The occupants of Grimmauld Place awoke to Mrs. Weasley’s screams that morning. Remus and Sirius apparated down to the kitchen, wands already drawn. It took Sirius a minute to process what he was seeing. Jade Lestrange was sitting at the end of the table, slumped over. Her skin was white and there was blood, lots of it. Blood on the table, blood on Jade, blood pooled on the floor. Sirius and Remus stood there in shock until a shout came through the door.
It was Bill. From the sounds of it, he and everyone else in the house was thundering down the stairs, heading straight for the kitchen.
“Stop them,” Remus said, but Sirius didn’t hear him. He was too transfixed on the scene in front of him. “Sirius!” Remus shouted. Sirius tore his eyes off the blood on Jade’s left side. “Stop them,” Remus ordered. “Don’t let them in here. Don’t let them see this.” Sirius nodded and turned towards the door. As he was swinging it open, Remus gave him one last job. “Get Phineas’ portrait too, we need help.”
Bill nearly trampled over Sirius in his rush to get to the kitchen but Sirius grabbed his arm to stop him from entering. “No. Help me stop them,” Sirius muttered as the rest of the Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione rushed towards them.
“Mum?” George called out anxiously, trying to push his way through.
“Your mother’s fine,” Sirius tried to assure him, blocking the way into the kitchen.
“She was screaming, I know I heard her. Move out of the bloody way!”
“She’s fine,” Sirius repeated, refusing to budge.
“Then why was she –” Ron began angrily.
“Dad?” Ginny asked fearfully. Everyone froze, worried expressions on their faces.
“Your father’s fine too,” Sirius said loudly, making sure his voice carried over the screaming portraits.
“Then why –”
“Harry, go upstairs and bring down Phineas’ portrait.”
“What’s going on?” Harry questioned.
“I’ll explain later, we need it now. It’s important.” Much to Sirius’ relief, Harry complied.
“Where’s mum?” George demanded. “And why won’t you let us through?!”
“I know you’re worried, but you need to go upstairs so we can sort things out.”
“Sort what things out?”
“Jade?” Fred said suddenly, making Sirius’ heart drop. Fred whipped around, like maybe he only couldn’t see her from his current angle. After he circled around twice, Fred stopped and Sirius could see the wheels turning in his head as he worked out what was happening. Just as Fred lunged for the door, Sirius grabbed him. “Let go!” Fred hollered as he continued fighting his way towards the door.
“Stop!” Sirius ordered, using all of his strength to keep Fred back. Thankfully Bill reached out to help hold Fred back as he continued struggling and shouting obscenities. “Calm down,” Sirius pleaded, though honestly he knew it wasn’t going to work. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Hermione’s arm stretched towards the door handle. “No!” he shouted, causing her to jump.
Harry was returning with Phineas, George was yelling, demanding to know what was happening, Ron and Ginny were badgering Sirius with questions, Hermione looked moments away from bursting through the kitchen door no matter what Sirius had said and while he was holding back Fred, he was incapable of stopping her. On top of all that there were screams about filth and blood traitors coming from Sirius’ mother. In a moment of desperation, Sirius snapped. “Enough!” he shouted before stunning Fred. “All of you upstairs! Now!”
“You don’t –” George shot back angrily.
“George, take everyone upstairs!” Bill interrupted in a commanding voice.
“Tell us –”
“Now!” Bill told him. Sirius had never seen Bill so forceful and he didn’t think the others had either.
“Come on,” George muttered, throwing a glare at Sirius before pulling Ginny and Ron towards the stairs. Harry handed over the portrait of Phineas before pulling a dazed looking Hermione up the stairs.
“What’s going on?” Bill whispered urgently.
“I was wondering the same thing,” Phineas said moodily. “I sincerely hope you didn’t wake me before five in the morning purely to listen to this racket.”
“Take your brother upstairs,” Sirius told Bill. “It’ll probably be better if you don’t revive him for a while. Then make sure the others stay up there. We’re still trying to figure out what happened.”
Bill reluctantly nodded and hovered Fred up the stairs as Sirius reentered the kitchen.
They hadn’t moved Jade. She was still sitting at the end of the table, slumped over. Remus was holding two fingers against her neck, his other hand was holding down bandages on her left arm. Mrs. Weasley was fiercely scrubbing the table and gathering up the heaps of bloody cloth scattered around.
“What the hell happened?” Phineas asked. Mrs. Weasley jumped and Remus turned towards them.
