Chapter 21 : Chapter 21
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“You don’t have to stay,” I repeated once again.
“I know I don’t. I want to,” Fred replied.
“Why would you want to? Umbridge will be here. It’ll be a miserable Christmas.”
“I plan on spending most of my holiday in the tower or outside. Very limited contact with Umbridge. At the Burrow I won’t be able to escape mum at all and I know she’s ready to dig into us for getting banned. I’m perfectly willing to wait until summer for that. Plus nearly all of the other Gryffindors are going home. Me and George will have plenty of room to work, including our whole dormitory.” I bit my lip, worried that Fred and George were only staying at Hogwarts over Christmas for me. The rest of the Weasleys and even Harry were spending the holidays at the Burrow. “Don’t look at me like that,” Fred teased. “I promise you the benefits of staying here outweigh the disadvantages.” He leaned in to kiss me and I let my objections drop.
“I think I liked it better when you two waited till I was gone,” George said in a bored voice before instructing his castle forward.
“He’s right,” I said, pulling away. “I have to finish this for tomorrow anyways.” I dipped my quill into the ink bottle and went back to work on my Arithmancy essay.
“I thought you were done,” Fred stated, moving his knight.
“Hardly even half way,” I answered, raising an eyebrow.
“Bloody hell,” George muttered. “Here I thought Divination was bad.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As great as alone time with Fred sounded, I have to admit I was waiting for classes to start up again. Then I would be sure I had fully dodged going back to Malfoy Manor. I just couldn’t shake the feeling I’d been having for a while now, like something was going happen. Maybe I did worry too much.
The first morning of break I waited for Fred or even George to wake up but they never came down to the common room. Plenty of others did, carrying or levitating their trunks. I waited until there was less than thirty minutes before the carriages left for Hogsmeade. Thinking the twins would have at least come down to bid farewell to the other Weasleys, I decided to check the Great Hall. Maybe I had missed them in the wave of other Gryffindors.
No, they were definitely not in the Hall. I guess they were sleeping in. I started walking back up the Grand Staircase, ignoring my building anxiety.
“Jade!” I looked around and found Lee Jordan coming my way. “You seen Fred and George yet?” he asked when he was beside me.
“They’re not in bed?” Ok, don’t freak out. They’re probably off doing something stupid.
“Nope. I wanted to talk to them before I left but they were gone before I woke up.”
“Sorry, I don’t know where they are either. I didn’t see them in the Great Hall.”
“Well just tell them I’ll get the stuff and bring it back, alright?”
“Yeah, sure,” I agreed, having no clue what ‘the stuff’ was.
As Lee left, panic slowly began to set in. I didn’t know where the twins were. I didn’t even know where to start looking. ‘Get a grip,’ I scolded myself, ‘this is Hogwarts, it’s not like they can be in any serious danger.’ I would simply poke around the castle until I found them.
I rounded the corner, intending to start at the Owlery and make my way down, when I nearly ran into Hermione.
“There you are,” she said breathlessly. She quickly pulled me towards an empty classroom. “I was trying to find you before the carriages left,” she explained, closing the door and casting the same privacy spells Snape used. The urgency in Hermione’s voice did nothing to calm my worries.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, fearful of the answer.
“I’ve just come from McGonagall’s office,” she explained, wringing her hands. “She told me that – that Mr. Weasley was attacked last night.”
“I don’t know. She didn’t give me any details. She said he was attacked then taken to St. Mungo’s.”
“How serious is it?” The Weasley parents might have been a bit overbearing compared to what I was used to, but they were good people and I didn’t want to think about anything horrible happening to either one of them.
“She said he was in stable condition and that the Weasleys and Harry went to London to wait for news.” I had a good feeling ‘London’ meant 12 Grimmauld Place.
“Fred and George left too?”
“McGonagall said Dumbledore sent them all there, including Harry. I need to talk to mum and dad once I get to King’s Cross. I can’t possibly go skiing at a time like this, what if…what if something horrible was to happen?”
I wasn’t exactly known for my ability to comfort people but Hermione looked very worried. “Just–well if he’s in stable condition, I’m sure he’ll be alright,” I said awkwardly. “Er…you have to get to the carriages,” I reminded her.
“What are you going to do?”
“Er…” I hadn’t got that far yet. There was only one obvious choice for information though. “I’ll figure something out.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Well that didn’t take long,” Snape greeted in a bored voice. He didn’t look the least bit surprised to see me. He lazily waved his wand, casting the usual spells.
“What happened?” I asked instantly.
“Always straight to the point when we’re face to face. I think I prefer your letters, at least there you attempt some sort of pleasantries,” he muttered as he continued grading the stack of essays on his desk.
“Mr. Weasley is in St. Mungo’s and you want to make small talk?” I questioned, bristling with anger.
“I would like you to pretend that the only reason you ever came down here was not solely for information or because I forced you to,” Snape responded, sounding annoyed.
“I’ll try and pencil you in,” I said bitterly, frustration building inside of me. Snape glanced up, looking like he had only just realized he was irritating me.
“Sit,” he instructed.
“Tell me what happened to Mr. Weasley,” I ordered, refusing to budge.
“Sit down and I will.” When I still didn’t move he let out a sigh. “I would prefer if you sat down so I wouldn’t be subjected to mindless pacing.”
“What’s wrong with my pacing?”
“It’s…” he seemed to be looking for the right word. “…vexing,” he said at last.
“If something as simple as pacing is so vexing to you, maybe it’s not me who has the issue.”
“You are probably correct,” he admitted, surprising me. “It’s been a very long day.”
“It’s barely past nine in the morning,” I pointed out, frowning.
“An extremely long day then,” he amended. Hearing how run down and tired he sounded made my annoyance with him subside and I sat down on the chair in front of his desk. He raised his head, scrutinizing me with narrowed eyes. “Are you pitying me?” he asked darkly.
