1. He was a twin
Technically, Jack was the oldest, but there were really less than five minutes between them. Everyone talked about the bond between twins, and he could see it in some of the others he knew at school – particularly the Weasleys – but he'd just never gotten it. There were plenty of regular brothers and even some friends who were closer than he was to Joe, and they didn't even look alike. Jack favored his mother, tall and lean with her dark hair and gray eyes, while Joe was shorter and stockier, with their father's auburn curls and eyes of vivid blue. They were barely friends throughout their childhood, with Joe's outgoing ambition clashing wildly with Jack's more inward turbulence, and it didn't even surprise him when they wound up in different Houses. In fact, he was kind of grateful.
2. He was born stone deaf
For the first few months of his life, his parents had just thought he was the 'easy' twin, the one who rarely cried and slept through the night almost at once, but then they noticed that he wasn't babbling like his brother, that he didn't startle when someone Apparated, that when he did cry, he couldn't be soothed by music or a gentle voice. By the time he was just over a year old, the Healers had ascertained that he was completely deaf, but they were still able to help because it was caught so young. Oh, they couldn't make it so he could properly hear, but charmed amulets tucked behind his ears could project human voices directly into his mind through controlled Legilimency. No one really could ever know – least of all Jack – if he heard them the same way as others, but at least it allowed him to learn to talk within a year or two, and he could function almost normally even in a world that carried nothing for him but silence and dialogue.
3. He liked really hard rock music
Music was something he couldn't hear at all, because the singer's voices were too distorted by the melody for the amulets to register, but when he was a young teenager, he went to a Passing for Muggles concert with some friends who didn't know, and he loved it more than he had ever expected. It throbbed against his body, tingling his skin, pounding his bones and his fingertips like a second pulse, and he could writhe and dance in every bit as much rapture as the others. The wireless wasn't loud enough to make it any good, nor were recordings, but every chance he got to go to a live concert, he would stand inches away from the Sonoriums and feel every hungry, eager beat.
4. He could out-eat boys twice his size
It was something that drove his mother near despair for the grocery bills, and she would often complain that if she wanted to feed an entire Quidditch team, she would have had more than two children. He didn't know where it went, either, because he was always what could be most generously described as slender, but more accurately termed skinny. Even when he was playing Quidditch and later working out with the DA, he didn't seem able to put weight on, and he could only hope that as soon as he stopped shooting upwards quite as much, he might fill out a bit. Certainly, one would think that being able to put away five eggs, two helpings of sausage, six pieces of toast, and a mound of fried potatoes as a 'light' breakfast would matter more than making his Housemates stare incredulously.
5. He played Quidditch to get over his fear of heights
Jack had been terrified of heights ever since falling out of a tree and breaking his leg very painfully as a young boy. He knew that this wasn't good for a world where brooms were the primary form of transportation, and he hated the dizzy disorientation of travel by Floo, so in his fourth year, he swore to conquer his fear enough to get on the Quidditch team the following year. He made it as a Beater, and though he knew he wasn't great, he knew he was good enough, and the prickling edge of terror helped make the Bludgers nothing worth flinching back from. The only real problem was that he couldn't make out his Captain's commands at first, but a little fine-tuning to separate his teammate's voices from the shouts of the crowd solved that.
6. He had a lot of trouble controlling his magic
He loved the sensation of his own power, the almost heady thrill and rush of a really strong spell, and it was difficult to use any kind of finesse in situations that required a little less than maximum intensity. Transfiguration was particularly difficult, but he loved Defense Against the Dark Arts and anything else where he could just let loose. It was the one thing where he and Joe really agreed, although it also meant that the one time in sixth year when his brother wound up tapped to Cruciate him, he knew how bad it would be before the spell even crackled into the air.
7. He had a daughter his family didn't know about
He'd met the girl at the League finals when he had just turned sixteen, and he'd not even thought much of their mad weekend's affair of dark corners and deserted hallways until the owl arrived nine months later. She hadn't told her parents who the father was, and for that he was madly grateful, because his father was very highly placed at the Ministry and considering running for Minister of Magic, and it would have been devastating, not to mention he would have probably been forced to marry the girl. Even still, he didn't abandon the baby, whom he was told had been named Brianna, sending her money as often as he could and slipping away to meet her on Hogsmeade weekends and holidays. She had his eyes, which fascinated him, but he couldn't really connect with the idea that he was a father as much as he could understand that he had made a mistake that very much had to be kept quiet.
