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Chapter 12: For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic
DISCLAIMER: I own that which J.K. does not.
I’m getting the updating thing down! I’m a little sad that I haven’t seen any reviews for my last chapter. I know I’ve sucked at answering back, but it really does give a confidence boost.
Uhh, I’m in school now and so far I’ve had a crap load of work to do. We’ll see if this updating roll stays good. Probably not.
Also, I’m thinking about another series that you all may enjoy :] I won’t tell you now what it is, but you’ll find out soon enough. I’m bad at keeping secrets!
Read, review, love.
Title and Summary song:
“For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” by: Paramore
You never wanted to stay.
I put my faith in you, so much faith
And then you just threw it away.
To say that my world had come crashing down and shattered into a million pieces would have been a touch dramatic. I preferred and believed that I had rather lost my complete faith in humanity and love. Not only was it less like the usual teenage drama the girls complained of, but it was also the truth.
It wasn’t the fact that Julien had tried to violate me that destroyed my confidence, it was the fact that I truly believed that he never would do something so horrible. I had put my entire trust into him and he’d discarded it just because he was an utter testosterone-fueled jackass. Sure, I felt violated after his attempt, but it wasn’t so much as physical as it was emotional.
My entire life I had dealt with being around people who I couldn’t trust. Lucida was the only person I’d ever loved but we were often kept apart by Mother’s ridiculous engagements and parties that the two of us could hardly spend time together. So, I grew up resenting everything my family stood for and every single one of them. Mother was a marriage maniac. Father never saw fit to speak up. Lucida had, most of the time, done Mother’s bidding. Merlin only knows how many other flaws my entire family had. Every Black I ever came in contact with was crazy. And so, I grew up relying on only myself.
When Julien came along, it was something entirely new to me. I felt something towards him. Something other than resentment, disdain, bitterness. To say that I loved him might have been an overstatement, but I had been getting there. In two and a half months, he had successfully changed my outlook on life. I saw that maybe there were decent people in the world. That maybe I could learn to rely on someone and in return they’d do the same for me. I was ready to make the change for myself. I was ready to be human.
But Julien had ruined the amazing progress I’d made in a span of about two seconds. I hated him for it. I hated how stupid he was. I hated how he couldn’t understand how healthy he’d been for me. And I hated how I trusted him.
Contrary to a normal reaction, I wasn’t upset and depressed about being abused.
No, instead I was angry.
I felt the old Capella creeping back into my skin, the cold rage I’d always harbored was seeping into my veins again. And of course, that wonderful conscience that breathed in my ear,
“I told you so.”
I had not spoken a word to Severus about Julien. I was ashamed and embarrassed. He’d been right all along. I hated to admit that straight to his face. I hated to admit that I was wrong.
I went crawling back to him. I sat next to him everywhere: during classes, meals, the library, the common room. Though I’d never apologized or thanked him, it felt like an unspoken agreement. Like my humiliation at him finding Julien violating me was my apology. We both knew that Severus had been right, but neither of us said anything. Nearly getting raped seemed to be punishment enough for being a bitch in Severus’ eyes, I guess. I was okay with that because I didn’t want to flat out say that I was wrong.
Things generally went back to normal. I was my usual, snappy self. I insulted anyone in my way and even those that weren’t. With the new bitter fire in my belly, I felt the need to lash at everything. It made me feel better.
To my disdain, Severus was still reading books about the Dark Arts. I never said anything about it, knowing that I didn’t have anyone else to go to if we got in another row about it. I kept my mouth shut about it, but generally looked the other way when I found his nose buried in one of those books.
I found that it was less and less often that I found Severus reading dark books as we neared the Christmas holidays. Instead, he seemed to be fancying his old potions book, always writing in the margins. I never got a close enough look to see what he wrote, but I reminded myself to buy him a diary for Christmas if he was really hell bent about writing all the time.
“Are you staying?” Severus asked me one morning in the Great Hall. The sky above mimicked the fluffy puffs of snow floating down to the earth. The clouds were only slightly less white than the precipitation that they emitted. One could hardly tell what time a day it was for the sun was entirely immersed beneath the white blankets.
