"Am I evil?"
Professor Neville Longbottom had been teaching at Hogwarts for several years now, but to be honest had he never been asked that question before. Her name was Belinda Linx and she was a fifth grader from Slytherin. She had brownish blond hair and dark brown, almost black, eyes. She had been standing in the back until the room was cleared for everyone but them.
"I don't know. Have you done something evil?"
"I'm a Slytherin aren't I? Sorry for taking your time."
And then she was gone. She had run out of there to conceal her tears, but he had seen them none the less.
No matter how hard he tried he couldn't get this situation out of his head. The rest of the day he couldn't think of was her. At dinner his gaze was drawn down to the Slytherin table and to her blond hair. She looked to listen to the people around her but didn't seem to contribute to the conversations.
After dinner he walked over to the professor of potion and the head of the Slytherin house professor Leah Dawh. A beautiful, pureblooded, woman with clear Spanish traits. She even spoke with a small Spanish accent.
"Neville. What can I help you with?"
"I was wondering a bit about one of the students in your house. Belinda Linx?"
Leah looked wondering at him, clearly thinking, but Neville couldn't tell if it was about what she could tell him or if it was to try to remember who Belinda was.
"Linx? Nice girl. Quiet. Half-blood, mother is pureblood. She's been in St. Mungos for the last 15 years. No one knows why. Talented girl, if she would only concentrate. Why?"
"No big deal. Do you know who her father is?"
"No. She spends summers travelling between her mother's aunts and uncles. It looks like no one seems to take care of her, a bit sad really. Probably because of her father."
They said good night, and even more confused, retired Neville to his room.
Hearing the girl's mother was in St. Mungos just reminded him of his own parents. His father was now dead, but he still tried to visit his mother whenever he could. Thou it still pained him very much. He wondered if she visited her mother.
Neville took of his cloak, and changed. He had grown into a very handsome man, and there were few things that reminded of the chubby boy who first had started at Hogwarts as a student. Most of the changes were thanks to his still good friends Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and now Hermione Granger-Weasley.
He threw himself down on the bed and placed both hands under his head while he thought of the girl. It was so strange. Why would she ask if she was evil? It didn't make sense.
Belinda looked around. Clutching the bat she tried to drown out the sounds of the yelling and screaming of the crowd. It was the first game of the year, her first game, and it was between Slytherin and Gryffindor. She loved the way the Dragonwing X9Y felt under her, and how easily it was to move.
They had played for over one hour, and the score flickered between no more than fifty points between the two teams in either way. High above her, Scorpio and the Gryffindor seeker, James Potter, was looking almost fanatically.
Belinda was flying zig-zag between the chasers. She flew between the bludger and a slytherin girl named Frida and hit it all she could. The bludger flew and hit the Gryffindor keeper, a boy she thought was named Albus, and he went down when it hit him in the head. She heard cheers from her housemates since the goal was now open.
Her thrill was cut short how ever since the golden snitch suddenly appeared right in front of her. Her eyes widened and she looked up at Scorpio, seeing if he had seen it. He hadn't, but the Potter boy had. He was diving downwards, and just so she wouldn't get hurt Belinda flew left out of the way cursing Scorpio for not paying attention.
She turned awaiting to see the Gryffindor win, hating that she couldn't do anything to stop it, when she was surprised to find the golden snitch raising towards her like it was a buldger, the Potter boy not far behind. Again she flew what she believed to be out of the way, knowing it would be foul if she touched the snitch, just to see it turn and flying after her again.
Now they where getting attention. Belinda flying zig-zag, trying to shake of the snitch, the snitch close behind her and the Potter boy close behind that again. She changed between cursing Scorpio for not being able to catch the snitch, and being scared. This wasn't normal was it? Snitches were supposed to hide, not seek out players. She was also scared that if she touches it she would loose the game for her team. What was going on?
She had to find a way to help Scorpio. She called his name and aimed for him. Far below her she could hear whispers about this strange event, but she just concentrated on Scorpio. He was just standing there, surprised to suddenly see her, the snitch and the Gryffindor seeker flying straight towards him, and he froze. Belinda cursed him.
