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Only Power Remains by Jade Sterling
Chapter 17 : Chapter Seventeen
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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What a month. Malfoy had been stalking behind her for the entirety of her classes, and Tom would catch the corner of her eyes whenever he passed in the halls. It was becoming increasingly draining to pretend as if she hadn't a care in the world about either of them. It was becoming hard to ignore the creeping feeling that they were up to something suspicious.

However, in lieu of their odd behaviour, she had made wonderful improvements upon her re-search of darker magic. Something about soul storage. It was particularly interesting; she'd considered such an act could be possible, but was quite impressed to learn that there was a particularly nasty spell to accompany it.

Of course, some things about the subject were still a bit hazy. Did the person need their "horcrux" to restore their soul? Was the soul too maimed to be put back together again? This was not a subject she could approach any professor she wished. Something this dark would raise some very serious suspicions. Jade assumed Professor Slughorn would be the perfect person to ask, however, he was not too keen on discussing the matter.

Jade tapped her manicured fingernails on Slughorn's over sized oak desk. She had been standing in front of him for nearly 5 minutes without being acknowledged. Annoyed, she cleared her throat and slapped her palm on his desk.

"Sir?"

"Oh!" He flinched and stared bug-eyed at her, "Miss Sterling! How long have you been standing there? I do apologize, dear."

She smiled curtly and threw her hair over her shoulder. This conversation was not going to be pleasant, and could possibly create an endless amount on tension between them for the rest of her Hogwarts career. It was not a typical potions question; this was some very serious dark magic that she had happened upon. Jade took a deep breath before speaking slowly, but surely. "Sir, I wanted to ask you something. I would generally ask Professor Merrythought something of this nature, but I think this requires… special care."

Slughorn shifted in his chair and turned his head curiously. "Of course, Jade, of course. What is it about?"

Another deep breath. "I happened upon a book while I was in the library using your restricted section pass you gave me." She pulled her jumper down and began knotting the fabric between her fingers. 'Pull yourself together, woman, you're going to throw-up on yourself if you can't just keep breathing!' she chanted to herself, trying to keep herself calm.

"And?" A look of worry and caution had washed over his normally jovial face.

"Well, it was probably something that not many would have an interest in. Quite ancient magic, a rather boring read because of the language…" she cleared her throat. "However, I found it interesting… very interesting."

Slughorn placed his arms on top of his paper work and laced his fingers together. This was becoming quite a long-winded story, and his next class was Hufflepuff first years. He had not the time to listen to her ramble aimlessly.

"Sorry, I just. I'm quite nervous, Professor, because I don't want anybody to have the wrong idea. I'm simply curious."

"Miss Sterling, as you well know, I have first years in five minutes, if you don't just get on with it we'll never have time to finish the conversation!"

"Yes, well, okay. I was reading and I came upon quite an interesting theory. Dark, but interesting." She wrung her hands together and did her best to ignore the beads of nervous sweat building around her hairline. "Sir, what specifically is a horcrux?"

Slughorn's jaw dropped. She knew instantly this was not the appropriate time or place for this conversation. Where else was she to go to ask this question? Professor Merrythought believed she was going to end up far more crazy than Grandmother Jade, Professor Dippet had been stowing away in his office for the past two weeks, and Professor Dumbledore would have her institutionalized for being idiotic enough to ask him about such dark magic.

"Merlin's beard, girl. That is not the kind of thing you need to be studying!" His face was ghostly pale.

"Oh, sir, I know, I'm just curious. I just don't know how it could even be possible…" It's true, she was curious specifically for academic reasons, nothing more. Certainly nobody is stupid enough to purposefully store a piece of his or her tattered soul in a cookie tin. "I always supposed something like this was possible, I just wanted to confirm my suspicions."

"Miss Sterling, that is just something I cannot, and will not, talk about."

Jade bowed her head. "Of course, sir. Have a wonderful day." She turned to walk out of the damp potions room, defeated.

"Oh, Jade?"

She whipped around and blinked at Professor Slughorn hopefully.

"Do be careful…"

She stalked through the corridors, looking out at the night sky occasionally. It was still too cold for most students to attempt sneaking onto the grounds. April was generally the start of the real misbehaviour. Spring fever sent animal hormones raging; so, it was only natural that it sent teenagers cooped up in a large castle to go absolutely mad.

The window fogged at her breath as she sighed. It's not as if she wanted to actually make a soul storage container. It was quite interesting that she had happened upon a book detailing the act of horcrux creation in the school library. The school shouldn't be keeping books of that nature on the shelves. Who knows what kind of person could get their hands on it?

