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Oh, look! Over there! No, the other way! What could it be? Is it a bird? A plane? Superman!? No! It’s an update!!! And a long overdue one, I know. I was thrown into fits depression by the sixth book. So close, but yet so far!! Grrr. Luckily not too much had to be changed in the grand scheme of things in this story. As it is set in Hary and Co.'s fifth year, it doesn't include stuff from the fifth book on anyway, just a little bit of new info on histories came up. But you will see. Ok, moving on…

Disclaimer: If you think I own Harry Potter, then you are as silly as any girl who gets a guy a necklace that says “My Sweetheart” and expects him to wear it.

Jade’s last class of the day was double Herbology. She decided she would have found it rather interesting (it was gardening, after all) were it not for the apprehension slowly trickling into her mind as the day progressed. By the end of class she could barely focus, which was itself bothersome. Really, she reminded herself, she had nothing to worry about.

Harry and Ron weren’t helping the matter; passing her surprisingly often in the halls, they hissed quietly about all the things Draco had done to them over the years, starting with first year and working up. It was a surprisingly long list. By the time they reached third year (“He dressed up like a dementor to make Harry lose the quidditch match!”) Jade was ready to chuck them out the nearest window.

Making her way back to the common room after dinner, they managed one final warning (He can’t be trusted!”) as she passed through the entrance hall. Jade, ducking into the dungeon corridor, shook her head at their strange relentlessness.

Later that evening, Jade paced outside the entrance to the Slytherin common room, waiting for Draco. They had arranged to meet at 8:00 and she was sure it was long past. Finally he appeared around the corner of the long hall and Jade breathed a sigh of relief. When he reached her she asked, all in one breath, “What took you so long? Did he agree to help you? When are you meeting him?”

Draco leaned casually against the common room entrance and replied, “Yeah, I meet him in the library in about ten minutes.”

“What took you so long?” Jade repeated.

“I met a –delay, that’s all. I’m going to get my Potions stuff.” He disappeared into the common room and reappeared a minute later with his book bag. “Let’s go.”

They had walked in silence for a few minutes when Draco suddenly asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? There’s probably another way to find out the information, you know.”

Jade shook her head firmly. “This is the fastest way. I don’t think I told you, but I’m on a deadline. I only have until the end of October, then the deal is off.”

“You’d still have time.”

Jade grinned at him, “You’re not trying to back out, are you? Scared?”

“I’m not scared of anything,” he spat.

“Or at least that’s what you’d like people to think. But then, I suppose what other people think of you is what’s real to them. Therefore one must do whatever one can to make sure what they think is what you want.”

“It all comes back to reputation, doesn’t it?” Draco said lightly. “Apparently you take it as seriously as I do.”

Jade looked over at him sharply. He sounded a little strange, as though asking more than his words implied. “Yes, I suppose I do.”

With this he seemed to relax slightly. “I knew you’d do the same.” Jade gave him another sharp glance, but decided to let it go. She had bigger problems to worry about.

They had reached Snape’s office. Jade gave the door handle a sharp twist, found it locked, and turned to Draco, “I guess I’ll see you in a few minutes. You said twenty at the most, right?”

“Make it fifteen; I don’t know how long I can pretend I don’t know anything.” He turned and strode off down the hall, lifting his book bag a little farther onto his shoulder.

Turning back to the locked classroom door, Jade created a little sand and fed it into the lock. It solidified and she turned the small handle that had formed. The lock gave a click, she removed the key, and it turned to sand again with a “poof.” The doorknob turned easily now and Jade stepped quietly into the darkened classroom. Shutting the door behind her, she formed a light globe and floated it above her head. The dim light cast unwavering shadows under the empty tables and set the vast expanses of pale tabletops into sharp relief.

Jade picked her way between abandoned chairs to Professor Snape’s desk at the left front corner of the room. Papers, potion vials, and assorted other small items covered the desk in layers. Jade had not taken Professor Snape as the unorganized type, but apparently he was. She hoped fifteen minutes would be enough.

She started her search with a brief look at the papers on the top. She doubted he had left the page out, but it couldn’t hurt to check. Then again, her hand had been in front of wood in her vision and she could hardly see the wood of the desktop beneath its burden. After a quick thumb-through, Jade moved on to the desk drawers. These were locked, but nothing a quick, home-made key couldn’t handle. Jade was horrified to find them as messy as the desktop. Taking great care not to move anything from its original position (‘Not as thought he would notice.’) she settled down to her search.

