As they arrived at the King’s Cross Station and walked through the gate to platform 9 ¾, Antrim asked Elizabeth about if she had packed everything she needed for her last school year, had she all her school books and other books, clothes, her wand and all other things like that.
Her uncle may be an old grumpy, sometimes mean, wizard. But no one could ever say that he didn’t make an effort when it came to her school.
“Okay, uncle, that’s enough already!” She said as she put down her bags and looked at the old wizard.” You can’t continue doing like this every single time that I’m going to Hogwarts…”
She gave him a fast hug before she took her bags and walked towards the train part where all the Slytherin students usually where during the trip to Hogwarts.
“Elizabeth! Don’t forget your tie!” Antrim yelled after her and with a hand movement of her wand, her tie was around her neck in a matter of seconds and she climbed on board the Hogwarts Express.
As the large iron beast transported all of the students back to Hogwarts Elizabeth had buried herself down in her books. Of course it was the very same author as always. Gabriel S.T. Wreatchetburgh.
She had grown quite fond of his books, as if she knew this man. Yes, she had fallen for one of those small fan crushes that young girls get. But how bad could one little crush hurt anything or anyone?
As she got more and more lost in her book, Elizabeth suddenly felt a presence next to her. She looked up and there sat Draco together with miss Parkinson, Grabbe and Goyle.
She closed her book in silent and laid it beside her.
“What a pleasant surprise you brought with you, Draco…” She said, her mouth almost full with venom. Parkinson muttered under her breath and Draco calmed her down.
Elizabeth smirked a little bit in victory as she went into her serious mood and crossed her arm.
“So, what can I help you with?” She asked and watched as Draco told his company to leave them. They stood up and as they were to leave them the old lady with the candy cart came by.
“Can I offer you any candy?” She asked kindly. Draco’s friends just walked past her, walking into her a bit. Draco ignored the old lady and stayed silent and muttered for himself. Elizabeth shock her head.
“No, thank you.” She answered and the old lady left them. There was never a good sign when Draco came to her.
Nowadays, he only had things with death eaters and the Dark Lord to talk about with her. Elizabeth looked out from the window, out into the dark evening. It wasn’t long until they would arrive.
Finally, she thought and closed her eyes for a brief moment and looked at Draco again.
“Well, Draco, come on then… Spit it out, we both know that you never come to me nowadays only for nicer company.”
Draco snorted ironically. She shock her head and took a deep breath.
“Draco…” She said a bit serious as he sighed angrily.
“You wouldn’t understand even if I told you. Besides, I can’t!”
Elizabeth sat unmovable.
“Then why, if I may ask, do you come to me every time that He has done something to you or your family?” She asked and gave him a inquiring glance.
Draco looked away immediately, as if he was ashamed, and became quiet for a little while. Elizabeth sighed and looked around them as he sat quiet.
“Well then, if you’re not going to say anything to me then I would like you and your friends to leave me alone, please…” She said a bit rough.”I have my book that I would rather finish then talk to a speechless wizard.”
Draco just laid back down across two seats with his head in Parkinsons lap. She stroke the sleek blond hair off his forehead, smirking as she did so, as though someone would have loved to have been in her place. The lanterns swinging from the carriage ceiling cast a bright light over the scene.
A moment later Blaise Zabini came came in, almost throwing himself it looked like, toppled over saideways into Goyle’s lap. They snarled at each other before Goyle slammed the door shut and flung Zabini off him, who collapsed into his own seat looking ruffled. Everyone who had watched this returned to their own things and everything became quiet again.
“So, Zabini,” Said Draco, “what did Slughorn want?”
“Just trying to make up to well-connected people,” said Zabini, who was still glowering at Goyle. “Not that he manage to find many.”
This information did not seem to please Draco. “Who else had he invited?” he demanded.
Zabini counted up all of those who had attended Slughorns little meet-up.
“– and Longbottom, Potter, and that Weasley girl,” finished Zabini.
Draco sat up very suddenly, knocking Parkinson’s hand aside.
“He invited Longbottom?”
“Well, I assume so, as Longbottom was there,” said Zabini indifferently.
“What’s Longbottom got to interest Slughorn?” Zabini shrugged.
“Potter, precious Potter, obviously he wanted a look at ‘the Chosen One’,” sneered Draco, “but that Weasley girl! What’s so special about her?”
“A lot of boys like her,” said Parkinson, watching Draco out of the corner of her eyes for his reaction. “Even you think she’s good-looking, don’t you, Blaise, and we all know how hard you are to please!”
“I wouldn’t touch a filthy little blood traitor like her whatever she looked like,” said Zabini coldly, and Parkinson looked pleased. Draco sank back across her lap, which made Elizabeths heart sting a bit with jealousy, and allowed her to resume the stroking of his hair.
They talked about how pity taste Slughorn had about choosing students, Draco mentioned how his father had talked good about the wizard, some old students to Slughorn and other related things.
At the end Draco forced out a singularly humourless laugh, Elizabeth could see he was angry but refused to show it completely.
