Chapter 1 : Prologue.
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‘And here's the love of my life,’ he said.
I motioned to turn around as I recognized the voice. I’d recognize it anywhere. I shut my eyes briefly, collecting all thoughts swimming around in my head. The mask of indifference was back. Slowly, daringly, I turned around to witness yet again the only person that made me hold my breath. His tall, broad frame; his tanned skin from playing Quidditch for hours in the summer haze; his biceps as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall; his dark thick fringe that fell over that pair of hazel eyes; I drank in his presence, all at once.
I took a brief moment before replying, a smirk playing at my lips to match his.
‘And here's the dirt beneath my feet.’
Turning back on my heel, I walked away, leaving him in the wake of another one of my insults, yet another show for the spectators gathered around us, earning me wolf-whistles from the boys and green envy from the girls. Some Slytherins sniggered, some Gryffindors laughed.
Yet another show.
He was James Sirius Potter, and he claimed to be in love with me. He’d confess so every other day, whenever the opportunity presented itself.
And I was Isobel Williams Lestrange.
Daughter to Williams Lestrange.
Granddaughter to Rodolphus and Bellatrix Lestrange.
And that is precisely the reason why I could never return the three simple words he'd said to me countless times.
I had kept this secret buried in my heart, never once showing any signs of what exactly I had felt and still do, and it all began at the end of first year.
It was a sunny day. I don’t like sunny days. The sun always feels too bright against my pale skin, warm summer days and I do not work well together. I like winters. Also because Hogwarts in winters looks very pretty. Everybody else said that winters were boring and sad. Depressing. But they don’t make me sad. I always get excited when it snows. I spend most of them at Hogwarts. I like Hogwarts. It’s a nice place. It feels more like home than my actual one. It’s huge, and Professor Longbottom is very nice. But it’s not huge and sad like the Manor. It’s pleasant. Despite the fact that not many people in Gryffindor talk to me. They whisper in hushed tones whenever they see me. But I like Hogwarts more than the Manor. Because in the Manor, there is Daddy, Daddy hates me. And I don’t want to go back.
‘Need help with that?’
I panicked. Was I caught red handed? My wand was directly pointed to the train.
I put a confident smile; I turned around to see Potter. I suddenly remembered Daddy’s words, telling me to stay away for ‘that boy’. He said Potter was bad. His family members were blood traitors and pure bloods like us never talk to blood traitors and half-bloods like him. I wrinkled my nose in disgust.
I decided to not reply. I got back to what I was doing. Just one last thing and I’ll be done. I waved my wand once again, easily completing the task. Yes. I know I shouldn’t use magic outside school. Professor Longbottom will be very angry if he finds out, but I don’t want to go home. Should I go tell him that?
I stood up, dusting off the dirt from my clothes and was happy with what I did.
‘I’m James,’ He spoke again, and stuck out his hand for me to shake, ‘You’re that Lestrange girl, right? That’s a good one you just did there. I love to play pranks too. Me and my cousin Fred, you know Fred right?’
‘Yes,’ I said, but then I remembered Daddy’s words again, to not to talk to anyone below us. So I left. He called after me, but I did not look back. Daddy would be very angry if he found out, and I don’t want to be punished.
Five years from that day and the memory still resides vividly in my mind. If given the chance, I’ll erase it without a second’s hesitation. I’ll save myself the trouble of falling for the one boy I’m not allowed to be with. I’ll save myself the pain, the flash of hurt my rejections instilled every time I turned him down and I’ll save myself the jealousy I feel every time I see one of his fan girls hanging off his arm. I like to believe they mean nothing to him, but envy always shows its ugly head whenever I’d see one of them with him. They could have what I never could, even if it was all a façade for Potter.
I pushed the mighty doors of the great hall open to reveal the dining tables of the four houses stretched in front of me, the yellow, crimson, green and blue flags hanging at their ends. The teachers table was fully occupied; Headmistress McGonagall was up from her seat awaiting the settlement of the cluster of students pouring through the doors of the great Hall. I scanned the crowd until my eyes settled at Dom, seated on her usual spot next to Rose Weasley at the Rawenclaw table.
