Chapter 2 : The Pendant
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“Hello,” I breathe, gripping tighter onto the stone.
“Not who you were expecting, I know.”
Even in death, he is calculating. His thick eyebrows make his beady eyes appear smaller, but I know they are drinking in my every move, my every tick.
“What are you doing here?”
“Come now, Amelia. Surely you being my only offspring warrants my posthumous visit. We’re family.”
A bitter laugh escapes my lips. “You don’t know the meaning of that word.”
“You’re right. I’ll give you that.” His ghostly figure steps in front of me. I stand to meet his domineering gaze. “I see you have my complexion. My nose.” He chuckled. “My frown.”
“What do you want?” I ask.
“I believe you’re the one who summoned me,” my father says smugly. He looks boredly around my room, at my piles of books and many lit candles. “You’re a reader, I see. Not a witch of action.”
“I didn’t summon you,” I snap.
“You did. You thought of me when you picked up the stone.”
Before I can retort, I catch myself. I did think of him when I clenched my fist. At first, I thought, painstakingly, of James. But then I remembered the last time I saw him, at my father’s funeral before--
“You figured it out. Clever girl, though a smidge on the slower side.”
“I don’t appreciate your backhanded compliments. In fact, it’s best that you leave. You’ve given me as much pleasure in your death as you did in your life.”
My father raises his thick eyebrows and crosses his arms. “Now, now, let’s not be too hasty, Amelia. While you can banish me away to...well, to wherever I came from, you won’t find what you’re looking for with this Stone.”
“What do you mean?”
“Honestly, Amelia. The Resurrection Stone? The most useless of the Hallows. I’m disappointed.”
I roll my eyes. “Get to the point. What do you mean that I won’t find what I’m looking for?”
My father laughs. He twirls his beard with his finger; his eyes resume to study me. “Maybe I should take back what I’ve said about you being clever. You want to talk to that boy you dated? Harry Potter’s son? Well, you won’t be able to.”
“And how do you know?” I sneer. “His name is James, and you hurt him when you crashed that dinner party--”
“Protective now of your loved ones? A trait you inherited from your mother, who sent you away for your protection. Ha.”
“I’ve inherited only a few things from either of my parents, and a sense of protection is not one of them.” I pace over to the window, staring into the darkness enveloping the back garden.
“You’ve inherited more than you’re willing to accept,” my father says.
Pick your battles, I silently tell myself, as much as it makes all the muscles in my body frigid. “Now tell me, why can’t I speak to James? I’m speaking to you, and you mean a hell of a lot less to me than most people, living or dead.”
“Or presumed dead.”
“Get to your bloody point!”
“You haven’t figured it out already? Fine, I’ll tell you. You won’t be able to talk to him because James, as you call him, isn’t dead,” my father explains with a sneer.
I step closer to him. My pulse quickens. “What? How do you know?”
“I’m dead. He’s not. I know that much. Can I leave now? I’m getting bored of this conversation.”
My breaths rattle in my chest. If what my father is true, then that must mean that James is still out there someone, surviving. My stomach churns. The room spins.
“If you’re telling the truth, do you know where I can find him alive?” I ask. I shudder at my desperate tone. My father catches onto my insecurities, my hopes, and shatters them with his answer.
“No. I do not have omniscient knowledge. But even if you’re to find him alive, and given everything that’s happened, how do you know that he would even want to talk to you?”
“Ugh! You’re no more help to me, you liar!” I yell, and I hurl the Resurrection Stone at his figure. My father’s laugh echos in my ears as he disappears.
“Amelia?” Eddie comes in. He’s about to enter his fifth year at Hogwarts, but he still hasn’t reached his growth spurt yet. “Mum heard shouting. Are you okay?”
“I’m okay, Eddie, really. Just cursing this damn heat,” I say as I sit down on my bed and pick up a book. “Being hot makes it so difficult to read.”
Eddie stares at me for a moment, deciding if I’m telling the truth. “Okay then. Goodnight.”
“‘Night Ed,” I say as he closes the door. As soon as I hear his footsteps fade, I scramble to the corner where the stone lies, waiting for me.
I know I shouldn’t be caving. But if there’s a possibility that my father wasn’t lying, I need to know.
I pick it up and make a fist. I think of James.
No one appears.
“James. James Potter.”
I pause, wondering if I’m calling the wrong one. I refine my search.
“James Sirius Potter.”
No one else appears in my room, and I wait in silence.
I made it with seconds to spare to Transfiguration directly after my mum’s visit. My mind reeled with her words and her manipulative games and the envelope still lingering in my bag. Even though I wanted nothing to do with her, I had a feeling that waiting to open the envelope was the best option. I needed to avoid suspicion.
“What happened? Why did McGonagall want you?” Victoria asked. Her blue eyes looked questioningly into my hazel ones. Hers was full of concern. I wasn’t sure what emotion mine were portraying.
Noticing other classmates’ stares at my sudden reappearance, I shrugged. Stay neutral, I thought to myself. “Tell you about it later.”
She nodded before Professor Ritter began his lesson.
