Christmas at Headquarters
When Harry and I arrived at Number twelve, Grimmauld Place we did not expect to hear shouting coming from the kitchen. And it was no surprise that our godfather had started the uproar.
"Padfoot, they need protection, and I fear with the way Voldemort is attacking Ella's mind..."
"She's a bright girl, Moony, and not to mention, Hogwarts is the safest place in the world right now." Sirius snapped at Moony. "I wish for my godchildren to continue their education."
We awkwardly made our presence known, and Sirius jumped from his seat, attacking me with a strong hug. I awkwardly returned the hug, not really knowing how to act; It was usually Harry he saw to first. Not me. Speaking of my brother, he was wearing the same jealous expression that I had worn on many occasions. Sirius let me out of his embrace and hugged Harry. He then motioned us to sit at the table.
"Let the meeting of the order begin." Said Sirius, smiling proudly at Harry and I. But before anyone else could speak Snape walked in the room, robes billowing behind him. He took his seat next to Lupin; not making eye contact with any of us.
"Alright," Moody began. "The meeting has started. What news from Dumbledore, Severus?" Moody asked, and Snape looked up from the table coldly.
"Professor Dumbledore has instructed me to begin Occlumency lessons with the Potter's." Snape then looked to me. "Ella exceeds my expectations. Harry on the other hand, could use some practice." Snape sneered at Sirius and I could feel a war brewing.
Snape paused for a moment, savoring the pleasure of insulting Harry before continuing. "Only Muggles talk of 'mind reading.' The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be pursued by any invader. The mind is complexed and many-layered thing, or at least, most minds are..." He smirked to me, and I tried so very hard not to snicker. "It is true, however, that those who have mastered Legilimency are able, under certain conditions, to delve into the minds of their victims and to interpret their findings correctly. The Dark Lord, for instance, almost always knows when somebody is lying to him. Only those skilled at Occlumency are able to shut down those feelings and memories that contradict the lie, and so utter falsehoods in his presence without detection."
"So he could know what they're thinking right this moment?" Asked Sirius, not looking Snape in the eyes.
"The Dark Lord is at a considerable distance from here, and this place should be guarded with ancient spells and charms to ensure bodily and mental safety of those who reside here." Said Snape. "Time and space matter in magic, Black. Eye contact is often essential to Legilimency."
Sirius eyed Snape, rolling his eyes slightly as he did so.
"Though, the usual rules do not apply to the Potters. The curse that failed to kill the two, seemed to have forged some kind of connection between them. The evidence suggests at times, when your mind is most relaxed and vulnerable- when you are asleep, for instance- you are sharing The Dark Lord's thoughts and emotions. The headmaster thinks it is inadvisable for this to continue."
"But Sir, why does Dumbledore want it to stop?" Harry asked abruptly. "Its not the most pleasant of things, but its been sort of, useful, hasn't it?"
Snape stared at Harry for a few moments, unsure of what to say next. When he spoke again, it was slowly and deliberately, as though he weighed every word.
"It appears that The Dark Lord has been unaware of this connection with you and himself until very recently." He paused and looked to me with sorrow in his eyes before continuing again. "Ella however, has been experiencing his emotions and sharing his thoughts for some time now. Which brings us to the reason the headmaster would like you to master Occlumency."
The room fell dead silent as Snape finished speaking. My heart was racing, thoughts of my dream were trying to invade my mind. I desperately tried to push them out, but my mind was betraying me. Closing my eyes, I saw a bright flash of green. I could feeling my face draining of all color. This just didn't make sense.
If there were ancient spells, and all kinds of charms protecting this place... why did it feel like he was seeing all of this. Was our connection stronger than the magic protecting Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place?
Maniacal laughter was ringing in my ears...I was happier than i'd been in a long time...Ecstatic, triumphant. Something wonderful was happening.
"ELLA!" Sirius screamed and broke me from my thoughts.
"What happened?" Harry asked.
"I, I don't know." I said, gasping, feeling numb now that the connection had
been broken. "He, he's really happy about something... really happy."
"Who's happy?" Remus asked, raising an eyebrow in confusion.
"Voldemort." I said breathlessly.
The room fell silent, yet again and all eyes were on me. Then, to my surprise, Kingsley appeared in the kitchen; gasping for air.
"There has been a mass breakout from Azkaban." Said Kingsley, breathlessly. "Dolohov, Rockwood, and Lestrange."
Oh. My. God. He was happy because his followers had escaped. I was sharing the feeling of joy from the mass breakout with him. This was bad. Very bad.
"These are highly dangerous individuals. Bellatrix Lestrange, the most dangerous of the lot, convicted of the torture and permanent illness of Frank and Alice Longbottom." He spoke in a low voice.
"What is the Ministry doing about it all?" Lupin asked, annoyed.
"Fudge is terrified. He is doing nothing." Kingsley said, ashamed of the Minister.
I had always been jealous of Dudley on Christmas morning, but now, I was feeling rather spoiled. I had never received so many gifts in my life. Mrs. Weasley had knitted me a beautiful green scarf with an 'E' embroidered at the end. Harry, knowing my love for books, had gotten me my favorite Muggle book, The Hobbit. Sirius had offered Harry and I a permanent home here at
Grimmauld and George had given me two Love Potions, because apparently I needed to spice up my dating game. Daphne's present was my favorite. It was a photo that Collin Creavy had taken of us back in second year. We were so young and innocent. I wished I could go back to that moment.
Arthur Weasley had returned home from St. Mungo's hospital earlier this morning and we were having a celebratory party in his honor. Walking into the kitchen, the smell of freshly baked bread hit my senses, and made me realize how hungry I had been. I ducked under George, who was trying to prevent me from pigging out.
Mr. Weasley sat at the end of the table, lazily eating some sweet potatoes; unaware of anyone's presence. That is, until, my brother walked in. Mr. Weasley practically jumped out of his seat, raising his goblet.
"To Mr. Harry Potter." He said with a scratchy voice. "Without him, I would not be here now."
Raising my glass with the Weasleys, who shouted 'to Harry!'. I however, said it in more of a bitter mumble, suddenly anger washed throughout my body and a voice faintly rang in my ears.
"Oh but you want to, Ella."
No, no, no. Stop. STOP.
"You'll want what I have to offer before the end, that i'm sure of." His smooth voice was ringing through my head. Our connection could not be this strong; he couldn't possibly be seeing all this.
My heart stopped. My whole body felt numb and weak.
Leave. Me. Alone. You annoying prat! Go bother Harry!
"Silly girl." He let out a horrifying cackle. "Why would I bother with someone as pathetic as Harry Potter? His mind is empty, boring, simple. But you Ella, are worth so much more than your brother."
I felt disgusted by his words and was thankful when Ginny lightly tapped my arm.
"Ella..." She spoke softly.
"I'm okay, thank you Ginny." I said, voice cracking. I could still hear his laughter in the back of my mind.