Ahh, I can see all of you are now giving me confused looks as to why I’m spotting Dominique Weasley. Yeah, that’s rather strange since I should be avoiding anything that could possibly connect me to Potter. Well, here’s the thing. She was my best friend before I met Potter. Not so much now though. We weren’t as close as we once used to be, although she still made efforts to talk to me.
When we returned back to school for our Fourth Year in September, Potter would pester me to unimaginable limits to be my ‘friend’ again. I had pledged to avoid James and she had become my savior. I don’t particularly know how, but Dom got through to him. She’d make sure that I could avoid him whenever I could, till date James hates her for it.
I can still oddly place my first memory of her, when I spotted her at King’s Cross Station, surrounded by her family, her parents’ eyes shining with admiration as they set her off for her first school day. Needless to say. I was jealous, I was incredibly jealous that she had her family to see her off while I had been escorted by my Butler because father had been too busy nursing a hangover. I didn’t see her much during my first train ride, but we chatted on the boats and hence were the commencement of the oh-so beautiful friendship of Dominique Weasley and Isobel Lestrange. The fact that all of Gryffindor practically comprised of her family members meant she was usually found in my common room, more than hers. And so, we steadily and fondly became friends. We would sit for lunch together. Sometimes I’d go over to her house table, sometimes she’d come to the Slytherin table with Ed and I, and her cousin Al and my cousin Scorpius.
I refused to ever sit on my own table, the Gryffindor table; I’d avoid James as much as I humanly could. But sometimes Charlie would harass me to sit with him. He’s the elder Malfoy, Uncle Draco’s son. And yes, Uncle Draco did feign a heart attack at his being sorted into Gryffindor, telling Aunt Tori ‘he’d file a case on the blasted thing’, the blasted thing being the sorting hat of course. Charlie just had a laugh about it. So he was the only reason I’d ever eat at my OWN table. Because somehow he was able to threaten James not to tease me, which was not very hard to believe, because he seemed to be mates with Potter.
Merlin! Potter. Every thought had to end at him. Screw you, brain.
I shook my head and made my way to Dom. Although we had been pretty close in the first few years of school, we were acquaintances now. That however did not change the fact that she could see right through me.
I took a seat next to her, greeting her. I’d usually attend the welcoming feast with her because she’d ride the train with James and Fred and I would sit with Ed and his quidditch pals.
‘Heyy. ’ I smile at her. ‘Hey Rose.’ She smiled at me in acknowledgement.
‘Ommgg! Hii. ’ Dom squeaked, hugging me with the same enthusiasm as her words.
She had a slight tan, making her hair look all the more silver and her blue eyes deeper.
‘How was France?’ I inquired
‘Ah-mazinggg! Paris is just so beautiful; I can never get enough of it!’ I couldn’t help but realize that sitting in the seat I was currently in, next to Dom, meant that Potter was in my line of vision. I noticed him catching up to a joke that Fred cracked, his laughter booming through the already chatter-filled air. I saw a few fan girls swoon.
‘How was the Delacour Mansion?’ I asked distractedly.
‘Seriously Isobel, I told you we extended the vacation. I wrote to you and you even replied back. Where are you lost?’ Dom said, glaring a little.
‘Oh right, yeah. THAT.’ I was still too busy checking out James. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
‘Stop thinking about him Liz, either do something about it or let it go completely.’ Dom scolded, following my line of vision. I gave Dom a stern look, quickly checking around if anyone had overheard her. Luckily no, Rose was still engrossed in a conversation with some 6th year Rawenclaw.
Dom was right; I had distanced myself from the entire Potter/Weasley clan. I had made my decision. I had distanced myself from her too. Every summer, she would only write to me once, when I would spend time at the Malfoy Manor. We would only occasionally talk; much like this back to school conversation.
Dom apart from Edward is the only one who knew my family history and troubles through and through. Dom was one of the very few who knew me; our twelve year old selves that exchanged more than enough to know each others’ deepest secrets. Over time, we had come to a silent, mutual consensus to guard each other’s secrets well. We knew when the other needed help and we silently would appear to each other’s rescue.
