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The Unintentional Matchmaker



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  #21  
Old August 17th, 2007, 7:41 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 13, Part III: Love Forgotten

Pax awoke the next morning feeling very much like a bludger had hit her in the forehead. "Oh!" she groaned. She reached for her wand, which she always kept on a stand next to her bed, when her friend Sarah walked by.

"Love sick are you?" Sarah scoffed.

Love sick? Pax was opening her mouth to ask her the meaning behind these words, when her stomach gave a sudden lurch. "I think I'm going to be sick."

"I would be, too, if I had been up late snogging Bott."

"Snogging--" She shouldn't have opened her mouth. A violent jet of green spewed from her mouth and onto the floor in one glorious wave.

Sarah quickly vanished the vomit and came over to Pax, wand drawn. She tapped Pax's forehead once, and a beam of white light issued from the wand tip.

"Thanks." Pax sat up and scourgified her mouth before saying, "What did you mean about snogging Bott?"

"Well, you were out really late last night, so I'm assuming that's what you were doing."

"Don't make me sick again."

"You--you're--? The Love Potion's worn off, then?"

"Love Potion?" What on Earth was she talking about now? "I've never taken any Love Potion. And I'd NEVER snog Bott, the git."

Her friend seemed a bit uneasy. "But don't you remember? You know, being his girlfriend and all?"

His what?! "Sarah," she said calmly, "maybe we should both see Madam Pomfrey."

"You've been Obliviated!"

"Haven't!"

"All right then, what happened three weeks ago in Charms class when Flitwick taught us wound-binding charms?"

"You mean the pigs getting loose?"

"What about Charms yesterday?"

"I--I missed Charms yesterday." Why had she missed Charms yesterday?

"And where were you?"

"I-I don't remember."

"Exactly!"

"But I--Hang on, I think I was at the library, because I remember getting a note from Madam Pince or something."

"And why was that?"

"I--I remember burning it with someone and--" The rest was blank, and for some odd reason, Pax could feel a blush creeping up her cheeks. Fortunately, Sarah was too intent questioning her to notice.

"Do you remember Snape being drunk in Potions yesterday?"

"Snape drunk? In class? You've got to be joking."

Sarah's face darkened. "You've had your memory modified. You've had it modified and I think I know who did it...."

***

Today was a very exciting day, for it was the first Quidditch match of the season: Slytherin versus Gryffindor. The whole Great Hall had been complete chaos: laughing, shouting insults, jinxing when the teachers weren't looking. It was a day any Gryffindor could enjoy...except for Tristan Bott.

Pax, who had promised to meet Tristan by the statue of the one-eyed witch, had never shown. Finally, he gave up and went into the Great Hall for a quick breakfast. And who should walk in? None other than Pax and her friend Sarah Gilbert. Tristan smiled, stood up and tried to wave his girlfriend over; but she merely gave him a puzzled look and quickly sat down at the Ravenclaw table.

“Cold, man,” said Lee.

“I don’t get it,” said Tristan. “Do you think I should go over and ask her what’s up?”

“You know what she’ll say, mate: ‘If you don’t know, then I’m not going to tell you.’ No, let her come to—Where are you going?”

Tristan smiled hopelessly and shrugged, causing Lee to roll his eyes and begin practicing his vocal warm-ups (he would be providing commentary for the game.)

“Hi, Pax.”

“Er, Bott,” Pax replied, not looking up from her porridge.

“I see you’re speaking to Gilbert again.” He shot a look at Sarah Gilbert, who was presently talking with Snape at the head table. It seemed as if the two were in a bit of a row.

“Sarah.”

“Right. Sorry. So, why didn’t you—”

“Tristan—I mean Bott—Look, about us….”

Tristan could feel his heart drop to the floor. “Please, don’t say it.”

“I’m sorry, but—”

“But what?”

She looked up at him slowly, her every move very controlled. “It was really cruel, but S—I mean, I’m sorry.” Pax shot out of her seat, tears running freely down her cheeks like many liquid diamonds. “Excuse me.”

“Pax, wait!” Tristan took off after her, pushing aside everyone who got in his way. Finally, he was able to catch up with her outside of the Great Hall; and when he did, he grabbed her knapsack strap and pulled her back. “Please, please don’t break up with me.”

“Why? Because it would ruin your reputation as a player?” she retorted.

Tristan knew she didn’t believe a word of it. “No, because I really like you. And I thought you liked me too. What happened?” He gently wiped the tears from her eyes and pulled her in closer.

For a moment she gave in; for a moment she let him hold her. And, for a very brief moment, their lips touched…but just for a moment.

Pax pulled her knapsack out of his grasp and sprinted up the stairs, leaving a very confused, very heartbroken boy standing in her wake.


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  #22  
Old August 21st, 2007, 7:55 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 14, Part I: Deep End

Tristan filed out of the castle with the rest of the students, but paid little mind to any of them. All he could think and care about was this odd aching sensation in his chest, as if something had been ripped out of him.

“Malfoy’s going to flatten them,” someone laughed.

“Yeah; Potter hasn’t got a prayer.”

“What do you say, Bott?”

Tristan turned and found a group of Slytherins ganging up on him. At the head of the group was a lsightly tossle-haired Alan. “What do you want, Alan?”

“Walk with us.”

“Why would I do a stupid thing like that?”

Alan’s cronies guffawed stupidly and cracked their knuckles. “Don’t want to dent that pretty face of yours, do you, Bott?” said Alan.

“Whatever.” Tristan turned and began to walk away, when he felt what was clearly a wand tip being pressed into his back.

“No one’s going to hear you, Bott; so don’t bother screaming like the little girl you are.”

“Little girl, am I? That’s funny, coming from someone who travels around in a pack like a big, fat sissy.” Tristan felt someone hit him hard in the back with a punching jinx. As he doubled over in pain, he could feel many hands grab him and begin to carry him off. He tried reaching for his wand, but they must have taken it out of his pocket. “Get off me!”

“Do you think the Giant Squid will eat him?” asked a hopeful first-year.

“Aren’t we going to get in trouble for this?” asked another.

Tristan began to wriggle even harder, though his whole body ached from the jinx. “What is this about?!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

“Don’t play stupid, Bott…Oh, wait; I forgot: you are stupid.”

“Very witty, you stupid git. Put—me—down!”

“Have it your way.”

Before Tristan could get a decent breath, he was tossed back-first into the Lake. The cold November water greeted him like a violent slap on the back, knocking the wind out of him and wracking his body with pain. When he finally bobbed to the surface, he tried to take in a deep breath, but someone dunked him back under.

“Stay away from her,” said Alan as Tristan came up a second time.

“Who?” he gasped. Here the bank dropped off into a sheer cliff. Alan and his friends were standing on the edge, laughing as Tristan was forced to tread water, just inches from safety.

“You were busy while I was—Where was I?”

Everyone shrugged their shoulders.

“Anyway, my friends tell me you think you’ve got yourself a girlfriend.”

“That’s none of your—” Tristan grew silent as seven wands were pointed at him, their owners looking rather excited.

“Pax is my girlfriend, Bott. I don’t know what you did to make her like you, but—”

At that moment, Tristan felt sharp fingernails piercing his legs, and he was being pulled under. “Urgh!” he shouted.

“What—what do we do?” asked a scared second-year Slytherin.

“RUN!”

Tristan fought to reach the surface, but a school of water demons took each of his arms and continued to force him lower and lower, until the light faded into a small white bulb at the surface. Without a wand, unable to morph, Tristan sank and his senses left him.

I give you...FEEDBACK!



Last edited by House_Elf_21; August 21st, 2007 at 7:58 am.
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  #23  
Old September 4th, 2007, 7:39 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 14, part II: The Healer

The Gryffindor Quidditch team stepped out onto the field. Everyone cheered—except for the Slytherins, who were booing and hissing the seven scarlet-clad players.

“Isn’t this exciting?” Sarah asked Pax.

“What? Oh, yeah; very exciting.”

Sarah quickly joined the Gryffindors in booing the Slytherins as they walked onto the field. The two team captains shook hands (“I hope Wood breaks Flint’s fingers!” said a third-year Hufflepuff) and Madam Hooch blew her whistle.

Pax went back to her book as the players kicked off into the air…but she wasn’t really interested in Voyages with Vampires. As bad as she felt for Bott, it was nothing compared to how furious she was with Snape.

A large portion of Pax’s memory seemed to be missing, and Sarah had to fill her in on certain events. She remembered being in the hospital ward; now she even remembered the shock of seeing the writing on the wall and Mrs. Norris hanging, petrified, from a torch bracket. But certain things came as quite a surprise. Apparently, she had been dating Trist—er, Bott, that is—for a couple weeks, as a result of Snape having given her a Love Potion. Of course, Peeves was the informant, and the thought of Snape handing out Love Potions—let alone BREWING one—seemed ridiculous.

Sarah had given the greasy Potions Master a good yelling at, accusing him of meddling in people’s affairs and ruining people’s lives. Snape, of course, had denied everything and took away twenty points from Ravenclaw.

“Tell me how the match goes,” said Pax, rising from her seat.

Sarah looked up at her. “Where are you going?” she asked suspiciously.

Pax muttered something about neglected homework, then forced her way out of the stadium.

“Look! Look at that Bludger!” she heard someone yell, but didn’t turn to see what the commotion was about. She was headed toward the Slytherin side of the pitch; she needed to find Snape and do some interrogating of her own.

She had only advanced a few yards before she heard a group of boys laughing. Not knowing quite why, Pax hid herself behind a Slytherin banner and waited. But the group paused.

“Think he’ll drown?” asked a nervous first-year.

“What if he doesn’t?” asked an even more nervous third-year. “He’ll go straight to Dumbledore and tell him everything.”

“Yeah, but it’ll be his word against ours,” said Alan. “Besides; with any luck, there'll be more attacks and then we might just be rid of that stupid Mudblood-lover—”

There was more laughter.

Now Pax was really glad she was hidden. They had drowned someone! —Or at least had tried to. She had to find a teacher.

“You sure Ophelia is a pureblood?”

“Who cares?” asked a fifth-year. “She’s hot.”

“You’re not sounding much like a Slytherin, Sean.”

“Of course she’s a pureblood,” said Alan offhandedly. “Think I’d go for anything less?”

“Well, you are going for a Ravenclaw.”

“Better than a Gryffindor.”

