Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 32

Taking his hand, Joanna felt an immediate surge of energy as Tom brought her along in an apparation. A few seconds later, they appeared in front of a mansion.

“What is this place?” Joanna asked.

“My place. Supposedly,” Tom answered, as he led her through a door which entered a dusty kitchen.

“If it is your place, why are we entering from the back?”

“It is supposed to be mine, but it isn’t.”

Tom pulled out his wand and brightened up their path out of the kitchen, pass the dining room, and into the hall.

“Whose is it then?”

Tom did not answer as they started up the curving steps to the first floor.

“What if we get caught?”

“You’re still afraid of being caught?” Tom asked in reply.

It was Joanna’s turn not to answer him.

Finally, they entered a huge reading room. Tom started a fire by the fireplace while Joanna examined the room. There were tall bookshelves, a grand piano, and three sofas that sat by the fireplace. The house looked abandoned for several years, as the dusty carpets and cobwebbed ceilings made the air so stale and difficult to breath. However, this room was an exception.

“You live here?” Joanna asked, settling down on a sofa.

“This is the Riddle House. It’s mine by default.” Tom took a seat across her before he continued, “I don’t use the front door because it’s booby trapped. I’ve put spells around the house so no muggle would dare enter. Their fear of the dead is an advantage.”

“Fake ghosts?”

“Fake ghosts of my dead father and grandparents. Even their loyal gardener is afraid of entering the house after their deaths.”

“I see.”

“But this is not what I wanted to show you.”

Tom smiled before he whispered in parseltongue. A few seconds later, Joanna heard a hissing reply.

“Should I close my eyes?” Joanna immediately asked. The last time she met one of Tom’s pets, it was a killing machine.

“No. Nagini is not a basilisk. She’s a rare crossed breed snake I acquired when I was travelling.”

To Joanna’s surprise, the snake that entered the room was not at all huge. It was merely 4 feet long and half a feet wide.

“She’s still a baby. But she’ll grow,” Tom said, after he saw her slight relief.

The snake slithered up the sofa next to Tom, and rested its green head on his lap.

Tom said something else in parseltongue and the snake turned its head to look at Joanna. With its tongue flicking in her direction, it slowly stood up.

“What did you say?” Joanna asked, watching the snake closely.

“I introduced you to her.”

The snake slowly slithered onto the wooden table in the between them and Joanna reacted by standing up immediately.

“Relax. I told her you’re not dinner.”

Was that a joke? Joanna asked herself as she turned to Tom.

“She’s just being friendly,” Tom continued. “Give her a pat on the head, so she knows you’re not hostile.”

Joanna shook her head in reply.

“Nagini won’t bite. She’s a baby and she’s friendlier at this stage. In a couple of months time, it would be impossible to befriend her.”

I don’t want to befriend a snake, Joanna thought.

“If she knows you now, she won’t attempt to kill you later on.”

Looks like I don’t have a choice then? Joanna thought.

Slowly, she reached out towards the snake. It was watching her hand as she watched it, and Joanna had a bad feeling about it. Quickly, she touched the top of the snakes head and pulled her hand back. The snake then lowered its head, before returning to Tom.

“That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

Joanna sat back down cautiously.

“I just wanted you to meet my new friend. Nagini has been accompanying me for some time now and she sort of reminds me of you.”

“I’m not a snake,”Joanna immediately responded.

“Of course not. But you’re a friend.”

Tom’s reply made Joanna smile. He never stopped taking her as a friend. That was good, she thought.

…..

Throughout that one month break, Joanna had been catching up with many of her old friends during the day, and spending the nights with Tom in the reading room. One evening, while Joanna was reading a book on dark magic, which was one of the many that rested on the tall shelves, Nagini entered the reading room.

Tom was not around that evening as he said he had an errand to run. Joanna was fine being alone, but certainly unsure on how to react when his snake decided to be her company.

“Hi,” Joanna said, as she lifted her legs off the ground and folded it on the sofa.

Nagini headed up to her and hissed.

“What is it?”

Nagini rose higher off the ground, hissed at her, and turned to look at the door.

“What do you want?” Joanna asked, pushing herself against the sofa. She had to admit that she was still afraid of the snake, baby or not.

Nagini dropped to the ground, slithered to the doorway, rose from the ground and hissed at her again.

Does it want me to follow it? Joanna asked herself.

“Do you want me to follow you?” Joanna then asked Nagini, which she knew did not understand English.

Like a puppy trying to hint for something, Nagini slithered back and forth with its head turning to the hallway outside the room.

Joanna was now certain it wanted to be followed. Yet, Joanna was not so sure if she should. God knows if Nagini intended on attacking her somewhere else.

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should follow after Nagini!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 31

Joanna hesitated. Honestly, she wanted to hear him out, but her inner voice was telling her to leave. Not wanting to take a step forward or backward, Joanna planted herself on the ground and waited to see if he insisted.

“Look, I’m sorry alright. I was just… suspicious,” Tom quickly said.

“Of what?”

“Of aurors. They like sticking their noses up in everything.”

“I told you I’m off duty,” Joanna immediately responded, clearly upset at the assumption.

“That’s what they all say.” Tom paused just as the waiter arrived with their food.

“Please sit back down,” Tom added.

Joanna hesitated for a moment before she returned to her seat.

Dinner went on fairly well as Tom suddenly showed interest in her life. He kept the questions going and gave no room for Joanna to ask any. Maybe he didn’t want to be asked, Joanna thought as she left for home that evening. Tom had volunteered to accompany her home, but she declined. His sudden gentleman act reminded her of the times they had back in Hogwarts, and she found herself secretly wishing they had not lost any part of that friendship.

The holidays went on and Joanna found herself bumping into Tom more frequently at Diagon Alley. He even asked her out for a second meal and a third. Before she knew it, she was certain they had obtained that piece of friendship that only she could have with him.

“I once caught a man who was killing innocent muggle girls and drinking their blood,” Joanna said.

“If immortality is what he seeks, unicorn’s blood will do the trick,” Tom replied.

“I don’t know if that’s any better.”

“Better than killing girls, am I not right?”

“Since when did you care about sparing lives?” Joanna asked jokingly.

