After what was possibly the shortest night's sleep he'd ever had, Jake woke up, his head still buzzing with exitement from last night's Quidditch match. He flashed a quick smile at the picture he'd scored. The match had been nothing short of spectacular, and the moving picture of the exact moment the Snitch had been caught and the Match had ended had been given a prominent place on his wall.
They'd had excellent seats of course, and he had thouroughly enjoyed watching the skilled players from both sides. In all honestly, he ached to get back onto his broomstick and try out some of the moves he'd seen the seekers make. That Wronski Feint seemed like a skill worth picking up, even if his mother had made him promise he wouldn't!
They'd had excellent seats of course. Father had ordered tickets for the final even before the date had been set and Jake had spent most of his free time checking stats, swearing at disappointing teams and cheering for Ireland.
A short knock on the door distracted Jake from his reliving of last nights glorious events. Still smiling, he spoke softly. Come in was all he said. Softly, the door opened and a small creature with huge ears peered through the door. Good morning master Jacob the tiny creature spoke as she entered the room. She wasn't wearing any clothes. She had wrapped an immaculate beige tea towel that somehow matched her bright yellow eyes around her body, wearing it almost like a tiny dress. Mistress is wondering if you is ready for having breakfast sir, the house elf continued. She is saying you is late and she is wanting to go shopping for your school supplies sir. While she spoke, the house elf had crossed the room. She was now laying out a set of wizard robes his mother had no doubt ordered her to prepare for him. Jake smiled. Good morning, Tinsey Jake replied, as he got up out of bed. Thank you. Please tell my mother I am up and will join her for breakfast shortly. He liked the old house elf, but waited for Tinsey to close the bedroom door behind her before he took of the shirt he'd slept in and put on his robes. He didn't like changing in front of the elf, though he wasn't sure why.
A few moments later, Jake walked downstairs. He passed the massive dining room and headed over to his mothers parlour. He knocked and waited for her to reply before opening the door and entering. He knew she was expecting her, but simply barging into a room simply wasn't something you did in this house. Good morning, mother. Sorry I am late. Yesterday was quite exciting. Jake's tone was polite, and somehow devoid of feeling. Showing emotions wasn't proper behaviour for someone in his position. He'd learned that pretty early on, and had taken it to heart.
Jake kissed his mother and sat down to breakfast. Full English, today. Jake smiled and put some eggs, bacon, tomatoes, sausages and beans onto his plate. A small plate with buttered toast appeared to the right of his plate. He grabbed a slice and started eating. The breakfast reminded him of the meals he'd be getting at Hogwarts, and thoughts of school brought the smile back onto his face.
The rest of the day was a flurry of shopping. New books of course. And new robes. He hadn't grown much since last summer, but his mother would not let him wear the same robes another year. His mother paid for his robes, and left his old robes at the shop for someone less fortunate. They were rich, and showed it, but weren't snobbish about it. Yes, they had more than many others, but his father worked hard for his money. At least, that was what his mother always said. And though her mother didn't believe in charity, throwing away a perfectly good set of robes simply because your child wasn't wearing them anymore seemed brutally wasteful, even to his mother.
Why don't you go and get your potions ingredients and the rest of the list yourself? His mother suggested, as she turned her attention to some of the new fabrics that Madame Malkin was showing to her. I need to have some dresses made, and you might as well finish your shopping. She handed him the list without looking at him, already picturing patterns and how great she'd look. Jake shrugged, said: Yes mother. I'll meet you back here when I'm done, and left the shop.
He bought his potions ingredients, got some owl treats for Merlin, picked up a few more odds and ends, greeted some familiar faces and visited the sweet shop. Finally, he peered through the shop window. His mother had just settled up with the owner and was making her way towards the door. Jake held the door for her in a gentlemanly fashion and his mother looked at him approvingly. All done? She asked him. Jake nodded, and they headed home.
A few days later, Jake was getting on the train back to Hogwarts. His trunk was in the rack above his head, and Merlin's cage was on the seat next to him. The cage was covered, and Merlin was most likely either asleep or nodding off under it.
Jake'd travelled to London by himself. His mother wasn't feeling well, something that seemed to happen a lot around the first of September, and his father was held up at work. Tinsey the house elf had offered to accompany him, but Jake had refused. The idea of turning up with a servant seemed somehow beneath him. Besides, he was old enough to handle himself. His mother had protested, and finally his father had come up with a compromise. He had used Floo powder to travel to his father's office, and his father had apparated himself and Jake to the platform. As soon as they had arrived, his father had put his trunk on the train, patted him on the head and left.
