Chapter 29 : Chapter 29
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The hours slipped by, my only way of keeping track of them was Lupin’s visit every three hours. I wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t. I had to keep it together or he’d come back. Despite what anyone else thought, I didn’t want to die. I had something to live for, people I needed to protect, people who now thought I was mental, people who would never understand me or why I was the person I was.
It doesn’t matter. They don’t have to understand, all that matters is keeping them safe. It was that thought keeping me going.
I wouldn’t sleep no matter how exhausted I was, I wouldn’t risk him coming back. All I had to do was keep my mind busy, that would keep me awake. I would stay focused, making sure I had a clear head so he couldn’t come back.
The floor outside my bedroom creaked. The doorknob was turning. Lupin again. Why couldn’t he take the hint after so many of these ‘meetings?’ I didn’t want to confide in him, I wanted solitude. I would rather lay on this bed, staring at the same spot on the wall, than ever admit to Lupin that there was something worse than my father in the back of my mind, something that whispered dark, sinister things to me. That convinced me to do terrible things.
There was the sound of the door opening and closing. Then the plate of food Lupin always seemed to be carrying was sat down on the desk. Next he would pull the chair out and spend fifteen minutes trying to get me to talk before he finally gave up and left again, always leaving the plate of food behind in case I got hungry. I wouldn’t eat though, food was a distraction, one I couldn’t afford.
I waited for the scrapping of the chair legs but it never came. Suddenly my bed sunk down. Alarmed, I whipped around. It wasn’t Lupin, it was Fred. I stared at him for a few moments as he stared right back, a look of sadness in his eyes. Finally I turned away then curled myself into a ball.
“I’d like to be alone,” I muttered. Lupin sitting here was bad enough, but Fred? I couldn’t deal with that, not right now.
“I know,” he said softly, “but you’re not eating or sleeping. If you keep up like this, you’re going to make yourself sick.”
“What if I’m already sick?” I whispered.
Fred’s weight shifted as he laid down and wrapped his arm around me. “Then it’s my job to make you better.”
“I don’t know if you can,” I admitted. “I don’t know if anyone can.”
“Have a little faith. Remember, I am half of the infamous Weasley duo,” he said lightly.
“Fred, it’s not that easy –”
“I know,” he cut in, serious once again. “Let’s start off small? How about you try and get some sleep?”
“I’m not tired,” I replied automatically.
It was several minutes before Fred spoke again. “Are you afraid to go to sleep?” he asked, concerned.
I didn’t move, I didn’t even risk breathing until finally, “Yes,” I confessed.
“I’ll stay here,” he said, pulling me closer. “I’ll stay awake and make sure nothing happens.”
Ten minutes ago the idea of sleeping would have been dismissed immediately, but now? Being able to sleep and not worry about anything, if only for a couple of hours, sounded too good to be true. But what if he came back while I was asleep? What if he made me turn on Fred this time? It was too big of a risk.
“I’ll be here, I’ll keep you safe.”
I wanted to sleep so badly.
“If I start talking or moving in my sleep –”
“I’ll wake you up, I promise,” he said, wrapping his fingers around mine. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”
After hours of forcing myself to stay awake, I shut my eyes. As I drifted off to sleep I felt Fred kiss the top of my head.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When I woke up there was a spasm of panic before a low voice above me said “It’s alright, I’m here.” I relaxed, then realized something was wrong. I was staring directing at Fred, not the wall. I leaned back and looked at him, confused. “You sort of did that gradually over five hours or I would have woken you up,” he explained. Five hours?
“What time is it?”
“Oh.” I didn’t think it had been that long. It certainly hadn’t felt that long.
Fred’s hand came up and brushed a few strands of hair off my face. “How do you feel?” he asked sincerely.
“Did you want to sleep some more?” I shook my head. “Hungry?” I shook my head again. “Did you wanna talk?”
“No,” I answered instantly.
“Alright, you can just listen then, I’ll do all the talking.” I let out a low groan and tired to roll over but Fred put a stop to my escape. “You know I’m going to talk whether you’re facing me or not, so let’s keep it this way since we’re both already comfortable?” I could already tell it was going to be one of those annoying serious talks so I cast my gaze down, preferring to stare at his shirt rather than his face. “Lupin told me what you told him.”
“Glad there’s plenty of gossip,” I muttered, bristling with anger.
“It was only me and him and we weren’t gossiping. He’s worried about you –”
“I don’t want him to be worried about me.”
“I know you don’t,” Fred said with a sigh. “That’s part of the problem. I know you’re used to being alone and that you tend to keep a lot of stuff in, but that eats at you. There are people here who care about you, you don’t have to confess everything to them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here for you when you need them the most.”