“I hope so.” Was my response. I knew he had been referring to whether or not I was remaining at school for the holidays. Though I hardly wished to stay in the drafty castle, it was the lesser evil compared to going back to the Black family compound. Merlin knows Mother would drag me to a million parties over the two week vacation. And I could hardly even consider that to be a vacation.
“I am.” He added, scribbling something in his battered copy of Advanced Potion-Making.
I watched as his eyes drifted away from the table and followed his gaze. If I was not mistaken, he was blatantly staring at Lily Evans. She was seated beside Potter and Co. and his arm was around her waist. Though I usually didn’t keep up with Hogwarts’ dating gossip, I was mildly surprised that Potter had finally forced Evans to go out with him.
“Looks like someone gave in.” I noted, pursing my lips. I had always been so sure that Evans wouldn’t go for him, but it seemed that I was on a losing streak lately on the character front. Severus didn’t answer, but nodded. I scoffed, “I’d like to know what kind of poison he used to force her into it. Or maybe she’s not as loath as she puts out.”
I turned to Snape again and saw his jaw clench, a minor detail one could only notice if they knew where to look. It was a small muscle in Severus’ left cheek that jumped when he did this. I knew it so well because it happened every time he was within close proximity of Potter and Co.
I knew that Severus had been friends with Evans. Personally, I had never been BFF with her, but I respected that she hated Potter so much. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed in the fact that they were now together. I guess Snape was a little more than disappointed. He had been so sure that it would never happen, and I think that he was still secretly upset that they never talked anymore. I didn’t care either way. People never ceased to disappoint.
“Won’t be long before she gives it away.” I sneered, watching Potter plant a kiss on Evans’ neck. She giggled and blushed. I could have vomited, recalling the way Julien used to do the same to me.
“She won’t!” Snape snapped, aiming his gaze back to me with a glare. I rolled my eyes, turning my surprise at his force into a twisted smirk.
“That’s what Potter does. He’s never with a girl long. I bet it only takes two weeks before his deflowered precious Lily and moved onto the next.”
Severus stood up so fast that if I had blinked, I would have missed it. I liked watching the expression of loathing planting itself onto his face. I didn’t know why it bothered him so much, but I didn’t care. I still enjoyed getting a rise out of anyone.
He quickly pulled his school bag to his shoulder and snapped his book shut.
“Where are you running to?” I taunted. He merely glared and me and was off, stalking his way out of the Great Hall.
I was left alone to my thoughts. Not that I had any. I wasn’t up to having a deep, intellectual discussion with my inner feelings. So I sat and people watched. The buzz of the Great Hall was intriguing, even though I could have cared less about the petty workings of teenage society. Sometimes I caught a breakfast break-up or someone taking a spill on the stone floor. It was rather entertaining to laugh at others’ expense.
Nothing remotely interesting was going on at the Hufflepuff table, but that was expected. Hufflepuffs had to have been the most boring people I’d ever encountered. They were the house made up of all the ones that the Sorting Hat didn’t know what to do with. If I had been in Hufflepuff, not only would Mother have had an aneurysm, it would have been a serious insult to my personality.
The Ravenclaws were just as mind-numbing. About eighty-two percent of them had their noses stuck in books or putting the finishing touches on their homework. The homework that was due in two weeks, that is. A Ravenclaw wouldn’t be caught dead finishing their homework the morning it was due. It was a horrible stereotype, but the truth nonetheless. And more often that not, I found the Ravenclaws to be a tad bit snobby. And I would know about snobby; I was a Slytherin. We were born Class A snobs. The Ravenclaws weren’t far behind.
Usually the most exciting events happened at the Gryffindor table. This was both a blessing and a curse. As much as I hated watching the Marauders acting like imbeciles, usually they were pretty entertaining to watch. When it wasn’t myself or Severus as the target. However, today they seemed relatively quiet. Potter’s new relationship may have calmed them down a bit...or they didn’t want to try anything stupid right under Head Girl Evans’ nose. I don’t blame them.