Deciding I should abide by the rules I had once made for myself, I pushes all thoughts of the raven-haired boy aside, focusing on something else as a topic of conversation.
‘Have you decided to tell Matt?’ I asked Dom quietly.
Her posture tensed up at my words, her jaw set.
‘Yes. It’s only fair. I want to be completely honest. And besides, it’s not like it meant anything.’ Dom informed, though she seemed a bit unsure of the last part. I gave her a smile.
‘It’ll be okay. Don’t bother yourself with it that much. If he understands then you know he’s truly worth it or you could just ask James to beat him up.’
‘Why would he beat Matt up when it’s my fault?’
‘Oh! Just for the sake of drama.’ I replied in a nonchalant way. ‘And James.’ I added as an afterthought. ‘They do love a fight.’
Dom gave a weak laugh at that. Even though James had his differences with Dom, he’d always be ready to take care of any guy that wronged her, ever. Said it was his duty as her brother or something. I knew Dom was thinking about all the other times a boy had been handled for her sake. Right now, she bit her lip as if unsure of whether James would beat Matt up or not, given the two have been best mates since the first day.
I felt a presence behind me, turning around I came face to face with Mathew Anderson, popularly known as Matt, Dom’s boyfriend. He is the only person associated to James I could ever slightly acquaint with. Initially for Dom’s sake obviously. Dom and he always had a liking for each other but he saw Dom for more than her Veela genes, he saw her for her intellect and her aura and they finally gave things a shot with a date at the first Hogsmeade trip in Sixth year. Their relationship has been incredibly strong since then.
I smiled politely at him and he nodded back. Rose and I simultaneously got up from our seats to give Dom and Matt some privacy.
Dom needed this. You see, she went to France for the summer and met a guy there. Now, he wasn’t just some guy, Apparently Mason(Yeah, I think that’s what his name was) was different in showing his interest in Dom, though she never felt anything for him, but Dom being Dom wanted to be honest to Matt and all that other shizz. I gave Dom a brief smile before making my way over to the Slytherin table, followed closely by Rose, as the sorting proceeded.
Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter were sitting next to Ed, they are Charlie’s and James’ younger brothers respectively, sixth years. I sat opposite Ed, and was soon pulled into a conversation revolving around the latest Ministry gossip. The idle chat of the boys keeping me occupied all along. Soon enough, dinner was served, the food as magnificent as ever.
Time and time, I’d cautiously catch a peek at the Gryffindor table. I knew I was being a masochist, but somehow he kept drawing me in, and I kept falling.
Bringing my train of thought to a halt I realized what Ed was asking of me, that I had to return back for the Prefects’ meeting. (Yeah, I’m Head Girl and why that meeting never happened in the Heads compartment on the train -where it was supposed to happen- fails me. I think it has something to do with Ed scoring that blonde maybe. I made a mental note to ask him about it later.) But I was reluctant to go through the Entrance Hall given how the Great Hall was emptying at a steady speed, which meant one thing, James would be waiting right outside, because he’s James; I definitely did not want to encounter James again. Seeing him from afar was fine, but the minute he got into a five feet radius, I’d tend to lose all sense. Wow. So much for being a Gryffindor. Pfft.
‘Yeah, let’s go.’ I said, finally acknowledging what Ed was asking of me.
My feet dragged me to where the meeting was to be conducted. Edward fell in step with me. We finally made it to the old Charms classroom where the rest awaited our arrival. Realizing that the two of us were the only ones late, we commenced the meeting. I was happy with Ed taking lead, but from the looks of it, Ed wasn’t. He pushed me forward, indicating for me to make a speech too. We can't always get want we want, can we now?
I soon steeped aside, keeping my briefing about the rules to be followed to the prefects short and precise. Ed went back to taking charge and I dozed off for the rest of it. He guessed something was wrong but chose not to mention it, so instead I spend my time contemplating my meeting with Potter.
‘Any of you got any questions?’ Edward addressed the crowd littered around the room in general.
Most of the students shook their heads.
‘Alright then, meeting adjourned.’
People started to file out of the room. I did the same, until I was stopped by Edward.
He waited until we were alone before he spoke.