“Get Dumbledore,” Remus instructed. “Tell him it’s an emergency. He needs to send someone who can help. Make sure he knows it’s Jade Lestrange who’s hurt.”
“Lestrange? Isn’t –”
“Just go!” Remus barked. Although he looked deeply offended, Phineas marched out of his portrait, presumably to pass the message on to Dumbledore.
Sirius took a cautious step forward. “Remus –”
“I can’t perform a health scan to check on her or to see if there are more injuries. I can’t risk moving her incase there’s something more serious. I can’t even disinfect the wound or seal it so she stops bleeding. I can barely clean the blood away. I certainly as hell can’t summon a proper bandage for her because I don’t know what that will do to her!”
Sirius had only seen Remus this angry on one occasion, the morning he’d found out Sirius had tricked Snape into going to the Shrieking Shack on a full moon. An angry Remus wasn’t something he knew how to deal with so he stood there awkwardly until Phineas returned.
“He’s sending help,” the portrait informed them. “He’s let them know it’s an emergency so they should arrive soon.” Phineas looked over Jade’s body, his expression unreadable. “Surely one of you can do more than that to help her,” he said, watching Remus hold down the bandages. Remus sent the portrait a dark look and Phineas scoffed before walking out of the frame.
Mrs. Weasley dumped the bloody cloths into the rubbish bin then moved to the sink. After a minute she let out a sob, alarming Sirius.
“I thought she was sleeping,” Mrs. Weasley said in a heavy voice. “That she had – had fallen asleep down here. I didn’t see, I didn’t notice the blood until I turned up the lantern.” Her body started racking with sobs as she wet a rag to wash the blood she hadn’t cleaned yet.
Sirius, though comforting people had never been his forte, stepped in front of Mrs. Weasley and gently pried the rag out of her hands. “I’ll clean it,” he said. “Sit down, Molly.” He directed her into a chair on the far side of the table, away from Jade. Next he flicked his wand, summoning the tea kettle. He also saw Remus bend down and pick up something off the floor.
Minutes later Sirius set a cup of tea in front of Mrs. Weasley, along with some milk and sugar. Instead of standing there, hovering and looking like an idiot, he took up the rag, planning on cleaning up the rest of the blood.
“What if they come back?” Molly whispered fearfully. “Whoever attacked her, what if they come back? What if they never left?” she said, her hand covering her mouth in horror.
Fear and dread seeped into Sirius’ body. Not once had he ever considered Grimmauld Place unsafe. He’d left everyone else unprotected. He’d left Harry unprotected.
“She wasn’t attacked,” Remus said quietly. Sirius and Mrs. Weasley both turned to him in confusion. Remus dropped a small knife onto the table. “She did it herself.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It must have been hours of sitting in Harry and Ron’s room. George, Ginny and Hermione sat on Ron’s bed while Harry and Ron sat on Harry’s. Bill, who was normally laid back and carefree, had ordered them to stay in here and let the others sort things out. They hadn’t seen or heard Fred since Sirius stunned him. Actually they hadn’t seen anybody except for Mrs. Weasley and she hadn’t said anything. She only brought up a few stacks of toast and a jug of pumpkin juice before retreating.
Not much had been said, but they all knew whatever happened, Jade was the one involved. There’d been a few murmurs voicing their suspicions but they drifted off before anything too serious was mentioned. As the hours went by it slowly set in that this was serious. They wouldn’t have been left alone for this long unless something drastic happened.
Ron’s stomach let out a growl and Ginny shifted her legs, draping them over the side of the bed. The sound of footsteps on the staircase caused Harry’s eyes to drift towards the door yet again. No one came though and none of them said a word.
Twenty more minutes passed until the door opened and Sirius joined them. He looked tired and grim as he sat down next to Harry. Nothing was said for several long minutes.
“What happened to Jade?” Ginny finally asked.
Sirius let out a sigh and ran his hand over his face before answering.
“I know this is hard to understand,” he began, choosing his words carefully, “but sometimes when people are under a lot of stress or upset, they can’t see a way to keep going. When it builds up, they may try to…escape from it.”
“Escape from it?” Ron said, confused. “You make it sound like she…”
“No,” Ginny claimed. “You’re wrong. She wouldn’t do anything like that on purpose. It’s probably like over the summer. You all thought it was something worse but it was only an accident. She made a mistake. People make mistakes.”
“You’re right, we did assume wrong last time,” Sirius agreed. “This is different though.”