She grinned haughtily at the idea of somebody like Abraxas storing his soul. He would probably store it in a teapot, and some unsuspecting muggle would throw it in a trashcan, never to be found again. That man would be crippled and crawling through mountains of trash looking for his precious soul. Idiot.

It was nearly midnight and nothing of any interest was going to happen; she'd much rather go back to the common room early to finish her reading for the night. She peaked back toward the window and looked about the grounds one last time before returning downward to the dungeons. This time, however, she could have sworn she saw a dancing light in the forest. Odd. Must be the centaurs.

Shrugging the oddity off, she began heading toward the common room. Perhaps a little extra coaxing would convince Slughorn to tell her exactly what soul storage pertains to. Of course the book details how to do it, but what would be the purpose? How would one get to the piece of their fragmented soul, and would it change your physical appearance or demeanour?

Of course it wasn't her fault that the school library harboured books of such dark tastes. There was no need to withhold information from students if they were making such books with the information so easily accessible to anybody with half a brain. As far as she was concerned, she was doing her best to expand her knowledge of any possible magic that could promote the well being of thousands of pureblooded wizards and witches.

On the other hand, what kind of fool would store a piece of their soul in an inanimate object? The ramifications of the object being lost forever were much too high. That is of course, if, and only if, the person needed the object to retrieve their soul. But, because Professor Slughorn likes to withhold valuable information, she'll have to conduct her own re-search to figure out the answer. Something that was wholly irritating, and quite dangerous.

"Oh, Jade, I see you're skipping out on your prefect duties early again, I'll be certain to let Professor Dippet know." The words dripped with resentment out of Aofie Maher's mouth.

"Yes, Aoife, I'm so pleased you're patrolling the Slytherin common room door. Your overly nosy presence is much appreciated because myself and the other five prefects cannot handle this raucous occasion without you."

Aoife puffed out her chest, and threw a lock of her ugly carrot coloured hair over her scrawny shoulder. "For your information, Jade, I've heard tell that some Slytherin men were seen sneaking out of the castle! And I'm head girl! I will patrol wherever I feel I'm needed!"

"Oh, Aoife, you are so full of conspiracy theories I am surprised your arse doesn't explode." Jade reached up and wiped an imaginary smudge from underneath Aoife's nose. "You've something brown coming out of your nose. Best go fix it before the person you were stalking comes along."

"I'm not stalking anybody!!"

"Everybody is aware of your obsession with Tom Riddle. Now, if you don't mind, I don't like giving out my common room password to those who do not deserve it. So, please run along and find something more useful to do with your time, hm?"

"You…I…detention for you, Sterling! And five points from Slytherin!"

Jade hissed at Aoife as she stomped down the hall. What a pretentious little brat, and such a miserable liar. It has been more than obvious that she has been specifically patrolling the dungeons in hopes of catching Riddle at the end of his hall patrol. Quite pathetic seeing the same wiry mess of carrot hair bouncing near her precious common room's door night after night.

"Salazar." She slid into the empty common room and threw herself on the couch in front of the fire. It was particularly large tonight, the flames licked the hearth, and the heat from the flames warmed her entire body. She sunk into the soft leather and half-heartedly opened her book. It was warm… so soft… Without a care in the world, Jade drifted off to sleep.

 

***

 

"Wha… what? Who?!" Completely unprepared for what just happened, Jade went tumbling off of her makeshift bed, and ripped her wand out of her robes. Unfortunately for her, her robe had flipped over her face, and her wand was pointing straight in the air. Surely she looked absolutely terrifying, any attacker would be much too scared to continue an assault.

"Good evening, Miss Sterling. Did you decide to forego your patrolling tonight?"

Jade froze. That voice. She knew whom that voice belonged to. She ripped her robe from over her head and immediately stood off the floor. "For your information, you nosy bastard, I did not. I just try to stay away from you." She murmured as she scooped the book from the floor and into her hands.  There had to be a way out of this terrible situation. Her green eyes quickly began darting around the common room.

"So touchy, Jade, so touchy. I was just curious." He nodded at the book on the floor, "What are you reading tonight?"

If she just started running as fast as she could, surely she could get around him. He wouldn't be expecting such an agile move. "I'm sure you're curious, Riddle. Now, I'm going to bed." Her plan failed miserably, however. Before she had a chance to get anywhere near the staircase, his hand caught her wrist and pulled them chest-to-chest.

"Oh, no you don't!" He released her wrist and wrapped his arms around the middle of her back, his fingers carefully trailing down her spine. "Stop."

