It had been a long hot day. James's hair stuck to the back of his neck as he walked down the path to the gate in front of his parent's cottage. He leaned over it, sighing, as there was no sign of life moving along the dirt road. The wind was picking up now, rolling across the field that bordered the road, rippling it as though it were a great golden ocean. Dark clouds were appearing on the horizon, framing the gold with dark blue. James looked over into Mrs. Wittle's yard, where the well endowed Mrs. Wittle herself was hastily pulling down her laundry in anticipation of the impending storm. She glanced at the clouds worryingly as she pulled down her last pair of pinstriped knickers, catching James in her eyesight and waving. James waved back, watching as she turned and collected her lawn gnomes and took them inside with her. James turned his attention back to the road, ruffling his hair in the wind. No sign of Sirius yet, but his excitement was mounting as the clouds approached. The darker it got, the higher the buzz rose in his stomach. He loved storms. All the better to run around in. He turned his back to the road once more, observing his home lazily. It was a traditional english cottage, boring enough, but pleasant for his parents. It was the woods just behind it that he enjoyed. He grinned sheepishly to himself, imagining his parent's faces if only they knew that he ran around in there turning into a great big - BAM! James spun around, his mouth dropping as thousands of glittering sparks rained down into the field, followed by a faint noise. There was a speck on the horizon, and it was laughing hysterically. The speck grew larger and larger to take the shape of a sixteen year old boy on a broomstick with several trunks swinging below him. Sirius Black had not yet landed, and yet he had already flown from London on a broomstick, in daylight, performed underage magic, in daylight, and had caused enough of a spectacle to draw Mrs. Wittle to her window. In daylight. James could not have been grinning wider as he threw open the gate to meet Sirius as he landed a few yards away. "Nice" James laughed, "And how are you?" Sirius grinning wildly, his black hair whipping in the wind. "Fantastic, though I think Mrs. Wittle disapproves." James gestured with his thumb behind him. Sirius leaned sideways, looking past James to wave at the pursed-lipped Mrs. Wittle, who promptly shook her head and disappeared into her house. "How wonderful, a neighbor!" Sirius smiled as James helped him untie all of his worldly belongings from the broom. "You know, I've always fancied this place. Peaceful. Desperately in need of my presence." He grinned, meeting James's eyes. James couldn't stop smiling as he took in his dearest friend. Sirius's black hair had grown just past his ears now. He was wearing an open collared maroon shirt, with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows, overtop of a black v-neck that was coupled with tight black jeans, dragon hide boots and black arm bands. This was the child he was about introduce to his parents as their temporary son. They had spoken to Sirius at the train station before, yes, but generally he had not been wearing anything that might give the impression that he had just come from the scene of a mugging on those occasions. It was perfect. The wind was blowing up both of their shirts, the dark clouds were on top of them and Sirius was moving in. James couldn't imagine a better day. Other than perhaps one that involved Lily confessing her complete and utter love for him in the great hall in front of everyone at school. But this was still a fantastic day.
Sirius was practically prancing up the path to James's front door, with James following along behind just as enthusiastically. Sirius paused at the door, looking back to James. "Open it! It's your house too now," James laughed, as Sirius grinned widely, opening the door. The two boys stood in the entrance hall, kicking off their footwear. James took the lead past the living room where his parents were reading to the background tones of an old radio. They both looked up, smiling warmly as Sirius came to a halt before them, "Thank you so much for this, I promise I'll look for a place of my own for next summer" Sirius mumbled as Mrs. Potter flew to her feet, taking him into an embrace. "You can stay here as long as you like, Sirius." She said, patting his cheek, "we're so happy to have you. Plus it will be nice for James to have someone his age.." She looked to James, who smiled looking from his mother to his best friend. Mrs. Potter released Sirius, "James will show you your room - it's just an old guest room, I'm afraid, but I hope you'll feel at home there. If there is anything at all that you need, just ask" She smiled,. Sirius nodded, smiling a rare smile of gratitude. James gestured towards the hall, and Sirius followed after him. james walked past his own room, plastered in posters of quidditch players and popular singers to a slightly smaller room, painted completely in white. Sirius threw his trunk on the bed, spinning around on the spot. James opened his mouth to apologize about the size when Sirius burst out, "THIS IS BRILLIANT!" "Really?" James asked, "Oh my god, James, your parents... this is more than I imagined. When I wrote you I was hoping for maybe a spot on your floor or in your basement ... never a room for myself." Sirius blinked, looking around again. "Oh, well perfect!" James laughed, "Mum said we can paint it any colour you'd like, so we can go into the Muggle village tomorrow and buy some." "Really? That's amazing. Truly, wickedly amazing, mate." Sirius grinned as the rain began pouring down outside, hitting the bedroom window in sheets of white.
Sirius and James spent the evening unpacking, their talking and laughing mixing like a medley with the thunder above. Towards the end of the night James found himself rolling on the floor with laughter after having caught Sirius attempting to slyly slip a stack of WickedWitches magazines under his new pillows. He was roused from his fits of laugher by Mrs. Potter calling them both to the kitchen. Sirius tossed the dirty magazines aside as they both headed out the door. Mrs. Potter had two large bowls of strawberries mixed with whipped cream on the table for them. She set her wand on the counter as the boys entered the kitchen, and passed them the bowls. "You can eat wherever you like" She smiled, "mind there's a lovely light show going on outside," she gestured out the window at the chairs on the covered porch with a wink as she returned to the living room. Once the two empty bowls were resting on the wet edge of the deck, the two teenage wizards stood staring out into the inviting shadow of the woods against a flash of lightning. James looked over to Sirius who had his wand tucked into his back pocket. The buzz in his stomach had returned. They were immortal, really. Nothing could hurt them as long as they had their wands. That, coupled with their animagus forms and their undoubtably unparalleled wit - they were invincible. James's eyes caught Sirius's in another flash of lightning, who had an eyebrow arched over his reckless grin. "Care for a run?" Sirius asked casually, "Sounds freshening" James breathed, and without another word Sirius took off towards the woods. James took off at a run right behind him, their slim silhouettes caught in several flashes of light as they neared the edge of the trees. Sirius whipped out his wand with a bark of laugher and shot off red sparks into the sky to challenge the lightning's domain. James laughed, running through the trees parallel to Sirius at a dangerous speed. They shot sparks and disarming spells at each other, the sound of their roaring laughter and ricocheting spells drowned out by the storm. Branches scratched their arms, and mud splashed up their legs and they ran on, laughing and ducking each others shots. James lost sight of Sirius in the dark, and fell back to a stop to catch his breath. Just as he bent over to think, a giant bear like dog jumped off a tree and landed with a thunderous bark just feet away from him. James yelled, stumbling back over branches, landing in a fit of laughter as the dog stood over him, placing a heavy paw on his chest to declare victory. James rolled himself back onto his feet, still panting. He stuck his wand in a nearby tree, and he took off his sweater and tied it around the trunk. James turned back to Sirius-the-dog with a wild look in his eyes and dove towards him in the dark, the figure of a large stag replacing him in the next flash of light. The two large creatures ran on through the woods, leaping over fallen trees and dislodging bark and branches from the standing trees in their way.
A beam of sunlight had found its way right on top of James's eyelids the following morning. James lifted a hand over his eyes in a shooing motion, before he rolled onto his side, moaning as he opened them. He was laying sideways on his bed, fully clothed, and covered in mud. He untangled himself from his blankets to find his clothes mostly torn beyond repair. He slipped on sweatpants and a t-shirt before sticking his muddy head out into the hall to detect wether or not his parents were around, before tip-toeing over to the next room. A muddy lump James took to be Sirius was curled up in a ball on the end of his bed, tangled in his own blanket. James snorted, shutting Sirius's door and darting to the bathroom for a shower. Twenty minutes later, a freshly clean James returned to the dormant Sirius's room, and pelted him with a wet towel. Sirius woke with a start, unsure of where he was, and fell to the floor in a heap of mud, hair and torn fabric.