"Scorpio it's coming. Grab it."
Just in the nick of time. Just as she and the snitch flew passed him he reached out and grabbed it. Inches away from the Potter boy. She turned as she heard the awaited cheering, and smiled. Then the weirdest thing happened. The snitch, still in Scorpio's hand flew after her.
Belinda screamed, and she wasn't the only one. Now everyone knew something was wrong. She dived just missing Scorpio's fist, and flew for protection. Anyone actually.
"Mr Malfoy, drop it."
One of the teachers, Belinda didn't know who, yelled, and Scorpio did as he was told. She looked over in terror as the little golden ball came closer and closer at an incredible speed. Belinda wasn't afraid of it per say, she just knew something was wrong with it and that scared her. That it was coming after her.
Sweat was running down her face, making it difficult to see, and back, making her cold. She was out of breath, but continued to look over her shoulder and the ball coming after her. She could hear whispers, talking, even screams from the spectators but the only thing on her mind was to get away from the snitch.
Suddenly the tribune appeared before her, and she could barley stop before she crashed into the now screaming pupils and teachers. She turned and suddenly a sickness came over her. She was tired of running. She gripped the bat and when the snitch came close enough she hit the snitch as hard as she could.
The explosion that followed was enough to knock her of her broom and down to the darkness below.
She sat up with a small cry. Her head was pounding but otherwise she was fine. Madam Pomfrey ran over to her. After forcing chocolate frogs down her throat and checking her she smiled.
"Nothing, that's good. Now the headmistress wants to talk to you."
Belinda nodded, and since her head was now fine, she was guided to the office right away. She followed madam Pomfrey up the stairs and wasn't surprised to find professor Dawh, madam Hooch and the charms professor Flitwick, but she was curious as to why professor Longbottom was there.
The headmistress, professor McGonagall, rose and smiled.
She pointed to a chair and Belinda sat down. A bit more at ease.
"Why do you think the snitch came after you?"
"I don't know professor. I swear I didn't hex it."
"We know. We've examined it and found no charms or hexs."
She reached out to a box and opened it. With fear in her eyes Belinda saw the snitch fly up and towards her. With fear in every inch of her body she screamed and stood up ready to run away.
Belinda looked comical at her, but did as she was told. She reached out and grabbed the snitch. It died at once. It was surprisingly warm, and Belinda could have sworn it was beating.
"As predicted. Ms Linx, what do you know about you family tree?"
Belinda gulped. She hated talking about her family.
"My mother, Justine was the daughter of Maverick Linx, pure blood family, and a witch called Clementine. She was the daughter of Amina of Gregor, a French pure blooded, wizard family."
"And your father?"
"Who was Clementine's father?"
"I don't know."
McGonagall looked from the snitch ball to her. She reached out her hand and Belinda dropped the snitch in her hand. It didn't move.
"Bring him inn."
Belinda turned and looked as Scorpio was led inside. He looked nervous. He went over and McGonagall gave him the snitch. It rolled over but otherwise it was dead. He gave it back and McGonagall thanked him. He went and McGonagall looked back at her.
"Did you know that Snitches are made by goblins?"
Belinda shook her head.
"They do, and one of the things they need to make a snitch is goblin blood. It's the thing that gives them their intelligence."
Belinda looked down at the snitch.
"And the thing that makes snitches so unusual is that they have two ways to remember people. The most common known is the flesh memory. But the other thing is resemblance to the blood donated."
"But I haven't given any blood."
"No, but a blood relative might have."
Belinda didn't quite understand what she was saying, but when it dawned on her and she started to laugh.
"You think I'm part goblin?"
The seriousness in her voice made Belinda stop laughing.
"That's just… Is that even possible?"
"Yes. Unheard of, but not impossible."
"Of course. If my blood wasn't weird enough, I'm part goblin."
She wondered if her great-grandmother knew? Was that one of the reasons she kept looking down at her? Her face became blank.
