabbed my hands. I hadn’t realized I was digging my nails into my temples. I need Snape. I need Snape now.
“I have to go,” I said standing. "I have to go now.” I started moving past Fred when George looked up at me curiously.
“What’s going on?” he asked. This caught Bill’s and Mrs. Weasley’s attention.
“I need through.” Instead of waiting for them to make space, I charged through, nearly making it past Mrs. Weasley who was sitting by the aisle. Suddenly somebody grabbed my right arm and I turned around quickly. It was Hermione. She looked scared and worried but there was suspicion in her eyes as well. Now Ginny and Ron were watching too. Hermione and I stared at each other until a wave of pain spread over my mind. I jerked my arm free and headed towards the stairs.
My hands were twitching by now. I wanted to send a message to Snape but I wasn’t sure I could remove just that one mental barrier. I was going down the stairs rapidly. Fred must have followed because I was sure I could hear him calling me. I didn’t stop, I just kept going with one goal on my mind – find Snape.
Half way down. My hands were shaking so bad that I couldn’t grip the banister.
Almost there. I was sure Snape would find me, he had to.
Less than thirty stairs. I felt like I was going to be sick.
Twenty stairs. Keep it together. Snape has to know about Cedric.
Ten stairs. Please no.
With only five stairs left my shoulder and head exploded with pain. My knees hit something hard and I heard Fred scream my name. A second before I faded into darkness I felt my head slam into the ground.
A/N: Dumbledore and Harry discussing what Harry witnessed in the Pensieve is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, Chapter 30, The Pensieve. Mrs. Weasley and Bill coming to watch the final task along with Victor being removed from the maze is from Chapter 31, The Third Task.
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