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Chapter 14: In Due Time Jessica wouldn’t talk to anyone for the last days before break. She would try to talk, but then would remember the feeling that arose in her body when Malfoy was on top of her, and would lapse into silence, staring at the Slytherin table, where Malfoy would be talking to his two gorilla friends and a girl with a pug-face. “That’s Pansy Parkinson, she’s in Care of Magical Creatures with us, do you remember?” Hermoine whispered to her one day. Jessica didn’t bother responding. She just continued to stare. The train was leaving Friday afternoon, and Jessica couldn’t have been more pleased. She was finally going to get away from Malfoy for two whole weeks, and maybe then she could go back to her normal life—or as normal as it had ever been for her. Malfoy hadn’t even raped her, and she was still letting it control her life. Harry and his friends had tried to get her to have fun again, but she just wasn’t responding. They watched in concern as she retreated farther and farther into her own head, spending more time alone and writing in the mysterious book. Jessica needed to talk to Sirius badly, to see if he knew and if he could help, but she hadn’t seen a footprint since her Happiness poem. The train ride home was uneventful in Jessica’s eyes. Everything seemed that way to her now, but this passed the standard. For the first couple of hours all they did was talk about boring stuff, school and Hogwarts magic and the classes. The one thing that she listened to was talk about Dumbledore’s classes. He had continued to give them notes on Voldemort’s personal style and his strengths and weaknesses, but now he was beginning to teach them more advanced curses and defenses, stuff that he said would mostly likely come up on NEWTS. Only Jessica, Hermoine, and Harry had been able to master the Ciranase jinx, a jinx that would slow the attacks down from the other person and cut their strength in half. Jessica and Hermione were paired, and after three times of getting jelly legs each, they were able to slow it down and Hermoine would utter a countercurse, while Jessica would, once again, dodge the light. Harry and Ron’s pairing was a little more interesting. While Harry was able to block almost all of Ron’s attacks, Ron had been hit with the tickling jinx, full body bind, silencing charm, crazy legs charm, and many other before he finally gave up and threw his wand on the ground in disgust. Dumbledore had told him not to be discouraged, normally seventh years learned it, but Ron refused to cheer up. He and Jessica were sulking on the train while everyone else was laughing. But at least Ron was joining into the conversations, even if there was much grumbling coming from his mouth. About twenty minutes before they got home, however, something happened to make Jessica’s day both better and worse. She was going to the bathroom, and Hermoine had decided to go with her since she thought Jessica should never be alone if Malfoy was able to see her. They were three compartments away when it happened. Jessica had been glancing into each compartment when she saw him staring out at her: Malfoy. Hermione suddenly stopped, tensing up and her right hand clutching her wand harder. Jessica could see her knuckles turning white. For a moment, Jessica and Malfoy just stared at each other. Then he smiled a half-smile, one that showed Jessica exactly what he was thinking about her, about doing to her if he got another chance, and she couldn’t help herself. Scum! She said to him in her mind. He looked down for a second, as if studying the floor, and then looked up at her again, this time giving her a full out evil smile. She didn’t trust it, but she didn’t know why he would do that. She continued to watch him silently after he turned back to his friends, until Hermoine pushed her forward, reminding Jessica she needed to continue walking to the bathrooms. * * * * * Later that night they were all having dinner at Grimmauld Place. Jessica was trying her best to act normal while everyone was there, especially Mrs. Weasley. She knew Mrs. Weasley would try and give her some sort of magical remedy and ask her many questions following up how she was feeling for weeks, maybe months afterwards. Only one person noticed something was wrong with her: Lupin. “Jessica, what’s wrong?” he asked in a low voice while everyone else was clearing away their dishes. Jessica wanted to tell him everything, to break down and say everything that no one else knew, but she couldn’t. It was harder than she imagined it to be. “I’m fine, don’t worry about me,” was the automatic response that came out of her mouth. She must have said that a million times in the past three days alone. Lupin put his hand on her shoulder and gently led her out of the kitchen into a spare room. He had expected her to resist and repeat she was fine again, but she seemed to almost fold and she let herself be steered up the stairs. “Jessica, I know something happened. When you left for your first day, you had suffered, but you were still a happy girl, overenthusiastic, eager. Now all you do is pick at your food and stare into space, a look of sorrow on your face and misery in your eyes. You don’t look healthy; you must have lost at least 10 pounds.” “I have not!” Jessica exclaimed. “Well, then, the way you carry yourself now makes you look like a stick that lost its tree. Please, Jessica, you have helped us in so many ways, ways you don’t even know. I want to help you, help return the favor. Let me,” he finished in his soft, caring voice, and she broke down. She told him about Sirius giving her the book, talking to her in her dreams, yet he was so real. How her poems were becoming more and more depressing and she didn’t know why. How there were periods her powers seemed to control her, and she lost sight of her actions and words. How Sirius had come back to tell her about how the book will help her, Michelle’s warning, Dumbledore’s talks and Malfoy…Malfoy in the Owlery and on the train… Jessica had begun crying while she was speaking, getting so involved in her memories everything else was fading around her. That had been happening in increasing measurements lately. She would think of something, and everything around her would disappear, and she would become so wrapped up in her memories that she didn’t remember where she was or sometimes even who she was when she returned to the present. Lupin got up from his spot across from her and sat down on the bed next to her, not saying anything, just sitting. He knew that she just needed company; right now she didn’t need advice, just to have someone there. Jessica leaned into his body and stayed there, crying softly, until Lupin heard her breathing slow down and her tears stop. Slowly, he got out from under her and covered her. “Sweet