“They wouldn’t understand.”
“You never gave anyone a chance to understand. If you tried, they might just surprise you. I might surprise you.”
I glanced at Fred for a moment, frowning. I wasn’t sure how to put this, but I’d try the best I could.
“You have…you come from a good family. You’ve been taught to be honest and respectful. You know what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s very noble and you should feel proud…but life’s not always going to be black and white. Sometimes you have to be dishonest, whether you like it or not. Most of the people here are…well they don’t feel that way. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just…difficult to deal with. Very difficult to deal with. Sometimes it’s like, if you don’t live up to their standards, you’re a bad person.”
“You’re not a bad person,” Fred said, sounding confused.
“There are quite a few people who would disagree.”
“Don’t,” Fred whispered, pulling me into a hug. “You’re a great person. And you do the right thing when it counts.”
“Not always,” I muttered.
“Don’t listen to Snape,” Fred said, suddenly stern. “You’re not selfish or…or anything bad for caring about me, I don’t care what he says. Just because you left Hogwarts doesn’t give him the right to insult you. You were worried sick, anyone could have seen that. Don’t beat yourself up because Snape’s too much of a greasy, pathetic git to –”
“Stop,” I said angrily. I freed myself from Fred and glared up at him. “I would take Snape over any Order member. I would depend on him more than I ever would Moody. I would trust him more than I ever would Black. I would confide in him more than I ever would Lupin. And I would most certainly believe in him and follow him more than I ever would Dumbledore.”
“Tha–” Fred closed his mouth quickly and kept it shut for several minutes with a look of concentration on his face, as though he was trying to think of an appropriate response. “Why?” he asked at last. “He hurt you and you’re still… Why? What is it you see in him that no one else can? Lots of wizards can heal sick kids and lots of people are willing to listen when you need them. Why is it him you are so completely loyal to?”
How could I make Fred understand? Would he ever realize how much Snape had done for me, how much he had risked then and everyday since for over the past ten years?
“Most of the bad people in the world, the truly bad ones, they usually remain bad, but sometimes they do change. I guess you could say they grow a conscious. They end up wanting to put things right or start over all together. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, it’s really just personal choice over which path to take. But there’s a third choice, the hardest choice – you keep doing bad things and hope that some good comes from it or if something really bad happens, you can do something to stop it. Every time you have to do something bad it’s different from before though, because you know it’s wrong. But you still do it because maybe, just maybe, you can help someone someday.”
“I don’t see him helping that many people,” Fred said bitterly.
He helped me.
“Imagine…just say Ginny really needed something, a potion. Your parents couldn’t afford the potion, but you knew a dodgy place in Knockturn Alley that sold it. So you and George go, and while one of you distracts the crooked shop keeper, the other takes the potion. You give it to Ginny, but you promise yourselves you’ll never tell anyone, even your parents because you know you would get in trouble. Your parents would say it was dishonest and they never would have accepted it if they had known you stole it.”
“What if,” I continued, cautiously. What if I was saying too much? “What if instead of getting into trouble with your parents, it was with the Ministry? What if, if they found out about your secret, you would spend the rest of your life in Azkaban? You did a good thing for your sister and maybe a few people out there would understand, but most of them would say it was wrong, they wouldn’t understand, they would want you in Azkaban. Yet you don’t regret doing it, and you’d do it again in a heartbeat. Why? Because Ginny’s your sister, and you love her. But would you do the same for a stranger? Could you make that commitment of spending the rest of your life as a lie to someone you’ve never met before? You’d spend everyday not knowing if today was going to be the day someone found out. To me, taking a risk like that means something. To me, a risk like that deserves loyalty.”
Fred laid there quietly for a minute. “You’re not talking about Snape being a spy for the Order, are you?” he asked carefully
“No,” I whispered.
“She knows, in your story…Ginny knows where the potion came from and how we got it, right?”
“Yes, and it means more to her than you can imagine.”
Fred shifted onto his back so that he was staring up at the ceiling. “Okay,” he said after a long pause. He wrapped his arm around me and pulled me back over to him, directing my head onto his chest. “Okay,” he repeated again as he let out a deep breath.
We laid there for several minutes and I felt myself getting sleepier as I listened to Fred’s heart beat. I was half asleep when he asked one last question.
“What happens to…to Ginny if the Ministry ever finds out?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted softly. “They’d probably take her away.”
Fred’s arm tightened protectively around me as I fell asleep once again.
A/N: It is very important that Fred understands Snape’s risk and knows that Jade is aware that the risk was…well, less than moral. What did Snape do? You’ll know in 2 chapters…I know, you’re excited, 2.5 stories leading up to this.