As I gazed over at the Gryffindor table, I momentarily (and accidentally) caught Sirius’ eye. He looked at me for a second, as though sizing me up. It made me uncomfortable, the way his eyes bored into mine. Could that be sympathy beneath his steel? I panicked, red hot embarrassment flooding my body. Did he know what happened with Julien? It might have been obvious I wasn’t with Julien anymore; I wasn’t sitting with him and we hadn’t made any kind of contact in two weeks. I hardly thought the whole school would find out that he had abused me; it seemed like something he would want to keep quiet. But I had the scary feeling that maybe Sirius did know the truth.
I hated like the pity in his gaze, so I did what I did best: I glared at him. Full-out daggers shooting back at him. He didn’t flinch or seemed surprised in the least and the sympathy stayed there. I was still unnerved by the idea that maybe he could see through me so I turned away, my eyes now on my fellow Slytherins.
I didn’t want everyone finding out about what happened between Julien and me. Not because I was utterly mortified and distraught by what he had done. No, I guess I deserved it for trusting someone. It was a punishment, telling me I’d been foolish for letting anyone in. What I didn’t want was for people to think I was weak. I hated to think that people would feel sorry for what happened and therefore not take me seriously. I didn’t want them going around whispering, “Don’t mind her, she’s been through a terrible ordeal...” To be treated like a victim was the last thing I wanted. I wanted them to go back to seeing me as they had for seven years; as the Bitch.
Because in being the Bitch of Hogwarts, I didn’t have to deal with them. They avoided me. It sickened me to think that they’d all of the sudden welcome me with open arms. To say, “I’m sorry you were abused, let me make you feel better and pity you...” That was the last thing I wanted.
I finally focused in on my Slytherin table. Kids were excitedly chatting about their Christmas plans: “My family is going to our vineyard in Tuscany...” and “Father gets me the latest racing broom every year. I hope to add the Stormchaser 300 this year...” or “Oh yes, Mother has planned my whole coming-out party...”. I rolled my eyes, snorting at the whole display.
Severus and I were probably the only two Slytherins that didn’t want to go home for the holidays. I prayed to Merlin that Mother wouldn’t send me a letter commanding my presence at the Black family festivities this year. And it was a true command too. Fourth year, I had ignored her completely and signed up to stay at school. When I didn’t arrive on the Hogwarts Express, Porrima marched into the school and dragged me by the neck of my robes all the way to Hogsmeade, where she promptly Apparated home, a chokehold on me. I spent the entire holiday wreaking as much havoc as I could in protest to Porrima’s manhandling. I’d “accidentally” set seven of our house-elves free on Christmas Eve, effectively ruining our dinner, for there was no dinner. I dressed up as a Muggle to Aunt Druella’s Christmas Day tea, nearly giving both my mother and cousin Bellatrix a heart attack. And ended the vacation by sneaking Stink Pellets into the Boxing Day cider, which, incidentally, great-aunt Elladora seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
Since the holy terror I had unleashed that Christmas, Mother has not demanded me home for the holidays. Every time we’ve had tea with Elladora, she’s brought up the “delectable” cider we had a few years ago and upon being reminded of the horrid events, Porrima abruptly remembers not to include me for Christmas. Which, in my opinion, is the best present she could ever give me.
I smirked to myself, thoroughly enjoying the memory of my mother’s expressions and names she had called me upon finding each of my rebellions. I had yet to make her go that purple in the face since then.
As I reminisced, I gazed around the Slytherin table, tuning out their pointless, arrogant chatter. My housemates were a bore as well and I sighed, running my eyes along the benches and table.
My gaze stopped immediately, coming upon a scene that made me rather nauseous. My previous good mood had abruptly vanished, only to be replaced with a feeling rather like being suddenly slapped in the face. As hard as I tried to look away, my eyes were glued to the horrid scene before me:
Julien de Pontius lip-locked with a girl.