“—Or a Hufflepuff.” Their laughter faded into the distance.

Pax peered out from the safety of her hiding place, then ran towards the castle; she would never reach a teacher in the crowd. And something made her want to go down to the Lake and have a look herself.

She ran as fast as her legs would carry her, tripping every now and again on her robe hem, falling, then getting up again. Out of breath, she arrived on the shallowest bank and began to wade in, wand drawn. “Accio Corpus!” Some fish came flying up, but that was it.

About ready to run to a deeper end of the Lake, Pax spied something shiny gliding beneath the surface. A tentacle shot out of the water; it was the Giant Squid, and she (or he) was holding onto something—or someone. Whatever it was, the Squid tossed it out of the water and dove back below the surface.

“Arresto Momentum!” Pax shouted.

The object slowed down, hitting the ground at a gentler speed. Whatever it was, it was very still….Pax prayed it wasn’t human.

“Help!” Pax shouted as she rounded a tree and sprinted toward the opposite bank. The closer she drew to the fallen object, the more certain she was that it was human. She repeated her cry for help and threw herself next to Tristan Bott, who looked beyond reviving.

Instinct took over. Pax drew out her wand and began crying out every useful spell that occurred to her. She checked his heart; she checked his breathing. “Come on! Breathe, Tristan, breathe! HELP!” she shouted, and began hitting his chest with her fists. Then she threw herself on top of the boy’s body, pinched his nose and began forcing air down his lungs, coming up every once-in-awhile to draw breath, pump on his chest and scream for help.

“That will do, Miss Ophelia,” said a gentle voice from above.

“He’s not dead!” Pax said between dry sobs, taking to prodding Tristan with her wand again.

“No, he is not. He is alive, but barely. Come, dear girl; let us take him to Madam Pomprey.”

Pax was gently pushed out of the way by a tall man with long silver hair and beard. It was Dumbledore, and she had never seen look so grave in the whole course of her knowing him.

With two quick flicks of his wand, the Headmaster conjured up a stretcher, and raised Tristan on top of it. With another wave, a blanket covered the body, which was looking considerably less pale than he had before. Dumbledore then directed the stretcher towards the castle and followed in great strides behind it.

Pax was hard-pressed to keep up, but she did, and followed him into the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey met them with a gasp. She and Dumbledore lifted Tristan onto a bed and began talking in hushed voices.

“He will be all right, I think, Miss Ophelia,” said Dumbledore at last, steering Pax towards a chair, “thanks to your quick thinking and skill. And, though I doubt you realize or care just now, you are thoroughly soaked yourself. Kindly sit here and wait for Poppy to tend to you.”

“I’m fine,” said Pax absently, looking around Dumbledore to Madam Pomfrey, who was pouring a steaming potion down Tristan’s throat. “Will he have to go to St. Mungo’s?”

Dumbledore sighed. He then directed his wand at Pax, and she felt her clothes suddenly dry. Then he majicked up a thick down blanket and pulled it around her shoulders. “I shall be sending an owl to them promptly.”

Pax tried to rise, but Dumbledore placed a firm hand on her shoulder.

“Be patient, my dear.” And with that said, the Headmaster swept out of the hospital wing.

Pax tried to look at Tristan, who seemed to be coming around slightly. And everything that had happened hit her hard. All she could do was weep into her hands…and wait.


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  #24  
Old September 7th, 2007, 5:22 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 15, Part I: Boyfriends and Bones

“Honestly!” cried Madam Pomfrey, measuring out some Pepper-Up Potion into a glass. “You’ll be lucky if you don’t catch cold, let alone pneumonia. Here, drink this.”

Pax knew better than to argue with the woman, so she swallowed the potion in one large gulp. “Can I see him now?” she asked as steam began billowing out of her ears.

Madam Pomfrey gave her a pitying look, but shook her head. “Rest is the best thing for him now…And for you, Miss Ophelia.”

Both of them looked over at the privacy screens obscuring Tristan and the screens obscuring Filch’s cat, who was still petrified.

“Madam Pomfrey,” Pax began carefully, “do think the attacks could be related?”

“Excuse me, my dear?”

Just then there was some racket outside the door, and in walked two MediWizards dressed in green robes, followed closely by Professor Snape.

“Where is he?” the larger of the two MWs asked Madam Pomfrey.

“This way,” she said, then led the men to the enclosed bed.

“That was some quick thinking on your part,” said Snape slowly, as though it pained him. “Professor Dumbledore tells me that another few minutes and our dear Mr. Bott would have died of hypothermia.”

Was it simply Pax’s imagination, or was there a hint of disappointment in the Potions Master’s last statement? She glared back at the bat-like man, who cocked an eyebrow.

“Fifty points to Ravenclaw, I think.”

“Why aren’t you at the match?” Pax accidentally blurted out.

“The match is over. Potter—” Snape looked as though someone had waved a dungbomb under his nose, “—caught the Golden Snitch, no doubt by some dirty means. Which reminds me….”

Snape walked over to Madam Pomfrey, who was watching the two MWs magick Tristan out on a floating stretcher. The Potions Master whispered something into the school nurse’s ear.

“Not that fool Lockhart!” she cried.

Snape nodded curtly. Then, with one last sardonic look at Pax, he swept back out of the room.

“Miss Ophelia, where do you think you’re going? You need bed rest! Honestly. First memory loss, then a fever, then dementia and now possibly pneumonia. You’re in here almost as frequently as Potter.”

“I’m fine, Madam Pomfrey,” Pax insisted as the woman tried to tuck her into a bed. “I’m just going to—”

The doors burst open and in walked the youngest Weasley boy and Hermione Granger, supporting Harry Potter between them. Harry’s right arm, Pax was horrified to see, was flopping around like a wet noodle.

“Set him down here.”

Pax was immediately forgotten as Madam Pomfrey began fussing over Harry. “You should have come straight to me!” she raged. “I can mend bones in a second—but growing them back—”

“You will be able to, won’t you?” Harry asked anxiously.

“I’ll be able to, certainly, but it will be painful.” She handed Harry a pair of pajamas, then drew privacy curtains around his bed. “You’ll have to stay the night.”

Pax, who had been tiptoeing her way towards the door, was caught by the shoulder and pulled back. “You’ll stay here until I’ve released you.” The nurse then scuttled past her, grabbed a bottle of Skele-Gro from a cupboard and returned to where the Granger girl stood, muttering to her friends behind the screens. “You’re in for a rough night. Regrowing bones is a nasty business.”

Not fifteen minutes later, the winning Quidditch team came bursting in, tracking mud everywhere. Quite a few of them had brought sweets and pumpkin juice, and seemed ready to start a great party. But Madam Pomfrey quickly put a stop to things.

“This boy needs rest, he's got thirty-three bones to regrow! Out! OUT!”

After a few more “Congratulations!” to Harry, the group broke up and left…but Fred and George spied Pax and lingered.

“Did you catch the match?” Fred asked (or was it George?)

Pax shook her head.

“It was brilliant! Have you seen your boyfriend?” asked the other twin. He winked and flashed a smile worthy of Lockhart.

Pax blushed. “Why?”

“We owe him a couple galleons.”

“That stink tonic of his is—”

Madam Pomfrey swept in and interrupted. “Move along, Mr. Weasley and—er, Mr. Weasley; Miss Ophelia needs rest too.”

The twins shot the nurse dirty looks, waved good-bye to Harry and Pax, then left.

“All of this mud! Really,” said Madam Pomfrey, vanishing the dirt puddles on the floor one-by-one.

Pax watched her absently. Her mind was on what George (or Fred) had said: Have you seen your boyfriend? Why hadn’t she corrected him?


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  #25  
Old September 10th, 2007, 1:27 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 15, Part II: The Headmaster’s Office

George’s words bothered Pax for the next few hours, which seemed to drag on like a History of Magic class. It was that idiot Snape’s fault! Had he not decided to meddle in other people’s affairs…

But what bothered her more than anything was the lack of news. She had heard nothing of Tristan’s condition, and absolutely nothing of Alan’s punishment (“I hope he gets sent to Azkaban!”)

Finally, as darkness was creeping in and lantern light was dancing on the walls, Madam Pomfrey consented to release her. This was, of course, on the condition that Pax went straight to bed.

“I’ll escort you to your common room,” Madam Pomfrey said brusquely.

“I will see to that, Poppy,” said Dumbledore, who was standing in the doorway with Sarah Gilbert. “I would like a few words with Miss Ophelia before she turns in.”

“Shh! I mean, please keep your voice down, Headmaster; Potter finally just dozed off.”

“But of course.” The headmaster’s eyes twinkled over his spectacles as he motioned for Pax to follow him. Once they were clear of the door, he spoke to them in a lowered voice. “It has been a long day…for everyone. And I know dozens of questions are bursting to escape you, but I must ask that we discuss them in the privacy of my office.”

Pax exchanged looks with Sarah, unable to help feeling slightly nervous. Neither of them had ever merited an invitation to the headmaster’s office.

They were hard-pressed to keep up with Dumbledore’s long strides, which lead them through empty corridors, around corners and up stairs. Finally, gasping for breath, they arrived in front of a tall statue of a griffin.

“Lemon drop,” said Dumbledore and the statue sprang open to reveal a set of stairs spiraling upwards. “Please, follow me.”

They obeyed and followed the headmaster, getting slightly dizzy as they went. By the time the girls had reached the top of the stairs, the door on the landing was already open and Professor Dumbledore was making his way to his desk.

It was an odd place, full of interesting silver instruments, simply whirring away of their own accord. There were shelves piled high with books; and pictures of the school’s previous headmasters and headmistresses, all apparently feigning sleep in their frames. And perhaps most interesting of all, was a rather decrepit-looking crimson bird, perched on a stand behind Dumbledore’s desk, hiccuping black smoke. Pax was just about to ask about the bird when Dumbledore raised his wand. With two little pops, two pink poufs appeared in front of his desk. “Please, have a seat,” he said, indicating the poufs.

“How is he?” Pax blurted out. “Why hasn’t anyone told me anything? And what about Alan? Isn’t he going to be punished?” Pax felt so suddenly hot with anger that she would not be one jot surprised if smoke were billowing out of her ears again.

“Pax!” Sarah hissed, then shot the headmaster an apologetic look.

Dumbledore smiled. “That is quite all right, Miss Gilbert.” He looked at Pax. “To answer your first question, Mr. Bott is fine. You found him just in time to prevent any serious damage from occurring. You are truly, the best of the four houses at heart.”

