May, 28 of 1992
Jay was grateful that the snow has finally disappeared, and there was no cold because she wasn’t a fan of it. She was on her way to the library when one of the prefects stops her in the hallway, and informs her that she was required to go to the headmistress office. Bewilder and curious the dark hair girl thank her and made her way to the new path, wondering all the way what would be of significance to be called there. She actually didn’t spend time in the principal office because she was always out of trouble, never call attention to herself and was an okay student.
Once in the principal office door, she knocks and waits until she was acknowledged and enters. Headmistress Onawa wasn’t her smiley usual self and that make Jay get worry and confuse. She sits and wait until her beloved headmistress decides to informer her of what was going on.
“My dear, I’m afraid that I have bad news…” she starts, really not looking forward to inform one of her most dear students of horrible things.
Things were starting to complicate.
May, 29 of 1992
Hogwarts Ground, Scotland
Jay has dark circles under her tired eyes, and her nerves were actually bustling under her skin and her hands were as cold as ice, and she was has so many worries that could barely notice her surroundings. A big man with an impressive beard was waiting for her at the black gates with a dog by his side, and just the dog makes her relax a little bit.
“Hey! You must be the person Professor Dumbledore was waiting for! I’m Rubeus Hagrid the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts, nice to meet you, Miss Jay!”
His enthusiasm was something to admired, she thought, remembering the stern game keeper of Salem, Jolanda Kerr, a woman in her late forties, who was constantly watching every student and making them aware of where not to go and what hour not to be.
“Is nice to meet you too, sir” was all she could manage to say.
During the long walk to the impressive castle the man named Hagrid talked none-stop but she could not for the life of her remember about what, she just was looking around and playing with the dog, that is until they approach the gates of the famous Hogwarts castle, and she was amazed of its view. When they were inside the doors, a old man with a cat were standing there, and he didn’t look too pleased to be so.
“This is Argus Filch Caretaker of Hogwarts and his cat, Msr. Norris” said Hagrid. “He will take you to Professor Dumbledore, take care miss Jay” and with that the giant man disappear around one of the many corners of this big school.
“Now, follow me, and don’t get lost, I would hate to go have to find you” he grumble marching for a hallway and up a few stairs.
Jay was now quiet and nervous again, and was wondering how much time would take to get to the headmaster office, when they were intercepted by another person. This man was tall, and was dressed from top to bottom in black robes; his hair was long and dark, his skin so pale as if he didn’t see much of sun light, with a prominent nose and black pool by eyes, that were in that moment watching her with mild curiosity and then disinterest. He was a very intimidating man, she decide, his aura was cold and detached, but with so much authority that made her want to hide.
“Mr. Filch there has been a… ah, accident of sort in the hallway going to the dungeons, you may want to clean it up before it stick to the wall” his deep baritone voices made her shudder for some reason, but fortunately he didn’t appear to notice it.
“Those savages need to learn to don’t mess with things, you wait until I got them” Filch grumble angrily under his breath, starting to walk away, but stop when the man spoke again.
“And who may be this?” he indicate her with a wave of his pale hand.
“Ah, yes… she is supposed to see the headmaster in his office he is waiting for her” and with that he went away followed by his cat. Once he no longer could be seen or hear, the tall man turn to look at her coldly and speculatively.
Severus look at her curiously well hidden, she was short, dark brown hair almost black in a braid, light tan skin, and dark brown eyes that were looking at him with curiosity, and uncertainty; she was dressed in a tick black sweater, with black jeans and black and white converse, with a side way bag hanging from her shoulder. She looks like a second or third year, but something told him she was more than what meet the eye.
“Your name” he asks dryly.
“Jay Simons, sir” she said quietly and a bit nervous, her hands were connected in front of her.
Just for her voice he knew she wasn’t from around, and she was an American, most likely a witch seen as Muggles weren’t allowed into the ground. She was a curious little thing, he thought. What would Dumbledore want with someone like her? He wonders internally before turning around and starting to walk up the stairs.
