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Author's Note:  Thanks so much to everybody reading and reviewing!  Hope you enjoy this (it's pretty long, but I think that makes up for the shortness of the previous chapter).
It starts to get a bit....weird...towards the end so please let me know if anything doesn't make sense.

Happy New Year!

PS- What do you think of the new banner?

The next morning, Alex woke up beside Sirius, and vaguely wondered if everything that had happened had been a dream. But she looked around, and found herself in the infirmary rather than in the Gryffindor dorm. Looking at Sirius, she was glad to finally see him sleeping soundly. Though, how he managed to fall asleep like that is beyond me…He was in fact, half sprawled over the bed and her pillow, and half still sitting in the chair. Well, sitting isn’t really the word for it. But he looks so…serene…peaceful…

Knowing that he had practically sat by her all day and night, she did not wake him up. She sat up and made to get out of bed, but felt his grip on her hand tighten…she hadn’t realized she was still holding his hand.

“I thought you said you weren’t going anywhere…?” Sirius mumbled.

“I think the loo is excusable, and you are supposed to be sleeping,” she said, wearing that grin that always seemed to appear when talking with Sirius. He let go, though somewhat reluctantly, and drifted back to sleep.

On her way back from the toilet, she noticed Severus lying in the bed opposite, and silently crept towards him. He was not asleep, however.

“Good morning,” he muttered.

“Hey Sev, what’s got you in a strop? Feeling alright?” she asked, with the semblance of that grin.

He shrugged, “Alright. You?”

“Well, I’m alive, so I’m gonna say pretty darn good,” she replied half-jokingly, but Severus only grimaced and looked at her with painful eyes. “Oh no…I know that look, and don’t you dare apologize Severus Snape. It was not your fault.”

“Alex…it’s just…” he stammered, “it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t asked you to come with me…you shouldn’t have said yes…it just can’t work because they…I mean…it is my fault…”

Alex looked at him, trying to figure out what he was trying to say, as he continued to ramble in short phrases.

“…what I’m trying to say, is that…that it would be safer…er, better…for you if we…”

She blinked, finally understanding. Putting on a serious face, she asked mockingly, “Are you…breaking up with me?”

He nodded, but winced as she started to laugh. “Alex, this isn’t funny. I’m being completely—" he stopped abruptly, not able to say the last word.

“Serious?” she supplied, still laughing. “But it is funny, because you’re telling me we can’t be friends because of an accident that was not your fault…I know it would have happened either way, I am a bit accident prone…Well let me tell you something, Severus Snape. You can break up with me all you want, but I’ll still be here, and I won’t stop talking to you nor being your potions partner…”

This time it was his turn to look at her while she made her speech. She just didn’t seem to understand. But he felt partially relieved, because he didn’t think he could have parted with her anyways.


“Er…sorry?” he asked, not sure what she was asking about.

“Do I annoy you?”

He looked confused at her question, but answered, “No.”

“Do you not like talking with me?” she continued.

“No,” he answered again, not sure where she was going with this.

“Do I bring the wrath of Slytherin house upon you?”

“It’s more disapproval than wrath…” Severus said slowly.

“Then look, if that’s too much for you to handle, just tell me straight out and I’ll leave you alone, instead of telling me what’s best for me,” she finished, a bit worked up, clutching her side from the sudden spasm of pain brought on from her tirade. “So?”

He thought about it, weighing the pros and cons of the situation. If he agreed, then at least she would be a bit safer, though he would be less pleased with the arrangement. But she would still be his potions partner, so he would still work with her…but wouldn’t she act different towards him by then? He took long enough to answer that Alex seemed to roughly figure out what was running through his head, and spared him the trouble.

“I’ll see you in potions then,” she said stiffly, standing up and heading back over to her curtained area.

“Is he still there?” Severus called out to her, a trifle disdainfully.

She smirked wickedly, but did not reply as she disappeared behind the curtain. Inside, she found Sirius not sleeping, but lounging in the chair and wearing an amused grin.

“Don’t you think it was a bit too early for that?” he asked.

Letting herself fall onto the bed, she didn’t have a chance to answer as Mdm Pomfrey drew the curtain and bustled towards her.

“You’re still here, are you?” she asked Sirius, annoyed. Nobody had ever been allowed to spend the night with a patient before, and it seemed to irk her that the rule had been bent for Sirius, of all people.