dreams, Jessica.” He whispered and shut the door quietly behind him. * * * * * Within the next week, Jessica visibly was getting better. She would eat some of her food again, and would sometimes join into the conversations. Exactly one week after they arrived Jessica let out a short, quick laugh. Sunday night they were all in Harry and Ron’s room, and the scene was exactly like when Jessica first was introduced to all of them. Ron and Ginny were playing chess, Hermoine was reading, and Fred and George were working on some mystery thing for their joke shop. Their business was booming more than ever, and even Jessica, when she went in, had to be dragged away from the Headless Hats. “These are funny! How did you make it do that?” she giggled, looking at Hermoine’s hand furiously working in midair for a second before her face appeared, scowling. Jessica had ‘accidentally’ dropped the hat on her seconds before. Fred and George had given a hint to Jessica what they were working on, but she was the only one. She knew it was some kind of robe, but she didn’t know what powers—or lack thereof—it contained. But she knew more than the rest of the gang, and that made her feel special. Jessica was looking at her poems one more time, hoping to find a paw print. She hadn’t seen Sirius in almost two months, and she was starting to miss it. She really thought he was a good man, and knew what Harry must’ve gone through when he died. Just then, the door opened, and Ginny gasped and the chess board and pieces went flying. Everyone looked up. “You might want to pick that up, Miss Weasley,” a silky voice said. Snape was standing in the doorway, looking upon the scene with obvious disinterest. “Mauring, I need to talk to you.” Harry got up. “What do you want with her? Last year you came here to teach me Occlumency, and that didn’t work very well, now did it? Why do you insist on trying to be useful, when you can’t be?” Snape’s eyes flashed dangerously. “While we are not at school, believe me, once we get back there, you will have two week’s of detention. As for Occlumency, am I the one who didn’t learn how to control my emotions so I could tell dreams from fake visions?” He eyed Harry, then turned back to Jessica. “I need to speak with you.” Jessica followed Snape hesitantly out of the room to the kitchen. Snape was looking more horrible than ever, but his back was tightened as if he was nervous. When they walked into the kitchen, Jessica was surprised to see everyone from the Order sitting there. She had expected to have to bear listening to Snape one on one. “Normally, this would be a private meeting for members only,” Dumbledore stated when she walked in and nervously took a seat. “But what Snape has told us concerns you far more than it concerns us, and it is very necessary you know. So…Severus, please repeat what you just said.” Severus gave a mock little bow before turning to Jessica. “Well, this cave you had mentioned, the Cave of Vanderas, in indeed what Voldemort is after. And the energy particle also matches up. But Voldemort cannot access this particle for one reason: you. For this energy particle to be released, he needs an energy particle with the opposite charge to activate it. This opposite energy particle is inside you. And only one exists as of now, and you are guarding it. Apparently it was hidden in a book, a book that you opened and therefore gained the particle. Voldemort is now focusing on capturing and killing you. That is the only way the particle can be released, is if you die. And Mr. Potter is still in grave danger too. He knows you two are very close friends, and is planning on eliminating both of you at the same time. That’s really all I know, or all I can tell you at this time.” He turned away, but Jessica had a few questions to ask before he shunned her. “What do you mean, I have this ‘opposite energy particle’? How come I don’t feel any different? I think I would notice if some random energy thingy all of a sudden appeared inside me. I think you’re lying!” she spit at him. She didn’t know why she was getting so angry. “You just proved my point.” Now, Jessica was outraged. “How? You didn’t even answer any of my questions, and somehow I proved your point? God, why do you guys trust him?” “The Dark Lord said the particle you possess is full of unexplainable emotions and actions. The person in which it resides will become angry or sad or happy, and there will be no limits and no telling when or why the emotions come up. Also, later on, the person might see something and act before their brain even comprehends what is happening. There are times the energy takes over the person before the person can even fight back. Even though these periods never last long, they always stand out as to call the other energy particle to it.” “What are you now, Mr. Big Guy just because you know this?” Before Jessica could realize what Snape had just explained was happening at that very moment, she ran out of the kitchen and into Harry’s room. “Jessica, what--” Jessica ran out of the room with the book before Hermoine could finish her question. Jessica needed to know now whether this book was the reason for all this unhappiness. Sirius had told her it would be a gift, not a burden. Yet what Snape had said just explained why crazy things had been happening to her, almost turning her mad. That was not a blessing, in Jessica’s mind. She quickly wrote a poem to beg for Sirius to come. She knew it wouldn’t be as good as the others because she was writing the words with a purpose, not just letting the words flow out of her but harshly striking the paper with a burst of energy and hatred that made the words indent the page and become messier and messier as she finished. A Star is Shining, Somewhere Friends and enemies, they’re all the same, Just lots of people that have a name. Yet more come in and more rush out, Away to a place with no trace of a doubt. The wind comes and gives me the news, But then swirls back to take its dues. To be singled out, different at best, While strangers laugh and sing and talk with the rest. My eyes always see different things, Instead of the plane I see only the wings. People are nice; however they are fake. Smiling at the lonely game in which I partake. Dreams are where I can escape the world, Everything normal here is uncurled. I live for the nights, you know this is true, Please come today; I need to speak with you. Jessica stared at the page, lost in the words, tired but she refused to go to bed until she saw the little paw print next to her poem. And then, slowly, slowly, the little brown ink started to spread, the four claws growing from the paw. She threw the book down and climbed onto the bed in the abandoned room. Jessica had never fallen asleep faster. **Yes, Katie, she is a loner. Get over it. :)**

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