“I never did. I’m just saying that unicorn’s blood works better and faster.” Tom’s casual reply told Joanna he had dwelled his years in the dark arts. His knowledge was beyond her years of training, and it made even the senior aurors look uneducated.

“Where did you learn all these?”

“My knowledge comes from experience.”

“You killed a unicorn and drank its blood?”

“No, I know someone who did. But he failed to complete the process, and he was never really immortal or mortal in the end.”

They were seated by the fireplace of the tavern, and throughout their conversation, Tom never took his eyes of the flickering flames.

“Horcruxes are better,” Tom muttered to himself.

“You have all of yours done?” Joanna blurted out what was on her mind, and immediately regretting of wondering so. She knew that if she knew too much, she would have to do her job and stop whatever dark magic he was playing with.

“Don’t answer that,” Joanna quickly added.

“I wouldn’t. I’m not stupid.” Tom finally took his eyes off the flames, and the once tall flames went into hiding under the wooden logs, occasionally peering above.

“What did you do to the fire?” Joanna was watching the fire too, and the sudden lost of boldness in the flames was odd.

“I did nothing to the fire,” Tom replied as he sunk deeper into the red velvet arm chair.

Instead of following after him, Joanna leaned towards the fire, telling herself she did not just imagine it all. Just then, the flames made a sudden rise, higher than it did before. Joanna immediately shoved herself back into her seat, and when she turned to Tom, he merely smiled.

“You did that!” Joanna exclaimed. The empty tavern at one in the morning made her exclamation sound like a shout from the rooftops.

“Hush now, there’s no need to shout,” Tom replied, still smiling.

“How did you do that?”

Tom did not reply. He simply kept his smile.

“Tell me!” Joanna insisted.

“I didn’t do that.”

“Liar. I know you did.”

“You can’t prove it,” Tom said.

“You could burn this whole tavern to the ground if you wanted to. I’m sure you could.”

“You have great faith in my abilities. Aren’t you afraid I may be the next evil wizard to send the world into mass hysteria?”

“I don’t think your ambitions are that heinous.” Joanna found herself answering like her innocent 17 year old self. Had she not matured a day from all the bad wizards and witches she had encountered?

“Unfortunately, your youthful innocence blinds you.”

Tom’s statement plummeted Joanna’s thoughts into a dark vortex of self evaluation. Indeed her innocence was blinding, but only to his dark side, which she feared.

“Enough talk. I want to show you something,” Tom said, after the ticking sound of the grandfather clock became too monotonous to bear.

“Show me what?”

“You would have to come home with me to see it,” Tom replied.

“Go home with you? Can’t you just summon whatever it is here?”

“If I did, I would cause some hysteria, and that’s not what I intend on doing. At least not so soon.”

Tom stood up from his chair and waited for her.

Should she follow him home? Joanna was curious on what he wanted to show her, but it was really late and going home with him might not be the best idea.

“I won’t hurt you. You should know that by now,” Tom added, as she stretched out his hand for her to take.

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should follow Tom home or go home!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 30

Joanna headed to Knockturn Alley after gossiping about everyone from school with Annoria. Being that she was an Auror in one of the darkest parts of the Wizarding World, Joanna never took her hand off her wand. As she walked down the old shops, mostly unable to tell if they were still operational, Joanna recalled the trip she took with Tom to the tavern in Hogsmead. Oh yes, the same trepidation was lingering within her.

Finally reaching Borgin and Burkes, Joanna took a peep through the old musty window. She saw a wide array of magical objects which she was sure all could be used for dark magic. Silently, she wondered why there was no law against magical objects that enhanced dark magic.

“Can I help you?” a man, who was standing by the door, asked in a suspicious tone.

“I’m… looking for someone,” Joanna hesitated.

“Why?” The man, whom Joanna recognized as Caractacus Burke, kept the same suspicious tone.

“You’re Caractacus right?” Joanna had to confirm her doubts, as the man was missing a finger, which was not the description they had on him at the Auror department.

“Who’s asking?”

“You’re on our watch list,” Joanna simply replied as she walked past him and into his shop.

“I didn’t do anything, you can’t prove anything,” Caractacus immediately defended himself as he followed after her.

“Relax, I’m not here on a job.”

“Then why are you here?” His suspicious tone returned.

“I’m looking for an old friend from school, they say he works here.”

“Who? Tom Riddle? He’s the only one that works for me,” Caractacus quickly replied, hoping to shift the conversation away from himself.

“Yes. Is he here?”

“I’ll… I’ll go get him,” he said, before hurrying off and disappearing among the shelves and big objects.

And then, as though the placement of the objects were so perfect to bounce off sound, Joanna heard a conversation.

“Who is she?! What did you do?!” Caractacus demanded.

“Relax old man, she’s a friend from school.”

“She better not be snooping around. They need a warrant for that.”

“She won’t give you any problems.”

Joanna could still hear the authoritative tone in his voice. Though it may seem like Tom was working for Caractacus, but Caractacus was wrapped around Tom’s fingers.

“I’m taking a break,” Tom said, before she heard his footsteps. And though they were loud and clear she couldn’t make out the direction he was coming from.

“Funny how sound works in here huh,” Tom finally said from behind her, making her jump as her hand tightened on her wand.

“Yes. It is.” Joanna turned to face him. Tom had not really changed as he still looked the same, just older and more manly.

“Let’s talk outside. Mr. Burke likes to eavesdrop,” Tom said loudly before he led her to the exit.

Once outside, Joanna found herself letting go of her wand. Somehow, she knew he wouldn’t hurt her.

“The arrangement of the objects… your job?” Joanna asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yes. We like listening to our customers’ thoughts,” Tom answered with a smile. “So, how have you been?”

“Pretty good, you?”

“I’m fine.”

“I thought you wanted to work in Hogwarts?”

“I was turned down.”

“Ouch. But I heard you had a lot of offers from the Ministry.”

“I turned THEM down.”

As Tom answered, she noticed how he never took his eyes off her.

“As an auror, aren’t you trained to be on guard every time?” Tom suddenly asked.

“Yes.”

“You should keep your hand on your wand. I must tell you, it is more dangerous out here than in there.”

“I…” Joanna didn’t know how to answer. She didn’t intend on letting her guard down at all.

“But don’t worry, I’ll protect you. No one here crosses me,” Tom said with full of pride. And then he smiled, that same smile that captivated the hearts of many.