After a shower and breakfast, Sirius joined James for a sheepish walk in the woods to retrieve their wants. James had no trouble finding his along with his sweater, and after permitting Sirius five minutes of dignity to try and locate his on his own, performed a summoning spell and retrieved it for him. The two boys stowed their wands in their back pockets and headed towards the dirt road, destined for the muggle town. It was a twenty minute walk shortened by their retellings of last night's escapades, and Sirius swearing he had spotted a rogue hippogriff in he woods. Once they reached the town, they stopped for tea at a muggle shop. Sirius watched, eyebrows raised, as James smoothly made the transaction with muggle money. He did not, however miss the chance to wink as the pretty cash girl on their way out. They had to be careful here, for where it was alright to use magic around James's house, in the muggle village it would be asking for a nice plump letter from the Improper Use of Magic office. The boys next stopped at the paint shop, where Sirius took half an hour choosing between a variety of greys. Though after being reassured that he could literally do anything he wanted with the walls in his room, he purchased a large can of red and another of gold. James paid again, and they embarked on the long painful walk back to James's place, resentful that magic could not carry the forty pounds of paint for them. Back at the cottage Mrs. Potter had laid a plastic sheet over all of Sirius's belongings (and had removed the muddy sheets) for them. The boys enthusiastically began painting in a style Sirius described as worthy of the Louvre, which consisted of the two wizards pointing their wands at the paint cans, and splattering the walls with the gryffindor colours in an wildly abstract pattern. Soon enough the two of them were red and gold themselves, and again, clothes were being destroyed. James caught a mouth full of paint splatter as he laughed at Sirius's self painted paw print tattoos on his shoulders. "I'll get these for real one day," Sirius laughed as James sputtered gold all over the plastic sheets. "Once we're out of school and we all move somewhere close to each other - you, me, Remus and Pete - it will be the best times ever. And I'll have tattoos and a motorcycle, and Remus will have us on the full moon, and we'll all have money." "And Lily will be my girlfriend." James nodded, "Yes," Sirius rolled his eyes laughing, "Lily Evans will be your girlfriend." And so, covered in paint, James and Sirius continued to laugh, as they dreamed aloud about their futures and all the fun that was yet to be had. "It will be brilliant."
Ginny watched a strange look cross Ron and Hermione's faces as she leaned against her mother. Both stood at the same time as the look faded and walked briskly to the entrance of the Great Hall, and that was when Ginny knew Harry was with them. She hadn't spoken to him since he shooed her from the Room of Requirement, hadn't stopped thinking about him since a funny feeling went through her while searching the grounds, hadn't stopped wanting to hold him since she saw him in Hagrid's arms. She yearned to follow the three of them, to latch onto Harry's arm and never let it go again, but she knew the time wasn't right. He wasn't ready for her, and she wasn't ready for him. Not yet.
She stood up and left her mother's side. None of her family seemed to notice. Bill and Fleur were wrapped so tightly together that it was difficult to tell whose robes were whose; Percy and Charlie were talking quietly, their eyes full of tears; her Mum and Dad were holding hands and staring off into the distance, neither truly seeing anything; Ginny had no idea where George had got off to, but she hadn't seen him since Harry had won the battle. Fred, of course, was lying on the teacher's platform between Tonks and Terry Boot, but her view of him was blocked by Michael Corner, Cho Chang, and Anthony Goldstein as they mourned their friend.
Ginny had no desire to look upon Fred's last smile again, nor see Remus and Tonks together in death nor stare at the tiny body of her friend Colin. She had little desire to do much of anything not involving Harry, in fact, but a driving need was pulling her towards the unguarded trophy room. She somehow knew that if she didn't go in at that moment, she would never have the chance.
She stared at the floor as she entered the room and shut the door, her eyes refusing to look at the body her mind had forced her to visit. The stones looked exactly the same as they had when she had been forced to clean all of the awards by hand during her third year. Finally, she forced her gaze upward and took in the sight that should have terrified her, should have sent her back to her mother's arms screaming in horror.
The body of Lord Voldemort stared back at her through lifeless, scarlet pupils.
Although she knew she should run, she couldn't bring herself to be frightened. Perhaps she was too drained from the battle, or maybe she was too used to seeing dead bodies as nothing but objects (a prospect which did frighten some small, quiet corner of her mind), but she just watched those empty eyes watch her. Those eyes, which had once held so much malice, were almost marble-like in appearance now.
Ginny hadn't been prepared for the sight of Lord Voldemort when he had escorted Harry's "body" to the school. She had heard the rumors about his appearance --who hadn't?--, and she had listened to Harry's horrifying accounts of his rebirth and subsequent sightings, but in her mind Lord Voldemort would always be the handsome teenager who had taken her into his mind, shown her some of his life, made her fall in love with him. Yes, Ginny Weasley had been in love with Tom Riddle, as much as any eleven-year-old could be.
She finally tore her gaze from those eyes and took in the rest of his appearance. Tom's incredibly high cheekbones had somehow risen in Voldemort's face, and his lips were no longer full and lush. He had always been pale, but he was now without color. His strong, beautiful fingers, which had stroked her face as she began to fade away, were now thin and brittle-looking. It had bemused her how so many adults did not know Voldemort's former identity, but she understood now. There was nothing left of the boy who had given Ginny her very first kiss.
"Tom," she said quietly. "I know you're not there anymore. I just wanted to " To what? Did she want to tell him how much she loathed him?
Pathetic, a voice whispered in her mind. After all this time, you still desire a boy beyond your means. You could have had me for eternity, you know. If you had allowed yourself to fade away, you would have been in my beating heart forever. You could have loved me forever, without feeling guilty.
"Shut up," she whispered. "I don't love you.
This is all your fault, Ginevra. How many people died this night because you were too noble and proud to give in to me all those years ago? Your brother, your friends their blood is on your hands, all because you fell in love with me.
"Shut up!" Ginny turned to flee, but was met with the sight of a startled Professor McGonagall.
"Miss Weasley? What in Merlin's name--?"
She shook her head as tears streamed down her cheeks. "It's my fault, isn't it?"
McGonagall raised her eyebrows. She looked much older than she had ever seemed to Ginny. "What are you talking about? Is what your fault?"
"He was able to be alive for this long because of what I did in my first year. If it wasn't for me if I had been stronger maybe he would have never come back, and then Fred--" she choked on a sob and collapsed against a glass case. "Fred and Tonks and Colin and Professor Lupin, they'd all still be alive! Or maybe, if I had given him life then, he could have been killed earlier, and--"
"Oh, Miss Weasley, that isn't true." Professor McGonagall was at Ginny's side in an instant. "Whatever part of Voldemort hurt you that year was destroyed along with that diary, I assure you. It had no impact on this creature," she said curtly, waving her arm towards the body.
"How can you be sure?" Ginny whispered.
McGonagall sighed sadly and smoothed Ginny's hair like she was a child. "You're exhausted, and so is everyone else. You should get yourself up to Gryffindor Tower and get some sleep. Everything will look better in the morning, you'll see."
Ginny highly doubted her Head of House's words, but the stern gaze that she felt on her convinced her to leave the Trophy Room. She looked back at the body of Voldemort one last time, and it seemed to her that the empty eyes now twinkled with sadistic mirth. With a small gasp, she left McGonagall and went back into the Great Hall.
Two of the House tables had disappeared while Ginny was with the body, replaced by rows of cots covered by fluffy yellow blankets. Her parents and siblings were easily identifiable thanks to their red hair as they claimed a section for themselves, but she knew she couldn't sleep now. Instead, she looked around for someone to talk to.
Her eyes fell on Neville and Luna almost immediately. They weren't speaking, but they were sitting closer than Ginny had ever seen them. She nearly joined them, but that little voice in her head held her back.
They don't really care about you. To them, you're nothing but a pretty face they could use to attract fighters. Those two don't care about your petty little problems, and why should they? You don't matter. Ginny could almost see Tom's lips curling into a smile as he spoke in her mind.
As much as she wanted to disagree with her mind's words--his words?--she could not, and so she chose to avoid the tables and beds entirely and leave the Great Hall alone. The Entrance Hall's floor was largely concealed by blood, debris, and a large quantity of emeralds from the Slytherin hourglass; Ginny got a sort of pleasure from seeing the unfairly-given points of that house dispersed in such a manner.
The stairs were occupied by a large group of Hufflepuffs, and Ginny didn't want to interrupt what looked like a mourning session. Instead, she waved to Hannah Abbott and Ernie Macmillan, both of whom smiled sadly at her, and exited through the broken doors.
It was brilliantly sunny outside, and the air made a valiant attempt to warm her. The coldness in the pit of her stomach, however, was not something that could removed so easily. In another time, she would have itched to climb on her broom and take to the skies, but those days seemed centuries away from her now. How could she possibly be happy to fly when so many were dead, when they were only dead because of a mistake she had made as a hapless child?