“Yes, I am,” he replied gleefully, “and to warn you, I don’t intend on leaving without her.”

“So you might want to release me,” Alex added with a sweet smile that seemed to radiate an impending doom instead of the usual and normal cheeriness.

The matron glared at the both of them, but went about her business just the same, examining Alex. To her disappointment, Alex seemed a lot healthier than she ought to have been, which meant that she in fact, could be let out. Handing Alex a glass full of some random, colourful liquid, she muttered, “Here, drink this up. As long as you check in with me tonight, you can leave.”

That seemed to encourage Alex to swallow the bitterly disgusting potion faster than usual. Once satisfied that her patient had complied with her request, she headed over towards Severus’ bed.

Alex gathered up her belongings she had with her from the day before, and quickly slipping into some clothes that had been brought up for her, grabbed Sirius’ hand and left the infirmary, just as Severus shouted, “Why can she leave and not me?!”

Sirius seemed to have heard the comment, and it finally struck him as odd that Alex was in such good shape. Sure, magical healing was capable of a lot, but if Snape hadn’t been allowed to leave—Snape, who had been in better condition than Alex in the first place—then what had sped up Alex’s recovery to such an extent?

To his surprise, Alex wasn’t leading him back to the Gryffindor common room, but rather to the great hall. When she felt him give her a strange look, she merely replied, “I’m starving,” and she actually looked it too. In fact, Sirius noted, glancing at her body, It looks like she hadn’t eaten in a while…but she hadn’t looked like this yesterday morning…Something strange really is going on… 

For once, Alex out-ate Sirius at breakfast that morning, for though she had always had an appetite, out-eating a ‘growing boy’ was practically impossible. She was greeted warmly by fellow Gryffindors when they actually came down for breakfast. Lily jumped her and gave her a massive hug, and would have started sobbing onto her shoulder if it hadn’t been for the surprise visit of Alex’s owl Franz, who hadn’t once since the beginning of the term brought her any mail, other than a newspaper every once in a blue moon. Alex seemed to be in shock as she stared at the three letters dropped in front of her.

“Looks like Darcy finally replied,” Sirius commented when Alex hadn’t made any gesture towards opening them.

“Yeah, you’ve finally got mail from home!” Lily exclaimed.

“I’m overjoyed,” Alex finally stated, though sarcasm dripped from her two words.

“Clearly,” Remus said with a small smile, as Alex hesitantly started to sift through them.

“One from Darcy, one from Dev and Adrian—well that’s not so bad really—oh and look, this one from my dad! Now I’m really happy!” she continued.

A pause followed as she just stared at the letter from her father, while her friends stared at her.

“Well…? Are you going to open it?” Remus prodded.

She looked up at him, “Do I have to? I would really rather not.”

“But it’s probably something really important if he’s writing to you,” Lily said, trying to encourage her to open it.

Alex merely scoffed, “Fat chance.”

After another pause, Sirius finally said, “Look, you either open and read it, or I read it for you…to the entire hall.”

“Why do you guys want to know so badly what’s in it anyways?”

James shrugged, “It’s from your father—aren’t you the least bit interested in what he has to say?”

“No, not really…For all I know, he’s probably trying to get me to come home for Christmas.”

“That’s a month away,” Remus said, “And would that be such a bad thing anyways?”

“Well yeah!” Alex practically shouted. They just didn’t seem to understand. She resorted back to staring at the letter, before Sirius’ voice interrupted.

“I’m going to count to three…1…2…”

“Alright, alright! I’ll open it,” Alex said, slowly ripping the sealed envelope open, instead of running the risk of Sirius fulfilling his threat.


I’m passing this through Darcy since you were so kind as to not leave any method of contacting you when you ran away this past summer. To say I was extremely disappointed in you, especially as you had deliberately disobeyed me, would be an understatement. Nevertheless, what has happened cannot be changed now, so it is the future we must work on.

I am sure that you have not forgotten your duties as Princess, and will therefore return to London for the holidays and attend to them. I have included a schedule of events, so you will be well prepared for each of them.

Stephan Edwards
King of England

*Written as dictated. 

Alex read through the letter, scoffing and laughing wryly at all the right places. She looked at the second paper, her list of events. After taking only a second to glance at it, she crumpled it up, threw it in the air, and set it afire.

