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Through Her Eyes by MousyCh
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
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This story doesn't begin with a dramatic scene. No, this story begins with the day she was born: a wanted child, a beloved child.
"I know every child is cute as a baby but yours is just a bit cuter than the others." A tall young man told his friend.
The woman holding the baby chuckled and looked down into those amazing pale green eyes. Her baby looked slightly different than her mother, inheriting the black hair of her father and elongated big eyes that looked more like a snake’s than a fox’s. Nevertheless, the red haired woman was glad to hold such a cute little baby girl.
"Does he know about your plan?" The young man added with a frown.
The woman shifted in her bed uncomfortably. Lillian Gaunt was her name. It was known around the world of her connection to a certain dangerous man. She’s been warned of his quality to impress and manipulate the people around him according to his needs and desires.
"No. Tom's been leaving for long periods of time and always returns in a bad mood. I’ve been avoiding him for the last few days but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s planning something bigger and more dangerous than we imagine." She answered curtly, throwing a quick glance at her daughter.
"You fell into his charms too easily. Dumbledore warned you-“
“Dumbledore is one man. He can’t be everywhere at the same time and he was late, anyway. We both know it was his plan all along.” She said bitterly, her Scottish accent overflowing every syllable.
"I know. I know. But now it’s different. Coming to Hogwarts was your escape and-“He stopped and sighed heavily, grabbing a hand through his messy bundle of red hair. “Hogwarts used to feel like home until he came, you know.”
Lillian raised an eyebrow and leaned back, the baby in her arms cooing cutely.
“Have you told your father about this?” He asked, changing the subject.
“I prefer to raise my child far away from both of them. But yes, Morfin knows. He was delighted when I told him that mom died a very long time ago and he was very clear when he told me I’ll inherit nothing." Lillian added coldly, rolling her eye at the mere thought. “Like I want anything to do with him in the first place, ha!”
The baby must have felt her mother’s annoyance because she frowned. Lillian looked down into those green eyes and smiled, her expression softening immediately.
Vernon Peverell, the other red head in the room, though his was a brighter color and messier, frowned. His blue eyes fell over the baby girl and couldn’t help feel a tinge of jealousy. That baby could have been his. But she wasn’t; she was Tom’s. Everything Vernon Peverell ever wanted was already Tom’s. It was irritating, especially since Lillian and Tom were relatives and no pure blooded family could accept this except the Gaunts.
“Are you sure you want me to be your Secret Keeper?” He asked for what felt like a hundredth time already.
“Yes. We talked about this before, haven’t we? Who can I trust if not you, Vernon?”
Peverell had a few ideas why he shouldn't be trusted with such a big responsibility. Firstly, Tom Riddle Jr was one of the best wizards of his age and you had to be utterly stupid to go against him willingly. But there he was, descendant of the Peverell family, risking his life and sanity for love.
“Dumbledore or someone else from Hogwarts. You’ve always been one of Minerva’s precious pupils. She’d laugh and express joy with her face, something she doesn’t do very well usually.” He mumbled, making her laugh.
“You know why she likes me. I just hope my magic will be inherited.” Lillian whispered, having her baby grasp her finger and bringing it to her mouth.
Seven years later and Vernon Peverell was living the life his ancestors only dreamed of. He had a small cottage in Scotland where he was known as the handsome man who could create fireworks with his hands. But Vernon's happiness was pouring out from one reason only: Lillian. She'd come with her daughter and spend weeks at his house, bathing in sun light and silence. Vernon found himself living the illusion of a happy relationship and he quickly became attached to Lillian’s daughter, Ophelia.
But that day was special. It was a gloomy day of spring, rain pouring cats and dogs, flooding the outskirts of the village he was living in. But something in the air was making that day feel colder than it was. Vernon was an experimented man and knew when death was knocking on his door.
The redhead squeezed his wand tightly and waited in the living room. The front door slammed open and a cloaked man entered, walking inside the house like it was his own. Vernon knew he had to play cool but his heart was beating really fast.
"What an unexpected visit. I never knew we were so close as to know where each other lives, Tom." Vernon said coldly, getting up and watching the cloaked wizard warily.
“A wizard like yourself, living among muggles; you ended up being a disappointment to pure bloods.” Tom answered in that certain manner of his, reminding Vernon why he hated the dark wizard so much.
“We can’t all be perfect, can we?”
Vernon tensed when Tom pulled off his cloak, revealing his handsome pale face. The redhead invited his guest in and Tom accepted his offer, sitting on the couch Vernon just got up from.
“You know very well why I am here. She’s been gone for seven years already and I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was just about her.” Tom continued, sounding very relaxed as if he was speaking to a friend.
"Of course, Lillian is nothing but an accessory you can easily get rid of. You’ve always done it with people: use them and dispose of them afterwards. I’m surprised you still have a few followers from school.”
“There will be more when I will make myself understood. We have to stick together, you and I. We’re heirs of strong pure blooded families.” Tom spoke, proud of his heritage.
Vernon sighed and squeezed his wand, having the desire to kill the man who knew nothing but power and pride.
“You’re going to drown in your ego one day. You’ll definitely meet your match and he’ll hurt you where it hurts the most.”
“Enough with this charade!” Tom yelled, getting up and turning to Vernon. “Tell me where Lillian is and you can return to your generic life.”
It took every ounce of will he had in his body to stand straight and look into those icy eyes.
Tom Riddle was annoyed and he wasn’t hiding it. He was glaring at the redhead with so much hatred that his first thought was to kill him. But no, he couldn't. The Peverells were known for centuries to have courage in the face of Death so he decided to punish Vernon in a different way.
"Where is Lillian?" Tom asked once more, taking a step towards Vernon. "Do you believe that I don't know why you're protecting her, Vernon? You are so obvious and pitiful. You expect she will fall in love with you. Those are just lies. I know her Vernon. She is part of my blood." He hissed, his voice fluctuating with the information he was throwing at Peverell.
Vernon sighed and looked down at his feet.
"It's not about Lillian anymore." Vernon muttered.
Tom raised an eyebrow, his eyes set on the pitiful wizard in front of him.
"Love is not for wizards like us, Vernon. Love makes you weak." The dark wizard hissed.
"That child-" Vernon started, "-that child is your daughter. If you kill the mother you will curse her entire life."
Tom watched Vernon for a few minutes before he started to laugh loudly. Standing there, ready to defend himself, Vernon felt his blood running cold and every ounce of happiness was slipping from his body.
"Very well then."
With one elegant sway of his wand, Tom had Vernon pushed up into the air by an invisible force. The dark wizard walked towards him calmly and forced the redhead to drink some liquid. Vernon spat it over Tom's cloak but with another sway of wand, Vernon was immobilized. Tom forced the Veritaserum down his throat and waited patiently, his eyes sparkling with eagerness.
"Now, where is she? Where is Lillian?" Tom asked, visibly calmer than before.
Vernon tried his best to keep his mouth shut but his mind had the answer. Tom stared at him for a while, looking at him as if he was searching deep into his soul. When he got the answer he wanted, Tom's eyes darkened before he pointed the tip of his wand at Vernon.
Peverell had time for one thing alone and that was informing Lillian of the danger that was coming.
In Clifden, West Ireland was a house just like any other house built for a large family and hidden between thick trees. It looked like whoever was living there was a very private person with quite a large bank account.
It was a sunny day, that one, which was the first after a long series of gloomy days. A girl around 7 years old with short brown hair and pale green eyes was playing in the garden, finding out that she could create things from thin air.
Her mother was standing aside, watching her daughter with a soft smile. Lillian was happy to see that her daughter was already showing signs of empty handed magic from such a young age. They were living quietly and the people from the village would rarely come over to watch what looked like an old abandoned house.
“Mommy, look! A fox!” Little Ophelia exclaimed in delight, pointing at the fox running towards the red haired woman.
But that wasn’t just a fox, it was a Patronus form. It didn’t have to say anything but nod its head for Lillian to know what was wrong.
“He’s coming.” Lillian whispered.
Her eyes snapped to Ophelia, who was gawking over the cute Patronus. Feeling her mother’s heavy gaze on her, she looked up and frowned. Lillian’s face paled and panic was visible all over her being.
“Ophelia darling, you have to hide. Go into my room on the second floor and hide in the dresser.” Lillian told her daughter, her tone sending the right message across.
Ophelia nodded and ran into the house, entering through the back door. Lillian took a deep breath and looked at the sky. Her beautiful lifestyle was going to end just as tragically as it begun. Her thoughts were only about Ophelia and her future and it was worrying. She didn’t ask anyone to look over her child because she knew if she’d die, Vernon would know what to do. Now, she only hoped he was alive.
Lillian entered the house in a hurry and heard a buzzing sound from the kitchen. Something was interfering with the radio and she knew what that was.
With Ophelia safely hidden by wizards and witches in a secret compartment in the dresser, Lillian was left to prepare for the end. She was a talented witch but Tom was different.
The front door suddenly opened and even the kid could hear the heavy steps of a man that was bringing death wherever he was going.
Lillian glared at the stairs before she opened a secret compartment in the wall from the far back of the hall. Her hands were shaking as she checked for something very precious that has been hidden in there from her last visit home. She wanted to give it to Dumbledore but didn’t get the opportunity.
The woman rushed into a different room that had a small beautiful white owl and gave him a letter and a ring.
“Send the letter to Dumbledore and drop the ring back where it belongs.” Lillian ordered.
The owl could feel his master’s anxiety and nodded without making a fuss, like before. He sprang his wings and flied through the window, not once looking back.
Lillian walked into the hall and closed the secret compartment in the wall before taking one last glance at her room. She had been entangled into his web for far too long and she had so many regrets that were still haunting her. That man tainted everything in her life and she didn’t want that to happen to her daughter as well.
“How did you find me?” Lillian asked in a very thick Scottish accent.
“I see you have been very busy, Lillian. This house has every possible protection around it.” Tom said, looking at the walls before turning his attention on her. “Very impressive, I must say.”
Lillian looked nothing but afraid. Before her was the man that pretty much raised her, the one who she fell in love with and had a child with. It didn’t matter that he planned everything because she was just as much of a Dark Wizard as he was.
“How did you find me, Tom? The Charm-“
“Your little friend, the Peverell, he told me where you are. You didn’t choose your Secret Keeper wisely, cousin.” He responded, his eyes narrowing at the woman. “Now, where is my daughter?”
“What have you done with Vernon?” She changed the subject, hoping she could buy more time.
Tom sighed, “He might be still alive. Now my daughter. Where is Ophelia?”
Lillian’s eyes widened and pointed her hand at her cousin. Tom chuckled bemusedly, taking one step towards her. His grasp around his wand tightened but the door towards his left cracked open and Ophelia’s chubby face appeared from behind it.
“Go back inside, Ophelia! This man-this man-“
With one simple sway of his wand, the woman known as Lillian Gaunt was dead. Ophelia gasped and ran back inside the room, hiding.
Tom thrashed the house but couldn’t find the little chubby girl. He looked everywhere before making himself heard through the house, like an amplified echo.
“Wherever you go, I will find you. Rest assured, Ophelia, your place by my side is irreplaceable.” He breathed out before disapparating.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
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Minerva McGonagall was preparing for her Transfiguration lesson when a cute white owl entered through the window and landed straight in front of her. The owl was familiar but it’s been a while since Minerva has heard from that particular student of hers. Nonetheless, the owl was there and he looked panicked. He jumped closer to the professor and looked up at her with what looked to be teary eyes. In that moment, Minerva knew something very wrong happened, snatched the letter from the owl and rushed out of her office. Her face was contorted into an expression of shock and pity and by the time she found Professor Dumbledore, she was already tearing up.
“What is it, Minerva?” He asked, noticing her expression.
She only handed him the letter and waited patiently for her colleague to give the announcement.
Dumbledore read the letter slowly, his blue eyes not widening once at the containment.
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
By the time you get this letter, I will be already dead. I have lived a life under constant watch but I treasured it and treasured my family to some extent.
I have returned what is not mine and I consider that is the best place to hide something so powerful.
I would appreciate if my daughter could be looked after by you not by my cousin. I’m sorry I couldn’t say my farewells in person but circumstances wouldn’t let me.
Please, don’t let her get entangled into his web. Ophelia should never know who her father is. Never.
Once he read everything, Dumbledore rushed out of his office, Minerva following closely.
“What should we do now? The child, he can’t get the child.” She said in a hurry.
Dumbledore walked out and turned to her before he smiled sadly.
“Our priority is her safety. If Tom will ever find her, I’d like it to be at an older age when she can decide for herself.” He said softly, though very worried.
“What is that supposed to mean? Albus, he can never find her. She’s his opportunity for-“ She stopped, shuddering at the thought.
Dumbledore placed a comforting hand on her shoulder before turning around and leaving.
Before Dumbledore arrived in Ireland, someone else apparated in the house. Vernon Peverell found Lillian’s dead body first and gave a loud cry. He loved her more than she ever knew and seeing those beautiful eyes lifeless was breaking his heart.
His ears perked when he heard light movement in her room and pushed it open. He came face to face with a crying and scared Ophelia and followed her to her mother’s side. The young girl cried even more at the sight of her mother’s corpse and took refuge next to her body.
When Dumbledore entered, he found the house in a bad state. It was obvious someone searched wildly for something but he couldn’t find it. He looked up and licked his lips nervously. Dumbledore knew what was up there and that sentiment of anticipation was cringing.
Crouched next to a dead body was a scared little girl who didn’t know who to trust. Dumbledore walked towards her slowly and bent in front of her. His eyes first fell over Lillian feeling conflicted with the way she died. However, she was such a sly witch that she didn’t give him the stone but placed it back where she took it from. Next, he turned towards the child. Ophelia looked like a chubby version of her mother, extremely cute yet her eyes were giving off a different vibe. Dumbledore looked closely at the girl, a bit reluctant to help her. That was Tom’s child and there were high chances for her to follow her father later on; those eyes were a sign. But Dumbledore couldn’t find it in himself to leave her in misery.
“Ophelia, my name is Albus Dumbledore. I will help you but you have to promise me something.” He started.
Ophelia seized him up before nodding.
“Forget the man you saw today. Forget everything and look forward to a better life. You have to trust me, alright?”
In that moment, Dumbledore’s comforting presence was the only light that she could see in the house. He was the only one there, helping her in her most miserable moment of her life. Dumbledore reached his hand out for her and she grabbed it tightly.
As Dumbledore disapparated with Ophelia, a black kitten with bright blue eyes remained by Lillian’s side. That kitten watched Ophelia walk away from his life and he looked down at his paws, disappointed. The little glimpse of happiness he had left just vanished before his eyes.
Dumbledore apparated in a dark alley, encouraging the little girl to walk into the street. He led her to an impressively decorated building called Bread of Life Orphanage. It was intimidating, especially when a woman dressed in a blue and white uniform walked to greet them.
Dumbledore talked for a while with the nurse and the woman peeked once or twice at the child. It was a bad day and Ophelia felt it in her bones; her father was very angry.
After a few more minutes, Dumbledore looked down at her and smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Trust me, alright?” He told her again.
The nurse smiled to Ophelia and grabbed her hand, leading her inside the orphanage. Dumbledore remained outside, watching Tom’s heir enter the building. He felt his heart cringe, knowing Ophelia’s life was never going to stray from dark magic. It was all around her, the snake.
Ophelia Gaunt has lived her seven years of life secluded in her mother’s bubble. Safety would always come first, next secrecy and happiness was last. She always found joy in the smallest things: the wind’s breeze on a fresh morning after raining, flowers blossoming under her watch and the little tricks she could do.
Much like Dumbledore asked, Ophelia avoided thinking of the man that killed her mother and slowly forgot how he looked or sounded.
Unfortunately, peculiar things were happening to her: from time to time, lights would licker in her room or fire would arise from nowhere. It depended a lot on her moods and the way she was treated. The nurses were nice women but very strict while the other children were always messing around. That was how one year passed for Ophelia. Eventless.
Then, during a fieldtrip to Aviemore, something happened.
“I bet you don’t have the courage to enter the forest.” One boy taunted his friend.
“They say it’s haunted. Not even you can enter, Paul.” A slightly shorter and more fragile looking boy combated.
Paul raised an eyebrow and bloated with pride, “My father was an archeologist. He died in an expedition in Egypt. Bravery is a family trait, Marcus.”
The other children whispered to each other, eager to see who will go in the forest. It wasn’t every day such a competition would arise in Bread of Life orphans. In the end, Paul entered Rothiemurchus Forest alone.
The orphans waited fifteen minutes but no sign of Paul. They waited another half an hour yet nothing. The nurses were already gathering the children to go back to Birmingham and Paul was still gone.
Ophelia was worried, especially with her roommates whispering about the worst kind of stories.
“Maybe the ghosts ate him.” Rosaline, the girl owning the bed next to the door, said.
“Or maybe the faeries of the forest. I heard this is their favorite spot in Britain.” Evelyn, the girl owning the bed across Ophelia’s, added.
“Or maybe he got lost.” Ophelia finally said, being more realistic than the others. “We should tell Miss Glenmore about him. She’ll know what to do.”
Marcus came over and grabbed her hand, “Don’t. We’ll get in real trouble and we won’t get dessert anymore.” He said, his widened eyes looking at Ophelia with fear.
“But-“She stopped when Miss Glenmore came over and ushered them towards the car.
They had to get in line in order to get counted. Ophelia knew sooner or later the nurses will notice Paul’s disappearance but what if it was too late by then? She looked at the forest over her shoulder and felt cold air brush her ankles. Scared yet at the same time worried, Ophelia slipped away from the group and ran into the forest.
It was definitely not what she imagined. With all the stories about ghosts and fairies and horror, the forest looked just like any other. Up close, the vegetation was wilder than in other parts but still under human control and the trees were amazingly tall yet not out of ordinary. As she was walking deeper into the forest, she noticed slight changes that weren’t making much sense. The trees looked like they were growing as she was passing them and their trunks were getting larger and darker. Light was dimming and the vegetation seemed to rarefy. It felt like she was entering a different side of the forest, one that was shifting right in front of her.
She walked over one specific branch and the darkness vanished. It was brighter than normally in Britain and it looked beautiful. Her eyes widened as she spun around, gawping at the perfectly sculptured trees and flowers that were sparkling.
“Pheli? Ophelia! How did you find this place?!” Paul screamed from a few feet towards left.
“I just walked and found myself here.”
Paul’s eyes widened, sparkling with joy and curiosity, “Right?! It’s like a force leads you in here. It’s amazing!”
“But what if it’s the fairies? This looks like a perfect spot for them.” She whispered, her eyes narrowing at everything. “It looks like a place from a fairytale.”
But Paul wasn’t listening. He was explaining everything he found out in that hour he was gone. Now that she thought about it, Ophelia remembered why she got in in the first place.
“We have to go back. Miss Glenmore is probably searching for us right now.”
“I don’t know how. I don’t know which way I came from.” Paul answered simply.
Ophelia looked around and realized she forgot too. She walked back towards the sparkling flowers but there was a tree now, impossible to pass. The forest was so quiet and the sun was so bright that it looked like a painting from the side.
“How do we get back?” She wondered out loud, fear crawling up her spine.
An hour passed and two eight years old orphans were lost in the forest. Miss Glenmore called the police and the locals paired up in two searching groups. But for some reason, they couldn’t find the orphans. Two hours passed and Paul’s stomach was grumbling so loud that even Ophelia felt hungry. Three hours passed and Ophelia swore she saw something move from the corner of her eye.
The brunette girl got up and went back in front of the sparkling flowers. She crouched in front of them and plucked one off. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously when the bulb coughed pollen on her shirt and fell limp. Paul walked behind her and gasped. The flowers lost their sparkles and closed their petals. A loud scream filled the forest, coming from distance.
“Maybe it’s Miss Glenmore?” Paul asked innocently.
Another scream filled the forest, this time closer than before. The wind picked up and the sunlight dimmed. The two children turned towards a particular tree with a dark red trunk. It trembled right in front of them before another scream filled the air. The two glanced at each other before Paul grabbed Ophelia’s hand and ran the other side.
“Wait! The scream came from-“She stopped, another scream coming from a few feet from them.
Paul froze in fear as he searched for a way out. The trees were blocking the paths and flowers were falling limp while the grass became yellow.
“Maybe there are ghosts and fairies in here.” He mumbled, his face pale and hands shaking.
Searching for the course of the screams, Ophelia noticed something a few feet obliquely to where they were. She took a few steps and moved the branches aside, aware she might come face to face with something dangerous. Ophelia walked into a clearing that looked pretty much dead. The vegetation was dead and the leaves were rotten, giving off a nasty smell.
Another scream filled the air but it was coming from another side completely. She turned around, ready to run back but something appeared in front of her. Something dark, cloaked, deadly. The air around her became so cold that she could see the vapor from her breathing. Looking at the creature, she felt like she was back in Ireland, hearing her mother die. Then it struck her: the scream was very familiar.
Paul’s voice was faint as the creature flied closer to her and opened a mouth that looked like a hole. She felt the pain surface from the corners of her mind and heart and felt her soul being ripped apart. She opened her mouth and screamed as loud as she could but she couldn’t hear anything.
The pain stopped abruptly when something bright entered the clearing and chased the dark creature away. Her savior was unknown. Ophelia fainted, Dumbledore’s words coming into her mind.
“Forget the man you saw today. Forget everything and look forward to a better life.”
Ophelia woke up in the hospital, in Stirling. She was dizzy and couldn’t remember what happened.
“Dear child, you’re fine. Thank God, you scared everyone.” Miss Glenmore started relief all over her face.
“What happened? Where are the others?” Ophelia asked confused.
“Director Blair took them back to Birmingham. This was supposed to be a fun weekend in Scotland, not a searching party.” She spoke firmly yet softened up when she looked at Ophelia’s drowsy eyes. “Paul is fine. He’s a few doors down, resting. You’re lucky that man showed up. He knew exactly where you two were.” Miss Glenmore added, rubbing Ophelia’s forehead fondly.
“I don’t remember his name but he was very helpful. He led the officers to you and left shortly after. Ah, he did say something! He told me to tell you that he’s concerned for your well being. He advised us to keep a close eye on you.” She continued.
Ophelia frowned before leaning back and letting her mind wander. Something happened in the forest but she couldn’t remember what or the reason she fainted.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
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Thanks to their little adventure, Ophelia and Paul got back to Birmingham two days after the rest which automatically meant the other orphans would ask questions. They didn’t. They were eager to ask but director Blair was ready to punish whoever dared speak a word about that unfortunate event. That was the code name: unfortunate event. If children wanted to speak about it, they’d call it that or the fairy event. The girls were sure that fairies kidnapped Paul and Ophelia and they let them go when more people entered the forest. The boys wanted to believe it was the Tree Monster, character made up by Paul.
It was very strange for the next months. Paul could vaguely remember things from the forest but Ophelia’s memories about that incident were completely erased. She tried to make something in order to remember but it was in vain. All the peculiar stuff around her intensified to the point she almost caught fire in her own bed. By the time director Blair came in, the children were confused and the fire around Ophelia vanished. Moments like that followed in the next year until something amazing happened.
“Pheli, come! There’s a family here! They want to adopt you!” Rosaline whispered, urging for her roommate to follow her.
There was a family, a man and a woman, looking very posh. The door to director Blair’s was closed but there was a certain crack in the wall, a small hollow made by Marcus and the other boys. Ophelia peeked inside and listened.
“Are you sure you want to adopt her? She’s a bit peculiar.” The director whispered to a man who was twice her height.
The man nodded, “We’ve seen her at every visit and my wife fell in love with her.”
“Are you sure? Once you adopt her, she will get attached to you and your wife. She’s not a toy, Mr. Molley.”
“I am very much aware of that, Mrs. Blair. I want to raise this child as if she’s my own flesh and blood.” Mr. Molley answered coldly, a bit offended.
“Very well then. You have to know that Ophelia’s mother died during a robbery and her father has been missing for a while. From what I know, he doesn’t want anything to do with her.”
That might have been correct but Ophelia frowned. She’s never met her father but she wanted to; she wanted to ask him where he has been all this time.
Mrs. Blair continued to give more details about the custody process but Ophelia retreated into her room. Rosaline and Evelyn followed her and sat down on her bed.
“You should be happy. You’ll have a family.” Rosaline started, playing with her cherry blonde hair.
“It feels like I’m being tossed to some strangers.” Ophelia mumbled, leaning her chin on her knees. “Besides, I do have a father.”
“He doesn’t want you. You’ve been here for three years and he didn’t visit once.” Evelyn mumbled sorrowfully, “My mother is the same. She gave me away just to run off with a French man.”
“But I don’t want to leave.” Ophelia mumbled, feeling lonelier than ever before.
But it wasn’t her choice. Richard and Gloria Molley adopted the 9 years old Ophelia and after a few months, she moved in with them. Unlike what she imagined, life was happier. There were a lot of things Ophelia didn’t know and Gloria Molley was delighted to teach her daughter everything. But peculiar things were still happening to her; she just kept them hidden from her new parents.
During a birthday party in the neighborhood, a magician came over to perform. A bunch of ten years old children were enjoying themselves with parents watching over them from their little table.
“See this topper? I can make funny things appear from it!” The magician told the children. “Abracadabra, mini moo!” He chanted, swaying his hand over the topper. He walked in front of a boy and pushed the topper closer to him.
The boy pulled a colorful scarf from it. Next, the magician asked for another one who pulled a rabbit. Ophelia was a bit offended, knowing those were easy tricks. She grabbed a jelly bean and watched from the side.
“Now, let’s make someone disappear! Here, this magical cloak will send you to another world, full of chocolate and magic.” He said, grinning wildly at the children. “What about you?” He asked Ophelia. “Come, come! Don’t need to be shy!”
She couldn’t believe she had to go in front of everyone. Ophelia glanced at her mother but Gloria only urged her to go and have fun. Well, she wasn’t the one covered, it seemed. The birthday girl came up as well and asked to be sent to this wonderful place for children.
“Then, let’s change this a bit!” His smile cracked a bit but he agreed anyway, “You, what’s your name?” He asked Ophelia.
“Ophelia.” She answered with no enthusiasm at all.
“Take this cloak, Ophelia, and cover your friend with it. Say the magic words Abracadabra and we'll see what happens.” He said, sweating already.
Ophelia covered the girl and said the magic words but something was different. She felt her hands tingle and quickly pulled the cloak off. The girl was gone.
“Bravo! Now, let’s get our birthday girl back!” He said.
They couldn’t. No matter how much they tried and how much they checked, the girl was gone. While parents got up and ran to their children, accusing the magician, Ophelia felt guilty. That tingling in her hands made the girl disappear. It was her fault.
“Mom, I swear. I did it! I made her disappear and now, I don’t know how to get her back!” Ophelia continued like that for the whole way home but Gloria didn’t even consider it.
“You’re a child. You did nothing wrong but went along with that so called magician. He probably kidnapped the poor girl. Did they announce the police, Richard?”
Richard Molley was a detective so he knew first if there was something wrong in Birmingham.
“I called Martin and he’s got that magician at the station already. If he doesn’t recognize tonight, I’ll make him say everything tomorrow morning.” Richard said in an authoritarian tone.
Ophelia tried to say something but Gloria’s glare made her run into her room and hide under the covers. While standing there, in silence, she opened her palms and moved them side to side. Nothing happened. She closed them in tight fists and opened them again, this time something amazing forming in her palms. Her eyes widened and decided to keep that a secret.
Next day, Richard went to work without having breakfast. Gloria had a meeting and Ophelia was supposed to stay over at a friend, Elena. For the whole morning, Ophelia kept her hands on her lap or behind her back, afraid that her mother would find her secret. Nothing happened, even at Elena’s place.
The two girls were in the park behind Elena’s house when she noticed a man standing a few feet from them.
“We shouldn't speak to strangers.” Elena whispered.
“Something about him seems familiar, though.” Ophelia said tilting her head to the side.
She got up and got lured to the mysterious man.
“Do I know you?” Asked a ten years old Ophelia.
He beckoned her closer and smiled suavely.
“You don’t remember me, do you Ophelia?” He asked softly.
The girl shook her head, confused. “Should I?”
Those empty eyes of Tom Marvolo Riddle softened only a tiny bit at the sight of his daughter. Ophelia was definitely different from what he imagined her to be: she was witty, stubborn and held a desire to control everyone and everything around her. She was much more like him than she was like Lillian and it pleased him. He could see it in her eyes, the desire to affirm herself.
Tom's smile shifted into a smirk and he said something that earned Ophelia’s curiosity.
“You can do great things, can’t you? Things that your friends or parents can’t do.” He whispered, her green eyes widening.
"I don't know what you mean, mister."
But Tom grasped his wand and made flowers appear around her. She squeaked in delight and looked up at him with those green eyes of hers.
"I can teach you how to do it too but you have to keep it a secret. When time comes, your guardians will understand."
A year later, Ophelia finally understood what that man meant. On the morning of her eleventh’s birthday, Ophelia Molley got her Hogwarts letter.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
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“Dear, are you sure you don’t want us coming with you?” Gloria Molley asked her eager eleven years old daughter.
Ophelia nodded, smiling so widely that she felt her face stretch.
Truthfully, Ophelia Molley has never felt so excited about something in her life before. Her memories concerning her real mother have grown vague and insignificant. She could still remember Lillian’s name and face but she could hardly remember how she sounded like when speaking or the things she did for her daughter. Ophelia spent three years in the orphanage before Gloria and Richard Molley adopted her and even though she didn’t want to leave and start a new life, Dumbledore’s words encouraged her to move forward. Life with her new family was greater than she ever imagined and when she became aware of her unique set of skills, her life became significant.
On the morning she received the letter from Hogwarts, Ophelia was eating her breakfast, not excited but not cranky either; just normal.
“What’s this?” Gloria asked, finding a letter specifically sent to Ophelia. “Have you made a pen pal, Pheli?”
The girl looked at her mother confused before jumping on her feet and taking the letter. She read the first few paragraphs before she remembered the man in the park. She could never forget that pale face that felt so familiar, those cold eyes that made her feel cornered even if she could run away whenever she wanted to and the way he grew flowers in the air with what looked like a weirdly shaped stick.
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Mrs Molley,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.*
“Owl?! Do they even use owls these days?” Gloria exclaimed, reading the letter over Ophelia’s shoulder.
Curiosity has always been a trait of the Molley family and unknown to them they passed it on to Ophelia.
The birthday girl gave her mother the first page and continued to the second.
Gloria snatched the page from Ophelia and read it twice, each time her eyes peeking over the parchment to see how Ophelia was reacting. She wasn’t. That letter meant much more than anyone could imagine and the one thing she noticed right away was the name of the headmaster: Albus Dumbledore. That was the man that reached out to her and helped her when her mother died and he was the one sending her the best present as of yet.
“Where do these people live? Such peculiar stuff can’t be found on the streets of Britain. Maybe a hundred years ago but not anymore.” Gloria added, her ramble going on and on if someone wouldn’t interfere.
At the right moment, Richard Molley walked downstairs and smiled at his daughter. He had something hidden behind but his surprise was cut off.
“Richard dear, Ophelia got a letter from a place called Hogwarts. It says here that it is a school for young witches and wizards. Have you signed her up for something and didn’t tell me beforehand? Again?”
Richard looked very offended by his wife’s incrimination but curiosity led him to find out what was happening. He walked passed his daughter and placed her present on the table before reading the letter. Much like Gloria, his eyes widened and he had to read it a few more times to fully comprehend it was real.
“Well, it is strange.”
“I know the headmaster.” Ophelia interrupted before the two adults would say something bad. “Albus Dumbledore, he visited me in the orphanage before. I’m sure he wouldn’t send a joke to me on my birthday.” She added, lying before worrying the Molleys further.
It took Gloria a whole week to calm down and understand that her daughter truly wanted something in her life and nothing could change her mind. Richard used his connections to the Scotland Yard in order to find more information about Hogwarts but no one knew anything.
Unfortunately, that led to a very ugly fight between Gloria and Richard, dispute that forced Ophelia to sneak out and wander the neighborhood on her own, at dawn.
The sunlight was dimming and the twilight was incredibly beautiful. Ophelia ended up in a newly renovated bus stop. It was a bit chilly but very comfortable outside making her feel content that she found a place where she could be by herself.
Now, after looking from side to side, making sure no one was walking by, Ophelia raised her hands in front of her and swayed them graciously. Sparkles of blue light were following her hands, moving cutely into different shapes when moving her fingers. She smiled, drawn into the magic she was doing. Yes, now she knew it was magic.
“You got the hang of it very fast, haven’t you?”
Ophelia’s eyes widened and the shapes vanished. She looked around, scared that someone actually saw her and would probably call her out on it.
But no. It was the man with eyes that could stir something in her, something that has been sleeping for a very long time.
“I know you. We met last year in the park. You were right, I can do things that my parents can’t. It’s amazing!” She said, a wide smile appearing on her face.
For a second, the pale man felt the desire to see Ophelia dead. The reason was her smile, which looked the same as Lillian’s but then he saw the glint in her eyes and knew it was up to him to lead Ophelia towards the right path.
“I got a letter from a school called Hogwarts. My parents are fighting right now; my mum wants me to go because she thinks it would make me happy.” She started, the pale man sitting next to her.
“You should go. Hogwarts is a good start for you. They will teach you everything you need to know and I can even help you, if you want it of course.” Those gentle words didn’t sound as gentle, especially when his eyes met hers.
“But what about the necessities and reply? I don’t have an owl and-“ She stopped when the handsome stranger opened his hand towards her.
“I can help you with that too. You only have to accept it.”
“I don’t even know who you are or at least your name.” She said naïve enough to believe he would be explicit.
Those icy eyes of his twinkled bemusedly before he responded.
“You and I, we’re the same, Ophelia. We belong to a world far above what usual people can see. We have magic; old, strong magic and we can do wonders with it. You just have to trust me.”
Those words were only the beginning of what Tom Riddle was about to create. Oh, he was going to craft Ophelia into his heir and he was sure he would not meet any defense because Ophelia’s desire and curiosity for unknown were going to lead her right into his nest.
Ophelia Molley has always been a girl who thought that nothing in the world could make her squeal in delight, not after her childhood has been engulfed in uncertainties. Once she grabbed Tom’s hand, she felt like her world slimmed and felt her stomach turn upside down. Her surroundings passed by incredibly fast and when they finally stopped, Tom pushed her forward and let her see the world she was part of.
There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Ophelia had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon and other stuff that she could not even name.
“Diagon Alley. Every student buys his necessities from here.” Tom explained, pulling his cloak over his head.
“But what about money? I don’t have any right now and-“She stopped when she saw Tom putting his finger on his lips as a gesture to shut up.
Tom smirked under his cloak, assured that Lillian definitely left her daughter enough for a comfortable life. Therefore, he led her towards a magnificent building down the northern part of Diagon Alley. Ophelia’s eyes widened when they got in front of it and gasped when she saw someone very small, about a few inches smaller than her, standing at the door.
“What now?” She asked, looking at Tom for answers.
But the man vanished. Ophelia licked her lips and fidgeted nervously, afraid that something will happen and she won’t be able to get out, like back in Aviemore.
“Is there something wrong?”
Ophelia’s eyes widened even more and she spun around in order to face whoever was behind her.
Unlike what she imagined, it was a boy older than her with grey eyes and long blond hair. He was looking down at her with some kind of authority which was strange because he didn’t look that important. No one around them seemed to pay attention to him.
“You’re blocking the entrance.” He spoke again, his tone low and impolite.
“What is that?” She asked, seeing how he was the only person she could ask.
The blond raised an eyebrow, a bit appalled by this little girl in front of him. His eyes narrowed at her, scanning her face thoroughly. Those elongated pale green eyes made her look like a fox but at the moment, she looked scared.
“Are you a mud blood?” He asked, leaning in. “You know, muggle born. You woke up one day and you could make things that others around you couldn’t.”
Ophelia blinked, her eyes’ glint shifting from fear to confusion and curiosity. She nodded slowly, unsure if she should take that as a good sign or not.
“What are muggles?” She asked, making the blond react with even more stupor.
“Where have you been living?!” He exclaimed, “Muggles are people with no magic. Mud bloods are witches and wizards born from muggle parents. There’s also half bloods which are wizards born from a muggle and a witch/wizard. And then, there are people like me, pure bloods, born from both magical parents. Now, which one are you?”
“I don’t know. I came here with-“ Ophelia stopped, realizing the stranger never told her his name. She groaned, frustrated that she let such an important detail bypass her. “He said he’s like me. That our magic is old and strong.”
The blond leaned back and seized the little girl up. She was probably eleven years old and she came to buy her stuff for Hogwarts. Her hands were empty and she was dressed in light clothing, didn’t have a wand and looked thoroughly like a lost puppy.
“That’s Gringotts Wizarding Bank. You can exchange currencies from muggle money to wizarding money.” He explained, his tone still apathetic and still looking down at her from the corner of his eye, like she was a pest.
“But I don’t have any right now.” She continued, having no idea what to do.
The blond sighed and nudged her aside, “Then don’t block the entrance, stupid mud blood.” He grumbled, walking up the stairs and entering the bank.
Left all alone, Ophelia moved aside and looked at everyone passing by, with no idea where to go or what to do.
It was a few hours later when she found herself in front of a shop called Eeylops Owl Emporium. She peeked inside and smiled when a brown sharp looking owl turned and stared right into her eyes. Those black eyes of his seemed to be speaking to her so she entered and went straight to him.
“Interesting owl, isn’t he?”
Ophelia felt her heart beat out of her chest when she felt a cold hand touching her shoulder. She looked up at him and frowned.
“You left me alone in front of the bank.”
Tom couldn’t help but chuckle lightly. She was frustrated and was finding him strange and a bit suspicious but she still followed him out of the store.
“That owl looked lonely. “ Opelia started, “He looked at me with so much intensity and sadness. It made me feel bad for him.”
“You do need an owl. Sometimes, they choose you to be their master. Owls can be very loyal if they get attached to their master.” Tom explained, his mind going back to Lillian’s white owl that vanished from the face of the earth. “Some choose to die when their master dies.” He continued.
“Well, that one looked like he would just fly away if his master dies. He looked independent but lonely.” She said, her eyes following a pair of children her age that were running with sticks in their hands. “What are those sticks for?” She asked, stopping when Tom did.
“Here.” He gave her a few gold coins before pointing at the store across the street. “These are enough for a wand. Afterwards, I will take you home. It’s getting late.”
“But what about the other stuff and-“ She stopped when she realized he already vanished from her side.
* Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 The Keeper of the Keys
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
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Entering the shop called Ollivander’s was interesting. She wasn’t the only customer, there was another boy that looked afraid for his life. Instead of walking to him, she adventured deep in the store, confused why she was there for. She also realized she didn’t ask the stranger for his name, once again, and rubbed her forehead in frustration.
By the time she returned to the front desk, the other boy was gone. She was alone in the store and the man behind the front desk was watching her eagerly.
“Here for the first wand, I pressume?” He asked softly as to not scare her away.
Ophelia nodded and took a few steps towards him. She placed one gold coin on the table, amusing the man.
“Right. Let’s see…”
Mr. Ollivander, as Ophelia found out was his name, gave her a big number of wands but none seemed to fit her. A lot of them were too squishy in her hand and some of them were getting stiff once she touched them. An hour and a half passed until Ollivander took a closer look at Ophelia’s eyes. He could remember every wand he sold but there were some specific children that he gave their wands to: Lillian Gaunt, for example. With that name in mind, Ollivander gave Ophelia an Alder wood, Phoenix feather core, 13 inches in length and very flexible.
Once Ophelia held it, she felt a special kind of butterflies in her stomach. Her eyes brightened as her fingers tingled and blue sparkles emanated from her wand.
Ollivander smiled with melancholy, his eyes falling over the brunette witch.
“Phoenix feather cores come in pairs. I sold the other one a very long time ago to a little girl who was living with her cousin. That little girl had the brightest green eyes I have ever seen and the brightest red hair. Lillian was her name and I can only guess you are her daughter.” Ollivander explained, his eyes focused on the brunette witch.
She calmed down, the wand coming back to looking like a strange shaped stick.
“My mother died five years ago.”
Ollivander’s expression fell into a look of sorrow, remembering just what else was there about Lillian. Ophelia didn’t look like she was aware of her family heritage or about the wizarding world in general.
“What was she? Was she a mud blood?” Ophelia asked innocently.
Ollivander’s eyes widened, surprised that she used that word.
“No, no. Lillian was a pure blood but never once have I seen someone so humble.”
Ophelia smiled softly. It wasn’t every day that someone would speak about Lillian, not that many have met her. It actually made Ophelia wonder why she ended up in the orphanage when it was obvious her mother knew people from the wizarding community.
That thought and the nice words Mr. Ollivander said about Lillian seemed to keep Ophelia so busy that she completely forgot where she was going. She blinked when she found herself in front of the same brown owl. This time, she entered and used the remaining coins in order to buy him.
“Take it, take it! He’s been a curse from the moment his owner returned him!”
With the eagerness in the owner’s eyes, Ophelia paid for the rest of the stuff and walked out. Surprisingly, the owl seemed very calm and content.
“What name should I give you?” She asked the beautiful brown owl. “Buffy? Blinky? Bert?” She asked more names but the owl was making a weird face at each of them. Ophelia laughed and stopped near a wall, waiting for her savior. “What about Willard?”
The brown owl blinked before tilting his head to the side. Ophelia smiled and rubbed his feathers through the cage. He didn’t move once and didn’t bite her, even though the shop owner was adamant that he was a violent owl.
“Willard Willy. My new friend.” Ophelia said, laughing when the owl kicked her hand away from the cage.
“Talking to a bird now, aren’t we?”
Ophelia looked up, surprised to see the same blond from before. He was holding onto a few books that looked heavier than him yet he was holding them easily. This time, next to him was a small creature with big green eyes that was carrying a pile of stuff bigger than him. Quite rudely, the blond dropped the heavy books into a medium sized cauldron, making the small creature almost fall on his bottom.
“Shouldn’t you be helping the little creature?” Ophelia asked naively.
The blond scoffed, “Do you need help, Dobby?”
“No sir! Young Master Malfoy should never carry anything. That is Dobby’s job, sir!” A squeaky voice was heard from behind the stack of books.
“See?” The blond asked, turning towards Ophelia with an expectant look. “That is what house elves do but of course, you mud blood don’t know that either.” He sneered.
“That sounds like slavery to me. I read back in the orphanage about-“ Her eyes widened when she realized what she said. “I mean-"
It was already too late. The blond already found out something new about her and it looked like he was the type of person to keep it for later, when he needed it.
“Anyway, my mother was a witch so I’m not a mud blood. I just found out that she was a pure blood, too.” Ophelia added quickly, getting on her feet and bloating with pride. “Who are you anyway? Always looking down on me when you have just met me.”
“Maybe you should ask this mother of yours about the Malfoys. I’m sure she will tell you exactly what you need to know. Let’s go Dobby!” He said, throwing her a nasty look before walking away.
Ophelia watched the house elf barely walk with all the heavy stuff he was carrying yet he didn’t say a word, just followed his master.
When Tom found Ophelia, she was sulking with her back against the cold wall. He noticed the wand in her hand and the owl in the cage, watching him approach. Tom smirked when the brown owl backed away at the sight of his eyes.
Ophelia got back home a few minutes later, right in front of her house actually. She wanted to thank Tom but he vanished before she could say anything. Gloria Molley was more than shocked when her daughter entered the house after hours of being gone with an owl and a wand.
The next morning, she sent Willy on his first errand with her reply to Hogwarts. When she walked downstairs for breakfast, she found the rest of the stuff she needed for Hogwarts, even robes.
That was how, on September 1st, Ophelia Molley arrived with her parents in King’s Cross station in London, searching for Platform 9 ¾.
“Maybe we should ask the gentleman from the information stand.” Gloria mumbled to her husband, pointing at the officer.
Ophelia sighed, disappointed that the mysterious stranger didn’t come to see her off. Willy squirmed in his cage and stared intensely at his owner. He made a few small noises before he started to jump. Once he grabbed Ophelia’s attention, he pointed with his beak at a certain wall. She glanced at the owl before placing the cage down and moving a bit so she could have a bigger picture of Platform 9 and Platform 10. Her eyes fell over the space between them and tilted her head to the side. Ophelia hummed before she grabbed her trunk and cage and walked in front of the wall between the platforms.
“Mum! Dad! I think you should keep close to me!” She yelled, grabbing their attention.
Gloria and Richard glanced at each other in worry but followed her advice anyway. Ophelia closed her eyes and ran right through the wall, feeling a slight breeze before arriving on Platform 9 ¾.
It was amazing. There were more children, of different ages, than Ophelia imagined. Parents were hugging their children while some looked uncomfortable and only patted their backs. It was a whole new world, one that amazed the Molleys more than it amazed their daughter.
Richard helped Ophelia get her trunk on the train and slipped something in her hand. Ophelia raised an eyebrow when she saw a penknife.
