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Chapter 19: Danger, Fear and Dancing Green Lights
“Are you sure she’s not on the map? Check again.”
Fred’s hair was sticking up in eight different directions, his expression tight with worry as he paced around the room, occasionally barking orders at James to check the Map once more.
“Fred, I checked it fifteen times. What makes you think she’ll appear now?” James asked patiently. He, however, ran a hand quickly through his hair and peered at the map again, his leg bobbing anxiously up and down. Sarah, sitting next to him in her full, unruffled Barbie glory, put her hand gently on his thigh to get him to stop, and I felt my jaw lock. I quickly looked away.
Jason was hunched over himself on the sofa, his head bowed over his hands. Ella’s lip was bright red with the force of her biting it, and Dom’s hair was nearly as bad as Fred’s. Apollo looked gaunt and worried, checking over his shoulder at the portrait hole so frequently that it seemed as though he had developed a nervous twitch. Al was literally breathing down James’ neck as he read the map over his shoulder, and Scorpius was staring intently at the door, looking scared and worried.
I was sitting, cross-legged on the ground, letting Rose play with my hair as I tried to force myself to get another vision.
Please let me see Alex. I need to find Alex.
Darkness clouded my sight, and with a relieved sigh, I let myself drift into the shadows, hoping that I was seeing the right thing.
I was running, breathing hard, my legs aching from the effort of sprinting. The sound of my frantic breathing seemed to echo around me, creating a sense of urgency, of danger. The shadows seemed to flit around me in the dark, looming closer. A frightened sob escaped through my teeth as I realized that I had been, unwittingly, chased into a room. I could feel a scream building up inside of me, threatening to throw me into a rage of hysteria and fright, but I sent my gaze outwards, hoping that she could see what I saw and find me…
…a portrait of a fat man. A suit of armor with rust on the visor. The Slytherin crest, hanging on a wall. The green glow dancing along the corridor.
And then his face, leering as he came closer. I closed my eyes, hoping that she saw, praying that she would come for me.
I jerked upright as Alex’s scream echoed through my brain, my breathing labored, short, frightened screams issuing from my own mouth.
“Artemis, what’s wrong?” Apollo’s face was right in front of mine, his arms warm and comforting around me. I sent my gaze towards him, my eyes wide and frightened. “What’s wrong, love? What did you see?”
I could see that everyone else was crowded around me, looking confused and anxious.
I couldn’t breathe past the choking feeling that was rising up in my throat, and short, gasping breaths shot out of my mouth as I struggled to find words.
Alex was in trouble, and here I was, bloody hyperventilating.
“Alex.” I squeaked through my frenzied breaths.
“Where is she?” Apollo demanded, his hands gripping my arms tighter. “Artemis, where is she?”
I shook my head, continuing my struggles to talk. I couldn’t breathe. I needed to breathe. Scorpius, his brow furrowed, conjured a paper bag and handed it to me, and I tried to get my breathing to normal as quickly as I could. Still puffing into the bag, I unsteadily got to my feet and gestured for James to give me the map. He looked confused, but handed it over, and I scanned across it as quickly as I could, paying special attention to the Slytherin section.
She’s there. She has to be there. That’s where I saw her.
Why can’t I see her name?
I crumpled up the bag as soon as I regained my breath and threw it to the side. “Come on,” I said in a voice much stronger than I felt. “We’ve got to go and get her.”
“Artemis, what is going on?” James asked. I looked back over my shoulder at my friends, and saw that they were all grouped in a loose circle, looking anxious and unsure. Barbie was fixing her nail.
Remind me to punch her across the face when this is all over.
“Look, I don’t have time to explain,” I said urgently. “I just know where she is, and it’s not good.”
“How do you know?” Rose asked me.
I threw my head back in frustration, fighting against angry tears. “I just do. Please, before it’s too late, we’ve got to find her.”
“Is she in trouble?” Jason asked.
OH MY GOD.
“YES!” I yelled. “She’s somewhere in the Slytherin section, she’s in trouble – Connery’s going to hurt her! We have to go!”
And, without a single question, their expressions carved out of ice, they each made their way over to the portrait hole, climbing out efficiently and quickly. Heaving a relieved sigh, I followed.