The other four looked concerned, and Lily spoke up, “Er…would you mind if I read it, Alex?”

“No, by all means,” she replied, handing the letter to her, and setting her own focus on Darcy’s letter. “Read and see for yourself what I have to put up with.”

She started to open Darcy’s letter, in which she was sure there would be some sort of explanation for her father’s letter, while the other circled around her friends.

“Written as dictated?” Sirius asked after a moment.

“What, you actually expected my father to write to me?” Alex asked in sarcastic shock. “No, I’m assuming his secretary wrote that.”

Remus was the next to comment, “What’s all this about ‘the future we must work on’?”
It was only Sirius who noted the brief, steely glimmer of anger in Alex’s eyes as she shrugged and replied completely nonchalantly, “No clue, but my guess is he’s probably trying to make sure I…er, stay a princess and not do anything stupid again.”

“Not do anything stupid?” James asked with a grin. “Has he met you?”

Alex grinned back, “Doesn’t seem so, does it?”

“He sounds very demanding,” Lily interjected. “I mean, this whole letter—“

“Was just to tell me what to do?” Alex finished.

“He didn’t even ask how you’re doing, or how school is!” Lily said concernedly, “And he signed ‘Stephan Edwards’, not ‘love dad’ or something…”

“Love dad?” Alex repeated before bursting out laughing. “Oh Lily, so naïve and innocent… You’re adorable.”

“So what are you going to do?” Sirius asked.

“Can I have my letter back?” Remus handed it to her, and she immediately ripped it up, and scorched it like she had with the other piece. “Now, for more good news…”

She started to read Darcy’s letter, and after the opening inquiries about school and the ‘sticky-situation’, she paled about half-way through, before her cheeks flushed, becoming angry.

…I think father’s trying it again…maybe you should come back after all, for the holidays at least…
…play along and see how he’ll react…don’t do anything rash…we might be able to talk him out of it if you rebel less…
…write me if you have any ideas… 

After a couple of minutes, she finally put down the letter and stared at the air in front of her.

“Alex…you alright?” Sirius asked, not liking the suddenly sullen Alex.

“Bloody perfect,” she replied, sounding dejected. She looked at her friends’ worried faces, and with a half smile, graced them with the simplest explanation she could think of. “Looks like I have no choice…once again. It seems I will be going home for the holidays after all.”

She tucked Darcy’s letter along with the letter from Dev and Adrian into her pocket, and Remus didn’t miss the gesture.

“Not reading Dev and Adrian’s?” he asked with a sly grin.

“That,” she replied coolly, “is for my eyes only.”

Remus chuckled, and Sirius seemed to once again doubt Alex’s assurances that they were only friends.

“You know, I’ve been wondering,” James said through a mouthful of bagel, “What’s Dev short for anyways?”

“Devlin,” Lily answered before Alex even registered the question, then quickly clasping a hand over her mouth, starting to blush. Alex smirked at her.

“So tell me Lily, who do you like better then, Devlin or Darcy?” she asked, her smirk stretching into a grin as she caught James’ expression from her periphery.

“Alex!” a voice called, and she turned to see Brad speed-walking towards her. Sirius didn’t even bother to suppress his groan, and Lily heaved a sigh of relief from being spared the agony of replying to Alex’s evil question. “Alex! You’re alright, thank Merlin! How’re you feeling?”

He stood in front of her, and seemed to debate whether or not he should hug her. Alex’s lips twitched at his awkwardness and flailing arms which seemed to remind her of the Giant Squid of the Black Lake. “I’m alright. Sorry the trip didn’t work out though.”

“S’alright, we can make up for it next time,” he answered. Sirius looked ready to punch him (though he had noticed Alex’s reply was laced with that playful and mocking tone only she could accomplish), and the other three looked on amusedly, James’ previous shock forgotten as a more entertaining scene started to unfold. Alex, however, was debating what to say, and became stuck amidst a battle between her devilish normal self, and the nice girl she tried to be. She forced her mouth shut, which proved rather difficult, until she thought of something acceptable to say, while Brad kept talking, “…The next trip is in two weeks, so there might be snow, which means it could be a bit cold by then but—"

“I’m not cold-blooded, Brad—I think I’d survive,” she interrupted harshly, and then bit her lip as he looked at her peculiarly. “Sorry, just a bit off.”

