It was too warm and I couldn’t move. Where was I? Hogwarts? And why was it so bloody hot? I shifted around some, trying to free myself. Then I froze, remembering the Dark Lord. Where the hell was I?!
I panicked and began struggling, trying to escape. Two strong hands wrapped around my upper arms and I fought harder. My body didn’t want to move though. I was too weak to fight.
“Stop,” a familiar voice I couldn’t place said. “Please stop.” Death Eaters don’t say please. “Calm down. I promise you’re safe.” It didn’t matter if I was safe, I was already lost. “Jade, it’s Remus Lupin.” Lupin? “I need you to calm down.”
I stopped fighting and tried to figure out what was going on. “Lupin?” I asked cautiously.
“Yes. It’s just me.”
That’s when things became clearer. I was covered in blankets, in a bed, in my room at Grimmauld Place. No, no, no. Not here.
“We can’t be here,” I said, beginning to struggle against Lupin’s hold again. “It’s not safe.”
“I promise that you’re safe,” Lupin tried to assure me.
“It’s not, he can come.”
“No one can get you here.”
“He was here. Black…Black let him in.”
“Sirius let who in?” Lupin asked, confused. They didn’t know what Black had done, the deal he’d made.
“He told the Dark Lord –”
“Why would –”
“He wanted to save Harry, he told the Dark Lord everything.”
“Jade, Sirius would never –”
“They were here! He came with Death Eaters.”
“Calm down,” Lupin instructed. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
“I wanted to leave but I couldn’t get through the new door. Black, he wouldn’t open it. He said – he said he was trying to protect Harry and that I shouldn’t fight them,” I began. “I went to the kitchen. Death Eaters grabbed me and then he was there.”
“Yes!” I exclaimed angrily. Why couldn’t Lupin understand that Grimmauld Place wasn’t safe?!
“What did he want?”
“Me,” I responded softly.
“He thought – he knew I’d make a good Death Eater.”
“You have to leave. He’ll come back.”
“It didn’t happen,” Lupin said, shaking his head.
“I saw him!” I shouted. “He was here! Black let him in.”
“Jade, please –”
“He was in the kitchen.”
“It was a nightmare, a horrible nightmare.”
“No.” It wasn’t a nightmare, it couldn’t have been, Lupin was wrong. “It was the night I came. He was here. And the door was different. I just wanted to leave. Then in the kitchen –”
“I know you’re –”
“My arm!” I said suddenly, grabbing my left forearm. It was bandaged now but I knew what was underneath.
“I know what happened!” Lupin was watching me with a look of pity, it was infuriating.
“You cut your own arm,” he said warily.
“It was the only way.” I felt sick remembering what I’d done.
“The only way for what?”
“I tried to say no. I told him I didn’t ever want to be a part of it. He said he’d…he’d kill Fred. Stop giving me that look!”
“It wasn’t real.”
“Yes, it –”
“No, it wasn’t, I’m sorry.”
“You’re wrong,” I said, backing away from him until I was against the wall. I pulled my knees up and wrapped my arms around them. “Snape was right,” I muttered. “I should have walked away. I should have let him go. They’re going to find him and torture him because of me. All because I was selfish, because I cared too much. It’s my fault. I just wanted to protect him.”
“You hurt yourself to protect Fred?”
“He said he wouldn’t hurt him if I joined. I wanted to keep Fred safe,” I explained. “He shouldn’t have to die because of who I am.”
“Fred is safe. I promise you, he is.”
“I need to go. I’ve been here too long. He’ll be waiting.”
“The Dark Lord!” Why couldn’t he understand, I needed to go. I had to do this.
“Jade,” Lupin said, letting out a sigh. “Please, just listen.”
“I need to go. If I don’t, he’ll hurt Fred. It’s the only way.”
“I can’t let you leave.”
“You have to,” I said desperately. “I have to protect him. I can’t – I can’t let it happen again. I can’t stand back and watch it happen again. Please,” I begged, “let me save him. I don’t care what happens to me, but I can’t go through the same thing again. I won’t let it be my fault.”
“Nothing is going to happen to Fred.”
“Why don’t you understand?!” I banged my head painfully against the wall. “I need to protect him. I can’t lose him too,” I mumbled. “It’s what’s necessary.”
“Some people are worth dying for.”
“Stop,” Lupin ordered. “It was a nightmare.”
“I’ve been in this house every minute since you arrived. No one outside of the Order has entered. Sirius hasn’t left once since September.”
“He told the Dark Lord –”
“Sirius had his life destroyed by Voldemort. His best friend was murdered by Voldemort. He spent twelve years in prison because of Voldemort. He would never make a deal with him, not even to save Harry, and most especially not by sacrificing you.”
“He hates me, he –”
“He doesn’t hate you. He hates what you remind him of.”
“I was there. He was beside me,” I said frantically, refusing to believe Lupin’s reasoning. “The Dark Lord was here, downstairs.”
“Jade, look at me. You know I’m not lying.”
“It was real,” I claimed, but now I wasn’t so sure.
“No. It was a horrible nightmare.”
“You must have been sleep walking. We found you in the kitchen this morning. There was a lot of blood.”
“I was just supposed to –”
“You nearly died.”
“It…it felt so real.”
“I know, but it wasn’t.”
“None of it ever happened?”
“No, I’m sorry.”
Suddenly it hit me why it felt so real, why even though I should have suspected something was off, I didn’t. He was back. It felt like my throat was closing in and I started gasping for air. Lupin was shocked by the change and reached out for me. “I need – I need –” I needed Snape but I had already pushed him away. I had no one to help me through this.
“Need what?” Lupin asked urgently.
“Leave. Me. Alone,” I wheezed out.
As reluctant as he looked, he left.
Snape had been right. He’d always been right. My worries and paranoia hadn’t been from some Death Eater plot and it wasn’t from instinct. It was much, much worse. He was back. It was always him, the voice. How many times had I ignored him? Been too stupid to realize he was there, in the back of my mind, whispering things? I’d spent years trying to keep him along with my father out, but it hadn’t helped. He crawled his way back in, inch by inch until finally he’d done the same thing he tried over eleven years ago. He tried to make me kill myself. And without Snape, I was utterly alone at trying to stop him from trying again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Did you find out?” Remus asked in a whisper.
“At first he didn’t want to say, I could tell he knew though.”
“He seemed more interested in why I was interested actually.”
“What’s wrong? Did something else happen?”
“He – he wanted to see my wand. I thought it might make him more willing to talk.” Tonks bit her lip. “Remus, he knew who I was.”
“You’re sure he knew it was you?”
“He remembered my parents’ wands and asked how they were,” she said impatiently. “So yes, I’m sure he knew who I was.”
“Ollivander’s not one to gossip. I doubt he’ll tell anyone, Dumbledore possibly.”
“Yeah, well, you’ll want to tell this next bit to Dumbledore yourself.”
“Whose wand was it?”
“It was bought over four years ago.”
“It’s hers?” Remus asked in confusion.
“No, she bought it. It was matched to someone else.”
“Draco Malfoy?” Remus asked, eyebrows furrowed. “They don’t talk to each other. I don’t think they even glanced at each other the whole year I was at Hogwarts. McGonagall said nearly the entire school doesn’t know Jade’s related to the Malfoys, yet alone lives with them.”
“So why did she buy Draco Malfoy’s wand?”
“And why did she fly off the handle when Snape told her he had it?”
“There has to be more to the story.”
“Almost certainly,” Remus agreed. “And I’m willing to bet exactly who knows the truth.”
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