"If I may, can you please keep it a secret?"
"If you want to."
Belinda nodded and looked at the other teachers and got their discretions too. She looked down at the snitch.
"Can I keep that?"
"Of course, but I wouldn't go of showing it to everybody if you want it to be a secret."
"Of course not."
Belinda nodded and left the room. Her head had started to hurt again.
Three days and Belinda was standing on the quidditch field practicing hitting the bludgers as far and precise as she could. She hadn't talked about the incident with anyone, no matter how hard they had persuaded her. And she could feel the snitch in her pocket. Giving now and then a beat like it was living. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a group of red dressed people, and quickly recognised the Gryffindor team.
"We have the field now."
Belinda smiled to the captain, the boy she recognised as the James Potter, and got the bludger back. James Potter was one year older than her, tall but small at the same time. He had short wild red hair and emerald green eyes. She was about to give both to him when Scorpio and his pack of followers came over. Belinda rolled her eyes and swore under her breath. Scorpio stepped between Belinda and Potter.
"Why if it isn't Potter? We kicked your buts under last game. Are you here to practise, because you need it."
"Oh shut up Malfoy, the only reason you won was because the snitch started to follow her. Why did it do that?"
Potter looked directly at her, and Belinda could feel the allegation in his voice.
"That's none of your business. It was clean."
Her gaze went over the team and landed on the small boy she had hit. Short black hair and the same emerald eyes. Cousins or brothers, she thought.
"How's your head?"
"Fine, thank you. And how are…"
"Shut up Al."
James looked at Albus before turning to a girl. Same year as Belinda, with wild unruly red hair and blue eyes.
"Rose, won't you go get madam Hopp and tell them that these Slytherins are using our time on the field."
"Yes Potter, send the half-blood to do the grunt work."
Belinda could taste the discomfort in his words. She knew he was pure blood, and that he as most Slytheirns looked down on does that wasn't. She still didn't like that he said that word like it was a swear word.
"Or maybe you should send the mud-blood."
Wands were drawn, but before anyone could act. Without really thinking about what she was doing, she raised the bat and hit Scorpio has hard as she could on the side of his chest. She could hear his ribs crack.
She dropped the bat like she had burnet herself, and looked desperate from her housemates to Scorpio to the Gryffindors.
"We better get him to Madam Pomfrey."
None reacted. Belinda, thou she had issued the order, was frozen to the ground. Her hands were shaking and she was gasping for air. She could hear footsteps and a teacher came running. Professor Longbottom. How odd? Had someone run after him?
She looked helpless as he helped the boy to his feet.
Like she had been hexed, she couldn't do anything but follow. After placing Scorpio in Madam Pomfreys care and being reassured about his well-being. Belinda followed professor Longbottom up to the headmistress office.
"I hit Scorpio in the chest with my bat."
"And why did you do that?"
"He… You see…"
Belinda froze. She didn't know why? Mudblood was a common word by her housemates. By her family. Why had she been so angry when Scorpio had called that girl that?
"Scorpio called someone on the Gryffindor team mud-blood Minerva."
McGonagall looked from Neville to her and back.
"Is this true Belinda?"
Belinda didn't look up. She felt like she had betrayed everyone.
"One month detention, 50 points, and you are off the Quidditch team."
Belinda looked surprised at her.
"So, tomorrow after supper you go down to mr Finch…"
"Actually I want to supervise her detention."
Belinda eyes widened even more with surprise. McGonagall raised an eyebrow.
"Okay. Belinda, after dinner every night you will help professor Longbottom. Do you have any questions?"
Belinda shook her head, and almost ran out of there. She was contemplating how lucky she had been.
Last day of detention. It hadn't been all that bad. Considering the isolation she got from her housemates and the usual isolation from the other houses, it had been a nice brake. She wondered if she could continue after he came back after the Christmas vacation.
"Be thorough Belinda."¨
"I am professor."
Belinda gave him a quick smile, before turning back to the plants she was replanting.
