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Jade walked through the Entrance Hall to the herbology class, laden with heavy books. She was alone in this strange part of the castle, alone and friendless. The girls in her house were distant from her – or at least, she from them. Even Flynn had given up on trying to be friendly now.

She missed his light-hearted personality and his fair hair that fell into his eyes. She missed the ready smile that he had for her any time. She missed his help in classes and his defence of her when others attacked her for coldness and unsociability. She missed looking into his deep hazel eyes and knowing he was telling her the truth.

But he’d given up on her, some weeks previously. Hogwarts had not been the fairytale ending she’d hoped for and now, six weeks into her first term, she wanted to revert to her old life at home. She only had the opal now, the opal that guided her through her days in the castle. She stroked the gently shimmering stone, and fell into a dream.

Jade looked out of the window, watching the countryside roll by and sensing Flynn’s hurt and confusion beside her. How could she explain why she had snapped off her smile, how she felt every word about Cedric as a pain in her heart? She did not look for sympathy – sympathy had rained like blows upon her when the news about Cedric flew around Ottery St Catchpole, and the Devon area.

The countryside swam past her eyes as the tears welled up again. She’d thought she’d cried enough now, but the world was still falling in around her. She brushed the tears away angrily, her hands clumsy.

She knew Cedric would want her to be strong now. She had cried for days when she first heard, but now… now was the time to move on. She turned back to Flynn.

“Flynn… Flynn, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so weird. It’s just… it’s difficult sometimes, you know? It’s difficult to be what Cedric would want me to be, when all I want to do is relive my life with him… you don’t understand what that’s like for me.”

“I think I understand better than you know,” he replied, “It feels like you’re going to die because your heart is broken, but you know you’ll have to keep living, while… while they’re not coming back. And you can’t understand why you’ve stopped crying, because it feels like you’re forgetting that they died. But you can’t ever forget that.”

“Yeah,” she smiled, “Something like that…” She was about to continue, when she heard a girl’s voice outside the compartment.

“Oh… hi Harry … Just thought I’d say hello… um… bye then.” A girl with long dark hair like Jade’s own walked shakily past the compartment. It was Cho, Cedric’s girlfriend.

Ex-girlfriend. Jade had liked Cho, even met her once when Cedric brought her home for the holidays... but seeing her now was too much to take in. And then, as a Stinksap-splattered boy ran after her, she realised what it was that was bothering, what had been bothering her ever since she got on the train. Harry Potter would be at Hogwarts, the boy who had seen Cedric die.
How long she had wanted to meet this boy, this boy who had tried so hard to save Cedric. She’d wanted to know every little thing about his death. But she was too shy to go up to him and now – she hardened her heart – he was going after Cedric’s girlfriend.

Jade closed her eyes and swore revenge.


Jade stepped unevenly forward from the wall where she had fallen. Her head hurt, and she couldn’t see properly. She knew what had happened. The trances had been growing longer and longer since she arrived at Hogwarts. There had always been times when her memories seemed real, but this – this was real, like a step back into the past – almost like the famous Pensieve lying in Dumbledore’s study. And it had only started happening since she’d left her home those six weeks previously.

She needed to lie down, and rest. She’d skip Herbology – Professor Sprout wouldn’t mind, knowing how talented Jade was at the subject – Luna would give her the notes she needed.

~~*~~


Flynn was worried – worried about Jade. He wished that he could do something to help her, to make her life a little easier, but knew that he could not. He felt terrible about leaving her alone, and not being her friend or defending her. But it was too difficult, when she didn’t respond.

And now, having left her alone, she was missing from her Herbology class. How could he be sure that she was safe, that she was well? She’d been complaining of headaches a lot now…

He made his excuses to Professor Sprout, and ran into the castle. Where would she have gone? He ran straight for the Ravenclaw common room, and half-yelled the password at the sleeping guardian, and hurried into the common room. The fire was burning, the windows open so that little breaths of wind scurried around the room, but it was devoid of life. He tried to make his way up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories, but found the steps soon changed to smooth stone when he tried to climb.

Finally, he climbed up the banister and swung open the wooden door. Jade lay in the last bed, her black hair fanned out around her head, like a black halo. He sighed. She was asleep, her green eyes closed and dead to the world. He pulled the curtains over the window next to her bed, and smiled at the sleeping girl. He leant over and kissed her forehead, then held her hand, wanting to do something to show her he was there.

She was so beautiful, yet she didn’t realise it. Half the boys in the school were in love with her, but she remained aloof, unfriendly. She didn’t respond to kind words or smiles, but he understood why. And yet… it was almost more than that, like there was another reason… but he was being foolish. Of course she was upset about losing her brother, it was nothing more.

He held her hand a little while longer, then replaced it on the bed. Her palm flipped over, showing the back of her hand. There, carefully inscribed into the skin, were the words, “ I must not tell lies ”.

~~*~~


She remembered days in the sun with Cedric, and rainy days watching the fire at home, waiting for her father to come home. The first time she had known Cedric would be in the Triwizard Tournament, and the first time she had heard he was dead. The day she had sworn war on any of Cedric’s girlfriends – half-joking, but half-deadly serious about anyone who took Cedric away from her. The days she had learnt to play Quidditch. The time when Cedric first left her to go to Hogwarts. She slept for an eternity, enough time for worlds to fall and people to die. She didn’t wake after Flynn had seen her, not for a long time.

They moved her to the hospital wing, where Madame Pomfrey kept an eye upon her and Flynn kept a perpetual vigil by her bed, only leaving for classes. The flowers poured in, from people she had barely known, barely spoken to. Everyone wanted to see the girl who wouldn’t wake. And the words still burned into her hand, the words I must not tell lies .

Her brain was still active, still moving, remembering things she had forgotten long ago. Things she should not remember, stories from another life. A life she could not possibly have known. And Jade remembered it all. And her hand tightened around the opal round her neck, the stone she had come to think of as her guardian.

Her eyes twitched under her eyelids – eyelids deep purple with fatigue. She should have lost the dark bags under her eyes; instead they grew darker and crept slowly around her eyes. Her temperature rocketed as the fever gripped her. She was trapped in a dreamless sleep.

Whispers flew around Hogwarts. That the Diggorys would lose another child. That Jade had an unknown disease. That Madame Pomfrey couldn’t cure her. After three days of Jade’s fever, the Diggorys arrived at the hospital wing, and kept a constant vigilance. But the girl in the starched white sheets never woke, never spoke, never moved, only twitched her eyes and grew more and more feverish.

The girl slept on, her only defence Flynn’s kiss upon her forehead.

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