‘You alright? You seem a bit lost,’ he said, his uneasiness evident.
Edward Lowell, who was made Head Boy this year, was the first friend I made at Hogwarts. He was a Slytherin, a Pureblood. Initially, I felt that he befriended me to spy for my father, but with time, I was convinced otherwise.
Yeah, I was a crazy eleven year old who trusted no one. I don't particularly like to blame myself for my crazy machinations; I like to think that it runs in the family. All that the name entails. And come to think of it, there isn't much difference from that day till this day. Now I'm a crazy seventeen year old dependant on Edward. How we evolved to what we are today is a different story all together. He's the closest I can ever be to someone. I stared into his grey eyes, saw the concern etched across his face.
Today, I had come to consider him as family and now he stared right through me searching for an answer or some reassurance of my well being.
‘No. No, I’m fine. ’ I forced a smile on my lips. ‘Just a little tired, is all. You know there isn’t a place better for me than Hogwarts.’
‘Okay. I know you’re lying about being fine. But, as always I’ll give you your time and patiently wait for you to tell me what’s bothering you. Just...’ he paused, trying to find the right words, ‘Be okay.’ He briefly pulled me into a hug and smiled slightly as he released me. I returned it.
With that, we left for the Head’s dorms, walking back in silence. I considered telling Edward about my feelings, as I had done countless times before. But my hesitation got the better of me and I stopped myself from the declaration. As we reached the door, I stepped out from under his arm and muttered the password to the Common Room.
He smiled at me one final time and left for bed.
As I climbed in mine, I let the fatigue of travelling overcome my senses. Having not eaten much at the feast worked in favor of that. And as I fell asleep that night, I let thoughts of a certain raven-haired, hazel eyed boy take over.
That night, unaware of what stayed hidden in the shadows, she made her way down the deserted, quite corridors, tucked under Edward’s arm.
Another flash of jealousy made its way back to him, blinding him with envy. Once again, he wished to be him, to have what was his, to claim it as his own. But something had changed over time.
He wanted her not because he couldn’t have her, but because he wanted to unleash the mystery she was. He wanted to know if it was all because of what her family name entailed or was there more to the twisted tale otherwise known as Isobel Lestrange, because even though she was a Gryffindor, her Slytherin traits continued to persist.
As told by James Potter
Anticipation got the best of me. I waited patiently to catch a glimpse of that cloud of dark hair.
‘James, you need to spot fidgeting about, chill out.’ said Lily, ‘Come on, the rest have already boarded the train. Albus left already.’
Ignoring my little sister, I craned my neck to scan the growing crowd better. Searching all those familiar and unfamiliar faces to spot the one I didn’t want to miss. Where was she?
‘Well, maybe he’ll save us a seat in that case’ I replied distractedly. Lily huffed.
I continued with the job at hand, still searching. Beside me, mum and dad were talking about the arrival of some pureblood family and how the Ministry had to take responsibility for their presence back in town. Some Kane, Kyle pureblood brats or whatever. I heard the word ‘dark mark’ somewhere in the conversation. But I couldn’t care less. I had to find her, the sooner, the better.
I distantly heard Lily mutter her good byes to mum and dad. I turned around for a moment to do the same. And, then, Lily did something she wasn’t supposed to. She started to pull me away from where our parents were, dragging me to the train. I tried to slow her down.
And that’s when I saw her, dressed in what could be passed for a dark blue, muggle dress and cardigan walking down the platform, accompanied by her guard (that arrogant prat) who pushed the cart carrying her trunk. She wasn’t looking out for anyone in particular-which was good, I didn’t want Edward-fucking-Lowell or any other guy for that matter near her- she just stared ahead into space, her face gave nothing away.
I had stopped in my tracks as I finally spotted her, Lily came to a halt beside me, knowingly. I stayed and stared as I witnessed her board the train. Her guard bowed his head and left. I took that as my cue. Pushing my way through the thinning crowd, I rushed to be at her side, but she was gone. She had already disappeared into some compartment. I began searching each.
‘James you’re being ridiculous’ Lily spoke again. I ignored her again.