He nodded empathetically, as James whispered to Remus, “Not cold-blooded, cold-hearted.”

“The thing is, Brad, I’m a bit superstitious and put a bit of faith into signs and omens and so on,” she started to say after giving James a look of doom (and a kick to the shin), and having finally decided on a version of half-truth, “and well, yesterday’s accident would count as one.”

She gave him a moment to understand what she was talking about, but when no look of comprehension settled on his face, she sighed, and continued in the same tone, “I think it was a sign that I’m not supposed to go out with you.”

He looked stricken, and Alex hastily added in, “You’re a nice guy, Brad, but something about us together just didn’t seem to…to fit in with the universe.”

No, no sarcasm, she reminded herself, as the last part of her comment started to cross the line into the wonderful world of sarcasm. Being preoccupied with that particular train of thoughts, she didn’t notice Sirius’ smirk, who was thinking how he and Alex would fit in perfectly well with the universe. Nor did she notice Brad finally catching on, and his eyes narrowing.

“Have you thought that maybe your accident was a sign that you and somebody else don’t fit?” he asked, his tone getting darker, snapping her out of her thoughts. “Maybe you and Snape shouldn’t have been at the apothecary.”

“It happened after the apothecary, before our date. Hence, it stopped me from you, not him,” she replied right away. His comment hadn’t thrown her off like he had intended it to, but hers did. She half scoffed at his look of shock and rejection, the unmistakable glossing over of his eyes that was a sure indicator she had stricken deeper than he had expected. Frailty thy name is woman…? Sorry Shakespeare; you know I adore you, but I definitely think you made a typo…she thought sardonically.

“Maybe it was supposed to stop you from meeting Black later on,” Brad continued. She had wounded his ego, and now he would go after her vanity. Sirius perked up, and took an even greater interest in the growing argument.

She only laughed, “If the universe hadn’t meant on me befriending Sirius Black, we would not have been stuck together.”

How very true, Sirius thought, as new thoughts of how perfect they were for each other starting to form.

“Befriending? Ha, more like bedding,” he sniped, drawing a few more heads towards them.

Sirius was about to stand up, but Alex caught him by the arm and pulled him back down. He gave her a look of he-had-no-right-to-say-that, but she silenced him with a look of her own. “It’s really immature to take out your jealousy like that, Brad.”

Merlin I love this woman...Sirius thought, admiring the perfect condescending tone she had used.

Brad looked at her in what he hoped was indignation. “Jealous? I’m not jealous, why would I be jealous?”

“You’re digging yourself into a hole, mate,” she said, laughing. “Look, I can sit here and bury you in that hole, as everybody knows I’m quite capable of doing, or you can leave now with whatever shred of dignity you have left.”

“I’m not jealous,” he repeated.

She grinned, “So you chose being buried alive?”

He stared at her keenly, and deciding to play into her game, replied, “I really doubt a thin, spoiled, uppity bitchy princess would pick up a shovel and do the dirty work herself. What are you going to do, order your boyfriend at me? Or has he already paid up in full for the month?”

Again, Sirius was only held down by Alex’s firm grip on his arm. He would’ve have hexed Kythes to hell and back again if it weren’t for the stone cold look in Alex’s eyes, that only a moment before were twinkling with amusement. For a second, Sirius actually considered warning Brad to run and hide before he really did get buried alive, but then realized it would be much more entertaining to watch Alex kick him off his pedestal.

“Fine. First of all, Sirius is not my boyfriend, if he was, I wouldn’t have agreed to go with you, but obviously you’re too stupid to understand something so simple. I agreed to go with you, not because of your overwhelming ability to chat me up—which contrary to your belief, I am not, nor was, madly infatuated with you—but because I happen to be a nice person and didn’t want to let you down. Though if you had been any brighter, you would have caught on that yesterday’s trip would not have gotten you any nearer to my knickers or my bed. I am a princess after all, and I do have my standards. Needless to say, you are quite below them, in more ways than I care to elaborate upon. Come to think of it, I think you’d be below my standards even if I wasn’t a princess.”

She paused for dramatic effect, and took a moment to note the reactions around the table. “In fact, I’m not even sure why you’re in Ravenclaw, because you would also have realized my subtle rejection only a couple of minutes ago, and would not have stayed around picking a fight with me. But since you’re a stubborn, smarmy cocky brat, and are still here right now, I might as well tell you that you are extremely boring, and talking to you is like talking with a three year old. Really, I was quite surprised to see that you didn’t stamp your foot at your repeated statements of how not jealous you are.”