“Well who cares what he’s interested in? What is he, when you come down to it? Just some stupid teacher.” He yawned ostentatiously. “I mean, I might not even be at Hogwarts next year, what’s it matter to me if some fat old has-been likes me or not?”
“What do you mean?“ said Parkinson indignantly, ceasing grooming Draco at once.
“Yeah Draco, what do you mean with ‘you might not be at Hogwarts next year’?” Elizabeth asked and looked at Parkinson, not liking to agree with whatever she says.
“Well, you never know,” he said with the ghost of a smirk.” I might have – er – moved on to bigger and better things.”
Grabbe and Goyle were gawping at Draco; apparently they had had no linking of any plans to move on to bigger and better things. Even Zabini had allowed a look of curiosity to mar his haughty features. Parkinson resumed the slow stroking of Malfoy’s hair, looking dumbfounded.
“Do you mean – Him?”
Malfoy shrugged. Elizabeth crossed her arms and gave him the coldest of disliking looks she could give her old childhood friend.
“Spit. It. Out. Draco.” She said hard.
“Mother wants me to complete my education, but personally, I don’t see it as that important these days. I mean, think about it… When the Dark Lord takes over, is he going to care how many O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s anyone’s got? Of course he isn’t. It’ll be all about the kind of service he received, the level of devotion he was shown.”
“And you think you’ll be able to do something for him?” asked Zabini scathingly. “Sixteen years old and not even fully qualified yet?”
“I’ve just said, haven’t I? Maybe he doesn’t care if I’m qualified. Maybe the job he wants me to do isn’t something you need to be qualified for,” said Draco quietly.
“Oh Merlin, you are stubborn sometimes…” Elizabeth said and looked out to the darkness.
Crabbe and Goyle were both sitting with their mouths open like gargoyles. Parkinson was gazing down at Draco as though she had never seen anything so awe-inspiring.
“I can see Hogwarts,” Elizabeth said as she pointed out of the blackened window, Draco stayed quiet as he clearly relished the effect he had created. “We’d better get our robes on.”
The corridors started filling up with student getting ready for leaving the train.
At last, with a final lurch, the train came to a complete halt. Goyle threw the door open and muscled his way out into a crowd of second years, punching them aside; Crabbe, Zabini and Parkinson followed.
“You go on,” Draco said to Elizabeth, who was waiting for him at the door. “I just want to check something.”
Elizabeth shrugged and left him, glad to get away from him for a while. She took her few things, which took a time to get of the train, and got out on the platform. She grab her book and walked calmly towards the school gates, stopping sometimes only as she got stuck in her book. No one were to be seen almost. She could see ahead of her; Draco, who apparently had walked past her without she knowing it, joining his friends as they jumped onto one of the few carriages left.
She putted down her baggage as she reached the gates and was meet by mr Flitwik.
“Name.” He asked with his squeaky voice and looked through the list of all the students.
“Elizabeth Braonáín, sir. Seventh year, Slytherin.” She answered him and left him as he closed the gates and fixed the protection charms which were put over the gates.
As she walked she saw a large group of aurors who was walking around. She didn’t give them much more of her time or thoughts as she started to collect her stuff. When she was about to grab Baltazhar, who had turned into a wrist jewellery, she saw how the caretaker, mr Filch, took it before her and shock his head.
“Muggle objects are not allowed on the school grounds.” He said with a nasty smile.
Mooncalf, does he really think that Baltazhar is a muggle thing?! She thought when she tried to explain everything as mr Filch gave her beloved snake to one of the Aurors.
Suddenly she was interrupted.
“Not so fast, Argus.” You could hear the familiar and dark, velvet smooth voice of professor Snape who came walking with fast steps. Mr Filch hold up the jewellery in front of the professor and his nasty smile could be seen once again.
“The girl had this muggle object with her, which according to the school rules is not tolerant here.” The caretaker explained.
Elizabeth herself just felt how her heart sank in her breast when the professor took her beloved pet and examined it.
“It no longer does surprise me that you never learn to see the differences between what really is magical and what is muggle objects, Argus.” He finally answered with a little bit of superiority. ”This is the second time tonight, this last hour actually, that I have to come and rescue my students from your idiocy.”
He gestured to Elizabeth, turned around on his heel and walked towards the school with the girl right behind him.
“But… the girl?”
Snape turned his heel again when he heard the caretaker ask about his student. He was an sad excuse for being a squib. The professor smirked almost invisible.
“I’ll take care of ms Braonáín, mr Filch. You continue with your things.” He answered and continued walking toward the school. Elizabeth followed him, unsure if the professor was angry at her for being caught by mr Filch or if he just wanted to help her.
When they had walked a bit, hidden by some large trees, the professor turned around towards Elizabeth and took the jewellery and held it in the air.
“From where have you stolen this jewellery, ms Braonáín?” He asked her calmly but serious while showing her beloved Baltazhar, who hadn’t turned back to it living form yet.
Elizabeth was stunned and answered.
“Stolen, sir? I do not know what you are talking about. I haven’t stolen anything either from anyone either anywhere… My father gave it to me several years ago.” She explained. Snape hit his hand against the nearest tree, causing her to jump a bit.
