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After I realized that I had a jealousy problem I tried my hardest to ignore it and hope it would just go away.  The problem was it only seemed to get worse.

                I thought at first that I was just jealous that other people were stealing his attention and time away from me and that I was being a right cow and should get over it.  It wasn’t until one potions lesson when I saw a blond Ravenclaw attempting to flirt with Sirius that I realized I was only jealous of girls who he might give the time of day.  I didn’t even notice how jealous I was until I had already hit her a non-verbal furnunculus jinx, sending her to the Hospital Wing in tears.

                I tried not to look too smug as Professor Slughorn, the walrus-like potions master, attempted to smoke out the culprit.  I doubt it was a very heartfelt attempt as five minutes after he began to ask questions he decided it was unworthy of his time and dismissed the class early.

                Remus gave me a knowing look as we collected our things to leave, but I refused to give any indication that I was guilty.  He shook his head at me in a scolding manner before starting out the potions’ door.

                “Miss Knight, if I may have a moment?” Professor Slughorn called after me as I headed towards the door with Sirius, James, Ana and Lily.

                “Busted,” I heard Remus mutter under his breath.

                I rolled my eyes, “I’ll be right out,” I told my waiting friends, not wanting them to stick around in case I would have to put on a spineless display of flattery and straight faced lying in case Remus was right and Slughorn had in fact figured me out.

                They nodded in agreement, heading one by one out the door.  Sirius was the last to leave, he gave me a supportive smile before exiting as well.

                “Yes professor,” I gave Slughorn my undivided attention.

                “Ah, Miss Knight,” he smiled at me fondly like he did every other wealthy student with well-connected parents.  He took a seat behind his desk, nearly shaking the entire dungeon floor as he plopped down into his seat.  “When Minerva told me that you’d be taking my NEWTS class I was quite excited.  Your parents after all were quite skilled at potions.  I recall your mother once even managing to produce a cauldron of Amortentia a shade pinker than even I could at the time!”  His eyes glazed over as it often did when he was lost in a reminiscent memory.  He quickly snapped back to reality and gave me a wide smile.  “Your father was quite a remarkable student as well,” he continued.  “Your older brother, Charles, was quite commendable in his own way.  All three of them were active members in the Slug Club mind you.  How is your family doing?”
                “My mother was murdered in what the ministry believes was a Death Eater attack this past summer, my father plans to remarry by the time the year is out and Charlie is happily married and has a darling little girl they named Eva,” I told him, a jolt of pain erupting in my stomach as I spoke.  “Excuse me, professor, but I have to go.” Without another word or proper farewell I steered myself out of the classroom and past what I saw to be my horrified and distraught eavesdropping friends.

                I didn’t speak to them as I left, not even allowing Sirius to work his soothing charm on me.  I headed straight to the owlery, not stopping for anything.  When I arrived there I pulled out a spare piece of parchment and quill, beginning to write Charlie a long letter.

                Dear Ducky, I laughingly addressed him, using mum’s childhood nickname that he held with disdain, I thought coming back to Hogwarts would be easier.  I thought seeing my friends again would be a nice distraction from everything that happened over summer holiday, but it’s all just a big mess.  Lily, Ana, Alice and I never seem to see each other and I haven’t found the best way to tell any of them what happened to mum.  I know I should have wrote them after it happened and let them fuss over me during my grieving or whatever the bullocks best mates are supposed to do, but I don’t know.

                Be a good big brother and tell me to stop whinging, would you?  Tell me to look at the bright side and see that I still have you, your darling wife, Anita, (if she doesn’t read this letter you’d better tell her I spoke fondly of her or I’ll curse you in your sleep over the holidays), and sweet little Eva.

                Thanks, Charlie, for everything.  Give Anita and Eva my love and tell them I look forward to seeing you all at Christmas.

Your Sister,

Sophie

                I felt slightly better after writing the letter.  I folded it and addressed it to my brother before tying it to the foot of a school barn owl.  It hooted at me in an indifferent manner before taking off in the direction of what I hoped was Charlie.

                I knew that I had to face the music, or rather my probably upset and irate friends, eventually.  I mean after all we shared a common room and half of them shared a dormitory with me.  I couldn’t just slip under the radar for two more weeks until the holidays.  As much as it terrified me I began the slow march back to the Main Entrance.

                At least Sirius will be on your side, I thought optimistically as I started up the staircase.  And my mum died, it’s not like I’m some sort of criminal.  They’ll have to give me some sort of mercy due to my grief, right?  Sort of like I could plea temporary insanity due to the death of my mum, couldn’t I?  They’d take mercy on me, wouldn’t they?

                As much as I wanted to confidently stroll into the Common Room like they hadn’t heard that I hadn’t told them about my mum’s death in months, I couldn’t.  I was guilty or rather I should have felt guilty.  I don’t think there’s such a crime as withholding information about a relative’s death.  Instead of proudly strutting into the Common Room I satisfied myself with a more trudging effect.

                “How could you not tell us?” Ana immediately demanded in a shrill voice the moment I entered the Common Room.  She, Lily and Alice were almost in tears and red in the face while Remus and James had more of a cold fury embedding in their features.

                “Sorry, didn’t know that you were the bloody ministry’s office of records and I had to report my relatives’ deaths to you,” I told her in a sarcastic monotone voice, struggling to keep control of my whirlwind of emotions.  “I’ll be sure to make note of it so the next time Death Eaters attack my loved ones you’ll be the first one I’ll notify.”

                “I thought we were friends,” Lily shook her head at me in disbelief.

                “We were,” I answered, stressing the past-tense.

                “What the hell do you mean by ‘were’?” Ana indignantly inquired, her hands going to straight to her hips.