“I get off work at around seven. We can have dinner if you want to catch up?” Tom added.

Joanna started to read him again, just like how she would back in Hogwarts.

“Dinner sounds fine,” Joanna replied, after a few seconds of internal debates.

“Great. I’ll meet you at the Three Broomsticks,” Tom replied and disappeared back into the shop without even saying goodbye.

Placing her hand back on her wand, Joanna left Knockturn Alley, did some shopping, and settled down at the Three Broomsticks right at the stroke of seven. Moments later, Tom walked in and sat down at her table.

There was a long moment of silence as the waitress came, went and returned. Joanna buried her face in the menu long enough for the waitress to make an annoying throat clearing sound. After they made their orders, Joanna started staring out the window, trying to avoid Tom’s gaze. He had never taken his eyes off her the moment he saw her.

“Could you stop staring at me?” Joanna could not take it any longer.

“Why did you come and see me?” Tom asked in reply.

“I… I just wanted to see how you were doing.”

“Curious as always,” Tom said.

“No. I was concerned.”

“Right. But why? We haven’t spoken since we left school, its almost a year and a half now.”

“Is it wrong to check up on an old friend?” Joanna was getting defensive.

“I don’t know. We weren’t really friends after you came back to Hogwarts.”

“Well, that’s not really my fault, is it?” Joanna couldn’t believe they were getting into an argument.

“You were saying it was my fault?”

“You weren’t there when I needed you the most, you ditched me remember? After your emotional speech about wanting me to be in your life and all that, you still ditched me,” Joanna replied, trying not to get angry.

“I made a speech? I don’t recall it,” Tom said, with no expression on his face.

“Wow Tom, just wow. I don’t know why I agreed to have dinner with you. You’re just the same arrogant boy I use to know.”

“I’m always the same, Joanna. I’ve never changed. Is that all you remember me for, arrogant?”

“I don’t need to remember, you’re proving it now.” Immediately, Joanna stood up.

“You’re leaving?” Tom asked, not at all surprised.

“Yes. I am.” Joanna decided to give up trying. Tom may have grown to be more handsome, but he was still the same inside.

As she walked past him, he reached out for her wrist and stopped her.

“I’m sorry. Old habits die hard,” Tom quickly said. “Please, sit back down.” The tone in his voice had changed.

“No. I got to go.” Joanna often wondered if Tom had a split personality, and if he did, she did not want to deal with either personalities anymore.

“Don’t go. I need to tell you something.” Tom refused to let go of her wrist no matter how hard she tried to tug it free.

Joanna thought for a while. Should she listen to him and give him a chance? Or should she just leave him, as dinner WAS his chance.

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should stay or go!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 29

Once she had said yes to Nyla, the second half of the year sped up so fast. Time really flies, even in the magical world. The exams came and went, and Joanna was certain she did well enough to confirm her a spot in  the ministry once she graduated. Though Joanna and Tom had made up, they were merely on ‘hello’ terms, and slowly but surely, they grew apart. Joanna could not see how she could support Tom as an auror-to-be, and Tom did not want to associate himself with anyone that had to do with the ministry; but they did not see each other as enemies, rather the friend that was once close.

Finally, the year came to an end and as Slytherin, once again, took the house cup, the mixture of groans and cheers made Joanna wish the year could have ended later. Hogwarts was like the home she never had, and even though she had to go through the ups and downs, she made friends whom she loved dearly, that would have included Tom if she wasn’t so unsure about how she felt about him.

Once the ‘Goodbye and good luck’ speech was given by Professor Dippet to the graduating class, the night ended with hugs and wishes among the seniors. Some of the juniors stayed back in the great hall to say their goodbyes, as the following day, everyone would be boarding the Hogwarts express and most of them wouldn’t see each other for a while. Joanna was sure to thank the teachers first, and when she came face to face with Professor Dumbledore, her prediction of what he would say came through.

“I’m glad you’re taking up the Auror job. It’s a very good career,” Professor Dumbledore said with a smile.

Joanna merely returned the smile and nodded. She wasn’t so certain if it would be a good career, considering all the battle scars one would collect over time.

Finally thanking all the teachers, who ended saying the same thing about her job offer at the ministry and how she did rather well without failing a single subject, she naturally headed up to Tom.

Since she knew she wouldn’t be seeing him again she thought that an appropriate goodbye should be said.

“So, I heard you’re the top of the class again,” Joanna said, diverting Tom’s attention away from a junior who kept smiling at him without saying a word.

“Yes, I did. You did pretty good yourself,” Tom immediately replied, turning his back against the junior who narrowed her eyes at Joanna before storming off.

“You have an admirer.” Joanna chuckled.

“Annoying,” Tom said as he rolled his eyes.

“Well, what are you planning to do?” Joanna asked, out of curiosity.

“I thought of coming back, to teach.”

“Teach?” That surprised Joanna.

“Yea. Defense against the dark arts,” Tom said.

“Defense against the dark arts?”

Wasn’t Tom for the dark arts? Not against the dark arts? Joanna thought to herself.

“You look shock. Why?”

“I just thought… I mean… it’s not really you to-“

“It’s an interesting subject,” Tom said with a smile. A smile that hid his ulterior motives, but Joanna didn’t bother to pry.

“Well, all the best!”

“You too,” Tom said.

“I’ll see you around,” Joanna added, before she headed towards Annoria, who had been calling her over for the last one minute.

…..

One year into her training at the Ministry of Magic, Joanna was finally promoted as an official Auror. She was assigned to a team and her first so called mission was to track down a wizard who was putting spells on muggles to do his biding. Once that mission was over, another one came, followed by many many more. It’s strange how some wizards loved abusing their magical abilities, even on harmless animals. Most of them were rather disturbed and Joanna was sure she have not met the worst of the worst just yet.

With all the work, Joanna realized that she had not spoken to her friends for months. This auror job is taking up a lot of my time, Joanna thought, as she sat down one night just to reply the letter Annoria had sent her three months ago.

Hoping to catch her breath, the following day, Joanna requested a one month leave, which was supposedly the unclaimed holidays she lost over hunting down crazy wizards. Once it was confirmed, she wrote another letter to Annoria, hoping to meet up.