“Lead the way, Artemis.” Apollo helped me to the front, and I took a deep breath, looking down at the map again.
She’s not on there. Crap. Where could she be? A whimper escaped through my lips, but I quickly took another breath and, without a second’s warning, started sprinting down to the dungeons.
She’s somewhere over there. I just know it. Please, let her be there. Let her be okay. Please, God, let Alex be okay.
The only sound around us was the slapping of our feet down the stone corridor, our labored breaths, Ella’s quiet sniffles, and Dom’s occasional sob or staggering gasp.
She’s pregnant; she shouldn’t be running right now.
“Apollo,” I barked over my shoulder, my breath not even labored – here I took the time to silently thank James and the Quidditch Gods who had inspired him to be such a psycho – “Levitate Dom!”
Dom let out a strangled gasp of protest, but soon after Apollo’s whispered spell, the noise of her feet was no longer in harmony with ours. She gave a sigh of relief, and I knew, without even looking over my shoulder, that she was gently rubbing her stomach.
Okay, one of my girls is safe.
Please, let her be safe. Let her be okay. Please don’t let me be too late. I’ll never be able to live with myself if I’m too late. Please.
I gasped in surprise as the sudden cold blast of the Slytherin dungeons hit me full in the face. The hallways danced with glowing green light, mysterious whispers of night and shadows pressing in from every side. I could feel the darkness swallowing everything up; if it weren’t for the green glow, we would have been completely submerged in the black.
“Where is she?” James asked urgently. I shook my head, sending a quick look down at the map – Oh, thank God!
My eyes grew wider as I looked at Alex’s dot, which seemed to be scrambling away from the dot labeled ‘Matthew Connery’.
I’ll kill him.
The door was close to here, just a couple of corridors down. We could make it before he did anything bad, as long as we ran.
“Run. Follow me, I found her.” I said in a low voice, starting forward.
Suddenly, a terrified scream ripped through the darkness, and I gasped and stumbled back, tears springing to my eyes.
“Alex,” Ella whimpered. “Oh my god, where is she?”
My breath grew fast again, and I fought against the tears blurring my vision. “Find her!” I choked out. “She’s somewhere in these rooms, find her!”
Each of the boys started to sprint down the corridor, pulling on doors. Another scream shattered the silence, and I started sobbing. Ella was screaming through her tears, and Dom was yelling for Apollo to let her down, damn it, she’ll kill the bloody wanker. Rose’s face was white, her expression one of death as she looked over my shoulder at the map.
“Fred, you’re at the right door!” She yelled, and he threw his body against it, sending the door crashing down. Both he and Al sprinted through it, and I heard yelling and the sound of a scuffle. Alex’s voice was quiet, and, dread overwhelming me, I ran down the hallway and into the door as fast as I could, towing Rose and Ella behind me.
I stumbled back at the scene. Fred and Al were both livid, their faces lined with fury as they took turns punching Connery. He himself was doing a rather poor job of protecting himself, but he still managed to get in a punch or two. I felt someone push past me and saw that James, Apollo, Scorpius and Jason were running into the scene, adding their own fists to the fight.
And then there was Alex, struggling to her feet and wiping blood from the corner of her mouth. I quickly ran forward and slammed into her with a hug, both Dom and Ella joining in.
“You’re okay,” I sobbed, holding on to her. “Oh my god, I was so scared.”
Alex was shaking, whimpers of fright issuing from her mouth.
I stepped back and realized that she looked absolutely terrified. “Alex – love?” I asked softly, reaching out towards her. “Are you alright?”
She just closed her eyes. “Make them stop fighting.” She whispered. “Please.”
I took a shaky breath and nodded, not knowing how well I was going to be able to use my magic at the moment. But Ella was already there, her wand pointed at the boys. There was a loud bang! and they each flew back. Connery was in the middle, his arms above his head for protection.
“Stop – stop fighting.” Alex demanded, her voice shaking. “Please.”
Jason ran over to her, with James, Apollo, Al and Scorpius trailing after him, and they each took turns hugging Alex and making sure she was okay.
My eyes welled with tears when I saw her manage a timid smile. She’s my brave lion. She’ll pull through anything.