“Just to be safe. You never know what some of these people can do.” He whispered before kissing her cheek and letting Gloria say her farewells.
“My dear daughter. Please, write to us as much as you want. I’ll keep the windows open for your owl.”
That was very weird, especially when a lawyer said it with such a straight face.
“Ok. I’ll be fine. I’ll write as soon as possible, I promise.”
Gloria nodded and hugged her daughter one more time before they heard the train’s honk. Ophelia got on the train, holding Willy’s cage in one hand while the other grasped the handle of her trunk. She smiled and waved at her parents before the train started to move. Ophelia took a last long look at her parents before walking inside.
Searching for an empty compartment was proving to be difficult. She was a newcomer, a first year and friends were difficult to find and make. Ophelia wasn’t exactly a social butterfly and her friends have always depended on circumstances. Now, she was on foreign land and she had to step carefully or she’d get hurt.
She found one compartment in the very back that looked empty. When she entered, she noticed two other children. They stopped speaking when they saw her which made her feel unwanted.
“Maybe I should look for another compartment…” Ophelia mumbled, her eyes moving from the redhead girl to the greasy haired boy.
“No! No! Please, take a seat! I’m Lily and this is Severus. We’re also first years!” The redhead exclaimed, smiling brightly.
Looking at Severus, Ophelia knew she interfered with their personal space. She grasped Willy’s cage but Lily’s bright eyes made her feel bad. In the end, Ophelia placed her luggage aside and sat on one side while Lily and Severus sat on the other side. When Lily chose to change seats and come next to Ophelia, she swore she saw the greasy haired boy narrow his eyes at her.
“I’m Ophelia. I’m new to this whole wizarding world. I never knew I was a witch even if stuff happened to me.”
Severus scoffed, “Are your parents muggles, then?”
Lily threw a look at him which made him remember her parents were actually muggles, making him look down at his hands.
“No. My birth mother was a witch but I don’t know anything about my father. I don’t think I ever met him.”
“That means you’re a half blood, like Sev. My parents are muggles. They were very surprised when I received my Hogwarts letter.” Lily chuckled, remembering that moment.
“Why is blood rank so important to wizards?” Ophelia asked, genuinely confused.
“Haven’t you read anything at all? Blood status is a concept in the wizarding world that distinguishes between family trees that have different levels of magically-endowed members. It often results in prejudice towards those who have a large number of Muggles in their families. It is very important.” Severus answered, scowling at Ophelia’s ignorance.
"Well, I did read about Hogwarts a bit. I know there are four houses and my parents seemed to enjoy the thought that I could be in Ravenclaw."
"That doesn't depend on you, it depends on the Sorting Ceremony. You'll get sorted based on your skills and values." Severus added, scowling continuously at the new acquaintance.
Ophelia didn’t seem to mind this peculiar boy with greasy black hair and eyes that knew nothing but to look down upon anyone that wasn’t a friend. Severus wasn’t like the boys in Bread of Life Orphanage, witty and always looking for trouble but he wasn’t like the boys in her neighborhood either, always classy and neat with answers by the book.
On the other hand, Lily looked a lot like Lillian, though it was probably only because she was a ginger with green eyes. The difference was probably the glint and the atmosphere, in which Lily was just a child while Lillian was a grown up adult with a lot of pressure.
"What house do you suppose you'll get sorted in?" Lily asked Ophelia, eyes twinkling.
"I don't know. I don’t care that much as long as I can learn magic.” She responded bluntly.
Severus raised an eyebrow and leaned on his knees, his dark eyes staring at Ophelia’s elongated green orbs.
“Slytherin is the best house. A Slytherin is always fearless and smart. I, personally, prefer it before any other house.” Severus said, bloating when he mentioned himself.
“Gryffindor would be a good choice too, don't you think?" Lily asked.
Ophelia noticed the sneer on Snape's face at the mention of Gryffindor but didn't say anything.
For the rest of the ride to Hogwarts, Severus continued speaking about Hogwarts and everything he has found out about magic. Ophelia was intrigued by the number of spells he knew already and the way he would look when performing them. Watching him was just like watching the pale stranger.
“So, tell me again, how do we make things fly?” She asked, sitting so close to Severus that the boy felt like she was ready to enter his mind.
“It’s levitation not flying. You do it like this.” He said, waving his wand in a certain way before Willy’s cage started to fly.
The owl didn’t even stir. Severus levitated the cage down on the seat and Lily walked towards it, watching the owl with curiosity.
“I wouldn’t get too close to him. He might bite.” Ophelia advised the ginger, knowing that was exactly what happened when Richard tried to pat him.
Lily did listen to Ophelia and didn’t touch the cage but even so, she couldn’t help feel like that owl was trying to see into her soul.
“Do you want me to show you something that can really help you?” Severus asked, seeing how Ophelia’s just started the levitation charm and did it very well from the first try.
Ophelia nodded, eyes sparkling with excitement. Severus smirked and turned to Willy. The owl tilted his head to the side, looking at the boy as if he was taunting him to dare and curse him.
“Petrificus Totalus.” He whispered, pointing his wand at the owl.
Ophelia’s eyes widened while Lily hit Severus indignantly. She could hear the two friends bickering behind as the brunette walked to her owl and checked if he was alive. He was, but he looked like a statue, unable to even blink.
“Look what you have done, Sev. What if he won’t return to normal?” Lily asked her friend, troubled.
“I can just use a counter-curse and it will be fine. I know what I’m doing Lily.” He whispered back.
The two glanced at Ophelia and saw her stare with a poker face at her pet.
On the other hand, Ophelia’s mind was swirling with thoughts about curses. The pale boy knew so much already and he seemed so sure of what he knew and what he was doing that it amazed her. She reached inside the cage in order to touch Willy when something blue came out of her finger and went straight into her owl. The pet blinked a few times before he glared at Severus but the greasy haired boy was staring warily at Ophelia.
“How did you do that?” He asked, getting up and hovering over her. “You didn’t even touch him and definitely didn’t use a wand so how did you lift the curse?”
Ophelia raised an eyebrow and glanced at him before her eyes fell on Lily. She looked just as surprised as Severus but didn’t seem as angry about it as him.
“Can’t you do it too? You know, using magic without a wand.”
Severus looked at her closely before sitting down, puffing his cheeks in annoyance.
“It’s possible but only if you reach a certain level. We’re still young so I doubt any of us can control magic without a wand.” He explained.
With that established, Ophelia kept her hands on her lap at all times and placed Willy’s cage next to her trunk, just to be safe. Severus didn’t say anything anymore and Lily took it as a sign to speak about normal, muggle stuff. Ophelia fell into that immediately and listened to the ginger while one greasy haired boy was glowering at her for having Lily’s entire attention.
“So your sister isn’t a witch?” Ophelia asked when Lily dived into her family situation.
“She’s not. Severus was the first person I met that was like me.” She admitted, smiling at the greasy haired boy.
Ophelia raised an eyebrow and leaned back, crossing her arms in front of her chest. Watching the two interact was like watching a ragged dog watching a butterfly fly around his head; it was both interesting and pitying.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
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The sudden “Candy from the trolley, dears?” shifted Ophelia’s attention and she looked at the trolley confused. She turned to Severus and Lily who in turn seemed to stare at the trolley. Both of them shook their heads but Ophelia remained gazing after the trolley as it moved forward. One boy ran past their compartment while another was walking behind, peeking into their compartment on the way. His eye fell on Lily and smiled boyishly, making Severus glare.
The rest of the time was spent discussing about spells and curses. Lily also interfered with topics about her life and how she and Severus became friends but every time she’d say something that seemed too personal for the boy, he’d start talking about magic.
They were probably half an hour from their destination and more and more students were moving through the hall, speaking to each other loudly. Being closer to the door, Ophelia slid it open and stopped one boy that seemed to be calmer than others.
“Excuse me but what’s happening?” She asked, her elongated eyes widening a bit.
“It’s time for us to change into robes. We’ll get to Hogwarts soon so it’s best to change now.” The boy answered before smiling shyly, “Are you a first year as well? I’m Remus Lupin.” He introduced, his eyes shifting slowly on Lily and Severus before returning to Ophelia.
“I’m Ophelia Molley. These are my new acquaintances, Lily and Severus.” She said, moving aside so Remus could see the two.
Lily walked next to Ophelia and smiled at the boy but Severus didn’t look like he was going to make an effort. He was happy with knowing only one person and now some strange girl barged in and called him an acquaintance.
“It’s very nice to meet you. I uh-“ He looked to his left and frowned, seeing something or another. “I have to go now. See you at Hogwarts!” He said, more to the girls than to the sneering boy.
Ophelia watched Remus run along to one boy that seemed to be waiting relentlessly at the door of anther compartment. Remus told him something and he looked over, making Ophelia pull her head back inside and closing the door.
In the end the girls went to the bathroom to change, moment that seemed to please Lily, because they also met more girls their age. Ophelia just went along with everything Lily said and when she finished, she hurried back to the cabin.
Never in her eleven years of existence had Ophelia imagined she will enter a place that would feel more at home than anywhere else. The orphanage was an intermediary home and she couldn’t say she ever felt like home when she was living with Lillian. Now, Molley’s house was big and comfortable but it had something lacking, something that she couldn’t name.
Walking down with the other first students was scary. She knew she had Lily and Severus right behind and she swore she saw Remus a few feet behind. She also saw the blond, now having green robes while moving through the crowd to a different place. Yes, Ophelia knew some faces but it was still scary and lonely.
A large man called from the front of the station, having twice the height of a normal adult yet looking still rather young. His messy attire seemed to go very well with his bushy eyebrows and medium beard, which also looked like it could hide anything in.
“Oi, new years! Come after me!” He screamed, all the children making a big crowd in front of him.
He looked down and smiled before he made a sign for them to follow. They walked only a few feet until they reached a lake.
“Come on, come on! We don’t have all day! Everyone, hop in!”
Ophelia looked at him before she looked at the boats. The giant man was already stepping in one before the others started to do the same. Normally, she got in the boat with Lily and Severus and realized they didn’t have to do anything for the boats were moving on their own.
“Welcome to Hogwarts!” The giant man said proudly.
Actually, now that they could see it up close, Hogwarts was magnificent. Ophelia heard Lily gasp while Severus was looking at it with his eyes shining. She was too; Ophelia’s life has seemed like it was painted in black and blue and now all she could see was bright light.
Once they reached the shore, somewhere inside the castle, they stepped out of the boat and walked a few stairs, coming in front of a woman with a tight bun and glasses. Her eyes were firm and her whole posture looked authoritarian but the way she was looking at the first years was the exact opposite- she was happy.
“If everyone’s here, please follow me inside. Be careful not to lag behind!” She said sternly before opening a pair of doors and leading them through.
The castle was amazing and inside was just like someone brought a story to life. Ophelia could hardly process everything that’s been happening for the past days.
The woman opened another pair of giant doors and hurried inside with a crowd of children behind. Ophelia’s eyes wandered over every table and realized they were very different at a first look. Some of them were not interested while others were watching them eagerly.
A pointed, witchcraft hat that looked worn out and dirty was standing on a chair right in front of the staff table. A mouth formed on the brim and it actually started to sing, surprising Ophelia even more. When it was done, everyone applauded and silence engulfed the hall.
“Now, I will call each of you in an alphabetical order! You will have to come here and sit; nothing else. The Sorting Hat will decide which house you will be spending the rest of your school years in.” The woman said firmly before unrolling a parchment.
Ophelia’s name was pretty far down the list and so was Severus’.
“I hope we’ll get sorted in Slytherin together.” Ophelia whispered to the boy.
He rolled his eyes but was visibly content with the way she was thinking. Severus has already said, multiple times in the train, that people who gain interest in the dark arts have usually been sorted in Slytherin.
“Evans, Lily!” Said the woman and Lily walked up.
The hat immediately screamed Gryffindor!, which took immediate effect on Severus. The ginger walked to the Gryffindor table and sat next to her colleagues. A few more children went up:
“Lupin, Remus!” Was heard though the hall.
The boy walked up, looking quite stressed out. Gryffindor! It shouted again.
It was her turn and her hands were sweating so much that she had to wipe them on her rose. Once the hat was placed on her head, she looked at Severus with worry.
“Already made friends, haven’t you? But will your house be the same as theirs? This mind of yours is more complex than you want to, isn’t it? You need to be careful in whom you trust, child. So much loyalty and deep rooted respect, curiosity for everyone combined yet sly like a fox. You’d make an incredible GRYFFINDOR!”
Ophelia’s eyes widened as she looked at Severus once again. The hat was off and another child was called yet Ophelia seemed too shocked to move. She thought that’s he could get to be in the same house as her new acquaintance but most of all, she thought the best place to learn magic was in Slytherin. She wasn’t in Ravenclaw and definitely not in the house where she could learn curses. She was in Gryffindor and she had no idea what that meant.
With slow moves, she walked to the Gryffindor table, still startled. Lily made room for her and Ophelia sat in between the ginger and a boy with medium black locks.
“Thought you’d be in the sour bunch over there, didn’t you?” He asked with a wide smile, pointing at the Slytherin table. “It’s better you’re not. You don’t want to end up having a stick up your arse.” He added, leaning in.
But Severus Snape was sorted in Slytherin and the blond she met in Diagon Alley welcomed him proudly.
For some reason, all Ophelia could think about was that she’s been sorted into the wrong house.
While students were getting acquainted or were talking about their summer vacation, Albus Dumbledore was surveying the Great Hall.
When the first years entered, led my Minerva McGonagall, his eyes found the little brunette right away. She looked healthy and taken care of, maybe spoiled here and there but overall, she looked like a mix of a sly fox and a dangerous snake. He was, too, surprised when the Sorting Hat screamed Gryffindor but he didn’t expect little Ophelia to look so sour about it. Dumbledore look at pale Severus Snape before glancing at Ophelia and could already notice the respect she had for him, even if they were the same age and not even schooled yet.
Dumbledore sighed, relieved that at least Ophelia was walking on a safe path for now. If someone or something would ever lead her astray, it could have horrific consequences.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
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Even though Ophelia didn’t quite like that she didn’t get sorted into Slytherin, Gryffindor didn’t seem bad either. Lily was making friends fast while she was standing next to a very animated boy.
“Hey, Sirirus, look here!” A boy with messy brown hair and glasses told the boy with black locks.
Unlike what she was expecting, the glasses boy used magic to make a few chicken wings squirm in the mouth of a fellow student. The victim’s eyes widened and spilled the food on the table, right in front of Ophelia. She looked disgusted.
Once the feast finished and Dumbledore gave them a welcoming speech, Ophelia followed the rest of the Gryffindors out and up towards the common room. When she walked out, she passed the Slytherin table, which still had students here and there. One of them was Severus, whose eyes fell over his hands when he noticed her heavy gaze over him.
Ophelia’s head spun around, hitting a passing Ravenclaw straight in the face with her hair.
“Remus, right?” She asked, narrowing her eyes in concentration.
The boy smiled and nodded, glad that she remembered his name and probably grateful that someone he met, even briefly, was in the same house.
“Your friend was sorted into Slytherin.” He trailed, glancing back swiftly. “You don’t have to worry. You can still speak to each other. It’s not like you’re forbidden to meet.” Remus added, trying to sound encouraging.
Ophelia looked at him, so closely that he felt like she was ready to jump on him, before she averted her eyes and started to play with her robes.
“I don’t know much about magic. Listening to Severus, it made me wonder just how much there is to learn.” She mumbled, “I wanted to learn everything together.”
“You will. You’re friends, aren’t you? The house doesn’t matter.”
That word, friends, seemed to trigger something in her mind. It was a vague word that defined the relationship between two people that had a few things in common. Quite platonic, in her point of view, especially when she would only talk when she felt the need to ask something or she wanted something. Yes, friends was a intriguing word for Ophelia.
The common room of the Gryffindor house was in the tower, the entrance being concealed by the Fat Lady portrait. Ophelia didn’t ask anything about the Lady and decided she should search for her room and hide there for the rest of the night.
Inside, it was full of squashy armchairs, tables, and a bulletin board where school notices, ads, lost posters, etc. can be posted. It was decorated in several shades of red, which was associated with the house. The common room seemed comfortable, with many windows that looked out onto the grounds of the school, and a large fireplace dominating one wall. The mantle of the fireplace was adorned with a portrait of a lion. The walls were decorated with scarlet tapestries that depict witches and wizards, but also various animals. Altogether, it made Ophelia gasp and foxy green eyes sparkle.
“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?” Remus asked, coming next to her, his brown eyes holding the same sparkle as hers.
The Gryffindor dormitories were also located in the Tower, with two doors leading off from the common room that open to spiral staircases. One of them obviously led to the girls' dormitory, the other to the boys'.
Ophelia was was still looking around when Lily came and told her to come and check their dormitory. Well, it was definitely spacious up there and they had four beds, bigger than Ophelia had back with the Molleys. Their luggage was already there, each trunk in front of every bed. Lily chose the one closest to the bathroom while two more girls entered the room, smiling at the redhead and brunette.
“Hello, I’m Cissney Littlewood! Really nice to meet you both!”
Cissney was, just like her name, very small compared to other girls her age and looked very blank. The one thing that took Ophelia’s eye was the midline teeth that would show every time she was smiling or talking. It was very hard to brush it off when Ophelia has never met someone with such teeth.
The other girl was the opposite of Cissney, with bright blue eyes and blonde hair that seemed to become white when the light was falling over the right side of it. She was like a bright point of color through black and red and strangely, she looked a lot like an older version of a girl from Bread of Life Orphanage called Kristella.
“Alice Worley.” She introduced herself, smiling shyly.
Ophelia blinked, watching the girls interact with Lily before Cissney glanced at the brunette. Ophelia didn’t say a word and just placed her trunk on the bed closest to the window. She also placed the cage on the window sill and let it open for Willy to stretch, which he did but didn’t leave the cage nor seemed to have any desire to fly out.
“I have seen this owl before, in the shop on Diagon Alley but the owner told me to find something else. In the end, I bought Freddie.” Cissney said, bloating with pride when showing a very little creature to everyone in the room.
“It’s a rat.” Ophelia said bluntly, furrowing her eyebrows at the white rat. “Is it normal for it to have red eyes?”
Cissney’s smile only widened at that question.
“No, it’s not normal. That’s why I chose him and not a boring garden rat. Freddie is special.” She said before kissing his head and placing him on the bed.
The girls continued their conversation for the rest of the night and through some very hard work, Lily convinced Ophelia to actively take part in it. From time to time, Willy would glance at her and she’d glance at him, wondering if now that she was in Hogwarts, she could actually count on that strange man’s help.
The next morning, Ophelia woke up earlier than the rest and the first thing she did was look for Willy. He wasn’t in his cage which immediately alarmed her. Brushing her covers aside, she first checked if the windows were closed, which they were. Secondly, she opened the door to their dormitory and tip toed her way down the stairs, careful not to wake anyone. The common room was empty and looked lifeless, compared to the night before when kids were taking so much space that it was hard to breathe. Now, the common room was silent and yet still warm for some reason, giving her a good feeling about Gryffindor.
Watching for any sign of an owl aimlessly flying around, she noticed that one window downstairs was open, quite widely too, and realized that was probably the way he got out. For some reason, even though she knew Lily and the new acquaintance, Remus, Ophelia felt lonely.
Breakfast on the first day was sumptuous but more importantly, very loud. As soon as Ophelia entered the Great Hall, her eyes searched for Severus on the Slytherin table. He was there, eating while reading something. He certainly felt her heavy gaze, because she was fully staring at him while walking, but he didn’t raise his head.
Eating with the girls was far nicer than Ophelia expected. Lily and Cissney seemed to have clicked from the moment they met and the two had more in common than Ophelia had with any of them.
“Having fun yet?”
It was the same black locks, twinkling eyes boy that she sat next to after the Sorting. He might have had good intentions if it wasn’t for the way he looked so happy to be there and so proud of himself, even if classes haven’t started yet.
As soon as she thought about that, the same firm yet elegant woman strutted towards both of them, giving them what she called timetables. They were identical yet the two children were excited for very different subjects.
“Ah, starting off with Potions…” The boy moaned, his eyes searching all over the room for someone.
“Are you looking for that loud friend of yours? He’s not here yet.”
What interested the boy, and what really piqued his interest, was the way she said those words. Cold, apathetic, seemingly lifeless and joyless. Those were the words that seemed to describe the eleven years old girl next to him.
“Really? Because I have my own pair of eyes, even another if I try hard enough.” He stated bemusedly, though it didn’t sound like that to her.
Ophelia’s eyes widened, feeling more uncomfortable than ever before. Living with people that would rarely respond with smart ass remarks and had an elegant way of speaking made her speechless because she had no idea how to respond to that.
The boy chuckled as he raised an eyebrow, intrigued by the small brunette. He opened his mouth, fully turning to Ophelia before someone grabbed her hand and pulled her along.
“You’ll have enough time to thank me.” Severus mumbled, letting her go once they walked out. “Where is Lily?” He added, getting into a slower pace since Ophelia had shorter legs.
“She finished already?” Ophelia asked, glancing over her shoulder at the students walking in and out the Great Hall.
“She did. Well, it doesn’t matter, we have Potions together.” He started to ramble about what other classes they had together but Ophelia blocked out his voice.
There was the blond boy again, staring at the two with a sneer.
“Sev, is Malfoy a big name in the wizarding world?” She asked, stopping him from going into another ramble.
“Well, yes, of course; one of the eldest pure blood families. They are rich and influential.” Severus explained, his eyes falling over the blond as well. “Slytherins and Gryffindors are known to be in a constant competition so they hate each other most of the time.” He added, feeling small when the blond raised an eyebrow at him. “Anyway, we’ll meet in class.” Severus finished and left quickly, scurrying away like a weasel.
Ophelia watched her friend go back to his dormitory before she realized she was alone, in the entrance Hall, with students buzzing from one side to the other. But most importantly, she was once again alone.
“Welcome, welcome! First year, such amazement is everything, isn’t it? Especially for those who come from muggle families.”
Professor Slughorn was his name, Potions Master and visibly gaining weight. His eyes were sparkling every time they’d fall over certain students. Ophelia’s eyes drew him automatically, giving him the idea that she might be gifted pureblood in Potions. Ophelia wasn’t sure of any if she were to be sincere.
“Potions is not a kind of class that needs any particular skill but relies solely on one’s attention and hard work. That’s why some of you may surprise yourselves and hopefully, even me.” He laughed by himself, not one student following him. “Now, we will begin our first lesson with the Forgetfulness Potion. You will find everything you need in the cupboard and on the board, of course.” He said, waving his wand for the ingredients to appear on the board.
An hour later and Ophelia was standing in front of her cauldron, having done everything written on the board and book yet the outcome looking strangely like mold.
Professor Slughorn was walking through the tables, peeking into their cauldrons, a smile forming on his face when it was correct and a frown when it was a disaster. When he got to Ophelia, his eyes were sparkling with high expectations yet when the smell of her potion filled his nostrils, his excitement cracked, as did his expression.
“Miss Molley, it seems you have forgotten to add two mistletoe berries.” He said, trying his best not to inhale any more of that smell. “Also, you did not stir correctly. I’m sure this is just a mistake out of a lack of magic in your family. I’m sure you will do better next time.” He added, containing what looked like the ghost of a smile.
“Yes, professor.” She responded politely, looking down in shame.
From the other side of the classroom, Severus’ eyes were focusing on the redhead Gryffindor when he noticed Ophelia’s red face. He rolled his eyes, assured that his first impression of her was correct. Ophelia was a muggle born witch and had more chances into subjects like Herbology and History of Magic than actual magic. One memory in the back of his mind was telling him that he might judge her too fast and too harshly, especially after she lifted a curse without a wand but Lily’s smile took his mind off Ophelia.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
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When break came around, Ophelia pushed everything in her bag and left the dungeons as quickly as possible. Alice was right behind her when they reached the classroom for History of Magic. The professor was a ghost, which automatically made Ophelia doubt the clarity of the lessons and Binns’.
“I heard he died in his sleep. How can you wake up and teach even after you died?” Cissney asked, taking the seat behind Ophelia.
Nevertheless, that was one of the most boring lessons Ophelia has ever listened to. For the whole lesson, Binns’ voice was nothing but background noise for her.
The day seemed to pass very quickly and in no time, a whole month passed. A week used to mean nothing back in Birmingham yet in Hogwarts, it was a mountain of homework and it was still a long time until Christmas.
One subject that seemed to make her feel joyful during the lesson was Charms. Professor Flitwick was smiling every time he would see Ophelia enter his classroom but the one professor that Ophelia liked was Professor Luce Spinnard, which it seemed just arrived in time to take over Defense against the Dark Arts.
“I do not care how much homework you have and do not bother telling me excuses. If you do not have your work done by the time I tell you, you may as well become the victim of the next lesson.”
A lot of students remained petrified in their seats, taken aback by the harsh look in those blue eyes and the way it seemed to overpower anyone and anything.
Even though the professor seemed to adore terrifying them, he never actually turned any student into a victim; not yet, at least. One afternoon, right after class was done, he eyed his students closely, making them hurry and almost run out of there. Those eyes stopped on two students that seemed to be gifted in defending themselves even if it seemed they weren’t fully aware of it.
“Lupin and Molley, stay back. I have something for you.” Professor spinning ordered them in his low authoritarian voice.
Remus’ eyes widened as he turned around, ignoring the “Stay alive, Lupi!” screamed by his friend. Ophelia on the other side seemed to be pleased, even if she too seemed a bit wary of the teacher’s intentions.
Tall as he was, he trotted towards them with his hands behind his back, standing straight and firm above his students, watching them from under long eyelashes.
“You seem to be the only students that actually know what a deadline is. I know it is rather quick, especially because you are only first years but I want both of you to write an essay and give it to me at every end of the week. I will give you instructions and permission to enter the forbidden side of the library.” He said before raising an eyebrow and leaning in, “But do not get in trouble.”
“Why would we get in trouble?” Ophelia asked, her eyes staring into those blue orbs of his with intensity.
Remus swallowed nervously and grabbed her hand, expecting some kind of violent reaction from the professor. Nothing happened; if anything, it seemed as if a ghost of a smile appeared on his face but disappeared in a blink.
“Leave.” He said, dismissing the two with a wave of his hand before turning to his desk.
“That was strange. Why would he give us supplementary homework when we already have enough?” Remus wondered on the way to the Great Hall. They still had charms before dinner and Remus was tired.
“He’s a peculiar man altogether. Besides, your favorite place seems to be at the library, in the very back with your loud friends.” Ophelia responded, having a certain way of referring to his friends.
Remus chuckled, surprised yet flattered that she was so attentive when she looked so ignorant for most of the time.
“What about your friend? The Slytherin boy.”
Now that he touched that subject, Ophelia stopped and thought carefully about her relationship with Severus. It’s been almost one month since they arrived at Hogwarts and the only times they speak to each other is during Potions.
“I doubt we are friends.” She mumbled, continuing to walk as if nothing she said was strange.
Remus raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth a bit, preparing to say something that was probably supposed to encourage her or something. Luckily, he didn’t have time because Ophelia hurried inside the classroom and sat as close to the professor as possible. That automatically meant she was standing with Lily, a friend that was constantly trying to loosen up Ophelia’s stiff personality.
“What did Professor Spinnard want?” Cissney asked from Lily’s other side.
Ophelia grasped her wand and copied the hand movements that Professor Flitwick was showing in front of the class. He was small, fact that surprised Ophelia on the first day because she had never seen someone so small before, but he was very quick.
“Extra work for me and Remus.” Ophelia mumbled, Cissney having to lean in to hear her.
“Have you done something?” Lily asked, doing the hand movements and getting it right from the first try unlike other students.
“Longbottom, try again! This time, don’t point it at Miss Riley’s robes!” Professor Flitwick screamed, jumping off his desk and walking towards a very flustered Rebecca Riley.
From two rows behind, standing in a line, were two boys on each side of a very uninterested Remus, laughing at Longbottom and Riley. One of them was familiar and seemed full of excitement.
“Those two, they seem familiar.” Ophelia whispered, pushing the importance of Wingardium Leviosa in the back of her mind.
Cissney glanced over her shoulder before she started to laugh. She seemed to hardly find her voice through all those weird noises she was making while laughing.
“Sirius Black and James Potter are in our house, Pheli. Actually,” Cissney leaned in again, blocking Lily’s wand under her, “Those two are super close already. Usually, Blacks have always been, you know, dark wizards. I think most of them have been sorted to Slytherin.” She added, eyeing the boy with medium black locks.
“So then why is he a Gryffindor?” Ophelia asked, sounding like she was asking out of courtesy instead of genuine curiosity.
Cissney shrugged and grabbed her wand seeing as Flitwick was coming towards them.
“Perfection comes with practice. You can leave gossips for after class, Miss Littlewood.” The short professor commented loudly, making Cissney blush profoundly.
The rest of the day passed incredibly fast. Charms was the last class on Wednesday, after Defense Against the Dark Arts. Unfortunately, next morning, they had a lot of work with McGonagall, whose Transfiguration classes were very clear but at the same time, very uncomfortable.
“I still don’t understand how you find Transfiguration uncomfortable? Did Professor McGonagall say something to you?” Lily asked, concerned that Ophelia might have gotten in trouble.
Ophelia glanced at the staff table during dinner, finding Dumbledore at the table as well. He was speaking to professor Flitwick with a smile on his face, like nothing in the world was wrong. Next to Dumbledore was McGonagall, whose firm yet elegant expression was pretty much the same as every day. She looked up suddenly but her eyes didn’t land on Ophelia but on the boys standing a few seats in the back.
“Black and Potter will get it badly one day.” Cissney mumbled before taking a bite from her piece of apple pie. “You know, they’re so loud in the morning that I don’t even need the alarm to wake me up. The first thing I hear every morning is hurry up, squib!”
“Yes. I believe they are referring to Pettigrew because Remus is usually up by then and the one screaming is usually Potter. I swear, that boy has such a loud voice, even when whispering.” Cissney continued, her eyes getting wider as she was explaining.
“Have you heard him whisper during Potions at Lily? The Slytherin, Ophelia’s friend, he was glaring daggers at him.” Alice added, chuckling at the end.
Cissney nodded furiously before turning towards Lily. The redhead didn’t seem amused at all, if anything she looked like she wanted to brush off anything that had any connection to Potter.
While the girls continued to speak about Potter and his lot, Ophelia felt two pairs of eyes look in her direction. Looking quite hopeful, she glanced at the Slytherin table only to find that Severus was most definitely not looking at her. He was peeking at Lily from under his black locks, trying to seem uninterested but it was obvious he wanted to talk to her. Those elongated green eyes moved down the Slytherin table only to meet the narrowed eyes of Lucius Malfoy. It seemed he noticed she was searching for her friend and was very rudely signing for her to turn around.
Dinner was done faster than she would have liked and she still didn’t find out who were the two people that have been staring at her for the past hour. It was more uncomfortable than Transfiguration and she was sure she won’t be able to sleep at night with so many curiosities.
That was how, next morning, unintentionally Ophelia woke up before everyone else and walked into the common room, hoping that she could practice a bit before breakfast. It just so happened that someone else did the same, someone she has never spoken to nor looked at for the past month.
Messy brown hair, sticking in every possible direction, brown eyes behind a pair of glasses that noticed her right away and a stupid boyish smile that seemed to complete his whole appearance. Yes, that was James Potter, the loudest kid Ophelia has ever heard.
“Oh, didn’t know you are an early bird, Molley.” He started, jumping on the sofa next to her.
Ophelia tensed and started to play with the hem of her shirt unconsciously.
“Good morning.” She mumbled, so faint that Potter took a few minutes to register what she said.
They stood there, both of them aware that the other was not exactly on the same page until Potter finally said.
“I heard you’re Spinnard’s pets. You and Remus…”
He didn’t start with a good subject and they both knew that. Therefore, he tried again.
“Anyway, you know that friend of yours? The ginger.” He started, fidgeting a bit. “She’s very smart.” He added.
Ophelia tilted her head to the side, listening with confusion. Potter was shifting in his seat, looking flustered for some reason.
“She’s smart, yes.” Ophelia answered curly.
“Yep.” Potter continued, emphasizing the p.
He sighed heavily when he realized Ophelia was so stiff that she wasn’t even realizing where he wanted to get with that discussion. Potter might have added something if the door to the girls’ dormitory wouldn’t have opened. Unfortunately, the one walking out the door was Alice not Lily.
They were so polite with each other that it made the atmosphere in the common room even more awkward. Feeling the tension rising because really, they were only children and had nothing to talk about and weren’t even going to try becoming friends, Ophelia got up and waved before leaving the tower.
“Is there something wrong with her?” James asked Alice as soon as the portrait closed.
“She’s just shy.” Alice responded, grabbing a quill and starting her Transfiguration homework. “But she’s good with Charms so I wouldn’t piss her off, Potter.”
But James Potter didn’t have to do that. Someone else had their eyes on Ophelia already, he just wasn’t aware of it yet, nor was her.
Walking so early in the morning through the castle was relaxing. That until Ophelia felt one cube of ice thrown down her shirt, making her tense and quiver.
“That was unnecessary, Peeves.” She said her tone as cold as the ice.
Hogwarts had many ghosts but it also had one poltergeist, which was actually a mischievous kind of ghost that liked nothing more than to mess about with everyone. That was Peeves and Ophelia met the wrath of the poltergeist only once before when he scared her by jumping in front of her in an armor.
“Always so whiny, aren’t you foxy? Don’t ruin the fun!” He screamed as he flied away.
Ophelia scoffed and continued her journey to the girls’ bathroom on the first floor. It was usually closed and she was happy with that because Hogwarts was full of girls and it was hard to find a place to just stay silently in.
The first thing she did when she stepped in was to look at her reflection in the mirror. Hogwarts was the place that she belonged in and she could feel that, she really could but it was also the same as in the orphanage and in the neighborhood with the Molleys. Ophelia was curious how was when her mother was alive and they would go visit Lillian’s acquaintances; she could vaguely remember some ginger man smiling at her and giving her jelly beans but it was so foggy.
In the end, Ophelia sighed and washed her face, pushing every question in the very back of her mind. She wiped her face and looked down at her hands. Transfiguration was one of her favorite classes because she was actually getting good at it without practicing much, just like Charms, but there was one elemnt that was making her feel stressed every time McGonagall would enter the classroom and that was her wand. Every time she’d try using her wand to untransfigure what looked like a poor attempt at transfiguration, it would actually lose direction.
Moving her fingers lightly, the same blue sparkles appeared, even if not as bright as before. Ophelia smiled softly, remembering the pale stranger and just how much he helped her and wondered just where he was.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
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Ophelia Molley has always been a child that could feel when someone didn’t want to be disrupted, which was a quality that Alice and Remus liked. On the other hand, it seemed that people could hardly understand why she was so silent, even with her roommates. Cissney was a bubble of energy, talking all day long with either Lily or Alice while for most of the time, Ophelia would be in the back, listening.
Everyone noticed the silent listener, even the Slytherins. One particular Slytherin seemed very preoccupied with the Gryffindor girl.
“She’s not your responsibility, Severus.” The cold voice of Lucius Malfoy disrupted Severus’ thoughts. “You have been looking at that table for long enough. Should I remind you just what house you belong to?” He added, leaning in over the short boy.
“No. And it’s not about her, it’s about something else.” The shorter boy mumbled keeping his eyes focused on the table.
Lucius Malfoy raised an eyebrow before he glanced at the staff table, where Dumbledore was not present at. Smirking under his nose, he placed one hand on Severus’ shoulder and grasped it tightly.
“It seems today might be your lucky day, Severus.”
During the rest of the day, especially during Herbology with Professor Sprout screaming at children to be careful how they handle the plants, Ophelia transited between being herself and trying to enjoy the lessons a bit more. It wasn’t working well at all with how Longbottom was getting every bad situation ever possible and Cissney commenting it from the side. Also, having Potter and Black in the very back, laughing between each other and actually getting Longbottom into embarrassing himself even more was not a pleasure to witness or listen to.
“Hey, Evans! Evans! You've got to see this!” Potter whispered, not as silent as he had the impression he was.
Ophelia glanced at Lily but the redhead was ignoring him completely.
“Evaaaaans!” That was not Potter’s voice but Black’s.
Ophelia looked at Alice, who was rolling her eyes, before she looked at Professor Sprout, who seemed engulfed into showing one of her own students just how to pluck the Bouncing Bulb he was holding in a way that it wouldn’t get him kicked in the face. The Hufflepuff was less than pleased when the professor accidentally hit him in the nose while trying to contain the Bulb.
“I never imagined Herbology to be so violent.” Ophelia mumbled, watching the events unfolding all around her.
“Evans!” Potter’s voice was getting louder as he was losing patience.
“Oh, just turn around for a second! It won’t kill you, you know?!”
Instead of Lily, Ophelia turned towards Black with quite an offended face. She scoffed and he mumbled something under his breath, something she was sure she didn’t want to hear. Suddenly, the Bulbs all around Black and Potter caught fire, scaring the living out of Remus and Pettigrew, who were actually working on plucking them.
Professor Sprout’s eyes widened and ushered everyone outside while she grabbed her wand. As they were heading out, Black raised an eyebrow at Ophelia, brushing their shoulders harshly when passing each other.
At dinner, Ophelia waited for everyone to enter the Great Hall before she walked out of her hiding spot. She was one step through the door when someone pulled her back. Thinking that it was probably Potter or Black, she closed her eyes and raised her hands in front of her face, unintentionally pushing whoever that was a few feet backwards.
“What was that?”
Ophelia’s eyes widened.
“Severus?” She asked, sounding both innocent and scared. “Sorry, I’m really sorry. It doesn’t have an off button.” She added, running to his aid.
Severus Snape was a young child but still, he was pretty fragile for a boy. When she grabbed his arm and helped him up, it was probably with more strength than he had at that time.
“Why are you in your robes?” Ophelia asked, noticing the way he quickly brushed her hand away.
“How did you do that?” He asked once again, remembering the time in the train. “And what do you mean it doesn’t have an off button? What is it?”
The brunette licked her lips and started fidgeting nervously, her mind swirling with excuses she could use. None seemed to be good enough, not with the way Severus was watching her with wary.
Ophelia opened her mouth, ready to give out the most plausible lie that she could muster but the door behind her opened slightly, enough for one person to sneak out. Seeing the platinum blond hair, Severus grabbed her hand and pulled her after him, down into the corridor towards the Hufflepuff common room.
With big owlish eyes, the boy checked twice before leaning against the wall.
“Why are we hiding from your prefect?” She asked naively.
“Because he strongly dislikes you.”
“Because you’re a Gryffindor and he is a Prefect. He can take points from your house for nothing at all.” He added, seeing how it seemed Ophelia could never understand the rivalry between Slytherins and Gryffindors. “Anyway, what was that? How could you throw me away with your bare hands?” Severus asked, returning to the actual problem.
Ophelia only shrugged before swaying her right hand in the air, the same blue light following every movement before entering her hand. Severus was watching her hand closely, with so much intensity that it looked like he was ready to cut it off just to take it in his room and watch it create forms later on.
“You might be able to make a Patronus already.” He whispered, confusing the girl. “A Patronus Charm conjures a magical guardian, a projection of all your most positive feelings. Many wizards are unable to produce a full Patronus form.” Severus explained.
“I can’t either. I’m good at Charms but only the ones we learn in class with Flitwick.”
Severus hummed and nodded, seeming deep in thought before his eyes fell over her hands once again.
“With or without a wand?” He finally asked.
Ophelia looked down at her hands, her wand lost somewhere in the sheets on her bed. Severus didn’t need her to answer because he could already see Ophelia for what she could be.
“Maybe we should study together. I’ll help you with potions but you have to do me a favor.”
Ophelia raised an eyebrow and nodded very slowly, “What favor?”
“Enter the Forbidden Forest with me. It seems there is a very rare stone hidden in the trunk of a tree, deep in the forest.” Severus added, choosing his words carefully so not to give her the whole truth.
“Why don’t you go alone?” She asked her tone changing from naïve to cold and judgmental in one second.
Severus couldn’t blame her if he were to be sincere; ever since they met in Hogwarts Express, the greasy haired Slytherin only watched from the side as the brunette little girl squirmed to blend in with her roommates. Unfortunately, Ophelia was the total opposite of Lily, with bravery that was more going towards saving herself rather than save someone else. He had seen it happening in Potions and during their afternoon flying lessons. Instead of helping Pettigrew keep his balance, she used him to get herself a nudge towards the direction she wanted to go to.
“There might be Dementors in the Forest. They’re evil creatures, without a face, wrapped in dark cloaks. They feed on your happy memories. Only a Patronus can protect us.” Severus explained, his eyes widening when sharing his knowledge.
Ophelia frowned, her mind registering every word quickly before realization hit her.
“And how exactly are we supposed to study the Patronus Charm?” Ophelia hissed, leaning towards Severus.
“That can be arranged, mud blood.” A new, scoffing voice answered.
Lucius Malfoy was standing with his arms folded in front of his chest, a sneer on his face, slightly leaning against the wall yet not really because it was visible that he was sustaining his weight on both his feet.
“As long as you retrieve my object, anything can be arranged. In case you have forgotten, I am the Slytherin Prefect.” Malfoy added, his lips curving smugly into a smirk.
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
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"How much have you heard?" Severus asked, tensed like never before.
He couldn't even look in Malfoy's eyes because he knew it was supposed to be a secret yet he partially told it to Ophelia. Ophelia, out of anyone in Hogwarts.
"Enough to make myself question who I have trusted with this mission." The blond answered with annoyance visible all over his form.
Ophelia was facing him directly while Severus was standing with his back towards the blond. She could see the way Malfoy started to drum his fingers on his arm while containing a very elegant yet dirty superiority expression. He was looking down at the two kids as if he just became Minister and it was very, very uncomfortable.
"Tomorrow night I will pass by the classroom on the fifth floor, facing the gold armor and the portrait of a dog. No one enters it after 11 o'clock on weekends." He stated the sneer only slightly smaller than usual.
Afterwards, Malfoy left, glancing at Ophelia for one last time before deciding that it didn't matter. He was supposed to get the stone from the Forest but he couldn't quite get past the Dementor. Now, if anyone would find out about it, he could easily blame them.
As soon as Saturday came around, Ophelia could hardly contain her excitement to learn something new. She was visibly happier and the whole Gryffindor tower was staring at her with confusion.
"Mate, what's gotten into sour grape there? Did someone finally tell her that she is not a hundred years old?" Sirius Black asked his best friend, wrapping an arm loosely around his shoulder.
James Potter shrugged while Peter Pettigrew snickered a few feet behind them. The one that seemed genuinely concerned, however, was Remus Lupin. Well, he wasn't really concerned as he was surprised that Ophelia could be so pretty when she smiled but she would rarely do it.
Cissney was just as freaked out as Black, only she was a girl and girls knew a few reasons why Ophelia could be happy.
"Who'd you fancy?" She asked bluntly, embarrassing Ophelia from the first sentence.
"Oh, sour grape fancies someone already? You move fast." Sirius added, leaning so much over Potter that the glasses boy had to crouch.
"Is it Longbottom?" Potter asked, a goofy smile widening on his face.
Sirius didn't wait for an answer and started to laugh, Pettigrew's snickering becoming louder as well. Remus glanced at Frank Longbottom and noticed the faint blush in his cheeks before he turned to Ophelia. She wasn't blushing but didn't look happy either. Her eyes were narrowed and he could imagine her hands gripping her pants under the table.
"No." She barely got out.
Sirius raised an eyebrow and took a link look around the Great Hall. It was breakfast on a Saturday so obviously not the whole castle was down. However, there was one boy that was watching their interaction from two tables away, furrowing his eyebrows together when he realized Sirius was looking straight at him.
"Is it that Slytherin boy? What was his name, um-" He was obviously joking but looked at his friends, his face contorted into a stupid look as he was supposedly trying to remember.
"Serverus? Cerberus? Something?" Potter added in the same manner.
Lily's head snapped towards the boys and glared at the pair, scoffing loudly.
"It's Severus. And if you'd be so kind, he is our friend and I would like if you could stop this nonsense."
The redhead did nothing but taunt the two jokers. Both boys looked at each other, eyes widened and sparkling with bemusement as their mouths formed a big, round O.
Ophelia glanced over her shoulder at Severus, already pitying him for what was to come. She was absolutely sure that Potter and Black were not going to leave it aside and pass the opportunity to mess with the greasy haired boy.
"I do fancy someone." She said, drawing everyone's attention over her. "It's him."
Ophelia pointed at a random person standing there out of coincidence. She didn't even look at who exactly she pointed until she saw their eyes widening and faces turn into frowns. Very slowly, Ophelia turned around and realized she just out-loudly admitted that she fancies none other than Lucius Malfoy.