Annoria must have been extremely free or jobless as her owl returned quickly. Two days after that, they met at the Three Broomsticks and recollected the days where Joanna took Matilda up on a duel.

“I thought you were going to kill her!’ Annoria said, laughing at the memory.

“I thought so too. Wow, I miss those days.” Joanna indeed missed those carefree days.

“Your job is pretty demanding huh?”

“Who knew animal cruelty would fall under our jurisdiction,” Joanna replied.

“Seriously?’

“If the animal was used for dark magic that is. So, what are you doing now?”

“I’m working in Gringotts.”

“Is it not busy? Aren’t Goblins rather demanding?”

“No, not really. I handle most of the paperwork, but it’s not something magic can’t do by itself.”

“That’s good.”

“You know what I heard? Tom was offered jobs in the Ministry of Magic. Is it true?” Annoria continued, clearly wanting to do some gossiping.

“I don’t know. I’m rarely in the office. Who did you hear it from?” Joanna was now curious on how Tom was doing.

“Friends of friends in the ministry. But they said he turned them down, for whatever reason. He disappointed a lot of people.”

“Tom never liked the ministry, it would be against his secret oath or something to work in it.”

“But that’s just a waste of talent. I heard he’s working at Borgin and Burkes now. YOU should pay him a visit.” Annoria failed to hide her smile.

“You should come along with me,” Joanna casually replied.

“I don’t like Knockturn Alley. It’s creepy. But you should go, I mean, you haven’t seen him in a while, and he could have only gotten more handsome than he was before,” Annoria teased.

Joanna laughed as Annoria winked her eye at her. Should she pay Tom a visit? Or should she just scrape the idea all together?

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should pay a visit or ignore the suggestion!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 28

“You’re not worth it,” Joanna simply said.

Immediately, seeing that there would not be a duel, the crowd slowly dispersed.

“Typical Hufflepuffs, weaklings as usual,” Matilda shouted, hoping to attract only Joanna’s attention, but ended up stopping all the Hufflepuffs in their tracks.

Clearly noticing her mistake, Matilda quickly hurried off, with her posse following after her like lost puppies.

Just as Matilda disappeared around a corner, an announcement boomed overhead and Professor Dumbledore’s voice sent everyone silent.

“Attention all final year students, please proceed to the great hall immediately.”

“But we have class,” Annoria said in reply.

“No astronomy, I’m fine with that,” Joanna said, as they began following the small crowd towards the great hall.

Once they had arrived, the great hall had been rearranged. The tables and benches were stacked up against the wall, leaving a huge empty space in the center. At the teacher’s table was Professor Dippet, Professor Dumbledore, Professor Merrythought, and three people whom Joanna suspected to be the aurors.

“What is going on?” Annoria asked.

Asking the same question to herself, Joanna hoped it had nothing to do with Tom and his horcuxes. And when she spotted him at the corner of the teacher’s table, she sighed a small relief.

“Recruitment drive,” someone answered Annoria’s question from behind them.

“It’s not that easy though,” another student added.

“They didn’t do this last year,” Annoria said.

“Shortage in staff,” Joanna replied, and the students around her chuckled softly.

Some of the prefects began to ask students to move forward, as everyone was crowding at the back of the hall, and none dared to break off from the group.

“We are not going to hurt you,” the female auror said.

Cautious laughter followed with the crowd slowly shuffling forward.

“My name is Nyla and we have been told by Professor Merrythought that you are one of Hogwarts’ finest badge in defense against the dark arts. So, a few of us has decided to fish out the talented ones to join our force,” the female auror explained.

“You’re not going to try and kill us are you?” a Gryffindor student asked. He was bold enough to speak up, but clearly not so brave after all.

“Of course not. We’re going to run this recruitment test just like how we do it in the ministry. It is legal and safe, trust me,” Nyla answered confidently.

Nyla was a slim, tall and pretty, middle aged woman, and her two fellow colleagues were men, one of them taller than Professor Dumbledore, and the other slightly shorter than Nyla. All three of them had battle wounds, but Nyla did the best job at hiding hers.

Just as Joanna had finally studied them all, she noticed that the three of them had positioned themselves at the front of the hall. They were pulling their wands out so slowly that Joanna was certain she was the only one that saw. Instinctively, she pulled hers out slowly as well.

“What we’re going to do today,” Nyla paused when she spotted Joanna with her wand, and then she continued, “is to test your speed, accuracy and creativity in a combat duel, especially when you’re caught off guard.”

Immediately after she had spoken, her two colleagues started firing spells at the students. Screams and yells echoed throughout the great hall as students were running towards the exit.

Joanna, with her wand at hand, blocked off as many spells she could while she yelled for the ones around her to take out their wands.

“What. Are. They. Doing?!” Annoria yelled in between the piercing screams.

“Fishing out the talented ones,” Joanna shouted in reply.

A few other students started emerging from the crowd of hysterical students with their wands, defending the flying sparks of all colors that was heading towards them.

“I. Can’t. Keep. This. Up. I’m. Not. Good!” Annoria said, now losing breath as the aurors did not sop.

Having her attention diverted to Annoria for just a second, Joanna did not see a spell that was intentionally meant for her. The moment it hit her on the chest, she flew all the way to the back of the hall, and landed onto one of the stacked tables.

Pain rose from her joints as she tried to stand up. Being slightly above the crowd, she saw Nyla aim another spell at her.

“Why is she picking one me?!” Joanna said to herself.

Quickly dogging the red spark, Joanna fired a spell back at her. It was no longer a game of defense.

Joanna watched as Nyla blocked off her spells as they started heading towards each other. She was sure they would finally come face to face when one of Nyla’s colleagues decided to come to Nyla’s aid.

This is unfair! Joanna thought.

Joanna looked around to see if anyone would come to her aid, and when she saw Annoria on her knees, having given up, Joanna knew she was done for.

The next spell that hit Joanna sent her wand out of her hand as she landed on her back. As she laid on the ground, not wanting to move, she heard the spells stop and the screams slowly died down.

“Fished out the talented ones already?!” Matilda shouted from under her tears.

Joanna couldn’t help but laugh.

“I believe we have,” Nyla said. A loud click came from the doors of the great hall, and Matilda stormed past the once locked doors.