“Do not lie to me, ms Braonáín! I can see when you’re lying, Elizabeth.” He said irritably. ”The only one way that you could have received it, which I don’t believe you have, is by taking the dark mark. Isn’t that right?!”
He took her by her hand and unbuttoned her sleeve on the school uniform, that she had changed into during the trips beginning, and pulled up the sleeve to a more literal application explain to her that she had stolen the jewellery, because didn’t carry the dark mark.
“My father gave it to me, I am telling you!” She yelled. “I don’t have the dark mark.” She once again explained and shrugged his hold on her hand from her and pulled down the sleeve and before she could react more, Snape had taken a steady hold of her school uniform again and pushed her back against one of the trees that here behind them.
“I told you… Do. Not. Lie. To me. If what you’re saying is true, then who is your father?”
Elizabeth tried to undo his hold of her but didn’t succeed and gave up.
“George Ó Braonáín…” She said with hatred and sadness in her voice.
Snape then let go of her when he heard the name and looked at her with a surprised glance.
Is she really the daughter of George Ó Braonáín?! He thought and looked away at the gates where the carriages waited for all the students.
“I am sorry, ms Braonáín. I didn’t know.” He said a bit emotionless and gave the carriages one more look after some few minutes. He backed away from her and smirked almost invisible just like had back with mr Filch.
“It seems, that I just made you miss your escort a moment ago, ms Braonáín.” He said and gave her the jewellery. She noticed that he hesitated with a gesture, but she never had time to think about what it could be, she would have to ask him later about it instead. She took her jewellery in silence and looked at the piece as it turned back into her beloved Balthazar.
Snape looked emotionless at the transformation of the jewellery he’d just hold into a tiny snake, but inside of his emotionless defence the professor was quite surprised.
Elizabeth looked like she had forgot about the professor and smiled at her little friend as she carefully caressed its head.
Snape eventually made a little cough as to getting his student back with her feets on the ground. Elizabeth came back from her own little world and a very faint blush rose upon her cheeks.
“Sorry, professor…” She said quietly, placed Balthazar on her wrist and watched as the snake turned back into the jewellery which had caused so much trouble for nothing.
“No need to apologies. If you would like to, I could escort you to the school?” He offered and looked at her. She shuddered a bit from the evening chill that swept past them and nodded.
How else could she answer? What could she say?
The professor offered his arm to her which she took thankfully and began to walk towards the school.
After a while when they were walking, Elizabeth felt something over her shoulders which made the coldness go away a bit. She looked at the professor and noticed that he had given her his cloak. She pulled the cloak tighter around herself and looked gratefully at him. She got one of his nods and they continued to walk in silence.
The silence hung heavily between them. Elizabeth walked a little bit closer to the professor who, surprisingly, put his arm around her, even if a bit stiffly, after what seemed like forever. The confusion and the surprise she felt was overwhelming , but still she felt as calm and safe as she had never felt before.
“It’s probably the best if what happened tonight, stays between you and me.” He whispered in her ear before he stopped and turned to stand in front of her. And once again Elizabeth saw him hesitate with a gesture as he did before. Why did he do that for?
“Of course, sir. Thank you…”
“Ms Braonáín, I have been trying to tell you for almost two years now, to call me by my birth name when it does not concern about the school.” He interrupted her and smirked almost invisible like he could do sometimes.
Elizabeth bit her lower lip with a third chock and looked at him.
“I’m sorry, sir.” She said and fluttered a little. The professor put his finger under her chin and made her look straight at him.
Is he really? No, it can’t be?! She thought as she looked at him and her hearts stopped beat for a brief moment as she fought for air.
And yes, it was real. The professor did indeed, smile.
“Elizabeth…” He said quietly and meaning. ”What did I just told you?”
She opened her mouth silently and tried to gesture some words but nothing came out.
He just chuckled a bit and shock his head.
“You’re stubborn, you know that?” He said and after a moments hesitation he moved his thumb to her lower lip and carefully caressed it, as if he didn’t even touch her. Elizabeth just stood there, she couldn’t say anything either could she do anything. He had her in his power.
“Professor…” She said quietly but nothing more as her voice betrayed her.
He shock his head and looked her in the eyes.
“Don’t make me tell you once again.” He answered her and looked at her lips a bit. It looked as if he was thinking of something, but she couldn’t tell of what.
Out of nowhere an immense silvery four-legged creature streaked off past them and into the darkness. With a long look at what just had past them the professor shock his head.
“Come on, you don’t want to be late to dinner,” He said still smiling.
“Okay, Severus…” She finally said and managed if not with some effort, a smile back at him and they continued their last part of the walk towards the castle.
As they got even closer towards the school Snape stopped and turned again toward Elizabeth.
“You’ll have to continue here from without me, I have some job to take care of,” said Snape and Elizabeth who still was almost paralysed by his changed behaviour just nodded.
Snape nodded and made a turn and left her alone. Elizabeth made herself continue the last bit of the walk as she saw how they separated.