That statement haunted her for the rest of the day. She was the eleven years old that just proclaimed she liked a boy that was five years older and incredibly stuck up.
"It's alright. I know you don't really like him." Severus said softly, smiling faintly when seeing her long face.
They were supposed to find the empty classroom and test if they could actually materialize their happy memories into a Patronus. Maybe Severus had a few but Ophelia was empty and it was becoming burdensome.
"It doesn't matter. I'll go home for Christmas and when I'll come back it will be all forgotten."
"Before that. We have to enter the Forest before Christmas." Severus whispered, glancing from side to side in case one painting was eavesdropping.
"Why? Why is it so important? And why does Malfoy want it?" She questioned, making the boy sigh heavily.
"I can't tell you yet. Just trust me, alright?"
Ophelia stopped, forcing him to stop as well and turn back a few steps.
"Trust. What a big word for a child."
Severus rolled his eyes and grabbed her wrist, pulling her after him.
"I know, I have been a twat for the past month. It was just-"
"You were so busy following Lily around. No one else seemed as important until you remembered me."
Severus nodded, admitting silently that she was right. His interest was definitely bigger in the redhead and everything she was doing rather than the silent Ophelia. Besides, Lily was an endless source of happiness and joy for him while Ophelia was just Ophelia.
"I'm sorry, alright. I'll be your friend from now on." He whispered, pulling her up the stairs.
"And you will help me with Potions?" She asked, a smile forming on her lips.
"Yes, yes. I will."
Ophelia chuckled and let herself be dragged along the corridors until they got in front of a very ugly painting of a dog. Severus pushed the door open as silently as possible before they entered the dim lit classroom. Entering last, Ophelia didn't realize that she pushed the door too hard, making it slam loudly.
Severus threw her an annoyed look over his shoulder, making her smile guiltily and mutter a very faint sorry.
"It looks like it hasn't been used in a long time." He said before pulling his wand out of his pocket and whispering Lumos.
Severus raised an eyebrow and turned to his companion at that sound.
"I don't have my wand with me." She mumbled, fidgeting nervously when she noticed those dark eyes judging her.
"And how do you expect to practice? You need a wand."
She listened to him complaining for another five minutes before he stopped and sighed. In the end, Ophelia sat on an old desk while Severus tried to conjure every happy memory into a Patronus.
That was easier said than done. While Ophelia was watching very closely how he was moving his hand and the way he was holding his wand, she couldn't help but remember the pale stranger.
"Hey, Sev. For how long have you known you were a wizard before coming here?"
That was a random question thrown at a very random moment. But he responded anyway.
"A while. I met Lily and her horrible muggle sister in the park. We live close to each other and I've seen her doing magic before." He explained, his eyes focusing on what looked like a barely trace of something hanging loosely on the tip of his wand. "What about you? How did you meet Malfoy?" He asked before he stopped and came next to her.
"I got lost and he stumbled upon me in front of Gringotts. He assumed I was a mudblood because I had no money and no knowledge of the wizarding world."
Now that she was saying it out loud, it sounded normal. She noticed afterwards that muggle born students tend to not know anything about Hogwarts or magic in general. Malfoy was probably right to assume that even if it offended her in a way.
"How did you get on Diagon Alley if you didn't know anything about it?" Severus asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Ophelia sighed, swaying her legs back and forth while leaning on her knees.
"I met a man in the park a year ago. He was very entrancing for some reason and every time his eyes would fall on me, I'd feel this thrilling sensation, like I know him from somewhere. Like he is dangerous yet comforting."
Severus' interest piqued radically when she started to speak about that man. Her elongated green eyes were sparkling and her whole expression brightened.
"He told me that I am a witch and he took me to Diagon Alley. While my parents were fighting if I should come to Hogwarts or not, he bought me the necessities for school."
"He sounds strange." Severus added getting a swift kick from her in the hand.
Instead of complaining, the boy narrowed his eyes at her playfully and pointed his wand at her nose. A puff of smoke engulfed both of them before Severus decided it was enough for their first night.
Only the next morning did Ophelia realize that Severus had actually disproportioned her face, making her eyes smaller than her nostrils, mouth turn upside down and the worst of all, she had bald spots.
That morning, James Potter laughed so hard that he had to go into the bathroom to calm down because his muscles hurt.
The next month passed incredibly fast with normal classes going well, except Potions where Slughorn tried every possible excuse to keep Ophelia in his gratitude yet he was coming to a point where she was such bullocks at it that he couldn't help but shrug her off.
"He hates me." She mumbled from the other side of the table.
"He does." Alice and Cissney mumbled at the same time, making the brunette scoff at their sincerity.
"Maybe you should tell Professor Spinnard that you don't have enough time to research whatever he gives you. You've become very busy on Saturdays." Lily leaned in a bit and whispered, trying to keep the eavesdropping Pettigrew and always scoffing Mulciber away from their discussion.
Potions with Slytherins was as bad as Charms with Ravenclaws, where Ophelia has never expected to meet such students that were thinking of themselves as ravens of knowledge. Ophelia could still hear Potter's loud laugh in the class when a girl called Melinda Gatterby stated that. Of course, Slytherins had a very peculiar way of interacting with students from other houses but nothing really happened to her.
"Professor Spinnard gave us an essay about defensive spells this time. I think Remus has completed his already but I want to try them out." Ophelia whispered, her eyes widening when speaking about what she liked.
By the end of the class, Lily saved what was left of Ophelia's potion but it was still far from what it was supposed to be. As soon as they left the classroom, Severus sprinted towards them and walked the rest of the way while talking to Lily. Their friendship was just as strong as ever and even if Ophelia understood that, meeting Severus for their little secret mission was nicer than meeting him in the halls after class.
Another month passed just like that and Severus was slowly getting the hang of the Patronus Charm. He still couldn't control it for long periods of time but he could at least form something. That couldn't be said about Ophelia, whose wand seemed to have a mind of its own and would do absolutely anything but the Patronus. Christmas was two weeks away and they spent the night of the Halloween feast inside that dirty room, practicing.
"How can you succeed in handling normal charms but can't create a Patronus?!"
Severus was on edge and Ophelia didn't have to be a genius to know why he was so authoritarian lately.
"Downstairs is a party. I could make myself a nice and happy memory instead of lurking on the fifth floor, in an old classroom." She retorted, showing a lot more nerve than Severus expected.
"Fine! Go downstairs and have fun with your stupid friends. I'm sure Black can't wait to make fun of lovely sour grape. Or maybe you think he'll like it when you will unintentionally throw him against the wall?" He was being childish and a bit jealous since he would have preferred to be down there with Lily as well.
"I will throw you against the wall intentionally if you don't drop it." She threatened.
Severus walked in front of her and looked down at her hands. She did too, swaying her fingers slightly just like before but this time, nothing happened. Ophelia blinked twice before she groaned and grabbed her wand from her back pocket.
Closing her eyes and thinking of the pale man, the happiness she felt for the first time she saw Hogwarts erupted into her heart. Severus watched as the faint form of a fox squirmed out of the wand and jumped around before it vanished.
Ophelia's eyes opened and stared expectantly at her friend. Severus was the one that would practice it more often than she was, because realistically speaking he had more chances to grasp it but she did want at least a Well done, Ophelia.
"That was only for a minute and it wasn't even strong enough."
Ophelia groaned, feeling like she was speaking to a professor not a kid.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
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The feast was over and the halls were getting crowded by students from different houses. The classroom on the fifth floor was incredibly close to the Ravenclaw common room, which was probably the worst house to meet at the moment.
Ravenclaws could ask questions for a whole day and still have more to comment afterwards so meeting someone like Gatterby was not needed.
"You go first and I will come out afterwards. Be careful." Severus whispered before opening the door and checking for passer byes.
No one was on their hall but once they would get on the stairs, they'd meet a lot of people.
Ophelia nodded and hid her wand before adventuring out into the wild crowds.
It was incredibly easy to sneak around and get back to the Gryffindor tower. No one stopped to glance twice at her, instead they were speaking loudly about some kind of announcement that Dumbledore gave at the beginning of the Halloween feast.
When she entered the common room, a very excited Potter was moving around chaotically, swaying his hands above his head with a bright smile on his face.
"What's gotten into him?" She asked as she sneaked her way behind Remus.
"It seems there will be a Scavenger Hunt or something of that sort. It's still a long time until April, but it seems we have to find eggs that will contain different types of spells and we have to do them correctly in order to get the next hint." Remus explained, glancing every so often at Potter.
"Is that all? What will be the prize?" Ophelia asked, her interest dripping away.
"That's it. Dumbledore said that the prize is worth it but he never said what it actually is."
"Then why is Potter so happy?"
Remus chuckled, "He's been begging Professor McGonagall ever since the year begun to let him try for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. He is still not allowed but he's been very perseverant." Remus started, remembering just how annoyed was McGonagall every time James would complain.
"So she finally agreed?"
"No but she gave him the opportunity to practice with them once a week."
Right at that moment, Black entered the common room, his face showing an expression that he would rarely have: anger.
"Mate! Sirius, she finally let me try out! Well, she didn't really but it's still one step away from making it into the team!" Potter started to ramble as soon as his eyes fell over his friend.
"Good for you, mate."
That was all Sirius said before going into the boys’ dormitory. Silence fell over the common room; only whispers from students that were studying could be heard but they were very faint.
Ophelia and Remus glanced at each other confused before they both turned to an even sour looking Potter. He rubbed the back of his head and came to sit on the desk in front of Remus.
That was the only sound that came out of Potter's mouth. It was obvious that he wanted to complain more about what happened but decided to stay silent for a while.
"What do you think happened to him?" Ophelia asked Remus, leaning a bit towards him.
However, looking up at the dark sky, Remus' interests shifted and so did his worries. It was still a bit early but he had to leave for the night.
"Sorry, I have to go." He mumbled before getting up and rushing out the portrait hole.
"Now, what is happening with everyone?" Potter asked, though it sounded more like a whine really.
Once again, Ophelia was standing only with Potter and the awkwardness was slowly filling the space between them.
“Molley, do you hate me?”
That sudden question left the girl speechless for approximately five seconds, time in which she had to register the fact that Potter was speaking to her directly about something that was concerning her.
“I don’t hate you, we’re classmates. I just don’t like the way you behave.” Ophelia answered, her tone sounding a lot like she has thought about it before.
“I’m a kid, in case you forgot. I’m supposed to be easily excitable and get on your nerves.”
Ophelia scoffed but couldn’t help let a very small smile curve her lips. She did try to keep it hidden but it was widening quickly, blowing into laughter. Potter’s eyes widened like two round plates at the sight and sound; he has never expected to make her laugh so joyfully.
“Are you alright? Is this a side effect of your crush on Malfoy?” Potter partially joked.
That was it; he blew it with one simple sentence. Ophelia’s face darkened and her lips moved back on that thin line that Potter had gotten used to see.
“You should learn when to comment and when not to. You should also learn more about girls if you ever want any to glance your way and not frown.”
Ophelia threw him a glare before she walked out the same way Remus did a few minutes ago, her steps so heavy that Potter could still hear her walk even when the portrait closed.
“What in Merlin’s name is wrong with everyone today?” He wandered out loud, ruffling his hair in annoyance.
It was a silent night and Ophelia was glad that students got befuddled during the feast and were peacefully sleeping or reading in their rooms. A soft smile spread on her pink lips as the frown between her eyebrows relaxed. The brunette took a deep breath in and checked for anyone in the Entrance Hall before opening the front door very, very slowly.
“The curfew is an important factor in the life of a student, especially a first year, Molley.”
The cold, ice dripping, authoritarian voice of Professor Spinnard froze any action that would have followed opening the door. She turned around warily but kept a hand on the door, just in case she had to make a run for her life.
“It’s silent.” She muttered, her eyes widening in innocence yet the glint in those green orbs was definitely not.
Professor Spinnard narrowed his icy blue eyes at her, seeing the familiar mischievousness that he had seen before, in the eyes of an old classmate of his. It’s been a long time since he looked at someone and remembered so vividly just how much terror and tension was in Hogwarts when that boy attended it.
“Why did you come to Hogwarts, Molley?” He asked out of nowhere, the whole atmosphere around him threatening the girl. “Is it part of his plan? Does he want you to report everything Dumbledore does?”
Spinnard was asking questions and making statements that Ophelia had no recollection of. The impressively tall man took a few steps towards her, forcing the girl to take a few steps back, hitting her shoulder against the door. He leaned in, tilting his head to the side in a way that looked like he was a maniac, scanning his victim for later evil purposes.
“You should have been killed not rescued. Your blood will curse everyone that ever comes in contact with you. They will all die and it will be your entire fault.” He said, emphasizing every word, anger filling his whole being as he continued to look straight into her eyes.
Ophelia was scared but there was another feeling that was slowly engulfing her body and mind and that was offence. Spinnard was just a professor and nothing was giving him the right to judge her or her family, especially when everything he was saying was not even completely true. She might not have any memory of her father or time with her mother but she was not going to let some strange man stain their image just because he could. No, her family was her problem and hers alone.
Having these kinds of thoughts running through her mind, she felt a sudden burst of energy that was bubbling up inside her, crawling up and down her arms. Her eyes darkened considerably before her whole face became paler and strangely enough, looked like a pissed off snake. Her lips shifted into a very ugly scowl before she grabbed him by the front of his robes and pulled him close enough to touch his nose.
“You know nothing about me or my family.” She hissed.
Spinnard chuckled, his eyes widening, which was quite an achievement since he would rarely be surprised or bemused at something.
“I know your father. I know who he is, unlike you.” Spinnard whispered, his face expression turning even more chaotic. “Why do you think Dumbledore asked me to teach you extra-spells? Those spells are not for first years but it seems you should know them before your dear father decided to pop out of his rabbit hole and recover what is rightfully his.”
“That is enough, Luce.”
It wasn’t loud enough to echo through the whole castle but it was stern enough to make both culprits freeze. Spinnard raised an eyebrow, visibly annoyed with the interruption but Ophelia didn’t seem unnerved by Dumbledore’s appearance. Spinnard turned towards the headmaster, a few words on the tip of his tongue that might end his career as a teacher. Well, he couldn’t say he was very happy with the arrangements anyway, especially since Dumbledore literally blackmailed him into professing in Hogwarts.
In one quick and very sly movement, Ophelia grabbed Spinnard by the back of his head and pulled him in front of her, tilting it enough to have a partial view of his face. Dumbledore’s eyes widened when Ophelia started to speak to the former Hogwarts student in a language that he personally wanted to forget. Seeing how Ophelia was definitely not aware of what she was doing and someone else was controlling her from the shadows, Dumbledore drew his wand and swayed it elegantly before Ophelia fainted.
“This is your fault, Dumbledore. You should have left her to rot with her mother not care for her safety.” Spinnard hissed at his employer, his neck throbbing with pain.
But Dumbledore had a different problem at the moment. While most students were in their rooms, sleeping, there was one little boy with greasy black hair that couldn’t sleep. Severus Snape witnessed everything, especially the sudden change in his friend. Evwn if Dumbledore was sure he would never tell anyone about what happened that night, Severus was going to act differently around Ophelia.
That was why, moving silently to the entrance into the dungeons, Albus Dumbledore smiled softly and told Severus to approach him. Being just a first year student, Severus swallowed nervously and complied.
“I won’t tell anyone, I swear. I-“
Dumbledore raised his hand, silencing the young boy before he could say something more.
“I know. That’s why I have a favor to ask of you, Severus. Take care of her when she doesn’t need it and watch her when no one is watching. Make her trust you more than anyone in her life.” The elder man spoke, so softly and caring that Severus couldn’t help interrupt with one curiosity.
“Is it because of her father?”
Dumbledore sighed but nodded nonetheless. Severus turned to the unconscious body of his friend, a new sensation bubbling up inside his heart; he was excited to see just how many more secrets could one little girl be the source of.
Chapter 12: Chapter 12
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Next morning, Ophelia woke up in the Hospital Wing under the intense, watchful big brown eyes of a person that she did not meet before. Seeing how she was tucked in the hospital bed so tightly that she could barely move, she shifted a bit in order to get a clear view around her.
“Madame Pomfrey asked me to watch over for a while and instructed me not to let you move.” The girl explained warmly.
Those brown eyes of hers were staring at Ophelia closely, inspecting her face for any kind of wound or slight crease that would be a reason to worry. But Ophelia was completely fine, not a trace of physical abuse –not even emotional abuse. So then, why was Molly asked by Dumbledore to come and check on Madame Pomfrey’s only patient?
“I’m Molly. We’re in the same house but I am one year older.” She finally introduced herself seeing how Ophelia was blankly staring at her, “Would you like some chocolate?” She asked when silence filled the room.
Ophelia blinked owlishly as Molly opened her bag and grabbed what was a handful of chocolate frogs before placing them on the table next to her head. The brunette shifted once again, signing to Molly that she couldn’t get up or move her hands.
“Ah right. They tucked you in pretty tightly, haven’t they?” Molly mumbled loosening the covers and helping Ophelia lean against the mattress. “Here,” The ginger gave the patient one chocolate frog before she sat on a nearby chair and smiled.
“Thank you. This is very good, actually.” Ophelia mumbled, nodding towards the new acquaintance.
Molly’s smile widened but she didn’t say anything, just stayed there until the doors opened loudly and an elegant yet firm woman hurried inside.
“How could he not tell me; one of my students…” She muttered as soon as she entered.
Professor McGonagall went straight to Ophelia’s bed and smiled at Molly before she turned to the brunette. “I heard you fell down the stairs last night. How could that be possible?”
Ophelia had only one answer, that might be working yet had the same fifty percent chances for it not to.
McGonagall sighed loudly and held her head in astonishment.
“I will have a talk with Albus about that poltergeist.” She started, making Ophelia feel a sudden wave of guilt.
“He didn’t push me, only scared me and I fell. It wasn’t entirely his fault.” Ophelia added, playing nervously with the wrapping of the candy.
Professor McGonagall furrowed her eyebrows at the brunette student, having quite a hard time understanding how a perfectly capable young girl could fall down the stairs when there was magic all around her. Besides, even if she wasn’t aware of it, she had her mother’s talent and it should have kicked in unconsciously.
“Well, it still doesn’t absolve him of scaring you. Are you alright now?” McGonagall asked her voice hoarse since she probably woke up less than an hour before hurrying there.
Ophelia nodded, having no memory of what exactly happened that got her in the hospital wing in the first place. Actually, the last thing she remembered was walking towards the Entrance Hall after a very nasty comment thrown at her by Potter.
“Do everything Madame Pomfrey instructs you to and I guess I’ll see you in class.” The professor started, taking a long look at Ophelia before she turned to Molly, “You should hurry to your lessons, Prewett. Professor Sprout was looking for you.”
Molly’s eye widened as she gasped and nodded before grabbing her bag and running out the door. McGonagall waited for Molly to leave before she glanced at Ophelia worriedly and sighed.
As soon as McGonagall left, still muttering about Peeves and what a problem he was for young students, Madame Pomfrey walked in and checked her condition for the second time. Ophelia was fine, as healthy as possible and luckily, she could walk to her next class without giving any explanation to the teacher.
It proved to be a day of utter annoyance and meetings that Ophelia would have preferred to avoid. It was probably one of the days she would have wished she could sleep in her room, eventually read a book about what Professor Spinnard has been rambling about for the last few months.
During the break between Transfiguration and Herbology, a Slytherin of the name Nott threw something at her feet that looked like usual joke-balls, only they were biting. They would move wherever she was going so she arrived in the classroom, her toes bitten by annoying balls.
Even though it was obviously not her fault and she had no idea how to get rid of them –because no matter how much she tried or Lily tried, they wouldn’t disappear or leave or drop dead- Professor McGonagall didn’t seem to care. It actually felt like that morning in the hospital didn’t even happen.
“No matter how much I would like to see you transfiguring these things, I would like for you to get rid of them, Molley. Now.”
Professor McGonagall was just as strict as ever, even if she showed genuine worry for her student that morning.
“Evans! Hey, Evans, I bet you a cauldron of chocolate frogs that I can transfigure Molley’s little friends in butterflies.” Potter whispered not so silently.
Lily rolled her eyes but seeing how uncomfortable they were making Ophelia and the people around her, she accepted.
“Fine.” She said.
Potter’s eyes widened, probably he wasn’t expecting her to accept so easily. Anyway, he high fived his best friend before drawing his wand and pointing I at the balls jumping all around Ophelia’s feet.
“Papilio Efectus.” He whispered, his eyes focusing on the task at hand.
Ophelia raised an eyebrow when she looked down and noticed that the jumping stopped. The joke-balls changed into pretty and colorful butterflies and flied towards other students, girls especially enjoying them.
Professor McGonagall was ready to intervene, a frown on her face as she quickly rose from her desk, until something even worse happened.
Potter was ready to claim his prize with pride when he noticed Ophelia flinching. Since he was still a beginner, once he pointed his wand at the balls he automatically targeted her feet too thus her feet got affected as well.
Ophelia started to raise in the air, drawing everyone’s attention, inclusively a very angry looking McGonagall.
“Molley, get down this instant! We’re in the middle of a lesson here!” The professor said firmly, her eyes following Ophelia’s flying feet.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, her feet flied higher and slid to the right, turning Ophelia upside down before sliding to the left. Luckily, she had pants underneath her robes or else it would have been even worse.
Ophelia’s eyes fell over Potter and glared, even if it looked funny from her position. Sirius Black was laughing so hard that she swore he was going to implode, his face getting flushed as he tried to regain his breath. That only amplified her annoyance and antipathy.
“You are so dead Potter.”She hissed, those green eyes looking evil.
That was how during dinner, half of the school found out about the butterflies during Transfiguration. Nott was standing with his friends at the Slytherin table, telling everyone that he did it which was absurd. Potter was standing as far as possible from Ophelia but not because he was afraid but because he was annoyed that he got detention.
“How could she give me detention after that? It was a success, wasn’t it? She should have given me points not detention!” Potter whined, using the same ever since he walked grumpily out of the classroom a few hours ago.
Next to him, Pettigrew was nodding his head, approving everything Potter said yet Black seemed abnormally impartial.
“Mate, are you alright? I’m in pain here.” Suddenly, Potter’s eyes widened as he remembered something, “I hope she won’t call me for detention when the team is practicing.”
“She probably will. She’s evil like that.” Sirius mumbled, leaning his head on his right hand as he was playing with his food.
It wasn’t peculiar to see Black pouting, especially after such a boring class of History of Magic, where he did nothing but sleep with his head turned towards Ophelia, snoring softly and flinching from time to time. It was entertaining when he would frown and mumble incoherent words under his breath but once he’d open his eyes, he’d be silent for the rest of the day. Ophelia wasn’t the only one that witnessed that slight change in his behavior, Potter did too and it was worrying.
Watching subtly the boys speak a few seats from her, Ophelia realized there were only three of them.
“Where is Remus? I haven’t seen him all day.” Ophelia asked turning to Cissney.
“Maybe he’s sick. The Halloween feast had the same effect on me last night. I’m surprised you didn’t hear it.” Cissney mumbled, eating dinner without a worry.
But Ophelia was worried. She finished fast and hurried out of the Great Hall, ignoring all the calls from the Slytherin table.
“Excuse me, Madame Pomfrey?” Ophelia asked, sticking her head into the room.
No one was there, the beds were all neatly made and empty except one in the far back. Being extremely curious, Ophelia pushed the door open and took one step in before she felt a cold hand grasp her shoulder.
“You might disturb the patient, Ophelia.”
Dumbledore’s voice was soft yet she could hear a tinge of firmness that urged her to stop moving. It has been a very long time since she has heard it but it seemed to have the same safety to it.
“Is that Remus?” She asked before anything else, her eyes moving on the furthest bed.
Dumbledore moved behind her and scrunched his eyes towards the patient.
“Who knows, my vision is not what it used to be.” He muttered lowly before his blue eyes fell over the student, “Anyway, let’s take a walk, shall we?” He added, already walking away from the Hospital Wing.
Ophelia glanced one last time at the mysterious patient before she sighed and gave up, following the headmaster.
“Do you like Hogwarts, Ophelia?” Dumbledore asked suddenly.
“Yes, of course. Not everyone is friendly and many have never heard of common sense before but it feels a bit like a home.” She answered, her choice of words amusing the elder man.
Ophelia nodded, “I can’t really recall how home feels like. The orphanage was comfortable for a while and being adopted felt like a new beginning but never have I felt like I truly belonged in any place.” She admitted. The brunette took a gulp of air, feeling like she should tell Dumbledore what she was hiding but she decided not to.
Dumbledore noticed her abstention and he only hoped it wasn’t about Tom. As wise and manipulative as the older man knew Tom was, the snake could easily wrap himself around her and squeeze every ounce of good out of her. Trying not to think about the worst but the best, Dumbledore changed the subject.
“You know, your mother attended Hogwarts too. She was a witch with certain qualities.” Dumbledore said, chuckling at the memory.
“What do you mean?” She asked, tilting her head to the side.
“Certain qualities for Transfiguration and Charms. She had magic that not many of us have but she never quite discovered the lengths of such a gift.”
Ophelia hummed, registering everything he said. She wasn’t sure if it was an allusion to what happened earlier in Transfiguration or what happened in the Entrance Hall that she couldn’t remember.
“What about my father? Was he a wizard?”
That was a question Dumbledore strongly disliked. If Ophelia was showing interest in her father, it could bring bad news. Thankfully, she didn’t look like a child that could be easily manipulated so Dumbledore could only hope she wouldn’t end like Lillian.
“Your father is not a pleasing man to be around, has never been. His interests have always been darker than most.” Dumbledore explained as easily as he could but she seemed to grow even more curious.
Thankfully, they were approaching the stairs towards the Entrance Hall and down there, waiting near the entrance towards the dungeons, was Severus Snape. His eyes were following the redhead Gryffindor that Ophelia has befriended, a girl that seemed to promise a lot. Once they started to descend the stairs, Dumbledore smiled at the brunette girl that still looked eager to know more about her parents.
“Trust only those who trust you more.” He gave her that piece of advice before walking away, into the Great Hall.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ophelia asked, rubbing her elbow with confusion.
Spending every Saturday night with Severus was pleasant and educational. Now, spending every morning getting laughed at by a Slytherin or more was not nice at all. Even worse was Malfoy who was watching everything without saying a word, even when Longbottom got fooled into drinking snake venom instead of his usual juice at dinner. He spent the night in the Hospital Wing, vomiting it out while Nott and Mulciber were sleeping peacefully. It was particularly annoying when Mulciber would take a turn at Ophelia because he’d call her a mud-blood and would constantly remind her that he was a pure-blood. Malfoy was always there, in the back, watching with a poker face, fact that would annoy Ophelia more than the bullying.
That was why, three days before the Christmas break, Severus asked Ophelia something very, very unpleasant.
“You want me to spend Christmas here?!”
“We need to enter the forest and that is the perfect time. Everyone will leave the school and we have to give it to Malfoy on the night before Christmas. It’s a perfect plan.”
Severus seemed genuinely pleased with himself. He had thought carefully how to get in the forest without drawing attention and the Christmas break was the opportunity they needed.
“It’s not. I want to see my mum and dad.”
Severus rolled his eyes and moved his chair closer to the table. She had to cooperate in order for his plan to succeed.
“They are not your real parents anyway. You can do more great things here, where you can do magic and be yourself than back in Birmingham where you are just an adopted child.” He said, emphasizing facts that most children would get angry about.
Ophelia actually needed a moment to think about that closely. He was right in some aspects, magic became already a big factor in her life and without it, she was just an orphan at the core but returning to Birmingham meant a chance to meet the stranger and ask him about everything she was curious about.
“I’m not so sure of that. What did Malfoy ever do for us? Every time Mulciber bullies me, he keeps his hands clean. That’s exactly what he’s doing with us, forcing us to do his dirty work while he will most certainly take the prize.”
Ophelia’s elongated green eyes were staring at Severus so intensely that he couldn’t help but agree with her just so she would avert her gaze. Unfortunately, having Malfoy’s angry face appear in his mind, he’d prefer getting punished for a year than having Malfoy mess with his life for far longer than a year.
Therefore, he had to come up with a plan to keep her there or else they will get in bigger trouble than breaking a few school rules.
Chapter 13: Chapter 13
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Severus Snape has never been too keen to spend time home and that won’t change anytime soon. His parents have always either neglected him or applied what they thought was a good lesson; he’d flinch only at the memory. Hogwarts was the best change in his life, the opportunity for a better future where no one would ever dare to sneer in front of him.
“Aren’t you going back home, Sev?” A young Slytherin asked his roommate.
Aiden Mulciber was far nicer to his fellow Slytherins yet that could be debatable as his personality was very dark altogether. His sense of humor was different from others, special as he would call it.
Severus’ short answers were not unusual thus it wasn’t strange to hear him give no other details about his life. Mulciber rolled his eyes and closed his trunk before a boyish grin appeared on his face as he remembered something.
“Careful with your mud-blood ginger, Sev.” He obviously threatened before leaving while chuckling under his nose.
With the dormitory left empty, Severus couldn't help but crack a content smile. Having strange roommates like Mulciber, Nott and Avery was not what he had in mind when he entered the Slytherin common room and they seemed to have a particular dislike for mud bloods. He knew he had to be careful with Lily but Ophelia has already triggered Mulciber's attention.
It wasn't just a farce when he threw the joke-balls at her feet; he knew exactly that she will step over them and wake them to life; he did the curse after all. It just so happened that it escalated into something more during Transfiguration. Severus heard the rumors and he couldn't help but feel amused.
On another side, thinking about Ophelia he automatically remembered that incident in the Entrance Hall with Dumbledore and Professor Spinnard. It wasn't really what he would have wanted to witness that night but it happened and Dumbledore noticed him.
Actually, now that he started to think about it more, he could somehow use that information in his favor if he could actually understand. Severus only knew it had something to do with Ophelia's father but which one? Wasn't she adopted?
"So, I guess we'll see each other after Christmas." Cissney mumbled, hiding her face behind her hair.
"Are you crying, Littlewood?" Sirius asked bemusedly.
"Shut up, Black. I'm going to miss having so many girls around. I have 2 older brothers at home." She snapped, showing that indeed she was weeping.
Ophelia chuckled and surprisingly, being in a good mood and everything, turned to Sirius.
"Aren't you happy to go home for a while too?" She asked.
Black's smile faltered in a blink and his eyes seemed to have emptied of any joy.
That answer was so cold and serious that it sent a chill down her spine. Seeing how she had no idea how to continue the conversation, she turned to Cissney.
"It's only a few weeks." She mumbled. "It should be nothing if we keep in touch."
Ophelia said that but it was obvious even for Black that she was not the type to send letters and presents. Well, he was right and she only said it to be polite but that didn't mean Cissney had to know that.
Once the time came to go to the train, Ophelia realized there was a very small detail that wouldn't complete her luggage: her owl. Willy has been gone from the first night she arrived in Hogwarts and even though he probably just got lost, she couldn't help but feel paranoid.
Ophelia raised an eyebrow at the whispering, not understanding where it was coming from. One pale cold hand wrapped around her and a familiar voice whispered Petrificus Totalus. In that moment, her eyes widened as she froze, unable to move an inch.
Being dragged back into the castle was weird enough yet having no one notice it was even weirder. How could no one notice a small eleven years old drag another eleven years?
Once inside, he pulled her into the corridor towards the dungeons. She felt a tinge before she realized that he lifted the curse and she could move again.
"Are you out of your mind?!" She hissed.
"It's too late to go back now. You lost the train." Severus stated, a wide smile spreading on his face. He would have looked innocent if it wasn't for the glint in his eyes.
"Are you so desperate to retrieve that stone? What did Malfoy threaten you with?"
Severus answered without a flinch, "He is the prefect. I am a half blood. You make the connection."
Ophelia threw him a look of utter disbelief before she sighed and leaned against the wall.
"We only need a Patronus right?" She asked, Severus nodding eagerly. "Fine. But you'll have to make it up to me. I should write to my parents and-" She stopped when she remembered that her owl was missing. Another heavy sigh escaped her, this time for her own actions.
Severus was nicer now than he has been for the whole few months they have spent together and it was suspicious.
Ophelia sighed and did it again and again until a small fox was running around her feet for approximately...
"10 minutes. That's good for a beginner." Severus mumbled, sitting next to her during dinner.
"Dumbledore will get suspicious if we stay together." She mumbled, still angry that her owl was missing and she lost the train home.
"Do you want me to leave?" He asked, getting up.
"No." She answered right away, holding his hand.
Severus chuckled and sat back down, a sudden wave of achievement engulfing his body. It was nice to have someone get so attached to him.
On the night before Christmas, alone and shuddering from every corner of their bodies were a Slytherin and a Gryffindor, sneaking out a few minutes after midnight.
"Come on!" Severus whispered, reaching out for her to grab his arm.
"I can't see anything." She whispered back.
They were a few feet from Hagrid's Hut, a place Ophelia has only caught glimpses of because she had literally no time for anything.
Being there, in the dark during winter was not particularly nice but it felt calming. She looked up at the sky and smiled, seeing so many stars even if it was December.
Severus' hand was cold on hers and rough once he pulled her after him. Two children were about to enter the Forbidden Forest on their own and for some reason, they were both eager not scared.
Once they passed Hagrid's Hut and entered the forest, Severus let go of her hand and drew his wand. It was enlightening only a bit so they could watch where they were going but it was also affecting their minds. Shadows could turn into monsters in a blink.
Sensing that something was stranger than before Ophelia kept close to Severus. It wasn't safe for him either since he was just a kid but he seemed to be more confident than she was.
"Are we close?" She asked, feeling the need to glance over her shoulder more often than before.
Severus had no idea how to respond until he looked at the snow and saw it was starting to melt yet it was getting colder.
"We're here." He said as he stopped. "Draw your wand out and look for the tree. It should be thick and look a bit different." He said before he went to check the trees on the left.
That left her alone in the dark. Ophelia sighed and whispered Lumos, enlightening more than Severus. With slow and steady steps, she turned towards the first tree and stared at it hard. It looked normal and so did the rest.
"I can't find it. Damn tree." She mumbled, kicking the trunk of a random tree. Surprisingly, it shifted and made what sounded like a groan. "Damn luck." She mumbled groggily, hitting the trunk again.
The second time, she kicked it higher and felt it echo which was strange indeed. Since she wasn't sure exactly where the stone was, Ophelia started to touch the trunk for anything that would open it yet there was nothing. Then, she remembered that maybe Malfoy knew that and especially told Severus about it because he was good in potions.
"Which means we came here for nothing." She whispered, glaring at the trunk. "Useless." She added, kicking it for the third time.
As she was standing there, focusing on the task at hand, with how cold was outside she didn't feel the sudden change. Something was lurking in the shadows and it was coming closer. She sighed and turned around, taking one step before she looked up.
Swallowing nervously, her eyes widened as she remembered where she had met what was flying in front of her. It was back in Aviemore and that monstrous thing approached her without a sound.
Grasping her wand, she took a step back and pointed it at the creature. She could barely remember the spell before she found herself feeling the same dizziness come over her.
"Expecto-" She couldn't say it all because she suddenly remained without air in her lungs.
"Ophelia, did you find it?" She heard Severus ask and her eyes widened even more.
The Dementor looked towards the direction the voice came from before turning to Ophelia. Having regained some of her breath, she screamed.
She could only think about Severus and their lessons for the past year. It wasn't anything amazing but it made her happy. The fox squirmed out of her wand before it landed in front of her. The Dementor didn't seem affected by the Patronus and only swayed from side to side. The fox looked scared and ran past the Dementor, into the dark.
Remaining all alone in front of the Dementor, she had no idea what to do. She watched him crawl closer; showing her what was hidden behind the cloak. A hole enlarged as it flied closer and leaned in, forcing every dark corner of her mind to open up.
Memories of her childhood surfaced, memories of her mother and the way she would let Ophelia do anything she wanted, especially magic. Lillian was a wise woman and very pretty too, also very tall. She had a friend that stayed with her when she needed, a ginger with a Scottish accent but Ophelia couldn't see his face. And then, there was him. He came suddenly and killed Lillian without a second blink. She was very young back then and could hardly register what happened to her mother but she never forgot those words.
"Rest assured, Ophelia. Your place by my side is irreplaceable."
That cold voice was so familiar. She felt a chill crawl up her skin before she heard a faint Ophelia! and everything went dark.
However, before she fainted, she felt someone tug on her arm, placing something in her hand. She wasn't sure if it was Severus or someone else but she knew they have underappreciated Malfoy and his schemes.
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
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She knew she’s been there before but never once did she imagine it so clearly. She could see the details as if she visited the cottage yesterday yet she wasn’t even sure she ever visited it.
It was strange because she could see everything from a different point of view, a smaller point of view actually. Everything was big compared to her but nothing was intimidating or peculiar in any way.
“How are enjoying yourself, Pheli?”
Ophelia looked up into the marvelous eyes of a ginger man. He smiled widely, his eyes full of joy and love as he bent in front of her and ruffled her hair.
“It’s been a while hasn’t it? How is our little witch?” He asked, making Ophelia blush without really having a reason why.
Well, maybe the reason was the way he seemed to emanate this boyish charm, making him attractive even for a little girl. Or maybe it was the dimpled baby face of his that looked incredibly cute and friendly.
“She’s only six years old, Vernon. Don’t mess with my daughter’s feelings already.” An older woman spoke, her voice soothing and extremely familiar.
Ophelia turned to look at the woman and her heart beat faster at the sight of her face. Lillian Gaunt was playfully glaring at the ginger, her whole face bright and happy. She was beautiful and those amazing green eyes were pretty much the same as Ophelia’s only hers were wide and clear while Ophelia’s were slightly elongated, like a cat’s. Lillian was a tall woman with long red hair and a certain elegance that seemed to come from her not from the way she was dressing, which was very classy. She was feminine and her whole appearance was making Ophelia feel safe.
“I’m not doing anything! Don’t be a bugger, Mrs. Gaunt.” He spoke in a way that even the child could understand he was trying to annoy her mother.
“Don’t call me that. Just Lillian is fine.”
“Whatever you say.” He mumbled before turning to Ophelia, “Then I will just take this little princess here and introduce her to my Patronus.” He said, smiling eagerly.
Lillian chuckled when she remarked the confusion over Ophelia’s face.
“His Patronus is a dragon. He talks about him as if he were his pet.” Lillian partially joked because, seriously, partially she was right.
“He’s my faithful companion, has always been. He represents my happiness unlike yours, Mrs. Gaunt.” He emphasized again that small detail that seemed to annoy Lillian but she only rolled her eyes.
Vernon’s smile softened up as his eyes trailed from Lillian to her daughter and sighed. Ophelia could see just how happy was that man and she was curious if, by any chance, he wasn’t her her.
Suddenly, the whole room emptied and it became cold. Ophelia grew back to her original size and looked around curiously. She was in a different house, one that she knew well but hasn’t visited in a while. The brunette witch looked up to the first floor and breathed out, feeling a chill go down her spine. She placed her hand on the railing and trailed it as she took a few steps up the stairs. The door suddenly closed and she turned around quickly, scared. No one was downstairs so she turned back towards the first floor. Ophelia looked up and saw green before she heard someone whisper.
Two green eyes opened abruptly, scaring whoever was next to her. She rose on her bottom quickly and looked down at her hands.
“Are you alright, dear? You woke up so suddenly.”
Ophelia looked up and met the worried eyes of Madame Pomfrey, who was just passing by her bed. Seeing her, it made the girl remember that she was actually at school and she had a very bad meeting with what was called a Dementor. Then, she remembered one more detail-
“Where is Severus?” She asked, yet not moving from the bed. For some reason, she felt like she shouldn’t push the covers off.
Madame Pomfrey smiled softly, worry still in her eyes but something else too.
“He’s fine. He’s been coming every two hours to check on you.” She said softly before her smile widened, “Such a friendship is hard to come by. Treasure it.” She said before leaving to mend to her own business.
All alone in the whole room, Ophelia looked down at her hands once again. She was sure someone tugged on her hand right before she lost consciousness and it was someone rather small. Slowly, Ophelia pushed the covers off and patted around, searching for something small yet firm. She couldn’t find anything until she started to search under the pillow. Every so often she would glance over her shoulder, just in case someone would spontaneously pop in. It was clear and she found it; she found the stone and it looked unimpressive.
The knob moved and being so large, the door cracked as it opened and Ophelia pulled the covers over quickly. She kept her hand under and lied down, looking still tired.
Surprisingly, the one who entered was Professor Spinnard, whose face was pretty much the definition of an unpleasing, grumpy visitor who wanted to be anywhere but there.
“Glad to see you’re well, Molley.” He mumbled, his tone opposite of what he actually said, “You just can’t help yourself, can you? Trouble is written all over your face and you went so far as dragging Severus with you.”
“I didn’t drag anyone with me. You weren’t there. You don’t even know what happened, professor.” She responded, annoyed that he could look down on her so much that he’d even think she would drag someone into trouble.
Professor Spinnard raised an eyebrow and seemed to scan her closely, as if he knew she was hiding something.
“Did you hurt your hand?” He asked, his voice sounding a lot like her father when he knew she had done something bad but wanted her to speak about it.
Professor Spinnard was only a professor so he shouldn’t look so deep into what his students were doing in their free time. Besides, she was from another house and he had no right to question her.
“I would prefer if you would leave me alone to rest, prof-“
“Have you finished your homework, Molley? The extra work too?” He interrupted, asking something irrelevant to the matter at hand.
“What extra homework?” She asked, taken aback by the sudden change.
“For walking out into the Forest, which is strictly forbidden to students such as yourself, and for secretly learning spells high above your skill without a tutor. You wrote about defensive spells, haven’t you? Well, it’s time for you to write me about offensive spells and curses. Also, for the whole of the next semester you and your friend will be actively participating in my class.” He finished, walking two steps closer yet still keeping the distance.
“Is that all?” She asked, knowing that it wasn’t such a bad punishment.
Professor Spinnard chuckled darkly, linking his arms behind him.
“Believe me, that’s enough. I have prepared classes especially for you, Ophelia.” He added before he sneered at her and left.
Hearing her name being spoken by someone so strange was only adding more questions to her list.
Ophelia was perfectly fine, except the shock of having to face a Dementor. Madame Pomfrey offered her some chocolate and advised her to eat a lot in the next few days. Of course the first place she went to was the dungeons where she met Professor Slughorn.
“Oh, dear! You scared me…”
He looked genuinely scared for some reason and she knew she wasn’t exactly terrifying.
“I’m sorry, professor. I was in a hurry to see Severus.”
“Oh, yes, yes. Severus Snape, such a gifted potion maker. Of course, it’s still too early to give an honest opinion but he’s a fast learner, that boy.” Slughorn added, complimenting Severus with a bright expression, “I’m sure you will try harder this next semester, am I right? You must not fall behind your friends, Molley.”
“I’ll try my best, professor. It’s not going so well for me now so I’m not sure I’ll improve.”
Slughorn was surprised for the mere fact that she looked genuinely worried and angry with herself. She was so pitiful, especially because Slughorn has seen how bad she was at potions compared to other classes.
“Yes, well you may need a miracle for that to happen.” He trailed, his smile cracking in the corners.
Ophelia could feel her eyebrow twitch at that subtle commentary but decided to shrug it off since he was a professor and she was just a first year. She still had a lot to learn and do and showing Slughorn that she could master the art of making potions was just another thing on her list.
“Well, I’ll be off then. Nice seeing you, professor.” She said with a polite smile before rushing past him towards the Slytherin common room.
It was only when she passed a certain dusty classroom that she realized she didn’t know where the Slytherin common room was. She wandered around the dungeons for an hour before she finally found someone that could help, if he wanted to.
“You should be upstairs, little girl. The festivity will begin soon.”
He was a ghost, the Bloody Baron of them all, and he was terrifying. Of course, it was because of the blood on his clothes and the stories she heard from other students but he himself seemed to be very secretive and firm.
“I am looking for Severus?” She asked, taking a few steps back when the Baron flied closer. “Greasy black hair and dark wide eyes. He looks like a squirrel really…” She added chuckling to herself but the Baron was poker faced.
“The festivity will begin soon. It’s Christmas, Miss Gaunt.” He added, staring at her closely.
“Miss Gaunt?” She asked, completely taken aback by that name. “I have heard that name before…” She mumbled, scratching her cheek thoughtfully.
“Daughter of Lillian Gaunt, aren’t you?” The Baron asked, already knowing the answer.
Ophelia nodded mouth agape as the ghost flied through the wall towards the Potion classroom.
During dinner, Dumbledore was sure to transform the ceiling into a night sky, full of bright stars while snow was swaying beautifully around the room. It was Christmas and the students that remained at Hogwarts were definitely enjoying themselves. Severus was nowhere to be found so that left Ophelia all alone at the table, munching on whatever she could find that wasn’t greasy. The tarts were delicious so she even hid some in her pockets in case she would like a midnight snack.