“She wasn’t very good, Nyla,” Professor Merrythought said as the crowd watched Matilda leave.

“You can all return to your dormitories now, class is cancelled for today,” Professor Dippet announced, and some of the angry and upset students decided to let go of their grudges immediately.

Finally sitting up, Joanna scanned the hall for her wand. When she saw it lying 10 feet away, it was being picked up by no one other than Nyla.

“I believe this is yours,” Nyla said, as she walked towards her.

“Thank you,” Joanna replied as she took her wand.

“You gave a real good fight.”

“Thanks.”

“Ever thought of becoming an auror?” Nyla asked.

Was that an offer? It must have been. Joanna had never thought of becoming an auror, considering her family’s background, but just the thought of finally being able to break her family’s curse was hope she never had before. Should she take up Nyla on the offer?

To be continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should become an auror!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 27

Joanna made her way to the tower that night. She wasn’t sure why she was going to see Tom, but she just felt like she had to. When she finally reached the landing in front of the door, she hesitated for a moment. Would it seem weak if she gave in to him? Joanna asked herself. She didn’t like being weak. But as her heart did the pondering, her brain moved her hand towards the door and pushed it open.

Tom was standing by the balcony, over looking the night sky. There were no stars that night, only a pitch black, endless sky. As Joanna entered and closed the door behind her, Tom did not turn, nor did he even flinch.

There was an awkward moment of silence before Tom spoke, “I heard you have an uncle who sells exotic snakes. Do you think you can get one for me?”

“You called me here to ask if I can get a snake for you?” Joanna couldn’t believe her ears.

Turning his head to look at her, he seemed to be deciphering her tone. And then he said, “No.”

“Then why do you wanna see me?”

“Why did you come to see me?” Tom asked in reply.

“I asked first.”

“Clearly you’re afraid of your own answer.”

“Clearly it has been a mistake,” Joanna said as she turned and headed towards the door.

“I’m sorry,” Tom immediately called out.

“Sorry won’t do you any good if you won’t tell me why you called for me.” Joanna said as she turned to face him, angry at his fondness of word play.

“No. I’m sorry.”

“What are you apologizing for?” Joanna was getting frustrated.

“I’m just sorry.” Tom turned away, and gazed back into the darkness of the sky.

It took Joanna a while to realize what he was saying, and she knew it must have taken him a lot to say those words. She was so tempted to ask for further explanation, but she knew he would never give her one and was afraid he might change his mind. So she kept quiet for a while before saying, “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.”

Joanna waited for a reply, but when he said none, she headed towards the door. Just as she was about to shut the door on her way out, she could have sworn she heard him say, “Don’t get caught.”

The following day, Joanna felt like she had accomplish something, and everything was returning to the way it use to be. But before the day could end, that theory of hers was proven wrong.

Matilda had decided that she wanted revenge for the duel, and before Joanna had returned to school, she had spread a rumor that Joanna was infected with muggle disease. Hence, everywhere she went students were avoiding her, except for most of the Ravenclaws (which Joanna was thankful they had more brains than the other houses).

Joanna felt as though she could easily accept what was going on as rumors always die down after a few weeks, but when Matilda decided to gather a bullying party in the courtyard that evening, and waited for her arrival just to start a word fight, Joanna decided she would do as she had promised Matilda at their last duel.

“So, I heard your mother was sent to a muggle hospital,” Matilda shouted from across the courtyard, turning many heads towards Joanna’s direction.

“Because no magic or science can cure this..” Annoria shouted a reply before she trailed off, unsure on what to call her mother’s condition.

“This muggle disease?” Matilda finished her sentence for her.

“Let’s just go. She’s just being stupid.” Annoria quickly said as she tugged at Joanna’s arm. But Joanna did not move. She was thinking hard on whether she should draw her wand and send her a crucio.

“Annoria, becareful! You might get infected!” Matilda added, and Joanna caught the sight of a few interns, who used to be their seniors, giving Matilda odd looks as they walked past her.

“What? It’s true!” Matilda said in reply to their response, and they laughed at her instead. Getting frustrated that she could not convince everyone that Joanna was infected with muggle disease, she strode over as she shouted, “Instead of being here and infecting everyone, why don’t you go back to your sick mother and die together!”

And as much as Joanna did not fancy her mother, she was not going to stand around while someone cursed the woman who raised her. Pulling out her wand, more students began to stop in their tracks, excited to watch what was going to happen next.

“No, don’t!” Annoria quickly said.

 “Why not?!” Joanna asked in return.

“Because there are aurors in the school today,” a voice whispered into her ear from behind her.

Together with Annoria she turned her head to see who it was, and behind them stood Malfoy. He quickly backed into the crowd which was already forming a big circle to spectate.

“Joanna, keep your wand. You don’t wanna be caught by aurors!” Annoria said.

I don’t want to be caught doing that spell you mean? Joanna silently asked in reply. It’s not illegal yet, is it?

Joanna watched as Matilda pulled out her wand, clearly confident that she might win this round, and Joanna had the urge to show everyone how much of a sore loser Matilda was. But with aurors in the school? Should she really get into this duel?

To Be Continued…

(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should duel Matilda again, or walk away!)

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Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 26:

It took a long time before Joanna could make up her mind. She then decided that going back to school was a much better option than staying at home. Hence, she wrote a reply to Professor Dippet, and a week later, she found herself boarding the Hogwarts Express.

As the train started to move, Joanna decided that she would just mind her own business and keep her head down for the rest of the year. By the time she had her mind set, the train was already in the country side, and the fresh scenery of greens reminded Joanna of the days where her life wasn’t full of curses and bad omens. Yet, she knew she could never run from them, as her days seemed to be marked with darkness. Wishing she never existed, Joanna resorted to closing her eyes and falling asleep.

Moments later, a knock came from the door, and just as she opened her eyes, she saw a blond headed boy in a prefects uniform.

“Malfoy?” Joanna asked in surprise.

“Hey. Yea, it’s me. I volunteered to make sure you got to Hogwarts safe,” Abraxas Malfoy replied.

“Wow, how kind of you,” Joanna said sarcastically.

“It was a good excuse to skip classes,” he immediately said.

“I bet. And since when were you a prefect?” Joanna straightened up and watched as he entered the compartment and took a seat across her.