Only when she heard soft voices did Ginny realize she had made her way toward the tree under which she and Harry had spent hours and hours once upon a time. Two figures were walking further away from her hand-in-hand; the bushiness of Hermione's hair hadn't decreased in the slightest since Bill and Fleur's wedding, and Ron had apparently grown even more. It was funny how she only noticed this about them now. In the light of imminent death, details like these hadn't seemed important.
Her eyes drifted back to the tree, and she realized that someone was sitting alone in its shade. Harry. Ginny's heart soared and the chill of her blood disappeared, and she found herself running to him once again, as though he had just defeated Voldemort for a third time. He barely had time to look up before she was tackling him, sobbing uncontrollably.
He didn't say a word at first, just pulled her tightly against him and pressed his face into her hair as she cried. Once her tears finally slowed, after what she thought could have been seconds or possibly years, he pulled back slightly to stare down at her. "Ginny."
She tried to smile at him the way he was smiling at her, but that cold knot reformed in her stomach at the sight of his loving expression. No, no, this just won't do, said Tom. You don't actually think he loves you? That's utterly laughable, Ginevra. You're unlovable, especially by Harry Potter of all people. He knows what you did, what you are. He found the diary, saw to what lengths you would go to get it back, found you in the Chamber.
"Ginny, are you alright?" Harry's smile faded as Ginny struggled not to scream at the voice in her head. "You look ill."
She meant to reassure him that she was only tired, wanted to say that she should go lay down so she could get away from him, but her tongue betrayed her. "It's my fault, isn't it?"
"Your fault? What? That you're sick?" He looked so confused. He would hate her once she explained, or rather he would let the hatred he felt for her shine through.
"That this whole battle took place. Something happened because of me during my first year, didn't it? With the diary and everything? I'm the reason he was able to keep living at all, aren't I?" Ginny wiped at her eyes as fresh tears formed in them. "And he'll be able to come back again, too, won't he?"
Harry stared at her for a long moment, and she closed her eyes so she wouldn't have to watch the inevitable revulsion form in them. Instead, lips pressed against her forehead in a gentle kiss. "No, Ginny, it isn't your fault."
He's lying, said the voice. It sounded funny somehow, more distant than it had been for nearly a year. You are to blame for all of this!
Harry scooted back to lean against the tree and pulled Ginny along, so they sat facing one another. "Do you remember back when your dad was attacked, how I thought I was being possessed by Voldemort and you managed to convince me that I was wrong?" He asked the question slowly, as if he was nervous about the territory he was entering with her.
"Of course I do," she said. "But what does that--"
"It has everything to do with it," he interrupted quietly. He closed his eyes and pressed two fingers to his scar before continuing. "You were right, in a sense, but not entirely. We were both possessed by a piece of Voldemort, just in very different ways.
"He made these things, these objects, called Horcruxes. Basically, when a person's soul is split by murder, that person can use some really Dark magic to put a section of their soul into an object, sort of like a safeguard. As long as that piece of soul is safely within its new home, that person can't die. Most people who've made them only did it once; Voldemort meant to do it six times, so his soul would be in seven pieces. He made his first Horcrux during his sixth year here at Hogwarts."
Ginny had a flash of understanding. "The diary."
"So he did make the others, then? He was able to make more Horcruxes?" Ginny whistled softly when Harry nodded slowly. "And you somehow ran across one of them that night, when you saw Dad get attacked by that snake?"
"Nagini was one of the Horcruxes." Harry swallowed deeply. "There was the diary, a locket and a ring that once belonged to Salazar Slytherin, a cup belonging to Helga Hufflepuff--"
"That diadem thing of Ravenclaw's?" Harry nodded again. "And then the piece of his soul that possessed Quirrell during your first year. But that doesn't explain how you were possessed by one of them."
Harry half-smiled, but he looked more exhausted then than Ginny had ever seen him. "Those are just the Horcruxes he meant to make. You see, there was another one, an accidental one that he made before he decided to make Nagini into his last Horcrux. On the night that he came to kill me, when he killed my parents, he shattered his soul without realizing it. It was too fragile because he had fractured it so much in the past, see, and when his Killing Curse rebounded on him, a piece of it broke off and latched itself onto the only living thing around."
Ginny gasped in horror. "You mean you mean you became a Horcrux?!"
"Yeah." He chuckled. "That's why I was able to see through Nagini's eyes when she attacked your dad, and why Voldemort was able to trick me into going to save Sirius. He never knew that I was a Horcrux, but as long as I was alive, he couldn't die. When I found that out tonight, I knew I had to let him kill me so that he could eventually die. Lucky for me that all he managed to kill was the bit of his own self."
Ginny took his hand and turned its palm up, so that she could see the new calluses that had formed on it throughout the past year. There were too many of them. "Harry, that's incredible. But that just makes me feel worse about the whole thing, because you had to destroy two Horcruxes and I spent a whole year making one of them super powered."
You realize that you made him more powerful, don't you? Tom's voice asked snidely. You gave power to Voldemort's Horcrux, and that made him stronger. Your precious boyfriend is probably figuring that out right now.
"Don't be stupid," he murmured. She met his eyes in shock; they weren't angry, but brimming with concern. "All traces of that bit of soul disappeared when I stabbed the diary with that basilisk fang, which sent all of the energy it had amassed back to its owner, namely you. That sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle is gone. He's been gone for five years now."
"Sometimes I still hear him talking in my head," she said before she could stop herself. Harry tried to say something, but she kept talking over him, the words pouring from her like a river that couldn't be dammed. "He whispers things to me, like he did when I was a first year, tells me that it's my fault and why I'm unlovable and that I should have died when I was eleven and Harry, he's right, about all of it, and sometimes I can't sleep because he keeps me up and tries to convince me that he still loves me or that I'm nothing but a failure--"
Harry raised his hands in a silencing gesture, effectively stopping her rambling explanation. His green eyes were darker than usual, his mouth set in a hard line. "Do you actually believe that?"
He doesn't even believe you, Tom laughed. The one time you're completely honest with him, and he doesn't believe that I'm even in here talking to you. This is why you would have been better off with me.
"B-believe it? I live it. But you don't believe me, do you? I do hear him, seriously, I'm not joking--"
"No, I believe you about that," he said grimly. Ginny stared at him in amazement as he took her hands in his. "I've seen what Voldemort can do to a grown wizard, the ideas and feelings he can plant in someone decades older and wiser than you were at eleven."
"That's not the "
"Not the same?" Harry guessed. "It is the same, though. Professor Slughorn still feels guilty about liking a Tom Riddle who was the same age as the one that possessed you, Ginny. Ron and Hermione and I, we all felt the effects of the locket that housed some of his soul. It was able to get to Ron after he hadn't worn it for two months or more, it knew exactly what to say and show him to make him doubt himself. The diary worked at you for nearly a year, and you were much more impressionable then than Ron is now." He paused. "Did you say you loved him?"
She flushed and tried to pull her hands away, but he tightened his grip. "I thought I did, yes," she mumbled. "He told me that he loved me, and he kissed me and held me, and those sorts of thing create a lot of devotion in an eleven-year-old girl. But that feeling faded when he tried to kill me," she said curtly. "I realized how stupid I was and vowed not to think of him again. But he was always there, especially when I was sad or upset. When I'm happy, he isn't around as often, but as soon as things turn sour he comes along to point out that it's all my fault. And he's right."
"No, he isn't. Ginevra Weasley, nothing that he did to you or to anyone else has been your fault. You can't let him get to you like this." Harry reached up to cup her face. "Tom Riddle is gone. He's been gone for years and years, and he can't do anything in the here and now. But you can. You can choose to throw him out, like I did, and you can move on with your life. You can learn what it's like when someone really loves you, because I do love you, Ginny, so much, and I want to spend forever with you and that means that there's no room for Voldemort's memory with you anymore."
Don't listen to him, the voice spat. It sounded less like Tom Riddle now than it ever had, like it was being spoken through water. Through very deep, green water, Ginny decided as she stared into Harry's eyes. He'll turn his back on you eventually, once he realizes how pathetic you are, and then you'll be--
Shut up, she thought, and the voice disappeared, and it felt as though a heavy blanket had been lifted from her mind. She felt sixteen again, and everything looked a little brighter. Her gaze left Harry's eyes and raked down his face, stopping at his lips. They quirked into a smile.