Taking one long glance around the Great Hall, Ophelia fumbled with her pants’ front pocket before taking out the stone. She looked down at it, turned it in every way but from any angle she’d look at it, it was nothing but a stone. She took a peek at the staff table and noticed that Dumbledore was not there so with a little bit more confidence, she put her hands on the table and placed the stone into the light.
“How did I get you?” She mumbled, wondering just how exactly the stone ended in her grasp.
Well, someone did tug on her arm and probably forced it in her hand but that person must have been pretty small for that to happen. Also, how exactly did Severus get rid of the Dementor? Did professor Spinnard follow them or maybe Hagrid saw them? It was still so mysterious.
“Enjoying yourself, Ophelia?”
Hearing that low tone, Ophelia’s eyes widened and she hid the stone in her palm; she grasped it tightly before going back to choosing tarts.
“Headmaster,” She barely said before grabbing a tart with her free hand, “I’m fine, yes. It’s a bit lonely but I enjoy the silence and peace.”
Dumbledore’s careful eye caught sight of the stone from the moment she pulled it out but it felt like she wouldn’t give it to him if he were to ask her about it. Ophelia was a secretive child, just like her parents, so he had to be careful.
“I thought you were rather eager to go back to Birmingham.” He started, knowing exactly what route to take with her.
“Um, yes. I lost the train and decided to spend Christmas here. Besides, Willy has been missing ever since I arrived to Hogwarts.” She grumbled, still having a hard time because of her owl.
Dumbledore’s usual warm blue eyes seemed to have darkened as his whole posture stiffened; it was barely noticeable, but being right behind her, she couldn't help but feel tension surround her.
“It would be better to have someone look after him. I’m sure he will return but until then, use one of the owls from the Owlery.”
Dumbledore advised her softly yet there was a tinge of firmness in his voice; it actually made her feel like she might have been the one ordering Willy not to return.
But there was something even stranger and that was the sudden information that there existed an Owlery. She kept that sudden enthusiasm to herself but her eyes were shining in hope that she could write to her adoptive parents.
“I assume you don’t plan another escapade to the Forbidden Forest?” He asked as if he already knew everything, making her tighten her grasp on the stone. “Have you found something of interest on your last adventure?” He added.
“No, of course not. Except maybe a Dementor.” She mumbled, feeling suddenly tensioned with the headmaster questioning her.
“Do you know who saved you, Ophelia?”
She sighed and turned to fully look at him while he moved a bit to the side. He was very tall and quite intimidating from her seat yet there was something else that was making her feel angry.
“I don’t know. Professor Spinnard? Or maybe Severus?” She asked trying to sound innocent. “My Patronus, even if it ran away?”
Dumbledore raised one eyebrow elegantly and shook his head.
“When Professor Spinnard arrived, the Dementor was already gone and Severus was unconscious. He left right before you woke up so then, who saved you? I do have my own theories but I would like if you could give me an answer of your own.”
Under Dumbledore’s watchful eye -and it looked like nothing would pass him, not the smallest information about the students of Hogwarts (and even beyond the grounds of the school)- Ophelia was just a child, maybe innocent maybe not, that was trying her hardest to hide from his view. Well, that was impossible at the moment and she knew she had to come up with some theory of her own.
“Someone else heard us and came to help. Someone who was already in the forest, watching.” She answered hesitantly.
Dumbledore chuckled and nodded before he leaned in a bit.
“Maybe. You may be right and if so, then someone has been watching you and Severus secretly. But I don’t think that person was there, I believe that your Patronus did not have enough power to push the Dementor away so based on your memories, it went in search of that particular person.”
“What person?” She asked, getting confused even though Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to get darker.
“The person that makes you happy,” He said, looking at her with those intense blue eyes from behind his half-moon spectacles. “He must treasure you just as much as you treasure him if he did come to your aid.”
“But then-“ She stopped, knowing that she was going to give herself away if she’d speak more.
Instead, she thought about that supposed person that makes her happy; her mind could only surface memories with the pale man and the way he introduced her to a new world, one that she belongs in.
“Ophelia, be careful in whom you trust both inside and outside these grounds. Hogwarts can only help you if you ask for it but it can’t protect you from yourself.”
Those words were meant in more than one way and understanding them was far too complicated for Ophelia. Seeing the black hair of Severus Snape, her attention shifted quicker than the dark glint in Dumbledore’s eyes.
Feeling like she was at a loss of words, Ophelia said a quick Merry Christmas, headmaster! in which Dumbledore nodded and smiled softly at the child.
The tension dispersed and Dumbledore grabbed one tart before winking at the brunette and moving towards the staff table. While the girl was focusing on the Slytherin boy, having to tell him many things, the headmaster was growing curious just who exactly saved her; was it the same man as in Aviemore? If that was the case, he should have a word with Professor Spinnard and Professor McGonagall.
Chapter 15: Chapter 15
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Luce Spinnard was not fit to be a professor, has not even taken into consideration a career that would involve children or people in general. Pale blue eyes that would scare anyone that would come closer to him, a face that expressed nothing but a continuous scowl at everything around him and a personality to match his cold appearance; those were his characteristics and Luce knew he had grown tired of others being scared of him and labeling him as nothing but scum of the world.
Ever since he was a child, he had a certain attraction to the dark arts and he would exceed at absolutely anything regarding Potions and Occlumency. Above his obvious liking of everything that was dangerous and dark, there was one person that told him a while back something that he wanted to hear but not from him.
Back then, Occlumency was a subject that third year students could opt for instead of Divination, which was pretty much bullocks for everyone, even the great professor Dumbledore.
“Are you sure you want me to accompany you to this secret hideout of yours?”A younger yet still dark looking Luce Spinnard asked his classmate.
“You are the only one that can get into his head. No one is half as skilled as you in Occlumency, Luce.”
That boy was a master in the art of manipulation and his perseverance was astonishing. Besides his mysterious yet elegant personality, Tom was a smooth talker and Luce could easily say he was the best of all -amazingly talented at using absolutely anything and anyone in his favor.
“You’re one of the best in class, Tom. Besides, we’re in different houses. Why would I help a Slytherin?”
Even back then, Luce was witty and had tremendous temerity for a fifth year student. Of course, he was renown in the Gryffindor Tower for his peculiar friendship with a certain redhead but also for his strong dislike of Slytherins.
Ravenclaw; Luce Spinnard was sorted in Ravenclaw when he entered Hogwarts and he quite liked it but felt jealous on the students that have been sorted in Gryffindor. Maybe that was why he became friends with the most talented of them all.
“Hey! Mate, I’ve been waiting for you for-Oh, Tom.”The usually cheerful ginger mumbled, his happy smile dropping abruptly.
Vernon Peverell was his name, a boy with incredible amounts of patience and charms. The ginger with cute dimples and even cuter smile was the complete opposite of Luce in looks and personality yet Luce’s brain was what saved Vernon several times in History of Magic and Potions.
Tom raised an eyebrow at the ginger before chuckling ironically.
“Now that your loyal puppy is here, I should be going. But don’t forget my proposition, Luce. We both know your talents are high above anyone at Hogwarts.”Tom spoke, his eyes remaining on Vernon even if he was speaking to the cold blue eyed Ravenclaw.
As soon as Tom left, Vernon sighed and placed one hand on Luce’s shoulder, grasping it slightly in what was probably encouragement.
“He didn’t threaten me.” Luce mumbled, sensing the worry coming off Vernon.
“I know. I just feel overwhelmed whenever I look into those eyes of his. It’s like I’m looking at a snake, aware that he would like to bite me but haven’t found the opportunity yet.”
Luce rolled his eyes before he looked down at his hand. The parchment that Tom gave to him was a secret from everyone at Hogwarts and even if he gave a negative answer, Luce was sure Tom will return and ask for a favor again.
And he did. Tom Marvolo Riddle returned on a rainy night, covered in a cloak from head to toe yet still very elegant. Luce was working in his comfortable cottage outside London when he heard the repetitive knocks in a certain rhythm. He was enjoying a book about defensive spells when he was interrupted.
Those cold blue eyes widened at the sight of his former classmate. Tom looked the same yet very different; his eyes were darker and even though he looked fairly good, Luce could see traces of something else, darker than it was before.
“Are you here for the address?”Luce asked, leaving the door open and walking back into the living room.
“Certain circumstances have interfered with my plans.” He started, scanning the room in one long glance. “Living the commoner life instead of pursuing a meaningful life, aren’t you?”
“You know I hate people.” Luce mumbled, scratching his cheek while narrowing his eyes at the carpet. It suddenly became hard to look Tom in the eyes and Luce knew it was the reason why he came in the first place. “I made research of my own. You killed your father, Tom, and your uncle was sent to Azkaban for it.”
“I haven’t found exactly what I was searching for but I did find something precious.”He answered as if the problem about his father was nothing important. “That family is gone now. But I found a way to assure that the bloodline of Slytherin will not end.”
Luce hummed, acknowledging the important piece of information without thinking that it might become an issue later on. Grabbing his book from the loveseat, Luce sat back down and crossed one leg over the other.
“Why did you come then? My skills cannot aid you anymore. You took care of it yourself, it seems.” Luce spoke nonchalantly, which surprisingly only amused Tom.
“You still owe me a favor, Luce. Nott was ready to kill you when I stopped him. I knew you’re too precious to be killed just yet.”
Tom’s words were selfish and it didn’t surprise Luce to hear the sarcasm in his voice. Knowing that he will regret, he still asked.
“What do you want me to do?”
Those eyes darkened even more and for a moment, Luce swore he heard the hissing of a snake coming from deep within his former classmate.
“Kill the woman and bring me her child.” Tom hissed, his eyes glistening in the dim light. “Bring me the daughter of Morfin Gaunt, no matter the costs.”
He knew, he was very sure, that killing someone was going to hurt him more than anyone else, especially because his personality and looks were instigating rumors already. Luce looked into those icy eyes and saw the face that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Tom Riddle was evil, he was sly and nothing could satisfy his greed for power. Unfortunately, Tom was also very perceptive in his younger days and Luce caught his eye from the moment they met in the Occlumency classroom.Not many could see it but tom could; the way Luce was looking at Vernon was not one of friendship but jealousy and that was the moment tom knew he could use Luce for his purpose.
That was how, on the morning of a cold day in autumn, Luce Spinnard left early and apparated in the square in London. He could easily spot her in the crowd: a woman that was dressed like a person out of a character book for children. She was not beautiful, common if anything but she had a bright light around her, probably because she was pregnant.
Sneaking through the people was easier said than done, scowling at the muggles that had the bravery to look him twice in the eye, yet he did it. He stopped a few feet from her and waited for her to get into his sight before he drew his wand. Taking care not to look extremely strange, he looked straight at her, his heartbeats getting so fast and loud that he could barely hear anything else.
“Avad-“ He mumbled yet couldn’t say it completely because a gentleman walked by.
He looked down at his feet, hiding the wand and moved a bit towards the left. Afterwards, he raised his head and looked at her again; she was looking right back with a confused expression, having no idea what was in store for her.
Seeing her stare right back at him, he felt his heart cringe. There were many dark rumors about him but at the core, Luce Spinnard was not a killer. He sighed and with one quick move of his wand, he whispered Petrificus Totalus. The woman froze and fell backwards like a statue.
“It’s alright! I’m a doctor!” Luce exclaimed, making his way through the crowd that was forming around the woman that fell out of nowhere.
When he got to her, the wizard pulled out of his pocket what looked like medication. He forced it down her throat and closed his eyes. He was trembling from every bone and fear was crawling up his spine, knowing that what he was doing was wrong.
“She’s going to be fine.” He exclaimed again before looking down into the eyes of the woman. “She will be well attended.”
Dumbledore sighed, returning to his office with the person that accompanied him in that swirl of memories.
“Why did you show it to me? Does it look like I forgot about my mistakes?” An older Luce asked the headmaster, hands gripping the Pensieve tightly.
Dumbledore took a moment to understand what was going on through Luce’s head and he could finally see, after that memory, that he was right in bringing Luce to Hogwarts in order to meet the person that he least wanted to see.
“Lillian was well attended.” Dumbledore said, passing Luce down towards his desk.
The former Ravenclaw narrowed his blue eyes at the one that was once his favorite professor but didn’t say anything.
“I hope you understand now why I chose you to teach Ophelia Dark Arts. Of course, you’re welcome to stay for more than a year; I would like that as well.”
“If I teach her Occlumency, he will come searching for me. As you have seen, he already has a grasp on her. He reached her without you knowing, Dumbledore?”
The headmaster heard the sarcasm in Luce’s voice but shrugged it off completely.
"The lemon tarts at dinner were delicious. You should take one too. Their structure is most impressive." The headmaster advised with a soft smile.
Chapter 16: Chapter 16
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“Sev!” Ophelia called for the Slytherin boy but he only threw her a glance before walking out into the entrance Hall.
Feeling like she should follow him, she glanced at Dumbledore before walking out. While hurrying out the Great Hall, she pulled a tart out of her pocket and pushed the stone into it before placing it back. It was safer to have it hidden than have everyone take a peek.
Severus was waiting at the stairs towards the kitchen and he looked paler than on a usual occasion. His eyes widened when he saw her coming his way and urged her to move faster.
“Where is it?” He asked, scanning her face for an answer.
Luckily, though maybe not at that time but later on, Ophelia was very good at hiding her emotions and showing nothing but a blank face that would puzzle the great wizards of the world. Unfortunately, Severus was not pleased with that poker face.
"We have to give Malfoy the stone." Severus said his eyes wide as he stuck his hand out for the object.
Seeing him so worked up over something so small, a sudden desire to let him squirm a bit more engulfed her. It was sadistic especially when that person was her friend yet it felt natural.
"Well? Do you have it or not?" He asked, obviously getting annoyed and impatient.
She nodded and pulled out three tarts from her pockets. Severus raised an eyebrow, not questioning why she had them in the first place but still expecting her to give him the stone.
"I put it in one of the lemon tarts. They all look the same so I'm not sure which is it anymore." She admitted calmly.
Maybe the way she was speaking so easily about it as if it wasn't important or urgent was what made him angry. Or maybe it was the way her eyes were glistening in the light as if she was only messing with him. Anyway, Severus drew his wand and pointed it at her nose.
"Are you serious?! We risked detention and even expulsion for that stone!" He screamed, not caring about passer byes.
"We need it. I need it." He hissed, taking a step towards her thus ending with pocking her nose with the tip of his wand.
"I know. But once we got there, the trunk was sealed and had a Dementor guarding it. What happened back then? Who saved us?" She asked, the conversation she had with Dumbledore still fresh in her mind.
"Professor Spinnard did." Severus answered but she didn't look convinced, "I saw your Patronus running deep into the Forest and figured you found the Dementor. I was on my way to you when something hit my head. When I woke up, Professor Spinnard was carrying you into the Hospital Wing and I was in Hagrid's arms. That's all."
"Madame Pomfrey said that you visited me a lot."
Severus seemed genuinely confused which only confused Ophelia.
"I didn't. Professor Dumbledore told me not to. He emphasized not to come, which I found strange at first but he is the headmaster."
Ophelia blinked twice before she pushed the wand away from her face and leaned against the wall. She couldn't think of anything but how a lot of stuff in her life seemed to not connect very well. Dumbledore was saying something, teachers were saying something and then friends were saying something; none fit together and she was only growing more and more confused and frustrated.
"Maybe someone else came to visit and told Madame Pomfrey my name." He added, seeing the change in her expression. It was weird how the glint faded and she looked scared. "Now, can you give me the stone? I have to send it urgently."
Without a second thought, Ophelia gave him a different tart that she had hid in her robes for later use. Severus seemed thrilled when he scooped out the object and smiled widely. But Ophelia was not happy and the halls of Hogwarts became a bit colder because she shuddered.
After Christmas, and that very ugly adventure in the Forbidden Forest, Ophelia decided to study and study only. Severus probably sent the stone to Malfoy because he became very carefree during the next few days. He'd find Ophelia in the library writing about spells and even though he'd like to interfere, he chose not to.
That was how the break came to an end and the semester begun. Many students came during the morning but a few came late at night, one of them being Lucius Malfoy. He entered the Slytherin common room and scowled at most of the first years before his eyes landed on Severus. With a smirk plastered on his face and a very royal attitude, he went straight to the young boy.
"My father was most pleased of your gift, Snape. However, he did not like your lateness." He started, not really waiting for an answer as he strutted away in the next moment.
Severus sighed in relief and went into his room, grateful that his school life was peaceful for now. Once he entered the boys' dormitory, the first thing he saw was Nott being accosted by a brown elegant owl.
"Take him off or I swear I'm going to torture him just for the fun of it before killing him!" He screamed angrily at Mulciber.
But Mulciber was watching the sight with a smile on his face, entertained by the owl and its bravery.
On the other side, once the owl saw Severus, he stopped and flied to him, landing on his shoulder. Severus was surprised and froze under Nott's indignant gaze.
"Was this your way of having fun, Snape? You want to duel? Or maybe you want me to tell my father about it?" Nott spat with hatred.
Severus shook his head quickly and tried to get the owl off. It didn't budge.
"It's not his. It looks too smart to be his." Mulciber noted, already having been acquainted with Severus' ugly old owl.
"Give him to Slughorn. I'm sure he'd like another one to send his letters."
Severus nodded and walked out with the owl not moving an inch off his shoulder.
"Home sweet home! I missed you sofa! I missed you fireplace! I missed you Evans!" Potter tried to wrap his arms around
Lily as he did to all the other stuff but Lily moved out of the way quickly.
"You've only been gone for a few weeks. What will you do during the summer?" Cissney asked, frowning at the childish boy.
Potter shrugged and walked towards Sirius, wrapping an arm around him as Black did the same to him.
"It's been a hard few weeks without you mate. I thought I'll lose my sense of humor with my mum always nagging." Potter mumbled, winking at Remus even though he was speaking to Sirius.
"How was your Christmas break Black? As uninteresting as Potter's?" Cissney asked, making Potter scoff.
"Fine." He answered coldly. "The family gathered for a festive dinner that didn't end being very festive."
It wasn't what he said as it was the way he was uncomfortable and made the rest feel it too. Luckily, Ophelia walked inside the common room at the needed moment. Her eyes widened when Remus smiled at her.
"I haven't seen you in the train, Ophelia. Did you have a good Christmas with your family?" He asked kindly, completely different from the kindness from Severus during the break.
"No. I lost the train home and spent Christmas here. It was interesting, to say." She answered in the same tone as Sirius.
"You have no idea what fun is, do you Molley? Where are you living anyway?" Potter asked, walking towards her with his tight grasp around Sirius, forcing him to follow.
Potter raised an eyebrow, "Are you from a rich family?"
Ophelia nodded before turning to Remus, "Professor Spinnard won't probably ask you to write essays anymore. He told me, and he was very explicit, that he will torture me these remaining few months." She said, ignoring Potter.
"Like I said. No fun at all always trying to be the best in class. Tsk. At least we all know you're bullocks at Potions." Potter joked, making Pettigrew give such a loud and surprising laugh that it scared Alice.
But Ophelia didn't find it offending and definitely not funny. She tilted her head to the side and threw him a look that pretty much meant he was stupid before she turned to Cissney.
"I couldn't give you any presents. I'm sorry. I have something upstairs for each of you." She said, Cissney's face brightening at the mention of presents.
"I have one for you too! Let's hurry!" Cissney jumped off the sofa and grabbed Ophelia's wrist before dragging her to their dormitory.
Once she was pushed inside the dormitory, Cissney waited for Lily and Alice to enter before she closed the door and turned to the brunette with a serious face.
“You’re the person that always comes right in time for anything. What happened that made you stay here for Christmas?” Cissney asked, having the other girls stare at her with the same amount of worry.
The girls leaned in, making Ophelia feel stuck in a position that she’s never been in before. It was a bit flattering to have them worry for her well being but it was also a bit burdening.
“I had extra work and-“
“You’re lying.” Lily interfered quickly, “You can trust us, Pheli. Just tell us.”
Ophelia sighed, feeling pressure falling down on her heart, making it cringe. She didn’t want to tell them anything because they might act rash but at the same time, she really, really wanted to share it and have more opinions.
In the end, she chose what was best at the moment and it took the whole late afternoon for her to explain everything in a way that wouldn’t make Severus look bad.
“Why did Severus accept this in the first place? Is Malfoy so bad with his own Slytherin mates?” Alice asked, her and Cissney having the most objective eye in the matter.
Lily looked down at her hands and sighed heavily. She knew Severus and knew he would never endanger someone by his own choice.
“What I find more interesting is that someone used his name to visit you in the hospital. Are you sure Madame Pomfrey was talking about Snape?” Cissney asked, leaning backwards on her hands.
Ophelia nodded, “She said so. Well, it doesn’t really matter anyway. Everyone’s back so whoever visited me will never be found. I’m more concerned how the rest of the year will proceed. I can’t send letters or receive anything because of Willy.”
“You can use one of ours or one from the Owlery. I told you, even the store owner advised people not to buy that owl. He’s bad news.” Cissney mumbled, taking a pause to look after her rat before smiling at the sight of him moving in circles on her bed. “Maybe he ran away.”
Ophelia frowned. That owl was meaningful to her because she’d get the same feeling of loneliness that she felt when she was in the orphanage. Besides, Willy looked trustworthy back then.
The next morning, Ophelia woke up having a very vague feeling of disappointment. She dreamed something about her mother again but couldn’t remember when she woke up. Actually, the reason she forgot was the line that woke her up in the first place.
“Come on, Remus! Just one page! I completely forgot about our assignment!”
That was Potter and he was begging Remus to give him his homework in order to copy it down.
“Professor Spinnard will know. He knows how I work on my assignments.” Remus tried to combat but Potter was very persistent.
“Having something is better than nothing, especially with Spinnard.”
There was a small pause before she heard a grumbled Fine and silence filled the tower.
When she walked down into the common room, Remus was sitting on a chair, watching Potter copying word by word from his lengthy homework.
“We had to write five pages about Transfiguration too.” She mumbled, taking a seat near Remus, “But if you show her rather than explain, I’m sure she’ll be delighted.”
Potter scoffed and glared at her before he returned to writing. Remus chuckled when he noticed the content look on Ophelia’s face. It was clear that no matter what Potter was doing to her, she was slowly opening up and getting out of her shell.
With her friends always backing her up and encouraging her, winter seemed to go by incredibly fast and March came around, the sight around the castle coming back to life. Of course, life inside the castle was pretty much the same: Mulciber came to enjoy placing one or two jokes on Ophelia and Remus seemed to have caught his eye too, which only ended in having Slytherins and Gryffindors hate each other more than before. Black and Potter were personally offended when Remus’ books transformed into snakes all of a sudden and Mulciber was not even hiding that he was the culprit.
“I’m going to rip his head off, just watch me. I’m going to do it sooner or later.” Sirius grumbled while stuffing his face at dinner during an eventful Thursday.
Potter nodded slowly, completely drawn to the book he was reading, which was coincidentally about Hogwarts.
“I’m thinking, maybe during the Scavenger Hunt in April we could create some opportunities.” He started, writing actual notes from the book.
“Are you sick, by any chance? You look like you’re studying.” Cissney whispered, her eyes widening at the peculiar sight.
“I’m a gifted wizard, Littlewood, but sometimes I do have to use the commoner ways.” Potter mumbled, getting a high five from his best friend.
Cissney scoffed loudly and turned to Ophelia, “If only this gift of his would be a smaller voice, then my mornings would be so much better.” She said out loud, making Potter throw her a glare before returning to his book.
“Why is he reading it? Doesn’t that seem suspicious?” Alice asked, trying to take a peek at it over Black’s shoulder but he blocked her.
“Haven’t you heard of privacy either, Worley? This is men’s business.” He took care to emphasize that before whispering something to Potter and leaving the Great Hall together.
“By the way, I’m sorry Mulciber has been targeting you Remus. He started with me and somehow, got to you.” Ophelia mumbled apologetically.
Remus’ eyes widened, surprised that she would apologize for something that she didn’t have control of. He chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment before he actually answered.
“That is certainly not your fault. I’m sorrier for what Professor Spinnard is doing to you during classes.”
Oh yes. That. Ophelia thought that Professor Spinnard was only half joking when he said he will take care of her during DADA classes but he was definitely not. Every lesson had to be properly exemplified and Spinnard took it upon himself to show his students what they were learning so they could know how to react in such situations. Ophelia was always the subject that he would either bully during class or use as punching bag, no matter if it was or not her fault. It was petty and childish but it was already March and he was not showing any signs that he’d stop soon.
“Yes…that is a problem I provoked by myself.” She answered, the girls’ eyes staring at her knowingly. “At least everyone’s having good grades and they’re enjoying themselves.” Ophelia added quickly, knowing Spinnard was being vile only to her.
“Well, Longbottom does for sure. He’s been improving a lot these months after Christmas.” Cissney mumbled, catching a glimpse of the boy she spoke about.
“And it’s only the first year.” Alice added in a small voice, playing with her food while listening to her dorm-mates.
Ophelia felt tired already. Many things happened and it was only the first year in Hogwarts.
Chapter 17: Chapter 17
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Next day, bright in the morning, Ophelia woke up feeling good. She couldn’t quite point out why but she had a presentiment that today was going to be memorable. Even during breakfast, she wouldn’t mind the little tricks that Potter would pull at the table, just to make Lily understand that he was talented.
“Are you alright?” A voice asked her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
She jolted in her seat before she turned to the one invading her privacy. Maybe if that person would have been anyone else, she would have pushed him away but it wasn’t. It was Remus and he had a few scratches on his face that weren’t there before.
“Are you alright? Do you need to go see Madame Pomfrey?” She asked worriedly, turning towards him with a frown.
Remus’ brown eyes softened up, feeling happy that she was worrying for something as petty as a few scratches.
“No, I’m fine. On the way downstairs to Potions, my robe was caught into something and I rolled on the last few steps.” He started, sensing that he might have best not told her.
“It’s nothing! I didn’t even have to go see Madame Pomfrey. It’s nothing.” Remus tried to assure Ophelia, whose eyes narrowed so much that he was curious if she wasn’t cursing someone silently.
“Was it Mulciber?” She hissed, sounding incredibly cold and distant.
Remus sighed and felt like slapping himself for worrying her for nothing.
“No. Well, I don’t know. It’s not like he’s the only Slytherin messing with us. Besides, you also have Professor Spinnard to worry about.” He grumbled, his eyes falling over the staff table where Spinnard was eating with a frown on his face.
“That professor is a loner, isn’t he?” Potter asked, pitching in from across Remus. “He loves torturing Gryffindors, especially you Molley. It is fun when we watch but still, not so fun for you.” He added, trying to save himself from sounding like an arse.
Ophelia glanced at the staff table but quickly averted her gaze when he raised his eyes. It was hard, having to be punished through embarrassment in front of the whole class but it wasn’t that bad. Spinnard was still giving her homework that had nothing to do with their lessons and she was curious if Dumbledore indeed told him to do it or he was doing pro-bono work after every embarrassment she felt.
She didn’t get to know because later that day, during the lunch break right before Transfiguration, Professor Slughorn asked for Ophelia to come into his office for what he called a clean little chat. She didn’t really think about it until she walked into the dungeons and felt the cold air and the humidity, making her feel like she was walking towards her demise.
It was extremely silent for that hour of the day so maybe most Slytherins were either having classes outside or hiding in their common room, studying the dark arts. At that particular thought, Ophelia chuckled bemusedly. She was probably studying more about the dark arts than any Slytherin in the castle and she didn’t even desire it but it was pushed onto her for unknown reasons.
Being so silent, any sound that wasn’t specific for the dungeons was interpreted as strange and so were the sounds of boots, heavily stepping on the ground as if that person walking behind her was in a bad mood. She was standing between the hurried student and his destination which was not comforting at all.
The steps were louder which automatically meant they were getting closer while she was getting slower. Maybe it was this need to know everything or maybe just too much curiosity but at the next forking in the corridors, she entered the one on the right and waited with her wand drawn and close to her chest.
Ophelia only waited for a few seconds before the perpetrator walked by. He only passed her by a foot when she caught his robe and pointed the tip of her wand between two pale blue eyes.
“Malfoy. Somehow, I’m not surprised at all.” She started coldly, remembering her meeting with the Dementor because of his stupid stone.
“Skipping classes, Molley? A bit early for you to be down here. Should I remind you that I am a Prefect and can take points if the situation occurs?” He asked all so gallantly, his eyes looking down at her from the peak of his pride.
He did expect the young girl to loosen her grasp on his robe and take a few steps back in surrender but she didn’t. If anything, she looked darker, annoyed that he had so much more authority than she did.
“Where’s the stone now?” Ophelia asked, tightening her grip on the robe, even tugging on it lightly.
Malfoy’s eyes moved on her little hand, those pale orbs narrowing at the slight sparks coming from her fist. It seemed she was pissed off at hi for something that she shouldn’t have any connection to and that anger was materializing into something.
“It does not matter. I didn’t force you to get involved but merely gave you indications. You just happen to be in wrong places, at wrong times with wrong people. Just like in Diagon Alley, acting like a muggle.” He spat that last word with such hatred.
Malfoy might have been right, especially because Ophelia had no prior connection to the wizarding world but still, she felt a strange and powerful ache in the back of her neck as if a vein was pulsating there without an exact reason.
The ache made her lose her focus for a bit, forcing her to stumble back. However, she didn’t let go of Malfoy’s robe and automatically pulled him along, making him almost fall on his back but quickly regained his balance, keeping her on her feet as well. Even more interesting was the energy swirling even more around her fist, which was gripping the material so tightly that it became white.
“I am not a muggle.” She grumbled, looking down at her feet.
The platinum blond fifth year stared down at her both curious and appalled by this little girl that was trying to defy him.
She was taking deep breathes in and letting them out very slowly, like she was trying to prevent a panic attack but it was obvious something was wrong up in her head not in her body. Malfoy scoffed and pulled his robe but she didn’t let go.
The blond was losing his patience so he drew his wand out and pointed it at her. He didn’t use any spell at first but poked her fist with the tip of the wand. Nothing happened so he whispered Depulso, hoping it would cast her away.
Nothing happened, nothing at all which was quite a disappointment until he realized nothing happened to her. She seemed to get further from him before he realized the spell backfired and he got pushed back, taking her along since her grip didn’t budge. He fell against the wall and she fell over him, giving Malfoy a direct view of her face.
His face scrunched when he saw the way her face was so pale and her eyes looked like a snake’s. In that moment, she genuinely looked intriguing.
“Where is the stone now?” She asked once again, her tone sounding venomous. Those pale green eyes looked straight into his and for a second, he felt his whole body freeze. “Does your father have it, Lucius? Or maybe one of your friends got their spoiled hands on it before it could reach its master?” She continued, her voice getting colder with every word spoken.
Looking at her so close, it was obvious something was wrong with her. Firstly and most obviously was the sudden change in her eyes and face but there was something else, even more peculiar that he had never seen before: the veins on her neck were visible and they were black and pulsating.
“Who are you?” Lucius asked, leaning closer to her.
She chuckled, right into his face with the most superior attitude, Ophelia laughed into his face; at him. Malfoy was ready to push her away, and very harshly at that when sudden laughter broke the tension. The blond watched very carefully as
Ophelia turned back to her usual self, regaining color in her cheeks and life in her eyes. It seemed she also became aware that she was still hovering over him and quickly got on her feet, wiping herself as if he was contagious.
“Um-I think it would be better if we don’t speak about what happened today.” She started shyly, the opposite of how she was a minute ago.
Right in time, three boys walked down the corridor and none were going to let Ophelia go without a little bit of fun. First to notice her was Mulciber before he turned to Nott.
“Are you here searching for your little weird friend, Molley? Or are you here to see us? Finally surrendering?” He said before he started to laugh with Nott.
“You’re not being funny at all.” She mumbled, scratching her hand anxiously.
Mulciber’s eyes widened before he turned to his friends and whispered something to them. Lucius rose meanwhile and watched curiously, not saying a word since they didn’t even see him there.
Mulciber spun around quickly with wand in hand and shouted Flipendo! knocking Ophelia over before Nott took her wand and they made a little semi-circle around her.
“Poor Molley, first year and already a victim. Must be hard being yourself; a mudblood.” Mulciber started, using his usual speech to intimidate her.
Lucius glanced from the three Slytherins to the girl on the ground, which looked anything but scared. He had to be sincere and admit that she was had something that was drawing the bullies to her and to her friends. Taking one step closer, he noticed that even if they were messing with her, nothing changed, she was the same. Then why did she suddenly become so angry with him? Was it really because of the stone?
There was only one way to satisfy his curiosity but he had to anger her later. He walked away from the sight but not before he cast a levitation spell behind so she could run. Malfoy just found something peculiar in Hogwarts, something that he wanted to explore slowly by himself.
Finally out of their grasp, Ophelia ran the rest of the way to Slughorn’s office. He was there, standing at his desk with a bottle of wine in front of him. It looked like he was contemplating it for some reason.
“Professor?” She asked before fully entering the room. “You said you wanted to speak to me?”
His eyes widened, visibly trying to remember what he wanted to tell her before smiling widely.
“Yes of course! Come in, come in, I have great news for you my dear.”
Ophelia frowned but entered slowly, walking to her professor with a lot of thoughts running through her mind.
Everything seemed to vanish though when she heard a familiar whistling. She stopped and looked at a particular shelf, where was a cage with a brown sharp looking owl.
“Willy!” She shouted, hurrying to her pet. “How long have you been here for?” She asked him, the owl staring up at her with his wide eyes.
“Oh! Is that your owl? A student of mine, brilliant lad, brought him to me.” Professor Slughorn explained, coming next to her, “I have to say, I have never seen such a violent owl before. And restless. He has been most noisy from the moment I placed him in the cage.”
“He was lonely and scared. But who brought him here?” She asked, opening the cage so her owl could come to his rightful master. Surprisingly, Willy flied on her hand and stared at her, almost lovingly.
“Severus did. He found him in the common room. I do not want to know how he got there or how you lost him but you should take great care of your possessions, Ophelia.”
Hearing Slughorn say her name was even stranger than hearing him lecturing her. She was very bad in potions and the whole year knew and witnessed it so why she was even there was questionably.
“What did you want to tell me professor?” She asked, waking him from daydreaming while staring at Willy.
“Oh, right. Actually, I wanted to talk to you about your grades. I know you work supplementary hours with professor Spinnard, Dumbledore told me but you may need to take supplementary classes for potions as well. Your grades are only dropping and you don’t give any sign of hidden talent. You need a tutor if you want to pass the exam.” He announced, glancing at the owl.
“I wouldn’t say professor Spinnard gives me supplementary classes in defense against the dark arts. He’s just-“She wasn’t sure how to express into words but Spinnard was definitely not enjoying their lessons or her in general.
“You will be glad to hear that I found a person that would be most pleased to help you, at least for now.” Right as he finished his sentence, another person entered the room, the footsteps very familiar. “Ah~ I’m glad you could make it, Rabastan!”
It was not Lucius Malfoy or one of the boys that were constantly bullying her. No, there was a boy that looked a bit older than her but younger than Malfoy with sharp features and wide black eyes. He looked terrifying yet elegant which was incredibly rare.
“Rabastan Lestrange, younger brother of Rodolphus Lestrange. Amazing family, I tell you. And so loyal to their house, it’s amazing how these traits go from one generation to the next. Rabastan is one of the best third year Slytherins in Potions.”
Rabastan stood there, no expression on his face with his back straight and eyes staring at Slughorn. For some reason, she could feel tension arise in the room and it made her feel uncomfortable.
“Well, at least I found Willy.” She concluded, the brown owl being the only comfort she could hang onto.
Chapter 18: Chapter 18
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“This is the worst outcome that could have happened. Why didn’t he ask Remus or Evans? Even Snape was a better choice!” Surprisingly, the one whining was Potter. Ever since he eavesdropped during dinner, he went on and on about the unfair lives of Gryffindors.
“Professor Slughorn asked Rabastan Lestrange because he’s older than us and probably very experienced. I’m sure it’s for your good.” Remus tried to ease the suspicion but it wasn’t exactly assuring.
“He looks even tighter up than Professor Spinnard and that can be an achievement.” Cissney mumbled, staring at the Slytherin table without even trying to hide it.
Rabastan Lestrange was one of the faces you wouldn’t notice at a first glance, which was the reason many Gryffindors didn’t even know Rabastan existed. Everyone turned to watch what that mysterious character was doing, expecting him to scowl at everything and eat in a corner.
“He’s laughing. Isn’t that a strange sight?” Potter asked, completely poker faced.
“He’s a normal boy, having a normal dinner with his normal friends.” Remus added, seeing how there was nothing suspicious about the Slytherin.
“He looked scarier when professor Slughorn introduced us. He was there but at the same time, his mind was wandering elsewhere.” Ophelia explained, turning back to the table and grabbing a cherry tart. “But he does look very elegant compared to other students.” She added, not really thinking in depth of her answer.
Potter and Black scoffed loudly and narrowed their eyes at her.
“Is that supposed to be an insult, Molley? Are you insulting us, your house mates, your partners in good and bad?” Sirius asked, Potter having a more offended look than his best friend.
“I’m offended. Aren’t you, Sirius?” Potter started, wrapping one hand around his friend.
“I’m offended. We are offended. All of us, right?” Black asked, mainly looking for an answer from Remus and Pettigrew.
No one answered him; Remus decided to grab a tart and stuff his face so he wouldn’t have to respond while Pettigrew nodded vigorously.
“Well, it doesn’t really matter now, does it? It’s not us that have to spend two hours with him but Pheli. Moreover, I think he’s looking this way.” Lily told everyone, making the whole group turn towards the dark haired student.
Indeed, just like Lily said, Rabastan was staring at Ophelia in particular, making her shudder under his intense dark eyes. It was strange how she has never heard of that boy, especially with Snape looking them up just in case he needed the information later on.
Just after dinner, Ophelia decided she should retreat into the library for at least an hour of studying. She was walking through the shelves, searching for the answer to Spinnard’s latest assignment: thestrals. She was confused why she had to write an essay about something that didn’t seem useful in Defense against the Dark Arts.
“Knowledge is salvation of one’s life.” She quoted Spinnard as she searched for a particular book about magical creatures. “If only he wouldn’t be such an arse, he’d actually make a good professor.” She whispered, feeling like he was going to appear from around the corner if she were to say something else.
Surprisingly, someone did hurry over, scaring her when they almost collided. She didn’t drop anything but he did, her sharp eye catching the title before he took it and hid the title with his hand.
“Ahem, what are you doing here so late?” Severus asked, trying to sound less suspicious than he seemed already.
“Studying thestrals, and you? Sneaking in the Restricted Section?”
Those elongated eyes looked extremely innocent. If Severus didn’t know better, he would have believed her but he spent quite a lot of time with her, trying to improve her skills in potions.
“Hey, Sev, do you know Rabastan Lestrange?” She asked out of nowhere.
Severus’ eyes widened to the point he almost resembled an owl before he grabbed her arm and pushed her towards one of the furthest tables in the library, right across the window. It was a place not many would stop to study in because it was supposed to be cursed by one of the former students, who also left a mark on the desk.
“The Lestrange family has a bad reputation altogether. For centuries they have been known for practicing dark magic and even support Grindelwald’s ideas that wizards should dominate muggles and not live in fear, hidden in between bricks. I’m not sure how far their support went but they are dangerous and uncontrollable.” Severus explained in a voice that was not yet a whisper but not loud either. "Why do you think Professor Slughorn asked a Lestrange to tutor you?" Severus asked, leaning over the table with his eyes narrowed at his friend.
"He said that Rabastan was most pleased which means he wanted to and Slughorn didn't have to pester him at all."
"Why does Slughorn care so much that he would help you? You're only a first year. He doesn't even know your potential."
Actually, that was indeed suspicious. Slughorn and Spinnard were giving her supplementary lessons because Dumbledore asked, because Dumbledore knew something that she didn't. But what could that be and for what reason exactly was he taking care she wouldn't fail her exams was still unknown; there were many questions and Ophelia spent the rest of the days asking herself over and over just what was she missing?
That was how winter passed and spring came around with a new source of excitement. The Scavenger Hunt was going to take place in April during the Easter break and they were going to partner up in groups of four before actually hunting. They had one week to complete the schedule and although Ophelia originally thought it would be easy, it wasn't.
It was also very strange how each house became incredibly united as if it was Quidditch not just a random way to get students to enjoy studying. Even before the week started, students from Ravenclaw were trying to plan every task while Slytherins had one main rule and that was cross anything and anyone just to take the points. Probably Hufflepuffs were the ones that were going to have fun because they looked like they were not going to think about it until they had to.
Gryffindors were a mix of Ravenclaws and Slytherins but they were trying to keep up the appearances that it didn't matter if they won or not.
"The sight is pretty large. We have to search for silver eggs all the way from the Great Hall to our edge of the Forest. The castle alone will be a lot of work and there will be a lot of people fighting over an egg." Lily laid out the conclusions, making everyone feel discouraged.
"Maybe we should attack from the shadow. Slytherins won't be easy to pass and Ravenclaws have been planning their schemes for weeks. We need to attack before others do it." Cissney started, her eyes focused on the map laid on her bed. "We need those points for the house."
"Right you are Littlewood. We need those points worse than a change of DADA teachers." Sirius Black pitched in, his wide smile suspiciously laid back.
"But we need to know the tasks before we actually form a plan." Lily combated before Potter could say something annoying.
The glasses boy actually seemed deep in thought. He was one of the most competitive people Ophelia has ever seen and he was very persistent. The brunette was sure Potter could come up with a strange plan and everyone would conform to it one way or another because they were desperate.
"Maybe we should use some of us to spy on competition. Only one glance should be enough, don't you think so too Molley?"
Ophelia raised an eyebrow skeptically at the dark haired boy, appalled that he would even think of cheating.
"I believe in loyalty unlike you. I'm not going to ask anyone about anything related to the hunt." She retorted narrowing her eyes at him.
Black chuckled darkly but his eyes were sending subtle death threats and curses at the girl. Sje had some incredible courage to say that when she was hanging around Slytherins more than her own house mates.
"What if someone decides to sell us to the competition?" Black insisted, his attention still focused on the green eyed witch. "Someone who treasures her Slytherin friend more than us."
Potter's eyes widened, remembering a certain detail that Sirius forgot.
"Mate," He tried to stop his friend but Sirius was turned against Molley.
"Your friendship is ruining Remus' school life, do you know that? He's been bullied more than you and has come with a lot of scratches and bandages because of a certain little girl." Sirius added, leaning in while glaring at her.
Lily was already fed up with those accusations. She scoffed and left the table angrily, leaving Potter in a sour mood. Remus was also surprised and worried because the bullying was not the problem in his case. Mulciber was more excited to mess with other students from Ravenclaw lately and he could even walk in the dungeons for Potions without having anything thrown at him.
"You should stop now, Sirius. It's not her fault." Remus tried to mend it but Black couldn't see anything but red in front of his eyes, or in that case, green.
Those green eyes were looking at him without empathy and without the slightest gram of remorse. She was so blunt all the time and so blank as if she wasn't truly living. That kind of person wasn't adding any joy to the house and worst of all, she was reminding him of his family.
"You should have been a Slytherin." He mumbled loud enough for everyone close to hear, which meant Potter and Ophelia.
"Mate, let's go for a bit of fresh air. I need to practice for next years' tryouts anyway." Potter grumbled before dragging Sirius out of the common room.
Ophelia stayed back with half of her classmates around, watching silently as if it was a free show.
"Why is he so pissed off? Does he have anything against you, Pheli? Did you two fight?" Alice asked.
That never happened. Ophelia and Sirius weren't talking much and he seemed to remind her of her life in the orphanage: angry and insignificant. That was probably why she avoided him for the rest of the week.
April came sooner than the professors wanted and the Scavenger Hunt was the most talked about subject between students.
"We should come up with a strategy. Maybe if we split then we have more coverage." Potter whispered to Longbottom.
Frank Longbottom was quite good at strategies, surprising everyone with his ideas. The boy nodded and wrote something down before showing it to his colleague.
Before Potter could read it, Professor Spinnard covered it with his hand and took it away.
"Is there something you'd like to share with the class, Longbottom? I'm sure we can stop the lesson for such an important matter." Spinnard's cold tone sent a shiver down Frank's spine.
Potter on the other hand kept his eyes on the piece of parchment. If only he could levitate it out of Spinnard's pocket by the end of the lesson, then their strategies were safe.
"I would focus more on your assignment than my robes, Potter. I'm sure you think you are talented but you're not. Pay attention."
Potter's eyes rose to meet the steel blue orbs of his professor and chuckled.
"Good eye, professor."
Spinnard rolled his eyes, deciding to disregard Potter altogether than run out of patience.
In the end, Spinnard's grasp on the paper remained strong and no matter how much Potter and Black tried to take it back during the rest of the lesson, they couldn't.