Pax was too distracted to blush at these words. “What about Alan?”

“Mr. Alan has been sent home, pending on an investigation.”

“Is that all, Professor? I mean, isn’t he going to be disciplined further?”

Dumbledore sighed. “That is now for the Ministry to decide. I have faith that they shall handle the matter appropriately. If not, that is, to our satisfaction, the thought of nearly killing another human being should be a punishment in itself.”

“He deserves the worst after what he did to my—I mean Tris—er, Bott,” Pax quickly corrected herself.

Dumbledore looked down his spectacles at her, his piercing eyes searching hers. There was a subtle look of amusement there that made Pax feel suddenly hot under the collar, and she dropped her gaze. The headmaster mercifully chose to shift the topic onto something else. “I have heard, as they say, ‘through the grapevine’ that you have a grievance with Professor Snape.”

Sarah immediately blurted out the whole story about the alleged Love Potion and Obliviator Charm, and Dumbledore stared at her intently. When she had talked herself into silence, he looked at Pax.

“And no one else can confirm this?”

“Well, er, no, sir,” Sarah said to her shoes. “Unless you count Peeves, of course.”

“I see. I shall certainly look into that matter. Meanwhile,” said he, “I will walk you back to your common room.”

“You don’t have to, Professor; we’ll be all right,” Pax said quickly. For some odd reason, she was rather keen to get away from him.

Dumbledore gave her a knowing look before moving for the door. “I was thinking of going down to the kitchens for a mug of hot cocoa anyway.”

Pax opened her mouth to point out that the Ravenclaw tower would be out of his way, but decided against it and followed Dumbledore down the stairs, through empty corridors and back to their common room.

“Oh, Miss Ophelia,” said the headmaster after Sarah had solved the riddle-password and the door swung open, “I received an owl from Mr. Bott’s family.”

Pax’s stomach gave a lurch.

“They would like to meet the young lady who saved their son’s life.”

“Oh, um, sure.”

“Pleasant dreams, then.”

“Good night, Professor,” the two girls chorused, then scurried through the portrait hole.

“Enjoy your hot chocolate!” Sarah called out after the headmaster before the portrait swung shut.

Both girls went up into their dormitory without much talking. Sarah was yawning widely and Pax was having trouble on focusing on anything besides the odd fluttery sensation in her stomach.


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  #26  
Old September 13th, 2007, 5:05 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 16, Part I: Dearest Severus Snape

Mercifully for Slytherin House, the attack on Colin Creevey had spread around the school like fiendfyre, and Gryffindor’s win was quickly put out of everyone’s mind…well, almost everyone’s.

“So close, and yet so far. I hope you didn’t lose too many galleons on this one,” laughed Lockhart, clapping Snape on the back. He seemed to know at once that this was a mistake, for he removed his hand from Snape’s person—and found a Wizardry-Wipe© to decontaminate the offended appendage with. “Well, there’s always the chance that Gryffindor could lose to Ravenclaw. Cheer up, old boy; there’s no use crying over spilt potion.”

“Teachers,” said Snape, who was far from crying, “are not permitted to bet on the outcome of any school-related activity.” He sneered as the smile left Lockhart’s face.

However, the fool quickly recovered himself and laughed even more heartily. “But of course; just a jolly joke on my part.”

“Yes; ha, ha, ha.” Snape tried to push past the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, who was blocking his entrance to the dungeons.

“So, what do you think of this nasty business with that Creevey boy? It’s really too bad that I wasn’t there when McGonagall and Dumbledore found him. I know just the charm that—”

“—could have spared him,” Snape finished for Lockhart.

“By Jove! You’ve read Magical Me!”

“No; I do not read fiction. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

But Lockhart continued to block him. “If you haven’t got one already, you may purchase a copy from me for…shall we say, half price?”

Snape grimaced. “I am truly speechless.”

“There, there, Professor; Merlin knows we all can become star-struck from time-to-time. But if you’ll calm yourself, I’ll knock an additional ten percent off, and I’ll even autograph the front cover.”

Snape gritted his teeth so hard that he swore he could hear one crack. “I can hardly wait.”

“Good. Oh, and here is a formal request from, well, me.”

Snape raised an eyebrow as Lockhart conjured up a lilac envelope with his wand. “What,” said Snape, refusing to accept the letter, “is this?”

“You’ll see,” said Lockhart, thrusting the envelope into Snape’s greasy hands. He then made to leave, but paused and stared at Snape with something that looked disgustingly like pity. “Don’t worry; I’ll autograph it later, Severus; but right now I really must get back to my fan mail. Shall I add your name to the list?”

Snape tightened his fingers around his wand, and Lockhart must have sensed this, for he quickly flew away from the archway, muttering something about “lack of witnesses.”

“Pity,” said Snape; “I’ll have to test that curse on someone else.” He stopped and sniffed the air, which was heavily scented with what smelled like— “Lilacs?” Snape lifted the envelope to his nose, sniffed it once and nearly lost his lunch. The whole letter seemed to be drenched with the idiot’s cologne.

Snape tossed the letter at the opposite wall as though it might contaminate him. And as it hit the floor, it sprung to life and chamber music began to play as Lockhart’s voice burst through the parchment.

“Dearest Severus Snape,

You are cordially invited to assist me, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, five-time winner of Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming Smile Award, and author of numerous works*, during a duel for the school. (Ha! That rhymes! What do you know? I’m not only*, I’m also a poet.)

If you would care to assist me, please send your delightful owl with your response. Chelsea, is that her name? I hope you don’t mind, but on our last passing I tied a beautiful satin bow around her neck to brighten up her appearance. Unfortunately, she flew away before I could get the ruffled collar around her neck.

I remain, your respectful and humble friend,

Professor Gilderoy Lockhart

P.S. Never fear, Professor, that I shall harm you or dare to humiliate you in front of your students. If you want me to go easy on you, just say the word and—”

BOOM!

Snape had blown up the letter with a powerful blast from his wand. Then, satisfied that he had properly disposed of the embarrassing item, he went to unlock his classroom when he heard some angry hooting from behind him. “Well, well, Charon,” said Snape, eyeing his male owl’s bow; “I must say that periwinkle is not your best color.”


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  #27  
Old September 17th, 2007, 5:12 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 16, Part II: Meet the Parents

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come with you?” Sarah asked for the umpteenth time. “I could afford to skive off studying for a few hours.”

Pax snorted. “I’ve never known you to miss a study session. Besides,” she reasoned “our N.E.W.T.s are coming up and—”

“Urgh! Don’t remind me…like the teachers will let me forget. But it’ll only be for a few hours, right?”

“Right. So there’s really no need for you to come.”

“It sounds to me like somebody doesn’t want me to come.”

“Whatever. Anyway, I should be back this evening,” Pax said lightly. There was that strange sensation in her stomach again. Trying to ignore it as best she could, Pax thrust her wand into her robes’ pocket and headed for the Common Room. “I’ll see you later.”

“Pax,” said Sarah, giving her friend a thoughtful look, “you don’t, er, like Bott…do you?”

Pax rolled her eyes. “Of course not! No way would I ever like that arrogant jerk. What made you say something so ridiculous? Really.”

“Methinks she doth protest too much.”

“Good-bye.” Pax pulled a bag of Floo Powder out of her pocket, pitched some into the fire-grate and said, “The Bott Manor”, then stepped into the green flames. She closed her eyes and clutched her arms to her sides as she sped through the Floo Network.

After several minutes of spinning through heat and ash, Pax hit the bottom of a fireplace. She opened her eyes with a start, for someone nearby had let out a startled squeak. There in front of her stood a witch in blue robes with her sandy blonde hair tied loosely up in a bun.

“I’m sorry; I, er, must have stepped out of the wrong grate.”

“Oh, but you haven’t! Chester, she’s here,” said the woman, poking her head into the next room. “You’ll forgive my surprise, dear, but we were rather expecting you to Apparate.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Oh, there’s no need to apologize. Come in, come in.”

Pax pulled out her wand and cleaned off her burgundy robes so that she wouldn’t track soot into the pristine house.

“Oh, never mind that; Tinkles, that’s our House-Elf, needs to clean and polish floors yet anyway.”

Pax looked at the glowing wood floors, which had obviously just received a meticulous waxing. “You have a very nice place, Mrs. Bott.”

“Why, thank you; and the name’s Ruth, dear,” said Mrs. Bott, motioning for Pax to follow her. “My husband inherited down the line from old Bert, though his friends did like to call him ‘Bertie’. Hufflepuff. Very strange man.”

She followed Mrs. Bott’s long strides down a corridor past pictures of prim-looking Botts dating back from as far as the 1700s. Some of the portrait’s occupants gave her a bored look then continued reading; some whispered to each other as she past; and others ran on ahead, talking excitedly.

“Mind your step. That’s a girl. And here we are.”

They had just arrived in a cramped room, where Tristan lay out on a daybed before a crackling fire, when Pax began to have misgivings. Maybe she should have brought Sarah along, though she knew it would result in a row between the two. Maybe she shouldn’t have come at all. Maybe—

“Tristan, dear, Pax is here.”

Tristan looked away from the blaze and his eyes swept over Pax. He grinned. “Hello,” he said softly.

“Chester! We’re in the den!” Mrs. Bott cried. The portraits hanging on the wall were now crammed with people. “Now you can have some proper company, besides those twin terrors.”

“Who—?”

“Fred and George have been to visit,” said Tristan, pointing his wand at the fire, which blossomed into an even greater blaze.

“Not up too high, Tristan; the poor dear’s cheeks are already very red.”

And Pax could feel them getting even redder as she was offered the seat nearest Tristan. “Er, how are you feeling?” she asked him.

“Better,” he said slyly.

“Well, hello,” said a muscular man with untidy blond hair. He was definitely his son’s father.

“Pax, this is Chester, Tristan’s father.”

“How do you do?”

“I’m well, thanks,” said Pax, following their examples by taking a seat. “Thanks so much for inviting me.”

“Think nothing of it, dear,” said Mrs. Bott. She then drew out her wand and produced a rose-patterned tea set on a side table. “How much sugar would you care for in your tea?”

“Pax doesn’t like tea, Mum.”

“Of course she does. What nonsense. How many sugars, dear?”

