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Chapter 1: In which I lost myself
rock&roll!@ tda made this absolutely lovely CI
I never thought I’d be standing here. Right here. In front of them.
That word rang in my head, and it gave me a bitter taste in my mouth like I had just swallowed one of Pomfrey’s delightful little potions. I wanted to vomit, preferably on them, but I’d settle if it just went in their general direction. Maybe if I positioned my feet at a 20 degree angle to the right and tilted my head to the left a little I’d hit that giant mammoth of a man. He looks like he fancies a little present. God, I feel sick. So sick. What am I doing? I honestly think I’ve gone off kilt, finally gone around the bend. A few times.
This was wrong. So wrong.
Why was I here? I breathed in deeply and tried to force my memories away. But images of my parents waving to me all those years ago, faces beaming with pride as I boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time, flashed across my mind. I could still see it. All of it. Smell it, taste it, feel it. It was my life. It was all right in front of my eyes like those pumpkin pastries Amelia never let me eat because she said my hips were getting too wide. Little did she know I snuck into the kitchens every night to get what she deprived me from. That’s beside the point, the fact was that I wanted them at tea time and they would sit there on their platter haunting me, begging for me to eat them! Amelia had no idea how hard it was to wait till night time to fulfill my craving. It was a rough life, I know.
My stomach lurched, bringing me back to the present. I laid my ice cold hand on my stomach, willing it to be strong. The feeling of death cloaked the dark room, a dank sensation infecting it like mildew. It was suffocating. I think they fed on it like cockroaches. The Filth. I fixed my eyes on the chair to keep the images from coming back. Images that I didn’t- couldn’t handle right now. It was too much. I couldn’t change my mind. This was the only way.
My eyes glanced to an empty chair. Though it was currently deserted, only moments ago a bubbling, sweaty pig of a man had sat atop the hard wood and held out his arm like a trophy. I had this incredible urge to go up and kick him in the shins like I used to do with boys that irked me. I refrained. I had to get through this; God knows my choices were limited. I hadn’t known him; his face had been covered, as they had covered mine with their cold metal masks. I tried to tell myself he had no other choice.
I glanced away from the chair to a group that conversed in the corner, their faces obscured, afraid of showing who they truly are or maybe just ashamed. A sea of faces, all the same, covering up for the shameful acts. I caught myself half smiling. I’d have to tell Amelia I’d finally become a poet, I’m sure she’d be really impressed and want my autograph for when I became famous.
Finally they raised my wand; it was gleaming in the low candlelight. I heard from someone that once they did that, the wand would never be the same. That in the hands of such evil it lost its own goodness. Which was complete tripe; it’s not as if wands had souls or anything that could change so intrinsically. Could they? I mean honestly, Sirius just wanted to see if any if any of us ‘clueless’ Hufflepuffs would believe him. I hadn’t, but even Amelia had fallen for his dirty little lie and she’s supposed to be the logical one. I bet if he said that if they jumped on one foot for one whole day then the next they’d meet their true love, they’d believe him. But now – now as I watched them turn my wand around and around and saw their faces light up in a mirthless joy – now I wasn’t so sure.
The room started getting hotter, signaling that it was almost time. The palms of my hands began to drip with sweat and my eyes sought to look at anything but them. They glanced at the high reaching walls and the impressive, gleaming chandelier above. It screamed money and I wondered whose self-righteous pureblood house was this. Avery? Yaxley? Mulcibur? Whose house was I now bowing to? A new wave of nausea wracked my body and I bit it back, willing for strength and demanding survival. Life was too precious to throw it away on a weak stomach. I had to get through tonight.
“You- come,” a man said gruffly. The brute probably didn’t even know my name; I think that’s how he kept us from forming bonds with each other. Keep us all anonymous and we’ll do whatever he wants us too like pawns, and it works like clockwork.
I felt my feet move forward to the center of the room and the few people surrounded me, their steel faces gleamed in the dim light and their robes billowed around them as they settled into the circle. I looked at them all, wishing that I could have seen their faces, to know the kind of person I aligning myself with. Although, I suppose, I already knew. He didn’t come though; my recruitment was only a side note to his plan. What really was I to him but a statistic by now?
The man who seemed to be leading this cleared his throat and started reading from this scroll., I tried to block out his terribly dull voice, he was worse than Binns, I swear. Going on about blood purity, group membership, and how this moment would change my life forever. A chill ran up my spine because I knew the latter to be true. Nothing would be the same after this.
I heard a commotion at the door and turned to face it as they dragged in a middle aged man into the circle. He was whimpering, and I noticed his eyes never left the floor but remained bowed in submission as they threw him at my feet. His face scratched the floor and I heard a deep moan emit from his throat. I knew though that he had been through a lot worse if the reputation of this group could be trusted.
“Who’s this?” I asked shocked to hear that my voice was startlingly level despite the nerves I was feeling.
“Does it matter? Do what you need to do to prove your loyalty. Prove that you deserve this respect. You’ll inherit the trust of hundreds and serve the greatest wizards of all. There is no greater honor in this life.” I nodded my head; I think I always knew that this was coming. I tried to clear my mind to avoid thinking about it, but when you’re about to take the life of someone else, I think it’s only natural for issues of your own morality to pop up. Could you be human otherwise?
“Well?” someone else in the group demanded. His voice was full of something I couldn’t quite pinpoint, was it eagerness?
My breath caught in my throat as I raised my wand, it hovered there as I stared at the man in front of me: his matted hair, his heaving body, and the way his hands were clenched into fists. He seemed so normal, so human. Like me. I took in a ragged breath and wondered what he was thinking as he lay there. Was he thinking of his family? Family. I bit my lower lip and glanced around the room, the figures present seemed to bear down on me, their very presence making my body feel paralyzed.
What has I become?
I closed my eyes and tried to push the thoughts away. But they wouldn't leave. They demanded to be heard.
I could see it. All of it- my life. I guess when it’s all over, everything comes crashing back. The vibrancy like a burning fire, I could smell it, taste it, feel it burn into my skin and not being strong enough to hold them back I let them out. Let these ghosts come and hold me- caress me because the worst part of it wasn’t that I'd lost it all; it was that I lost myself.
Note: This is a new story! It came as result of The Impossible Challenge. The premise was to write something I haven't before. I was given humour as one of the genre's and the pairing of Sirius/OC. I haven't written either so I hope this goes alright. Seeing as the challenge was never judge i've taken liberaties with the story and I've changed the overall feeling of the story since starting it. Thank you so much to academica, JChrissy, nott_theodore, and theVividimagination for help with the summary!
The title is inspired by Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice "All that glisters is not gold".
Disclaimer: Eleanor is mine, but everything else is JKR's, she lets us play with her work .