Hey guys. Finally, an update! I had no idea what to write for months but I sat down this evening and somehow managed to come up with this and a plan for the rest of the fic. So, although updates will be sporadic, since I started University this year and do, at some point, have to write essays, I should be able to update and, hopefully, finish this fic sometime soon.
Anyway, hope you enjoy this chapter. Its a fairly important lead up to the goings-on of the next few chapters so I'm glad I finally got this out. And to everyone who's continued to read and review despite the fact that I haven't updated in almost a year, thank you so much.
Enjoy reading and tell me what you think :)
Classes resumed as normal and it was only halfway through the third week of the term that something out-of-the-ordinary happened. Jasper had managed, for the most part, to avoid talking to any teachers outside of the classroom and the occasional talk with Flitwick when their Head of House came to check on them in the Ravenclaw common room. Despite his, he's felt the long stares sent to him by Dumbledore at dinner time - and was amazed that nobody else had seemed to notice - and the longing looks directed his way by Professor Potter whenever he passed her in the corridor. As he had confided to Tony in a letter late last week, it was starting to creep him out a bit. He had yet to complain to his dad about it, not feeling unsafe yet and he figured Tony was a good middle-point to complain too. It had turned out to be a good idea, as Tony actually had good advice to give; staring at the moment was harmless but the moment they attempted to talk to him outside of an official capacity or he felt even hints of Occlumency, he needed to contact the appropriate authorities (and Tony had made it clear who he thought the appropriate authorities were) and to, in the meantime, stick with his friends in as big a group as possible. So far, it had worked well; Jasper typically spent most of his time with at least Hermione and Ron, as well as various other Ravenclaws and some of the first-years from other houses as well.
However, it seemed that Wednesday afternoon, his luck had run out.
Hermione had dashed off the library right after their last lesson of the day and Ron had disappeared with Terry and Lisa to watch the Ravenclaw quidditch team practice for the upcoming game on Saturday. Jasper had begged off, stating the need to complete his Potions essay for the next morning. He'd written most of it but had put off writing the conclusion till the last minute, which he was now regretting. He began regretting his decision even more when he heard the distinct thump-thump-thump of someone's footsteps; there was only one person he'd seen around Hogwarts with a leg that made that noise and that was Alastor 'Mad-eye' Moody. Jasper winced to himself.
"Oi, you boy." He heard a grizzly voice say behind him but it was quiet enough that Jasper felt safe in his decision to continue down the corridor without turning, hoping to run into some other students before the man could catch up to him.
"I'm talking to you, Potter." The man continues. Jasper almost grins to himself; getting his name wrong only gives him more of an excuse to pretend not to hear him. His dad had told him, before he'd left after Christmas, to take full advantage of the fact that these people still got his name wrong half the time.
As Jasper continued down the corridor at a normal pace, trying not to make it look like he was running away, he startled when he was grabbed suddenly by the shoulder.
"I know you heard me, Potter."
Jasper was turned around roughly and he flinched back when spittle went flying as Moody spoke.
"Excuse me, I think you've got the wrong person - my name is not Potter."
Even as he said it, he winced internally at being so sarcastic to a figure of authority. But Moody wasn't a teacher and he wasn't even technically an Auror anymore, according to Ron. And Jasper knew that he wasn't in the wrong here; the adult, as someone allowed in the school, shouldn't have grabbed him like this.
"Don't talk back to me, boy." Moody growled. Jasper, despite feeling more and more unsettled, straightened his spine and attempted to shake the man's hand off his shoulder. He would definitely be writing his dad about the incident.
"I'm sorry, sir, but who are you? You're not a teacher here." Jasper said as politely as possible. "And if you'd please let go of me?" He suggested. It seemed to have the opposite affect, however, as the hand on his shoulder only tightened. Jasper winced at the pressure.
"I'm Alastor Moody boy, and you'll be getting to know me real well soon." The man growled.
Jasper raised an eyebrow; not only was he definitely not going to 'get to know' the man, but if he had planned on it the wording of the statement would have put him off completely. He suddenly wondered why the man was being allowed around children.
"I'm afraid you're mistaken soon." Is what Jasper said, instead of articulating his thoughts. He smiled politely. "I see no reason I'd be getting to know you. Now, if you'll excuse me sir, I'm late meeting up with some friends." The lie easily slipped through his teeth and he hoped the seasoned ex-Auror wouldn't catch it. Whether he did or not, Moody still didn't let go of his shoulder.
"Yer parents are the one's who've asked me to come and teach you personally, boy. You don't have any choice in the matter." Moody growled forcefully.
Jasper's heart rate sped up and he could feel his palms suddenly get very sweaty.