“Follow me and watch were you step, these stairs are tricky, Miss Simons” he said dryly, walking at his normal fast speed, that she has to jog to keep his up with him, but she didn’t complain at all. He could hear her gasp when they arrive to the moving stair and all the portraits start to gossip about her, a quick look behind show him that she was wide eye, but rapidly focused her attention in the stairs, stepping in the same steps he did. Ah, she wasn’t that stupid, he mused to himself.
She was a quiet little mouse he gathers, but there was something about her that was bothering him. Like he has seen her before, even when he knew that was not possible, Severus got to the conclusion that she must remind him of someone else, but he could not put a finger on who that would be it. Finally they arrive at the gargoyle staircase that starts to move after he mutters the ridiculous password the headmaster has chosen.
“Up here, Miss Simons” he indicated the new stairs and she somewhat reluctantly and cautious step on it, when nothing happens she start to climb it, always conscience of the man behind her that made her so conscious her herself and her surroundings. Finally they stop in front of a door, but before they could knock it open to reveal the older wizard dress in light blue robes and his usual half-moon spectacles.
“Ah, Miss Jay, Severus, please come on in” Dumbledore invite them, his blue eyes has the usual tinkle that made Snape suspicious of his intentions.
“Headmaster” was all Severus said.
Jay only manage to nod, her nerves were on its limit. The presence of the man that intimidates her so much wasn’t helping and the reason for her visit didn’t help at all.
“Please take a sit” once she did, he became a bit more serious, but kind nonetheless. “Severus thank you for bringing her here, you can go now, I’m sure that you patrol round is getting near, if you see Minerva please send her to me”
“Of course headmaster” he wasn’t happy, but he complies, after a last look at the girl he turns around and disappears with the billowing of his robes following him.
“He is a total character don’t you think?” Albus said, smiling a bit to the girl who relaxes when the ominous presence of his potion master was out of the room.
“Erm-” she didn’t know what to say about it. He definitely was something, a presence which you should not mess with. A knock in the door startled her, and in came a woman of black hair, pale skin and green piercing eyes.
“Ah, Minerva please come and meet Miss Jay” Dumbledore said smiling kindly to her.
“Is good to meet you, Albus has told me much about you” she smile a little, but her face was still stern. “I’m Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress and Transfiguration professor” she introduce herself to the girl, who stood up and shake her hand very seriously.
“I’m…” Jay look briefly to the headmaster, who nods to her, giving her permission to say her real name. “I’m Jay Granger, it is nice to meet you too, ma’am”
“Now, why don’t you take young Miss Jay to see her” he said all seriousness back.
“Of course Albus” she nod, and turn to her. “Right this way, Miss Granger, or should I say Miss Simons?” Minerva asks, lifting an eyebrow.
“Yes, for now my dear, she should be known as Miss Jay Simons”
With that they both went out of the office and down the staircase in her way to see her family that was petrified in the infirmary of that wonderful school. She briefly wonders if they would cross that man in black again in their way.
She wonders if she would see him again someday after leaving in two days.
November 20 of 1994
Even after the long time she has been in the magnificent Hogwarts, Jay still remembers the stern man in black; he still was a mystery to her. Professor Dumbledore has been coming to Salem sporadically now and then and teaches her some magic he said she would need in the future, with the help of Headmistress Onawa. She has been training hard, practicing and researching, studying from books and from the experience of two great mages. What for? She wasn’t sure.
Jay was in the cafeteria at the institute, eating lunch with her only friend a redhead girl with blue eyes, named Willow Jenkins, when the announcer was given. Their Deputy Msr. Abigail Logan, enter the room getting the attention of every girl in there. Everyone keep silence, al pair of eyes on her.
“Attention girls” she looks at them waiting until they were seated and with their attention on her. “Now not many of you know this but, in Europe is happening the great Triwizard Tournament” with this they started to whisper between them, until Abigail clear her throat and they quiet down. “Now, our Institute has been invited to attend the first of their task, and I’m sorry to say that just the seventh year would be attending with two of our teachers, and stay after Christmas” now this they didn’t take very good.
After calming the crowd, with a very stern look, she gives them each a page of parchment with the things they would to bring to the trips, and when that would be.
“Did your cousin tell you something about this tournament?” Willow asks, reading her list carefully.