“I said—”

“One, please,” Pax cut in, not wishing to be rude. She shot Tristan a sideways glance, expecting to see him laughing at her; on the contrary, he seemed suddenly solemn.

Mr. Bott cleared his throat, handing her a dainty cup. “So, I hear you’re studying to become a Healer. Well, obviously, seeing as you saved our son’s neck.”

Pax nodded and took a quick sip of tea, pretending to enjoy it.

“Are there many other Gryffindors studying for that profession?”

“What?”

“You are in Gryffindor, aren’t you?”

“Oh, er, no; I’m in Ravenclaw, but—”

“A Ravenclaw?” asked Mrs. Bott, looking pleasantly surprised. “Well, he didn’t tell us that.”

“Ruth and I were in Ravenclaw, you see,” said Mr. Bott; “we naturally thought our only son would follow in our footsteps, but….” He looked at Tristan reprovingly. “Instead he landed with those duffers in Gryffindor. All guts, no brains.”

“I wouldn’t say—” Pax began, but was cut off by a stern cough from Tristan. She looked at him, but he was staring determinedly at the patchwork quilt covering his knees.

“It’s a shame, too,” said Mrs. Bott; “we’re always getting letters from McGonagall, telling us about the latest trouble he’s gotten into. And we’re always having to send him Howlers.”

“Well, until recently. Most peculiar, but his behavior has improved a lot over the past month, and his grades, which were abysmal, have gone up nicely. All ‘Exceeds Expectations’. I imagine his brainy girlfriend must be rubbing off on him, eh? No cheating, I hope.”

Pax shifted uncomfortably and gave a nervous little laugh. She looked at Tristan, who was opening his mouth, perhaps to correct his father. Not quite knowing why, she secretly shot a Silencing Charm at him. “He’s rather smart.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bott both laughed. “You don’t need to cover for him, child; we both know he’s not a genius.”

Pax was appalled. How could anyone abuse their own child in such a way? She removed the charm from Tristan and said, “He’s helped me through some scrapes—especially in Charms.” This was, of course, a lie; though Tristan could hold his own, she had never really needed any help on the subject. The lie had just slipped out so fast there was no catching it.

“Oh,” said Mr. and Mrs. Bott in obvious surprise.

“I never knew—”

“Our Tristan?”

“So,” said Tristan, obviously casting around for another subject, “seen our friend Alan lately?”

“No.”

“Good.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bott exchanged confused glances, and the portraits grew suddenly silent. “Well, Ruth,” said Mr. Bott, “I suppose we had better leave these two to…talk.”

“Oh, that’s all right!” Pax said quickly.

“Nonsense. Boyfriends and girlfriends don’t need parents hovering around. We’ll be in the parlor.”

“Right.”

“I thought we broke up,” said Tristan, once his parents had left. His tone was not bitter, but amused.

“Well, er, we never—” Pax stopped herself. Was this really the time to let the Kneazle out of the bag?

“Never ‘what’?”

There was a loud tinkling of breaking china: Pax had dropped her cup. “Oh! I’m sorry!” In the heat of the moment, all magic left her mind and she got down on all fours like a muggle to clean up the mess. “Wit beyond measure—Sorry. I—Ouch!” She had just managed to knick herself on a rather sharp shard of porcelain and began bleeding profusely.

“That must smart,” said Tristan, snatching her hand to examine it.

“N-not really.” She shook a little and tried to extract her hand from his.

But he wouldn’t let go. Instead, he pulled out his wand and slowly passed the tip over her finger, which immediately stopped dripping blood. “I never thanked you for saving my life.”

“Er, it was nothing. Listen, I really do hope you feel better soon. I expect you should—W-what are you doing?”

“Hoping to ‘swap cultures’, as Madam Pomfrey would say.”

“You mean—But we’ve broken up, remember?”

“You know, something tells me you didn’t really want to. Therefore, I refuse to accept your resignation.” His lips were now dangerously close to hers, so close she could feel his hot breath on her face.

“Tristan,” she said, her voice shaking slightly as he squeezed and released her hand.

He touched his lips to hers then withdrew them. “I’ll see you back at school,” he said with a wink, then picked up his copy of The Prophet and began reading.


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  #28  
Old September 25th, 2007, 6:16 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Author’s Note: Some of the dialogue has been taken straight from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. These words belong to the wonderful JK Rowling. And some of the spells/Parsletongue came ssssstraight from the movie. Please, I am a poor slacker; do not sue me.

Chapter17, Part I: The...duel?

Pax had spent a grand total of fifteen minutes at the Botts’ before conveniently remembering some forgotten homework and then rushing back to Hogwarts. She wanted to collect her thoughts.

She was rather confused. Her feelings were flitting between rage, amusement and even girlish glee. The latter, of course, was immediately blamed on the tea. She never had cared for that particular beverage…and Tristan had somehow remembered. Maybe he wasn’t such a git after all. Wait a minute…what was she thinking? Of course he was a git. Maybe. A little.

“Urgh!” Pax groaned as she rolled out of bed the next morning. Grumpy and groggy, she got up, dressed in a set of school robes, and headed down to the Great Hall to have breakfast.

“Pax!” said Sara, waving her over to the Ravenclaw table.

“Morning,” she mumbled, settling herself in a seat in front of a large stack of pancakes.

“Well, aren’t we bright and cheerful.”

Pax grunted and reached for a pitcher of maple syrup, which she applied liberally to a single cake. She had told Sarah as little as possible about the very short visit and had tried to ward off her questions. Sarah had seemed to take the hint and had steered clear of the subject; Pax only hope she would continue in this vein.

“Did you hear? They’re starting a dueling club.”

“Why? They figure Slytherin’s monster can duel?”

A first-year snorted into their pumpkin juice.

Sarah rolled her eyes and pressed on. “First meeting’s tonight. Do you think we should go? I mean, it can’t hurt to learn more about defending ourselves.”

“So you can show off?”

“Oh, come on!”

“All right,” Pax laughed. “As long as you go easy on me, I guess—” Pax stopped talking. She had just caught a glimpse of a tousle-haired seventh-year entering the Great Hall.

“What’s wrong? Pax?” Sarah asked her friend, who was hunched over her pancake, devouring it at a super-human rate.

“Hmm?” Pax asked through a mouthful, which she washed down with some orange juice. She stole a nervous glance at the Gryffindor table. There Tristan sat, right between Lee Jordan and George Weasley. “What’s he doing back?” Suddenly she didn’t feel so well.

“Who?”

“Huh? Oh, see you later.”

“But—”

“Gotta get to class.”

“It’s Sunday.”

“Er, gotta study. See you.” She pulled away from the table and hastened out of the Hall. She was just at the foot of the staircase when…

“Miss Ophelia.”

Pax grimaced. If there was one person apart from Tristan that she did not wish to talk to, it was Snape. “Hello, Professor,” she said in what she hoped was a civil tone.

“I hear you took a little trip yesterday.”

“Yes.”

“I don’t remember requesting you to visit Mr. Bott at his home.”

“His parents wanted to meet me.”

Snape raised both eyebrows. “Really. Most interesting.”

“What?” Pax snapped, though remembered to add, “Professor.”

Snape looked at her shrewdly for a moment, and was just getting ready to say something snarky, no doubt, when a booming voice echoed through the corridor.

“Severus!” sang Lockhart. “Where are you? We need to practice.”

Snape turned sharply on his heels and disappeared in a crowd of students exiting the Great Hall.

“Where can he be?” asked Lockhart, emerging from a corridor on the left. “Miss Ophelia, have you seen Professor Snape? I need to discuss tonight’s itinerary with him.”

Pax smiled and quickly directed the goofily grinning professor in the right direction.

“If ever a couple deserved each other….”


Pax spent the remainder of the day shut up in the Ravenclaw common room, studying. Then at eight o’clock, she and Sarah went down to the rather crowded Great Hall. The regular House tables had been replaced with a golden stage, and there were thousands of candles floating overhead in lilac-colored votives. “No doubt Lockhart’s doing,” mumbled Sarah. “Let’s just hope he’s not—”

“Gather round, gather round!” said Lockhart, moving toward the center of the stage. “Can everyone see me? Can everyone hear me? Excellent!”

“Oh no,” murmured Pax and Sarah.

“Now, Professor Dumbledore has granted me permission to start this little dueling club, to train you all in case you ever need to defend yourselves as I have on countless occasions—for full details, see my published works.”

“Can this get any worse?” Pax groaned. She soon found out that it could.

“Let me introduce my assistant, Professor Snape,” said Lockhart. He smiled brightly before continuing, giving the students less than fond of him a moment to adjust. “He tells me he knows a little bit about dueling himself and has sportingly agreed to help me with a short demonstration before we begin. Now, I don’t want any of you youngsters to worry—you’ll still have your Potions master when I’m through with him, never fear.”

“I’d say that’s cause for fear,” said Sarah, noting Snape, whose lip was curling.

Lockhart and Snape faced each other. Lockhart twirled his cape and fell into a ridiculous bow, while Snape merely gave a sharp nod of his head. The two men then raised their wands in front of them, poised for attack.

“As you see,” said Lockhart, “we are—”

What they were, Pax never found out. She felt a tap on her right shoulder. She turned and nobody was there. She then felt a tap on her left shoulder, but was clever enough to look to her right again.

“Hello, Bott,” Pax muttered, then pretended to pay attention to the teachers.

“—we will cast our spells,” Lockhart was saying.

“‘Hello, Bott’?” Tristan snorted. “Is that the only welcome I get?”

“Yes.”

“Expelliarmus!” shouted Snape.

“Oh my!” Sarah gasped as there was a bright flash of light and Lockhart fell backwards off the platform.

“I wonder if he’s all right,” Pax asked, ignoring Tristan’s penetrating stare.

“Who cares?”

“Well, there you have it!” said Lockhart, climbing back onto the stage. “That was a Disarming Charm—as you see, I’ve lost my wand—ah, thank you, Miss Brown—yes, an excellent—”

“Where were you all day?” Tristan asked.

“Studying.”

“Too bad. I had to give your flowers to Aberforth’s goat. And I tried feeding the chocolates to Mrs. Norris--cat’s are allergic, see. But she didn’t take a fancy to them.”

“You got me—” Pax started, but quickly stopped herself.

“No, but I thought about it,” said Tristan.

“Oh. Pay attention; I think they’re pairing people up.”

Tristan grabbed her hand.

“No, not that kind of pairing up.”