8. He secretly worked for Witch Weekly
It had occurred to him as an idea when he was trying to figure out where he would get extra money, but he was an excellent writer, and he always had a gift for essays that were witty enough to make even McGonagall crack the occasional smile. His mother had received ten Galleons for a short article on how to crochet a broom sleeve for Witch Weekly, and he put together a few brief editorials on the latest in witch's fashion – gleaning the information shamelessly from his mother's other magazines – and his bitingly snarky style made "Jackie S." soon one of the magazine's most popular freelance columnists, hailed by many as the obvious heir to Rita Skeeter's razored quill.
9. He liked the fact that no one really knew him
His aunt believed that it was because he lived in his own world so much, especially since he didn't like to wear his amulets when he wasn't at school, but Jack really preferred to be private in most things. He knew enough from his own work as a journalist as well as from watching his parents and brother's social manipulations how easily things could be turned against people, but you couldn't use what you didn't know, and although he was brightly gregarious and a fun enough bloke to be around, people were often shocked to realize that when they thought about it, they didn't actually know anything at all about the boy they'd often known for years.
10. He believed the DA was their only hope
He'd never been friends with Potter, but he'd watched him from afar in the same house since his first year – Potter's third – and he didn't share the belief that the Boy Who Lived stood a chance in hell. He'd seen enough of the moping, the angst, the self-doubt, the tendency to freeze up and turn to his friends under pressure that he considered Potter to be weak, and he knew that You-Know-Who had no mercy for weakness. Neville he could respect a lot more, because there was someone who relied wholly on himself even as he lead others, and both of those were necessary if they were to win. If Potter could neither trust himself and have his own ideas nor gather an army around him, the Order of the Phoenix and every adult who was following the so-called "Chosen One" were worse than fools. Which meant it was up to the D.A. to win this.
11. He was much stronger than he appeared
His arms were as thin as some of the girls', his ribs showed halfway up his sides, but there was a tightly wired strength in the corded muscles, and he could slam a Bludger across the field with power that made Crabbe or Goyle wince when they intercepted it with their bats. He'd considered this nothing more than a way to win bets arm-wrestling, but he was intensely grateful for it when he had to lift Seamus' 120 pounds of dead weight with one arm and hoist him onto his broom in a single split-second maneuver. It still left him with a strain he wouldn't discover for a few hours afterwards, but he'd done it.
12. He hated cold weather
Jack loved the feel of warm sunlight on his skin, the vivid greens and bright flowers of spring and summer, but he tended to fall into something of a depression in the fall and winter. The empty, reaching branches of the trees looked so hopelessly forlorn, and everything was either gray and sludgy or blanketed to featureless white, and people were hidden under layers of clothing, bustling everywhere with their faces downcast or clustering in around fires. Food seemed less flavorful, and the wind and chill hurt sometimes, all the way down to his bones. When he grew up, he had determined that he wanted to move somewhere that was utterly unlike where he had grown up in Chelsea. He'd been through options throughout the years from California to Egypt, but currently, Jamaica was in the lead.
13. He excelled in Potions
It was something where self-control didn't matter, but attention did, and so did a fine-tuned affinity for delicate textures and the nuances of aroma, a great sense of timing and a keen eye for color. These were all things that Jack had, and moreover, he was fascinated by the processes that could turn a pile of unrelated ingredients into a single potent draught. He knew he didn't have the kind of instinctive genius for it that Snape did, or even Romilda's uncanny instincts, but he could always produce the results the book wanted, and that was good enough for him and more than good enough for the examinations.
14. He didn't understand why he was a Gryffindor
He believed in Pureblood Superiority like the rest of his family, something that seemed a taboo in that House, and he had never considered himself particularly brave. Certainly, he longed for glory, but that was something that Joe – who had been instantly sorted Slytherin – had as well, and he thought the whole idea of chivalry was ridiculously old-fashioned and insulting to witches who were every bit equal to wizards. It wasn't until he was dodging Alecto's curses and the branches of the Whomping Willow were so close that they ripped the robes right off his back that he realized that maybe he belonged there after all. Joe would never have done that.