“I don’t believe you,” George said firmly. “She did not try to…to off herself. She wasn’t under a lot of stress or depressed.”
“People hide these things,” Sirius explained gently. “Even the people closest to them don’t always notice until it’s too late.”
“She was fine,” George exclaimed loudly. “Not even a week ago she was laughing and joking. We were making plans for the holiday and she was teasing us about our gifts. She was bloody well snogging Fred when I went to bed a few nights ago. Does that sound like someone who’s depressed? Someone who’s barely holding it together?”
Sirius let out another sigh, deciding to be blunt. “I know she’s your friend and you think you know her well –”
“I know her a hell of a lot better than you do,” George said, glaring at Sirius.
“–then tell me, was the girl you saw last night the same Jade Lestrange you know? Was she acting like herself?”
“She was upset,” Ginny protested. “We all were when we found out about dad. She was probably worried about him too, only she hadn’t heard he was ok.”
“No,” Harry said, “she was ok during dinner. She was a bit on edge and yeah that might have been because of Mr. Weasley, but she was still ok until Snape came.”
“Harry’s right,” Ron added. “Up until he showed up she was normal. He just kept egging her on until she snapped at him.”
“And then he stormed out after they talked alone,” Harry continued. “He must have said something to set her off.”
“Or done something,” Ron muttered.
“Trust me when I say we’ve already realized that. Snape played a role in this and he isn’t getting off scot-free.”
“Yeah, bring the greasy git here and show him what he’s done,” Ron said bitterly.
“No!” Hermione cut in sharply. It was the first time she’d spoken all day. “Don’t,” she said, swelling in anger. “Don’t let him near her.”
“I know how you feel, Hermione,” Sirius said.
“No, you don’t understand. She shouldn’t be anywhere near him.” There was a fierceness in her voice the others weren’t accustomed to. “Did he come today?” she asked suddenly. “Is that who Phineas contacted?”
“We didn’t have a choice. Snape’s the only one –”
“Is he with her now?” Hermione demanded, standing up quickly, fists clenched.
“He’s not at the moment,” Sirius informed them. “Right now he’s –”
“SHE WAS FINE UNTIL YOU SHOWED UP!” Remus’ voice bellowed throughout the house.
“–he’s with Remus,” Sirius finished.
“THEN YOU HAD TO COME AND KEEP PUSHING HER! YOU DIDN’T TRY AND TALK TO HER, YOU DIDN’T TRY AND REASON WITH HER! ALL YOU EVER DO IS MAKE DEMANDS! ANYONE COULD HAVE SEEN HOW RUN DOWN SHE LOOKED, THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN SOMETHING WAS WRONG! INSTEAD OF TRYING TO HELP YOU JUST PUSHED HER OVER THE EDGE! SHE HAS DEFENDED YOU TIME AND TIME AGAIN BUT YOU ARE SO DETERMINED TO MAKE EVERYBODY HATE YOU THAT YOU SHOVED ASIDE THE ONLY PERSON WHO ACTUALLY DOES CARE ABOUT YOU! SHE DESERVED BETTER FROM YOU!” No one had ever heard Remus so angry before.
“SHE NEARLY DIED IN A POOL OF HER OWN BLOOD BECAUSE OF YOU! YOU GET TO CARRY THAT AROUND FOR THE REST OF YOUR MISERABLE LIFE! NOT THAT IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE BECAUSE SEVERUS SNAPE DOESN’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT ANYBODY BUT HIMSELF!” They waited for Snape’s angry response but it never came.
“GET OUT! YOU’RE NOT COMING NEAR HER AGAIN! I DON’T CARE WHAT DUMBLEDORE SAYS, AS LONG AS SHE’S UNDER THIS ROOF YOU AREN’T STEPPING NEAR HER!”
A door downstairs slammed and then someone was marching up the staircase. It was Remus returning to Jade’s room, leaving Snape to show himself out.
After a few minutes Sirius stood up. “I’ll see about getting you guys some lunch. It’s going to be a rough few days and I know it’s a lot to ask, but please try and give everyone some space.” Lastly he addressed George, “Bill’s talking to Fred in a bit. You should at least wait until after that before you go see him.”
With that he exited the room and left them all sitting there as reality slowly set in.
Jade Lestrange had tried to kill herself.
A/N: Back for the New Year, woot! Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of the story.
Also, after reading the previous chapter, it should be obvious that Jade was in fact not trying to die. She has a saving people thing, a bit like Harry but it’s much more intense and self destructive. You’ll find out more coming up.
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