                I tried to contain myself from having some sort of aneurism.  “Well you see I can’t force myself to be friends with people who make the death of my loved ones into their own personal drama.  Honestly how selfish do you have to be to take the death of my mum and turn it into how I betrayed you by not telling you?”

                “Excuse me?” Lily got the dangerous tone in her voice.

                “You’re excused, now if you’re going to keep riding my ass could you at least pull my hair?” my deepest darkest, most sarcastic voice came out.  It was the voice I generally kept only for when I had to deal with my father, Janet or Claire with an occasional Slytherin Death Eater wannabe.  “I don’t have time or energy to deal with your self-obsessed bullshit right now, Lily, so why don’t you not waste it?”

                “Don’t you dare talk to hear like that!” James seemed to manage to find his voice and it was the same dark tone Lily and I were using.

                I turned to James, all feelings of guilt and shame nonexistent, leaving blind indignation and outrage in their place.  “You have a problem with me too, do you?”

                “How could you not have told us?” James seemed to share Lily’s disbelief.  “How could you have kept this a secret?”

                “I didn’t keep it a secret, I just decided not to tell you,” I told him with no remorse for any of the vicious blows I was taking.  The anger and frustration that I had built up since my mother’s death was overflowing and it had to go somewhere.  “I figured you wouldn’t understand and looks like I was right.”

                “You don’t know shit about what I understand and what I don’t!” James practically bellowed, his face an ugly shade of maroon.

                “Yes, I do,” I replied simply.  “If you understood you wouldn’t respond like this.  See, if you knew what it was like to have a home life that represents the fieriest pits of hell you’d be capable of compassion instead of just idiotic outrage.  You’re just pissed off because of how you had to find out and for that I’m sorry.  If I had my way none of you would have ever found out.”

                “Not even him?” Remus finally spoke up, pointing an accusatory finger in Sirius’ direction.

                “What about him?” I questioned, not really wanting to get Sirius in trouble for knowing but not telling.

                “You two have been awfully close lately,” Remus stonily remarked.  “Did you not want him to find out?”

                I looked at Sirius, unsure how to respond.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to.  “She told me almost a month ago,” Sirius commented with a forced sense of indifference.

                This sent James into almost indignant convulsions.  “YOU TOLD HIM?!”

“Remember the whole knowing about having a bad home life comment I just made?  Well unlike you he knew what it was like so he was capable of the compassion and understanding I knew you wouldn’t be capable of,” I smoothly retorted.

James seemed too angry to form words.  “You betrayed me,” he finally accused Sirius, the feeling of betrayal apparent in his hazel eyes.  “You picked her over me.”

Sirius stayed statue-like and indifferent, “I didn’t pick anyone.”

“Yes, you did,” James insisted.  “You picked her side when you started keeping her secrets from me.”

As angry as I was, I couldn’t bear Sirius being held responsible for the decisions I had made.  “James, do you know what it’s like to be utterly alone?” I tried to appeal to him, lowering my voice to a low hum instead of an indignant bellow.  “Have you ever felt like you didn’t have anyone in the world who understood what kind of pain you were going through?  Have you ever been afraid for your life?  Has that fear ever came from an angry parent you happened to rub the wrong way?”  I looked away from him, sweeping my eyes across the room.  “Have any of you ever been truly abused before?  I’m not talking about when you’re little and your mummy doesn’t give you dessert because you rode your mini broom into her fichus or when your dad has some harsh words because you didn’t do too properly on your OWLS.  I’m talking full abuse.  This summer my father sent me flying out of a second story window into a particularly nasty Venomous Tentacula and I had to be rushed to St. Mungo’s.  From there while your parents, James, gave my father hell in the lobby I had to escape out the hospital window so I wouldn’t have to make St. Mungo’s my permanent residence if daddy dearest got his hands on me.”  I paused for a moment, my strangely dry eyes scanning across my friends.  “Are you sure you still understand?  Because I’m sure as hell that you don’t.  So excuse me from confiding in the only person I know who could empathize over what happened instead of give me pity like everyone else. And don’t blame Sirius,” I added with a slight lie, “I made some creative threats about what would happen to him if he told anyone.”

The Common Room went completely silent as they took in my long spiel.  I made momentary eye contact with Sirius, long enough to receive a thankful smile.  “Ahem,” someone cleared their throat behind us, startling nearly all of us.

I turned around to see Professor McGonagall standing there.  I half-expected to receive a detention for swearing or disturbing the peace, but instead she gave me a tight, sympathetic smile and placed a hand on my shoulder.  “Professor Dumbledore would like to see you,” she told me, her eyes full of emotion.

As soon as I saw the look in her eyes I knew what was coming.  That was the same look the Healers gave me when they announced my mum was dead before arrival.  “Was it my father or Charlie?” I asked hoarsely, barely able to form the words.

“Your brother I’m afraid,” she told me, almost uncomfortably as though she wished I would have allowed Professor Dumbledore to give me the bad news.

“And Anita and Eva?” I could hardly fathom the idea.

“Them too I’m afraid,” she nodded.

“When?” I asked as the too familiar feeling of uncontrollable grief and fear began to run through me.

“Late last night.”

“When will they be holding the funeral?” I questioned, my mind desperately trying to stay all business as the news sunk in.

“This Sunday,” she replied.

I nodded, the information slowly seeping in and the effect of what she was saying beginning to take hold.  Before I could even croak his name, Sirius was at my side, already supportively taking me in his arms.

“I’m so sorry, Miss Knight,” McGonagall said sympathetically.

“Wait, what’s going on?” Alice inquired, obviously not being able to piece the bits of story together.

“Miss Knight’s brother’s house was attacked last night by Death Eaters,” McGonagall calmly explained.  “Her brother, her sister-in-law and her niece were all murdered.”

A/N: More drama, I know, I know, but for things to get better they must first get worse.  Rate and review!

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