15. He loved living in the Room of Requirement
It was a kind of camaraderie that he'd not only never known, but never expected that he would enjoy. They were guys in there, more free in their refuge-cum-prison than they had been all year. The last fragments of House rivalries fell completely apart, though Quidditch team loyalties took on all new meaning, and he was stunned to find how much they all had in common after all. It didn't matter what their religions, their political beliefs, their sexual preferences, their looks, their backgrounds, their asperations – and they truly ran the gamut on all of those and more – because they all believed in the DA, they had all shared the same trials that year, and they could all laugh at the same joke, drink from the same bottle, wince after the same workout, and most importantly, all unite to fling things at Wayne's head when he talked in his sleep, something that Ernie pointed out in a tone of spectacular grievance he had been putting up with for seven solid years.
16. He was afraid of the dark
What other people called his disability rarely bothered him, because he simply knew nothing else, but in real darkness, it became terrifying. Anything could be out there, breathing, growling, anything at all, and he wouldn't know it was there unless it spoke in a human voice, or until it closed cold, slimy fingers over him. A childhood love of horror Scenics and an active imagination did not help this fear in the least, nor did a brother with a sadistic streak, and if he ever found himself in complete darkness, Jack was so paralyzed with fear that he could do nothing but curl on the floor in a ball of shivering terror until there was light again.
17. He had a real problem with women
From the first time he really snogged a girl – Gwendolyn Howe in third year – he was hooked as surely as on any potion. The taste of their skin, the feel of their bodies and the softness of their long hair, the contrasting textures and the heady warmth, the little shifts and shivers, the vibrations of their moans on his lips, the salty sweet spiciness wet on his fingers…he'd lost his virginity completely by the time he was fifteen, and he didn't look back. More than that, he managed no less than eleven different girls by the end of sixth year, and he knew that was wrong, he knew he was a cad, a cheat, a playboy, a Lothario, a rake, and a dozen other less appealing names, knew he'd already gotten himself in very deep trouble once, but oh, Merlin, he couldn't help himself.
18. He was enraged that the Slytherins didn't fight
He had never expected them to join the DA, but with Death Eaters at the door and everything hinging on Potter who had managed to somehow come through after all and was relying on them for every minute blood could buy! He was from a family that had trended Slytherin for generations, he knew that they knew it wasn't about Superiority any more, that the Dark Lord was mad and had to be stopped, but they didn't care, and Jack absolutely snapped. When they had all been cleared out of the Great Hall and the Slytherins were filing past up the stairs to flee through their precious hideout, he had lost all control, roaring out at Joe with accusations so furious that the words of coward! and traitor! and how could you! were lost in incoherent screams and the crackling flare of a hex as he tackled his brother to the ground. He'd blacked both of the other boy's eyes and his face was covered in huge boils by the time Derek, Ernie, Mike, Terry, and Fritz managed to pull him off with their combined efforts.
19. He confessed his secret to Susan in the end
He was a private young man, but as everyone was going on and on about the Macmillan baby, he couldn't help think of Brianna, and eventually, what turned out to be only two days before the final battle, he took Susan aside and told her. He had a letter, one that he swore she would only deliver if he died, but it was to his own daughter, and it was mostly apologies; wishing he'd been old enough to be something real to her, wishing he'd been able to become old enough for that to change. There was also one to his parents, breaking the news and asking that they be understanding at least enough to take over the financial responsibility and including more than a few apologies there. There was a third one to Joe, but that one wound up far different than he had intended it, because it was thanks that even after everything that had separated him, his twin had at least, he knew, fought at his side.
20. He discovered dying wasn't as bad as he'd feared
He'd been fighting two, holding his own, if barely, and then there had been a third out of absolutely nowhere, and his wand had gone flying out of his hand. Jack had been frozen with horror to find himself disarmed, and maybe he could have done something if he'd kept his wits, but almost certainly not, because it was less than an instant before the curses hit. And then he was down, his hands were on fire, there was a hole in the wall behind him and he couldn't get up again, and by the time he'd beaten his hands out against his robes he realized that it was because his leg was gone, more blood than he'd even known he possessed soaking the floor beneath him. There was pain, but it seemed to be far away, and he thought he might have tried to tie it off, and maybe Neville was there or maybe it was just a dream, because everything was growing farther away and all he was really sure of was that there was something very, very strange fluttering and pulsing in his head. He didn't recognize it, didn't know it, but he fell into nothingness with the flagging rhythm of his own heartbeat heard for the first and last time.