Chapter 21 : Chapter 21
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Something was wrong. Very wrong.
Snape rose from his seat and quickly headed down the stairs. From the flashes he was receiving he knew where to go. Half way down the stairs his left arm burned for the first time in thirteen years. The Dark Lord was back. The next second his head exploded in pain. He gripped the banister as he swayed and tried to block out the pain. It was not an easy task but he had experience with shutting out Jade’s pain before.
Finally his own emotions were free. There was a constant dull ache coming through the connection but at least the throbbing pain was only occurring every minute or so. Now he needed to worry about what to do next. Under any other circumstances he would have headed straight for Dumbledore. The headmaster needed to know that the Dark Lord had returned. Jade though. Surely Weasley would have followed. If he used magic or did something foolish, which was very likely, then he and who knows who else would find out about the connection or worse, Jade could be lost. Snape couldn’t risk that. He circled around the outside of the quidditch pitch, reassuring himself that this was the right choice. Surely Moody would warn Dumbledore if Potter was in trouble. Surely Dumbledore would know what happened when Karkaroff fled after he felt the Mark burn. Right now Snape needed to make sure Weasley didn’t do something incredibly stupid.
“Jade?! Jade, wake up!”
“Fred we need to move her.”
“She needs to see Madam Pomfrey, she could have broken bones.”
“Why is she twitching like that?”
“Wake up. Open your eyes, please.”
“Fred, come on mate, Bill will levitate her to Pomfrey.”
Snape made it in time, barely. The eldest Weasley had his wand already withdrawn and in the air. Snape wrapped his hand tightly around the red head’s wrist so he couldn’t perform any spells, causing Bill to jump in surprise.
“Professor?” Hermione and the other Weasley’s turned towards Bill.
“She fell,” Mrs. Weasley explained. “We need to get her to a Healer.”
“How many stairs?” Snape asked, releasing Bill and crouching beside Jade.
“I-I’m not sure,” Mrs. Weasley said. Snape could see a cut above Jade’s eye but any number of injuries could be hidden to the naked eye.
“How many stairs?” He repeated, looking at the Weasley twins. Surely one of them would know.
“Only a few,” George answered. “Less than ten.”
“I was about to levitate her to the mediwitch.”
Snape stood abruptly and turned to the eldest Weasley. “No magic.”
“She needs a Healer!” Fred exclaimed, snapping out of a trance.
“She needs for your brother to put his wand away,” Snape snapped, turning back towards the twins.
“She’s hurt!” Hermione cried out. Even if Snape didn’t like Gryffindor, Hermione couldn’t believe Snape was cruel enough to let a student lay on the ground, completely helpless.
“Miss Granger, despite what you may believe, you are not privy to all the information in the world,” Snape barked at her. “Put your wand away,” he ordered Bill again.
When Bill eventually stored his wand back in his robes, Snape bent down and lifted Jade.
“What are you –”
“Move. Now.” Snape carried the young witch into a deserted alcove tucked on the ground floor of the pitch. No one would come this way as they exited the stands, making it the best place for now. Snape set Jade down, mindful of her head. He pulled a cloth out of his robes and pressed it against her cut.
“She needs a Healer,” Fred repeated.
Snape ignored him and reached for Jade’s right hand. He took her wand and faced the others again. “You,” he said, eyeing Hermione, “hold this. Do not loose it or hand it back until I tell you so.” A large spike of pain came through the connection, causing Snape to wince. “This too,” he added, handing over his own wand.
“I –” Hermione started, looking confused.
“For once in your life just do as you’re told,” he shot back, feeling annoyed.
Ron Weasley opened his mouth to defend Hermione at once “Hey! Don’t you –”
“Silence!” Snape yelled, effectively shutting Ron up. “Which of you is Fred?” he asked the pair of twins. A set of eyes briefly drifted to the right, landing on the other twin. “You,” Snape said, pointing at the correct twin, “other side. Hold the cloth to her head. Give your wand to someone else.”
“Just do it.”
Fred reluctantly gave George his wand and kneeled down beside Jade. He pressed the cloth against her head as Snape started checking for broken bones. Checking by hand wasn’t always accurate and it depended entirely on Snape sensing a spark of pain through the connection, which was especially difficult when Jade was unconscious. However it was also the only option at the present time.