"Tom Riddle, let me go right now, you bastard!"

"Please, Jade, I am much stronger than you are. Just give me a moment."

Of course, there he goes again, assuming he was much better than her. "What?" she said, exasperated with this man. Perhaps if she just let him say his piece, he would leave her alone.

"If I let go, you're not going to go running off?"

Are you kidding? She was practically nose-to-nose with the most beautiful man in the school. Of course she was going to go running off. This was insanely intimidating. "It depends on if I like what I hear."

"I wish I knew why you have been avoiding me. I thought Christmas Eve was absolutely lovely. You looked marvelous; you were marvelous. I didn’t know you had a charming bone in your body."

Oh. She pushed him away from her and ran her fingers through her dishevelled hair. So, he's curious why she's ignoring him? What an idiot. Men were the most clueless creatures on the planet. It was absolutely mind-blowing that they could refrain from drooling all over themselves.

Well. Let me think, Tom." She cleared her throat and counted the reasons on her fingers. "One, that diary that you thought was so clever. What in the hell is that, and how did you do it? Two, what have you been telling Alphard? You know full well that he and Dahlia are disgusting love-sick children amongst each other, and if you really think I'm not going to find out what you say about me, well, you're much less intelligent than I thought. And third, what in the fuck have you been doing staying in Amelina's room?" She puffed out her chest; quite pleased with the way she handled herself.

Tom's mouth was twisted into a sly smirk. Surely the answer to this was going to be good. There's no way he could defend himself now!

"Let me answer in sequence. One, the diary is an extraordinary piece of magic that I'd made-up this past year. Quite brilliant, if I do say so myself. My own little project, I'm not about to just go off and give up my secrets. Two, Alphard is a liar and a cheat. You're a smart girl, Jade, use your head. If I wanted to say something rude about you, I'd let you know. And three: Amelina? That's disgusting. Please believe me when I say that she has been pursuing me from the moment we were stuck together in those boats on the way to the castle in our first year. What could she possibly offer me? Nothing."

What a relief! Of course she should have known that Tom couldn't possibly tell her everything about his projects, in due time, she was positive he would be more than happy to indulge the information to her. She wanted to smack herself for being such an twit, obviously Tom would have no problem telling Jade if he had any sort of an issue with her, he'd be perfectly honest their entire school year. And, Amelina? Dahlia had to have been making up that lie.
 
Jade looked down at her feet and flushed. She had made herself look like a moron in front of Tom. Horribly embarrassing.

"Satisfied?" Tom grinned.

She grimaced up at him, and chewed on her bottom lip fevently. Satisfied was an understatement. She was absolutely enthralled that Tom wasn't upset with her.

"Do you know how to use your words, or have you deduced yourself to chewing on yourself like a dog for communication?"

That bastard. He would always call her out for her nasty habits, and make her feel like an absolute fool. "Oh, of course not. Don't be such an arse." Jade Sterling was talented in many different things, flirting was not one of those talents. 

"I'm hardly the ass in this situation, girl. You are the one who's been ignoring me for blatantly asinine assumptions. If you're ever curious about what I'm up to, you can simply ask." He inched toward her slowly, and danced his fingers up her arm.

Her face flushed. No matter how angry she thought she was five minutes ago, she could completely forget about it now. Her skin burned under his touch. "Okay." Her voice wasn't complying with her wishes. She wanted to speak audibly; she didn't want him to think he had her completely and utterly under his spell.

Tom wrapped his long arms around her shoulders and pulled her close. His nose dug into her hair, and his lips traced her forehead. Jade melted all around him. Merlin, he smelled good. He felt good. She gazed up at him. 'Kiss me you idiot!' Could Tom read minds?

"What do you want right now, Jade?"

She wanted him to throw her over his shoulder and run away to the nearest room and lock the door forever. Probably a little over the top to ask for, though.  "I want you to kiss me."

He grinned and picked her face up into his large hands. "I want that, too." he whispered onto her lips. He rubbed their noses together, and pressed into her once more. "You always smell so nice."

Jade possessed magic. She was quite talented at using and manipulating magic to her own wishes. This moment, however, this moment was magic to Jade. It was overwhelming, her senses went absolutely numb. Nothing had ever made her feel this way.

"I really like you, Jade." He managed to whisper in-between kisses.

She knew better than to say exactly what was on her mind. Instead, she pulled on his hair, and kissed him again. Jade wasn't exactly sure, but she would be willing to wager they were floating in the clouds, at least her head was.


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