"So, what are you doing for the holidays?"
Belinda froze for a second, but only a second.
Silence. Belinda suddenly felt like ice.
"What, you never had pupils stay the holiday before?"
"Of course, I just know about your mother and are surprised you're not visiting her."
Belinda almost dropped the pot in the ground. She bit her lower lip so much she could taste her own blood. Her eyes were fogged with tears she wouldn't let fall. Crying was useless. Futile.
"I want to, but I don't have anyone to stay with professor. And you?"
"Visiting some friends of mine. Harry and Ginny Potter"
She placed the pot on the floor, calmed down and turned with a small smile.
"Can I ask a favour of you? If I gave you something, could you give it to my mother?"
"Sorry. Just forget it."
She let out a small chuckle and turned back to the plants.
"Belinda would you like to join me for the vacation? You could visit your mother."
Belinda turned and looked at him.
"I don't want charity."
"It's not. It's an offer of friendship."
Belinda looked away.
"I thought Gryffindor and Slytherin weren't supposed to be friends."
Professor Longbottom bent down and smiled. It was a kind smile. A gentle, reassuring smile.
"Don't you know that's just a rumour?"
Belinda swallowed hard. She turned away.
"Are you sure you wouldn't mind?"
"Of course not. And don't worry, we won't share rooms or anything."
Before Belinda couldn't stop the laughter bubbling out of her mouth.
That was it. Belinda reflected about how crazy she had to be, but the truth was she didn't want to be alone. She has so sick of being alone.
"It's just a welcome home dinner Belinda."
Belinda looked scared at him.
"We are spending Christmas morning with them anyways, so you might as well meet them now."
Belinda knew it had been a bad idea. She should have stayed back at the school. But it was too late now.
"Can we knock now?"
She nodded very slightly.
The door opened and a brown haired woman welcomed them.
"Belinda Linx. Very kind of you to include me in the invitation Mrs Weasley."
"Nice to meet you Belinda."
Belinda could see the look shared between this woman and her professor, but she pretended not to notice.
"Won't you come in?"
Belinda curtsied again and followed Mrs Weasley into the living room. She stopped as she recognised five pairs of the eyes gazing upon her.
James Potter. Her eyes widened with fear and she tried to step out of the room, but hit professor Longbottom. She could feel him place a hand on her shoulder. Protective.
"James. That is no way to talk to someone."
The man scolding was a tall with black hair, glasses, and the same emerald eyes as James and Albus.
"This is Belinda, one of my students. Belinda this is my good friends Harry and Ginny Potter and Ron and Hermione Weasley. And their children James, Albus, Rose, Lily and Hugo."
"She's in Slytherin dad."
Rose looked up at her father.
"Yes Rose I am. I'm sorry if anyone as a problem with that. I can leave."
"Of course nobody has a problem with that."
Mrs Potter came forth and Belinda curtseyed again. She was suddenly very happy her grandaunt had forced manner on her. Both women seemed ecstatic over them.
"Belinda was the one who defended Kathy."
They were sitting around the table, and Belinda sent Albus a look that could have killed him.
"Yeah. Beat the crap out of him."
"It was just one hit."
"Didn't he break his rib bones?"
"Yeah, three I think."
While Albus, Rose and Hugo discussed it, sank Belinda more and more under the table. Now she knew this had been a bad idea.
"Why did she break some boys rib bones?"
Mrs Weasley looked at her children.
"We didn't tell you?"
"It was so cool."
"You know Malfoy."
"He called Kathy a mudblood."
"After making fun of Rose for being a half blood."
"Malfoy is a jerk."
"Well, James was going to hex him."
"For speaking ill of Kathy."
"But before he can do anything Belinda clobber him in the chest with her beater club."
"And then I got suspended from the team, a months detention and 50 points."
Including being alienated by my own house. Cool.
"Yeah that's Slytherins for you. If a Gryfindoor had done it he or she would probably have been expelled."