As Harry kissed her, Ginny had no idea how she had ever found Tom Riddle handsome.
This is another part of 's 100 Theme Challenge. I chose to focus on Ginny in the aftermath of the battle.
Did it ever bother you that Ginny seemed to recover so easily from everything that happened during her first year? It definitely irked me a little; the only time it was ever referenced by her or even with a focus on her was when she reminds Harry that she spent most of her first year being possessed by Voldy. Granted, we get to observe very little that Harry himself doesn't observe, and Ginny kind of falls to the wayside for a couple books, but still. Ron didn't mention anything about her still being upset or affected by it, and that just seemed a little weird to me.
I don't think Ginny would have been able to recover so completely and quickly without anyone else knowing that she was messed up; she went through far too traumatic of an experience for that. And this assertion of mine brought up this idea about Ginny. Whether the voice she dispels by the end is actually a lingering remnant of Voldy or just her own self-esteem issues taking on the form of her abuser is entirely up to you, dear reader, but know that she does overcome whatever entity is causing her to be so hurt.
Comments? Questions? Angry rants that need torches and pitchforks backing them up to be truly effective? Leave 'em in the comments section.
"Headmaster," Snape matched his stride to that of Dumbledore. "Might I ask a question?"
They were on their way to the Great Hall for the start of the year feast.
"You have already asked one." He chuckled. "But, you may ask another."
"Where is the final protection for the stone?"
"It shall be revealed in time." He replied.
"Yes, sir." Snape dropped the subject. "There is something else that well, makes me uneasy." He confessed.
"What would that be, Severus?" Dumbledore looked at him, the same quizzical look on his face that he had worn earlier.
"First, why bother with all of the enchantments if there is a back door to the chamber where the stone is hidden?"
"Ah." Dumbledore smiled knowingly. "That doorway can only be opened by the headmaster. I'm not really sure why. It is one of Hogwarts' many secrets, I suppose."
"Also," Snape took a deep breath. "I must bring some suspicious behaviour to light. Professor Quirrell was acting very odd down in the chambers." He glanced at Dumbledore, pausing a moment for a response. When the headmaster offered none, he continued. "He seemed almost too interested in the protective enchantments put in place to protect the stone."
"Are you sure you are not reading too much into his curiosity?" Dumbledore asked. Snape opened his mouth to say something. "I do not distrust you, Severus." He came to a halt at the top of the Grand Staircase and turned to face the Potions Master. "Do not become blinded by your ambitions towards his position."
"Of course, Headmaster." Snape replied.
"I have my reasons for choosing Quirinus." Dumbledore stated. "However, it might be wise to keep an eye on him." He looked at Snape over the rims of his spectacles. "Discreetly."
Snape bowed his head, and Dumbledore descended the staircase and disappeared into the Great Hall.
A moment later, Snape followed him.
Snape had just taken his seat next to Professor Quirrell when the older students began to file in. The hall buzzed with young, excited voices.
A few minutes later, McGonagall walked into the hall, leading a group of rather frightened looking first years. The first person he recognized was a young boy with platinum blond hair.
The Malfoy boy. He thought to himself. He remembered Lucius telling him that the boy would be beginning school this year.
McGonagall lined the students along the staff table, and retrieved the Sorting Hat and stool. Snape thought he could see sweat running down the neck of one round-faced boy standing towards his end of the line.
"Evans, Lily." The little red-headed girl next him gave his hand a squeeze, and then bounded up to sit on the stool. She placed the hat on her head, and a moment later it shouted "GRYFFINDOR!"
She jumped off the stool, and smiled as she ran over to the Gryffindor table, which was cheering loudly. She caught Snape's eye, and beamed encouragement at him. She took a seat next to a boy with shaggy black hair.
A few more names were called.
"Potter, James." This boy had untidy black hair and wore round, wire-rimmed glasses. The hat had barely touched his head when it too shouted "GRYFFINDOR!" He grinned, and sat beside Lily at the Gryffindor table.
"Hi, I'm James."
"I'm Lily." He heard them introduce themselves.
At that moment, he wished he would get placed in Gryffindor.
He walked up to the stool and sat down, then he placed the hat gingerly on his head.
"SLYTHERIN!" It shouted immediately.
He joined the table of silver and green. He was excited to be in Slytherin, like his ancestors before him, but why couldn't Lily be in Slytherin too?
"Potter, Harry." Snape was jerked out of his reverie by McGonagall's sharp voice calling out that oh-so-familiar name. He heard whispering around the hall, and saw a small, skinny boy with untidy jet-black hair and wire-rimmed glasses step forward and take his place on the stool. The hat was placed on his head, and dropped over his eyes. A full minute passed. The hat seemed to be having difficulty placing him.
"GRYFFINDOR!" It finally shouted. The Gryffindor table let out the loudest cheer yet.
Snape let out a breath he didn't even realize he had been holding. Of course he would be sorted into Gryffindor. Why wouldn't he be? Both of his parents had been in that house. Still, what a thorn in the side it would have been to James if his son had been in Slytherin.
The rest of the sorting passed rather quickly.
Albus Dumbledore stood, beaming at the students, holding his arms open wide. "Welcome!" He began. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!" He sat back down, and the room broke into applause.
The plates before them filled with food, and the feast began.
Snape had barely begun to reach for some potatoes when Professor Quirrell engaged him in conversation.
"Why a troll?" Snape asked him after they had exhausted the topic of potions.
"Oh, w-well, you s-see," Quirrell stammered. "I have a g-g-gift with t-trolls. N-never been a f-f-fan of v-vampires." He shuddered
"Oh really?" Snape asked. "And why is that?"
Quirrell began babbling about a vampire he had encountered in Romania, and so he stuffed his turban with garlic to ward it off. Then, that led him to speak of how he had received the turban as a gift from some African prince for getting rid of a zombie.
For a stutterer, he sure can go on and on. Snape thought to himself.
He suddenly felt a pair of familiar eyes on him. He shifted his gaze slightly from Quirrell's face to the right, and he met the eyes of Harry Potter. He felt like his heart had stopped. He really did have Lily's eyes. He saw the boy mouth something, and then clap his hand to his forehead. Snape looked away.
It was an abomination! The eyes of his Lily looking out of the face of James Potter! Snape had no idea how he was going to survive the next seven years when the living proof of her preference for another man would stare up at him in class every week.
The Headmaster caught his eye, and Snape nodded almost imperceptibly.
"I'm George! Can't you even tell us apart when we're Harry?"
"Only yanking your wand, I'm Fred really-"
The hardest thing I ever had to do was walking into 93 Diagon Alley without you. For a place that celebrated pranks and good times it felt suddenly black and heavy; suffocating. Nothing but a great big bloody reminder of every moment I'd ever spent with you. Each product stirred another memory - hours and hours of experimenting, blowing ourselves up, wracking our brains for ideas, searching the halls for willing guinea pigs to participate in our experimenting. How could I stand in that shop day after day selling people laughs? I felt like they didn't have the right to smile, not in our shop, not without you.
The first week was shit. I wanted to punch every customer that walked through the door. It was worse when the regulars asked after you. I'd always reply 'the selfish sod got himself killed and left me to look after the shop'. Drew me a few funny looks but I was glad. I wanted them to feel guilty for asking.
So maybe I didn't do it all for you. I couldn't have continued running that shop if I hadn't. I've always been a bit selfish like that.
I remember that last summer you mentioned wanting a plain and simple wedding, nothing like Bill's. I hope I can give you that. Turns out I'm getting hitched myself. Plain and simple, none of Mum's fussy, frilly, nitpicky nightmares (though I kind've want to see Ron in his old dress robes - it's my special day after all, reckon I deserve one laugh at least).
You'd like her. She's clumsy, got the feet of a giant and can't hold a wand in a kitchen, but funny and a bit mad. Your type, 'minds me a bit of Tonks. Maybe that's not a good thing. I should be sick of reminders of the dead. I get to stare at your ugly mug every day, after all. Your eyes. Your hair. Your great ugly freckles.
Even your smile now.
Your smile was always sadder than mine and a bit distant. Mine's like that now. We've never been more alike now that you're dead.