“Tom put in a good word for me.”

“He probably needed you out of bed late at night, that’s why.”

“Yea, he does.”

“Such loyalty,” Joanna trailed off.

It was utter silence from then on as they both stared out the window, watching the blue sky turn orange and then to black. It would have been a very awkward moment, but somehow, Joanna knew what Abraxas was going through. She could see how torn he was, between staying loyal and doing what was right, and she knew he wanted to get out as much as she did. If Abraxas didn’t have such a prideful soul, Joanna could have seen them as good friends.

Joanna was about to break the silence with a question when Abraxas beat her to it.

“Why do you like Tom?”

“What?” Joanna replied, not at all expecting it.

“I know you’re not the first. There are many other girls. But Tom isn’t exactly nice. Yea, sure, he’s a sweet talker and he’s intelligent, but he’s sometimes rather mean.”

“Like you aren’t mean,” Joanna replied.

That immediately silenced Abraxas.

“I’m sorry. I don’t like Tom,” Joanna added.

“I read the letter you wrote him,” Abraxes said, so softly that he hoped his confession was not heard.

“What?!” Joanna stood up and pulled out her wand.

“I’m sorry! I was just curious, and I didn’t mean to.” Abraxes slid on his seat towards the exit.

“So, you know everything? Even what he’s doing?” Joanna asked as she eyed him carefully.

“I won’t tell anyone, I swear!”

For a brief moment, Joanna was hoping Abraxas might have told someone. But then she panicked, and she instinctively wanted to protect Tom.

“You swear on your mother’s life?” Joanna asked.

“Wow, you’re really going to protect him?” Abraxas slowly stood up.

Joanna narrowed her eyes at his sudden boldness.

“Maybe you don’t like him, maybe it’s something more.”

“What are you talking about?” Joanna straightened her wand at Abraxas, and Abraxas responded by casually folding his arms.

“Or maybe you’re just living up to your Hufflepuff trait of being loyal?”

“What are you talking about?!” Joanna asked again, confused at where he was going.

“Look, I know what Tom is doing, I’m helping him as well. I think he has a pretty good plan. AND, I’m not here for you.”

Abraxas pushed her wand away, and sat back down.

“I’m here because Tom suggested to Professor Dippet to give you an escort, but when he sent me, Tom asked me to run an errand for him.”

“What errand?”

“Ah, that is for me to know only.”

“Then why are you telling me this?”

“Because you’re not the only one who knows things.”

“So, you’re just bragging that Tom is using you?”

“When the reign of blood purity happens, my family would be on top. That is his promise to me.”

“I don’t care.” Joanna rolled her eyes and added, “Did he tell you to pull that trick on me as well?”

“No. I was just testing you. Tom said if I could tell where your loyalty stands, then I should tell you that he would be waiting for you at the tower tonight.”

“He wants to see me?”

“He thinks you’ve changed-“

“And can be useful to him, right?”

“I don’t know. He just wants to see you.”

Just then, the train stopped at the station and the horn was blown.

“The tower. Remember,” Abraxas said with a smirk, before he got up, and exited the compartment.

Joanna was left standing, with her wand in hand, wondering to herself if she should actually meet Tom. What was he up to? And why is he bothering to see her now? Joanna knew she only had a brief moment to decide.

To Be Continued…

(Vote or leave a comment below on whether Joanna should meet up with Tom, or ignore him!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 25:

Joanna hesitated for a moment, as she looked at Annoria who was shaking her head and tugging at her hand to leave. But instead of heading out the front door, Joanna walked towards the back. Annoria quickly tried to stop her but Malfoy butted in before Annoria could say anything.

“What are you doing?” Malfoy said, as he hurried up to them.

“I’m giving your girlfriend the duel she wants,” Joanna replied.

“She’s not my girlfriend,” Malfoy replied and said nothing else as he opened the back door for both Joanna and Annoria to exit.

The back alley was rather abandoned at that hour of the day. The sun was at its highest and it wasn’t the best time to be strolling down the streets.

“So, will here do?” Matilda asked, sounding very much like Rose at that moment.

“Where ever would do,” Joanna replied casually as she headed up to Matilda and gave a bow. Not even bothering to see if Matilda did the same, Joanna turned and placed herself 20 feet away across Matilda.

As Joanna went into her dueling stance, Matilda quickly asked, “Wait! Who’s your second?”

“I don’t need one,” Joanna repled, immediately waving her wand and throwing a spell at Matilda, who barely managed to block it.

“Hey! I wasn’t ready!” Matilda shouted.

“The duel started a while ago. Unless you don’t know the rules, you shouldn’t challenged anyone.” Joanna threw another spell, making Matilda stumble backwards. Her housemates immediately caught her before she fell over.

“I didn’t challenge you!” Matilda threw a spell in return, and Joanna blocked it off with a wave.

“Then you shouldn’t point wands when you don’t intend on using them,” Joanna replied as she sent 3 more spells. Sparks of red, blue and green flew towards Matilda and as she screamed, she ran behind her housemates, shoving them forward as she did.

Three of her housemates took the spells as they were caught off guard. One flew backwards, knocking over a few Slytherins like a bowling ball. Another had his legs tied together, and as much as he tried to balance himself, he joined the pile of his friends on the ground. The other girl screamed as boils started appearing on her hands and face.

When Matilda saw it all, she immediately demanded, “Where you trying to kill me?!”

“That is the common intention of a duel. No other rules were set, right?” Joanna replied as she walked towards Matilda.

“Joanna! What are you doing?” Annoria asked, with desperation in her voice. Then turning to Malfoy, which Annoria rarely did, she said, “Stop her!”

“Me? You gotta be kidding. Clearly, home school paid off,” Malfoy replied as he remained where he stood, by the back door of the Three Broomsticks.

“Joanna! Don’t!” Annoria shouted, as Joanna was closing in on Matilda.

Matilda’s housemates were already backing away, leaving Matilda to fend for herself.

“Guys! Help me!” Matilda commanded as she dared not to take her eyes off Joanna.

“If we did, we would be breaking the rules,” one of her friends replied.

Matilda then attempted to run, but Joanna managed to cast a leg locking spell before she could, and Matilda fell to the ground instead. She screamed in pain as she landed on her shoulder, and when she tried to prop herself up, Joanna flicked her wand and sent Matilda’s wand 10 feet away from her.