“What are you doing?” Ginny asked softly.
“Checking for broken bones,” Snape muttered as he went over Jade’s left shoulder. There wasn’t any blinding pain and the bone structure felt normal so he figured that thankfully, nothing had been broken here.
“Isn’t magic –?”
“Stop talking.” Snape made his way down Jade’s body, mentally telling himself that less than ten stairs wouldn’t break a rib. It wouldn’t cause more serious internal damage. Injuries to the limbs and head were more likely. When he went over Jade’s right ankle there was definitely pain there. It didn’t feel broken, possibly just twisted. Besides the gash on her head this seemed like the only physical injury. That was very lucky, Snape didn’t want to imagine what would have happened if Jade had been ten or even fifty stairs higher. Now Snape had to check on her mental status. Oh how he hoped that Jade wasn’t lost to Rodolphus or the other madness that seemed to live inside her head. “Move back some,” he told Fred. Snape didn’t believe Jade would willingly hurt the Weasley but he couldn’t take any chances. Jade would be even more consumed by guilt if she hurt Fred Weasley.
“What about –?”
“Just move back.” Gryffindors were a nosy bunch, always questioning everything.
“What are you going to do to her?” Fred asked, refusing to budge.
“I’m going to make sure she doesn’t spend the rest of her life in St. Mungo’s or is that you’d prefer?” he stated cruelly. Fred glared at Snape but moved a bit away from Jade’s body.
Snape released the block he had against Jade’s mind. It flooded into his, making his hands shake for a moment before he was able to gather his wits. Her mind was chaos. Images flickered faster than he could blink. Pain, despair and helplessness swarmed around him. There was something worse though. A sinister happy feeling was polluting her mind. Happiness for the Dark Lord’s return. Snape tried to shut that out from both his mind and Jade’s but it was steadily growing. This feeling was most definitely not Jade’s. Snape had to find something more recent, something he could use to isolate Jade from everything else. He focused on Fred Weasley and slowly he was able to find Jade, she was falling though. Falling into madness, being consumed by the darkness. He needed to pull her towards the surface, but she kept being dragged down by guilt. Guilt over the Longbottoms, guilt over Draco, guilt over having to hide so much from Fred, guilt over everything she’d ever done wrong in her life. This had to stop, Snape had to put an end to this but she wasn’t making it easy. Concentrating all of his will power on nothing more than freeing her, he was at last able to release her and her eyes flew open.
Jade was gasping for air and trying to fight her way out of Snape’s firm grip.
“Stop,” he ordered. She didn’t appear to hear him. He took a hold of her chin and turned her head so that her eyes were looking into his. He’d always sworn that he would never willingly take control. That he would never make Jade his puppet. There was no other choice, he needed to dictate or he’d loose her. “Stop,” he repeated.
Although her body would briefly jerk in protest she did obey. Some of the chaos lessened and she at least stopped gasping. Still she looked terrified, absolutely terrified and her eyes kept darting in different directions. She opened her mouth to speak. “I…I…”
“Tell me your name,” Snape ordered. Jade jerked more and her eyes widened. “Tell me your name,” he told her while securely holding her in place.
“What are you –” Fred interrupted.
“Be quiet!” Snape stopped Jade from turning to see Fred. “Tell. Me. Your. Name.”
“Le…Lestrange,” she stuttered out.
“Your first name.” Tears started leaking out of Jade’s eyes. Pain was surrounding Snape. “I’ll make the pain stop, just tell me your name,” he said quietly.
“J-j-jade,” she managed to spit out.
“Focus on that. Remember who you are.”
For a minute Snape believed it was working. That he was actually cutting her from the darkness that threatened to consume her. Then Jade started gasping for air violently. Snape removed his hand from her chin just as the gasping turned into slow maniacal laughter. “He’s back,” she panted in between breaths. “He’s finally back.” More laughter and an insane grin came after this.
There were two options now. Snape couldn’t risk he first, not with this many people around and not at the state of things. Dumbledore would need him, would come and find him even and Snape couldn’t be recovering from repeating the spell. He could do nothing and hope that somehow Jade would fend for herself. The odds of that working were low and the last time something like this had happened she nearly killed herself and managed to take down a good chunk of the Beauxbatons library as well. He couldn’t leave her to that, not this time. He was here now and he needed to stop this.