"It's like he could read our minds. Each time he passed by, I'd try to get it but he always knew beforehand." Potter complained after class.
"Maybe it's because you were using the same levitation spell. We're first years, it's not like we know advanced charms." Alice reasoned, making Sirius scoff.
"I tried three different charms and none worked."
Three wasn't a big number. Ophelia and Remus glanced at each other and silently agreed they shouldn't interfere with this new mission. They had three more days until the Hunt and they had to study in order to actually win.
Entering the Great Hall for dinner, a tall intimidating blonde girl walked towards the group, stopping in front of Ophelia.
"Rabastan is waiting in the library. You shouldn't make him wait. He hates mudbloods more than anything." She announced before leaving with a sneer.
"Then why did he agree then?!" Cissney screamed after the Slytherin.
"I didn't know you're a mud- I mean a muggle born." Potter spoke when they finally chose a spot to seat on at the table.
Ophelia glanced at her roommates before her eyes fell on the boys.
"I'm not. My mum was a witch but she died when I was 7. I don't really know my father." She answered, her eyes lingering on Black, searching for a reaction.
He had none. He couldn't care less actually and he made it clear by not even looking at her.
"Does every Slytherin believe you're a muggle born?" Remus asked curiously.
"Yes. I'm not sure how they came to that conclusion but they all believe that." She answered as if wasn't a problem.
"Maybe you should tell Lestrange that you're not, just in case he starts bullying you too." Remus added, frowning at the thought.
Meeting Rabastan in the library 10 minutes after dinner proved to be a bit hard because Potter was so excited for the Hunt that she completely forgot she had to leave in a hurry. Therefore, when Ophelia arrived at the meeting 5 minutes late, Rabastan's scowl was scary.
"Sorry I'm late." She apologized in a low voice.
He didn't move or blink or breathe if she were to be sincere. Eventually, with her book open in front of her and quill ready, he finally opened his mouth.
"Tell me the ingredients for the Forgetfulness Potion."
His voice was just like back when they first met. It was so strange how their tutoring classes were now compared to then. The first time they had a lesson was the first week of March and then another on the last week of the month. Now it was early-mid April.
"I thought that we already passed that. Lately we are studying the Wideye Potion..."
Rabastan raised an eyebrow and leaned over the table.
"Can you do it?" He asked coldly.
"Well- if you mean the Forgetfulness Potion, it's getting better and-"
"Is it perfect?" He asked again, staring at her intensely.
"N-No." She admitted. "Add 2 drops of Lethe River Water to your cauldron and gently heat for 20 seconds. Then add 2 Valerian sprigs to your cauldron, stir 3 times, clockwise, wave your wand and leave to brew for 45-60 minutes. Next add 2 measures of Standard Ingredient to the mortar, add 4 mistletoe berries to the mortar and crush into a medium-fine powder using the pestle. Add 2 pinches of the crushed mixture to your cauldron, stir 5 times, anti-clockwise, wave your wand and that's it."
She couldn't believe she learned that by heart but with the way Rabastan was staring at her while memorizing, it was hard not to. Actually, he seemed quite content at the momemt which only eased her worries.
"What about the Wideye Potion?" He asked after leaning back against his chair.
She sighed and peeked at her book. She tried to remember some ingredients but it was a blur.
"Well, add some Standard Ingredient and crush something and stir probably clockwise, wave your wand and-"
"Memorize it by the end of this lesson. I'll be watching."
"Yes. You always are." She mumbled grumpily.
Ophelia sighed and felt her mind getting filled with too much information for one person.
For the whole hour and a half, Rabastan Lestrange stood there, his eyes dropping from time to time but always sharp when it was about her. Ophelia was done memorizing in half an hour but when he ordered her to tell him everything, she forgot the most important part: the wolfsbane. Luckily, the time for bed was in fifteen minutes and Rabastan seemed very submissive to rules.
"Let's meet on the Sunday before the Hunt. Same hour." The boy announced before hurrying down towards the dungeons.
Ophelia blinked, the whole way back to the common room walking in a haze. She was in front of the Lady when she met Sirius.
"Molley. Done with your tutoring?" He asked nonchalantly.
"He's evil. He only orders me to memorize how to make the potions but never really does something." She explained, visibly mentally tired.
Black raised an eyebrow, a boyish grin threatening to appear. It was funny to see her loosen up. It was probably one of the rare moments her eyes were showing her true feelings.
"You shouldn't talk. You're barely holding on because of Remus." She sneered at him which was quite funny.
"Right. Tell me that during the exam when you will have goo at your feet while I will be waving from the Great Hall."
"How would I even see you? We won't be in the same room." She grumbled.
Those dark eyes widened with bemusement as he poked her nose.
"Exactly." He started to laugh loudly, drawing the attention of the Lady, "Cherry tart." He said and the portrait opened.
Ophelia followed closely while scowling at him from behind.
"You should do something about your sense of humor, Molley. Even Littlewood is funnier than you and her funny is strange."
Ophelia couldn't argue with that. Cissney had a very strange sense of humor and most of the time it was really hard to understand if she was joking or if she was serious.
The next days passed incredibly fast and even her tutoring seemed shorter. Rabastan looked excited unlike other times and she was sure he let her go easy that afternoon.
Monday morning during breakfast, Dumbledore rose and silenced the whole Hall.
"I'm sure everyone is excited for this week. I am too. Let me tell you, however, that there are rules that you have to abide on or you and your house will be disqualified. Under any circumstances, you shall not harm someone from another team or house."
As soon as he said that, the whole Slytherin table started to mumble in between themselves.
"Also, do not steal the eggs from other teams and do not ask the house heads for help, that includes bribing, Mister Barney." Dumbledore added, throwing a sharp yet amused look at a certain Hufflepuff. "Now, the tasks are simple. You have to use everything you have learned until now to find the silver eggs. Each egg will indicate the next task but beware that each egg has a different hint that may lead you to a higher or lower leveled task. We tried to keep a balance between the years and the places each year has to search for but some of us may find more difficult tasks by coincidence."
"Why does that sound so suspicious?" Potter asked the rest but none could respond.
"You may find the maps hung in the Entrance Hall. Good luck to each and every one of you!" Dumbledore finished his speech before retreating.
"We should hurry and check out the First Years Map. I think I saw some Hufflepuffs slipping out while Dumbledore was speaking." Pettigrew mumbled, his eyes always coming back to the Slytherin table.
Potter nodded and stuffed his face with toast before he grabbed a boiled egg and pointed at Longbottom.
"Dwon't forweet he pulewn." He spoke with his mouth full but Longbottom seemed to understand.
In the end, the first years had only the castle while the fifth years and up had the grounds around Hogwarts. The fourth years had the Quidditch pitch and gardens, leaving the second and third years in the castle as well.
"So, we have to be careful if we find an egg for the second or third year. We may get stuck with it for a while." Cissney mumbled, her eyes searching everywhere.
Ophelia was behind with Lily and both of them were keeping an eye out for intruders.
"Should we search around the second and third floor? Should we go in the bathrooms as well?" Ophelia asked seeing how she couldn't understand where they could hide so many silver eggs.
"Do you think some of them are in paintings?"
Everyone stopped and stared at the redhead. Lily had a very good point and that was probably how one could tell if it was a difficult or easy task.
"Should we check the Fat Lady?" Alice asked shyly but that was not a bad idea at all.
The Fat Lady was singing when she noticed four little girls standing at the bottom of her portrait, watching her warily.
"Do you not like my singing? Don't you have something else to do?!" She screamed since no one said anything about her voice.
"Do you have a silver egg?" Ophelia asked bluntly.
There was a small pause in which Ophelia's green eyes glinted.
"No... Why would I have one?" The Fat Lady finally responded.
Alice looked everywhere when Lily saw something shining a few feet down, at the feet of a statue.
"There!" She shouted before everyone moved to the egg.
"We found one! Wow! It only took us what...20 minutes!" Cissney shouted excitedly. "What does it say?"
Lily tried to open it but it wasn't budging. She turned it on all sides before she realized something.
"Maybe it will open if we use magic. Let's see...Alohomora."
Lily waved her wand and something clicked which meant she was right. Inside was a piece of parchment.
"All shining and silver, With a beautiful face, You look into me, And find this place." Lily read out loud, the whole group making a circle around.
"Will all of them have riddles?" Cissney asked annoyed.
"Well, I don't think Dumbledore would use difficult riddles for first years."
"I think we underestimate Dumbledore." Ophelia mumbled, silence falling in the group. "What's the answer?" She changed the subject quickly.
"All shining and silver...something precious? And when you look into it you find this beautiful place. A crystal ball?"
"It would be shining and silver, wouldn't it?"
"We can find some of them from the former Divination classes. I think there are some upstairs, but they probably look dusty." Alice pitched in, excited that they found the answer so quickly.
"I don't think it's a crystal ball..." Lily mumbled but Cissney suddenly started to smile and move towards the stairs.
Ophelia blinked, dazing off for a moment. It should have been more exciting than this but she felt tired for some reason.
Lily was looking at the silver egg, now empty and tilted her head to the side, mumbling something to herself.
"Can it be a mirror instead?" Lily said out loud but only Ophelia turned to her.
"A mirror...but what beautiful places can you see in it?" Ophelia asked confused.
"Ourselves? Whatever it mirrors?" Lily had just as much clue as Ophelia but it did sound more like something Dumbledore would mean than crystal balls. "Should we tell them we're searching for a mirror? What if I am wrong and they are right about the crystal balls?"
Lily Evans usually had more answers than questions but it seemed she wasn't ready to work under pressure. Ophelia sighed and drew her wand, waving it at a particular spot slowly. Under their eyes, a pretty little creature materialized.
"It's a fox. Wait- is this a Patronus?!" Lily's eyes widened, taking a step forward.
Ophelia nodded feeling a bit smug, why lie. It seemed Severus' strict training was good for something unlike Spinnard's, who'd never actually let her use the spells but only learn them. That was pretty much what Rabastan was doing in their tutoring lessons too: memorizing but not actually using the information.
"Tell them we have to split because we have two answers. We need to check them both. If they find something, we meet in the Entrance Hall in two hours." Ophelia told her Patronus, which nodded bravely now that it wasn't facing a Dementor.
As the little fox was walking towards the second floor, Lily pointed towards fourth floor. The stairs were moving more often than usual which probably was also one of Dumbledore's ideas.
"How are your tutoring lessons?" Lily asked randomly while ascending. "Did you really tell Rabastan that you're not a muggle born?"
"No. It's not like it matters. You are one and we're friends."
Lily truly appreciated Ophelia's bluntness sometimes. She could easily say stuff that were difficult to say for a normal person.
"He's watching me study and eventually asks me questions here and there about potions. He made me memorize the ingredients and the creation process for every Potion we have done."
She sounded a lot like she was suffering immense torture every time they met but looking at it from Rabastan's point of view, it was probably the only way she would study.
"Then, if there is a task about potions, will you be able to make it?"
"Not at all. I don't practice as much as I learn." Ophelia answered before opening the closest door. It was leading inside an old empty room which was equal with nothing.
"Maybe we should have a group study at the end of every week. Cissney has troubles with Potions too." Lily said, genuinely contemplating their options.
"Tell that to Spinnard." The brunette witch mumbled under her breath, quickly trying another door that ended up being locked.
They spent half an hour going around the fourth floor, meeting a lot of students from Ravenclaw, searching for silver eggs all around. While going to the fifth floor, they met Remus and Frank who looked very worried.
"Sirius and James found one and have been trying to catch the clue." Remus said eyes wide and red.
"Have you even slept last night?" Ophelia asked, taking his appearance in. "Are you alright?"
Frank chuckled and patted his class mate on the back.
"We found two eggs and one of them was a riddle. The answer was really easy but Potter hurried and said the wrong thing. The parchment just flied towards Remus and threw some kind of powder into his eyes."
Frank's explanation only made the two girls worry. They glanced at each other before they ran down the stairs towards the Entrance Hall.
"What if they tried answering and it did the same to them?" Lily asked worriedly but something caught Ophelia's eye. "What?" Lily asked seeing how the green eyed witch stopped.
"Bathrooms. Bathrooms have mirrors. Let's check it."
"But don't we need the riddle to give the answer to? What do we do? We take it off the wall?"
Ophelia didn't respond before running down the corridor on the first floor's bathroom. She just turned around the corner when she collided with someone that was running her way.
Ophelia's eyes widened at the familiar face of the poltergeist. Compared to her, Peeves looked like he might have gotten a very bad idea.
"Molley, foxy Molley. In a hurry during such a nice day?"
"You won't help me if I ask, will you?" Ophelia asked warily, partially turning towards the corridor she came from.
Peeves chuckled and flied closer to her face.
"What do I get if I help?" He asked.
Ophelia blinked twice, thinking just what she could give a ghost that loved nothing but to mess with the students.
"A free pass?" She blurted out without thinking it through.
Unfortunately it seemed that Peeves genuinely liked that idea. His smile widened, looking like someone was stretching it from behind, and nodded.
"Mirrors can be found everywhere in this castle. Foxy Molley didn't even search inside her own pocket, did she?"
That was everything he said before he started to laugh and flied up into the ceiling. Ophelia checked her pockets but, just as she expected, she had nothing inside.
"That was pointless." She concluded after staring at the ceiling for a few minutes. He was not coming back and he did not help.
Turning around, the way back to Lily felt a lot worse than she wanted to admit. She had a hunch but it ended up being only Peeves.
Lily was in the same place Ophelia left her but not alone; the greasy haired boy was speaking to her, trying to make a point but it looked like Lily didn't want whatever Severus was pushing towards her. The brunette witch slowed down until she stopped a few meters from the two. She was far enough not to be seen but close enough to hear them.
"That's against the rules, Sev. If they catch us, our teams can be disqualified or even worse, the whole house will lose points."
Ophelia heard Lily reason but Severus was a very stubborn child.
"My team already has four eggs and not all of them were found by us."
"Sev. I can't."
"It's alright, Lily. I found this and my teammates don't know about it. Take it." He said, stubbornly pushing it towards her.
Ophelia watched how no matter what Severus would do for his best friend the redhead wouldn't take anything for granted, not even from him. Lily had certain values that she seemed to stand and live by, which were not uncommon for Ophelia. Yet, at the same time, the brunette saw people who immediately gave up on those values for a greater price.
Seeing how interrupting the two would be a mistake, especially with Severus getting angry so quickly, Ophelia took a long look around before going up the stairs towards the fifth floor.
She was halfway when something flew right past her. Her eyes widened when she saw Potter flying after something, impressively fast and focused.
"Hey Molley! Have you seen Jam-" Sirius Black stopped when the boy he was looking for ended up coming back with a winning smile on his face.
"Caught it! Little bugger thought that it could escape me but neah." Potter boasted, flying towards the ground. "Let's see what's inside!"
Once he opened it, all of them frowned. Potter turned it upside down and shook it but nothing fell out.
"Are you telling me this was a waste of time?" Black asked, his eyes narrowing at the yellow ball.
"What is it exactly? This pretty yellow flying ball."
Potter was so shocked that he almost fell off his broom. Black didn’t seem surprised by her question since she probably didn’t know how to have fun at all.
“This is the Golden Snitch! In Quidditch, if the Seeker catches this pretty little flying ball, that Seeker’s team wins. It’s very important Molley so you better cheer me up when I’ll tryout next year.”
“So that’s why you seemed so good up there? You want to play seeker in the Gryffindor team?” She asked seeing the sudden change in his expression.
“I did look good up there, didn’t I?” Potter snickered, “Anyway, since this has nothing, here-“He dropped it in her palm and jumped back on his broom, helping Black get right behind.
Ophelia watched the two boys fly only for three feet maybe before the broom fell on the ground. She froze when she heard heavy footsteps walking closer rapidly. The brunette didn’t have to turn around to know who just arrived since the atmosphere became grim.
“Potter and Black, as expected you have stolen the brooms from the cabinet.” Spinnard started coldly.
The professor raised his hand and the broom rose up to their knee level before whizzing to the stern man. However, he didn’t look content and his expression darkened even more at the sight of Ophelia’s green eyes.
“Having fun, Molley?” He asked one eyebrow raising smugly as if he was getting ready to embarrass her in front of the two boys.
She didn’t answer him which, in Spinnard’s mind, was an act of defiance. Those cold blue eyes narrowed at her, from afar making him seem as if he was cursing her. Potter raised an eyebrow appalled by the length the professor could go to just to make Ophelia feel like a piece of mud on the back of his shoe.
“Molley! Let’s go search for that clue already!” He screamed before he actually ran to her and snatched her away from the evil professor. “
Spinnard didn’t move one foot until he saw the three children jump on the stairs towards the Ravenclaw common room. He scoffed yet at the same time he felt melancholic. If only he didn’t have to return to Hogwarts then his life could move on without having all these memories coming back in waves. It was all Dumbledore’s fault but Spinnard could not defy the headmaster even if he wanted to.
“You should tell McGonagall about the way Spinnard treats you. That’s not normal.” Potter started murmuring, though it was loud enough for her to catch the message.
“I will if it gets worse.” She answered, looking ahead instead of looking at the boy.
“He almost set you on fire last week.” Potter combated stubbornly, his eyes sparkling behind his glasses, “I know he stopped giving Remus extra lessons so why does he continue with you? Even if you did something, Spinnard’s overreacting.” He added, stopping in front of a scenery painting. “What really happened anyway? Littlewood was whining before Christmas, in the train that you missed it. You, who never misses a class and comes right on time,”
Ophelia blinked, taken aback by the sudden worry especially coming from a person she would only watch than speak to. It was strange how close Potter seemed to be acting when he would only talk to her when they are forced to or under special circumstances. Suddenly, her sight moved on the dark haired boy who didn’t utter a word the whole time.
“Why does Black only blame me for everything? I only know one Slytherin and he doesn’t do much. How am I to blame for what other Slytherins do to anyone?” She asked coldly, surprising black with her bluntness once more.
“I don’t hate you or anything.” He answered quickly, looking angry for some reason.
“That’s not what I asked.”
Green eyes were staring into the depths of a pair of dark eyes, none aware that from the shadows; someone was watching everything and taking notes.
Of course, maybe it wasn’t important at the moment but he has been instructed to watch little Ophelia and report any changes that might affect her at a higher level.
By the time they arrived in the Entrance Hall, Lily already met Cissney and Alice. One of them had the same kind of teary eyes as Remus when Ophelia met him a while ago and she didn’t have to be a genius to understand what happened.
“The answer is not a crystal ball.” Cissney started as soon as she saw Ophelia, tearing up from whatever has been thrown at her face.
“It’s a mirror, like Lily said. Of course, we got your message a bit too late.” Alice explained, patting her friend on the back in comfort.
Black and Potter glanced at each other before they laughed, making Cissney narrow her eyes at them and scream. It was a peculiar sight, especially with the way she seemed to tear up after every word thrown at the boys.
From the corner of her eye, Ophelia saw Lily look down at her hands before fidgeting nervously. The green eyed girl walked to her redhead friend and stared at her expectantly. When Lily didn’t say anything, Ophelia decided she might as well admit what she witnessed.
“You didn’t accept it, did you?”
“What do you mean?” Lily asked yet one look from Ophelia and she knew it was alright to speak about it, “He should have known I would refuse.”
Those two words seemed to have quite a big effect on Lily because she smiled and nodded, content with how their conversation finished. Suddenly, Ophelia’s pocket started to buzz and she remembered she placed the golden snitch inside when Spinnard busted Potter and Black for taking the broom. Actually, the professor said something about brooms and they only had one.
Anyway, the witch took the snitch out and looked the way it was squirming in her hand. It was a pretty little thing and very precious in Quidditch yet it didn’t seem to really arise any desire to learn how to play the sport. Ophelia could only see her reflection in it, her green eyes staring at it without a thought in her mind. It was as if she wanted to remember something and she was searching for that particular piece of memory but she couldn’t find it. Her eyes seemed to have dilated and unconsciously, she pulled the snitch closer to her face. The whole world seemed to disappear leaving her alone in a dark and humid place where one voice was echoing yet only she could hear it. Ophelia frowned, unsure what was happening yet she couldn’t look away from her reflection and the voice was incoherent.
She heard from distance but the the more poignant the echo was getting, the harder she could form the words in the background.
She blinked and realized she has been thrown aside, falling on her back painfully. The golden snitch was rolling towards Alice’s feet while everyone was watching her in confusion and worry. Her head was aching and the incoherent voice faded away but she still felt cold. Looking down at her hands, she saw little sparks flow through her palm, unnoticeable to others just yet but still a reason to panic.
“What were you thinking!?” McGonagall’s voice rung through the hall, everybody freezing in their spots.
Ophelia thought that her professor was going to scold her for something or another, it was really confusing altogether with how she couldn’t shrug off that trance and that search for a certain memory. Instead, McGonagall helped her up and glared at Sirius.
“In my office right now!” She didn’t scream but it wasn’t well intended either.
Just when McGonagall addressed Sirius did Ophelia notice the wand in his hand and the position he was in. Sirius Black used a spell on her to make her come back to normal and unfortunately for them, it was the stunning spell.
Chapter 19: Chapter 19
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As soon as they entered Professor McGonagall’s office, the two children jolted when the door slammed close. Even from afar, the elegant Transfiguration professor looked ready to curse both of them or even worse, give them detention.
Sirius was stopped as soon as he opened his mouth.
“What were you thinking, stunning your own housemate Mr. Black?” She started, her voice rising in volume and pitch since she was annoyed, “And what were you thinking, letting him do it, Ms. Molley?”
Ophelia’s eyes widened before she linked her arms in front of her, as she learned in the orphanage during a scolding. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Sirius frowning and avoiding looking at his classmate. From McGonagall’s point of view, Sirius was at fault and he will probably get the punishment which in return will bring no benefit to their house’s teamwork.
“Professor, it wasn’t his fault. I couldn’t wake up and that voice-“ She stopped, still hearing the faint traces of it.
That simple, unfinished sentence made a big difference in the whole situation. Black looked at Ophelia with a mixture of offence and at the same time, surprise. Whether she was telling the truth or she was lying to cover up for him, it wasn’t making him feel any better.
“Mr. Black, you can go back for now. You will receive your punishment soon. Molley, wait here,”
Professor McGonagall opened the door and waited for Sirius to walk out before she followed closely. Standing all alone in the office, Ophelia couldn’t help but think she shouldn’t have spoken about the voice. Moreover, she’s been feeling very strange as of late and more and more things were growing blurry in her mind.
Since McGonagall seemed to take a while, Ophelia took the freedom of walking around the room, looking here and there but not touching anything. Finding nothing entertaining, she moved towards the fireplace and sighed. The flames were dancing together, entangling the red and yellow into an embrace of colors. It looked pretty and relaxing, even going as far as inviting. Ophelia bent in front of the fireplace and reached out to touch the flames, her green eyes looking like they were made of glass.
The door suddenly slammed shut and the girl retracted her hand quickly, jumping on her feet and spinning around to meet her professor. Unlike the stern woman she was waiting for, Ophelia met the cold blue eyes of Luce Spinnard. He didn’t look happy to be there and it was obvious she wasn’t happy to see him either.
“I wasn’t expecting you, professor, to come and have a normal chat with me,” She started before she realized there might have been a second option to his arrival, “Are you here to punish me for being stunned?”
“No. I’m not here to deliver any punishments, to my disappointment.” He spoke, his tone just as venomous as ever.
The cold professor stared into her eyes for a few long minutes, making Ophelia feel exposed in front of him. It happened before but it didn’t send a chill down her spine, like now. Spinnard took a few steps towards her but for some reason she decided not to back off. The dark wizard chuckled and stopped in front of her before he grabbed her face between his hands and forced her to look into his eyes.
If she was exposed before, she was opening up her mind in front of him at the moment and she couldn’t stop. Every memory she had, recent or incredibly old, came back to her and unfolded once more before Spinnard’s eyes. He was seeking for something, for that piece of information he wanted and he found it easily.
“You and I, we’re the same, Ophelia. We belong to a world far above what usual people can see. We have magic; old, strong magic and we can do wonders with it. You just have to trust me.”
She did. Spinnard could sense it, she wasn’t hiding this deep rooted respect and admiration she held for this man. Tom has reached her already and she was ready to bend and break at his desire.
Ophelia’s mind was buzzing and Spinnard was not letting her go anytime soon. For her, those memories were far more important than anything else so she had to protect them in order to continue cherishing them. Thus, she fought back and for a moment, she could feel someone giving her a nudge into Spinnard’s mind.
“Now that your loyal puppy is here, I should be going. But don’t forget my proposition, Luce. We both know your talents are high above anyone at Hogwarts.”
“Why did you come then? My skills cannot aid you anymore, Tom. You took care of it yourself, it seems.” Luce spoke nonchalantly, which surprisingly only amused Tom.
“You still owe me a favor, Luce. Nott was ready to kill you when I stopped him. I knew you’re too precious to be killed just yet.”
“Kill the woman and bring me her child.”
She saw more than he was ready to show and quickly let her go. Spinnard’s eyes widened at the particular memories she discovered but not as shocked as she was.
“That man from your memories,” Ophelia started, her right hand massaging her chest while the other was griping the fireplace tightly in order to keep her balance.
“You have seen that man, haven’t you? He came to you; he lured you straight into his nest.” Spinnard continued but she didn’t seem to have the same bad opinion.
“That man, is that Tom?” She asked, “You killed a woman?” She exclaimed, that fresh memory dawning onto her. “You killed a muggle?”
“She wasn’t a muggle!” Spinnard snapped, drawing his wand and pointing it at his student, “The man from my memories and the man you hold so close to your heart, they’re one and the same. Coming to Hogwarts was mistake, you being alive is a mistake that Dumbledore took responsibility of. But not me. Your dear father will kill us all and you will open the doors for him.” Spinnard hissed, his blue eyes glaring at her with so much hatred that Ophelia felt genuine fear crawl up her back.
“That’s enough, Luce!”
Dumbledore’s intrusion was too late. Spinnard has already told her too much and the kernel of doubt was already planted in her subconscious.
Once Spinnard left, very angry and still glaring at everyone around him, Dumbledore invited Ophelia to sit. The girl glanced at the door before she turned to the man that helped her when she most needed it. It was either believing Spinnard’s memories or believing Dumbledore.
“Ophelia, how do you feel?” Dumbledore asked nonchalantly.
“Doubtful,” She answered bluntly, sitting across him, “I can’t forget what I saw in his mind.” Ophelia added quickly.
“I know, that’s why I won’t advise you to forget any of it. But I want to clarify your most impetuous curiosity.”
Dumbledore’s comforting words were just as good as before, making Ophelia feel safe and open up to him.
“Professor Spinnard and this Tom, they hated each other?”
Dumbledore’s eyes widened with bemusement.
“No. Professor Spinnard has always been, as I’m sure you have felt, a good Legilimens. He navigated through the depths of your mind in search of a curiosity he had for a long time now.”
“My father. He wanted to know if I met my father.”
Dumbledore nodded, a soft smile spreading on his lips.
“Indeed. Professor Spinnard has never liked interacting with people in general but Tom was a different case. If anything, Luce admired Tom’s gifts.” The headmaster continued calmly.
Dumbledore was avoiding the main problem and Ophelia was aware of it. He never said anything about Tom, who was the main character in Spinnard’s memories.
“Why does he hate me so much?” Ophelia asked the dreaded question.
“He doesn’t. I would be most thankful if you could do me a favor, Ophelia. Trust professor Spinnard and continue your lessons with him. If you can, help him move on.” He said before he gave her something.
Ophelia looked down and saw a candy. She was confused but Dumbledore’s comforting smile told her she should keep her thoughts to herself.
Walking back to the common room, Ophelia couldn’t think of anything but Spinnard’s memories. He definitely found what he was searching for, which automatically meant she had met her father sometimes along the way but didn’t recognize him. He was spiteful and angry beyond imagination and she couldn’t figure out why. Spinnard killed a woman and he seemed very submissive as a teenager so what gave him the right to act so rude to everyone?
When Ophelia entered the warmth of the common room, she smiled unconsciously. Everything was fine as long as she had this room to come back to. It was safer than Dumbledore, really, and she was growing fond of it more and more.
“Molley, you’re back.”
It looked so silent and empty that she didn’t check if anyone was really there. She didn’t expect Sirius that was for sure.
He took a deep sigh before, more or less convincing, he started,
“I’m sorry for using an offensive spell on an empty handed, absent minded housemate.”
“Is that what Professor McGonagall instructed you to say to me?” She asked, a glint of amusement shining in her eyes.
“More or less, yes.” He answered swiftly, “Now that I’m done, I’ll just go.”
For Sirius to go up into his room, he had to pass her. Once he did, Ophelia grabbed his wrist, surprising both of them.
“Who won the most points today?” She asked, changing the subject altogether.
“Slytherins.” He sneered before retreating for the night.
Next morning, breakfast was forgotten as most Gryffindors decided they should take the bull by the horns and bend some rules.
“So, listen to me. I have discovered a secret door behind the gargoyle on the fifth floor. We’ll have the same coverage as before but they added the Great Hall to it. If anyone finds any secret compartment, write it down. Have I made myself clear?”
Even if it sounded a lot like James Potter, it was actually the idea of a fourth year student named Charlie. It was a bit difficult to understand what he was saying because he had a very, very thick Scottish accent; moreover, he was the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
“Why is he making plans for every year?” Cissney asked Remus who looked just as confused.
“Slytherins won everything yesterday so I think he’s taking it personal.” Potter explained before he turned to Ophelia and Sirius, “Let’s not get stunned or get detention, alright?”
The two culprits scoffed but nodded nonetheless.
“Is there someone into the dungeons? I don’t think anyone went down there yesterday.”
“That’s because Slytherins were guarding it like there was a treasure hidden,” Sirius mumbled, scowling at the impertinence of Slytherins.
“Alright. Then, try to spread more through the castle since most of the years are outside anyway. If you see an older student help first years, attack.” Charlie said in all seriousness before a girl smacked him in the head.
“Don’t attack. Inform Professor McGonagall. Let’s go Charlie, we’re having the Quidditch grounds today.” She mumbled, dragging the fourth year outside.
“I feel like we won’t find many eggs today,” Cissney mumbled, the competitive spirit leaving her after yesterday’s failure.
“We should go into the dungeons. I’m sure there’s a lot of eggs there.” Ophelia came up with that idea but there was a small problem with it.
“But what if those eggs will require us to make potions?” Lily asked, knowing she hit the right spot.
“Then you go down there Lily. Professor Slughorn adores you.” Cissney said with a wide smile.
“Slytherins, though…” Alice added quickly, draining the small quantity of optimism that was left in Cissney.
“I’ll go with her. I’m good in DADA and I can distract Slytherins by being there.”
The three girls looked at each other worriedly before they all turned to Ophelia and leaned in.
“They will skin you alive.” Cissney whispered, widening her eyes in horror.
“I doubt that.”
“They will,” All three of them answered in sync.
“We’re first years, what can they do. It’s not like they already mastered the three deadly curses at the age of 5.” Ophelia mumbled, annoyed that people were thinking too highly of Slytherins.
That was probably the only reason she insisted to search the dungeons with Lily. Once they walked down the stairs, they met an intense atmosphere but not one student.
“I hope we won’t find eggs about potions.” Lily muttered.
“I only hope we find something.” Ophelia added, feeling unsatisfied with her findings so far, “Let’s check the Potions classroom first and just go from there. There are some old and dusty classrooms that might have secret compartments.”
Lily nodded and they set on the classroom.
As soon as they entered, they found Willy. Ophelia’s eyes widened and she took a long look around, expecting someone to jump at them. Nothing happened and Willy only stayed on his spot.
“I believe he’s guarding a cauldron. An egg is in there for sure.” Lily mumbled, getting closer to the owl. She was ready to pat him when Ophelia pulled her back.
“He bites. Willy is very loyal and for some reason, he enjoys staying in dark spaces.”
Lily frowned, “Has he been here for the majority of the year?”
Ophelia shrugged, not sure about that but he definitely spent some time in there.
Slowly, very slowly, Ophelia walked closer to her owl and reach towards him. Willy looked at her hand before he looked into her eyes. There was some kind of understanding between the master and her owl because Willy moved aside, leaving her take the silver egg.
“We’ve got one,” Ophelia said smugly before pointing it at Lily.
“Alohomora,” The red haired girl whispered and the egg split in two, “Is it a potion?” Lily asked seeing how there was a piece of parchment inside.
Ophelia sighed and put the egg on the table.
“Even worse. We have to make the Forgetfulness Potion.”
The two girls sighed heavily before Lily grabbed the cauldron they found the egg in and rolled up her sleeves, getting ready to work.
While Lily was patiently working on the potion, Ophelia had nothing to do. In the end, she decided she might as well search for another egg nearby. As soon as she closed the door behind herself, she came face to face with Nott.
“This must be my lucky day. I need a partner for a duel and you will do it.” Nott gleamed with pride as he dragged her after him, in a dusty classroom.
“We haven’t learned how to duel yet.” She tried to reason but Nott scoffed.
“Not a mudblood like you but I come from a proud lineage, Molley. I learned dark arts from a very young age.”
“5, I suppose,” She said sarcastically, pissing him off.
Nott pushed her against a desk before drawing his wand out and taking an offensive stance. He definitely knew what he was doing, unlike her.
“This is not my lucky day,” Ophelia mumbled, drawing her wand just in case. Right about now, she hoped Spinnard’s lesson could come in handy.
“Expeliarmus!” Nott screamed, throwing Ophelia’s wand aside. The Slytherin chuckled darkly before muttering, “Stupefy,”
Just like 24 hours ago, Ophelia was thrown against the floor, her back hurting quite a bit.
“You’re really an easy target, Molley,” Nott boasted, feeling happier to see her at his feet than to actually find the next clue. He had to win a duel in order to find the clue and finding her was a good sign.
Unfortunately, Ophelia’s sparkles were making control hard, especially with her heart beating so fast. Nott was ready to attack once again when she rolled towards the window and whispered.
“Accio wand,” She whispered.
Slowly, very slowly, the wand moved towards the girl. Nott noticed it and stepped over it, making it impossible to reach it.
Ophelia sighed, quite disappointed that Spinnard never thought about teaching her how to duel. The green eyed witch looked up at Nott’s grinning face and prepared herself for another curse. She could see him speak it and it sounded a lot like Crucio. Ophelia shielded her face with her hands but nothing happened. She looked up and saw Nott spread in a corner, having spasms.
“Was it me?” She asked herself, looking at her hands. The blue sparkles were jolting from her fingers but it didn’t look strong enough.
Take his egg,
There it was that voice she heard before. It sounded very familiar but it was still too soft to recognize it. Warily, Ophelia walked to the Slytherin and searched for his egg. She didn’t find it but she did find the parchment that said Nott had to win a duel. Since he definitely didn’t win, she grabbed it and waited for the clue. It was a riddle and both the duel and riddle valued 100 points.
“What is so delicate that when you say its name, it is broken?” Ophelia read out loud.
The brunette thought hard about it, even paced around hoping she will stumble against the answer. On the other side, she was curious if Lily finished the potion so they could get another riddle and finally earn some points.
While still on the floor, Nott tried to raise but groaned at the pain.
“Can’t Slytherins be silent even when they’re hurt?” She mumbled annoyed. Her eyes widened when she finally understood what it meant. “Silence. The answer is silence.” She told the parchment. A silver ‘correct’ appeared in the place of the riddle and the parchment became dust.
Content with her result, she went back into the Potions classroom only to find a Slytherin with her wand pointed at Lily.
“Give me the potion nicely or I can use the hard way.” She threatened but Lily didn’t look ready to give up. “Move, mudblood!”
If that was how Slytherins earned so many points already, Ophelia felt even better for taking the egg from Nott. Seeing how impatient was that girl, Ophelia made a bit of noise to draw her attention. Lily was fast enough to finish and grab the parchment before defending herself.
“Expeliarmus!” Lily screamed before running to the door.
The Slytherin girl was ready to curse the two Gryffindors but Willy flied and scratched her hands.
Lily and Ophelia ran out and eventually stopped near another dusty classroom.
“What’s the riddle?” Ophelia asked in a hurry.
“If you have it, you want to share it but once you share it, you no longer have it.” Lily read.
Ophelia frowned and read the riddle once more in her mind. Willy was guarding a riddle with an easy answer yet significant.
“A secret,” Ophelia gave the answer, feeling guilty yet not having a real reason for that.
Just like before, the parchment became dust after telling them they were correct. Lily looked happy but something was off with the path the Scavenger Hunt was taking.
The Scavenger Hunt ended up with a lot of ruckus and not all of it was because of the competition. It seemed that a few eggs have been tempered with and even more have exploded when given the right answers. In the end, the house with the most points was-
“Hufflepuff.” Potter started at breakfast the following Saturday, “Hufflepuff found the most silver eggs for the fifth and seventh years. So, even if Ravenclaws had the most points for the third and fourth years and Slytherin for the second and first, they won. And even worse, Gryffindor didn’t win anything at all. Anything!” He exclaimed, offended, drawing the attention of the whole table.
“Please, calm down. I’m ashamed enough as it is.” Charlie mumbled. He was exhausted after he did all those schemes in order to win points.
"I bet he feels the worst. After the work and time he spent on plans, it ended up disastrous." Lily whispered to the girls, throwing quick glances at the fourth year Gryffindor.
"Well, at least it was fun. It prepared us for the upcoming exams." Alice added, smiling encouragingly at her friends,
"Everyone will pass with flying colors now."
"I doubt it," Cissney coughed, trying not to make it obvious who she was referring to.
"Anyway, looking back this year has been the greatest time of my life. I can't help but look forward to the next and next." Alice changed the subject quickly, before Pettigrew could realize Cissney was very much referring to him.
Everyone agreed and even toasted for that, making weird comments from the side but not Ophelia. She was happy with the friends she made but at the same time, there was something bugging her.
Later that day, she was called outside the common room for a quick chat. It wasn't a surprise when she met Severus in front of the Fat Lady. He grabbed her arm and pulled her aside with a frown on his face.
"We have a problem. An immense problem," He whispered.
"Does it concern the Scavenger Hunt?" She asked, her mind going back to the time she dueled Nott.
Severus looked confused before he shrugged that idea away.
"It concerns Malfoy,"
As soon as Severus spelled that name, Ophelia knew it was trouble. She could understand the constant frown on his face and the reason he looked even paler than usually. There were traces of sweat on his forehead and his eyes were shining with fear.
"Something happened. The stone that we gave him was supposed to work with whatever his father was supposed to make. It didn't because the stone was not the right one. It wasn't the philosopher stone but a copy of it, very well made too." Severus explained slowly for her to understand how bad it was.
Ophelia understood well just what kind of troublesome matter that was but couldn't understand one tiny detail.
"We found it in the spot he told us about. How could it not be right?" She asked.
"I know. You took it from the trunk but maybe something happened when the dementor appeared."
That was one way of putting it. Ophelia's eyes darkened as she remembered how she got in the possession of the stone.
"I didn't." She started, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion, "I didn't take it out. Before I fell unconscious, someone put it in my hand. Someone small and quick handed." Ophelia explained, looking down at her hands.
Severus Snape was scared. For some reason, all the happy memories left him and he started to remember the days he spent at home, the days of pain and loneliness from before he found Lily and before he came to Hogwarts. No, he wasn't going to that dark corner again.
While Snape was terrified of what Malfoy could do to his future in school, Ophelia looked to the side thoughtfully. There was a small person that gave her a stone, they already encountered the dementor and Dumbledore knew of their little adventure.
"Is it possible we didn't even take it? Is it still there?" She asked still thinking hard about it.
Snape's eyes widened as he realized she might as well be right.
"That means we can take it and give it to Malfoy and everything will be alright."
They nodded to each other and agreed to try again that night.
They found the trunk faster than before, mostly because it was summer and the forest has already been covered by older students during the Hunt. The tree was even easier to spot with the moonlight shining over them. There was one small problem.
"It's not here. How can it not be here?" Snape asked, searching the trunk for a secret compartment except the obvious one. Nothing.
The brunette turned towards the castle with Dumbledore's face in mind. The headmaster was one strange wizard if he took it. But how could she know for sure? Anyone could have taken it during the Hunt by coincidence or maybe Spinnard took it that night.
"We need to find that stone or our lives will be a lot worse." Snape hissed, blaming himself for being so stupid.
That was everything Snape did for the rest of the year. Exams were taking most of the days but he couldn't think of anything else. The dark haired boy was worried every time he'd go into and out of the common room or during dinner.
Ophelia was just across the room and he was sure she wasn't feeling even half of his pain. She wasn't a Slytherin but he was and inside the common room, anything could happen.
That was how on the last Friday, right after their last exam in Potions, Rodolphus Lestrange came to the first year with Malfoy on his tail. Quickly than he could blink, Rodolphus had Snape hung upside down in the air.
"Have you heard, Lucius? First years these days have a tendency to go against their elders. This one in particular has kept the treasure for himself instead of giving forward." Rodolphus started. He had the same high class expression as Malfoy but even in his position, Snape could see that Malfoy was not on the same pedestal as Lestrange.
"I gave you the stone that we found. It's not my fault if it isn't the right one." He tried to be brave but Lestrange's eyes glistened wickedly, scaring him shitless.
"Are you sure, Severus? Your life can take a sudden turn if you lie to me. That stone is very important."
Severus nodded before he looked at the Prefect for help. The blond seemed to be thinking of another way to solve the problem.
"The girl found the stone, didn't she? The Gryffindor. Does she have it?"
Severus shook his head quickly, having a quick idea what Lestrange would do to her.
"Are you sure? She might have given you the wrong stone for all you can know."
Well, that was true. She did see it as a game in the beginning and she did find the trunk first but how could she? Ophelia was not interested in these kinds of affairs; she was a loner most of the time.
"Silence is an answer, Severus." Lestrange hissed before he walked away. Snape fell on his face loudly before he remembered where Lestrange was going.
"Why are you even thinking of protecting that girl? She's not worth your time. You should change your priorities if you want to survive."
Snape almost forgot that Malfoy was still there until he heard him. The blond was looking down at the first year with genuine worry, mainly because he was a Prefect and Severus was part of the Slytherin house.
"You should learn that loyalty to your house means far more than a petty friendship."
Those words could be taken in two different ways and Snape understood both. He was a smart child and nodded, admitting to himself that being around Ophelia was doing him more harm than good. Yet, he couldn't help it. While he liked to be close to Lily because she was so genuine and so bright, Ophelia was this mysterious creature that was drawing him in.
"What are you doing, Molley?" A confused professor McGonagall asked the girl standing still in front of a gargoyle.
"His office is behind the gargoyle, isn't it? I would like to talk to him about something but I don't know the password." She answered while looking up at her professor with wide innocent eyes.
McGonagall sighed, having no interest in the reason yet still being wary.
"Butterbeer" She said with the gargoyle moving to the side.
"Thank you," Ophelia mumbled, entering with the professor following closely.
As soon as the door to his office opened, McGonagall entered first and informed the headmaster of the prize that Hufflepuffs were supposed to receive. It was unfortunate that her own house failed in every year but it seemed they didn't lose anything more than the House Cup.
Hearing Dumbledore's soft voice instantly woke her up from her eerie. His blue eyes were glistening from under his spectacles with amusement.
"I- well- there was-"
There was no easy and innocent way of asking him the truth. She had to sound rude and maybe a bit foolish but the curiosity was eating her away.
"You knew about the stone, didn't you sir? You knew all along that Malfoy asked Severus to bring it to him and you took it. The trunk is empty."
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything yet.
"Was it you who gave me the fake stone? You placed it in my hand right before I fainted in the forest. It was either you or Professor Spinnard." She continued.
"Neither I or Professor Spinnard are small enough to do it. Such small creatures are very quick."
"Then who was it? And why did this creature give it to me if it's fake?"
"Have you wondered, Ophelia, what this stone means?" He asked. The girl didn't move or speak so Dumbledore continued, "Most commonly, the philosopher stone is known to transform metal into gold. But, in the hands of someone with grand imagination, it can be used to create the Elixir of Life."
Ophelia's eyes widened at the information but soon got back to normal, rising curiosities in Dumbledore. The girl was registering information very fast and she was sure to express few emotions in order to keep herself guarded.
"Is that why Malfoy wanted it?"
Dumbledore chuckled before throwing her a look of coy.
"It doesn't matter because he doesn't have it. It would be better for the stone to remain where it is now."
"Then where is it? Do you have it, sir?"
Dumbledore smiled widely at his student.
"No. I'm afraid I don't. But that is not the question is it? The stone should either remain hidden or it should be given back to its rightful possessor, Nicolas Flamel."
Ophelia nodded and walked out. It was strange how he gave her the name of the possessor but not a real answer to her question. Feeling like she should just drop the subject altogether, she walked back to the common room.