“More or less” was all she said shrugging, while reading her own list and Jay could not hold back a grimace when she saw the word dress robes. That only mean one thing, there would be a ball, and balls means dancing. Which still she couldn’t do.
“I got the perfect dress robes for you to wear, my dear!” Willow said, her blue eyes sparkling mischievously at her friend, who usually dresses in anything but feminine things like skirts and dresses.
“Wonderful” her deadpan tone didn’t register to her redhead friend. Jay briefly start to wonder if she would manage to see that man in black again.
“Now, now girls… let’s prepare our entrance performance, yes?” Abigail said, now smiling a bit.
November 24 —Late Morning
The little group of fifteen girls with two teachers arrives at Hogwarts, every one of them was excited to be there and meet others people, most of the girls only talk about the stupid yule ball, and what they would wear and who would invited them to it. Jay only wanted to have a few minutes to talk to Hermione and if it was possible to train a bit more with Professor Dumbledore in her news abilities.
They were guide to the entrance that Jay remembers so well, and there none other than Minerva McGonagall was waiting for them, to lead them to their rooms and then to were the first task would be held. The Castle hasn’t change at all for what she could see, but then again, last time she has been there it was only in the infirmary and the headmaster office, and only for a brief period of time.
After they leave their suitcase and other belonging in the rooms assigned to them, they were guide to outside the castle, and down a road that lead to a big arena build of wood, and were most of the student population was already seated, with the teachers. One of the two professors that has come with them, sit with the girls to keep them in order and the other, which was the Deputy herself sits with the other professors.
Jay who was seated beside Willow was searching for Hermione in the crowd, but her eyes just connected with a pair of twinkling blue ones, and she could just smile to him, unaware of a pair of black eyes that were looking right at her with curiosity and speculation.
Then the first task begin, it was all pretty dangerous what with the dragons trying to kill the participants and all; every one of the student was cheering on their favorite champion, but Jay, she just was too entrance with the dragons and what spells they used to cheer on anyone, beside she didn’t have a favorite. Finally it was done, and everyone could come back to the castle, to change and to go to the dinner, where they would make the presentation to the others school as praise for having complete the first task without major injuries.
Every one of them were nervous, especially because the magic they would use need concentration, but they have hours of practice so with a nod and a good luck words from their teachers, they form two columns and prepare mentally and with a last glance at each other, the door open to let them in, every pair of eye were on them. Jay was with Willow in the front so they put a poker face on and start walking in the middle of the tables, and with each step, smoke rise forming figures, of dragons, then four human figures, all fighting each beast moving around in the room, when they reach the front of the professors tables, the figures turn into the images of the three schools, and then form the cup they would win, and explode into the Salem Institute crest, a cat in a full moon. When it was finished they bowl and hear the rearing clapping, while they were internally celebrating that nobody has mess it up.
“Ah! Magnificent!” Dumbledore exclaim clapping loudly, his eyes holding a bright twinkle looking at them. “Congratulations to our gest for this wonderful presentation in our regard! The ladies from Salem Institute!”
Jay all that time only was conscious of an intense look at her back, but wasn’t sure who that could be; they move to sit with the Hufflepuff, and she could only glance fast at Hermione, who only smile in return. She was slightly sad because she could not be seen fraternizing with her yet, and Hermione knew it, so both girl keep the distance.
December 23 — Evening
So far, Jay has learned that Hogwarts was extremely cold, extremely big, and extremely old; she has spend considerable time at the library, reading every book she could get her hands on, and that got her attention, going from potions to divination and story of magic, ancient runes, everything. The classes they have were given by their two professors, and the occasional session with professor Dumbledore, but that one was late at night when no one could see them.
Then there was the guys inviting girl to the dreaded Yule Ball, and the girls gossiping about the dress robes and what shoes to use. She on the other hand was content to see that the dress that Willow has chosen for her wasn’t provocative and leave too much skin showing, and just ignores every talk about it and concentrates in her books, making sure to clear away when as so much as she thought that someone was going to ask her out to the dance. She wasn’t interest.
That evening she was like always at library when one of the other students, a girl with long white blonde hair and grey eyes approach her.