It was a frustrating one. I couldn’t concentrate on the advance movements of transfiguring a mouse into a snuffbox. My poor mouse was avoiding my wand and my unsuccessful attempts at magic. I didn’t blame him. I wouldn’t want me to turned into something else.
In way, that already had happened to me today. I was the mouse, my mother was the wand. I wondered how much of a snuffbox I was now.
“Well done, Miss Montague. I like the intricate detailing on the edges. How’s your snuffbox coming along, Miss Fortescue?” Professor Ritter asked. I avoided his gaze.
“Look for yourself. You have eyes.”
Victoria tensed beside me. A few classmates sitting around us stopped working to see what would transpire.
“The mouse is still a mouse... Sir,” I added hastily. My eyes remained gazing forward, but I could feel Professor Ritter’s stare boring into the side of my face.
“I know that this is a complex spell, Miss Fortescue, but--”
“But what?” I said. “What’s the point of this?” I finally looked up into his dark eyes.
“What did you just say to me?” Ritter demanded quietly. The whole class was watching us now.
“I said,” I began tersely, “What’s the point of this? Of this spell? Why in the name of Merlin do we even want to transfigure a mouse into a bloody snuffbox?”
There was a silent pause before Ritter said, “Ten points from Slytherin, Miss Fortescue, for your insubordinate tone.”
“Whatever. I’m done. I’m not turning this mouse into a stupid snuffbox. Don’t you know that smoking is bad for you anyway? And what has this mouse done to deserve such a useless fate?”
“You know full well we transfigure all the mice back to their original states, Miss Fortescue,” Professor Ritter explained calmly. “I ask that you get back to your assignment before I take away any more points.”
Someone gasped. Victoria kicked my foot underneath my desk, but I didn’t care.
“No? I see then. I think a detention is needed, Miss Fortescue. And you, a prefect.”
I stood up, glaring at him. “Fine. But it’s not going to change my mind,” I snapped. I grabbed my bag and walked out of the classroom, leaving behind a buzz of startled excitement.
I could feel Ritter’s stare and Victoria’s concern, but I didn’t care. I needed to move, to shake off my mum’s visit.
For ages now, I had grown comfortable at the thought that Aunt Susan and even Uncle Michael were my parental guardians. I even considered Eddie and Helen as siblings. I was used to my life without my mum.
But her sudden reappearance was like a lightning shock to my system. I didn’t feel like me anymore, I didn’t feel like a mouse.
Instead, I felt like a cold, useless snuffbox, full of toxicity.
I needed to change that. I needed to go back to the way things were before now. But it would take time.
I wandered the halls, avoiding people when I heard them. I even hid successfully from Neville--or Professor Longbottom while I was here at school. Eventually, I found myself on the edge of the Black Lake. In the distance, I could see Albus Dumbledore’s white tomb. If I were to look a little more to my right, I would be able to see the memorial for the Battle of Hogwarts.
It was quiet here, a patch of suspended time and temporary peace.
Before I knew it, the envelope my mum had given me was in my hands. Hastily, unwittingly, I opened it. A pendant slid out of the envelope, along with a brief note.
The note was in Runes. My mum had taught me the basics as a child. I learned Runes before I learned letters of the alphabet. I could easily decipher the note.
Dear Amelia, This pendant belonged to your grandfather Florean, who kept it locked away in his vault in Gringotts. It’s time that this goes to you. The pendant is a symbol that is helpful to The Cause. I urge you to keep it secret. Love, your mother Rita
As soon as I finished reading, the note turned to ash in my hand. I repeated the note in my mind several times to commit it to memory.
I could hear people talking about two hundred meters away from me. I turned to see the Gryffindor Quidditch team walking up to the castle. It must have been nearly dinner time by now. As soon as they were out of earshot, I examined the pendant.
“Odd,” I muttered, turning it over in my hands. It was solidly made and looked old. My finger traced the outline. I wasn’t sure what the pendant was supposed to represent. It was a Rune I had never seen before, and I had taken my O.W.L. in Ancient Runes last year as a fourth year. It looked like a triangular eye, nothing that I had ever come across.
I cursed my mum for bringing more confusion into my life. I grasped it into my hand and lifted my fist, tempted to throw it into the lake. But the thought of my grandfather, a highly celebrated wizard, stopped me. This was his. He kept it safe. And now it was mine, regardless that it was my mother who gave it to me.
Carefully, I put the pendant around my neck, tucking it and its gold chain underneath my shirt before I headed back to the castle.
In retrospect, I probably should have thrown the pendant into the lake. I believe that in that moment of yearning for my grandfather, I sealed the fate of what was to come in the following years.
In the darkness, I think of him. He hasn’t appeared yet, and I begin to think that maybe what my father told me was true. That he isn’t dead. That he’s alive.
James is alive. James is alive. James is alive.
This rhythmic chant repeats in my mind as my grasp loosens on the stone. Eventually, the chant simplifies as I lull to sleep.
James. James. James. James.
A/N: Anything you recognize belongs to JKR!
Thanks for reading! Please leave a review! I am curious to know what you're thinking, about the story, about where James could be, about Amelia's parents, about the unfolding story. ;)
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