Immediately looking up at Joanna, Matilda stammered, “Ple-please. I’m, I’m sorry o.k?”

“Looks like we have a stammer,” Joanna said, and she could have sworn she heard a few of the Slytherins laugh. They probably never liked her at all.

“You know, when I was being tutored at home, I learnt a spell.” Joanna slowly squatted down beside Matilda. “This spell is not illegal yet, and most people use it in duels. It’s called, the Cruciatus curse. Have you heard of it?”

Joanna immediately felt like Rose, when she threatened to use the Cruciatus on her. But Joanna felt better than Rose, as Matilda deserved it. She was a gossipy, back-stabbing, nosy girl, who gained attention through the false rumours she spread all over school.

“Do you know what it does, Matilda?” Joanna asked as Matilda’s eyes widened.

“Joanna, don’t!” Annoria said, as she ran up to her and pulled Joanna to her feet.

“If you don’t stop your nonsense, Matilda, you will feel how it’s like being cruciated,” Joanna gave a final warning, and walked off.

As she headed past the exit of the Three Broomstick, Joanna saw Tom standing by the doorway. She didn’t know how long he had been standing there, but she decided she didn’t want to know.

After the duel, Joanna told Annoria she would be going home. She also apologized if she scared her, and justified her actions by saying she was only doing it to warn Matilda. But deep down inside, she wasn’t sorry at all, because it felt good.

That night, as Joanna was lying on her bed, an owl swooped into her room, through an open window. It landed at the foot of her bed, and with the little light that came from the moon, she noticed the seal on the letter. It was a letter from Hogwarts.

At that very moment, Joanna was afraid that the duel had reached the ears of Professor Dippet, and so she hurriedly took the letter from the owl and tore it open. But the first sentence immediately drowned her fears, as it stated that her father has informed the school that she can return to Hogwarts if she wishes to.

Why her father did not just inform her himself, she did not bother to dwell over. The question that really bothered her was whether she really wanted to go back, or remain home schooled.

To Be Continued…

(Vote or leave a comment below on whether Joanna should go back to Hogwarts or remain home schooled!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 24:

One month passed since Joanna came home to look after her mother. She had given the letter to Annoria but there was still no news from her. Joanna had written a letter to Annoria a week after she settled down back home, but till now, she had not received a reply.

Joanna was about to check on her mother that evening when an owl came swooping into her room. Quickly, Joanna untied the envelop from the owl.

“Thank you,” Joanna said as she patted the owl. It hooted a kind reply before it took off again.

Immediately after it left, Joanna tore the envelope open and pulled out the letter.

‘Dear Joanna,

I’m so sorry for the late reply. It has been crazy here. We have extra classes everyday and every other free period I have, I’m at the Quidditch pitch training. I’ve been meaning to reply for weeks, but I never had the time. I hope you can forgive me for this.

Anyways, I saw Tom a few days after you left, and I handed him your letter. I’m not sure if I should tell you this, but I don’t want to lie to you either. So… what happened was, when I gave Tom the letter… he gave it to Malfoy and told him to get rid of it. I’m sorry Joanna. I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but he… well… you know.

If you have another letter for him, I could try and pass it to him again, if you like.

Ah, enough about that. How have you been? I hope you are doing fine. And your mother too. I wonder how your Professors are like. You’re probably smarter than all of us now.

Oh, by the way, the school has organized another trip for us to Hogsmead next weekend. If you could come over, maybe we could meet up and have a drink of butterbeer. I really miss you, and would love to see you!

Let me know alright? I’ll be spending most of the morning at the Three Broomsticks anyways. I have work to catch up on.

Well, I hope to see you then!

Lots of love, Annoria’

Getting ready to write a reply letter, Joanna stared blankly at the date of which Annoria’s letter was written, and then as though her mind suddenly clicked, Annoria’s next weekend was Joanna’s tomorrow.

“Stupid owl. How long does it take you to send a dumb letter?” Joanna muttered. She had grown rather angry these few days. It was as though her inner demons were finally surfacing and she found no way of suppressing them.

Immediately getting up, Joanna decided she should just pay Annoria a visit at Hogsmead. Heading towards her mother’s room, Joanna poked her head through the gap of the door and softly said, “Mother, I’m going to Hogsmead to see a friend tomorrow. I’ll ask Gwen to look after you.”

When her mother replied with a groan and a nod, Joanna went straight to bed. She had to get up early the next day, if she didn’t want to wait in a long line at the Interchange Building.

The next morning, she woke up at 8. On her way to the Interchange Building, Joanna stopped by old lady Gwen’s small house and requested a favor with a big bag of coins. When old lady Gwen grinned from ear to ear, Joanna was sure her mother would be well taken care off. After that, George sent her straight to the Interchange Building, where she had to wait in line with a group of working adults.

Joanna finally arrived in an small owl post at 10.30am, the same time of which the Hogwarts students were about to leave school. Knowing Annoria would be there soon, Joanna headed to The Three Broomsticks and waited.

About half an hour later, Joanna saw Annoria walking through the wooden doors. Standing up immediately, Annoria spotted her and waved excitedly, before rushing towards her.

“I’m so glad to see you!” Annoria said as she gave Joanna a hug.

“Me too,” Joanna replied with a weak smile.

“How have you been? Is your teacher good? How’s your mother? She’s going to be o.k right?”

Immediately being bombarded with questions, Joanna started laughing. She knew Annoria was genuinely concerned, but her animated expressions reminded her of how Annoria could always make her smile without even knowing it.

“I’m sorry, I’m just-“

“It’s o.k. Everything has been fine. My mother is, well, I don’t really know…”

“Well, she’ll be fine,” Annoria replied with a wide smile.

Just then, a bunch of Slytherins came walking into The Three Broomsticks, and with them was Tom.

As Joanna watched the group take a seat at a corner table, Abraxas Malfoy caught her eye. Immediately, he turned away and awkwardly joined in in the discussion at his table.

“You want to go somewhere else?” Annoria asked softly.

“No, I’m not moving for anyone,” Joanna replied. But even though she meant what she said, she couldn’t help but wish she was in a different place.