“Hay, I’m Luna” she said smiling, she has a strange air around her, and she noted many mocking her from afar.
“Hey Luna” she smile back, ignoring the others.
“Professor Dumbledore is searching for you; he said to meet him at his office” she was smiling dreamily.
“Thank you Luna” Jay said, before picking up her things and getting out of there, thanking Madam Pince for her help to find the books that day on her way out.
She was wondering if the she could still remember the way to the office when she saw from the corner of an eye a guy, he was signaling at his friends and then walking toward her way, and that only could mean one thing. Trying to not be that obvious, she start walking faster, checking from time to time to see if he still follow her, and unfortunately he was. So in a moment of looking back she didn’t pay attention when turning in a corner and ran straight into a mass of a wall that was breathing.
“Omg! I’m so sorry! I wasn’t looking!” she said, glancing upwards and then freezing at seen who was the person she ran into.
“Cleary you weren’t” was al he said, his black eyes watching her with intensity. “And why pray tell, were you going with so much hurry?” Severus inquires lifting an eyebrow, but soon his answer came in the form of a seventh year Gryffindor.
“Hey, why going so fast? I just wanted to ask you...” his voice that has started cocky ended in a whisper at the sight of his potion professor standing there.
“Ah, Mr. Bryson” one look at her uncomfortable face and Snape could see what have made her run. “Didn’t anybody tell you stalking young woman isn’t proper?” seeing his face become red, he smirk a bit, and a glint of malevolence shine in his pitch like eyes. “10 points from Gryffindor for bothering the guest, and don’t make me caught you doing it again or it’s gonna be worse”
He watches the boy going away with satisfaction, and then turns to the young woman that was still in front of him, and he was expecting to see disapproval or distaste, but only found a look of relief. What a curious girl she was; most people knew who he was, but there was a little possibility that she didn’t but just to be sure.
“Do you know who am I, Ms. Simons?” he asks her with curiosity.
“Eh?” she blinks a bit confuse. “Your professor Snape, Potion Master and Head of Slytherin House, sir” she answers quietly, thinking that she was in trouble, and she voices her thoughts. “Am I in trouble sir?”
Severus looks at her big dark brown eyes and her obvious apprehensive state, she was a peculiar girl, and still she reminds him of someone he could not put the finger on. He has to know more about her, and why Dumbledore has so much interest in her.
“No, Ms. Simons you’re not in trouble for now” he paused and observes her a bit more. “Where were you heading to?”
“Ah, to see professor Dumbledore, sir” she answer seriously, she didn’t want to offend the most fearer professor at Hogwarts.
He lifts an eyebrow, thinking to himself that this was a perfect opportunity to know what the old man was planning with this child. There has to be something he was missing of her; so far she looks like a quiet and keep to herself kind of girl, respectful and studios. He has seen her many times entering the library and with a book in her hands out side.
“Right this way” he finally said, grabbing his teaching robes and walking out of there, expecting her to follow. Which she did.
Finally after a few minutes of incredible comfortable silence, they were in front of the gargoyle and then up the staircase, then the door, that open not for the first time before knocking. This only makes Snape more suspicious of the old man.
“Ah, Severus thank you for bringing Ms. Jay here” his sparkling blue eyes were dancing mischievously and his only gives the black hair man a bad premonition. “Come on in you two”
They notice that inside was standing McGonagall and Fawks, the phoenix who sign happily at seeing the girl inside the room.
“If is not too rude of me to asks… why am I here, professor?” she inquires watching from of headmaster to his headmistress.
“Why, my dear, you will learn how to dance for the evening of the Yule Ball of course!” he beam happily.
“What?” her eyes almost pop out of her sockets at his declaration. Snape just lift his eyebrows reaching his hairline.
“Yeah, Minerva here will teach you the proper way to dance, and you could probably practice with dear Severus here…” he didn’t even have finish his sentence when the sound of a door closing signal the potions master leave. “Well I guess Minerva and I will have to suffice!”
Dumbledore could barely contain the amusement of Snape running away from the prospect of dancing with a young woman, but if he has a said in it, he would make them dance together, he wasn’t one of the best strategist alive for nothing.