Brad seemed to pale as he realized he really was being buried, and now he had no chance of escaping. He took one last chance, “You seemed perfectly content flirting with me.”

“Granted, I was very amused—I do have a sense of humour, you know—though somewhat disappointed you didn’t pick up my sarcasm,” she replied with a sly smile. “I’ll give you some advice, though, for your next victim, and I suggest somebody shorter than yourself by the way. You’re no Casanova, so don’t act like the girl you’re chatting up should be falling to her knees and thanking whatever deity for the honour of your presence. Also, you should probably shave…those whiskers you’re sprouting aren’t as attractive as you think. I doubt they even qualify under facial hair. Oh, and just so you know, your shite at Herbology and Charms…quidditch too, come to think of it.”

Wow. How does she do that? Sirius wondered in awe. She just has this way of pointing out all your shortcomings—ones that you’ve already probably had pointed out but tactfully ignored—that makes you want to go jump off a cliff. 

Brad seemed either very close to tears, or very close to punching Alex smack in the nose. She seemed to catch on, “Right. So if you’re all done here, I would like to finish my breakfast. See you in Herbology, then!”

And with that, see turned in her spot to face the table and resumed eating her breakfast, as Brad stared at the back of her head. The silence around the table was extraordinary, and Alex just smirked.

“Miss Edwards!” another voice called.

“Great, now what?” Alex muttered, as Professor McGonagall came striding towards her.

“Miss Edwards, glad to see you up and about,” the Professor said, and after Alex muttered a short thank you with a curt nod, she continued. “The Headmaster wishes to speak with you in his office.” 

Alex nodded, and got up from the table, nearly bumping into Brad who was still standing there shell shocked. “Oh, sorry…I didn’t think you’d still be here. You seem particularly slow today, Brad, so I’ll help you out. Your cue to leave the stage was about a minute ago. And now everybody is staring because you just don’t fit in with the change of scene. Go on back to your table like a good boy.”

Even Sirius winced at the uber patronizing tone, but he really had to hand it to her for finishing him off with such…style. He watched her give Brad a gentle shove in the right direction, as she followed McGonagall out the doors of the great hall.

“Remind me,” James said, breaking the mounting silence around him, “to never get on her bad side.” 

“That was barely the half of it, mate,” Sirius said, vividly recalling how nasty she could get. “She went easy on him.”

“Poor bastard. If that were me, I’d be about two steps away from plunging myself into the Black Lake,” James said, shaking his head as he swallowed a spoonful of something. “But, she is talented, I’ll give her that.”

“Talented?” Lily spluttered, still in shock at the scene which had just occurred. James looked up at her, and really hoped he hadn’t said the wrong thing when things were finally starting to work out for him.

Remus saved him, “I agree with James. It’s not easy to win a battle of words as calmly and elegantly as she did, seeing as he called her a bitchy princess and implied something a whole lot worse.”

“What we mean, Evans,” Sirius added, “Is not every girl can reduce a guy to such a catatonic state. It’s like, on a different level from insult…like…complete humiliation and social death…She’s just brilliant, is all, with quite a temper albeit, be brilliant nonetheless. Admittedly though, she is getting better with her temper...”

Lily seemed overwhelmed, but finally nodded and went back to her Charms textbook.

Meanwhile, Alex had entered Dumbledore’s office, getting ready to explain what exactly had happened.

“Good morning, Professor.”

“Good morning, Miss Edwards. Please, have a seat,” Dumbledore said softly as Alex entered his office. “Are you feeling better?”

“Yes, thank you. I seemed to have healed over night,” Alex replied.

Dumbledore nodded, “A rather miraculous recovery. You are quite lucky.”

Alex smiled, waiting for Dumbledore to start talking.

“Do you not wonder why you were able to recover so quickly?”

“No, not really,” she said, shrugging, “though it has crossed my mind. I figure Mdm. Pomfrey outdid herself.”

“Well she did, to be sure. But by all accounts, and please don’t take any offense, you should be dead,” Dumbledore said rather grimly.

Alex stared at him. “None taken, but what exactly do you mean, sir?”