Sure we were top-ranking pranksters and a pair of formidable beaters to boot, but you and me - we were like pumpkin juice and Firewhiskey. You were the brains of the team. You also worried more. I took the challenges and you carried the weight of them; you always had my back. I hope you knew that I always tried to watch yours too. Really ballsed it up though, didn't I? The one time you actually needed me to save you, I wasn't there. I try not to think what the turn out would have been if we'd been fighting together that night instead of you and Percy.
Hah, well gutted for you. Could've been worse, at least you didn't lose an ear.
That night, the night we moved Harry out his Muggle house, the night it all started, I'd never felt so sick in all my life. I don't get nervous, but I had a feeling we were going to run into trouble. Maybe it was because I caught your eyes while crazy old Moody was sorting us into groups. They were darker, disturbed - you were trying to tell me something, to be careful maybe. I know you hated letting me out of your sight. Fair dos, let's face it, the shit hits the fan when you aren't there to keep me on a leash (or more like my ear hits the ground).
"You see...I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?"
You can almost pin-point the moment when a person's heart breaks. I thought it would make you laugh, but your face looked flushed and serious... You didn't correct me. And suddenly we both knew we'd finally taken a joke too far. But nobody else mattered at that point. We were protecting each other the only way we knew how.
You knew I had a fragile pride - I was the vain one, popular with the ladies. You knew my ego had taken a real beating with Snape's curse. Swapping our names meant nothing to either of us: Fred and George, Gred and Forge. There's old magic in a name; your name's your soul, after all. In the wizarding world it's nothing short of criminal to give it away - not that we were ever strangers to illegal activity. But we were twins; two sides of the same sickle; different as we were alike; perfectly balanced - I lead, you followed. So swapping names was like swapping hats.
Maybe I was selfish, I should never have let you go ahead and continue the game but I didn't want to see that look on your face again. I knew you felt responsible. So you did the only thing you could think of to keep me smiling. My name and image, still intact and your's lugless. I thought that people would eventually guess at our prank, at our swapped identities, but suddenly everything was happening so quickly and then, one green flash after the other, you were cut off from me.
Her name's Nox. I don't know if I really love her. How can I, she thinks she's marrying you after all. I just know she'd make you happy. Don't be a git, I didn't give up my own life. I'm just sharing it with you.
I still get to hear your name every day, that's more than enough for me.
The Weasley twin sat hunched before the gravestone and traced the name carved deep into the stone with his finger: Fred
He sighed, pulling the collar of his jacket closer around his chin. '...It's so much easier seeing my name up there instead of yours.'
Yeah, I know I've had this posted over on my other account, , but I like to keep all my F+G related works over here in the one place. Please people, don't come telling me that I'm plagiarising Starkiller's fic - I am Starkiller
So yes, this rubbish one-shot was my instant reaction to Fred's death in Deathly Hallows (my second reaction being my multi-chaptered fic, Twin Vice ). True it was a bit mean of me bumping off George in favour of Fred, but .... yeah, I have no excuse Sorry Georgie! No hard feelings Honestly, I wrote this ten minutes after finishing the book at 6:00am. T'was my way of coping... *cough* Well, that and lots of sex and beer. I'm such a healthy sod.
I see you from a distance. Your red hair is blowing in the wind. You're discovering your magic and seeing your powers grow You watch your sister being afraid of the true you
I see you laughing at me when we look at our letters from Hogwarts I'll tell you my secrets But I will never tell how I feel about you I hope we'll be in the same House together
I see you in different colours than mine It feels like we're growing apart, red and gold versus green and silver You say you'll always be my friend No matter what will happen I can count on your lovely smile and friendship
I see how James Potter is liking you How others seem to care about you, more than they did to me The horror in your eyes when I call you a Mudblood It was a mistake I will always regret. And then we took different directions in our lives.
I see a future for you that isn't save Risking my own life just to make sure you'll be ok And you dont even have a clue I wanna make sure you'll be save and happy Even when its not with me anymore
I see your dead body on the floor Your once warm hands feel cold right now The green sparkle in your eyes is gone forever Your son is crying for help When I'm crying over this bitter lost
I see your son grow up He looks like his father, something I dispice But his eyes, sometimes it looks like you're looking at me again I miss you, with every part of my body If only you were the one that survived...
I see your son being with me untill the end After all the cruel things I did and said He is like you, your spirit lives in him I'm going to die, after all my crimes A punishment I may have deserved
I see the green eyes of your son I'm picturing your red hair and friendly smile The days we spend with each other are coming back to me To him I give him my memories of you So he will see how wonderful you were
I see I dont have much time on this earth My time has come to die Forgive me for the things I didnt want to do I wish I have told you this before it was too late Lily Evans, I have always loved you
I will be seeing you again. From a distance with your red hair blowing in the wind
Severus put down the book and puffed heavily. It was the sixth time the bloody doorbell had rung.
Probably the teenage delinquents who were in the inconvenient habit of roaming Spinner´s End on occasion. During the past few years, they had been coming over to that abandoned part of town whenever they felt bored or were being chased by the police. As a matter of fact, with the street´s alarming state of decay, most of its houses deserted, it was rather surprising that the juvenile gangster-hopefuls didn´t come around to "visit" more often.
Spinner´s End was after all a perfect hiding place...Nobody better than Severus knew that...
But the fact was that Spinner´s End was ruined to such a degree that not even those little punks took a more than passing interest in it. Sometimes they entered an abandoned house to smoke, played some loud music (that is, if that godawful cacophony could be called "music" at all), or just wandered around cursing, fighting and generally raising hell, before getting bored and moving on to more interesting acts of vandalism.
After Severus had moved back, the little dunderheads had decided to stick around for longer, thrilled to have a potential new victim to play with. But a couple of simple charms managed to convince the youngsters that Spinner´s End was haunted, much to Severus´ amusement...Soon they had disappeared...And yet, after months of complete peace, there they were at it again.
They would learn their lesson this time....
He yanked the door open, his other hand reaching for the magically locked wooden cabinet where he kept his wand, but instead of a rowdy bunch of brats, all Severus saw was a woman standing at his door.
"Good afternoon..." she let out in a husky voice, a courteous smile on her lips.
"Good afternoon" he answered grudgingly "And before you waste your breath: whatever it is you´re advertising, I´m not interested."
With a flick of his wrist the door moved. But her hand stopped it before it could slam in her face. Taken aback, Severus opened the door again. Her gall had managed to catch his interest. He inspected the woman before him from head to toe, his eyes both focused and disdainful.
Certainly a muggle... about 30-years old, quite tall, probably around 5'8 or 5'9 (she had heeled boots on, though, so he could be wrong), with a sturdy yet willowy build. Her dark brown hair was held back in a tight ponytail that showed off a rather particular face: strong eyebrows, alert golden brown eyes, a Greek nose and a somewhat wide mouth. Her olive complexion showed rosy undertones in the chilly Autumn wind. She wore a brick red blouse, brown scarf and brown skirt, with a beige overcoat that, although elegant, looked a bit too light for the temperature outside. She was good-looking, Severus conceded...But that only made her presence at his doorstep all the more odd... Good-looking, well-dressed people were not an usual occurrence at Spinner´s End...
"I´m sorry to bother you... My name is Evelyn, Evelyn Black." She stretched out her hand, but Severus merely looked at her, motionless and uninterested. She cracked a very uneasy smile. It was obvious she was forcing herself to be polite in spite of his bluntness. Only now Severus noticed his visitor had a slight accent...he couldn´t quite pinpoint where from...Irish, maybe? Definitely not Scottish...Well, it didn´t matter.
"Uh...-she continued-I just moved here and..."
"You just...moved" Severus raised an eyebrow "Here?"
"Well, yes. Just this morning..."
"Why would you do that?" Why would anybody do that?, he thought to himself, but said nothing.
"It´s a long story, actually...."
"It was a rhetorical question..." Severus interrupted her, using a purposely condescending tone, a wry smile dancing on his thin lips. She was visibly annoyed now. Good. Only a matter of moments before she decided to leave him alone.
"Actually...I don´t plan on wasting too much of your time, let alone annoying you with unwelcome stories" She answered in a mellow tone filled with subtle contempt.
Severus rolled his eyes. He had obviously underestimated her.
"I´m just looking for someone..." She took out an old and rugged little notebook from her purse "Eileen Prince. Does she live here?"
Severus blinked and just stared at her for a long moment, completely disarmed.
"Snape..." He let out quietly
"I beg your pardon?"
