Chapter 52:

Still the Same

It had been two weeks since the Potters had returned to Number Four Privet Drive. Two weeks since Voldemort's return. And after two weeks of almost non-stop nightmares, Harry Potter was very tired, and was forcing himself to stay awake and finish the long list of chores that he had to complete for the Dursleys. But as he did these chores, he kept a close eye on his younger sister.

He was worried about her. With each day, she too had been looking worse and worse. And Harry noticed that not only was she struggling to stay awake, but she was struggling just to stay upright and lift the dishes she was supposed to be washing.

Harry sighed, wondering why she was like this. His mind traveled to what had happened two weeks ago. He had yet to tell her that her friend's father was a Death Eater, one of Voldemort's followers, and one of the many people who had come to the graveyard that night. But somehow, he suspected that she already knew what her boyfriend's and friends' fathers were.

He sighed again, running a hand through his hair, before speaking up.

"Jess," he said. She looked up, startled, a wild look in her eyes.

"Jess, why don't you go to bed? I'll finish up in here," he said. But Jessalyn merely shook her head.

"It – it's fine, Harry. I – I – I can finish." She stuttered wearily.

"Jess, please," Harry pleaded, and this time, the Potter girl gave in. She left, but as she approached to door to the hallway, her brother stopped her.

"Jess, why don't you go sleep in my room tonight?" he said.

"Ar – are you sure?" his sister asked, leaning on the counter so that she wouldn't fall.

"Positive," Harry replied, and Jessalyn nodded her thanks.

Harry was sure that the fact that she was still sleeping on rags and his (well, Dudley's, actually) old sweatshirts on the floor of the closet wasn't helping her situation at all. Sighing, Harry returned to finish up their chores.

An hour later, Harry trudged tiredly up the stairs to check on his sister. When he got to his room, he was pleased to find her sleeping peacefully beneath the covers, her long red hair pulled into a pony-tail that fell to the sides to frame her face. Harry turned away, a small smile on his face, and was about to exit the room when a motion caught his eye. Jessalyn was no longer still. She was shaking.

In her mind, Lord Voldemort was looming before her, his eyes bright red in the darkness. She tried backing away, but it was no use. She was trapped.

Her grip on the pillows tightened, and Harry watched her knuckles turn white.

"At last…I have found out Harry Potter's secret. How did I not see her before? But no matter, I will enjoy taking out the Potters, one at a time," he hissed, smirking.

"Ah, what a delight to finally meet you, Miss Potter," he continued, stepping forward.

"I suppose I will take special pleasure in dealing with you first. Especially considering how much you look like filthy Mudblood mother."

"N – no, please! I – no!" Jess muttered, now shaking and turning violently beneath the sheets.

"Crucio!" Voldemort yelled and Jessalyn screamed, startling Harry, who took a step back as he watched, bewildered, as his sister writhed. He had no idea what was happening to his sister or what to do. He just stared, horrified, as the scene unfolded.

The curse ended, but the Dark Lord wasn't quite done yet. He levitated her body so that he could look up into her eyes.

"I will find and destroy you. You cannot hide forever, my pretty, not even behind your brother," he said, making Jessalyn shudder.

He dropped her as he disappeared.

Harry rushed forward as she dropped, and caught his sister's arm as she hit the bed, preventing her head from hitting the nightstand as she slipped.

Then the Potter boy did something he hadn't done in years. Not since they were little and Uncle Vernon or Dudley had hit her; hit her to the point that she had privately broken down and cried. He sat down at the head of the bed and pulled his sister into his arms, holding her close.

She was still shaking rather a lot and she gripped his shirt tight, scared as she watched the glowing red eyes disappear.

And then she woke with a start, drenched in a cold sweat, her eyes wide. Jess pressed into her brother, clenching his shirt tightly in her hand, breathing hard, her body quaking.

"Jess? What happened?" Harry asked softly, but she just shook her head, her eyes wide open, terrified as she clung herself to him.

"Please Jessalyn. I need to know," Harry begged urgently.

"Vol – Voldemort ap – appeared. He – he said that he kno – knows your secret. Tha – That he was go – going to take ple – pleasure in de – destroying us. Th – then he used so – some curse on me." She said, stuttering through her tears.

"What curse?" Harry asked, nervous. (Though he was careful not to let it show.)

"I – I don't know. But it fe – felt like hot knives pi – piercing me," she said and Harry froze. The Cruciatus Curse. He winced. He had never wanted his little sister to feel that kind of pain.

"And then he – he levitated me, and said he – he would get both of – of us." She finished still shaking quite a lot.

"Harry? I'm scared." She said softly and Harry looked down at his sister. And in that moment, he realized something important.

That no matter what house she was in, or how different of a person she seemed to be turning into, she would always be his little sister. And that, in the end, when things were going wrong, it was always going to be him whom she would go to; just like when they were little…just like in the Chamber of Secrets…just like at the World Cup…just like now.

"I promise Jess, he won't hurt you. I'll make sure of it," Harry said.

The two were silent for a moment. Jessalyn closed her eyes, feeling safe in her brother's arms.

Harry looked down again, and decided to leave her to sleep. Slowly getting up and shifting her over, he left the bed, but as he reached the door, Jessalyn stopped him.

"Harry?" she said, her eyes open and trained on her older brother, who had turned at the sound of her voice.

"Stay," she said.

"Jess, I – "

"Harry, please?" she begged. Sighing, Harry gave in to her and she moved over to give him some room.

As he lay next to his sister, shock suddenly hit him as he realized three things.

Jessalyn was having dreams about Lord Voldemort too, but in hers, he could actually hurt her. While he could simply see through to Voldemort's mind, with Jessalyn, the Dark Lord could talk to her, and, more importantly, he could make her feel pain, threaten her, hurt her. At this, Harry felt sick.

He also realized as he wrapped his arms around her once more that however much she seemed to change, she was still looked to him for help, and she was still the same Jessalyn he had always known. Except, he realized with a grimace as she tightened her grasp on his arm; a whole lot more powerful.

He sighed again, before putting a protective arm around Jessalyn, (causing her to come closer to him, which in turn made him grimace again. Just how strong was she now? he wondered) and slowly, after a long day, fell asleep.

And, for the first time in two weeks, his sleep went uninterrupted by nightmares.

I am so sorry! I actually lost my flashdrive with everything on it! But I just found it and I'm back! :)

Thanks for waiting for me and understanding!