Dumbledore’s sigh echoed throughout the small office. “I mean there is something that was working to save your life, even before Mdm Pomfrey or anybody else was.”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, sir.”

“Let me start at the beginning. Have you ever heard of Spencer Jinn?” he asked. With a shake of her head, he continued, “His name is really more of a legend than history. It is said that he was an extremely gifted wizard. Well, legend goes that more than a thousand years ago, before Hogwarts even existed, he fought a dark creature of unimaginable power, something between that of a dark wizard and monster that wrought death and destruction wherever it went. But he wasn’t able to completely kill it. Instead, he managed to transform it into an orb of energy. Though it was still dark energy, in that form it was more harmless, unless somebody would come upon it and merge their own soul with it.

“To stop that from happening, he placed a very powerful protective curse upon it, and upon himself. He hid the orb within himself, away from the eyes of those with the desire to become stronger. While the orb lay hidden inside him, he devoted his time to finding a way to completely destroy it. And when he thought he found a way, he discovered he couldn’t withdraw the orb from within himself. He died shortly after, I believe, most likely in the attempt to withdraw it.”

“So, what happened to the orb?” Alex asked, trying to follow along.

“Ah. Well, according to legend, Jinn believed that the only way to withdraw the orb from within the body was by creating a very specific potion—one that was not written down in any book, one that had to be created based on the potion maker’s own instincts. So before he died, he placed another charm on himself and the orb, that it would be passed down throughout time to those born with the gift to create such a potion, with the hope that one might eventually be able to pull out and destroy the darkness hidden within them,” he finished.

“And have any of these people been successful? I mean, assuming the legend is true?” Alex asked again, not exactly sure what the professor was trying to get at.

“It is hard to tell, because nobody really knows who is hiding the orb at any point in time, which I’m sure was part of Jinn’s plan, for that way it could remain hidden and harmless, even if it was never to be destroyed.”

“I see,” she said, thinking it all over.

“However, I do not think it had been destroyed yet. I’m sure you have noticed all the recent disappearances and murders?”

Alex nodded, recalling all the articles in the newspaper.

“I believe those are at the hands of Voldemort. I also believe that he is looking for this orb, as he is targeting some of the most celebrated potion masters. It would seem, though, that he has not yet found it.”

“But what exactly does this have to do with me, sir?”

“You are rather talented at potions, are you not?” he asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

“I’m not bad, I suppose…Wait, you think it’s me?” Alex asked in shock, finally realizing where he was going with it.

“I think it may be a possibility.”

Alex couldn’t help it, she just had to laugh. The idea was so…preposterous. Me? Hiding a dark, powerful object? “I’m sorry, sir. But I think you have made a mistake. It just can’t be me…”

“I must admit, I never gave it a second thought at first, though I have noticed you had a gift for potion making. But then again, so did many others that passed through the halls of this school. When the bond between you and Sirius did not break, it gave me an idea. Now, your accident and quick recovery made me think about it a little harder,” he started to explain, taking a slight pause as if to gather his thoughts. “You see, at each point in time, there is only one who ‘has the gift’, and therefore only one location for the orb. It is a bit of a catch, since because of that very detail, the one chosen to hide the orb cannot die before another is born. Unfortunately, that leaves a very easy way for Voldemort to find that person. All he has to do is attempt murder and see if they survive. And in your case, well like I said, by all accounts, you should have died.”

She took a moment to grasp this new piece of information. “So…what you’re saying is that I recovered so well…no, survived…because I have a dark item stashed inside my body or soul or something…because I’m the one who can potentially brew a freaktastic potion to get rid of it, and since there is no other in the world at the moment who could do that and therefore…er…hold the orb…so the curse kept me alive?”

“In short, yes,” Dumbledore replied with a smile. When Alex still looked disbelieving, he continued, “Have you ever been in a moment of danger, or panic, where you felt something, maybe not physically, stir inside you? Given you an extra, unaccounted for boost of power?”

She didn’t need to think hard about that one—her not too distant encounter with Malfoy had puzzled her enough already. Did he know about that? She gave a quick nod.

“Are you a bit prone to mood swings?” Dumbledore asked.

She nodded again.

“Those would be side effects of the orb. You see, it acts something like an amplifier—it takes whatever you’re feeling, usually the strongest emotions, and, well, amplifies them. Magical prowess included.”