“Hey, is this jerk-off bothering you?” Sarah asked.

“Hello, Miss Gilbert,” said Snape, who had just walked up behind her. “Ten points from Ravenclaw for not paying attention. Now, I must divide you into pairs...”

Pax automatically moved towards Sarah, but she knew that Snape had something else in mind.

“Miss Gilbert, there is a Slytherin first-year you might stand a chance against,” said Snape. “Miss Ophelia, however much I pity you, you will be practicing with this dunderhead.” Snape sneered at Tristan, who seemed unmoved…if not bored by the Potions master.

“Help,” Sarah whimpered over her shoulder, as she was forced to follow Snape.

“Face your partners,” said Lockhart, “and bow.”

Pax grudgingly obeyed.

“Wands at the ready.”

Pax gripped hers tightly. Tristan held his loosely at his side.

“When I count to three, cast your charms to disarm your opponents—only to disarm them—we don’t want any accidents—one—”

Was Tristan smirking at her?

“Two—”

Was he making fish lips?

“Three.”

“EXPELLIARMUS!” Pax shouted. A bright bolt of light shot out of her wand, and Tristan’s wand went flying out of his hand as he was knocked over backwards. Apparently Pax wasn’t the only one who had over-exerted herself…or cast the wrong spell…or resorted to Muggle violence.

“Stop! Stop!” Lockhart was shouting.

“Help me up…please?” Tristan asked rubbing the back of his head.

“You’re supposed to try to disarm me, not fall on the floor like a great prat.”

Pax took his hand and tried to pull him upright, but he gave her hand a jerk and she fell over next to him.

“While we’re down here, remind me how that Muggle mouth-to-mouth goes again. It really was a pity I was unconscious at the time.”

“What would you have done?” she snarled.

“Oh, I’m not criticizing. I would just have thought to save snogging for later, for when we both could enjoy—”

“Petrificus To—”

“Silencio,” whispered Tristan.

Pax’s tongue clung to the roof of her mouth and she glared at him. She was just ready to hit him with a silent jinx when Lockhart’s voice rang out.

“I think I’d better teach you how to block unfriendly spells. Let’s have a volunteer pair—Longbottom and Finch-Fletchey, how about you—”

Pax pointed to her mouth as Snape said something snarky.

“Oh, all right. Finite Incantatem,” Tristan hissed, then helped Pax to her feet.

“Thanks, you jer—”

“Look!”

Harry Potter and a pale blond-haired boy were facing each other on the stage, both in the fighting stance.

“Three—two—one—go!”

On Lockhart’s “go”, the blond-haired boy shouted, “Serpensortia!” The end of his wand seemed to explode, and a long, black snake hit the ground.

“Don’t move, Potter,” said Snape lazily. “I’ll get it rid of it for you.”

But Lockhart would insist on getting rid of it himself. He waved his wand and the snake…flew ten feet into the air and hit the ground, hissing.

“I d-don’t like snakes,” Pax breathed, clutching onto Tristan’s sleeve.

“Listen.”

“Sssssssi sssssaa ahsssii—”

Pax closed her eyes and tightened her grip on Tristan as the snake reared up and moved towards a scared-looking second-year. But then, with a flicker of its tongue, the snake stopped.

Snape raised his wand, silently performed a Vanishing Charm and the snake disappeared.

“That Potter kid can talk to snakes,” said Tristan, his voice trembling with apparent anger. “Did you see that? He was just egging the snake on. Probably telling it to attack—”

“I-is it gone?” Pax whimpered.

“Come on; let’s get out of here.” Tristan grabbed her arm and steered her through a sea of murmuring students.



Last edited by House_Elf_21; January 11th, 2008 at 12:16 am.
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  #29  
Old March 19th, 2008, 2:49 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 17, Part II: The Gryffindor, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Tristan pulled Pax into the nearest classroom and shut the door. He could feel a great rage swelling up inside of him. The very kid who supposedly was their savior was now setting snakes on people! Was Harry Potter the heir of Slytherin? Things were starting to fit together in Tristan's mind, when he heard a gasp beside him.

"What?" Tristan demanded. Wand drawn and steady, he looked around, prepared to find another petrified cat...or worse.

"It's the spiders; I've never seen them behave that way," said Pax. "Look."

Tristan looked down where Pax was pointing and saw them, dozens of eight leggers scurrying towards a crack in the western window. "What on earth--?"

"Let's get out of here," Pax whimpered.

But Tristan had heard footsteps approaching. "What is it, Severus?" he heard Professor Dumbledore say.

"Let us talk some place where we won't be...overheard," said Snape. He was right outside the door!

Tristan looked around the room and spied a rather large wardrobe. "Inside!" he hissed. He and Pax both squeezed inside and quietly shut the door half-way closed.

"Why are we hiding?" Pax whispered as the classroom door creaked open.

He clapped his hand over what he assumed was Pax's mouth and listened. Someone was whispering wildly under their breath. If only he could catch what they were saying...

"That is enough, Severus," said Dumbledore sharply.

"But Headmaster--"

"Enough. Appointing you would compromise our situation."

"But that fool!" Snape sounded crazed! What was he on about. Tristan leaned forward a little.

Pax pulled his hand away. "Stop! You're going to--"

"Shh!" Blast! What was Snape saying?

"--Potter. Your promised that if I--"

"The best way for you to help is to stay where you are. I can't afford to risk you--"

"Having a relapse?" Snape snarled.

Dumbledore sighed. "I've always told you: I never put all of my eggs in one basket."

Snape said something else that Tristan couldn't catch. He leaned forward, just a little...

"--Lily's son!"

Just a little closer...

Pax grabbed onto his arm to hold him back, and then it happened. Tristan lost his balance and came tumbling out of the wardrobe, dragging Pax with him.

In a blinding fury of tartan cloaks and woolen wraps, they crashed to the floor; and it took a few minutes of struggling to free themselves from the mess. When they did, Tristan wished with all of his might he were petrified. The looks on Dumbledore and Snape's faces were rather terrifying.

Snape's sallow face was even sallower than usual, and his beady black eyes seemed to be popping out of their sockets as a rather large vein began throbbing in his forehead. Dumbledore, eyes flashing, was just replacing his wand, and the color had been drained from his face as well.

"What--" began Snape, his voice shaking, "were--you--two--IDIOTS--doing--in--that--wardrobe?"

"Well, Professor, you see--" he began, "we were just--er, it's not what it looks like."

"How much did you hear?" Snape practically roared.

Tristan had never seen him so furious. He looked over at Pax, who was trembling from head to heel. "We were just--" Nothing was coming to him.

"Yes?"

"We were hiding from Harry Potter," Pax quickly cut in.

"Tell me what you heard!"

"Severus, I'd advise you to return to the students," said Dumbledore; "I'm sure they're all very frightened; they'll be wanting to see you."

Somehow, Tristan knew that the sight of Snape wasn't exactly going to reassure anybody. He tried not to make eye-contact with the Potions master as he gave them one last glare, then swept out of the room.

"Professor--" Pax began. But Dumbledore held up a hand.

"It's my fault," he said calmly. "I should have first checked the room. Of course you'd be curious to know what was going on."

"We're really--"

"Let me finish. However, I need to know everything you heard."

Tristan thought for a moment, then recounted the bits and pieces of conversation he had heard. As he went on, Dumbledore began looking more and more like his usual, cheerful self.

"And you swear to me that that is all you heard?"

Tristan and Pax nodded.

Dumbledore sighed. "Very well. Off you two go then."

Pax and Tristan turned quickly to leave, but Dumbledore stopped them.

"Miss Ophelia, Mr. Bott--"

"Yes, Professor."

"Please keep all this to yourselves. Good night."


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  #30  
Old June 29th, 2008, 6:41 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 18, Part I: The Passion of Pursuit


Early the next morning, the first big snowfall of the season hit... and hit hard. It was a massive blizzard, and all students were ordered to stay indoors. That meant no trekking out to the greenhouses for Herbology.

Tristan was so consumed with curiosity that he couldn't quite enjoy his free period. How had Harry Potter been able to talk to that snake? What had he told it to do? Was he really the heir of slytherin? Fed up after only five minutes of pacing the common room, much to his own and a certain Ravenclaw's surprise, he found himself in the library.

"What are you doing here?" Pax asked as he took the seat next to her.

His heart skipped a beat as he threw his book bag onto the table. "Hello to you, too. It's nice to--"

"Shh!" said Madam Pince.

"You're looking--"

"Shh!" It was Pax who had shushed him this time. "Keep your voice down; Madam Pince is very irritable today."

Tristan smirked and looked at the decrepit old librarian, then did a double take at the mountain of books in front of Pax. "What are you doing with those?"

Pax rolled her eyes. "Baking. What does it look like?"

Tristan feigned a sore expression. "Nice way to treat your boyfriend."

"Who says you're--Look, I'm sorry; it's just... Sometimes I go into defense mode, all right?"

He pretended to understand and repeated his question. What she told him was the last thing he had expected to hear:

"I'm researching Snape."

"What?!"

"Please, keep your voices down or you will be asked to leave the library," Madam Pince huffed. She pushed her creeky cart past them, but kept a wary eye on them over her stack of books.

Tristan waited a moment, then asked "What has Snape got to do with anything?"

"Did you see how edgy he was last night?"

"Well, who wouldn't be with that idiot Lockhart flitting around?"

Pax shook her head and closed the book in front of her entitled Hogwarts: A History. "No, not then. When we were, well, eavesdropping."

Tristan thought back to the hush-hush conversation between Snape and Dumbledore, and nodded his understanding. "But what's so interesting about it?"

She frowned and tapped her fingers lightly on the table. "I'm not sure exactly. But something tells me, Snape knows more than he's letting on."

"About--?"

"That's just it: I don't know."

They were both silent for a moment as Pax stared out the window. Slowly, Tristan's interest drifted away from the subject at hand. The library was full of students, packed together, whispering, afraid.

Pax herself seemed rather shaky, evidenced in the fact that her chair was rocking. What should he do? What should he say?

"Pax," he said softly, "are you all right?"

"Hmm?"

Was it his imagination, or were the backs of her ears turning red? He reached out to brush her hair out of the way, when she suddenly turned around.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Nothing. You just looked frightened." He reached again to touch her hair, but she batted his hand away.

"Why would I be frightened?"

It was Tristan's turn to roll his eyes. "Last night? The snake? You nearly crawled all over me trying to get away from it."