I watched Fred carefully. Emotions were flitting across his face as he stared at Alex. First concern, then tenderness, then, at last, pure fury when he saw the small scratches covering her face and arms.
“Fred – !” I began, but it was too late. Without even a moment of hesitation, he jumped at Connery once again, pounding his fists onto his body, over and over again. Connery let out a yelp of surprise and pain. The boys parted around Alex, looking at the fighting boys with surprised expressions etched onto their faces. James started forward, but Rose grabbed his arm, shaking her head at him. He took a shaky breath and nodded, patting her softly on the head.
“Fred, stop!” I yelled, taking a step forward. Alex was whimpering again, her small whimpers slowly turning into screams. “Stop it, Fred!”
“Stop fighting!” Alex suddenly shouted. She took a couple of stumbling steps forward, ignoring the hands of everyone who tried to hold her back. “Fred, stop it!”
Fred ignored her, driving his fist into Connery’s face. A spurt of blood erupted and Alex let out a scream. Fred’s face was carved with ice as he punched Connery again. Another stream of blood joined the first one.
“Stop!Please, don’t! No, listen to me, Fred, PLEASE!” Alex screamed, tears streaming down her face. “Fred! Stop it! Stop!”
Jason and Apollo ran forward, literally lifting Fred off of Connery’s limp body. He struggled wildly against them.
“He hurt her!” Fred was yelling through a mixture of blood and tears. “He hurt her – I’ll kill him! I’ll bloody kill him!”
“Stop it.” Dom said commandingly, her voice shaking slightly. She took his face between her hands and forced him to look at her. “Fred, calm down. You need to calm down. Alex is fine. We got here on time; she’s fine.”
“I am, promise.” Alex moved into his line of sight. Her voice was weak and she was pale and shaking, but she managed to create an expression of strength. “Look at me, Fred. Look. I’m fine.”
Fred stopped struggling, and Jason and Apollo cautiously let him go. As soon as their restraining hands were gone, he reached over and hugged Alex as carefully as he could, stroking her hair. Her face was pressed into the side of his neck.
“I promise I’ll never let anything hurt you again.” He told her, his voice muffled against her hair. “I swear I’ll die before I let anything happen to you.”
Alex just nodded into his neck, and his arms tightened around her. “Let’s get you to the common room, love.” He whispered.
She finally extricated herself, taking a shaky breath. She managed to create a wavering smile, “The common room would be nice.”
Connery could get up and find his way to the hospital wing later. Or someone could find him. Either way, I don’t care.
He can just go to hell.
The roaring warmth of the Gryffindor Common Room was a complete contrast to the cold, dank eeriness of the corridors under the lake. Alex shivered as soon as she stepped in, the glow of the fire washing over her immediately.
“Home sweet home,” She sighed, walking over to the fire and sinking down in front of it. We followed her, and I couldn’t help but marvel at how unaffected she was, how bravely she was taking it. I watched as she absently rubbed at a bruise on her arm and wiped some blood off of the side of her face.
“Alex,” Jason began haltingly, his body tense. “What – what happened? Did he…”
Alex was stiff, but she managed to take a careful breath and look over at us, her eyes betraying her real emotions. Fred wrapped his arms around her in a gesture of comfort, and she leaned into him.
“No, he didn’t do anything.” She said finally. “He was going to, I could tell. You guys got there before he could do too much. I’m actually honestly fine.”
I stared at her. She had a gash on her forehead, a cut lip, various small bruises and scratches on her body, and she’s calling herself fine?
“I did it.” She finally said, her voice sounding victorious and relieved at the same time. “I broke up with him.”
There was a stunned silence. “Is that why he –” I began.
“Yeah,” Alex let out a shaky sigh. “He didn’t take it too well. Yelled a whole lot. Threw things. I managed to dodge most of it, but some things got me. This,” She pointed to the deep cut on her forehead, “happened because of a vase.”
Both Fred and Jason’s hands convulsed angrily. James was struggling against the fury that was threatening to break out onto his features, and Apollo’s jaw was locked. Al and Scorpius looked downright livid. I couldn’t even tell you exactly how angry I was right now – the red, blazing hot fire was burning through my veins, and I was just about ready to go back to the dungeons and throw a couple punches of my own at the arsehole.