Remembering everything that happened in the last year, Ophelia smiled. The lectures were nice even if she couldn’t understand all of them, the house she was sorted in was far better than she imagined and she had friends. It didn’t even matter that she got bullied for a while or that she might have failed Potions because now, she finally had a reason to look forward to every year.
She started to skip happily, assured that no one could see her. Exams were over and most students were excited to go home for the summer. Ophelia wasn’t excited but she wanted to tell her parents everything she experienced at Hogwarts. She was convinced that her mother would believe her but her father was a police officer; he was going to question her under the dim lit neon in the kitchen.
But it didn’t matter. What mattered was that she will return to Hogwarts in September and then next September and next for 6 more years.
As she turned the corner towards the corridor to the Fat Lady, Ophelia stopped and stumbled to the side. She might have been a bit too happy because she became dizzy.
“Go back inside, Ophelia! This man-this man-“
“Forget the man you saw today. Forget everything and look forward to a better life. You have to trust me, alright?”
“Kill the woman and bring me her child.”
“The man from my memories and the man you hold so close to your heart, they’r one and the same.”
“My skills cannot aid you anymore, Tom.”
Tom. Who was that Tom and what skills did he have for Luce Spinnard to admire him?
“The man from my memories and the man you hold so close to your heart, they’re one and the same. That’s what he said but-“
Ophelia cringed when a sudden wave of energy entered her mind and made her lose her balance.
Lies! They’re all lies!
“Tom! Tom, look what I did!” A very happy ginger ran to her cousin with a wide smile on her face, “Look!”
The ginger moved her hands in the air until little sparks came out of her fingers, following her movements. They started to connect to each other and create forms swaying in the air. Then everything darkened and the sparks transformed into fire.
“You have no right to interfere in our family affairs.” A very angry Tom spoke. Across him was another man and he had his arm wrapped tightly around the ginger woman from before.
“You’re insane! Is this what you call a family? Locking her up and threatening her life? What about her child! You’re risking the life of an unborn child!”
“That child is mine. No matter how much you will lie to yourself, Peverell, that child is mine.” Tom hissed yet it was obvious he was pleased with what he said and Peverell’s expression.
Green light engulfed them all and pushed Ophelia back.
She opened her eyes widely only to find herself in the corridor, not a soul nearby. She could still feel the anger in Tom and how betrayed he felt. There was another man, one that looked extremely familiar but she didn’t know where she saw him before.
But Tom. Ophelia knew exactly where she had seen him before.
“The man from my memories and the man you hold so close to your heart, they’re one and the same.” She whispered, finally making sense, “Tom.”
Ophelia ended up not telling a soul of what happened and if possible, she wanted to keep the secret until next year or forever, both worked for her. But she couldn’t shrug Tom off; he looked pretty much like a younger version of the man she had met.
The ride back home was event-less, as much as it could be with Potter and Black moaning about being separated for three whole months.
“I’ll miss you!”
“I’ll miss you more!”
“I’ll miss you more than I’ll miss my bed!”
“I’ll miss you more than I’ll miss the Quidditch grounds!”
“I’ll miss you more than I’ll miss seeing McGonagall get mad at Longbottom for breaking her favorite mug!”
“I’ll miss you more than I’ll miss seeing Molley hang upside down in the air during Transfiguration!” Potter screamed it out for the whole train to hear.
“I’ll-mm!” Black’s eyes widened when his mouth zipped shut. “Mmmm mmm!” He screamed, turning to glare at the person that shut him up so rudely.
Potter was laughing when his mouth zipped shut as well and his amusement vanished.
Cissney Littlewood was standing in the door, a scowl on her face as she started to speak,
“We got it. You’ll miss each other. The world will end for three months because you’ll be separated. Now, some silence please.” She said and spun around, going back into her compartment.
“Finally, they shut up. I can’t understand how you can spend so much time with them,” Severus mumbled angrily, spitting the last word with so much disgust.
“They’re not that bad. Sometimes, they brighten up the mood without realizing. During the exams, they made us laugh and relax.” Lily said softly, smiling at the memory.
Severus’s eyes narrowed immediately and folded his arms in front of his chest, mumbling something to himself. Ophelia chuckled under her hand, content that the year ended just as it began.
Chapter 20: Chapter 20
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London of the year 1972 was a city that offered its inhabitants safety and elegance but there were still dark corners and alleys were one would only hope not to pass through.
The street lights never really worked on that particular street. Every man and woman would look twice over their shoulder, just in case a shadow would follow them into the night.
A man in a worn out cloak walked down that same street, assured that nothing could happen to him. That didn’t mean he wasn’t careful of the world around him, especially since he has lived enough and seen enough to know that the world was not safe or friendly.
His eyes were watching everything, scanning every building just in case he had to hide. A wizard walking at night through a bad neighborhood could spark a muggle’s interest, especially with the way he seemed to carry something important. He didn’t want to get robbed and have to use magic; he’d rather run and hide.
But no one was on the street at that hour. It was a quarter past midnight and the only form on the street besides him was his shadow, creeping along.
The street lamps were working poorly and at some point became completely dark but that was fine; he arrived at his destination.
From outside, it didn’t quirk any suspicion but once he entered, the wizard asked himself if his curiosity was not a bit dangerous at times. The inside was in a poor condition with cobwebs at every corner, a thick smell of rust and mold coming from the bar. Scrunching his nose in disgust, the wizard let his eyes scan the inside as he pulled his cloak off his head.
The bartender was busy cleaning his bar, which was quite an irony since it looked like it hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time. The ragged old man looked up once someone new walked inside his home and workplace and cracked a sly smile.
“Oy, enter, enter! Are ya he’e for a bit of fun? Ya’r too early.” The bartender said in a strange accent.
The wizard raised an eyebrow and walked further inside yet not towards the bar but in search for someone.
“It’s alright, Sage,” The soft voice of Albus Dumbledore echoed through the room, “A cup of tea will be enough.”
The bartender’s expression immediately fell into a more respectable one and nodded. The wizard scoffed as he made his way towards the old man and sat across him.
“You never cease to surprise me with your tastes, Dumbledore.” He started sarcastically, not having the need to get comfortable in such a place.
Dumbledore chuckled softly seeing how the young wizard was feeling so trapped already.
“There was a time young wizards like you would meet in here and discuss the problems that arose. Back then, it was also a hiding spot for many of our kind.” Dumbledore explained but it didn’t seem to impress the young wizard at all.
“Are you giving me a lecture? I know my history. Why are we meeting in the first place?”
Dumbledore’s whole behavior seemed to have fallen into seriousness and even his usual joyful blue eyes darkened.
“There are terrible times coming, Luce, terrible indeed. I need your help in order to avoid it happening.”
Luce Spinnard was a smart man but he hoped he wouldn’t have to speak about that again.
“What makes you so sure that something terrible will indeed come? What do you know, Dumbledore?” The blue eyed wizard asked suspiciously.
But the headmaster didn’t seem to register his question because he had something far more important to discuss at the moment.
“It would be best for you to resume your position as a professor.”
“For who? Me or that little offspring Gaunt?” Luce scowled angrily, his blue eyes becoming more prominent since he was boiling inside, “In case you have forgotten, I hate crowds and-“
“It would be best for you, Luce. If Tom has already reached his daughter then he has already seen you. He asked you for a favor before, he admired your legilimency and he will definitely approve your influence.”
“I am the best candidate, aren’t I?”
Dumbledore sighed, though not to make the angry man in front of him even angrier. There were so many things that he was keeping away from him but with the loyalty that Luce showed in the past for the dark arts and Tom, it was impossible to let him know.
“There are very few people in whom I can trust with Ophelia. Her mother did not want her to meet Tom, ever and even if I do not know the reasons, I trust her judgement.” Dumbledore explained as vaguely as possible.
“I’m not Peverell. I don’t care what Lillian wanted.” Spinnard said coldly, leaning back and folding his arms in front of his chest.
Dumbledore nodded, agreeing with the younger wizard. Spinnard was far from what Peverell used to be and even though the two were close friends during school, their friendship just vanished when they took different paths in life.
The atmosphere between the two was so tense that the bartender, Sage, chose the moment to bring their teas. As he left, Spinnard felt something move around his feet. It was a strange feeling so he quickly grabbed whatever was there and put it on the table. Maybe Spinnard wouldn’t have been so mad if it wasn’t for Dumbledore’s welcoming smile.
“What is this? Using one of your friends?”
Dumbledore’s smile only widened and eyes brightened once again.
“Not mine, yours. This black kitten has a familiar pair of blue eyes, doesn’t he?”
Urged by the elder, Spinnard looked closely at the black ball of fur. Something about the way they seemed to dance with mischievousness while at the same time look so strict was indeed familiar. Actually, he hasn’t seen that mix of emotions in a very long time and he wasn’t sure he’d like to see them again.
The kitten straightened his posture and tilted his head to the side, keeping those round eyes on the human. Spinnard felt his blood pressure rise as memories of his friend surfaced.
“He wasn’t an animagus.” Luce said confidently.
“He’s not an animagus but an old friend.” Dumbledore explained softly.
Spinnard’s eyes widened, still not believing how their conversation came to such a conclusion.
“I do not know how or when exactly it happened but this friend will help you recognize bits of Lillian in her daughter. I’m sure he agrees that you two working together will bring great results.” As Dumbledore said that, the kitten nodded vigorously, understand every word exchanged between the two humans.
Spinnard sighed heavily. He hated getting dragged into another’s affairs.
“Ophelia, honey, aunt Lucy is here!” Gloria Molley screamed upstairs.
Not long after, Ophelia was running down the stairs, jumping right in the awaiting arms of her aunt Lucille.
“I thought you’re coming next week!”
“I was but then I heard that you start school next week and won’t be back until Christmas.” Lucille answered, hugging tightly her favorite and only niece.
Since Lucy would often bring stuff over, either food or gifts she bought from antique stores abroad, Ophelia’s eyes took a long look around the living room. There was a box, elegant and maybe a bit fancy and she was curious if there was cake inside.
“Lucy! Glad you could come so fast,” Lucille’s brother, Richard, said as he walked inside the room. His eyes found the box just as quickly as his daughter and licked his lips.
“Come on. Let’s hide the cake before your father eats it all,” Lucy joked taking the box and going into the kitchen while her brother complained in the back.
“I’m telling you, this new case is amazing. We found this lady collapsed in her house with nothing missing. The doors and windows were closed from the inside and it doesn’t look like someone has been in there or picked the lock. But what was truly incredible was her corpse.” Richard started, his eyes widening at the memory, “Her eyes were wide open and she looks like she just fell dead. Doc Everstone is still in awe how such a healthy woman could simply die.”
“Dear, we’re having dinner now. Can you wait for-“
Gloria tried but Richard was very excited of his story.
“No one dies out of nowhere. People don’t just fall like rocks.” Lucy commented, laughing at her brother’s sudden expression. He was just like a child.
But while her family was discussing, Ophelia felt dizzy. The voices around her became blurry and soon enough they sounded so far that she could barely hear them anymore. Instead, she found herself in the square, a while ago from the looks of it and the clothes people had. It must have been mid-day with how crowded it was. Ophelia looked around until her attention fell on a familiar face: Spinnard’s. He was younger and more relaxed than she knew him to be, at least that was how he looked. Following his line of sight, Ophelia noticed who he was staring at: a woman dressed in a long velvet dress taken from a century ago with a matching hat. They were looking at each other; she saw him yet didn’t move.
Suddenly, the image became dizzy and she heard many people scream at once. The image cleared up and she found herself closer. At her feet was lying the woman in velvet, her eyes wide open and still breathing.
“It’s alright! I’m a doctor!”
Spinnard sneaked through the crowd and bent next to the woman. He hid his wand before taking from his pocket a small bottle with grey substance.
“It’s alright. She will be well attended.” Spinnard mumbled as he forced the woman to drink the potion.
Ophelia’s eyes widened while the woman’s closed. Whatever that potion was, it didn’t look like it killed her but it definitely helped. Once the crowd dispersed a bit, Spinnard drew his wand enough for the tip to show and whispered something. She couldn’t hear what he said but she noticed the bump the woman had and the way it became smaller while Spinnard was whispering.
“Ophelia? Are you alright?”
Ophelia blinked and she was back in the kitchen, having dinner with her parents and aunt. Lucille had her arm on Ophelia’s back, rubbing gently for some reason.
“You suddenly started to cough and for a moment it looked like you were suffocating.” Lucille added, watching her niece worriedly.
“It’s fine. It’s fine.” She repeated, having a strange taste in her mouth, “Where are mum and dad?”
Lucille chuckled before she pointed at the living room.
“Your father wants to do the dishes but your mum doesn’t trust him. I think they’re making up though. It takes them quite a lot to bring the cake.”
Ophelia chuckled yet still couldn’t shake off the sudden things she saw. It was as if she has been dragged inside her mind and shown details about Spinnard’s memories.
Of course, that happened before but she was asleep. For the past three months, Ophelia’s been having only dreams about Spinnard, her mum and a peculiar redhead man that seemed to like messing around.
After dinner, her parents decided they should have a more intense chat while Lucy had to leave. Ophelia found herself in her room, looking at Willy with melancholy.
“Do you think he’s out there, watching?” She asked her owl, “Do you know where he is?”
Willy didn’t move an inch.
“Can you find him?” She asked again, pulling her knees close to her chest, “I’d like to see him again. It doesn’t matter who he is.”
At that moment, it looked like the owl sighed. It strangely seemed like he wanted to do it, go and look after that man, after Tom but he wasn’t so sure that would help.
In the end, Ophelia fell asleep while waiting for Tom to reach out to her again.
Chapter 21: Chapter 21
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Traffic in London was worse than Richard imagined. He was growing impatient with the londonese drivers.
“Calm down, we have 15 minutes to spare.” Gloria whispered to her husband.
Sitting in the backseat with Willy, Ophelia couldn’t help but watch the people rushing down the streets as if they were all late for supper. Now that she was aware, she could easily spot the wizards in the crowd. They had a different feel and different taste in clothing.
As a couple just passed by, Ophelia saw an elegant man wearing a top hat and leaning half of his weight on a cane. He met her eyes and smiled, his eyes tinkling with something unrecognizable. Ophelia tilted her head to the side, confused and intrigued what the reason was. The man raised his hat and nodded at her, his eyes mesmerizing her. It was him. It was the same man that showed her magic; the man that brought her to the only place she belonged.
It was Tom.
“Finally we’re moving!”
Richard’s annoyed voice drew her attention for a moment but that was enough for him to disappear in the crowd.
“Please, if your owl disappears again, ask your friends if they can borrow you one of theirs. Last year was horrible! If it wasn’t for that kind man Spinnard we wouldn’t have known anything about you.” Gloria stated worriedly, her eyes begging her daughter to understand.
But something about that sentence triggered even more questions.
“What? Spinnard did?”
Gloria Molley nodded and smiled sadly at her daughter. She was ready to advise her about more things when the train honked loudly. It was time for the students to embark and there was no time for long goodbyes.
Richard helped her daughter carry her trunk on the train and quickly jumped off, unprepared for a journey with more than one wizard.
Looking for a compartment was easier than last year. She first met Frank Longbottom who was searching for his friend. Next, she saw a few Slytherins chatting loudly about dark magic and even complain that Spinnard’s lessons were useless. Ophelia couldn’t deny that; she’s had so many lessons with him and he never let her practice magic but just memorize.
Walking further, Ophelia had the misfortune to see Potter waiting patiently for someone to open the door for him. Unfortunately, he saw her too.
“Oi, Molley! What a pleasure!”
He came right at her and grabbed her arm, pulling her along towards another compartment.
She could barely register what was happening when he pushed her inside and closed the door. Afterwards, he helped her put her trunk away and sat across her with bright brown eyes. He looked sparkly.
“You’re suspicious.” She admitted bluntly.
Potter grinned boyishly and shrugged.
“Is your wife not here yet?”Ophelia asked with an eyebrow raised.
It took a few minutes for Potter to understand that she was joking. The sole thought that she could do it in the first place was mind-wavering.
“Was that a joke?”He asked, leaning towards her.
Ophelia sighed heavily seeing the widening smile forming on his face. She shouldn’t have been so friendly with him, not so early in the year.
“Wow Molley, you’ve changed. Did something good happen during summer?” He questioned, moving next to her yet still not very close since Willy’s cage was in between and that owl was glaring at him.
“No.” She answered quickly.
“Too late. Why don’t you tell your friend James everything you did this summer?” He urged, or more like his eyes were urging her to tell him everything.
For a moment, the thought of telling him struck her mind but it vanished quickly. Potter was an outsider but telling him would mean revealing her weaknesses and that could be a huge mistake.
“I ate cake.” She answered in the end.
“Is that it?” Potter asked, getting a nod in return, “Are you sure? That’s not much.”
She shrugged but Potter didn’t seem convinced at all.
“What kind of cake was it?”
“Expensive chocolate cake.”
“Are you sure there was only chocolate in that cake? You look livelier.”
“Time spent away from Spinnard is heaven, that’s why.” She mumbled, not careful how that sounded.
It was the second time Ophelia joked and Potter had to pinch himself to make sure that he wasn’t imagining it.
“Will you try out for Quidditch this year?” She changed the subject.
“Of course! Charlie’s seen my amazing seeker skills last year. I’m sure I’ll make the team!” He exclaimed, his eyes sparkling at the thought, “You’re not that good at flying, are you? I’ve seen you last year and it was a disaster.”
She didn’t know how to retort to that so she said whatever came to mind first.
“Not as much of a disaster as you around girls.”
Potter’s eyes widened and sincerely, he could not believe whom he was sitting with in the compartment. His eyes traveled down her clothes before they moved up, to her head. She looked the same, more or less, maybe a bit taller and grown but overall, she was the same Ophelia.
“I think we should change your nickname soon. Sour Grape doesn’t fit you anymore, Molley.” He started in all seriousness possible. “I don’t know if I should wait for Sirius or just think about it myself,”
He started to ramble by himself, laying out all these strange nicknames that she wanted to forget. None seemed to be good enough because Ophelia was a spontaneous human being.
“Can you just leave? I’m sure Sirius is looking for you everywhere.”
“Not everywhere. He’s not here yet is he?” Potter combated, his eyes shining with amusement.
Right when he said that, the door opened and the dark haired Black set his eyes on his best friend.
“Mate, I have been searching for you everywhere! Even had a few small chats with the Slytherins hoping you’d apparate behind me!”
“That’s stupid. No one knows how to apparate at this age,” Said a voice that seemed to have been searching for Potter as well. Only, he wasn’t.
“Oh my, smart yet not so funny Snivelly. Shouldn’t you be with your classmates, torturing toads or something?”
Suddenly, Potter’s head rose to his friend, surprising everyone when he fully turned to Ophelia.
“You know Molley, you remind me of a badger. Every time I come to you or ask you something, when you turn to me I can clearly see the eyes of a badger staring back.”
That sudden revelation ended up confusing many people. While Potter decided he did enough and left with Sirius, still talking about badgers, Severus entered with his trunk and placed it near the door, almost as if he wanted to use it in order to block the door.
“So, what have you done this summer?” She asked, seeing how they were staring at each other awkwardly.
“Nothing. I read and met Lily when her good for nothing muggle sister was busy. She’d only screech at us, like a wounded owl.” Severus mumbled, getting annoyed only remembering just many times that happened in three months. “Have you met someone this summer?” The Slytherin asked.
Ophelia stared at him for a few minutes before she shook her head.
“My parents have been eagerly spending time with me since I am gone for most of the year. It’s been suffocating but that’s alright.” She answered nonchalantly.
“Yes, I know how that feels. My father’s been even worse than usually.” The Slytherin boy mumbled, frowning at the memory.”He’s been coming home late and would shout at anyone near him.”
Hearing the tone Severus was using while remembering his father was enough to remember the way Spinnard spoke about Tom. It might have not been as angry and hateful but even their expressions matched.
“Last year, we have been somehow dragged into Malfoy’s schemes with other families. The philosopher’s stone, have you read about it?” She asked, changing the subject completely.
Severus’s eyes widened, making him look like an owl caught by a muggle. He glanced around the compartment, his eyes setting on the door, before he changed seats and sat next to her.
“Malfoy is not the problem here. I had an unfortunate meeting during exams last year with Rodolphus Lestrange. He is the one that will cause trouble.” Severus whispered, leaning really close to his friend.
But Ophelia looked anything but worried about anyone with the name Malfoy or Lestrange.
“It’s fine. Why would he target us anyway? It’s not our fault.” She added.
“He’s targeting you in particular. He thinks that you gave them the fake stone and kept the real one for yourself.”
Snape’s eyes didn’t seem as worried for her safety as his words did, which Ophelia have grown accustomed with. Everything about Severus Snape was tricky and she liked that about him.
“I didn’t. I don’t know where it is but I’m sure Dumbledore does. He seems to know about things before they happen.” She informed him with wide bright eyes.
The brunette was rather small compared to other girls her age but her chubby built was slowly becoming more lean and mature. She was growing up but her eyes seemed to be the same. Indeed, they were green and elongated but if he were to look into her eyes, especially when she was excited, they were round and darker than usually.
“You know, Potter is right. You look like a badger.” He stated, leaning back and getting up to take something from his trunk.
Ophelia blinked, not expecting Severus to agree with anything that came out of Potter’s mouth.
The rest of the ride in the train was spent in silence. Severus was reading a book about magical creatures while Ophelia changed her seat and opted for the one next to the window. It was nice to see the sight passing by fast enough to admire it but not get bored of it.
Her mind was moving from the image of Tom she had met to the image of Tom she had seen in Spinnard’s memories. She couldn’t take her mind off Tom, anyway that led to. He was seen as someone respectable, someone to be admired, someone strong but maybe too strong. Ophelia’s eyes moved on Severus and she tilted her head to the side. If anyone could help her, that was someone with the same amount of slyness as Spinnard.
“Sev, what if one day you find out that you have been adopted? Do you go search for your real parents?” She started, taking him by surprise.
“I’m not adopted, unfortunately.” He mumbled venomously. Then, he remembered that Ophelia was and he remembered what Dumbledore told him before. “But if I was, I suppose I’d be curious who my real parents are and what they do.”
“My mother was murdered right in our house. I can’t remember anything else about that day except Dumbledore’s comforting hand.” She started.
“And your father?” Severus urged, curiosity getting the best of him.
“For a long time, I wasn’t interested who he was since he had never searched for me. But lately, I’ve been thinking about him a lot.”
Severus’ eyes widened, Dumbledore’s voice rising in his mind to a more strict and loud form.
“You shouldn’t. You don’t matter to him and he shouldn’t matter to you. Just like you said, he never came searching for you.” The boy added, feeling his mind ache with Dumbledore’s voice. It felt a lot like he was doing it at the moment, just to be sure Ophelia wouldn’t grow more curious.
The two children were looking at each other when Ophelia suddenly turned her head to the passing surroundings. It was getting dark already.
“What if he did?” She asked, so soft that Severus had to move closer to her.
“What if he did search for me? What if he’s searching right now?” She repeated more firmly.
Severus’ eyes widened as his mind became blank and silent.
“He is my father after all. What if he wants to see me? And what if I want that too?” Ophelia continued, still not looking at anything but the view outside.
Severus couldn’t help but stare at her with no idea what to say. Those questions were far above his level of understanding and he was sure he should better not answer in haste.
When the train arrived at Hogsmeade Station, there was one man waiting in the shadows, eyes trailing over every face. He couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw those green elongated eyes of his daughter, narrow at one boy in particular: a Black. He knew the Blacks, met them a few times and they had darkness in their roots. He could agree with such an influence, that until he noticed the colors on his robes.
“A Black in Gryffindor,” He whispered bemusedly, “How unfortunate.”
His eyes moved afterwards on the boy walking by Ophelia’s side. She seemed to like him better than Black. At least, his colors were a nice green and silver but still, he wasn’t content with her choices in people. He might have to intervene…
As soon as they entered Hogwarts, Snape had to go sit at his table with his house mates while Ophelia remained close to Potter and Black, though it was obvious she disliked their lousiness.
“Look, badge, there’s something we need to talk about,” Potter started, wrapping an arm around Ophelia’s neck, literally squeezing her close to him.
“Badge? Is that supposed to come from badger? That’s not a good nickname, mate.” Black out-loudly judged Potter’s skill to name people.
But the brown haired boy dismissed his friend completely and continued with his very personal request.
“I need you to move from tonight on. This is my year. I’ll get in the team and I’ll sharpen my wits.” He said, biting his lip as a way to encourage himself, “So let’s change seats.” He stated, looking into her eyes.
Ophelia raised an eyebrow, a bit confused what changing their seats had to do with sharpening his wits, whatever that meant.
“Alright? Where am I supposed to stay then?”
“Between Peter and Remus, of course! I need Sirius close by so could you make Littlewood move too?”
Even though Ophelia agreed with whatever he was scheming, once they arrived at the Gryffindor table, Lily was sitting next to a girl that was in the Quidditch team, Amelia Bragnam that was playing Seeker at the moment, position Potter had vehemently claimed he could play better. On her other side, Lily had Cissney Littlewood and she looked very angry.
“Good luck making Cissney move,” Ophelia mumbled, patting him encouragingly.
Potter remained on his feet, confused and helpless as Ophelia sat in between Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin, just as they agreed in the Entrance Hall. Remus was first to turn to her and smile widely.
“How have you been, Ophelia? Had a good summer?”
Lovely and soft-looking, just like always. She really liked Remus out of everyone in her house because he was the one who didn’t keep secrets from others. He was plain and not very secretive but he was loyal to his house and his mates and that was all that mattered to her.
“Fine. Do you think Spinnard will force us to take extra lessons this year too?”
As soon as she asked, both turned to take a glance at the cold hearted children hater. Professor Spinnard was not happy to stand there, especially with Dumbledore close by. If anything, he would have liked to just leave and lock himself in his room until Monday morning. Even worse, his eyes flickered over the tables and over Ophelia and Remus. The two turned towards each other immediately and faked a conversation.
“So yes, how was your summer? Fine? Ha ha.” Remus laughed awkwardly, still feeling Spinnard’s intense gaze.
“Last year, he only forced me to memorize stuff but never once he let me try it. I was hoping we could meet after dinner, once or twice a week and practice DADA.” She started, having a sudden urge to learn more.
“Where does this idea come from? Will we even have time?” He whispered, leaning towards her. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Ophelia only gazed at Spinnard before her eyes moved on Dumbledore. The headmaster smiled softly at the child, making something in her stir.
“I think it’s a great idea.” She mumbled, turning to her house mate with purpose in her eyes.
As soon as the first years have been sorted and the Sorting Hat finished its song, the feast seemed to contain a lot of chocolate. Since his plan to stand next to Lily was failing miserably- Lily spending more time talking to Longbottom than Potter, which lessened his plans to sharpen his wits by half- he turned to Ophelia, who looked like she was enjoying herself way too much.
“See, badge. I told you, you should spend more quality time with Remus.” He started, making the two stare at him curiously. “What?” He asked before stuffing his face with a chicken leg.
Even Sirius was confused what was Potter thinking about. He wasn’t speaking much but by the end of the feast, he looked ready to implode if he wouldn’t say something.
“So, Evans. How was your summer?” He asked, in the end.
Almost half of the table turned to watch and even more was already betting on how he will fail and embarrass himself or Lily for that matter.
Lily. That was a whole different story. She wasn’t a friend but only an acquaintance of Potter’s, forced by circumstances to cordially speak to him from time to time. He didn’t see it like that; but again, Potter couldn’t see a lot of things when it came to girls.
“I visited my grand-parents, if you’re so interested.” The redhead answered, more or less.
Potter chuckled awkwardly and nodded before looking down at his plate. It was filled with tarts and chocolate cake so, out of stupidity or too much wit, he grabbed his wand and pointed it at a piece of cake.
“Wingardium Leviosa,” He whispered, the cake actually rising in the air.
Everyone at the table watched intensely, even Dumbledore from what Ophelia caught from the side. The cake was levitating well towards Lily’s plate until it got in front of her and, surprising everyone, exploded. Chocolate covered her whole upper part, especially her face. Everyone started to laugh, even people from other tables.
“Was that funny to you, Potter?” She said as softly as possible. She looked like she was going to cry from being embarrassed in front of the whole school. From the first night back.
“What’s wrong with you Potter?!” Both Littlewood and Bragnam hissed at the poor boy who looked like a deer caught in the headlight.
“I-I didn’t mean to! It was going really well!” He defended himself and from the looks of it, Ophelia believed him and so did Remus.
“Do you think someone played a joke on him?” The brown eyed boy asked, silently inspecting the Hall.
The subject was Lily so out of reflex, her eyes wandered to the Slytherin table; Severus Snape, to be more exact. He was looking down but she could see the ghost of a smirk on his face. Ophelia sighed and turned her attention on Potter. The unknown feud between the two admirers was still in the beginning but for some reason, she was looking forward to how it will evolve.
As soon as it all finished and Dumbledore finished his usual speech, the Great Hall emptied faster than expected. The students were happy to be back and even happier to get to spend more time in the corridors or the common rooms.
“I can’t believe it exploded in her face! What in Merlin’s beard happened?” He exclaimed, assured that Lily left early and was probably bad-mouthing him with Littlewood. “It was going so well, too,”
“No, it wasn’t. It was awful.” Alice interfered, being one of the few girls that didn’t jump at Potter’s throat on the way.
“So much for sharpening your wits,” Ophelia started bemusedly, her eyes glinting mischievously.
Potter seemed to be the only one not surprised that she was talking to him without having homework as a subject. Sirius raised an eyebrow, intrigued what exactly happened between her and his best friend. It wasn’t every day he’d find James with the subject of their jokes.
Seeing the awkward expression on his friend’s face, Potter shrugged it off with,
“We bonded during the train ride. We’re now friends.”
But Ophelia scoffed and that was enough for everyone to know nothing has changed.
Chapter 22: Chapter 22
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“That boy is such a twat! How could he play a joke on you right from the first night?”
That was only one of the few waves of complaints that Ophelia faced when she opened the door to her room. The girls chose their usual beds and brought even more stuff to place around, especially Cissney.
“It didn’t seem like he did it intentionally.” Alice reasoned, seeing how much it affected Potter afterwards.
“Then why did he levitate that piece of cake, hm?”
No one knew, not even the culprit. Ophelia couldn’t help but chuckle under her hand, though. It was funny how his plan backfired to the point Cissney would never let him sit next to Lily, or anywhere close.
Luckily, the subject changed to better and happier chats about each other’s families and summer breaks.
“I swear to you, muggles have these crazy theater pieces where they use puppets!” Cissney explained, her wide eyes glistening with curiosity, “Afterwards, my mum took me and my brother to see a fat lady singing on an improvised stage. It was incredibly well done compared to how it looked.”
“It’s called opera. My mum likes it too.” Ophelia added, “I have never heard music from wizards. Is it the same? Do they sing about the same things?”
“Of course! Love is one of the best subjects to approach in any type of music. Here,” Cissney got off bed and searched for something through her trunk. When she finally found it, she brought it on Ophelia’s bed and turned it on with her wand.
“This is a radio,” Lily mumbled, surprised that it looked pretty much the same as a muggle’s radio.
“It’s actually called wireless. This program right now it’s called Witching Hour and,” Cissney turned up the volume, the song recently played filling the dormitory, “This singer is Celestina Warbeck. My mum and grandma knows her so she’s been around for a while.”
Alice and Lily rolled their eyes but Ophelia leaned closer and listened to Celestina’s voice.
“Mommy, what’s this?” The little girl asked, pointing at the small object on the fireplace.
“It’s my favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck. When I was at school, your father would turn the wireless on and let me listen to it until I’d fall asleep. Even back then, he would protect his interests very well.” Lillian told her daughter, “Your father, he’s a peculiar man, Ophelia. He won’t look at you but he will search for your gifts and exploit them until you will be left with nothing. You’ll have to return to him again and again because without an aim in life, he’s the only one that can fill that emptiness.” Lillian added staring at the fire burning, her green eyes looking like two crystals.
When Ophelia looked up, the girls were laughing about something while the program changed and a different voice was informing the witches and wizards of a troll patrol forming in Wales.
It was long past midnight when Ophelia rolled on her side, not able to sleep. She sighed heavily before she rolled on her other side and covered her head with the pillow. She groaned when nothing worked and a few minutes later, she tip toed out of the dormitory and down into the common room. Surprisingly enough, there was a black kitten standing in the middle of the room, staring at something above the fireplace.
The kitten turned his head and glanced at her before he turned his attention back on the fireplace. Ophelia blinked, surprised how a kitten sneaked inside the common room.
“Are you someone’s cat?” Ophelia asked, walking next to it.
She tried to find the reason why the kitten was so focused on the fireplace but there was nothing out of ordinary. The brunette leaned forward and scanned every picture placed both in front and in the back. There was one with three people, one in particular looking very familiar. Then she understood as she pulled it from in the far back and looked at it.
“Mum?” She whispered, not ready to see her mother’s face.
But there she was, Lillian, with long red hair and sparkling green eyes. She was smiling next to a boy with even brighter red hair and dimples. He was handsome and it looked like they were very close. Ophelia turned the picture around and read the inscription.
“I’ll always protect you so be sure to help me pass Transfiguration,” Ophelia chuckled before she turned it around so she could take another look at her mother.
“Your father is a peculiar man, Ophelia.”
If Tom was indeed her father, then what was their relationship during school? It looked like Lillian was closer to her house mate rather than her boyfriend. It was so complicated.
Morning found Ophelia sleeping on the armchair. The sunlight coming through the windows was not enough to wake her up but once Potter woke up, everyone did.
“How can you be so loud so early in the morning?” Ophelia whined, jolting from her seat so fast that Potter almost fell backwards in surprise.
“What in Merlin’s beard are you doing here? Have you slept here?” He asked, his eyes widening behind those round glasses.
Ophelia scoffed before she got up and walked up the stairs to her dormitory.
“Wait! Wait~” If he thought he was whispering, he wasn’t. “Is Evans still mad about last night?”
Ophelia scoffed again before she closed the door and prepared for the first day of school.
“So, had a good night, badge?” Potter asked as soon as he sat down next to her, “I’m sure you must have had such a great time sleeping on that armchair. Was it a nightmare that kept you up?”
It was annoying and hearing him talk while at the same time eating was even worse. He almost spat some toast on her plate while asking and asking and asking.
“Why did you sleep on the armchair? Did you really have a nightmare?” Remus asked once Sirius came down for breakfast.
Potter was so involved into explaining to his friend what idea came over him during the summer break that he almost spat again over her plate.
“Yes. Well, not exactly. I found a kitten in the common room.” She explained, glancing at her plate before pushing it slowly away.
“A kitten? Is it a first year’s?”
Ophelia shrugged, not curious about that part of news. As soon as he dressed in her robes that morning, she hid her mother’s picture in the pocket and hoped she’d get a chance to ask Spinnard about it.
“There has to be a mistake!”
“There’s no mistake, Potter. Now, take your timetable and follow your classmates to the dungeons.” Professor McGonagall said firmly, her eyes staring down at the messy haired boy.
Ever since they got their timetables, the Great Hall was engulfed in complaints. The reason was really simple: they had DADA every Monday and Friday which was literally eating up their weekend.
“But professor, we’ll have enough homework as it is and there’s Quidditch too! Professor Spinnard will bury us in homework and we’ll have no weekend!” Potter continued, being just as lousy as ever.
“Be sure I will, Potter.” Spinnard’s cold voice silenced the Gryffindor immediately, “I’m sure the whole castle knows how unfair you feel by now. I assure you, every one of you, that you will respect the deadlines or else you will suffer consequences.” Spinnard added, his blue eyes falling over every second year, especially Ophelia. Seeing her there, as if nothing was happening in the shadows, was annoying. The professor sneered before he walked right through the middle of the crowd and left the Great Hall.
“Well, good luck. Go now! You have classes!” McGonagall broke the silence, sensing the intense hatred rising between her students and the young professor.
“But professor~” Black whined while watching McGonagall usher some of them towards the door.
“Now, Mr. Black, Mr. Potter, I know professor Spinnard is a great instructor in defence against the dark arts. You better follow his advice.” She said before she too left her students adrift.
Half of the Gryffindors were grumpily walking out with their timetables held tightly, almost as if squeezing them would hurt Spinnard. Potter and Black stayed back, both having the same look of desperation, knowing that Spinnard was more of a memorize the lesson professor than actually using the information actively.
“You shouldn’t look so pitiful already. It’s just the first Monday of a series of unfortunate beginnings and endings of the week. I’m sure Spinnard will do everything he can to make us uncomfortable. He hates people, moreover children.” Ophelia spoke nonchalantly, as if her words didn’t cut deep in their hopeful hearts.
First Monday and their schedule was not at all what they expected. They had Potions and Herbology in the morning and DADA in the afternoon. For most students it was comfortable because Slughorn and Sprout were seen as nice professors. But there was Spinnard right after lunch and that itself disheartened the whole year.
Even worse, Potions was done with Slytherins and Ophelia felt Severus glare every time Potter tried to copy Lily’s movements, hoping he’ll impress her as well as succeed his potion.
“Better concentrate on our potion or I’ll do it all.” Ophelia whispered, worried that may be the case.
“Look at him,” The boy snarled, “He’s being so childish when she’s obviously ignoring him.” The dark haired Slytherin added, his eyes narrowing at Potter with every ounce of hatred he could muster.
“You should have asked her to be your partner then.” Ophelia mumbled, her eyes re-reading the instructions to make the Swelling Potion, “How much do I have to cut this?” She asked herself since Severus definitely wasn’t going to save her.
“I wanted to but that girl Littlewood, she started to glare at me before I took a step towards Lily. She emotionally blackmailed her into partnering up.” Severus added grumpily before finally turning to look at his actual partner.
Ophelia raised her head, throwing a look of skepticism.
“I’m sure that was the reason.” She mumbled, “You have enough time to spend with her. It’s only the second year, Sev.”
“I know. What about you?”
“What about me?” She asked, returning her attention on the Swelling Potion. It didn’t look good.
“You know, Malfoy and Lestrange,” He whispered those names as if they were the death curses, “Have you seen them in the Great Hall or other places?”
“Truthfully, I didn’t look.”
Severus rolled his eyes and stopped her from adding an unnecessary ingredient into the cauldron.
“How can you be so calm about it? Their families are renowned for being dark wizards.”
“Why are you anxious? You said yourself, if they come, they come after me not you.”
She was being so nonchalant about it that it truly amazed Severus. There he was, caring about her because he dragged her into his own issues yet she was ignoring every alarm sent towards her.
“What are you doing?”Severus asked when he saw her swirl clockwise when they had to do it counter clockwise. It proved to be quite important because it started to grow until it spilled out.
“Oh my, what’s happening there?” Slughorn asked, hurrying over in case something bad would happen.
“Sorry, professor,” Ophelia apologized.
“Ah, Molley. I should have expected you to be behind this.”
It sounded extremely offending in Severus’ point of view but Ophelia didn’t look bothered at all.
Unfortunately, they had Herbology with Ravenclaws which meant Ophelia had to partner up with someone. She barely entered the greenroom when someone pulled her to a group.
“Um, no thanks.” She mumbled as she turned around with the intention to leave them.
“Come on, badge. We have to support each other in times of needs.” Potter reasoned, making no sense.
“Whose times of needs? I don’t need any help.” She retorted, not yet annoyed with the glasses boy but getting there slowly.
“You know, this and that. Help me out here, mate,” He whispered and nudged Black, who was watching them bemusedly.
“Potions is always fun knowing we have something to look forward to.”
His answer only pushed her towards leaving rather than staying. Potter scoffed and quickly pulled her closer when he saw her turn towards a team of Ravenclaws.
“We can help you with Slytherins. Or anyone, just name it.”The brown haired boy said quickly throwing a firm glance at his best friend.
“I don’t need help with Slytherins.”
Black’s eyes widened at her ignorance.
“Have you seen Malfoy? He practically drew holes into the back of your head yesterday at dinner.”
Ophelia tensed, having heard about the blond before yet not taking it seriously.
“Everyone could see it, except you of course. He wasn’t hiding it either. I think Malfoy was pretty clear but it seems his message didn’t reach you.” Black leaned in slightly before continuing, “I don’t know what you did, badge, but Malfoy’s seriously pissed with you.”
“Should I be worried?” She asked the boys, finally registering the danger lurking around her.
“Not if you help us,” Black answered smugly, high fiving Potter behind their backs.
But nothing really happened. Herbology passed with Potter whining over something or another and Ravenclaws scoffing at him. Lunch was peaceful too but because of the news about Malfoy’s anger, she became aware that someone was indeed watching her.
When she turned around, she didn’t see any glimpse of the Slytherin table. Someone stopped right behind her and blocked everything with his imposing figure. Ophelia looked up and met the cold blue eyes of professor Spinnard.
“Come with me, Molley.”
He only raised an eyebrow –that was literally the only movement- but she got the point and got up, following him silently.
"Maybe we should have offered help with Spinnard not Malfoy.” Potter whispered to his friend.
But it wasn’t low enough and Spinnard heard the Gryffindor perfectly. It was interesting information and he was going to dig deeper into the issues Malfoy had at Hogwarts. He was the son of an influent family and with friends like Lestrange or Avery, it was definitely something about dark magic.
Being curious every so often, Spinnard glanced at the Slytherin table, seeing Malfoy speaking to someone calmly. A few seats up the table was Rabastan Lestrange and he barely had time to move his head before he’d get caught. Glancing at her over his shoulder, Spinnard realized that Ophelia didn’t even notice.
“Is there something wrong, professor?” She asked as soon as they walked out the doors.
“Yes. Be silent.”
Spinnard had a lot to think about and having Tom’s offspring running around the castle was not helpful at all. Instead of becoming more like her father and have few friends, she seemed to grow friendlier and friendlier.
The way to his office had never felt so long before. When he opened the door and waited for her to enter, he felt like he could finally breathe out.
“Congratulation, Molley. You’ll learn Occlumency one year earlier than your classmates.” He announced, not an glint of happiness in his voice or on his face.
“Occlumency? Reading minds?” She suddenly became very excited. It was the best news ever since she arrived at Hogwarts.
“No. Occlumency is the art of guarding your mind.” He explained while walking to his desk. He took a seat and swayed his wand towards the window, opening it enough for a brown owl to fly in, “This is your partner.”
Ophelia stared questioningly at the owl, confused if that was Willy or another one. Granted to his quick perceptive abilities, Spinnard could sense what she was thinking without having to read her mind.
“This is not your owl. In case you haven’t noticed, this one has two white stripes on each wing.” Spinnard scoffed, making her feel stupid for not noticing. The owl spread his wings and showed exactly how different he was.
“From where I stand, he does look similar.” Ophelia persisted, having her own point of view.
Spinnard rolled his eyes before he nodded at the owl. Something amazing happened afterwards. The owl stretched to the point he looked like he was going to split in two but instead, he took the form of a man. He didn’t look old but it was obvious he was around Spinnard’s age, maybe younger. Actually, his features seemed a bit familiar; she was sure she had seen this new man somewhere before.
“Nice to meet you, Ophelia,” The owl man started with a soft smile.
“Is he a friend of yours?” She asked, moving her eyes on Spinnard. Both men shook their heads as if that was horrendous.
“I was actually a classmate of your mother’s.” The owl man explained.
Then Ophelia remembered why she had the feeling she had seen him before.
“The picture! You were slightly out of it but did appear in it! It was taken in the common room with Lillian and the redhead!” Ophelia exclaimed, not yet disclosing that she took that picture away.
His brown eyes widened and she swore he looked just like his owl form.
“My name is Cerberus Knowingall and I was in the same team as Peverell.”
The new name didn’t seem to trigger anything in her mind which confused Cerberus.
“You don’t know Peverell.” He stated, a bit disappointed, “Peverell was a close friend of your mother’s. He was also a very close friend of Luce’s.”
“Now that your loyal puppy is here, I should be going.”
Thinking about that memory, she could only wonder if Peverell was the loyal puppy Tom was talking about.
“And you?” She asked turning her attention on the man with real answers.
“Well, Peverell was the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team back then. Wait, I’ve still got our group picture!” Cerberus laughed loudly before he took something from his back pocket. It looked like that picture has been through a lot but it didn’t matter, “Here we are. We won the House Cup that year against Hufflepuffs. We were lucky Slytherins had a bad year altogether. Here: the redhead with dimples is Peverell. In the front row, standing on their knees are Quincy Jones and Margie Oliveson- Beater and Chaser; then there’s Olaf Wood who played Chaser . Peverell played Chaser too. I was the Keeper, here in the back. Ronnie McDonald played Seeker, he was really good.”
“Why is my mum in the picture too?” Ophelia asked once she realized who was Peverell squeezing in his arms.
“Our original Beater was poisoned during Herbology and we needed someone to fill in. Lillian was in an angry state so Quidditch helped her cope with it.”
“So mum played Quidditch?”