James's words were only a whisper, but clear. The silence that fell over the table was deadly. It was suffocating her, and she couldn't breath. She looked at James and saw the look on his faces. Belinda looked away. She needed to get away. She didn't belong there. She got up, and swayed a bit. She couldn't breath properly.
"I'm sorry, but I think I must leave. Mrs Weasly it has been wonderful."
And then, before professor Longbottom could say anything, she left the table and went outside. She felt in her pocket, and smiled for being smart enough to take some money with her. Not enough for a hotel, but she had more in Gringott, in her mothers vault.
She was about to stick out her wand when she heard footsteps behind her. She turned, expecting professor Longbottom and surprised to find Albus standing there. He was shorter than her.
"What do you want?"
"I'm sorry if we have insulted you in any way. That was not our intent."
"Are you talking for your siblings and cousins or just you?"
"Rose, Hugo, Lily and me."
"Neither you, nor Rose, Lily or Hugo insulted me tonight. It is not the reason I left."
"I'm a Slytherin. I don't belong here."
Or anywhere else.
"Why don't you belong just because you are a Slytherin?"
"I don't know, I just don't. Albus this is very kind of you, and you can walk back in there and tell them you did your best, but it's not going to work. Ok?"
Belinda turned and walked to the pavement. She was surprised how small the house looked from the outside.
"Are you sure you don't want to come in?"
"Leave it. I'm not some social project. I knew I shouldn't have come."
"Then why did you?"
Belinda had tear in her eyes again. She was angry with herself for suddenly going soft. First professor Longbottom, now Albus. But something in her wanted to tell him. Something inside her wanted someone to hold around her and tell her everything was going to be all right. That she was all right.
"I don't know."
A lie. She did know, but she would rather die than let him know.
"Okay, if you don't want to tell me that's fine. But won't you at least come inside. Aunt Hermione is crying, and mom is scared that you're hurt and Neville is sad because he thinks everything has gone wrong."
"Things have gone wrong Albus."
Belinda turned around in anger, her wand still in her hand, and her eyes so wet he couldn't help but notice.
"I came along. I shouldn't have come."
She reach down in her pocket, and wrapped her fingers around the snitch. She always carried it around, and now she could feel it pulsate against her numb hand.
"You know, being in Slytherin isn't that bad."
"I never said it was bad. I'm proud to be a Slytherin. It's in my blood. I just don't belong here, and I care too much for professor Longbottom to want to ruin Christmas for him."
"Then you have to come back inside. He keeps talking about the gift he bought you."
Her voice was hatefully weak. She though of her own gift for him. She looked over at him and he reached out his hand. It had started to snow, and Belinda realised how stupid she had been to choose a skirt for tonight's dinner.
"It's warm inside."
She kept looking at him and his hand.
"Why do you want me back?"
"Because anybody that smacks Malfoy around can't be that bad."
"Scorpio is a jerk."
Albus let out a small chuckle.
"Your brother is a jerk too."
"No objections here."
This time Belinda laughed with him.
"I don't want to ruin things for everyone."
"Listen, the people you ruin things for by staying are jerks anyway. Don't care about him."
Belinda looked up at the house. It looked warm and gentile and open. A home. She never had a home before. She had rooms, but no home.
She looked at Albus again. He was smiling, and a twinkle in his eyes made her trust him. He wouldn't harm her, would he? Very slowly she placed her hand in his, and he wrapped his whole hand around hers. Making it impossible for her to get it back. Before she followed him back inside.
They had everyone's eyes on him and her when they walked back into the common room. Belinda saw Mrs Weasley was crying, and felt very bad. She hadn't thought… She hadn't meant for anyone to be sad. When Albus let go of her hand she went over to her.
"I am sorry for storming out like that. It was rude, and I shouldn't have done it."
Mrs Weasley hugged her. Belinda hadn't been hugged in quite a while, and froze up. Mrs Weasley didn't seem to notice, and then for a second Belinda placed her head down on her shoulder. This was just what she had wanted, begged for, but soon the second was gone and Mrs Weasley let her go.
"Now, who wants dessert?"