‘Listen, James. ‘ Lily pulled at my arm to have my attention, I opened my mouth to protest but she beat me to it and continued ‘We all know how this will go. You will find her. She will dismiss you, like the bitch she is. And once again, you’ll have your heart broken. ’
‘No James, for fucks sake, LET IT GO!’
With that said she pulled me along down the hallway to a compartment, shoving open its door to expose the gleeful faces of my family. There was Rose, Al, Dom, Loius, Hugo, Molly and Fred. I went to take my seat next to Fred who was busy in a game of Wizard chess with Al. Rose and Dom were talking quietly amongst them and for a second I wondered if there was any guy I’m supposed to beat up, all courtesy of the older cousin-brother rule. Lily went to sit with Hugo, her gaze momentarily fixing upon my scowling face. I sat there stubbornly glaring out the window as the train gained momentum.
I continued staring out the window to avoid looking at Lily’s seething face. I know she cares, but it’s a lot to ask of her to understand how it was when I was unsure of it myself. Initially, to me, Isobel Lestrange, was my dear friend, until she decided to dismiss me. Now, she was a prize that I wanted to win but couldn’t have. My hands itched to have her. I was James Sirius Potter. I got whatever I wanted. Anything I wanted, and to have the one I couldn’t walk around, everyday, was what had me trapped in this maze. It became a vicious cycle. I’d walk up to her, I’d hear her blatant insults, I’d face her rejection, everyday. She’d push me away and enclose herself in the obscurity and I’d fall down the dark well, never hitting the water. Never surfacing. Like a moth to the light, I’d be attracted to her, but she wasn’t the glow of bliss. She was the evil that lurked the night, tempting me.
She was my addiction.
I’d be entrapped by thoughts of her. Time flew. Through the journey, I barely maintained conversation with any of the occupants of the compartment. The fleeting shades of green soon turned to a hazy blue as I continued gazing out the window.
We boarded the carriages, Fred by my side. Concern was etched on his face. He had guessed what was wrong. He let it go, allowing me to sit in silence as we drifted away and the magnificent castle came into view. I robotically climbed out, not caring who accompanied me.
Fred was by my side all along and by now Matt had joined in. This time however, we occasionally talked about quidditch, reminisced old times, pranks, and had a few laughs too in reliving previous memories.
We arrived at the gates of Hogwarts and were let in.
And that’s when I next spotted her for the second time.
Jerking out of my thoughts, captured by her aura, I watched her. I watched her quietly conversing with that one bloke that I often wished I was. Lowell leant down again and whispered something to her. She smiled. Not just the regular smile that she’d give to first years in the corridors or to the professors, but her real smile. She always smiled that way in his company.
A fresh wave of anger hit me. Jealousy coursed through my veins. It took over all other thoughts that had previously occupied my mind. Fred and Matt noticed her too, ready to take action and hold me back if necessary.
I continued to watch her, silently, which was a rare occurrence. And just like that she disappeared into the crowd moving to the Entrance Hall. I followed suit in hopes of spotting her again. And I did.
This time however, she was alone. That bastard Lowell was nowhere near her. She had her back to me and was heading towards the Great Hall, well aware of the commencement of the Welcoming Feast.
Over the crowd and its noise, I called to her.
‘And here's the love of my life.’
From beside me I heard Fred mutter something under his breath.
I reclined against the stone wall behind me, smirk in place, arms crossed in front of me.
And it begins, I thought.
She turned around swiftly on her feet. Her dark eyes cool. Her red lips as inviting as ever, her soft black curls around her shoulders, tumbling to stop midway down her back. Her face was a mask of indifference.
‘And here's the dirt beneath my feet.’
With that said, she turned back and swiftly walked away.
That night, aware of what stayed hidden in the shadows, she made her way down the deserted, quite corridors, tucked under Edwards arm.
Another flash of jealousy made its way back to me, blinding me with envy. Once again, I wished to be him, to have what was his, to claim it as mine. But something had changed over time.
I wanted her not because I couldn’t have her, but because I wanted to unleash the mystery she was. I wanted to know if it was all because of what her family name entailed or was there more to the twisted tale named Isobel Lestrange, because even if she was a Gryffindor, her Slytherin traits continued to persist.
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