"My dad would never authorise such a thing and if anyone else claiming to be my parents have done so, I'm afraid you've got no legal right. Besides which, I am taking part in formal education already, of which I have been told needs no extra education alongside it. Also, I am under the authority of the American Ministry, so anything authorised by the British Ministry on my behalf would first have to go through them and by extension, my magical guardian - who is also part of the American Ministry." Jasper did his best to channel his inner lawyer, although he's sure his nervous babble doesn't present the image he'd like it too."Anyone you may have talked to - whether or not they claim to be my parents - have no place to authorise such teaching. And also, I don't know if you haven't realised this but - its a free country. I can decline any extra 'lessons' you're offering if I want." Jasper sneers, reaching up to brush Moody's hand off his shoulder.
Jasper wasn't sure if he was going to be able to get away, even though Moody looks ever-so-slightly shocked by his little speech but at that moment, as if by the grace of Merlin himself, Professor Flitwick and a small group of Ravenclaw fifth-years turn the corner at the end of the corridor.
"Mr Moody, what are you doing with my student?" Professor Flitwick demands as soon as he sees them.
Moody straightens up straight away, removing his hand and taking a couple of steps back. He pastes what he probably thinks is a reassuring smile on his face as he turns to look at the diminutive professor. Jasper quickly walks over to the group of students, who are looking at Moody strangely and happily accepts him into their midst; Jasper really does love his house-mates.
"Ah, just having a little chat with the boy, Flitwick." Moody says, nodding at Jasper and than at Flitwick before turning back the way he'd originally come from and clomping off. Flitwick looks at Jasper, concerned.
"Are you alright, Mr Gibbs?" He asks.
Jasper nods, smiling thankfully.
"Yeah, he was just...to be honest, I'm not really sure." Jasper admits. "But he wouldn't let me go."
"Believe me, Mr Gibbs." Flitwick looks angry. "I will be having a talk with the Headmaster and other staff members about this incident. This is unprofessional." The angry professor storms off down the corridor and the the four fifth-years stood around Jasper trade looks.
"Come on, Jasper. Lets get back to the common room." One of them, a tall girl with curly auburn hair says, steering him around with a gentle hand between his shoulder blades.
"Thanks, Merry." He mutters, smiling at her.
"Its alright. Moody shouldn't have been doing that."
"Was it really wrong?" Jasper asks, intrigued. It would definitely be considered strange in America, but he still wasn't too sure about English customs and laws.
"Oh yeah. He shouldn't have cornered you like that in the first place, nor laid a hand on you. And he's not a teacher and you don't even know him, right?" He shakes his head when she sends him a questioning look. "So he shouldn't have approached you without a reason he could defend himself with when Flitwick asked. Its all a bit suspicious, to be honest." Merry finished with a shrug and another questioning glance.
"I have absolutely no clue, Merry. He was talking nonsense and wouldn't let me go even when I asked." He said, shivering a bit.
She smiled at him sympathetically.
"Than he's definitely in the wrong and, most probably, in trouble." She reassures. They reach the dorm entrance then and she quickly solves the riddle given before ushering him into the common room.
"Thank you, Merry." Jasper says, turning to give her a smile. "I think I'm going to go have a nap."
"Alright." She nods. "If you ever need anything, don't be afraid to come talk to me." She offers, giving him a friendly smile before going to flop on one of the sofa's with a wave.
Jasper waves back before quickly climbing the stairs. He needed to write to his dad.
Sat at his desk, fingers steepled under his chin, Albus hums merrily to himself. Moody had managed to talk to the boy, even if Harry had been uncooperative and they'd been interrupted by Filius. It didn't matter, not in the long run. They'd planted the seed; Harry would be too curious about the extra lessons to let it lie now. And James was more than happy to fight for custody of their youngest son; all he had to do was convince Lily, which Albus would sure wouldn't be a problem, and by August they'd have their Chosen One preparing to kill Voldemort.
Closing his eyes, he could see victory. And he smiled.
"Albus wants us to get legal custody of him, Lils."
"James, I don't think that's a good idea. That man, his father -"
"I'm his father, Lily, or have you forgotten?"
"No, James." There's a sigh. "But the man that adopted him when we gave him up, left him behind, is his dad as well. And he's not going to give him up without a fight. And he's happy - I don't see why we should uproot him so badly. Not now; maybe five years ago, when he was still young, but he's a teenager, James. He doesn't want to come with us."
"Five years ago we didn't need him, Lily, and Albus had told us that we couldn't look after him and Charlie at the same time, remember? You agreed."
"I regret that everyday, James. And 'we didn't need him five years ago'? But we do now, so we should listen to Albus like good little sheep and take back the son we abandoned!?" The woman's voice goes up a pitch. "I'm not taking our son from his family because Albus told us to James; I'm not listening to that man on how to run our family, not again. And if that's how you see our baby, I'm not listening to you either!"
From where she's hidden behind the bookshelf on Muggle Customs and Laws, Hermione hugs a book to her chest. She barely breathes until she hears both sets of footsteps fade into the distance and than she straightens up.
She needs to talk to Jasper.