That would explain how she could be so happy one moment, and a complete wreck the next. It would also explain how she managed to kick Malfoy’s arse. Ugh I’m starting to see logic in this…definitely not a good sign…

“It doesn’t take too kindly to certain potions, though,” he continued, “which would explain the little fiasco with the Animus Dixere.

Alex looked up at him in shock. “How d’yo…er, I…what?”

“I must say, I was impressed. You brewed it perfectly in much less than half the time required. Unfortunately, the orb caused a bit of a side effect I think,” he replied, his eyes twinkling again.

Alright…If he knew about that…I’m not even going to bother asking how he knew…maybe he does know about the Malfoy incident? “Er…so…if this…orb…I mean, is there any way to…make sure...that it is me?”

He looked at her warily, “Only one foul-proof way, and I do not intend to go through with it.”

“But then how can you be sure it’s me?” Alex asked, still trying to deny all the evidence pointing to her. “Isn’t it possible that somewhere some baby was born last night or even 30 seconds ago that has ‘the gift’?”

“I can’t be sure, and yes it is possible, but like I said, I would rather not test the hypothesis.”

“Alright…so, say it is me. What do I do?”

He shrugged, and Alex’s jaw dropped. Dumbledore does NOT shrug…ever! 

“It seems to me that you have a choice. You can forget about it—it will eventually be passed on to the next generation. Or you can try to get rid of it, which would of course take quite some time and effort, and could possibly be extremely dangerous,” Dumbledore explained. “However, I did not call you here to tell you what to do. Only to warn you of two things. First, you should be more careful with your emotions now. I believe yesterday’s close call and other recent events have triggered a sort of activation process. If it really is you, then try to be more aware of it, and avoid harnessing it’s power whenever possible, even if it is done subconsciously.”

“Sir, an activation process for what, exactly?” she asked. None of this was sounding good at all.

“Let’s just say you want to avoid close contact with it as much as possible, which means keeping your emotions more controlled as it seems to take its full effect in times of particular stress or danger.” He didn’t let her interrupt, almost as if foreseeing and avoiding her next question. Instead he continued, “Secondly, and far more importantly, when Voldemort hears of your accident, and assuming he already knows you’re a talented potions maker, then you are in danger, even if you do not possess the orb.”

“But how would he know about me and potions?” she asked. “Wait, rephrase: How would he know that I’m good enough at potions that I might be the one?”

Dumbledore sighed, and for a moment looked very tired and sad. “Be wary of whom you place your trust in, Alex.”

Her lips drew into a straight line. Somebody at school had passed on the information, that much was certain, because nobody else knew Alex was a witch, let alone a witch with a knack for potions. He let her have a moment, before continuing, “Well, it is a Sunday afternoon. I think you may want to enjoy whatever you have left of it.”

She stifled a sarcastic laugh. Enjoy? When she was just told she had a dark thing stored in her, called a bitchy spoiled whore, told that she must come home for the holidays and see to her duties, and just barely survived an accident in the first place. Oh I’ll enjoy it alright…At least I still have Dev and Adrian’s letter…lets just hope they’re not writing from the Bastille or the London Tower… 

“Right…” she finally said, standing up.

“If you need to talk, you know where to find me. And I’ll be keeping an eye out,” he told her gently. 

“Thank you, sir,” she said with a nod, as she left the small, round office. 

Walking down the spiral staircase, and through the corridors full of bustling students chatting noisily to one another, she barely managed to respond to all her well-wishers she encountered on the way back to Gryffindor tower. There was just too much on her mind. She needed to vent…This is why I need my night clubs, she thought derisively. Her mind started to wander even more, and she stopped noticing where she was going until she felt herself bump into somebody.

“Damn, sorry Alex,” the boy said, as he started to pick up his books. She bent down and started to help him. “Are you alright?”

“Fine,” she replied absentmindedly, handing him a textbook. “How’ve you been, Regulus?”

He shrugged as he slung his book bag over his shoulder and stood up, “Can’t complain. Ruddy OWLs are driving me insane though.”

“Don’t worry about those. Still have lots of time, and they’re really not as hard as the profs say they are.”

“Yeah? Well, I’m not taking any chances. Heading over to the library right now,” he said with a grin. 

“Don’t work yourself too hard,” she said, catching some of his contagious cheeriness. “If you’re taking a break and want some entertainment, I’d suggest dropping a book into somebody’s bag, and then watch Mdm Pince blow up at them when they thought to leave without checking it out.”