Pax looked as though she had been stricken. "I did not."

"Yes, you did. But it's all right; even Gryffindors get scared sometimes." Again he made a move, and again he was deterred.

"Don't you touch me!" And with that, she snatched up her belongings and marched out of the library.

From the corner of the library he saw Fred and George exchange amused looks. But he ignored them and went after Pax.

He grinned to himself.

Girls were strange creatures all right... but that made the chase oh so much more fun!



Last edited by House_Elf_21; June 30th, 2008 at 2:42 am.
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  #31  
Old October 20th, 2008, 7:13 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 18, Part II: The Prince and the Snogger


“Pax, wait!” Tristan caught up with Pax in several large strides, then easily kept up with her determined pace. “Where are we going?”

“Potions class,” she said grimly.

With a wince, Tristan tightened his knapsack strap. “Do you think Snape will—”

“I think he’ll try to be professional. He is a teacher, after all.”

Tristan smirked. “Right. This is Snape we’re talking about, remember?”

They walked in silence until they reached the entrance to the drafty dungeons, which seemed even more ominous than ever. Perhaps it was the lack of decorated fir trees, enchanted snow or other signs of Christmas cheer that adorned the rest of the Castle. Or perhaps it was the rigid figure of Snape emerging from the shadows that unnerved them both.

Tristan clutched a hand over his wand, which he now carried everywhere, and Pax grabbed onto his free arm. “Professor,” Tristan said curtly.

Snape raised an eyebrow. “Mr. Bott.”

“P-Professor, I--" Pax began to sputter.

“Don’t,” Snape hissed, “interrupt.” For a brief moment, Snape's gaze lingered on Pax's hand, which still clutched to Tristan's arm. "Touching. Somewhat moving, in fact." His tone was snarkier than ever.

Embarrassed, Pax tried to pull her hand away, but a warning look from Snape told her that their "deal" was still on. Her hand remained where it was.

"Professor Dumbledore said he had a little talk with the both of you," said the Potions master at long last.

Pax nodded. Tristan grunted.

"Snogging in wardrobes won't save either of you from detention in the future."

"Yes, sir," said Pax in a small voice.

Snape looked at Tristan, who was muttering, Just 'cause you're not getting any snogging...

"What did you say?"

"I said--" Tristan began, eyes gleaming.

But what he was going to say was never said, for Pax grabbed him around the neck and held him in what she hoped looked like an affectionate embrace, not the chokehold that it really was. Just for good measure, she pecked Tristan on the lips then dragged him by the collar into class.

Snape stalked in behind them and moved up front to the blackboard.

"What did you do that for?" Tristan hissed as they broke apart and began setting up their cauldrons. "Not that I'm objecting to more snogging." He moved in closer, their robe sleeves brushing.

"Not here," she laughed nervously.

"Why not? Class hasn't started yet."

Was he actually suggesting snogging in front of Snape? The idea was so insane, so irrational given their current circumstances, that it was hard not to burst into laughter.

"He's not looking," Tristan said in a silly sing-song voice as other students began filing in.

Pax tried to ignore him. "I say we ask the ghosts if they have s-seen any--any--All right." He had leaned down to her level, lips at the ready. It would be worth it just to get him to leave her in peace. Yes, that's all she wanted. But just as she leaned in to kiss him, she got a sleeve in the face. Tristan had pulled away and was busily preparing his potion ingredients.

Perhaps sensing her shock, Tristan glanced at her from the corner of her eye and said, "Sorry. The moment's passed. Look."

Sure enough, Severus Snape, Potions master, was staring in their direction.

"Besides," said Tristan, "it's probably not a good idea to go around always snogging. Might give people ideas. Don't you think?"

"Oh. Right." Why the sudden change in tune? It didn't matter. This charade will be up in just a matter of months. Besides, I don't care for Bott anyway. He's still-- Whatever he was, she couldn't bring herself to answer, something which unsettled her greatly.


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  #32  
Old November 16th, 2008, 9:09 pm
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 18, Part III: The Man Who Still Loved

The embers of a dying fire provided the only warmth in the dark, cramped room. Severus Snape wanted no warmth, though he shivered as he rocked forwards and backwards in his chair. His only solace was found in that fact that he was miserable. He deserved to be miserable… at least, that is what he had led himself to believe.

The memory of the girl’s hand springing to the boy’s arm sent chills up his stiff spine. Her action had been so natural, so tender, so… “Stupid!” Snape spat, trying to fill himself with fury. “The dunderheads have no idea what they’re doing.”

But it had been his doing, not theirs. It was he who had pushed the both of them together. “I, a ‘matchmaker’?” Snape threw up in his mouth and swallowed.

What should he do? He could hardly congratulate them and offer his treasure trove of knowledge on the subject. Should he break them apart? Trick them into despising each other? What a wonderful idea! He would… he had to! Their snogging session had nearly cost him his biggest, most dangerous secret.

No one, not a soul nor an imprint of a departed one, could know that Severus Snape, Potions Master, still loved.

Snape rose from his seat and marched to the door and opened it. He was a man on a mission; he knew exactly what he wanted to do. But something made him stop. Something made him want to vomit again.

There was only one thing that could ruin his plans. And it was already at work.

“A life debt!” The girl had saved Mr. Bott’s life. He owed her. This was powerful old magic, right after love, which they seemed to already possess. How exactly this would affect Snape’s attempts to break them apart, he didn’t know. “There’s got to be something—”

Before he could finish the thought, a dark mass of feathers hit him hard in the face. “Charon!” he barked. He spat out a mouthful of down. “Watch where you’re flying.”

The obstinate owl bit him on the honker then zoomed away before his master could hex him, but not before dropping a lilac-colored envelop at his feet.

Not another Lockhart special invitation. He shuddered. “The horrors.” Like ripping a bandage away from a wound, he tore the letter open as fast as he could. But instead of the usual chamber music, he heard the Headmaster’s voice.

“Severus,” it said, “love will find a way.” There was a pause and then an awkward clearing of throat. “P.S. I’m sorry about the stationary. Gilderoy’s was the only kind available.”

The letter tore itself out of Snape’s hands and shredded itself into molecular pieces. But Snape took no notice.

Had it been a warning? …Or a challenge?


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  #33  
Old December 10th, 2008, 1:18 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 19, Part I: Persuasion


The attack on Hufflepuff second-year Justin Finch-Fletchley and Sir Nick sent the school into a new state of panic. Again the famous Harry Potter had been found at the scene of the crime. It was case closed for some.

“That doesn’t really seem fair,” Pax complained to Sarah Gilbert the following morning. “I mean, it could have just been a nasty coincidence.”

“Twice?” There was an edge of hysteria in Sarah’s voice. “I don’t know what he had against Sir Nick or Justin, but I know he had it in for Mrs. Norris.”

“Sarah, everyone had it in for Mrs. Norris. Besides, he wasn’t the one found with Collin Creevey.”

Sarah was forced to concede. “What about Bott?”

“I was with him at the time of the attack. There’s no way he could have done anything to hurt Justin or Nick, for that matter.” Now there was an edge of hysteria in her own voice.

“That’s not what I meant, dummy. I mean, has he asked you yet?”

Pax shifted in her seat and stared at her untouched toast. “Asked me what?” She hoped her voice didn’t sound too panicky.

“Speak of the devil.”

Pax turned to look in the direction her friend was glaring. Sure enough, cocky as ever, hair tousled, eyes strangely keen, Tristan Bott stared at her from the Gryffindor table. When he caught her gaze, he motioned for her to come join him.

“Yeck,” Sarah grumbled as Pax got to her feet.

“That’s my cue.”

Sarah groaned. “You don’t have to. Please, just tell him to bug off.”

She stole a quick glance at the staff table. Snape’s face, oddly enough, was impassive. Maybe, recent events taken into consideration, the deal was off. Still, why risk the old bat’s wrath… right? “Sorry; duty calls.” Pax didn’t feel as forlorn as she sounded.

“Duty. Yeah, whatever. Will Snape be invited to the wedding?”

Pretending she didn’t hear that last part, Pax found herself hurrying to see what Bott wanted. “What is it, Tristan?” she sighed dramatically.

Tristan grinned. “There’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you.” He picked up her left hand and began playing with her fingers.

Pax froze. “Oh?” No, no, NO! Too fast!

“What are you doing for your holidays?”

A sigh of relief escaped her. For a minute it sounded like he was going to propose something… rash. Finally, she responded. “Staying here.”

His face darkened. “Why?”

“My mum and dad are going to South America.”

“And you’d rather stay here?”

“I don’t like the heat.”

Tristan looked suddenly thoughtful. “I’ll have to remember that. So, don’t you want to know what I’m doing for the holidays?”

“Strangely enough, no.” Feigning indifference wasn’t working. But she was indifferent… wasn’t she?

He laughed and pulled her closer as he stood. “I should rephrase. Don’t you want to know what we’re doing for the holidays?” He led her towards the door.

Pax bristled. “We?”

“Me and my family,” he said casually.

“Oh.” Suddenly she felt a little irked. Okay, a lot irked. She took a moment to compose herself as he looked indifferently around the students filing in behind them. Sure, he could be indifferent. “Grr.”

“What?” He looked amused.

“Nothing. You were saying something about you and your family?” Pax tried twisting her hand out of his, but he was playing with her fingers again… more specifically, her ring finger.

“I don’t like it.”

“What, your family?” she snorted.

Tristan rolled his eyes. “No, smart one; I meant your staying here for Christmas break. I hear Potter’s signed up to stay—”

“Bott—”

“I just don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Oh.” Her voice was very small, almost a squeak. What could she say to that?

Tristan didn’t give her time to think. “That’s why you’re coming to my house for the holidays.”

“W-what?” she sputtered.

He grinned slyly. “I used to be the one with the stuttering problem, remember?”

Pax could feel the heat rising to her cheeks. “I’m staying here.”

Tristan ignored her. “You’ll be bunking with my cousin KT in the guest room. Um…” He seemed to be going through a list in his head. “Dad wants to know if you like eggnog. Oh, and my mum needs to know your dress size.”

“What?!”

“What?”

“No, no and just… no.” Her head was reeling. What could he possibly be thinking? And why on earth did the idea seem even remotely tempting. The horrors!

“So, no, you won’t share a room with KT, you don’t like eggnog and you’re a size… zero?”

“Argh! I am NOT having this conversation.” She broke free and practically ran to the main staircase.