"Eileen Snape...Prince was her maiden name..."
"Oh, so she does live here."
"I see..." Evelyn shifted on her feet "She moved then..."
"She´s dead.... Has been for twenty years actually."
Evelyn bit her lower lip, obviously embarrassed
"I´m sorry to hear that...In that case, I guess I should get going then..."
"Wait a minute, Miss...I´sorry, you said your name was..?"
"Black. Evelyn Black." As she relaxed and her accent came through more clearly... Irish...she was definitely Irish, Severus thought to himself "Mr... Snape, I assume?"
"Severus Snape..." He opened the door all the way and cocked his head back gesturing for her to come in.
The Stoll Brothers (both Gryffindors) are selling their latest product in the Gryffindor common room, showering candy everywhere as the first and second years snatch them up in mid-air. "Free samples!" Connor Stoll echoed, watching as the students chew the candies, and momentarily, talking ten times faster than they usually do whenever spoken to. "So if you want to buy them, it'll be 5 galleons for one package." Travis Stoll said.
Percy and Grover were over the fire, playing wizard chess through the very noisy crowd. "You do know," Percy said, ordering his knight to move, "that muggle chess piece don't move?" "Yeah," Grover said simply, watching his pawn destroys Percy's, "I wonder if some wizards who don't know much of the muggle world will react." "Well," Percy thought loudly, tapping his chin, "I'll bet that they, the wizards I mean, would be screaming to the board 'MOVE, YOU PIECES OF--'"
"WOULD YOU PIPE IT DOWN?" someone roared at the girls' dormitory upstairs. The noise abruptly stopped, and looking up, Clarisse La Rue (Gryffindor) emerged. "I'M TRYING TO SLEEP HERE!" "Sorry about that, Clarisse!" Travis shouted, "But would you like some of our Ten-Times Talking Toffee? We could throw in a sample--" WHACK. Travis was knocked out by Clarisse' book entitled The Heavy Book of Heaviness square on the face. Many 'ooh-ed' and helplessly watched him bleed. Connor rummaged around his robes and took out a small purple candy. He put the candy in Travis' mouth and he, Travis, miraculously jumped instantly, looking finer than he was moments ago, regardless of the bloody robes. Everyone applauded to him, quite amazed. Clarisse merely shrugged and stomped furiously back into her dormitory, while the Stoll Brothers started taking orders from the innocent customers.
Next morning, when he was on his way at the Great Hall for breakfast, Percy noticed his Ravenclaw friend, Annabeth, was walking with her bare feet. "What's up?" Percy asked her, though it was stupid because he know what Annabeth will say. She stared at him and mumbled, "Someone's been stealing my things again." "You need help in finding them?" "Oh no, I could do it. Anyways, I told my brothers that I lost it and they already agreed to help me find them." Percy gaped at Annabeth, taken back at a small bit of the previous sentence she spoke. "Y-you have brothers?" he stammered. "Well, yeah!" Annabeth said in a matter-of-factly tone. "Some of the students in Ravenclaw are my siblings, well, half-siblings anyway. And a little amount is on the other houses." Percy mouthed 'there are more of you?' and kept staring at her, flabbergasted by the new information he didn't know from the start. Then that wasn't the only surprising thing that happened in this day regarding about siblings. Almost all of the school's students are related, even the Slytherin prefect Luke Castellan (Slytherin, mind you) is related to the Stolls. It was mind-boggling to Percy, loads of new information in one day, larger than his pile of homework. When his brain felt so heavy that he couldn't lift his head out of the table in one DADA class, Professor Donne greeted him, "Percy, are you alright?" "I don't know, sir," Percy replied, lifting his head a little from the table, "I just don't understand " "What do you not understand?" Percy grimaced, and then spoke so fast you thought you thought he ate the Stoll brothers' Ten-Times Talking Toffee: "Why in Scotts is everyone related to each other? I mean am I the only one who is a single child? No half-siblings or whatsoever? Grover and some people are an exception, because they're a different case. I know that I had some distant relatives I just don't know or maybe some cousins that already graduated here or something but really! And I don't know who my dad is! My mum's muggle-born, and I know dad is pure-blood but--" "Percy," Professor Donne interrupted, sighing, "If it helps to enlighten your mood, I had something to say to you, and I've been hiding it to you for a long time now. But it's time to tell you." "W-what is it, sir?" Percy asked; he had the strangest feeling that his favorite teacher is about to tell him the most peculiar news he will hear for the day. "Percy " Donne sighed, " I am your father."
A/N: The Heavy Book of Heaviness is brought to you by The Invisible Book of Invisibility and The Monster Book of Monsters. Ten-Times Talking Toffee is sponsored by the Weasley Twins' Ton-Tongue Toffee. And Annabeth Chase in this chapter is hosted by Luna Lovegood.
And in case you don't get the chapter ending: PoseiDonne = Poseidon.
Severus stood very still as Dumbledore walked past him, out the door, and down the revolving staircase to the griffin three floors below.
Snape was alone in Dumbledore's office.
He glared around at the many shiny, and very delicate instruments that lay on the small, rickety tables, and shelves all around the room. His eyes had just passed over the dilluminator, and an old snitch, when they fell upon a gold ring with a small black stone cut in a diamond shape. There was a triangle, and circle, and line set into the top of the stone. He caught his breath.
It had been years since he had heard his mother's sweet voice telling him the ancient tales, but he could still recite them by heart. There sat the Resurrection Stone of Cadmus Peverell.
He took a step closer, and reached out to touch it. After the slightest hesitation, he lifted it from its resting place on the table and held it in his hand. He tilted it closer to the light, and noticed a very fine crack cut diagonally on the face of the stone, splitting the Sign in half.
Without even realizing what he was doing, Snape turned the Stone thrice in hand.
He looked up. No one was there. He bit his lower lip and sighed. Then he put the ring back on the spindly little table next to the snitch, and made to leave.
He turned around to face the door, and there she stood. Her red hair fell below her shoulders, and her green eyes stared at Severus' shoes. She had a silver sheen to her - almost like the ghosts of Hogwarts Castle. Despite that, she was just as beautiful as the day she departed this world, but there was something different.
"What do you want, Severus?" Lily Potter whispered, not raising her eyes from the floor.
"Lily, I-" Snape's throat seemed to close up, and no sound could get around it. He swallowed. "I'm sorry, Lily. For all of it. For everything."
She glanced up, and their eyes met for a very brief moment before she turned them back to the floor. "I know, Severus. I've always known."
"Why did you never tell me?"
"How is my son?" Lily asked him, clearly avoiding the question.
"I know that you have been watching him." She whispered. "I know that you sent a message to Sirius that night fifteen years ago." Lily paused. "I know what you have done."
Snape choked back a sob. "Why did you choose Wormtail, Lily? Why?"
"Sirius persuaded us to choose him. He thought that Peter would be a less obvious choice." She chuckled darkly. "I suppose we should have made him roll up his sleeves first."
"Harry has so much of you in him, Lily." Snape whispered. "He is an uncommonly kind wizard, even if his arrogance comes from James." He saw a faint smile cross Lily's face. "He has your eyes."
Lily glanced up at him, and their eyes met again. "Thank you, Severus, for watching over him." She said, softly. "I will always remember you for that."
Then, Snape realized the difference. Her eyes didn't have the same glow as before. They were distant - as if she were distracted, or her mind was elsewhere.
Two voices drifted up the stairwell. They would be here in under a minute.
"Lily, I-" There was so much he wanted to say to her, but there wasn't enough time. The voices were getting closer. Now they had paused just outside the door.
Snape turned back to the table, and swooped up the Stone. He began to turn it again in his hand.
"Severus," Lily began as Snape turned the Stone over for the third time.He looked back at her, and saw her begin to fade. "Severus," She repeated, almost completely gone now. "I forgive you." And then she was gone.
Her voice echoed inside his head as he replaced the Stone on the table. The door swung open and he took a deep breath, and turned back around. There stood Dumbledore, with a knowing look in his eye. When he stepped inside, he revealed another figure.
He had Lily's eyes.
Snape stared into those eyes for a moment. Then he bowed to the Headmaster, and swept through the door and down the stairs.
Those green eyes did not possess the distant quality that Lily's did. Those eyes were fully rooted in the here, and now.
And, he felt a bit more at peace with that now, despite the tears trying to tell him otherwise.