Slowly, the train filled up, and the compartment filled with his friends and classmates. The trip to Hogwarts was pleasant if uneventful, and by the time they had arrived, Jake was tired and hungry and ready to go.
The first few days at school always required a little getting used to. No more servants around to do everything, no more freedom to do whatever you felt like. Though, in all honesty, Jake found plenty of time for that anyway as he settled back into life in the castle. The start of term announcements had created a lot of excitement, and the whole school was constantly buzzing with excitement. Who was going to be the champion of their house? What would the challenges be like? Why had the other schools dropped out suddenly? The Slytherin's kept up appearances, feigning looks of disenterest whenever members of other houses were present. To them, it was obvious that Slytherin should be the big winner. Pure blood, strong magic and all that. Of course, Jake was determined to put his name in the goblet, he had turned 17 before the summer and was sure that he was as well prepared, or better, than any other Slytherin in his year. He'd spent the entire summer preparing for this event. His father had told him about it the moment he'd come home at the start of the summer, and Jake had spent the entire summer with his tutor, practising spells and potions that might come in handy. Not even his closest friends knew this. Jake had already submitted his name, and was eager to compete, and to win, he just knew better than to discuss this with the others.
Lessons were harder than previous years, of course, and Jake was eager to show that he'd studied during the summer.
Snape's lessons had always been among his favourites, and, having the pre-disposition, Snape didn't seem to mind him as much as most of the other students. Jake had been experimenting over the summer, and was eager to perfect his Draught of the Living Dead. Jake felt that this potion may come in handy (during the tournament of course) and wanted to make as strong a Draught as possible. He had discovered that crushing the Sopophorus beans rather than cutting them up made them release a lot more fluids, and had experimented with the number of beans that should be used, but he had been having a hard time stirring the potion into the correct colour. Distracted by Snape's comments on another student's disastrous attempt, Jake inadvertently added a clockwise stir after his seven counter-clockwise motions. Realising what he'd done, Jake glanced at his potion and saw that it had taken on exactly the hue described in the textbook. He smiled to himself and added another note to his book, muttering under his breath as he wrote. 13 beans, crush don't cut, use silver dagger, add clockwise stir.
When Snape finally ended the class by telling everyone: If I thought it would improve your lacking talents by even the smallest bit, I'd advise you all to follow Mr. Lee's example. As it stands, however, I must content myself with the knowledge that at least one of you isn't completely useless. Jake used the distraction to fill a couple of vials with the Draught and hide them in his bag before Snape could evaporate the contents of his cauldron. Jake was sure Snape knew what he'd done, but since the teacher didn't speak of it, he assumed it was fine.
After class, Jake followed the rest of the Slytherins to the dormitories. He put away his books, and tucked the vials safely into his trunk. Afraid they would break or be discovered, he hid the three vials in a pair of socks he rarely wore. He washed his face and hands and checked his robes. Can't go to table dressed like this, he muttered to himself as he discovered the small stain. He quickly changed his robes and joined the other Slytherins as they made their way to the Great Hall for their evening meal. I wonder what's for dinner. Food here's always excellent. Jake tried to divert Warrington's comments on the Goblet. Of course, Warrington wasn't to be deferred. He spent most of his time bragging about how he'd be the best choice for Slytherin. Of course I've entered my name, one has to do ones bit for ones house, of course. Besides, we'll know who the champions are tomorrow, won't we? Jake sounded annoyed, but Warrington simply nodded and continued his tirade. Jake didn't manage to shake him off until he sat down between two other Slytherins and Warrington, suddenly aware there was no room for him, had to move on and find someone else to annoy. Jake sighed and looked around the table to see where he'd ended up. He was sitting near Malfoy, the little toerag, but fortunately the little brat was too busy impressing those two idiots that always followed him around like lovesick puppies to pay much attention to Jake. The headmaster welcomed everyone, food appeared and Jake dug in. It wasn't until he heard Malfoy's whisper, obviously meant to draw attention, that Jake looked up at the teachers' table and noticed the two newcomers. Judges, no doubt. He recognized both instantly, his father worked at the Ministry just like Malfoy's, but said nothing. Unlike Malfoy, Jake didn't need to convince others of his connections.