He caught up to her without becoming even remotely winded. “Pax, please. I’ll be on my best behavior. Gryffindor’s Honor.”

Pax sighed. He might be rude, but she was being ruder. She turned around to face him, and was startled to see him standing on the step right behind her. “Wow, you’re fast. Look, I’m really honored and all that jazz, but I need to stay here and—study?”

“Is that a question?”

“No.”

“You just made it a question.”

“I’m not going.”

“Yes, you are.” Tristan’s tone was light and sing-songy.

“Am not.”

“Are so,” he practically whispered.



Last edited by House_Elf_21; December 10th, 2008 at 4:40 am.
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  #34  
Old April 4th, 2009, 8:45 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 19, Part II: Christmas Eve


“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Pax muttered as she nudged her way through the crowds of Hogsmeade. She set her trunk down in the snow, as it was over-weighted with clothes and presents, and waited.

Her Christmas shopping had been done a month ago… or so she had thought. Now she had a new and unexpected set of people to shop for: The Botts. “Urgh.”

Weak. That’s what she was. It had only taken three straight days of continuous pestering before she caved. Now she had just emerged from the dreadful experience of last-minute shopping.

Mr. and Mrs. Bott turned out not to be as hard as she thought they would be. For Mr. Bott Pax had bought a Ravenclaw-blue silk handkerchief and for Mrs. Bott a bottle of Mood Perfume, a type of cologne that changed scents depending on the wearer’s mood. KT was a bit more difficult, since Pax knew absolute nothing about the girl—or woman. As boring as it sounded, she finally settled on a beige scarf.

Now Bott was supposed to meet her by the Three Broomsticks at fifteen past the hour. From there they would walk to the outskirts so that they could disapparate. Pax wasn’t quite sure where the Bott Manor was located, having only been there once. She would therefore have to travel with Tristan… who was now five minutes late.

Pax compared the time on Hogsmeade’s giant clock with her watch. Six minutes now… not that she cared. Just as she slid the timepiece into her robe pocket, someone grabbed her from behind and gave her a loud peck on the cheek.

“Miss me?”

Pax stumbled back a little, but Tristan grabbed her around the waist and righted her.

“Whoa, easy there.” He laughed as she spun around to face him.

“Don’t—do—that—again. You scared the pants off me!” she hissed.

Tristan raised an eyebrow with a smirk, but let whatever snarky remark he had in mind pass. “Let me get your trunk,” he offered.

“No, I’ve got it.” Pax tried lifting it herself, but Tristan’s right foot was planted firmly on top of it. “Bott?”

He pulled out his wand, directed it at the trunk and performed a Levitation Charm. Why couldn’t she have thought of that?

“Tell you what,” Tristan said, “I get your trunk and you get my arm. How’s that for a fair exchange?” He winked and flashed her a Lockhart grin.

“Silver-tongued charmer,” she said mockingly, slipping her arm through his.

They walked, arms linked, to the outskirts of the village. Pax tried to convince herself, unsuccessfully, that people weren't talking about them as they passed. "Gossips," she muttered under her breath.

"Hold on tight," Tristan said. They turned on the spot and disappeared, leaving Pax's breath behind her.

When they arrived outside the great manor with a loud POP!, Pax turned around and, to her humiliation, vomited into a snow-frosted bush. "Oh," she groaned as Tristan held her hair back. She gave another heave, but only produced a mouthful of spittle, which she spat out… onto her shoes. "I HATE Apparation."

"Chicken."

"Don't talk about food. Seriously. Don't."

"All right, all right. Come on!"

"Just give me a sec to let my stomach settle."

Tristan spun her around and looked at her, his eyes full of concern. "Next time we'll take the Floo Network. I promise."

Pax nodded dumbly and held onto a fence railing for support.

"If you're sure you're all right, I'll take your things inside and--Merlin! You look awful."

"No, I'm fine, really. Go ahead."

After a brief back and forth, Tristan finally directed Pax's luggage in through the front door, which he shut gently behind him.

The door was decked out with a beautiful evergreen wreath, which was busily munching on snowflakes. The windows were just like out of muggle fairy books: frosted panes lit by delicate candlelight. Only these candlesticks kept switching positions, vying for the covetted center spot of the arrangements.

Cold air rushed over Pax and she shivered. As she was feeling less queasy and more like herself, she began making her way towards the house. That is when she heard the familiar whoosh of a broom and was knocked off her feet by a gangly, raven-haired witch.

"'Ello."

"Darling, help the poor girl to her feet," said a wizard, who had just landed a yard away.

Pax stumbled to her feet, brushing the snow from her robes.

"I'm so sorry, dear," said the witch. "Are you all right?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Pax assured her. She looked up and was surprised to see that the woman had a hideous brown scar covering the entire left side of her face.

"It's all right, love," the witch laughed. "I'm KT. I've heard a lot about you, Pax."


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  #35  
Old August 8th, 2009, 1:21 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 19, Part III: Christmas Eve Back at Hogwarts


With classes being out and most students on holiday, Severus Snape was crankier than usual. Not that he missed any of the dunderheads. No, it was more the fact that he had very few people upon whom he could vent his penned-up venom. Potter was always a good target, but it was getting more and more difficult to get him alone. Dumbledore seemed to ghost him everywhere, perhaps sensing what Severus did: trouble.

Of course trouble always drew to Potter like a bee to jam. Talking to snakes, stumbling upon petrified students and ghosts… it was no wonder the other students, besides his few friends, were terrified of him. Except for Draco Malfoy.

Snape's favorite student had been acting peculiarly lately, strutting around the castle as if he owned it. He knew something. If only Dumbledore would let Snape slip Veritaserum into the boy's pumpkin juice…

"Snape, my friend!"

The Potions master reached for his wand, but he was too late. His brooding had been most rudely interrupted by the number one dunderhead of all time, now dressed in violently pink robes. The sight made Snape violently ill in a nearby cauldron. "Lockhart," he hissed through his teeth, eyes closed, "why are you here?"

"Aren't I pretty in pink?" laughed Lockhart, making a full twirl for Snape's benefit.

Snape moaned and dry-heaved. Once in control of his faculties, he replied, "Lockhart, I would truly do not give a dung beetle about your pathetic get-up, were it not for the fact that it makes me nauseous."

The fool chuckled. "Always the jokester, who, might I add, is always dressed in that sorry shade of charcoal. Somebody call the Fashion Aurors!"

Snape drew himself to his full height and chanced a look at the sorry excuse for a wizard. "Did you come here merely to talk fashion, or do you truly have a death-wish?" His hand tightened around his wand.

Lockhart's smile faded a little. "You're a very funny man, Severus," he laughed with false hardiness. "No, Professor Dumbledore asked me to fetch you. No doubt he fears any of us wandering on our own in these dark times. Especially you, my friend."

Snape cocked an eyebrow and sneered at him, but otherwise let the slight drop. "Why, might I ask, does the Headmaster require me?"

"Oh, it is really something dreadful," Lockhart gasped, as though something pained him. "Another attack. We fear that only a Potions master, so quick and clever as yourself, might be able to save the day. I'm afraid the Headmaster is in dire straits."

Fear chilled Snape's blood, freezing him in place for a split second. Only very dark magic could harm Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards of the age. There wasn't a moment to lose. "Lead the way," he barked, grabbing his emergency potions kit and raising his wand.

Much to his surprise, Lockhart didn't imitate his actions, but quite calmly led him through the castle unto to the Great Hall. "Where is he?" Snape hissed. His beady eyes swept around the room for any signs of danger. He then saw the Headmaster, sitting at the head table, laughing with Madam Pomfrey over a glass of Christmas punch. Snape rounded on Lockhart, who then shouted,

"He's here! We can start the Christmas carols!"

"Hooray!" squeaked little Flitwick, who was apparently quite tipsy. No one else shared his delight, except perhaps Dumbledore, who began a rousing rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"—Hogwarts style!

Snape just barely managed to silence his screams of terror. "You—you tricked me."

"—Five lizard spleens!" the students shouted.

"Happy Christmas, Sevvie," Lockhart chuckled.


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  #36  
Old August 25th, 2009, 6:54 am
House_Elf_21  Undisclosed.gif House_Elf_21 is offline
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 20, Part I: Dropping Defenses, Pruning Pretenses


The newcomers' appearance only distracted Pax from her nerves for a moment. What was she doing here? What kind of person was she, pretending to be Tristan's girlfriend—No, Bott's girlfriend, she corrected herself—anyway? Showing up at his home. Spending time with his family.

His family. Pax's insides burned at the memory of their meeting. They were nice enough, sure… to HER, a "brilliant" Ravenclaw. To Bott, a "loyally brainless" Gryffindor, they weren't exactly mean, but not exactly kind either. No, they were mean. Tristan was smart! Hadn't he got at least an "Exceeds Expectations" in every class, minus Potions? Not only was he smart, but he was—was—so much more than just "Bott"! He was… her Bott.

What was she thinking?

Pax must have been frowning, because she was roused from her reverie to hear KT announce, cheerily:

"Don't mind the scar. Potions accident, Sixth Year. Have to drink a special potion every month to keep my skin from sizzling away."

Before Pax could offer apologies or even register shock, the man with KT said,

"I'm so sorry. She loves to tell everyone the story."

Pax smiled as she covertly wiped the remaining sick from her shoes. "It's all right. Being around Tristan thickens your skin." Oops! "I mean—"

"You look dead on your feet, love," said KT, linking her arm through Pax's. "Tris is totally rude leaving his girl out in this cold."

Pax was just about to confess to Apparition sickness, but was saved by Mrs. Bott, who chose that moment to burst through the front door and declare how cold Pax looked, and to grab her in a bear hug.

"Come inside, you lot. It's freezing out here!" She guided Pax inside, then pulled KT and the man she was with into an embrace. "Tristan is upstairs waiting for you, Pax. He mentioned something about needing your help with some unfinished homework." Mrs. Bott gave an indulgent laugh as she helped Pax out of her travelling cloak. "Lucky he has you. That boy is hopeless when it comes to his studies."

Instead of glaring at her host for the slight on Tristan, Pax gave a small smile and looked around for the steps. She didn't know Bott very well yet, but she knew he would be smarter than to mention needing help (especially in front of his depreciating parents.) "I'm sorry, where—"

"Oh, Tristan's bedroom is password protected," Mrs. Bott said casually.

