Chapter 10 : Chapter 10
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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.
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