He laughed, “Will do. Can you imagine what would happen if—“ he started, but abruptly cut off as he stared over her shoulder, and his expression changed.

She gave him a strange look before turning around to see what he was looking at. Oh brother…not good.

“Sirius,” Regulus finally croaked out.

“Regulus,” Sirius replied just as formally, as he took a couple of steps towards them. “Wasting your time studying on a Sunday afternoon?”

“Some of us can’t afford to take things as they come,” Regulus replied sharply.

“Rubbish,” Sirius said finally stopping beside Alex, “If I can afford it, so can you.”

“Lay off, Sirius. Going to the library never killed anyone,” Alex said, fearing some sort of brotherly spat. She hadn’t ever seen the two talking, and now that they were, she was a bit worried.

“This doesn’t concern you. Stay out of this, Alex,” Sirius said, his tone colder than he had intended. 

”Don’t mind him,” Regulus said to Alex, noticing her taken aback expression at Sirius’ rough reply. “He doesn’t know when he’s being jerk.”

“Regulus don’t—“ Alex started, but really didn’t know what to say. A tense pause rose between the three of them, as Sirius and Regulus simply had a staring contest, before Regulus decided to blink and turn away.

“See you later, Alex,” he called to her as he started to walk towards the library.

“Yeah, good luck studying!” she yelled back. When she turned to face Sirius, she was for the first time frightened of him. His face was completely void of emotion, except for his flickering eyes that stared after Regulus intently. “Uh…Sirius?”

“What?” he asked, his tone cutting through her.

“Maybe we should go back to the common room…” she said slowly.

When he didn’t make a move, she tried to link her arm through his, but he jerked away, and started to walk back on his own. She stared at him as he disappeared from her sight, completely cut down by his reaction. Why it had such an effect on her she couldn’t be bothered to figure out, because she honestly felt like she would collapse, right then and there, in the middle of the corridor. Her heart was pounding in her throat, and her legs felt like jello. Her mind was screaming a million different questions. Her eyes started to burn, and then tear up as a sudden spasm of pain shot through her body like lightning. How long she stood there, in a near catatonic state she did not know. She could barely recall walking to the wall and sliding down it, until she was sitting on the floor leaning against it. She stared at the wall in front of her, thinking about everything that had happened within a short span of two days.

She sighed, and took out the letter from her friends, hoping that it would restore some of her sanity.

…Bloody hell, Dria, we’re going mental without you here...please tell me you’re coming back for the holidays? Because really…we’re starting to get a little low on cash… 

A faint smile appeared on her solemn face, and as she read on, she noticed the writing change as Adrian took over.

…Too bad you weren’t here on Halloween, Alex. It was really great. We actually dressed up and went trick-o-treating…well, mostly tricking, but we did get a couple of treats, except for those old ladies chasing us down the street… 

...Hey, you didn’t meet anybody there, did you? Well, course, you mentioned your friends, but you know what I mean, yeah? ‘Coz that would completely leave me out in the cold, seeing as Adrian’s got himself another girlfriend. Ha, you should really see this one. Complete airhead. We were getting on the double decker on our way to 626, and you know how we always sit at the top? Yeah, well this chick absolutely refused to ride on the top level…something about no driver… 

The letter continued on and on in the same way, once Dev, once Adrian, and she could practically hear them. Her previous troubles had faded into some corner of her mind, and for the first time since she left London, she suddenly realized just how much she missed them. Especially Dev…he always had a way of calming her down, and however obscure his method was, it usually worked. She shut her eyes, trying to imagine what he would say to her in this particular situation. Probably something along the lines of: sod them all to hell, you’ll pull through this, we’ll deal with that when the time comes, and if that Voldemort bloke comes after you, then get me some popcorn and a bottle of whiskey, ‘coz it’ll be one hell of a show…oh, and possibly some band-aids for Voldie…poor chap, never saw it coming…
Now can we go party? 

“Yes,” Alex said to herself as she got up from the floor, and tucked the letter into her pant pocket. She brushed herself off, and turned to face her new direction, her destination no longer the common room. “Now we can go party.”

Author's Note Cont'd: Alrighty... so obviously Alex had to be special in more than one way, right? ;) 
Please review! I really want to hear your thoughts on this!

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