“Come on, let’s go,” Annoria said standing up. “I know you don’t like it here.”

Heaving a sigh, Joanna decided that she should just leave her pride behind. But as she and Annoria headed to the door, one of the Slytherin girls spotted her and called out to her.

“Joanna! Hey! How are you?” Matilda Parkinson said loudly.

“I’m fine, thank you,” Joanna replied with a false smile.

“Are you sure? Is your mother o.k? She’s not infected with a muggle disease is she?” Matilda was now mocking her, and the group of Slytherins, except for Tom and Malfoy, were snickering alongside her.

“Muggle disease? Are you stupid or something?” Joanna immediately responded, and the crowd in the pub became silent.

“I’m sorry, have you not heard of THE muggle disease?” Matilda asked as she stood up and headed towards Joanna, as her Slytherin buddies tagged along; with the exception of Tom, who was still seated at the table, staring at the same book since he entered the pub, and Malfoy, who was hesitating on what to do.

“No. But I’ve heard about stupid girls who don’t pay attention in muggle studies.”

“Have you not heard of cancer?”

Immediately, Joanna and Annoria burst out laughing.

“What are you laughing for?!” Matilda instantly demanded.

“Cancer is not a muggle disease, we can get it too,” Annoria explained calmly.

“My mother said that-“

“Your mother must be as dumb as you,”Joanna interrupted, and Matilda’s face flushed in red as she pulled out her wand.

“You want a duel?” Joanna raised an eyebrow skeptically.

“No duels in the pub! Sort your issues outside!” a lady behind the counter shouted, as she pointed to the back exit.

A few seconds later, Matilda turned away from Joanna, and did what Joanna had not expected her to do. Matilda stormed towards the back exit as she said, “You heard the lady. Outside.”

To Be Continued…

(Vote or leave a comment below on whether Joanna should follow Matilda out for a duel, or just ignore her and leave!)

Fan Fiction (Novel)

Chapter 23:

Joanna had sent a message to Tom to meet her at their tower hideout during Herbology. Five hours after that, Joanna found herself walking up the stairs slowly, wondering how he would react to her current situation.

When she finally reached the door, she hesitated for a moment. What was she hesitating over? The person she  chose to be with.

Then, as though she had reminded herself she was doing the right thing, she opened the door and spilled half the story before she could even shut the door after her.

“Dumbledore, he planned this,” Tom finally said after he heard it all.

“He couldn’t have hurt my mother,” Joanna replied softly, still wondering on how to tell Tom about her decision on going home.

“Well, he sure knows how to manipulate the situation. He has always had this thing against me. Every thing I do, he always finds a way to make it look wrong. I would kill him the moment I get the chance,” Tom said, with more hatred in his voice Joanna has ever heard.

“He thinks that just because I spent the summer with you, you’d probably help me, so he’s getting you out of the way. But you’re not going to let him do that right?” Tom immediately turned to her.

“Tom, my mother needs me,” Joanna said slowly, as she watched him carefully. Tom was not his normal self, considering his normal self was not at all normal for normal people.

“So? Are you going home then? To the woman who loves your cousin more than you?” Now Tom was angry at her, and Joanna didn’t know what to say.

“Look, when my father gets back-“

“When your father gets back? You don’t even know when he will be back,” Tom interrupted, without raising his voice once, which scared Joanna, as he seemed pretty angry and composed at the same time.

“She’s my mother Tom, no matter how she treats me, she is still my mother. Why can’t you understand?” Joanna replied softly.

“Of course I can’t understand. I killed my father remember. Well, it looks like you’ve made up your mind,” Tom paused as he looked away.

There was a long moment of silence before he finally turned to face her. “I made a mistake trusting you, I made a mistake opening up to you. But no matter, you’re just a dispensable pawn in my chess game.”

“How can you say that?! I have always been there for you!” Joanna could not believe he could just flip the switch and be so cold towards her. “I never backed out on you once, and just because-“

“You should leave.” Tom nodded at the door expressionlessly.

“Tom!”

“Fine, I’ll leave. But I don’t want to see you in here ever again,” Tom said as he brushed past her towards the door.

Immediately, Joanna reached for him, attempting to stop him. But when he turned, he had his wand pointed right at her face.

“Don’t touch me. I’m not afraid to use this.”

Staring into his eyes, it was as though the Tom she knew was no longer there. His eyes were cold and emotionless, and it challenged her very belief that Tom did not mean what he was saying.

“Please,” Joanna choked. There was a pain in her chest that made it harder and harder for her to breath or speak. It was the pain coming from her heart. “Please don’t be like this Tom,” Joanna pleaded as a tear rolled down her cheek.

But even as the tear dripped onto the floor, Tom did not break. He merely stared at her briefly before turning around and exiting the room.

It was then that it really began to hurt. She may not know how she felt about him, but she knew that it hurt her to see him act that way towards her. Falling to her knees, all the anger, hurt and betrayal finally came gushing out as she began sobbing.

She hated her father. She hated her mother. She hated Dumbledore. She hated Tom. She hated everything. Why was her life so jinxed that when something good happens, everything bad comes to destroy it? Joanna couldn’t understand.

When she finally regained her strength, she dragged herself back to her room, and buried her face in her pillows as she cried herself to sleep.

That very next morning, Annoria helped her pack her belongings while Joanna sat by her bed, writing a letter to Tom. She hoped she would get the chance to pass it to him before she left, but when she saw no sight of him on her way to the train, Joanna told Annoria to tell Tom she would be waiting for him at the station.

The train was to leave at 11 that morning, and Joanna was already at the station by 10. She sat by the wooden bench, watching the the train being prep for departure with the letter in hand. But when 10.50 came, Tom was no where to be seen, instead, Annoria came running towards her.

As Annoria reached her, Joanna took all her will power not to burst into tears. Somehow being able to sense her feelings, Annoria flung her arms around her and said, “Give me the letter. I’ll make sure he gets it, alright?”

Joanna wanted to have passed the letter to Tom herself, but she won’t get the chance any longer. And though the letter contained more secrets no one else should ever read, Joanna wanted to trust Annoria, but her little heart still worried about protecting Tom and his secrets.

To Be Continued…

(Vote, or leave comment below on whether Joanna should wait for Tom, or pass Annoria the letter instead!)