“Don’t make it so easy.” I rolled my eyes at his look of disgust before he went back to grading. “Can’t you do that later? I mean you’ve got all break.”
“Getting the tedious work out of the way makes Christmas marginally more bearable.”
“How’s Mr. Wea–”
“Stable is one of those medical jargon words Healers use that doesn’t actually provide information.”
“Dumbledore believes Mr. Weasley was found before anything irreversible occurred.”
“Why do you assume there’s a but?”
“There’s always a but. His children weren’t rushed out of Hogwarts in the middle of the night for nothing.”
“As with most injuries, there is always the risk of unforeseeable complications.”
“So you don’t have any idea if he’s going to be ok?”
“He’s fine now.”
“That doesn’t mean –”
“If there are issues, I’m certain the staff at St. Mungo’s is more than competent enough to deal with them.”
Accepting that Snape knew nothing more useful about Mr. Weasley’s condition, I moved on. “What happened then? Hermione said he was attacked.”
“By…?” I prompted.
“A snake? How exactly did a snake bite land him in St. Mungo’s? Better yet, where did he get attacked by a snake?”
“It was not your average garden snake,” Snape answered.
“You didn’t answer the second part.”
“He was working.”
“For his job or for the Order?” Snape didn’t respond. “Guard duty,” I guessed, causing him to send a glare my way. “Well if you’re not going to be helpful I don’t have another choice but to voice my suspicions.”
“He was attacked by a snake, but quickly found and brought to St. Mungo’s where he was treated and survived. He’s in stable condition but the Healers haven’t fully cured him yet or if they have, I’ve yet to be informed. That is everything I know,” he said briskly.
“Not everything,” I disagreed. “Whose snake was it?”
“I thought you were smart enough to figure that out,” he said, letting out a scoff. Alright, well that was a snarky way of confirming it was the Dark Lord’s snake.
“One last thing –”
“I don’t have all the information,” Snape cut in.
“I think you know this one. That’s probably why you’ve been up for hours with Dumbledore, right?” For a brief moment he looked uneasy, likely because I had correctly guessed his morning, the next moment the look was gone. “If Mr. Weasley was attacked last night, which considering he has a steady day job, makes sense, how did Dumbledore find out so quickly that he was able to send the Weasley’s and Potter back to Gri-London?” Well now Snape just looked annoyed. “Frustrated by how fast your mind works?” I asked mockingly, making him glare at me again.
“I’m sure you are the one responsible for the vast majority of the obnoxiousness.”
“You’re avoiding my question.”
“Perhaps prolonged exposure to the Weasley clan has increased the symptoms.”
“I suppose that’s not necessarily true. You were quite obnoxious long before Hogwarts.”
“Not moving until you tell me.”
“I can move you, should it come to that.”
“I think our brother wands may have a differing opinion.”
“That only works if you’re able to defend yourself as fast as I can stun you.”
“Which I can.”
“You truly think so?”
“Ye –” No. No, I couldn’t beat Snape. Not in a duel, at least not a fair one. He knew me too well and would know exactly when to strike. “No,” I admitted. “Can’t you just tell me because I’m asking?”
“Such modesty, I’m impressed.” He paused for a moment, watching me. “Dumbledore was informed of the attack minutes after it happened because Potter witnessed it –”
“I do expect you to keep this next part to yourself, even from certain Weasleys. There is a strong chance Potter is linked to the Dark Lord –”
“Like me and –”
“That is why I was speaking with Dumbledore so early. He was curious about your link and attempted to discover if it is the same as Potter’s.”
“Similar, but not precisely the same. Potter does not appear to have the readily available access you do. Nor is he consumed by the Dark Lord’s mind should he venture too deep.”
“Well he should be thankful for that.”
“I quite agree.”
I sat there thinking about Mr. Weasley and how his family would react if something worse were to happen to him. They’d be devastated of course, their lives would never be the same. If Harry hadn’t seen, how long would it have been before Mr. Weasley was discovered? He probably would have been dead. And you did nothing. For weeks I’d known something bad was going to happen. Maybe not that Mr. Weasley was going to be attacked, but I’d known something was being planned. I’d brushed it aside, tried to ignore it, and gone on with my day. It had nearly cost Mr. Weasley his life.
“I want to go to London,” I blurted out.
“Absolutely not,” Snape responded instantly.
“This is not a discussion. You know very well it’s out of the question. There is a reason you are remaining at Hogwarts.” I had expected this from him but I couldn’t shake the need to disobey, to walk right out of this office and make my way to London whether Snape approved or not.
“Will survive without you.”
“That isn’t the point.”
“His father is going to be fine –”
“You don’t know that.”
“You do not need to be with him.”
“You’re supposed to be there for the people you care about,” I exclaimed.
“And I’m sure he would appreciate the gesture, however it is not an option.”
“I could –”
“You’re not even listening!”
“You’re not thinking rationally.” I sat there giving Snape a dark look but his resolve never wavered. “I realize you are worried. I will keep you informed of the situation. You need to trust me on this.”
With a final glare, I rose from my seat and left his office. Frustration mixed with the anxiety and fear that had slowly been building for nearly a month.
A/N: Did Jade know that Mr. Weasley was going to be attacked? What do you think? Remember she only knew about the Triwizard Cup being a Portkey because it was a solid, well thought out in advance plan.
And also I hadn’t noticed this before, but in the book Hermione lies to her parents and says she’s staying at Hogwarts to study. Then Dumbledore sends her to Grimmauld Place. Really Dumbledore, you don’t think that’s stepping over the line?
Mr. Weasley’s attack is from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling, Chapter 21, The Eye of the Snake.
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