I wrote this story after having another story ([link]) come through my inbox.
I just kinda wrote off the cuff, so i hope you enjoy it.
Hey, all! Be sure to check out my other Snape story! [link]
Just FYI, I love the Lily/Snape pairing.
~EDIT~ Thank you to everyone for the s! I was so shocked when i logged on and I found 126 favorites! I wish that I could thank all of you personally, but dA thinks that i'm spamming... So, I THANK YOU ALL SOOOOOOO MUCH! YOU GUYS ROCK!!
~EDIT #2~ OMG!!! It made it on the front page! This is so exciting!! Thank you everyone for making that happen!! YAY!!! You all rock!!
"What say you, Draco?" asked Voldemort, and though his voice was quiet, it carried clearly through the catcalls and jeers. "Will you babysit the cubs?"
The hilarity mounted; Draco Malfoy looked in terror at his father, who was staring down into his own lap, then caught his mother's eye. She shook her head almost imperceptibly, then resumed her own deadpan stare at the opposite wall...
His hands grasped metal so cold he wouldn't have dared stick his tongue to it, lest it freeze immediately into place. Not that Draco had a habit of touching his tongue to metal fences normally. Despite the shame and dishonor and bad reputation his family had continually suffered after the war, he still had his pride. It was barely enough to keep his chin parallel to the ground at times, but he persisted. He had to. What else could he do?
He still had to care for Narcissa and the Manor, and deal with his father's old business associates who seemed convinced that he shared Lucius's views and tactics. Draco needed a real job very soon, but he just couldn't bring himself to show his face at the Ministry quite yet. Last time he'd been there was for his and his parents' trials.
Lucius had been found guilty straight off and was immediately sent back to Azkaban. Having already been convicted to a life sentence, he'd barely even had a trial.
They'd debated over Narcissa for a while, however, trying to decide whether she was guilty due to her obvious associations with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, despite the fact that she was not a Death Eater herself and there was no evidence that she had ever directly participated in any Death Eater activities. Only when Potter was called to the bench and testified that Narcissa had saved his life was she pardoned.
Draco was not released so easily. Due to testimonies from persons the Wizengamot refused to name and his own confessions, he was eventually sentenced to a year and a half in Azkaban, under the knowledge that the Ministry would keep a careful eye on him once he was released. He thought with bitter amusement that perhaps that might actually help him get a job there. The Ministry could certainly keep a close eye on him if he worked for them, no?
He tried pushing the negative thoughts out of his head, but the memories came faster and faster once they'd begun, blurring together in a sickening whirl. There was the sense of power he held over the other students that was so dark and delightful at the time, but now was almost painful to recall. There was also the memory of Granger being tortured in his living room while he was forced to silently look on.
But even worse than that was having to practice the Cruciatus curse himself, over and over under the Dark Lord's critical, unmerciful eye. There'd been no hiding from Voldemort, and even with Draco's use of Legitimens, the Dark Lord was able to break into his thoughts with sickening ease. Voldemort had infested the Manor, filling Draco's bright, happy childhood home with darkness. He'd reduced Lucius, the man Draco had grown up so terrified of, to a whimpering, wandless minion.
And Draco had been no better, slaving away with a thirst for power so great that he'd been willing to sell his soul to the devil to get what he desired.
Funnily enough, he didn't want that power anymore. He'd seen where all of it led, seen it with his own eyes. The death, pain, and destruction had overwhelmed his senses and he'd watched as his world was torn apart. And, worse, he'd helped it along.
His knuckles were white on the wrought iron fence now, its top lined with spikes placed just far enough apart to fit his hands in between. The place was enchanted to look like a run-down cemetery to Muggles, but any wizard or witch that walked past would know what it was. Built shortly after the war had ended, it was a monument to those that had died fighting for justice and peace. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of statues, stood sized real to life and frozen with fake smiles on their faces.
Draco couldn't stop looking at them.
His insides were shrinking from more than the chill wind and he kept expecting the statues' heads to turn suddenly and look at him. At the same time, however, they were so very still, snow dusting the tops of their heads and producing a white carpet at their feet. He recognized few of them, but his gut twisted at the smaller of the statues among them, spotting children and even a mother clutching an infant to her chest.
Guilt was a horrible, crushing thing, pinning him to the earth, to a hateful reality, when all he wanted to do was run away. But he stayed, hands frozen in place and wand buried deep in his pocket, and he stared at those faces and no matter how hard he tried not to, he couldn't help but think that he was responsible.
Draco's fingers had gone numb when he turned his head slightly toward the empty street, perhaps thinking he heard something or sensing someone's presence, his eyes caught immediately by a flash of bright blue. He turned to look at the thing almost against his will; his eyes kept wanting to veer back to the statues' faces. However, his attention was swiftly caught by the child before him, a toddler running on short legs down the sidewalk without even a coat on, though he did wear a red and gold knit sweater that clashed horribly with his hair.
Draco's eyebrows arched and he pulled his hands off the fence, taking a step back as he realized that the boy was headed toward him. Malfoy looked about, wondering where the boy's guardian was, and who would be so cruel as to dye the boy's hair such an unlikely color. Draco had just turned back toward the child when the young boy tripped on a crack in the sidewall and tumbled down, barely holding out small hands in time to catch himself. A sudden wave of terror swept over Draco as the boy let out an ear-piercing wail. Bloody hell, he didn't know how to deal with this sort of crisis, not did he know how to deal with children, and he certainly could not be expected to handle a situation in which both were thrown together.
Crouching hesitantly before the crying boy, he put out a hand to gingerly touch the child's shoulder, attempting to console to boy in a poor imitation of vague memories of his mother.
"Hey, shush, you're alright, then. Just a little fall, no? You don't have to cry..."
To his great surprise, the boy looked up at him with a slightly revolting face that was splotchy red and covered in tears and held out his small arms in the universal cry to be held. Completely at a loss as to what to do, Malfoy slowly wrapped his arms around the boy, and the child immediately attached himself to Draco's front, sniffling into Malfoy's shoulder.
"Where's your mum and dad?" Draco murmured, but the boy gave no reply.
"You live nearby?" he tried again. "Where's your house? Home? Where do you live?"
Again there was no reply from the boy but a few last sniffles, and Draco let out a small sigh. He very well couldn't leave the kid out in the cold, and since he supposed that the boy's parents were bound to come looking for him sooner or later, the only logical conclusion was for Draco to stay with him until he was collected.
The boy, now quite calm, suddenly cried, "Da!" and reached a hand over Draco's shoulder toward the statues. Turning his head, Draco glanced at the still figures before looking back down at the boy. It suddenly dawned on him that if the boy could see the statues, he had to be a wizarding child, although the idea of him being a Muggle child hadn't actually crossed Malfoy's mind.
At once Draco could not help but think that him holding Merlin-knew-who's child was a very bad idea. His and Lucius's incarcerations had been blown all over the papers, along with his courtroom confessions. He could not think of any parents who would feel kindly about an ex Death Eater holding their son if he was recognized. But the boy had quite the grip and showed no signs of wanting to let go, so Draco simply stood there, allowing the child to cling to him as he cast nervous glances about the empty street.
"Harry, is Teddy with you?"
Harry Potter looked up to see Ginny coming out of the kitchen and entering the living room of number twelve Grimmauld Place, looking vaguely concerned.
"No," he said, sounding surprised. "He's not with you?"
"No!" she exclaimed, looking suddenly frantic. "Oh, no, Harry! Where is he?"
"Calm down," Harry chuckled, making no move to get up off the couch. "I'm sure he's fine."
"He's only two years old!" Ginny cried. "Young children have to be watched at all times!" She immediately set off down the main hall, Harry leaping up to follow.
"Gin, look, he can't've gotten out of the house anyway--"
He was suddenly cut off as Ginny froze in front of him, both their eyes moving toward the front door, hanging ajar.
"Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no!" Ginny cried, whirling on him. Harry opened his mouth, prepared to defend himself from her accusations, but instead she cried, "A locating spell! You know how to cast one of those, don't you? And we can apparate to wherever Teddy is!"
"Yes, alright," he assured her hastily, moving the rest of the way down the hall to pull the door closed.
"Oh, what if we don't find him?" Ginny cried into her hands. "Mother will never forgive me!"
"We'll find him," Harry said firmly, taking her by the wrists. "Calm down! The last thing I need is for you to be splinched when we apparate."