“Only that year, yes. Afterwards we got some amazing new years and eventually got another Beater. Most of us were already in our 5th year and had O.W.Ls and N.E.W.Ts to prepare for so the team broke right before the exam period.” Cerberus explained, looking at the picture with melancholy.
“Was mum good at flying?”
Cerberus put the picture away and chuckled.
“You’ll have to find that out by entering my mind. Of course, we’ll take it slowly at first and I will just help you push intruders out of your mind but later on, I’ll teach you Legilimency and-“
“No. You won’t.” Spinnard interfered, getting up with a glare at his former colleague, “You only teach her what you are supposed to. Nothing more and nothing less.”
Cerberus waited for Spinnard to grab his book and leave the room in order to prepare for his DADA lesson. Only when they were alone did the older man scoff at the cold hearted professor.
“I can’t wait for you to see the Spinnard from my memories. You’ll be surprised how much he liked to stay around the fun guys.” He mumbled, his eyes glinting mischievously.
DADA felt a lot better with the brown owl watching from his spot next to the window. Spinnard glanced a few times at him, rolling his eyes every time the owl would make a noise as if he was laughing.
As soon as class was over, Potter got ready to discuss their arrangement again. Unfortunately, Slughorn caught them right before they entered the Great Hall and asked Ophelia to stay back a bit.
“Extra classes again?” She whined, having a look of desperation.
“In my whole life as a potion master, I haven’t seen such a lack of equal distribution between attention and practice. You need to memorize the information beforehand or else you won’t be able to pass the first semester. Thankfully, Rabastan agreed to help you once more. Very nice student, I’m telling you. His name doesn’t do him justice.”
“Are yous serious?! Extra Potions with a Slytherin?” Cissney was as shocked of the news as she was when she first heard that Rabastan existed.
“He volunteered. He probably believes that I am a charity case.”
“You are,” Cissney mumbled and everyone agreed, “I have never seen someone so bad at Potions and my father works as a Potion Master assistant.”
“It’s because she doesn’t take it seriously.” Said a voice coming from behind Ophelia. She jolted in her seat as she felt Severus levitate something in her robes’ pocket, the same one she put the picture of her mother.
That grabbed the attention of the whole group, especially Potter and Black. They turned to Severus faster than blinking, both wearing a sneer at the Slytherin.
“And what do we owe this pleasurable visit, Snivelly?” Potter started, getting a glare instantly from Lily.
Put in the center of attention, Severus’ eyes widened as he started to fidget nervously. He wasn’t good at speaking in front of lousy people who could backfire whatever he says.
“Um, I wanted to talk to Lily.”
“Well, maybe she’s busy.” Potter insisted but it was obvious she wasn’t.
Sighing heavily, Lily got up and threw one last glare at Potter before she followed Severus into the Entrance Hall.
“That was inadequate for a 12 years old.” Ophelia commented before she searched for the piece of parchment thrown into her pocket. It was there, folded neatly just as the person that wrote it.
“I know right? How can a 12 years old just come to the Gryffindor table and ask to speak to a girl. A girl!” Potter continued, his eyes widening behind those round glasses.
Ophelia’s head snapped towards him, still keeping her hand in her pocket.
“Oh, I was talking about you.” She said, looking innocently at her housemate.
“First time is always hard but I assure you it will get better. It’s important to know that an experimented legilimens is able to enter your mind without you feeling anything.”
That was the speech Cerberus started the Occlumency lesson with. It was so sudden, both the hour and the meeting. It was only Wednesday.
“I thought we’ll have the lesson during the weekend.” Ophelia added before anything else, rubbing her eyes sleepily after two hours of History of Magic.
“I heard that weekends need to be free for you to do your DADA homework and live a tad. I’m sure Luce gave you a lot to memorize.”
Her groan was enough for an answer. Cerberus chuckled and took a few steps back before drawing out his wand.
“Legilimens,” The owl man whispered as his eyes narrowed slightly.
Ophelia wasn’t ready for the sudden attack on her mind. Her head was swirling with memories that were either confusing or from an hour ago. It was difficult to know which corners Cerberus would shake and what memories he’ll draw into the light, but she didn’t care about that at the moment. The pain was incredible. It was like a headache but a million times worse.
The first memory that Cerberus focused on was Aviemore. Flashes of the trip appeared clearly in her mind; when she went inside the forest and when she got scared by a dark cloaked figure. The pain intensified as the images became blurry and she screamed.
“Alright, alright. That was tough, right from the start.” Cerberus mumbled, doing his best not to look surprised. “It seems there are a lot of memories you had buried but believe me, if you want them to remain personal, you have to block me out.”
“It’s not as easy as it sounds. I can’t concentrate on both the memories and you.” She moaned, her head still hurting. It was like her brain was buzzing nonstop.
The ache was just as bad as before but she tried to focus on one thing at time. Cerberus was more important than anything else at the moment so she searched for him. It wasn’t easy as the man went deeper, reaching a corner of her mind where Peverell was hidden.
There was something else hidden in there as Cerberus dug further. When he reached the day when Lillian died, he felt his own mind vibrate. He stirred something, might have been her desire to block him out or just an intense wave of emotions, but it pushed Cerberus out with so much power that he literally fell back.
The tutor was in pain, that much was obvious. The student, on the other side, seemed speechless.
“O-Ophelia? Are you alright? I might have gone a bit too strong and-“ He stopped seeing how she wasn’t even looking at him.
That stir felt stronger in her mind and went out into her whole body, making her remember the fear she felt on that day. Her mother was murdered and Dumbledore came a few hours later but something was missing. As Lillian’s face was getting clearer, so was something else.
For a fraction of second, she looked up at Cerberus and saw someone else. He wore a cloak over his head so she couldn’t see much of his face but she could hear him; it was just like a snake hissing after his prey.
She blinked, and the image vanished. She could only see Cerberus, rubbing his back while staring at her in worry.
“It’s hard,” The girl mumbled.
“Back in the day, a lot of students would sign up for Occlumency and Legilimency lessons but only a few could actually finish them.At some point, I think Dumbledore taught it.”
Ophelia’s eyes furrowed, the ache in her mind still present.
Cerberus nodded, a smile forming on his lips as he remembered those times. He walked closer to his pupil and invited her to sit before he too fell on a chair feeling tired.
“Luce was very good at it, from the first lesson. Peverell was not as enthusiastic about it but circumstances forced him. But Gryffindors weren’t the only ones interested and so students from every house would gather in the Great Hall and suffer together.” He joked yet from the look in his eyes there might have been more truth in his words than he wanted to admit.
“Lillian never took those lessons. She didn’t seem interested.”
“What was she interested in?” Ophelia asked curiously.
Cerberus rubbed his back again, thinking carefully about his house mate.
“It was obvious what she wasn’t good at, which was everything about nature. It did look like Slughorn liked her so she was probably good at Potions.” He answered, getting a loud snort in return, “I guess you didn’t inherit that side of her, did you?”
“Not at all,” Ophelia mumbled before she remembered the picture from the common room, “What about Transfiguration?”
“Now that you mention it, yes. She was doing well overall so it didn’t catch my eye back then. Peverell was always asking her to help him with Transfiguration but I never understood why. He was better at it than her.”
“You watched them a lot but you know more about your captain than mum.”
Cerberus shrugged innocently.
“Quidditch was, and still is, important. I didn’t speak much to Lillian until our fifth year. You seem friendlier than she was.”
“I doubt that,”
It was the second time in a week when Ophelia couldn’t close one eye. They had Potions again in the morning and she had to ask professor Slughorn when Rabastan wanted to tutor her. She hoped he changed his mind, truthfully.
“Ugh,” She groaned, finally getting up and sneaking out into the common room. “Is it the food?” She mumbled while rubbing her stomach worriedly. But it was not coming from there but from her head.
The common room was silent and dark. No one was awake so late at night, not with Spinnard’s lesson coming up on Friday. The black kitten wasn’t there either and she didn’t have her wand with her.
“Great,” She sighed, barely missing the armchair.
Ophelia was sitting there, her legs spread lazily as her eyes were staring at the fireplace. She bit her lip and remembered the sparks that used to appear now and then. It’s been a while since she last played with them and grew a bit worried when she realized she couldn’t make them appear anymore as she pleased. The sparks were usually blue but on the night of Lillian’s death, she saw a green light.
“How did you find me?” Lillian asked in a very thick Scottish accent.
“I see you have been very busy, Lillian. This house has every possible protection around it.” The man said, looking at the walls before turning his attention on her. “Very impressive, I must say.”
“How did you find me, -? The Charm-“
“Your little friend, the Peverell, he told me where you are. You didn’t choose your Secret Keeper wisely,” He responded, his eyes narrowing at the woman.
“What have you done with Vernon?” She changed the subject.
“He might be still alive. Now-“
“Go back inside, Ophelia! This man-this man-“
Ophelia jolted from her seat, her hand unconsciously going to her heart. She didn’t know what came over her but those pieces just came onto her, overwhelming her with fear. But it wasn’t enough; some parts were missing and some were muted.
The green eyed girl looked up at the fireplace only to notice a small flame, barely lit enough to draw attention. She got up and walked towards it, mesmerized because that small flame was green. She reached out but it didn’t burn her; instead it crawled up her arm and into her head. Her eyes widened as she felt something new enter her, something dark yet at the same time illuminating. Ophelia screamed as the pain grew worse than anything she had felt before.
And then she opened her eyes. She opened her eyes and straightened up, noticing that she was in bed, in the dormitory. The witch frowned, shocked and confused if what happened was just a dream or not.
Chapter 23: Chapter 23
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Thursday passed with nothing interesting happening. It was rather peaceful compared to how much of a fuss Severus made. Friday came around and during Potions, Ophelia let her partner do most of the work while she stared shamelessly at her professor.
Slughorn felt her intense gaze from the moment she entered the classroom. He knew what it was about but he didn’t want to speak about it. Ophelia was not even close to the last of his favorites but something about her was making him tremble.
“Is there something wrong, Molley?” He asked, a fake smile plastered on his face.
Ophelia nodded, surprising Slughorn with how upward she was.
“About my tutor, I haven’t had the chance to arrange anything with him. I thought he might have told you when and where we should meet?” She asked, making sure that her fellow classmates won’t hear but Severus will.
“I suppose the weekend? He is a busy student, he may not have enough time yet.”
Severus rolled his eyes but Slughorn didn’t even notice him. Ophelia’s eyes were so familiar yet Slughorn couldn’t understand why.
“If you don’t want to fail class, you better listen to that tutor of yours instead of daydreaming,” Severus mumbled once Slughorn left their table, “It’s Lestrange that’s tutoring you, you should take the chance and ask him about his older brother.” The greasy haired boy added.
Ophelia threw her friend a skeptical look from the side and scoffed, unconsciously adding an unnecessary ingredient into the cauldron, changing its color. Severus’s chin tightened as he grasped the edge of the desk in annoyance. She could be a handful on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately, just before dinner, a bulky and seemingly bothered Rabastan Lestrange entered the Great Hall, his eyes searching for one dark haired girl. Once he found her, his eyes narrowed as he walked towards her.
“Um- you may be in danger, Pheli,” Cissney mumbled, noticing the Slytherin stare at their table, “Big trouble is coming towards you.” She added, looking down at her plate when the boy reached them.
Ophelia turned around in time to see the Slytherin glowering at her, making Lupin who was standing next to her shift in his seat uncomfortably.
“Every Saturday afternoon, in the Potions classroom. Don’t be late.” Rabastan announced grumpily before turning around and going towards his table.
Ophelia watched the bulky boy curiously until he sat next to one of his housemates. A few seats down from him was the blond that was giving Severus a hard time. Malfoy was throwing glances at Rabastan, glances that looked too pleased to mean well.
“Will you be alright? He seems a bit uptight.” Lupin whispered, his eyes too following Rabastan as he sat and ate with a stiff expression.
Ophelia couldn’t take her eyes off Malfoy, making it obvious that she was staring at him. A housemate must have told him about it because Malfoy’s head turned towards the Gryffindor table with a scowl.
Nothing else happened, except the usual Potter-Black duo which became louder than before.
“You two have become like two peas in a pot.” Alice commented in the Common Room.
“If only you would shut up and let us do our homework, everything would be better.” Cissney added, throwing an annoyed look at Black. It didn’t seem to reach him- nothing did.
Lupin chuckled before he turned to the brunette that was trying to memorize the Potions lesson for her tutoring lesson tomorrow.
“Are you sure you will be alright tomorrow? He seems a bit different from last year.”
“Rabastan is the least of my worries at the moment.” Ophelia mumbled, reading Severus’ notes. She grabbed a piece of parchment and copied them down several times before sighing heavily.
When the students entered that Friday in the DADA classroom, they found it empty. For the first time ever, Luce Spinnard was late and that sole detail made the class whisper in between.
"Do you think he got sacked for messing with his students?" Frank asked when ten minutes passed and the cold professor was still missing.
"I think you're dreaming too high. There's a rumor that Dumbledore insisted that Spinnard comes back and teaches at Hogwarts." Black answered nonchalantly, his eyes wandering from the mates close to him to the ones in front.
Ophelia was sitting at her desk, looking down at her hands in what a stranger would say was disappointment. But once she raised her head enough for her face to show, Black knew she was in a state of happiness.
"Maybe we can take the evening off and do something productive," Potter mumbled, grumpy that after such a long day he had to wait instead of resting.
"I dare you say that again, Potter."
The icy tone sent a chill all through the classroom. Students straightened up in their seats and some moved from their friends and sat as far in the back as possible.
"I'm sorry professor but you are late and-" Potter's eyes widened when Spinnard threw him a glare. It was different from other times as if his control cracked and wanted nothing more than to skin his students alive.
Passing Ophelia's desk, he threw something in her lap. It was incredibly subtle as nobody even imagined he would pass her a note. Reading it slowly, Ophelia had to stare for a bit at the handwriting. The note was written by someone with a certain elegance; definitely not Spinnard whose writing was more messy than elegant.
Do not be afraid to ask for my help. She read with a frown. What was that supposed to mean? Was it from Dumbledore or maybe...
It was one of the few lessons when Spinnard forgot he had Ophelia in the class. He taught like he had rehearsed the lesson over the past weeks and didn't say anything even if he noticed the notes going from Potter to different students.
When his eyes fell over Ophelia, he saw her writing silently while taking quick glances at the note he gave her. He sighed heavily, feeling like a puppet thrown from one man to the other. He was confused why Dumbledore had Cerberus write something so silly.
A seemingly angry Luce hurried up the stairs towards the headmaster's office, checking his watch every five minutes because really, he hated to be late even if that meant seeing Potter's face grinning during his lesson.
"What is it so alarming that I have to witness?" Spinnard yelled as soon as he entered.
Cerberus was there as well and he looked even more confused than Luce. Dumbledore sighed, which was never a good sign before a conversation, and he rose, walking around his desk towards Cerberus. The headmaster gave him a piece of parchment and forced a polite smile.
"I would like you to write down a few words. It is very important at the moment to make it as elegant as possible." Dumbledore told Cerberus before he took the rest of the steps towards Luce, "I'm afraid there is a spy amongst the students. I have been informed that Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Lestrange have been incredibly angry that the philosopher stone they have gotten is not the real one."
"And why should that bother us? They have nothing but large mouths, good to bark but not bite." Spinnard stated coldly, only remembering Lestrange's face and growing annoyed.
"Not them," Dumbledore whispered, his blue eyes sparkling from under his spectacles. Luce raised a eyebrow, curious what else there was that Dumbledore was not telling him.
So, from that brief intense look, Spinnard could guess it had something to do with Ophelia and her connection to her father. It didn't look like she was aware how important were the details she had caught glimpse of in his memories but he was adamant that she figured out enough to search for Tom by herself.
"I cannot believe he came late and talked for the whole remaining time like a broken record. I don't know if I should be content or angry," Potter started, lightly leaning against Sirius who looked like his soul has been gone and recently returned in his body.
"I cannot believe he still gave us homework. A mountain of it for Monday~" Sirius added, also leaning slightly against his friend.
By the time they arrived at their table, Cissney was first to take the seat next to Lily while Alice grabbed the other side, making Potter stand on his feet for a few minutes, thinking what he should do or say to make one of them move. In the end, nothing worked and he gave up for the day.
"Wasn't Spinnard suspicious today? I heard that-"
"If Littlewood begins a sentence with <I heard that> it must be definitely true," Black mumbled, rolling his eyes at the short girl. Cissney scoffed loudly and turned to Lily while kicking someone under the table. Unfortunately, the one hurt ended up being Pettigrew who was sitting next to Sirius.
"Anyway, rumor has it that Dumbledore bought another staff member, one that is an animagus. A lot of people have seen a black kitten roaming the halls and corridors and everyone believes that's him." She continued, throwing a proud look at Black, who suddenly became curious.
"Why would someone choose a black kitten as an animagus form?" The dark haired boy mumbled before he filled his cup with pumpkin juice.
"True. An animagus should be far greater than a fur ball. Something big and proud, turning every eye when strutting down the halls." Potter added with a bright smile, puffing out his chest as he reached for another dessert.
Lily rolled her eyes and scoffed at the childish infatuation of being highly recognized by everyone. Taking a closer look, Potter was not even close to her image of a respectable wizard.
"I'm not so sure about that. What do you think Remus?" Alice asked the brains of the groups, knowing he would give them a legit answer.
"Wouldn't a smaller form be more beneficial than a wide one? You'd be agile and able to enter and exit anywhere without being noticed. A large creature is hard to handle and hide." Remus added, his eyes falling over his plate.
Potter narrowed his eyes thoughtfully at his mate but granted to the space between being taken suddenly, he broke his gaze and focused on the girl next to him. The thoughtful expression didn't change, though.
"Where have you been, badge?" Potter asked in a serious tone.
"Bathroom." She answered without taking her eyes off the table. Since Potter's narrowed eyes only intensified, she innocently turned to look at him, "What?"
"Would you prefer a smaller form or a larger form as an animagus?" The glasses boy asked making the petty question sound life threatening.
"What's an animagus?" The brunette asked, having no idea what they have been discussing before she arrived.
Potter sighed and leaned back, "Should have expected it,"
Saturday afternoon, Ophelia had tutoring in the Potions classroom with Rabastan Lestrange. She had to be there in time or else she had to memorize twice as much and Rabastan was a man of his word.
Walking down the hall towards the dungeons, she stopped on the stairs, checking her pocket for the note. Spinnard gave it to her yesterday during DADA and then ignored her presence for the rest of the time. Of course, just because he seemed to be in a good mood, everyone hoped he wouldn't give a lot of homework, even none by the most optimistic. Well, he did; lots of it.
But he didn't say another word to her for the rest of the day and even avoided her sight at dinner. Spinnard was very complicated as a human being but that note just raised him to a whole new level.
Shrugging any thoughts aside, Ophelia continued her way towards the dungeons. It was when she stepped down the last stair that she noticed something in the corridor. It was a bit far for her to recognize it but with each step towards the unidentified object, the image became clearer. Ophelia stopped and looked down at the innocent looking kitten fondly.
"So I didn't dream you." She assured herself, smiling at the thought, "Aren't you a curious fellow? From the Gryffindor tower to this place, you must be good with orientation." She added, taking one step closer.
Unfortunately, when she moved so did the kitten but backwards. Ophelia took another step and the kitten's eyes narrowed as if he was ready to defend himself.
"I'm not going to hurt you. It's alright." She spoke softly, assuring the pet that she was inoffensive.
But the black kitten didn't seem to believe any word coming out her mouth. Ophelia stopped and bent so she could be closer to his level. She showed him her hands before she patted her knees for the kitten to lean on them.
It took a few more seconds but the animal complied. With big pretty eyes, the kitten placed his two front paws on her knees and stared up at her.
Ophelia smiled contently until the kitten plunged his nails in her skin. Her eyes widened but not because of the pain inflicted physically.
Images spread before her eyes, so scattered that she could hardly understand whose memories were. It was difficult to concentrate but something was pulling her in and keeping her there. Flashes of her mother's face appeared from the times she was at school and even from a few days before she died. Vernon Peverell did not appear in any image but Tom did. She swore she saw the same memory as she saw in Spinnard's mind before she felt a sudden wave of anger.
The images disappeared and she found herself in her childhood house, walking up the stairs. She held the railing, feeling her legs growing tired but continued nonetheless. The pain in her legs grew and her vision became blurry. She couldn't see anything but she heard that chilling voice, only it wasn't speaking to Lillian.
"Love is not for wizards like us, Vernon. Love makes you weak."
Ophelia closed her eyes feeling her orbs stinging. She rubbed them hoping it would cease the pain but she started tearing up.
And then it was over. She opened her eyes and saw that she was by herself in the corridor. Nothing was real but no matter how much she pinched herself, it hurt.
Ophelia continued her way to the classroom,a bit shaken and confused but willing for more occlumency lessons with Cerberus. She didn't notice the black fur ball crouched against the wall a few feet behind her. Those blue eyes watched her as he tried to calm his rapidly beating heart. He could still feel his body shivering slightly. The power that pushed him out of her mind was far greater than he imagined.
From the dungeons, the kitten ran up towards a familiar gargoyle. He only meowed but the statue moved aside letting the small pet continue his journey into the headmaster's office. Dumbledore opened the door for him to enter and walked alongside to his desk.
"Did he reach her subconscious?" Dumbledore asked, waving his hand, the Pensieve appearing from behind a wall.
The kitten shook his head and watched as Dumbledore grabbed a hold of the pet's memories before dripping them into the water. Next, he put his head inside and took a long look around them.
It only took a moment for the headmaster to find what he was searching for. It didn't look well from his expression.
That was the word Rabastan has been repeating in her ear for the past two hours.
"I won't let you walk out of here if you do not make me a perfect Herbicide Potion."
He was harsh but just like Severus said before, she wouldn't improve otherwise. She needed a push and Rabastan was pushing continuously.
"It's only the first lesson. I'm sure professor Slughorn doesn't expect me to suddenly become good at it." She mumbled adding another ingredient.
"I am not wasting my time tutoring you for professor Slughorn." Rabastan said a bit too loud for how stoic he was. He really didn't move an inch from his seat.
"Then why are tutoring me? Did your older brother instruct you to watch me in case I have the philosopher stone?"
Ophelia didn't think twice when those words just scrambled out of her mouth. When she realized what she said it was already too late and Rabastan already looked offended.
"My brother and I do not meddle in each other's matters. Stir." He ordered, yet still not moving from his seat.
Seeing how his stare was colder than two hours ago, she decided to keep her mouth shut and concentrate on the potion. It didn't work very well because it exploded in her face in the next minute.
Lucius Malfoy was patrolling the dungeons, or what he would have preferred to say showing first years how Slytherins should behave. Of course, being the Prefect he had every right to do whatever he pleased and it seemed that particular Slytherin students liked to roam the halls at night and thus getting late to their first periods.
At the same time, Lucius couldn't help but remember the huge fight he witnessed between his father, Nott's and Mulciber's.
"This is not the philosopher's stone! Are you trying to deceive us, Malfoy?!" Mulciber Senior was far scarier than his son. He yelled as soon as he barged inside the manor, Nott following closely.
"Let's not overreact. I assure you that-"
"Your assurance means nothing, Malfoy. We have discussed this with the Blacks and Lestranges and we agreed that your help is not needed anymore. Your contributions until now will be taken account of but so will this failure." Nott interrupted, his demeanor calmer than Mulciber's but still angry.
As soon as the two left, Malfoy turned to his son with a murderous glint in his eyes. Lucius swallowed nervously, grasping his wand just in case he had to make a run for his life.
"Can you tell me, son, why am I embarrassed before so many of our family partners?" He asked in a low tone, taking a step towards Lucius.
"Fa-Father, I apologize-"
The loudness of the next action between father and son echoed throughout the living. Lucius' eyes widened, stunned that his father slapped him so hard even now when it wasn't even his fault. No, it was Sna- no, it was that little girl Molley.
Lucius' chin tensed at the memory of the slap, still feeling his cheek stinging. It was one of the most shameful days of his life and his father has kept a very close eye on him during the summer. It was harsh but he learned a lesson: he will get back what he has lost even if that meant having the whole house bully Molley.
As if fate was giving him a chance at payback, a messed up brunette walked out of the Potions classroom with her hair sticking in every direction and her face covered in smoke. She looked like she had already got some kind of punishment but it wasn't enough.
"Molley, what a pleasure~" He started, strutting towards her, taking his time, "Your attire is not appropriate, 20 points from Gryffindor. Also, you should not be in the dungeons at this hour. Are you planning something?" She was ready to open her mouth and respond but he interfered, "50 points from Gryffindor. Ah~look at the hour. It's past curfew; another 50 points." He added with a content smile.
Ophelia blinked owlishly at the way Gryffindor was losing points without her doing anything. She was only standing in front of him, tired and in need of a bath but Malfoy was taking points continuously.
"You placed me in an uncomfortable position, Molley. My father has been very mad ever since." Lucius started, his eyes narrowing at the short child, "I thought you will be smart enough to return what you have stolen from me. Where is it?"
Ophelia stared at the older student before she answered nonchalantly, "Is that all? Can I leave now?"
She didn't know where she got the courage to reply in that manner but she knew she'd have to avoid Slytherins for a while.
Chapter 24: Chapter 24
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Time passed and September shifted into October really quickly. Unfortunately, the first, second and third years couldn’t participate in the parties organized for Halloween and they had to stick with the usual feast. It was not as fun as the party that followed and Gryffindors were glaring at McGonagall for the whole next week during Transfiguration.
October quickly passed as well and the students found out that they had only a bit until Christmas break. It wasn’t a surprise for some students to suddenly become studious during that certain time but it was suspicious how Ophelia Molley did.
Potter has kept a close eye on her ever since Halloween when he saw her sneak out at night. It wasn’t the first time he found her sleeping in the common room and he was sure it became a habit to find her squirm for more space on the arm chair.
“Hey, badge~” He sung softly on that Saturday morning. She didn’t even stir, “Badge, seriously, wake up.” He ordered, shaking her slightly.
“What do you want?” She asked, opening her eyes enough to see his messy brown hair. “It’s too bright,” She added, covering her eyes with her arm.
“Because it’s morning and you’re not in the dormitory.” The glasses boy started, crossing his arms in front of his chest and watching her with judging eyes.
“Ah, right,” She answered, realizing she didn’t make it upstairs once again.
But Potter had already reached his maximum of patience and curiosity was killing him.
“Where do you go every night?”
Ophelia raised an eyebrow before she remembered Potter had seen her sleep in the common room before. It never occurred to her that he’d grow curious about her issues but it seems she underestimated his spirit.
“I’m-um-working on school work. I go to the library and sometimes in the dungeons to work on potions.”
“And you can’t do that during the day, like a normal person?” He asked, his eyes widening behind his glasses. Seeing her shift in her seat, he added, “What’s really going on with you?”
Ophelia bit her lip, her mind working incredibly fast on a lie. She couldn’t tell him just how much she’s been avoiding walking the halls by day because of a certain blond. Luckily, more students woke up and some walked out of their dormitories, giving her the best oportunity to run and avoid answering.
For the rest of the weekend, Potter’s eyes have unconsciously followed the brunette. He saw a pattern now that there were no classes to hide into: she'd act normally up to some point when she would tense up and leave without an explanation or leave dragging Remus with her, mumbling that she needs help studying. Since everyone knew she was being tutored by Lestrange, it wasn't weird to imagine she was studying for that in particular but once Monday came around, she was running around more than a Ravenclaw running to class.
It was so peculiar that even Black noticed. In the end, Potter decided he should get actively implicated in Molley's school life.
"Ahem, we have gathered today because one of us has been acting out of character." The glasses boy started, his face brightening when he saw Lily and her friends take a seat in the common room, "It seems that our no-fun badge has found a new hobby and that is being early for class and studying to the point of exhaustion with and without Remus."
"Isn't that what a student does?" Lily retorted, "I'm sure that years above us study harder than we do."
Potter tried his best not to scoff, scorn, scowl or have any expression that could lessen his chances to ever speak to Evans again. Therefore, he turned to his best friend and continued his speech without taking Lily's interference into account.
"Anyway, let's ask someone who has more information than we do. Remus mate, did she tell you why she suddenly became so studious?"
Remus looked up from his book, confused how the attention shifted on him. Potter raised an eyebrow, waiting patiently for a clear answer.
"Well, she doesn't speak about that but I believe it's Slytherins. She's avoiding them even in the library."
Black scoffed, "Of course it's them. Those gits have kept a close eye on her from the beginning."
"I don't understand why though. The only Slytherins she speaks to are Snape and Rabastan Lestrange." Cissney added, looking as confused as she sounded.
"Good question, Littlewood." Potter pitched in before he turned to Remus again, "Well?"
"I don't know," was his answer and it didn't seem to satisfy the glasses boy.
They spent another hour speaking about their recent issue when Charlie entered the common room searching for Cissney. That was the end of their discussion about Ophelia and everyone dispersed, each going to his own business. Lily, however, stayed behind, watching Potter curiously.
"Is there something I can help you with, Evans?" Potter asked when he decided he felt enough pressure in the back of his head.
"Why are you so eager to help Ophelia? You've been just as bad as a Slytherin, giving her names and taunting her." Lily asked.
"Why wouldn't I want to help her? She's a Gryffindor, isn't she?"
That answer not only came as a big surprise for the redhead but it might have erased the incident from the beginning of the year.
Sincerely, Ophelia was going through a rough time. It was partially because of Malfoy, him being the main perpetrator with the way he was staring at her during every moment in the Great Hall. It was also because Rabastan became incredibly involved in helping her develop some kind of talent for Potions; that wasn't going well. But above each and every issue she had at the moment, there was something else that was eating her from the inside of her mind.
Lessons with Cerberus became harder and stronger than she ever imagined. She was finally able to push him out her mind but it didn't feel like she was in control of it. Those months have been interesting, to say. For Cerberus, seeing into her mind became tiring and so he decided he should also teach her legilimency, against Spinnard's disapproval.
"Have you been practicing it on your house mates? You're getting good at it." Cerberus complimented though he seemed a bit suspicious by it. "I hope you're not practicing it on your professors,"
"I'm not practicing it at all. I'm so tired every night that I can't even make it into bed. I just sleep on the armchair in the common room." The brunette girl mumbled.
"I heard about it. While flying around the Gryffindor Tower, I heard Charlie Wood complain to his dorm mates that James Potter has created this little group of second years in order to protect you from Slytherins. He also said next year they'll need a new seeker. Again, Potter's name has been thrown into discussion." Cerberus informed her, laughing slightly to himself.
“It seems so. He likes to meddle into other people’s lives and will eventually get in trouble.” Ophelia mumbled, scratching her left arm nervously.
“I think so too. I heard Luce complain about Potter, among other things. I’m surprised he’s been so lenient these months. Even as a student, he used to be very strict with others and especially with himself.” Cerberus said with a melancholic smile on his face, “Now that I think about it, there was one subject Luce was bad at and that was Transfiguration.”
Ophelia choked on saliva, surprised that such a subject could trouble perfect student Spinnard. Then, she actually imagined a younger version of those cold blue eyes in the middle of the classroom with one leg and one arm missing.
“Don’t mention it to him. Keep it for when you genuinely need it.” The elder whispered before winking at her.
Ophelia laughed, surprising even herself that someone could lift half of the amount of pressure she held on her shoulders. Laughing was definitely a way to loosen up and relax her brain.
“You know, I hear a lot about this Potter and the way he seems to be charming his way around. He also plays Quidditch and wants to enter the team. Why don’t you hang out around him more? Maybe you’ll get interested in Quidditch as well.”
“I doubt that,” She replied quickly but Cerberus was not the man to accept a refuse easily. His eyes sparkled in the dim light of the classroom and suddenly he smirked.
“Let’s try out.”
It was past eight in the afternoon and granted to winter growing closer, days became smaller. Thus, it was dark and chilly and Cerberus dragged his student on the Quidditch pitch for what he called a ‘tryout’.
He disappeared for a few minutes, letting her alone in a place she wasn’t eager to explore. She had seen students fly and she had seen matches last year but from her room not from anywhere near the grounds. Ophelia loved magic and she loved Hogwarts but this sport was not her cup of tea.
“Here!” Cerberus yelled as he threw a broom at her. It was an old model, kept for flying classes but it didn’t look like he cared. “Get on it!”
“No,” She answered, scrunching her nose.
Cerberus narrowed his owlish eyes at her and whistled. It looked strange to say the least but suddenly, the broom squirmed out of her hand and flied around her before literally pushing the girl on it and leaving the ground. Ophelia’s eyes widened and she grasped on the broom tightly, scared that it was getting too high. When the broom stopped, Cerberus followed and easily made it next to her.
“What if I fall?” She asked, her eyes staring at him while her grip tightened.
“You won’t. Trust me.”
Trust me. Those words caught her attention and she looked up into Cerberus’ eyes, seeing Tom for a moment.
Flying around the pitch felt better than she expected. Feeling the wind blow through her hair, sometimes a bit harsh, scaring her that she might fall off the broom-or with it, for that matter- was just liberating. Turning towards the older man, she saw him stare at the middle circle, the big one. He was smiling sadly, leaning back on the broom as easy as if he was born on it.
“What is he thinking about?” She wondered out loud before she realized she could see it with her own eyes. She grabbed her wand from her back-pocket and whispered, “Legilimens,”
“Welcome all to the match that we have been waiting ever since Peverell became the captain of the Gryffindor team and Queltch the captain of Hufflepuffs’! These two players will certainly show us a game worth for the National Championship!”
It was loud and overwhelming. Ophelia found herself in the middle of the pitch with the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors flying around her as if she wasn’t there. Well, she wasn’t but it made the hair raise on her back when someone would fly through her.
In one word, the sight was lively. She never expected so many students to enjoy Quidditch to the point they would get so involved in the game. Gryffindors were on one side, screaming names and encouraging words while Hufflepuffs were singing some kind of song for their team and its captain. Slytherins and Ravenclaws where there to encourage the game itself, each individual supporting whomever they wanted. One sport was bringing everyone together for the fun of it.
Madame Hooch was on the ground, holding the whistle in her hand while the Quaffle in the other. She blew the whistle and threw the Quaffle in the air, thus signaling the beginning of the match.
“Aaand the game begins! I see that Peverell has already made a plan for his team. Will we witness the best season Gryffindor has ever had? Well, I definitely hope so.” The announcer mumbled, getting the Hufflepuffs to shout some bad words at him.
Mesmerizing. Entrancing. Bright. Those were three words that could characterize what she was watching. Queltch was keeping an eye on the Seeker while Cerberus was flying around, keeping the goal baskets safe.
Then one person zoomed right past Ophelia. She turned after him and saw the redhead dimpled captain that everyone admired and respected. He was flying like he has started before he was brought in this world; he was quick and could turn his broom any way he wanted to. His face seemed bright even if he was concentrating on the Quaffle. If Peverell was there, playing to win then Ophelia thought her mother was there as well, watching her friend. The brunette witch turned to the viewers and scanned every single Gryffindor. Her mother was not there. Peverell noticed it too because he suddenly lost that amazing control over his broom and almost fell off. Thankfully, he got back on it quickly and turned his attention on the game. Seeing him closer, Ophelia frowned. His eyes, his frown, his cheeks and just everything about him seemed older than she expected.
She left Cerberus’ mind afterwards only to come face to face with the man himself, standing right in front of her.
“Well? Enjoyed yourself?” He asked with a boyish grin, “What did you see?”
“Vernon Peverell…” She mumbled, still confused how one person could look so different in the picture compared to a memory.
Those uncorrelated faces of Vernon Peverell ended up haunting Ophelia for the next weeks. Nightmares transformed into dreams about Cerberus and Spinnard’s memories and not even those were correlated. Vernon Peverell was a man with many faces and she had no one to ask directly but Dumbledore.
That was how right after Transfiguration on Tuesday, she fled from the classroom as if she had done something. Potter raised an eyebrow and hummed to himself, nodding to Pettigrew and Longbottom. The two boys nodded right back and walked the same direction as Ophelia.
“Those two won’t be subtle.” Black mumbled, feeling like taking a nap.
“A sudden friendship between you and her is not believable.” Potter replied, turning towards the Great Hall, hungry and in mood to mess around. Also, he wouldn’t say no if a redhead would sit near him at the table.
“She doesn’t even speak to Peter. At least we fought before,”
Potter raised an eyebrow, smirking bemusedly at his friend, “D’you fancy her, Sirius?”
“No! Ew, no!” The dark haired boy exclaimed appalled, making Potter laugh loudly scaring a few nearby Ravenclaw girls.
Seeing two young and healthy boys stalk a equally young and healthy girl was quite disturbing in theory. In practice, the unnamed black kitten tilted its head to the side, confused yet curious how far they would go. They were Gryffindors based on their robes but not very good at keeping themselves covered in shadows.
“Isn’t this the way towards the headmaster’s office?” The bulkier one asked the thin one. The kitten couldn’t really bother with names since there were so many students in Hogwarts.
“Why would she go to the headmaster? Is she reporting the bullying herself?” The thin one asked back, no reply coming from the other one, “Maybe we should go back. It doesn’t look like any Slytherin is targeting her for the moment.”
The kitten’s eyes widened, those innocent blue eyes turning towards the headmaster’s office. Dumbledore was not in, he knew that much, so he might as well satisfy a little curiosity that he had ever since Cerberus arrived.
Thus, when Ophelia arrived in front of the gargoyle, the ‘butterbeer’ password didn’t work. She huffed and paced around for a few minutes before he tried another one. It didn’t work either.
The black kitten felt like chuckling, which came out more like a purr. He hurried in front of the gargoyle and with one swift look, the statue moved aside. Ophelia’s eyes widened and she started to look around but the kitten already entered.
When the witch opened the door to the office, she felt her heartbeats quicken. There wasn’t a reason to be nervous yet she couldn’t control her body, especially her heart. Actually, it wasn’t really nervousness as it was the feeling of anticipation.
But Dumbledore was not inside. Her eyes wandered every suspicious shelf and crest in the wall but it didn’t seem like he was hiding either.
“I thought children these days are smarter. Can’t you see Dumbledore is not in?”
A second year at Hogwarts and she should have expected that even portraits of older headmasters and headmistresses could speak.
“Are you not going to respond to me? At least show some respect and turn to look me in the eye!” The man continued, waking up other portraits as well.
“I’m sorry…” She had to squint in order to read his name, which was so small that she could barely make it up, “Phineas Nigellus Black. I’m sorry sir,” She added, looking up at the man.
“You! Have I seen you before?” The former headmaster asked, leaning slightly on his knee, “You look incredibly familiar. If only you wouldn’t be so-“ He scrunched his nose, stopping himself before saying something that would make the others complain.
“Now, Phineas, is that how you greet a student of Hogwarts?” Another portrait interfered, this one looking slightly older than the first.
Phineas’ portrait scoffed and kept a scowl for the rest of the time. Unfortunately, with the headmaster gone on duty, Ophelia didn’t have anyone to ask about Peverell. She turned towards the door, disappointed and with no expectations left until she met those same blue eyes, standing in front of the door as if telling her to stay.
“You again,” Ophelia mumbled walking towards the fur ball. She patted him fondly with a soft smile on her face, especially when the kitten purred in delight.
“Ha! How can you pat that. A man of his age, tsk!” Phineas added before being shushed by the rest.
Ophelia stopped her actions and and stared into those small eyes. The kitten meowed innocently and walked towards her, rubbing against her leg while purring happily. She heard Phineas mumble grumpily to himself as he walked away from his portrait, leaving behind only empty space.
“So, she went to see the headmaster and no one’s been following her?” Black asked suspiciously, not certain he should trust Longbottom and Pettigrew. The boys nodded and Black turned to Potter in confusion. “Maybe not the Slytherins are the problem? Maybe you overreacted, mate.”
“No. I’m sure something’s happening. I can feel it.” The glasses boy mumbled.
Unfortunately, once Ophelia’s face has been seen enter the Hall, the group spread and Remus moved aside for his house mate to sit in her usual spot. She didn’t seem troubled at all, if anything she was just herself.
But once Ophelia sat down, she could feel eyes boring into the back of her head. She only glanced a bit over her shoulder and noticed it wasn’t Malfoy but another boy that looked to be the same age. Down the table was Snape, sitting between Avery and Nott and looking... not as uncomfortable as Ophelia expected.
"So, badge, I was thinking maybe you could help Peter with something?" Potter started surprising both the subject and pretty much everyone around him.
Ophelia's eyes moved from him to the boy that looked around with big wide eyes. Compared to Potter, Pettigrew was shorter and slightly chubby with less bravery and need to affirm himself in the world. He was what Ophelia's father would see as a great asset to her friend group. There was nothing suspicious about him, overall.
"With what subject?" She asked in the end.
Potter's eyes brightened and a wide smile spread on his lips.
"I-maybe History of Magic?"
"More like DADA. You suck at it, mate," Black pitched in making the poor boy's blush deepen.
"That too..." Peter added, "But it's alright. You don't have to-" His eyes widened when he felt a sudden kick him under the table, "I mean I am in great need of tutoring on both of them." He changed his mind swallowing his pain silently.
"You know, I have been studying a lot these days."
Ophelia started on the way back to the common room. She was walking alongside her most peculiar acquaintance.
"I noticed," Black answered, surprised that she grabbed him aside and more or less forced him to walk beside her. "You have a surprisingly strong grip, I'll give you that."
Truthfully, the plan worked better inside her mind than it proved to work in reality. It was easy; after she heard the news about Potter's ways of interfering into her life, she wanted to speak to either Remus or Black to stop it. Black seemed to be the best choice at that point and she pulled him back, motivating Potter to walk with Remus and Pettigrew. Charlie Wood helped too when he started to talk about Quidditch.
"I want to ask you a favor."
"I didn't know we were such close friends," He whispered leaning towards her, "What do I get out of it?"
"Free time. I want you to stop Potter from getting more involved than he is in my school life. Even if Slytherins have been bullying me, it is my problem not his."
"So it is true then," Black trailed thinking carefully what he should reply, "He's not an easy lad to convince. I think I need more than free time for the effort I have to put in this."
"Fine. What do you want?" She asked ready to sacrifice a bit of her pride just to keep Potter away.
"I need a partner for certain assignments."
"Don't you have Potter for that?"
"He's my partner alright but not for what I've got in mind. I need your pretty handwriting and your owl for these assignments." He explained with a sly smile.
Whatever he was scheming it didn't seem too bad yet she could see in his eyes that she was walking on a minefield.
"Deal." She stated firmly, shaking his hand hoping Black won't throw her in bigger troubles than she had already.
Later that night, Ophelia sneaked out of the common room with her DADA book in hand. The library was empty during these late hours and she enjoyed it quite a bit. There was no perturbation and no glare to avoid. It was just her and her thoughts and of course, the homework.
She was copying every detail she could find about werewolves. It seemed that Spinnard wanted her to write an essay of five pages which was easy compared to other assignments on spells or even curses.
It must have been sometime during the last of her books that she heard whispers. At first she dismissed them as sounds made by the wind blowing through trees, especially that gigantic willow. But the whispers continued, faint but loud enough to grab her attention.
The witch put her quill down and took a long look around her: books and nothing else. It was dark but not enough for her to get scared. It was strange, that's what it was.
Feeling like she couldn't concentrate anymore with that noise, she got up and let herself be led by hearing only. Sensing that she might meet someone or something dangerous, she drew her wand out.
The whispers seemed to have vanished as she took a turn and light brightened from the tip of one's wand, blinding her. The anonymous person moved it aside and came closer to her so she could see him clearly.
Her green eyes widened in surprise but also in astonishment and a bit of fear. He was there standing tall and proud and he seemed different yet still the same. She didn't get the chance to think before she breathed out,
Chapter 25: Chapter 25
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"Dad?" He repeated, flinching slightly at the title.
"I mean, Tom. You're Tom." She rectified quickly in case she angered him.
From the looks of it, he didn’t seem to bother with names such as ‘father’ and ‘daughter’ so she internally decided she should call him by his name, now that she knew what it was.
"You have been studying by yourself so late at night for how long exactly?" Tom asked, walking past her towards the back of the library.
"A while. I might have pissed off a Prefect." Ophelia mumbled guiltily. "A Slytherin Prefect," She added, hearing a faint chuckle from the man in front of her.
"Lucius Malfoy, am I right?"
She looked up at him surprised that he could figure it out so quickly but nodded nonetheless.
"He is still young and inexperienced. He'll learn soon enough." Tom continued nonchalantly, as if he was discussing a distant relative.
“I don’t want to be rude or ungrateful but why are you here? And how?" She asked trying to sound as polite as possible.
Tom stopped and glanced at her over his shoulder, scaring her with the way he seemed to be glaring at her. Those eyes, narrowed in such a way that made her remember the first time they met; the intensity was different but they had the same effect on her.
"I am here on matters that little girls should not be curious of." He replied with a tinge of a scolding tone making a shudder go down her spine. He wasn't really intimidating nor did he act in any way that would scare her yet his simple presence was overwhelming.