“And then he sort of…grabbed me and started shaking me really hard, so I started running. He chased me all around, saying that he was going to kill me and stuff. It’s just…he’s not – right.” She said, taking in our furious expressions.
“If you mean ‘absolutely deranged’ when you say ‘not right’, then yes, I fully agree with you.” Dom snarled in an angry voice.
“No, not like that.” She shook her head, then winced. “Well – actually, yes, he is like that, but I mean…like, in a mentally not right sort of way.”
“What do you mean?” James asked her in a tight voice.
“He’s got a slight case of depression, and a major case of separation anxiety. He – he doesn’t mean what he says. He just got really attached to me, and he was so scared of letting go that he –”
“We understand,” I said gently, seeing that she was getting worked up. “We really do, Alex. Just…”
“You’re still never going near him again.” Apollo finished for me. I smiled – he seemed to take the words straight from my brain.
“I feel bad.” Alex whispered, looking down.
“You’re too bloody noble for your own good, love.” Al said in an amused voice. “If he hurt you, then he’s the one who should be feeling bad, not you. It’s okay. Let it go.”
“No – I’m just scared that he’ll do something to himself because of me.” She shuddered. “That’s just as bad as murder, you guys. Maybe I should –”
“No,” Fred nearly roared. “If he does something to himself, that’ll be his fault, not yours. You’re never going near him again.”
She took a deep breath. “Okay.”
She has us to protect her now; nothing can hurt her. Not even her own decisions.
Alex looked up from the book she was reading, looking slightly surprised at the three of us surrounding her bed.
She raised an eyebrow. “So.”
“So.” I echoed, sitting down on her bed. She laughed a little.
“Is something wrong?” She looked amused, her eyebrows scrunching together as Dom and Ella joined me on her bed.
“We were wondering…” Ella started, a mysteriously devious look on her face.
“If you would let us in on something.” I finished, my own expression just as mysterious.
We should be secret agents.
“Are you dating Freddie?” Dom blurted.
Alex’s amused grin suddenly turned mischievous. “I don’t know. He never asked me.”
“…why are you smiling like that?” Ella asked warily.
Alex’s devious smile became larger. “I guess I’m not. I guess if he really wants me, he’s going to have to try and get it.”
We exchanged glances. “Er…Alex,” I began hesitantly. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but he sort of fought a hell of a lot for you already. Not just in the dungeons.”
“I fought for him for over six years,” A fierce light passed through her eyes. “He’s only been doing it for a little while. I always thought he was perfect, but he ruined that for me. Now he’s going to have to prove it.”
Dom looked upset. “Alex – that’s sick.” She said flatly.
Alex shrugged, the blazing look in her eyes more evident. “He’s not getting off easy. He made it hard for me; I’ll make it harder for him, damnit.”
Holy Merlin, she’s gone insane.
“That’s completely fucked up, Lex,” I informed her.
“Did you see what he’s done for you? Why are you doing this?” Ella demanded.
Alex smirked suddenly. “I guess I’ll say yes, then.”
We stared at her.
“Um.” I said.
Alex grinned again, unexpectedly. “You gave just the reaction that told me what to do – you guys think he’s perfect for me. So if he asks me out, then sure, I’ll say yes.”
There was another beat of silence.
“Don’t do that!” Ella suddenly yelled, chucking a pillow at Alex. Alex laughed and caught it, sticking her tongue out briefly before slamming it right at Ella again.
God, she should have been a Slytherin.
“I heard that!”
Was that out loud? Whoops.
okay, okay! i know that was totally, unnecessarily dramatic, and i seriously should cut back on all the drama because it is not in the least bit realistic and yes, i pretty much do suck.
don't make fun of meeee!
i mean - i don't even know what prompted me to write a scene as utterly dark and completely different as this. thing is, i wrote this such a long time ago and honestly, i can't remember. perhaps i was in a particularly shitty mood that day. maybe my life just got too bland i felt like writing something really bizzarre. who knows? half the time, even i don't know. i've come to be resigned to and embrace the fact that i'm a total loon.
i like to tell myself that i'm an adorable, charming loon. but that just may be my delusion talking.
so please please pleaseee review?! i really want to know how much i do/maybe even do not suck. thank you muchly <3