There’s another way.
He’d unknowingly used it before. It had stopped the darkness from creeping up but what it did to Jade was detrimental. The nightmares still happened. Twenty minutes, that was all it took for her to break down. What if he couldn’t pull her back again? Was doing nothing better than this? The spell, it was his best choice, not this. He’d think of something, anything to explain to Dumbledore. He would cast Memory Charms on all of the Weasleys and Granger. That was a lie. Snape knew it was a lie and not even a decent one at that. There was no way he could perform the spell and avoid Dumbledore finding out. Dumbledore may have done a lot for Snape but stopping him from going to Azkaban for this spell? Snape sincerely doubted that would happen. And what would happen to Jade if Snape was locked away in prison? But there were risks this way too. Was he really going to risk Jade’s entire sanity on a method that he didn’t even fully understand himself?
The first thing he’d done last time was try and sooth her with words about Draco. That wouldn’t work this time, Draco was no longer a happy memory. He was something that weighed guiltily on her conscious. Fred Weasley though…
“Jade?” he called out delicately as he turned her head back to him. “Do you remember Fred?” She stopped laughing and her right hand shook. “Fred Weasley?” He could see that Fred was a slippery memory, one that Jade was having a hard time holding onto. Snape turned her head towards the Weasley and saw a flicker of recognition. “Hold her hand,” he muttered so only Weasley could hear. Memories of their time together started replaying through Jade’s mind. Snape slowly turned her gaze back towards himself. “I need you to remember him.” Feeling like she should be given some warning even if she couldn’t comprehend it, Snape continued, “I need to close your mind.”
“No,” Jade begged as she shed more tears.
“It will stop the pain.”
“Please no,” she pleaded.
As Snape’s eyes bore into Jade’s blue ones, he started closing her mind. Removing her from everything. She’d be alone, trapped in a nightmare. Snape would have no way of watching her no matter how hard he tried. There was always a chance that she may never return but this was the only way to stop the chaos from consuming her. As long as Snape disconnected her from Rodolphus, disconnected her from everything, he was sure she could maintain control at the least. That was what mattered.
As Snape felt Jade’s presence fade from his mind, her eyes took on an empty look. He let go of her chin and closed them. Yes, Jade was strong yet he couldn’t help but worry that he’d just sent her to a place where she might never return from.
“What did you do to her?!” Snape looked over at Fred Weasley who was still clinging to Jade’s limp hand. “What the hell did you do to her?!” he demanded.
“Fred Weasley! How dare –”
“As I told you before, making sure she doesn’t spend the rest of her life in St. Mungo’s,” Snape responded before Mrs. Weasley could fully reprimand her son.
“Why was she…like that?” Hermione asked.
Snape glared at Gryffindor’s know-it-all. Hermione was smart enough to recognize mental disorders but apparently couldn’t bring herself to ask why Jade was acting insane. Hermione was also looking suspicious and calculating, never a good sign. Sometimes Hermione Granger was just too smart for her own good. She would notice small things that others overlooked. If Hermione managed to link them together, that could be disastrous. Snape had always been banking on the fact that Hermione would never delve too far into the Dark Arts or she’d easily figure out just how close Snape and Jade were really connected.
“Stay here,” Snape ordered them as he stood up. He chose to ignore Hermione’s question.
“She needs a Healer, Professor, don’t you think?” Mrs. Weasley said, looking worried.
“No, she does not. Keep her here until I return.”
“Where are you –?”
“Keep her here,” he told them. “Do not use magic.”
“That is what I am ordering you to do Granger,” he snapped.
“WHY?!” Snape turned to look directly at Fred. A sliver of guilt passed through his mind but he needed to persuade Fred to keep Jade here. The typical Snape way of instilling obedience was with fear.
“If you ever want her to recognize you again do not use magic.”
Fred let that sink in before slowly nodding. “Alright,” he muttered.
At least someone here wasn’t a complete idiot. Now Snape really needed to see Dumbledore. Memory Charms could be applied to the Weasleys and Granger later. He turned on his heel to leave but not before Hermione could get in one last question.
“Whose back?” she asked quietly as Snape passed. He stopped and snatched his wand back from her.
“Use your imagination,” he sneered before departing.
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