"Then, how did you know I was here?"
"I heard rumors that you befriended Rabastan Lestrange," He changed the subject completely as he stopped in front of the Restricted area of the library.
"I wouldn't say we are friends. He's tutoring me in Potions." She mumbled, "He became very involved as of late. He actually works alongside and forces me to copy him more or less."
"Good. That means he plays his role well." Tom replied in the same monotonous manner that made her question if he really was interested in her life or not. Then, some tiny detail drew her attention to a particular reasoning.
"His role?" She asked looking up at him, "What do you mean? What is his role?"
The wizard didn’t even bother looking at her before he walked inside the Restricted Section with one clear purpose in his mind. Only a few minutes later, lost in between shelves of books did he respond,
“You will get better at Potions.” It sounded a lot like an order rather than an encouragement, “I would also like you to stop bowing your head in front of Luce."
"I'm not bowing my head. I just comply in order to survive."
"You shouldn't." He ordered her, this time staring into her eyes. For a moment, she looked just like Lillian but blinking once or twice, it shifted into a mix of both Gaunts. Or, rather than looking like Lillian, Ophelia seemed to grow into a true Slytherin heir with black hair and pale complexion. “You will not bow your head to anyone ever again. Not even in front of death.” He ended coldly.
"Because wizards like us have strong and old magic isn't it?"
It might have been naivety from her part but it annoyed the older man. In his ears it sounded very much like she was mocking him which in return should receive a punishment. But not yet, he couldn't. Tom needed her to trust him completely before doing anything that would give out his true personality.
"Again, I don’t want to be rude but are you a pureblood?" Ophelia asked innocently, waiting to finally know what she was in terms of society titles.
"You are daughter of two purebloods," Tom’s face brightened slightly as he established their rang, "We come from a long line of pureblooded wizards and so it shall remain. Do not stain our name, Ophelia."
"You, as me and Lillian, are direct descendants of Salazar Slytherin. Never forget your identity." He interfered, visibly boasting about their status yet firmly informing her of her boundary.
Ophelia’s green eyes widened as she heard those words echoing in her mind. The disappointment when she was placed in Gryffindor, the way she befriended a Slytherin so easily and the way she never felt threatened or ashamed when her house mates implied that she was acting like a snake; everything was finally falling into place.
"How do you know so much about me and my school life?"
Tom raised an eyebrow, not unpleased with the question but obviously not prepared to give detailed explanations to a little girl.
"I have always known. Unlike what you have been urged to believe, I had never stopped watching over you.”
If only his eyes wouldn’t have glinted so sinister while speaking, Ophelia might have fallen into his palms right away. But there was still a life that Dumbledore helped her create for herself and Ophelia wasn’t sure she wanted to give it up just yet.
Returning to the common room, she didn't look anywhere but her muddy shoes. Ophelia met him again; the man who showed her magic, the one who helped her when she was confused and he was her father. He reached out to her, finally, and it was so…she couldn’t find the right word to describe it.
Going up into her dormitory, it started to feel like she committed a sin. Dumbledore asked her to forget about her mother's death and her anonymous father but now, that was out of question.
Tom. That was his name; that was everything she knew about him actually. No, she also knew that he was good at Potions and he was a manipulative person. But was that all? She couldn't judge someone when that person never wronged her but instead gave her an aim in life. Tom was her father and even if she was grateful to Dumbledore, Ophelia really wanted to trust her father.
Next day was Wednesday which meant she had Occlumency lessons with Cerberus. She had to find a way to retain last night's memories and block him from coming near them. That was going to be a challenge.
"Oi, badge! You look happy today. Had a good dream last night?"Black asked as soon as they walked into the Great Hall.
"I did, yes." It did feel like a dream now.
"Maybe because you slept in a bed?"
Ophelia scoffed at the glasses boy and shrugged him off, turning to Pettigrew.
"Do you still need tutoring in History of Magic and DADA?"
Peter frowned confused until he remembered what it was about.
"I heard that Gethsemane Timothy from Ravenclaw is an excellent tutor. I can ask Cissney to introduce you, if you’re that desperate.” Ophelia continued, her gaze so strong that Pettigrew couldn’t refuse.
However, Potter was not that easily influenced; moreover when she was messing his plan of helping her. He scoffed loudly, his eyes narrowing at her from behind his round glasses.
"Too busy to help a mate, Molley?" Potter howled at her.
"Firstly, he’s not my mate thus I don’t have a reason to make myself available for him. But I am busy. Unlike you, I have to glance over my shoulder after every step I take in the corridors." She admitted with a smile on her face, surprising everyone.
"Blimey, have you eaten some rotten apple, Molley?"
She glowered at Potter’s offended face. He was a tough boy and very stubborn. Scowling, Ophelia turned her head towards the staff table and noticed not one but three pairs of eyes staring at her, more or less subtle. She could understand Dumbledore and Spinnard but McGonagall too?
She found out right after first period when a seventh year Gryffindor that she did not know told her she is needed in McGonagall's office.
"Got in trouble, Molley? Oi, James I think she wants to challenge us!" Black shouted.
"No, I don't." She grumbled, walking away from the optimistic boy.
As soon as she entered the office, she met the soft comforting smile of Albus Dumbledore. Ophelia has been there once before, when she caught a glimpse of Spinnard’s memories. Now, if only she could unsee everything, it would make her life easier.
"Please, take a seat." The headmaster invited her before he gave her jelly beans, "These are my favorite flavor." He whispered as if that was a secret.
"Why am I here, sir?"
"Something happened yesterday, am I right?"
Ophelia tensed slightly but not enough to be suspicious. She was standing with her legs closed tightly and her hands resting on her knees; very neat, just like Gloria taught her to sit in formal meetings.
"I have been informed that you came by my office while I was away." He continued, tilting his head slightly, carefully scanning her expression.
"Right. Yes, yes I did. I wanted to talk to you about someone; a man that appears in both professor Spinnard’s and professor Knowingall's memories." She started softly, forcing her mind to focus on anything but her father.
"A man?" Dumbledore asked, one raised eyebrow, almost looking captivated.
"Vernon Peverell," When she said that name she swore she saw Dumbledore's eyes brighten. "I saw him in professor Spinnard's memories and he looked fine; like any fifth year maybe. Then I saw him in a picture I found of him and Lillian. Again he looked alright but then...I had the chance to see him in professor Knowingall's memories of a Quidditch match. He looked different."
"What do you mean different?" The headmaster asked calmly. He did seem to extract some entertaining from her indignation with Peverell’s image.
"Older. Everything about him seemed older. Wasn't he in the same year as Lillian?"
Dumbledore was quick to note that the young witch has been calling her mother by her name the whole time.
"Peverell's story is more complicated than you imagine, Ophelia."
"Then make it easy for me to understand." She hissed, taking aback both herself and Dumbledore, "I'm sorry, sir."
She was uncovering bits of her past, that much was obvious. Her behavior was being either influenced by her father or someone else in her life. Was a student able to shake Ophelia from her shell from the first two years at Hogwarts? Or was it Spinnard’s curiosity that nudged Ophelia towards the past? Dumbledore wasn’t sure, he couldn’t see in Ophelia’s mind even if he wanted to because the little girl was being guarded.
"Vernon Peverell was one of the best students here at Hogwarts. He was in the same year as Luce and Cerberus." He finally responded, giving her enough for her to understand.
"And Tom." She added curtly remembering what she had seen.
"But how can that be? Professor Spinnard and Knowingall, they may look young but even from their memories I can see they are older than my mother." The brunette girl was growing confused.
In that moment, taking a close look at her, all guarded up in front of him, Dumbledore knew what he should do.
"That's because your mother was not born at that time."
That was not what she expected when she entered the office.
"Was my mother a Gryffindor?" She asked after a long sigh.
"Yes, she was."
"She doesn't appear in any memories of Spinnard's and Cerberus'. Then, when did she meet Peverell?" The girl continued her interrogation.
"Vernon returned to Hogwarts to teach flying lessons but instead, I offered him a delicate mission. You see, Lillian was a special witch and when she came to Hogwarts, I made her a promise. Vernon only helped keeping it.” The headmaster gave her a very ambiguous answer but it seemed to satisfy her; at least for now.
Silence filled the office, so thick that not even a knife could cut through it; not even Potter’s childish remarks could. A second year Gryffindor was being pulled in troubles bigger than Spinnard’s power abuse during DADA and Malfoy’s foolish revenge. Suddenly, Tom’s order to never bow her head in front of anyone made sense.
But Dumbledore was patient. He experienced the same intense silence in the past with Lillian, though at a different stage in life. The daughter was not as expressive as her mother so it was difficult to figure what she was thinking at the moment.
“Then, was Peverell even a true friend or was he just a pawn? Was their friendship real?” She finally asked, “And why is Peverell so young in the picture yet so messed up in Cerberus’ memory?”
“Oh, yes. Very much so. Your mother trusted Vernon even after she graduated. As of Cerberus, he might have slightly altered the memory. I wouldn’t be surprised if what you saw wasn’t just a sign of how much Cerberus has aged,” The headmaster joked, chuckling at his own humor in hope she will too. Surprisingly, Ophelia let herself smile before she gave a dramatically loud sigh and jumped on her feet.
“Thank you, sir. I mean, for sharing all these information with me. I am merely a second year now.”
There was something smelling rotten in the room. Dumbledore could sense it oozing off the girl in front of him. It was uncertain what her next move will be but the headmaster believed in the green eyed witch; he believed in her moral education given by a Scotland Yard detective and a lawyer.
As soon as she left McGonagall’s office, Ophelia hurried down the corridor towards the stairs. She stopped before taking any step up towards the Gryffindor Tower and felt something watery on her cheeks. There was no need for a mirror or a touch to know she started to cry. The pressure she’s been feeling was a burden, the burden called family. Her mother’s character became as questionable and mysterious as Tom’s and Ophelia was wondering which one she should believe. It was clear that Dumbledore has done nothing but interfere with her life and nudge her towards certain choices, most of them keeping her away from her real family.
As all these thoughts came swirling at her, the tears continued to spill out as if she was a waterfall. It was impossible to face anyone in such a state so she turned right and jumped on the stairs before they moved.
Being conflicted where to go and which parts of the castle to avoid, she ended up roaming around aimlessly. The silence surrounding the castle was not as comforting as she imagined; in contrary, it made her feel lonelier. As opposed to how she begun the year –happy and excited for what was to come- it took a slightly different direction. Thinking about it, Spinnard and Cerberus were former friends of Peverell’s and they all had met Tom at one point. Thus, having them at Hogwarts while she was there as well must have meant something.
Ophelia stopped and stared down at her shoes with her arms hanging loosely alongside her legs. It was never about Lillian or her safety, was it? It was about Tom. It’s always been about him but why? What has he done? It was so complicated and Dumbledore wasn’t making it any easier to understand.
“Are you sure you heard right?”
The sudden voice of an anonymous student shook her out of her thoughts and forced her to hide wherever she could. They were getting closer and Ophelia found one available space that seemed big enough for her to sneak in, right behind an armour.
“I told you, haven’t I? It’s been zooming around since dinner. It seems Lestrange and Malfoy fought over something or another. The rumour is that their families have been at each other’s throats these days.” One of the students informed his friend. They were far older than Ophelia, probably sixth years, but it was impossible to see which house they were from.
“Ha, families like theirs never stop being at each other’s throats.”
“True. But it seems Malfoy has created this group with the rest and they’re trying to teach young Slytherins the dark arts.”
“What does professor Slughorn say about that?”
“Nothing. If Dumbledore doesn’t know then I hardly believe Slughorn does. Besides, he wouldn’t care. It’s pureblooded families we’re talking about. Who would dare go against Lestrange and Malfoy?”
Those were the last words she heard as the two boys got too far for her to hear any more. Who would dare go against pureblooded families, especially Lestrange and Malfoy?
“You’re late, which I would let pass if you were the kind to be late for something.”
Cerberus was a surprisingly sharp person for how laid back he seemed. He has been her professor for a few months already and truthfully, Ophelia never arrived late.
“I had a wonderful chat with the headmaster,” She started, trying to sound normal.
“Right,” Cerberus narrowed his eyes at her, suspicious of the way she was standing there, “What was it about?”
“Why don’t you try and find out?”
That question wasn’t suspicious per say but the way her eyes glinted while she taunted him sent a chill down his spine. The dark haired man grasped his wand and murmered Legilimens! before venturing inside her mind.
The memory he entered was the nearest, as if Ophelia was granting him access to a secret inside it.
Cerberus found himself in Lillian’s house in Ireland, one that he only heard about from Peverell but never visited. It was incredibly cold, so much that he could see his breathing in the air. It was also very messy, as if someone has come and thrashed the place in hopes they could find something valuable to trade. The wood was old and cracking under his feet, making noise whenever he’d take a step.
Cerberus’ head snapped towards the stairs when he heard someone running up. He didn’t think twice and rushed after the noise, keeping his wand close for defense purposes. He was in a memory but it was so clear that he could swear it was real.
Once upstairs, he turned towards the right end of the hallway and breathed out, anticipation growing in his senses. One step; he took only one step and froze in fear. Whatever Cerberus felt before heightened to the point he was shuddering from every bone, grasping his wand yet not able to move his legs.
The door at the end of the hallway opened slowly, cracking as in muggle horror stories. Whatever was inside was inviting him, luring him using curiosity as a main factor. Cerberus was known to be too curious for his own safety –afterall, that’s how Dumbledore brought him to teach Ophelia- and with a sudden surge of adrenaline, he moved. Each steps closer to the door felt like he was getting closer to death. His heartbeats quickened and mouth drained; blood was pumping incredibly fast through his body thus adrenaline heightening making him walk faster. But once facing the door, he realized there was nothing inside.
Cerberus turned faster than he imagined possible, his wand ready to attack the intruder.
“Who are you?” He asked seeing how the little girl that appeared was clearly not Ophelia, “You scared the living deads out of me.” He added jokingly.
“Am I scary, mister?” The girl asked, her eyes widening, “Am I?” She repeated as she took slow steps towards him, “Am I a monster, sir?”
“Of-Of course not. Just, who are you?” Cerberus was confused.
The girl had the same green eyes as Ophelia but that bright red hair was definitely not hers. Then…
“Could you be Lillian?” Cerberus asked finally placing the pieces together. His eyes widened when the girl nodded and opened her mouth but no sound came. “How-What’s happening here?”
The girl, little Lillian, narrowed her eyes at the intruder making her look possessed. She screamed in agony before she fell dead on the ground. Cerberus hurried to her side but once he bent next to her, Lillian’s eyes opened and she grabbed his face before she whispered,
The door slammed open and Spinnard rushed inside followed by Dumbledore and Slughorn.
“Tend to Mister Knowingall, Horace. He needs medical attention as soon as possible,” Dumbledore told Slughorn who in return seemed frozen in place, “Horace,” Dumbledore repeated, finally grabbing his attention.
“Right, right. I’m on my way.”
Ophelia watched the animagus squirm on the ground in pain, having just been hit with a deadly curse. She didn’t know how it happened or what caused the shift in her memories.
“I see the snake has finally surfaced,” Spinnard grumbled in that personalized superior manner of his.
He was visibly judging her and he had every right to do so because Ophelia just attacked Cerberus Knowingall with the Cruciatus Curse and from the looks of it, there was no regret.
“I believe we can all agree that I was right and this time, you were wrong Dumbledore!” Spinnard yelled in delight as soon as they retreated for an urgent meeting in the headmaster’s office.
“It is not yet sure what happened in that classroom. I would like to-“
“It’s clear what happened. He entered her mind and she repelled him in the most unnecessary way! And you know why! It’s Tom.”
“Calm down, Spinnard. We don’t know that for sure. We can’t speculate on a little girl’s memories.” McGonagall interfered, glaring at her former student.
“You’re lying to yourselves! Tom has always been one step ahead and even if he hasn’t manipulated her yet, it will happen. We cannot change the facts: Tom is her father.” Spinnard spat out in anger. “I’m done with this charade. Coming here was a mistake and I intend to repair it. Knowingall will leave too. He only came back out of sense of justice for his former captain.”
It was all true and Dumbledore realized that from the moment he entered that classroom and saw Ophelia’s eyes. She was more like her father than any of them foresaw and it was troubling. Dumbledore shifted his attention on the black kitten that’s been lying on his desk with his eyes closed and sighed. From the looks of it, they were losing an important asset in the favor of family bonds.
“Psst! Pssssst! Psssssssst!”
Ophelia scratched her forehead, annoyed that even though everyone was sleeping, he was still awake.
“What, Black?” She hissed over her shoulder at the annoying student.
“We had a deal, remember?” He sounded incredibly pleased with himself which in return made her feeling even more annoyed, "It's time you do me the favor, partner."
Ophelia narrowed her eyes at the boy before she turned back to her notes. If only what she was writing about was the subject professor Binns was grumbling...
That day was slow, maybe because it was Thursday, which meant Friday was next with Potions and DADA. A majority of the unfortunate news that she found out have happened in three days.
Potions meant she had to partner up with either Remus or Snape because girls were too perceptive when working together. But she still had time to think who she should partner up with after all that effort from Rabastan.
Now that his name came across her mind, she remembered that rumor about Malfoy and Lestrange having a fight. When asked about his older brother, Rabastan sounded indifferent. It wasn't cold but it had the same tint as Tom when she asked him what business he had at Hogwarts.
Only thinking about the mysterious man and she took a glance at the people passing by. Halls were dangerous now with what she did to Cerberus.
"I wish it was Spinnard, though," She mumbled out loud.
It so happened that during the walk towards the common room, she saw Severus helping Lily carry some books up the marble stairs. It wasn't jealousy or disappointment or anything bad but it felt just like in the orphanage: no one would look twice at her if they didn't have any interest to obtain from their relationship.
"Move aside, mudblood,"
It was the most uncommon way in which she shrugged the memories off. It wasn't a surprise when she looked up at the one that just pushed her aside so rudely.
"Hey, Malfoy! Wait!"
Ophelia didn't know what came over her but she followed the Slytherin up the stairs even if he very visibly wanted to get rid of her.
"Wait I need to ask you something!" She shouted after him which turned a few curious heads.
Seeing how the only way to shut her up was actually letting her speak, Malfoy stopped and glared down at the second year.
"Do you miss the special treatment, Molley?" He asked with a scowl.
The girl frowned, not quite understanding what he meant.
"I want you to teach me dark arts too." She replied boldly.
Malfoy stared at her with the same expression, her words registering slowly in his mind. Those cold eyes widened when he realized what she asked in an open hallway and quickly grabbed her harshly by her arm.
The blond dragged her down the corridor from the first floor and stopped when he was sure there was no one around
"Are you an idiot?! What bullocks are you spreading around the castle?!" The prefect lashed out, "Do you want me to take every single point from Gryffindor and turn the whole castle- no, the whole wizarding world against you?!"
"My parents are muggles. It wouldn't affect me that much."
Those words were incredibly bold coming from someone who felt like Hogwarts was home just a few days ago. Circumstances definitely changed and she had got the urge to practice what she wrote about for Spinnard's stupid lessons.
"I heard you are practicing the dark arts with a few others. I also heard about you and Lestrange. He's still pissed about that stone, isn't he?"
All those facts coming out her mouth were so true that it left Malfoy with only an expression of astonishment.
"You play stupid often, don't you? It seems it pays off well in the end." The blond retorted after finally remembering what position he was in at home. "The stone doesn't interest me anymore. Now keep your mouth shut if you don't want me to practice on you."
"Do it." Ophelia said quickly before he could leave, "Practice on me. I won't run or hide and I won't tell anyone about your group. I'm good at keeping secrets."
"It's not a secret. Everyone involved has made it clear that they want to follow his path." Malfoy answered over his shoulder before he left in a hurry.
Now, what was he even talking about?
Just like for the past three days, Ophelia missed half of the dinner feast and arrived so late that she only found Black at the table.
"Finally! We've got a lot of work, Molley!" He shouted loudly, not caring who could hear.
"What exactly do you want me to do?" She asked in a meek tone as she sat next to him. There were a few parchments in front of him as well as a quill.
"Where is the best place to write and not have anyone look over your shoulder?" He asked leaning towards her as if suddenly it became a secret.
"The library. There is a spot that no one approaches."
"You want me to sit on a cursed bench at a cursed desk? Want me to lose my charm or something?"
There wasn't much Ophelia knew about Black but seeing him so appalled made her feel pleased. He was usually full of energy and mischievousness, by his most perfect companion Potter's side. It never occurred to her that he would be the type to listen to rumors.
"You can stand and look over my shoulder if it makes you feel safer." She answered while sitting down and spreading the parchments around.
The boy sat in the next second across her with new found bravery. Ophelia chuckled but for her own gain, she didn't tease him. It was better to have him focus rather than ramble.
"What do you want me to do?"
Black bit his lip, thinking closely what exactly he wanted to convey. In the end, he looked up at her with deep black eyes and shrugged.
"What would you write to the person you hate the most?" He asked as he leaned back, growing comfortable.
"You want me to write something for Spinnard?"
Just like Potter, Sirius needed a moment to fully understand she could loosen up before he laughed. It was loud yet not as distinctive as Potter's, thankfully.
"Anyway, you want me to write a message to a person that you hate? Can't you just use Potter for the naughty job?"
It was obvious she was being serious yet Sirius laughed again, taking his sweet time to enjoy this rare moment.
"Yes, I want exactly that. Write a few words, in an elegant handwriting, for someone who is more despicable than Spinnard." Sirius finally gave her a real answer and a reason. "Make it so that the receiver of this letter will scream in anger and remember it for a few days." He continued, his voice and expression changing to 180 degrees.
Ophelia agreed without pestering him with more questions. However, when she took the quill and placed it on the parchment, she blocked. Everything she could hear resonating in her mind was the sentence that came from her father.
When Sirius peeked at what she was writing, he didn't expect her to literally pour her hatred in the letter. His eyes moved up on her face wondering just how much anger she was hiding behind that poker face.
It's my turn now.
"The address?" She asked after she folded it neatly.
"12 Grimmauld Place, Islington, London, England." He informed her, watching as she wrote it down.
"Whose address is it?"
It was just a more elegant way to ask who did she just piss off.
That Thursday proved to be so eventful.
Chapter 26: Chapter 26
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“Do you want to send it with my owl?” Ophelia asked after they finished writing and folding the letter. Sirius was walking alongside her and had a shock for a moment.
“Aren’t you being suspiciously nice today, Molley?” He asked her with a smirk playing at the corner of his lips. It was a joke for him, he only wanted to tease her but she actually tensed. “You don’t have to take it seriously, badge. Relax for Merlin’s beard, it was just a joke.” He added quickly when he saw her posture.
“I’ll give it to Willy and he’ll probably deliver it correctly.” She answered to her question in his place just to change the atmosphere.
“What do you mean probably? Doesn’t he send any of your letters to the right people?”
Ophelia bit her lip, containing the bemused smile that was widening on her face. Seeing her eyes scrunch a bit as if she wanted to sneeze, he tilted his head to the side in curiosity.
“Are you laughing at me, Molley?” He asked with a tint of amusement.
“No,” But anyone could see the smile widening more and more until she couldn’t contain it anymore. “You’re being nice to me too.”
Black felt like laughing and scoffing at the same time, “Is that reason enough to make you smile so happily?”
The brunette witch nodded, feeling relieved for having him there to change her mind off what happened earlier that day.
“If you want to know, I never wanted to make you believe that I hate you or something.” Sirius added as assurance, maybe for him more than for her. It seemed a lot of their colleagues had the impression they weren’t on good terms.
“I know. I’m sorry for being such a sour grape every time.”
“See?! Why are you making me look like the bad guy again?” He whined making her cover her chuckle in case someone could see. “Come on, Molley. We’re going to be partners for a while so better keep your attitude for the letters.”
“Is the letter for your parents? Or maybe a sibling?” She asked curiously, her eyes widening a bit making her look exactly like Potter characterized her before.
“You’re suddenly very talkative, aren’t you?” He teased but her response was an innocent shrug, “It’s for my mum. She will probably send a howler in a few days, scolding me in front of the whole school. Look forward to that, Molley. It’s going to be a real show.”
The grim expression on his face and the ironic words were light compared to how much anger he had inside his heart.
“Are your parents purebloods?” She continued her questioning nonetheless.
“Yes, they are. My family is really bad, Molley. Almost every member was sorted in Slytherin for centuries. I’m the exception; a Black in Gryffindor,” Even he started to chuckle at the irony of fate, “I’m not complaining, though. It gives my mother another reason to hate me.”
Silence filled the space between them as Sirius’ stopped talking and Ophelia didn’t bother comforting him in any way. Each had their own lives and own burdens and they had to confront their families by themselves.
They were close to the Fat Lady portrait when Ophelia remembered something he said that she was confused about.
“What is a howler?”
Black laughed loudly, waking up the Lady. Even after they entered the common room Sirius was still laughing which confused Ophelia even more.
Next day bright and early, the Gryffindors had Potions with Slytherins. Usually the lessons go smoothly granted to the amount of energy and concentration they had to put into their potions. However, it seemed Slughorn had a great revelation last night and came up with a dreadful idea.
“I want each Gryffindor to pair up with a Slytherin for this next assignment. Now, now don’t look so grim, I’m sure we’re an even number and-“
“Professor, I don’t think that’s a good idea. We hate each other, remember?” Black interfered, more annoyed than every Gryffindor together.
“Don’t worry Black. We’ll make you feel like you’re one of us, just to have what to tell your mother when you get home for Christmas.” Mulciber stated with a smirk, having the others chuckle behind him.
Professor Slughorn seemed confused as he tried to stutter some words out.
“I don’t have to. I’m sure you’re sending your mother a report every day, just in case you need my parents’ help since their name weights more than yours ever will.” Black yelled back, both boys glaring at each other as if they could duel only with their minds.
“Don’t get cocky, Black. You never know who’s going to pair up with you and what can happen afterwards.”
“Mate, you’re being a twat at the moment. Are you genuinely searching for a fight in the middle of the class?” Potter interfered, taking his friend’s side.
Mulciber was growing red in the face with the amount of anger he was feeling and from the looks of it, every Slytherin was getting fired up as they all moved their hands towards their wands.
“Um-professor maybe you should reconsider this pairing assignment.” Remus tried to reason with Slughorn but it was already too late.
Ophelia only had time to hear Nott calling the girls mudbloods before Potter drew his wand out and pointed it at the Slytherin.
“Say that one. more. time.” Potter hissed at the dark haired pureblood but Nott seemed extremely pleased.
“Or what? You don’t know any curses do you?”
But Sirius did and he didn’t think twice before attacking Nott. It was quite a mess from that moment on as more Slytherins combated the Gryffindors and vice-versa. Ophelia moved aside before she could get in between the two sides but professor Slughorn was speechless. His eyes were watching his students in shock until he decided he should have an input.
“Let’s calm down, now. There’s no need for-“ He stopped, freezing from head to toe and falling back like a statue.
Both sides stopped as well and hurried around the professor. Well, Gryffindors did because Slytherins seemed incredibly pleased with themselves.
“Look what you did now, Black. Stunned a professor and attacked a fellow classmate. Let’s see how your dear mother will react to that.” Mulciber spat out with one eyebrow raised and arms folded in front of his chest as if he won the cup.
Unluckily, lunch was spent together in McGonagall’s office. Her disappointed gaze fell over every student, making them all feel sorry for the commotion. Well, maybe not all of them.
“What were you thinking, Black?” She hissed, looking angrier than ever before.
“I can explain it, professor. You see, I-“
“No, you can’t explain it, Black. You stunned a professor! What were all of you thinking?!”
Yes, McGonagall was very angry with each and every of her student. Ophelia noticed Potter struggling to keep his mouth shut as he seemed to be the only student who didn’t find their scolding fair.
“Excuse me, professor, but Mulciber and Nott have said some nasty comments about Black’s family. I think that-“
“No need to explain anything to me, Littlewood.” Cissney was shut up instantly and she cowered to Lily’s side, afraid to mutter another word.
McGonagall sighed and turned her back towards them, probably trying to calm herself down before facing them again.
“If you are taunted you do not, and I repeat, do not taunt back and do not attack. You come to me and we resolve your problems in a silent manner. You should learn how to behave yourself, even when dared to react. Am I clear?”
The room zoomed with responses along the line of Yes, professor but Potter and Black were still not ready to comply when they have been the ones attacked, especially Black.
“Potter, Black, have I made myself clear?” Professor McGonagall asked once again, her heavy gaze boring into their heads.
“But profess-“ Potter stopped when she threw him an intimidating look, “Yes. Understood.”
“Then, all of you will get detention with professor Spinnard every- don’t complain when you have brought it over yourselves- every Saturday afternoon until the beginning of the new term.” A wave of complains ensued once again but McGonagall silenced them all when she turned to Black, “You, Mr. Black, will get detention with me every Monday and Friday after classes, will also have to write an apology for your unacceptable behavior and I’m sorry but I’ll have to take 50 points from Gryffindor.” Another wave of complains filled the room as Sirius was made into a black sheep.
It was over and everyone could leave, hopeful that Slytherin got the same amount of detention and lost points. Sirius hurried out of the office with Potter following closely and Pettigrew somewhere in the back.
“That’s what happens when you ask for Gryffindors and Slytherins to pair up…” mumbled Cissney once they left the area nearby McGonagall’s office. With that harsh scolding, Cissney was like a little lamb searching for comfort around her dorm mates.
“I believe Black overreacted a bit. I mean, we have seen how far Slytherins can go when they bullied Remus and Ophelia.” Alice interfered with her opinion, now that she could.
“I think professor McGonagall is right. She seemed shaken up too since she is the head of our house.” Lily added as they walked towards the DADA classroom, “I can’t believe that we all got detention with professor Spinnard.” Finally there was a motif for everyone to agree on.
“Don’t remind me. I have a sour taste in my mouth every time I hear his name.” Cissney moaned, “I can’t believe we have DADA now. Spinnard will glare at us and mock us, I’m sure.”
“I doubt that.” Ophelia assured her dorm mates, “I’m sure he has bigger problems than us. But he will definitely say something that will piss Black off.”
“Poor Sirius. I can’t believe Mulciber and Nott know so much about his family.”Alice added in a meek tone.
“Don’t you know? The Black family is known for creating dark wizards. I was surprised when Sirius was sorted in Gryffindor but I heard his younger brother is keeping the family tradition and has been sorted in Slytherin. He’s a first year.” Cissney informed the girls, always up to date with everything happening at Hogwarts.
“I swear, you will do a great journalist in the future. You should apply for the Daily Mail as soon as you graduate.” Lily said jokingly which finally moved the subject on lighter matters.
Just like Ophelia guessed, Spinnard entered the classroom with a scowl and placed his books on the desk before facing them and leaning against the wooden edge.
“Congratulations! From tomorrow we will see each other a lot more. Isn’t that just wonderful?” His sarcasm was bringing more dread over the students, “I’m sure McGonagall scolded you enough but we all know you will do it again if the chance arises. That is why I would like to begin today’s lesson with a subject I find useful: dueling.”
Students started to whisper from the back of the class up to the front.
“Everyone, get up!” He ordered, every student rising warily next to their desks, “Let’s move everything aside and begin our lesson.” As soon as he finished his sentence, the desks were pushed in the back, one of them blocking the door. Students swallowed nervously when they noticed they had no way out.
“Is this his way of punishing us?” Longbottom asked Ophelia since they were standing next to each other.
“No. I think he’s genuine this time.” She whispered back, as confused as the rest.
“During this class we will use the Disarming Charm, Petrificus Totalus, curse that Black here seems to have mastered already and the Banishing Charm. I want you to pair up and face your partner.” As soon as he gave the orders, everyone paired based on friendships.
Ophelia was ready to ask Remus when Pettigrew got to him quicker than a mouse in its hole. There were more people she could choose from but Spinnard pulled her in front of him.
“Let’s start, shall we?” Spinnard’s smiling face sent a chill down Ophelia’s back. He planned such a fun lesson because he wanted to teach her a lesson for sending Cerberus in the Hospital Wing.
Before literally hitting each other with charms and curses, Spinnard was smart enough to teach them the gestures and spelling properly. But once that was done, the blue eyed professor smirked wickedly at his partner as if taunting her to disarm him.
“Expelliarmus!” Black shouted before anyone else, easily disarming the glasses boy. “Piece of cake,” He bloated as he threw the wand back to its owner.
Spinnard rolled his eyes before he turned to Ophelia expectantly. A duel meant both wizards had to engage into throwing and avoiding curses and spells at each other which none of his students were doing. The professor sighed and decided he should make an example out of Ophelia.
“Depulso!” He yelled.
The charm hit her straight in the chest and threw her against the wall. It hurt a lot more than she expected and the whole class stopped to gape at how a professor just went against everything McGonagall said before.
“When you are attacked, you need to react right away. You may be each other’s practice partners in here but outside this castle, you’re on your own.” Spinnard adviced them, taking everyone by surprise with how serious he was being.
By the end of the lesson Ophelia was the only student that knew how a duel felt like. She could still hear Spinnard’s voice echoing through her head Depulso! Expelliarmus! She most definitely heard Stupefy at some point but it was faint.
“That was the best DADA class we’ve ever had! Spinnard should dothis more often!” Pettigrew and Longbottom were suspiciously happy compared to how poorly they did during class.
“He’s teaching us really easy stuff. I know that already.” Black whined childishly while leaning against Potter.
“Just wait. I’m sure he’ll teach us more during detention.” Potter added jokingly but everyone else froze.
“What if he’ll duel us every Saturday and this was only practice?” Cissney asked around scared of what could happen.
No one said a word about it afterwards but at dinner Ophelia saw more than half of the class practicing with bowls and cups.
With dinner finished and most Gryffindors going into the common room, Ophelia sneaked away from her group towards the hospital wing. She was hiding in the corridor towards the kitchen when someone touched her arm, scaring her.
“Are you alright? Lily told me you have been dueling at DADA today.” He asked as if he was asking about the weather.
“She said your partner was professor Spinnard. Last time I checked, he hated you.”
Ophelia’s eyebrow twitched at the sudden interest that her friend was showing, interest that had nothing to do with Potions.
“It’s fine.” She replied but the boy wasn’t convinced.
“It’s not fine,” He stated firmly as he grabbed her wrist and pulled up her sleeve. “You should tell Dumbledore about it.”
“We’re not on good terms.”
Ophelia pushed Severus away lightly and pulled her sleeve down before she took a peek into the hall. Only few students were around and it looked like everyone from her house was spread through the castle. She could easily sneak to see Cerberus and hopefully no one else was there.
“How can you be on bad terms with the headmaster?”
“What stuff?” He asked, taking a step closer, “What stuff?” He asked again.
“He lied to me, alright? He lied to me about my mother, my father and who knows what else.”
There was a pause in which Severus remembered their first year when he witnessed her acting out of character.
“Did you meet your father by any chance?” Severus asked without thinking twice.
Ophelia turned towards her friend very slowly, her attention fully focused on the greasy haired boy. He swallowed nervously, remembering how that wasn’t his business yet curiosity has gotten the best of him.
“What if I did?”
Her response shocked him. He was expecting her to ask how he knew about that or what he meant by that but in return he actually got an honest answer.
“Where are we going?” Severus asked, keeping up with Ophelia’s pace.
“I am going to the bathroom.” She answered coldly.
“No, you’re not.”
Ophelia sighed and stopped in the middle of the corridor, throwing some nasty glances at the pale boy behind her. He was asking a lot of questions and was meddling in, which he very firmly hated when the subject was his life.
“You’re very persistent, aren’t you?” She mumbled grumpily. “I’m going to visit someone in the hospital wing.”
“Who? A student?” He asked quickly, his eyes widening in curiosity as he walked closer to her.
“It’s not someone you know. It’s-“
“Professor Slughorn?” Severus asked, leaning twards her, “He’s fine. He’s there only to rest but he’s perfectly capable to teach.”
“I don’t care about him. I mean, I already got my punishment for what happened. Every Saturday afternoon Grffindors will have detention with Spinnard.” She added, feeling angry at the thought.
“Don’t you have tutoring with Rabastan then?”
Ophelia’s eyes widened, remembering that Rabastan’s tutoring was usually Saturday but there wasn’t a designated time for it; he’d just tell her at breakfast or a day before when to meet.
“I’ll manage somehow.” She answered in the end, conitnuing her way to the hospital, “How come you’re not studying with Lily?” The girl asked when she realized Severus was not going to budge from following her.
“When did you meet your father?” He asked back, getting a second nasty look from her, “We have talked about him before. Why not now?”
“Because he’s- I don’t know how to explain. He’s just different from everyone here.”
Severus tilted his head to the side, mostly to see her better since he was walking a step behind her, and scanned her expression.
“Does he scare you?” The boy asked making the girl stop midstep.
“Why would he scare me? He’s my father.”
“You said you aren’t on good terms with the headmaster. Is that because of your father?”
Ophelia’s expression fell to the point it became blank. It was difficult to know what she was thinking about, times when Severus would have liked to catch a glimpse of what’s in her head. While the young pale boy wanted her to lash at him and tell him everything sincerely, she didn’t. Ophelia scoffed and went back to walking towards the hospital without a word exchanged.
When the door to the hospital opened with a creak, Cerberus’ head snapped towards it expectantly. His eyes were glistening while the rest of his body looked like it needed a bit more time to recover. When he didn’t see anyone entering for the first few seconds, his eyes lowered to the floor but there was no kitten. Instead, he saw the muddy shoes of the girl who sent him to the hospital, followed closely by a pair of mediocre muggle shoes of a boy. Cerberus’ eyes shifted on his hands before he sighed and looked at Ophelia’s green eyes.
“I thought you’d never visit me.” He started, planting a forced smile while his eyes darkened.
It was obvious for everyone, including Severus, that the man standing on the bed was not very happy to see the brunette witch but he wasn’t displeased by it either. He was simply not in the mood to see her or speak to her or any other student for that matter. When Cerberus’ eyes moved on the Slytherin, the darkness seemed to have faded a bit but he still didn’t look content.
“I’m sorry.” Ophelia begun when the man on the bed didn’t speak a word, “You have taught me a lot and I repaid your kindness with a bad memory.” She added, fidgeting nervously.
Cerberus stared at her silently for a few minutes before he patted the space on the bed, for her to move and sit closer to him. Ophelia looked at the spot in confusion until Severus nudged her.
“He wants you to sit there.” He whispered.
“Right.” She mumbled quickly, having no idea what to do in such matters.
Once she sat closer to Cerberus, he stared into her eyes -straight into her eyes which was a bit weird, even for Severus- and finally opened his mouth.
“I should be the one apologizing, Ophelia. I lied to you. I had never met your mother in Hogwarts and everything I know is from Peverell. I don’t know what kind of person was Lillian but I know for sure that Vernon treasured her.” The man explained, completely ignoring Snape’s presence.
“Aren’t you basing your opinions on someone else’s words? What if he lied?” Severus pitched in, making Ophelia smile unconsciously at his wittiness.
“Vernon Peverell never lied a day in his life. He was foolishly sincere.” Cerberus affirmed, glaring at the Slytherin before returning his attention to Ophelia, “He never lied to me, to his friends and especially to your mother.”
“How can you be so sure of it? When mom met him, he wasn’t a student anymore. He approached her on Dumbledore’s orders.”
Severus’ eyes widened but tried to keep himself silent and still. His opinions didn’t seem to be welcomed by the older man so he should keep them for himself while in there.
“He loved her. Vernon was a charming boy and being sorted into Gryffindor, he took every characteristic of the house. He was a true Gryffindor and he never fought with anyone from any house. You can ask Spinnard about that since they were good friends.”
“What about Tom then?”
Both Cerberus and Severus frowned, for different reasons though. While Cerberus seemed more mature and informed, Severus witnessed Ophelia’s sudden burst of anger and it was memorable.
“Vernon and Tom, there was competitiveness between them but only because of their houses. They respected each other and that’s all. Vernon was very good at certain subjects while Tom was good at other subjects.”
“You mean they were top students and never came in contact? Doesn’t that mean they were avoiding each other as much as possible?” Severus interfered again, cowering a bit under Cerberus’ intense gaze. “I-I’m just wondering, that’s all.”
“Tom Riddle was a peculiar character. Slytherins these days are pretty much the same as before but none is close to how he was. There was something about him, about the way he seemed so perfect. He was a top student, professors loved him and students admired him. Too perfect.”
“Peverell was just the same, wasn’t he? Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, good at studying, charming, brave and handsome. It sounds like they could have been very good friends.” Ophelia added, knowing everything from Cerberus’ memories.
“Vernon was nonchalant. Life was this gift that he wanted to fully experience. If I were to give my honest opinion, I’d say your classmates are just like him. They want to enjoy their lives not just live because they have to.”
Saying those words, his eyes fell over the Slytherin which surprised the greasy haired boy in a negative way. There was no need for a second thought because Severus already took a dislike in the former Gryffindor.
“There are two sides of the same coin. Vernon was one side and Tom was the other.” Cerberus added. “It’s impossible to compare them but it’s also impossible to put them together.”
“Is that why he treasured Lillian? Because of her relationship with Tom? You said it yourself, they were different sides of the same coin.”
Cerberus tensed but had no response to her question.
“Before your mother died, a day or two before, I received a letter from Vernon. Everyone whom he trusted received one and the message was the same for everyone: keep her safe. That’s why I accepted to come and teach you Occlumency.”
“Is that why Spinnard is here as well?” She asked, ignoring Severus’ surprised face when he heard what Cerberus has been teaching her.
“Luce is complicated.”
“Yeah, you can say that again.” She murmured scratching her hand.
It was annoying how everyone who knew something wasn’t giving her exact answers. It was always about others and others but never about Lillian.
As soon as Ophelia left the hospital, Severus grabbed her wrist and pulled her aside. He glanced around before he turned to her with curiosity in his eyes.
“He taught you Occlumency?” He asked what he was interested in, “Why didn’t you tell me about it?” He hissed.
“Legilimency too.” She added knowing he’d be envious, "I'd appreciate if you could keep what you heard for yourself. Even better, forget it."
"I won't talk about it but I won't forget either. That man came here out of loyalty for his team captain. He's honoring Peverell's memory and-"
"Forget about it. I don't care about Peverell and it seems everyone that knows something about mum include this perfect character. I should just ask dad." She mumbled, turning around and leaving the boy alone.
Severus didn't follow her and didn't persist with questions. He knew she will come to him if there was something bugging her. Unfortunately, curiosity was hard to maintain and that man, Cerberus, he threw a lot of information at him. Ophelia's family life was very mysterious and it didn't look like she was minding that; instead, Ophelia was gaining this wicked pleasure out of her mother's murder and father's complicated past.
Walking back to the dungeons, he felt a shiver down his spine coming from the change in temperature. Winter was close by and the walls were getting colder.
"I am disappointed, brother. You, out of everyone should know better than waste time on mudbloods."
That sounded awfully familiar. Severus slowed down, his first reason being to hide his presence until the two Lestranges would leave. Secondly, he did want to hear what they were fighting about. Even in the Slytherin common room, the rumors about Rodolphus and Lucius were zooming at incredible speed.
"I am not wasting my time. You will see in the near future that I did it with a purpose. When that time comes, you will be the one cornered by your insufferable ignorance." Rabastan hissed at his older brother.
Severus took one step forward and leaned against the wall. It was good that he could hide in the shadows without trying too much.
"You can't tutor that mudblood anymore, Rabastan. I forbid you and I will tell dad about it."
That sounded awfully like something that half of the Slytherin house said on many ocassions. With families like theirs, every pureblood had a back up in their fathers. Unfortunately, Severus did not.
"You'll leave soon and won't have to bother with me anymore." Rabastan answered, defying his brother.
"Your decision will bring along harsh consequences, brother. Father will be very angry. We don't need disappointment in our family."
Those were Rodolphus' final words before he left. He probably went in the common room because he didn't pass by Severus' hiding place. On the other side, Rabastan did. He took a few steps towards him before he raised his eyes and stared at the second year.
"I-I wasn't-Just-" Severus stuttered unsure what Rabastan would do to him.
"If I were to be my brother, you should have been scared. But I'm not Rodolphus." His tone didn't help his affirmation much, "There are minor problems that my older brother seems to be keen on making. I may not be available for tutoring so you better do it instead."
Severus frowned. That was not what he expected to hear from the pureblood.
"You mean, tutoring Ophelia? Why does it matter who tutors her? A Ravenclaw would be just as good." Severus asked genuinely confused.
"Are you questioning my motives?"
Severus shook his head slowly seeing how Rabastan's eyes darkened dangerously.
"So it is true that you volunteered to help her. Why?" Severus couldn't help but question him.
"Help her with Potions and only Potions. Nothing else." Rabastan stated before he walked towards the stairs.
Was it him or did Rabastan just more or less ordered Severus to do his deed?