Pax gulped, but no one seemed to notice.

"KT, would you mind calling Sparky? He'll know the password." Mrs. Bott turned back to Pax, "Sparky is Tristan's House Elf. Sparky adores Tristan, goodness knows why. Jerome!" she cried, turning to the man standing silently on the doormat. "Let me help you with that luggage! You've brought enough to stay a year, by the looks of things!" And with that, Mrs. Bott bustled out of the room with Jerome and luggage in toe.

Pax turned to see Tristan's cousin grinning at her. "Sparky!"

There was a loud popping sound, and an albino House Elf wearing a scarlet pillowcase Apparated at their feet. "Mistress KT!" cried the elf in a squeaky voice.

"Hello there, Sparky."

The elf bowed to the floor. "What does mistress require of Sparky?"

"Sparky, I'd like you to meet Tristan's Pax. She's—"

But the House Elf let out a gasp and looked up at Pax with wide eyes.

"Er, hi, Sparky," Pax said, extending a hand. She had never met a House Elf before and wasn't sure if this was proper etiquette. She was even less assured when the elf broke down sobbing. "Um, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you." Hastily she withdrew her hand and attempted a weak smile at the elf.

"Sorry? Offend?" Sparky hiccuped. "What could Mistress Pax ever do to offend Sparky? She is sweeter, kinder, more beautiful than Master described." It was at those words that elf stopped, apparently horrified about something, and began beating his head against the floor.

"Sparky, stop," KT commanded.

The elf ceased at once and sat up, panting. "Yes, miss. Forgive me, it was wrong to contradict Master. Bad, stupid, forgetful Sparky!"

"Didn't Tris ask you to stop beating yourself about?" KT sighed, looking irked yet somewhat amused.

"Right. Right. Yes, Master did mention that to Sparky, now that Mistress mentions it." The elf then looked up Pax with unmistakable awe and adoration.
"Um—" Pax looked at KT for help, but she only chuckled and walked away. "Sparky? W-would you please tell me the password to Tristan's, erm…"

"Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Sparky will give you the word at once." He then motioned for her to lean down. Once she had done so, he whispered, "Dragon Bogeys," and vanished.

"Dragon Bogeys?" Pax repeated, and immediately regretted doing so. It was Apparition all over again. She was sucked up what felt like a thin tube and was spat out, coughing and spitting, onto a pile of dirty laundry.

"Eck!" she cried, leaping from the pile, which reeked of old socks.

"Oh! Sorry. Forgot to move those out of the way." Tristan leapt to her rescue, pulling an old tie from off the top of her head. He pulled out his wand, muttered something under his breath, and the pile disappeared.

"Pax—"

"Um—nice room you have here." Was he on to her? Had he at last unraveled the strange tale surrounding their supposed romance? She hoped not, yet she hoped so. "Um, Tristan."

And as one they both said, "We need to talk."


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  #37  
Old August 29th, 2009, 7:32 am
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 20, Part II: Change of Heart


Pax let out a nervous laugh. "You first." Did he know? How could he know? Well, there were actually a million ways he could know. Sarah had mentioned the Love Potion and Snape… And hadn't she, Pax, tried to break up with him a few short weeks ago?

With a weak grin, Tristan ran a hand through his hair and stared at the ceiling. So, he was nervous, too. "Umm," he began. "Are you done being sick?"

She couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Obviously."

He looked down with a smirk. "Wow, you sounded like Snape just there."

Pax's heart did a flip. I don't want to hurt you!

Tristan cleared his throat. "So, you, er, haven't talked to my dad yet, have you?" Obviously he was trying to sound nonchalant, but Pax wasn't fooled.

"No. I haven't seen him, come to think of it."

He let out a sigh that couldn't mean anything but relief. "Oh. Have you talked to Mum at all?"

"Tristan, what's going on?"

Tristan winced ever so slightly and handed her a blue envelope. "I just got around to reading this. Go ahead; take a look."

After shooting him an inquisitive look, Pax took the envelope, pulled out a piece of parchment and read,

"Tristan,

Your mother and I know you're having trouble finding something for Pax's Christmas gift, so we decided to offer a suggestion and some advice.

You've known the young woman, or, at least of her, since your first year. What are you waiting for, son? We know Pax is smart, clever and rather charming, and she seems to like you. Take the enclosed and do what you wish with it. I hope you'll make the right choice.

We would be so proud of you!

Love,

Father."


Whether they were tears of anger or tears of pity rolling down her cheeks, Pax wasn't certain. "What—"

Tristan lifted her chin and showed her a ring with a blue sapphire set in the middle. "This was in the envelope."

"Yes, yes, I gathered that much," she snorted, finally meeting Tristan's eyes.

He looked miserable. "I'm going to do it."

"What? Do what?" Pax stuttered.

"Propose. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to propose." He hung his head, as if admitting to some dreadful crime.

All that Pax could do for the next three minutes was stand there, staring. Tristan's gaze wandered away. "Why? We barely know each other, Tris—"

"I know," he snapped, his jaw set. "Don't you see? My parents have been ashamed of me most of my life. What a disappointment, first member of the family in generations not in Ravenclaw. What a dunderhead. Low grades, troublemaker. Well, at least I didn't make Slytherin, or, Merlin forbid, Hufflepuff!"

"Tristan—"

"But here—" He tapped the letter frantically. "—Here they've provided me with the perfect opportunity to make a choice they approve of!"

"You didn't have a choice of what house to be sorted into, Tris—"

"Of course I did! The Hat asked me. It asked me, Pax! And I chose Gryffindor!" Now he sounded slightly hysterical… and looked it too as he began pacing the room, ripping at his already-disheveled hair. "I was tired of my family's intellectual snobbery. I thought it was almost as bad as the whole Pureblood obsession that some have. I wanted to do something different. I was a rebel. I was foolish. I was… Well, that doesn't matter anymore. My choice there has been made, but I won't let that be the end of me. I'm done with being so darn stubborn and unruly."

"What are you—"

He held a finger. "Please, let me finish. Since I saw the look on my parents' face after I almost died, I realized that life is too short. That family is too important to disregard. I'm not asking you to say 'yes' to my proposal, Pax. In fact, I'm betting on you shooting me down."

The tears now fell freely from Pax's eyes. "Tristan."

He wasn't listening. "But maybe, just maybe, this Gryffindor will finally make a decision with his brain. It's the smart thing to do."

Before she could stop herself, before she could think about what she was doing, Pax gently pressed her hand over Tristan's heart. "What does this tell you?" she said softly.

"Does it matter?" Tristan muttered, wincing slightly at the words. "Can't have the heart of lion with a brain as keen as an eagle's, now can I?"

Pax's heart sank. So, she was the choice of his head, but not of his heart? No, there was no denying it now—to herself, anyway. Pax Belinda Ophelia cared for Tristan. Not "Bott." Not "Prat." Not "Git." And she was devastated that he didn't care back.

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Old September 26th, 2010, 2:45 am
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Re: The Unintentional Matchmaker

Chapter 20, Part III: Snape's Gift

Having recently recovered his dignity after the Christmas carol fiasco--"Seven verses of 'I Saw Merlin Kissing Satyr-Claws'? Oh, the humanity!"--Severus Snape spent a rough night in his bed chamber. Not that he was looking forward to the following morning. What was there to look forward to? The feast? Surely not, and surely there would be no presents. The last present Snape had received was gifted to him by Lily Evans.

It had been their fifth year, several months before he had called her the dreadful M-word. They had already begun to drift apart, as she didn't approve of his "friends." He could still see her standing there, as though the image had been burned into his mind, into his very soul.

Lily was dressed in emerald green dress robes, her hair pulled back into a casual plait. She was beautiful. No, the word wasn't strong enough. She was perfect. "Happy Christmas, Sev," she said, somewhat stiffly. She wasn't happy about his recent exploits with "that evil Mulciber."

"Merry Christmas, Lily," he said, holding out a small parcel, wrapped carefully in green, silver, red and gold-striped paper. He waited expectantly, trying to ignore the fact that a sprig of mistletoe hung above the door, just an arm's length away. When Lily did not accept the gift, he pleaded, "Please, Lily, take it and stop being so angry with me."

Lily's eyes narrowed. "You didn't spend a whole lot on me, did you, Severus?"

Snape's insides burned. He knew that she knew he was quite destitute. "No," he replied calmly, pressing the parcel into her hands. "I didn't spend anything, as a matter of fact."

She seemed intrigued, though a little nervous. Could he, Severus Snape, the Half-Blood Prince, Potions Genius be making Lily Evans nervous? Lily shook the gift gently, then tore through the paper without ceremony. "Sev," she said, her eyes widening, "I can't take your Potions book! You've put so much work into correcting all the--"

Snape put a finger to her lips. "I want you to have it." In truth, he was broke that month, uncertain if he could afford to enter his sixth year at Hogwarts. The Potions book was a piece of himself, something hard to part with, but he would give all his wordly possessions if it meant making her happy.

"Aww, Sev." She distractedly brushed his finger away from her lips, reached into her robe pocket and pulled out a small gift, wrapped in the same paper he had used. "Here."

Snape took it from her, tore open the paper and revealed, "'Dark Art Defense: A Hands-On Guide to Facing the Dark Arts!' Lily, how did you know that I wanted this?"

Lily smiled knowingly. "Oh, I'm a master Legilimens, Sev."

Snape let out a nervous laugh. Did she know that he was practicing Occlumency? Before he could ask, Lily said in a very small, serious voice,

"Sev, please use it for good." Then, of all things, she grabbed him in a hug. "Thanks for the book, Sev. I think Slughorn knows you've been helping me."

"Oh, well." Snape could hardly speak. He could hardly think. Lily Evans, the girl he had loved since the tender age of eight, had embraced him!

The scene in present Snape's mind darkened, and it felt as though a Dementor had swept into the icy-cold room. Numbly, he recalled the last time that he had spoken with Lily Evans at school. Furious with him, she hadn't even bothered to return the gifted Potions book in person. Instead, she had sent it by way of a school owl, without a note.

Snape wondered idly what had become of the book. It was Potions Grade Six, a year advanced for the fifth-years, but he had gotten rid of it as quickly as he could, throwing it into the used books cupboard in Slughorn's classroom.

Then he wondered what had happened to the book Lily had given him. It went missing the day the Potters died. Yes, that would be Snape's best and very last Christmas gift.


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