Chapter 22:

Dogged Suggestions

Defence lessons were going well, if slowly. She was grateful Professor Lupin was patient enough with her. She was now able to produce a small, but effective shield charm. It wouldn't help much against Dementors or any severe attack, but it was certainly better than nothing. It helped to know she was capable enough.

Then again, she supposed it helped that Fred and George had offered to help her weekly with her charms work. She had also noticed that Adrian had been keeping a closer eye on her. She wondered if Taryn had said something to her brother to make him more attuned to her, almost more – protective. It wasn't a bad thing necessarily, but it was odd.

Jessa groaned as she hitched her bag higher on her shoulder and waded further into the Forbidden Forest. She was in a small glen, trying to find a plant to suit the Herbology project.

Looking up, she finally saw a little yellow bud.

Finally. That would do.

So of course, what did she have to go and do but trip over a tree root.

She hissed as she turned over to examine the damage. A rustle made her look up.

A great black dog stared at her through the leaves.

He came closer. Jessa froze in place as he nosed at her ankle. Her injured ankle. As if he was inspecting it. As he looked up at her, Jessa tentatively reached a hand out to pet him, surprised when he allowed her to run a hand through his dark, dirty fur.

Another rustling sound caused him to bound away. She frowned as Taryn came into view. How odd.

Jessa felt a tap on her shoulder and turned, finding Draco Malfoy directly behind her. She waited as he grabbed his bag from the locker and as the rest of their teammates filed out of the locker room.

When he reappeared at her side two minutes later, she raised an eyebrow.

"I wrote my parents and…well…how would you like to come and stay with me for a bit at the end of the summer?" he asked, words tumbling out in an unusual rush. Jessa just stared at him in return, stunned.

"You're serious."

"Of course."

"I – I'd love to! Thank you!"

"Great! So I'll pick you up – "

" – actually, Draco, can't I just come to your house whenever you want me? Or at the very least, just meet you in Diagon Alley?" she suggested, trying very hard to avoid having Draco Malfoy coming to the Dursleys'. He sighed, looking at her curiously, before nodding once. She grinned again.

"Thank you," she replied, smiling shyly a bit, before hugging him so suddenly that he was forced to take a step backwards in order to steady himself.

"You're welcome," he said softly, running hand though her long red hair, allowing himself this brief, private moment of weakness. He wasn't sure which "yes" he was more surprised by – hers or his father's.

As Jessa handed her luggage off to the train operators, she found Harry at her shoulder, Ron and Hermione standing just a few paces back. She was on neutral terms with Hermione and she was slowly making progress with Ron – something she was pleased about if only because he meant so much to her brother. She had a feeling Fred and George said something to their own brother. Especially considering how they'd cornered her a few months back.

"Sit with us on the ride back? There're some things we need to tell you."

She nodded, following them into an empty compartment.

"What were you told about Sirius Black?"

Her brow furrowed, but she answered anyway. "That he was a spy for the Dark Lord. He betrayed our parents, giving away their safe house location. He's the one responsible for us being orphans."

"That's what I thought, too. It's what everyone thought."

She shook her head. "I don't understand. Is it not true?"

"I had a rat that had been passed down in my family. For the past 13 years," Ron said. "Turns out he was an Animagus."

"I don't know what that is."

"An Animagus is a person who can turn into a designated animal at will. The animal usually corresponds to their Patronus," Hermione answered immediately.

"Thanks. So…this rat…was a human?"

"Peter Pettigrew. He was the spy. He was the coward who turned against our parents. However, he transformed at the sight – into his Animagus form – and since Sirius was on the scene to help – "

" – he was blamed for the incident," Jessa finished.


"I don't understand though…what does this matter?"

"Sirius escaped to save me – us – from Pettigrew doing more damage. And to – to check on me…us. Jessa, he's my godfather."

"Oh." She paused for a moment before continuing as her mind took in the pieces of new information. "Are you moving out to live with him then?"

Harry grimaced, both out of misery that they were returning to the Dursleys' – at on her word choice. As if he'd leave her behind (again) if he had a choice. "He's on the run for now. So no. But you don't need to fear him. He's family."

Then she thought back. "Is Black an amnigus – animagicus - ?" she tried asking, stumbling over the new word.

"Animagus," Hermione corrected promptly.

"A dog?"

"Yes," Harry replied warily. "How'd you know?"

"A few weeks ago, during Herbology, there was this huge black dog I came across. Didn't hurt me though. He was rather friendly to a stranger."

Harry nodded. "Probably would have been him."

She nodded in understanding, wondering if their parents had been able to designate someone to be her godparent before they were murdered.

Happy Halloween! :)