Ginny took a shaky breath and nodded. "Oh, do it quickly! We don't even know how long he's been out there, and it's so cold!"
Harry looked slightly exasperated, but obeyed, swiftly casting the complicated enchantment and concentrating before swiftly taking hold of her arm and twisting them both into a sudden darkness.
They appeared with a crack outside of the Memorial, immediately spying the back of a blond head a few meters before them, the man holding Teddy in his arms.
"Hahee!" the boy yelled happily in Draco's ear, suddenly making an upward jerking movement that caused Draco to have to tighten his grip in order to not drop the child. Malfoy twisted about halfway, turning his head to see Potter and the Weaselette walking quickly toward him. The boy giggled and dropped his head lazily into Draco's neck, blue hair brushing against Malfoy's pointed chin.
"Is that Malfoy?" Ginny was the first to softly exclaim, and Harry's jaw tightened slightly, eyes taking on a wary but curious glint.
Draco quickly tried to pry the child off him, but the boy increased the strength of his grip, and Draco feared that he might injure the boy if he used all his might to tear him off. So he was forced to hold Teddy as Potter and Ginny neared, his mouth swiftly turning into sandpaper.
Harry paused awkwardly a few steps from Draco, and Ginny followed suit, her eyes fixed with obvious worry on the boy, now smiling with his fists tightly gripping the shoulders of Malfoy's dark jacket.
"His name's Teddy Lupin," Harry finally supplied. "He's Remus and Tonks's son..." Potter's voice quickly died away and Draco slowly recalled that both had died in the war.
"Come on, Teddy," Ginny finally said brusquely, stepping forward and reaching out to grab the boy. As soon as she pulled, though, the blue haired child let out a furious cry of "No!" and Draco could feel the boy's grip tighten further against him.
"I-- I'm sorry," Draco sputtered helplessly, but when he looked up he saw a small, crooked smile pass over Harry's lips.
Ginny looked incredulous and almost angry, but Harry put a hand on her waist and said quite pointedly, "Why don't you come back to the house with us? Seeing as Teddy doesn't seem quite willing to give you up yet."
Draco hesitated and Ginny fixed him with a glare. "It is very cold out," she started indignantly, but Draco interrupted her, apparently not interested in being yelled at.
"Fine," Malfoy said quickly, his arms already curled about the boy once more. Teddy rested his head between Draco's collarbones and closed his eyes as Harry turned to lead the way back. Ginny paused to let Draco catch up before starting, unwilling to turn her back on him while he still held the Teddy in his arms.
The Potions Master watched the students trickle slowly into the Great Hall for breakfast. There weren't that many arriving, but it was still early yet. Most of the students would come in later, scarf down some food, and then hurry off to their morning classes, their bags banging against their legs as they rushed up the stairs.
Snape took a bite of his toast, and saw a familiar head of untidy black hair enter the Hall. He was talking animatedly to one of his friends a red-headed boy with freckles on his nose. They sat down opposite the round-faced disaster child who had melted the cauldron last week, and began to eat breakfast.
He frowned slightly as he watched to boys across the room. The boy had many of James' mannerisms, in addition to his attitude. Snape shook his head slightly, and turned back to his breakfast.
It wasn't long, however, until the morning post arrived. Snape looked up expectantly he had ordered a large box of lacewing flies as his supplies had been running low. However, no owl landed before him. He frowned slightly as the ceiling began to clear out. Maybe tomorrow He thought to himself.
He was distracted by an unusual movement the Malfoy boy was walking across the Great Hall to the Gryffindor table and was headed right for Potter. He stopped, and grabbed something from the tabletop. There was a brief exchange, and Potter leapt to his feet. Snape began to stand up, but he saw that Professor McGonagall was already there. She said something to Malfoy, who placed the thing back on the table and walked away. Potter resumed his seat, but his eyes followed Draco out of the Hall.
So, you like tormenting Slytherins too, do you? Snape's eyes narrowed as he watched the Potter boy for another moment. Then, he stood and strode from the Hall.
He walked slowly through the corridors, aiming for the general direction of the staff room. He did not have a class that day, and so was at liberty to do as he pleased.
He finally arrived at the staff room to find it empty. He settled down in a soft chair by the window, and looked out on the grounds. It was nice to just have a quiet moment to look out on the grounds (even if it was a bit bright for his taste) and reflect on the 'old days'. He could remember sitting under the large weeping willow tree by the lake with Lily, reading, or studying, or just talking about anything, everything, and nothing.
His memories were disrupted by movement on the grass below: Madame Hooch was walking across the green, a class of first years in tow. Snape watched them approach the brooms, noticing that many of the first years had nervous looks on their faces.
At that moment, the door to the staff room opened and Professor McGonagall walked in.
"Ah, professor, have you come to watch the flying lesson?" Snape asked her. She nodded, and took the empty seat opposite him. They both turned their faces towards the window.
At that moment, one of the brooms the one bearing the round-faced potions failure lifted itself several feet off the ground. In his panic, the boy slid off the broom and fell back to the earth. Snape stifled a slight smile. Madame Hooch said something to the students, and then marched the boy inside no doubt to the hospital wing.
He frowned slightly. No sooner had Madame Hooch disappeared than two students had taken flight. One was the Malfoy boy. The other, "Potter." He whispered, distastefully. He shook his head. "He is just like his father." Severus spat. He saw McGonagall watching him from the corner of her eye. "Quidditch hero." He covered for himself.
At that moment, Harry was streaking towards the ground, chasing something small, and round. He pulled out of the dive at the last moment, the small object glittering in his hand.
"He is more like his father than we realize." McGonagall said matter-of-factly. She stood. "Excuse me, Severus," and she rushed from the room. A few moments later, she was striding across the field. She said something to Harry, and he followed her back inside the castle an extremely depressed look on his face.
He remained in the staffroom enjoying his moment of peace and solitude. If he was not very much mistaken, he felt that the Slytherin Quidditch team now had something to fear. If Potter possessed even half of his father's talent, then he wasn't likely to see another Slytherin victory for quite awhile. McGonagall would have to be mentally unsound to refuse Harry the seeker position. She could barely look him in the eye when Slytherin won the House Cup again last year.
He hadn't been sitting there for half-an-hour when a small house elf came scuttling in to the room. She had large ears and a pointed nose. She wore a tea-towel that was stamped with the Hogwarts Crest, and tied like a toga.
"Please, Mr. Professor, sir," she began, her eyes glued to the floor. "The Headmaster wishes to see you immediately.
Snape stood, nodded curtly to the elf, and then swept from the room. He quickly ascended to the third-floor.
"Chocolate frog." He said to the griffin. It leapt aside, and Snape climbed the staircase, only pausing to knock on the office door.
"Come," Dumbledore's voice filtered through the heavy wood. Snape pushed the door open and stepped inside. He found McGonagall standing a few feet away.
"You wished to see me, Headmaster?" Snape asked.
"Yes, thank you for coming, Severus." Dumbledore replied. He turned to McGonagall, "that will be all. Thank you Minerva." She bowed slightly, and then backed out of the room. Dumbledore picked up a magazine off his desk, and opened it up, Snape recognized it as the latest edition of Transfiguration Today.
"So, I hear that Harry Potter has some Quidditch talent," Dumbldore said, not looking up from the article he was reading.
"Was that a question?" Snape asked, his jaw tight.
"Not really." He turned a page, and then glanced briefly at Snape. "Are you surprised?"
"Not really." Snape echoed the Headmaster. Dumbledore smiled slightly. "He's just like him." Snape spat. He began to pace the room, his anger getting the better of him.
"Oh, how so?"
"He is the mirror image of James: He possess no discernable talent, his skills can barely pass as mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rule-breaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent "
"You see what you expect to see, Severus," said Dumbledore, without raising his eyes from his magazine. "Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likeable, and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child."
Maybe he has a sprinkling of Lily in him after all. Snape thought to himself somewhat sarcastically. Lily had been modest almost to a fault, and she had been the brightest witch of her age in spite of being muggle-born.
Dumbledore turned another page, and said, without looking up, "Keep an eye on Quirrell, won't you?"
"I thought I already was." Snape replied.
"The time for discretion has passed." Dumbledore replied. "Argus reported to me just this morning that he has seen Quirrell lurking in the third floor corridor during his off hours. His classroom is on the 1st floor." He paused. "I trust you know how to proceed."