About ten minutes had passed and Jade had found no trace of the yellowed page, she was beginning to get nervous. Draco had promised her only fifteen and she was no closer than when she had arrived. She had searched all but one drawer and had found student essays, detention slips, confiscated notes, lesson plans, and a few random letters all addressed to “Severus Snape”. All interesting, but not helpful. Unlocking the last drawer and kneeling over it, she felt confident this must be it; after all, she had seen herself holding the page. This drawer was as full as the others; papers stuffed in haphazardly. Leafing carefully through them, Jade reached the bottom of the drawer and scraped it with her thumbnail. She couldn’t believe it; she had searched the whole drawer and found nothing.

She went backwards through the papers, inspecting each with care. When she had replaced the last paper, she was forced to admit it was not here. Running a hand through her hair which had slipped annoyingly into her eyes, Jade puzzled, ‘This isn’t right. It wasn’t supposed to work this way. Everything was supposed to work out.’ Precious seconds ticked away. She relocked the drawer and sat back on her feet, eyes staring blankly ahead at the inside of the desk’s wooden front panel. Absentmindedly she reached out and traced the lines in the wood with her finger, making a circle when she reached a knot. A knot. She leaned forward and peered closer. With a jolt she realized this was the knot she had seen in her vision.

Jade straightened up and smacked her head hard on the underside of the desk. She ducked down, cursed softly, and rubbed her head. Above her came the sounds of something mechanical grinding into motion. Something thumped her solidly on the already-sore spot. Cursing a little more enthusiastically, Jade crawled out from under the desk and noticed what had hit her. A small wooden cubby had dropped down several inches from the top of the desk.

Jade rubbed the back of her head vigorously and inspected the previously-secret compartment. It was dark, so she twitched her fingers and lowered her light globe so it shown into the dark recess. Inside was a tri-folded paper that appeared to be a letter and several pictures, their occupants waving enthusiastically at the top of the cubby. Jade passed over these without a second glance, her eyes locked on a small, yellowed, square of paper at the very back. Carefully extracting it, it became clear it had been folded as small as possible. Unfolding it one fold, Jade noted part of a chart.

Triumph inflated inside her chest, filling her like a balloon. She just sat there for a second, taking in the moment she had thought about since her vision. Her eyes inadvertently strayed to the knot on the back of the desk. This was it. Her bracelet glinted in the light globe’s glow. She knew she should take it back to the common room; her time had to be almost up, but curiosity overwhelmed her. She did not think she could move until she knew what was on little paper in her hand. Fingers trembling slightly, she unfolded it completely.

There it was. Her name. The words Jade Salinas were surrounded by a black box. A black line was drawn from the top of her box and connected with the center of a horizontal a line joining two other boxes. The box on the left read Michael Salinas; the one on the right read Demetria Snape. From the top of the Demetria Snape box was a line that connected to another joining Tobias Snape and Eileen Prince. A second line was drawn from the one connecting Tobias Snape and Eileen Prince. It read Severus Snape.

Jade stared blankly at the paper, not quite taking in what it meant. She didn’t hear the footsteps approaching the classroom door until it was too late. The door burst open. Jade stared up from the words Severus Snape on the paper before her into the furious eyes of the real thing. She could not move as a dull shock swept her. The bottom of her stomach dropped out and her ears did not seem to be functioning properly. When Professor Snape spoke he sounded very far away.

“Thank you, Mr. Malfoy, you have been of help,” he addressed a shadowy figure standing in the doorway behind him. “Ten points to Slytherin. You may go now.” The figure turned with the swish of a cloak and vanished.

Professor Snape stepped menacingly into the room. If Jade’s mind had not already been overflowing, she might have felt a little afraid at the cold look on his face. “Well, well, well,” he sneered, “let’s see who had the audacity to think they could break into my office and get away with it.” Jade realized her light globe was floating slightly behind her head and was silhouetting her face. She leaned back a little and he stopped. The look on his face was one of mingled surprise and anger.

“Ms. Salinas? What are you– What do you– ” His eyes landed on the paper in her hand. He sank onto the nearest table and ran his hands over his face. “Oh bugg– ” His hands muffled out his words, but Jade could tell he was less than pleased.

I think we’ll leave it here for now… *author quickly hides from angry hordes brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches* Yeah, so… interesting I hope. Let me know what you thought! The next chapter will explain things in more detail. By the way, if anyone wants to talk about the sixth book, let me know! Just drop me an email or something. I’d love to chat.


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