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Chapter 1: skin
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.
I can feel the way my skin burns on my body, tight and close-fitting, as uncomfortable and unwelcome as cardboard clothing. I glance down and see my feet, shuddering against the earth, crushing beetles and grass as I run. My breath is loud and heavy and exhilarating, the pain in my legs feels heavenly, the fire in my chest is like molten gold.
I can see him just ahead of me. Close, but not too close. I could easily catch up, but I stride lazily behind him, enjoying the chase, the thrill, his fear. We have been running for a while now, and the boy is tiring. His fear is tangible; a trail in the air behind him for me to hungrily lick my way along, the power beneath this frail outer shell building me up, setting me free. I leap a fallen log, and my long hair catches in branches. With a snarl I rip it free, relishing the sharp sting of pain as roots are ripped from follicles.
I am invincible.
He glances over his shoulder now, panic etched across his trembling features. He will have heard the rumours about me, the stories, the delicious whispers. I laugh loudly into the cold air and it sounds wonderfully unnatural. The first year yelps at the sound and falls to the ground. I can feel the vibrations from his body tingling through my toes as I advance, panting. The air cuts through my ravaged lungs like steel and the boy lies at my feet, cowering and whimpering. Pathetic. I kick his leg with a cackle and begin to circle eagerly, a panther preparing for the final spring.
And he is my snivelling prey.
“P-p-please,” the boy – I do not know his name – begs me, his eyes wide and tearful. “Please Lila, I never took your quill, I have lots of my own quills-“
“Shut up,” I hiss. “I don’t care.”
I lick my lips slowly, feeling the buzz spreading through me gradually, like electricity. Then with a quick slash from my wand, the boy is frozen in place, and only his eyes are free to move about. They roll back into his head, and I smirk, drift off the scene like a vampire who has finished gorging itself. For now.
Perhaps he will be found before nightfall.
I stalk through the corridors, and the rest of them stay out of my way. The world seems too small tonight, I feel too small, too insignificant. I hate it. Lashing out at the door, I barge into the potions classroom, ignoring the professor when he asks why I am so late. Babbling fool. Arsenic in his coffee would do the trick. A painless death (sort of). And god knows he should have died years ago, his skin is shrivelled and hangs off his face in great, disgusting folds. You could drown in it.
I inspect my cauldron, standing alone on the battle-scarred desks that have somehow withstood the constant gouging of initials and hearts, wounds inflicted on its wood by the animals that reside in this hellhole. I grab my knife and plunge it into the soft wood, and it sinks to the hilt, and I feel larger again.
Without realising what I'm doing, I growl in my throat like a lion, just to prove my dominance, and the girl next to me looks scared and inches her seat away from mine. I imagine her cauldron blowing up in her face, her pretty little nose smashed into her mouth and slathered over her cheeks like butter.
“-Brown with Potter, Weasley with Gale-“ my surname worms its way through the fog of my thoughts like a spark and I look up sharply at the professor, pairing us all off like he has the right to decide things for me. I make no move to go and join Potter at his table, so he resignedly gathers his stuff and comes over to where I’m slouching, a dark expression on his face.
I ignore him, and start sawing away at the corner of the desk with my knife. Potter irritates me.
“Brown.” He stares at me with his muddy green eyes. Eugh. They’re the colour of mouldy shit.
“What?” I say, bored. Lessons are tedious; a chore to slave through, an inconvenience.
“I’m going to get straight to it.”
“Go on then,” my tone is daring him, mocking him.
“I’m going to get an O for this assignment. And if you fuck things up for me,” Potter narrows his goddamn motherfucking eyes at me. “-then you’ll be sorry.”
“I’m disappointed,” I stare at him, vaguely amused. “I expected more from the great Albus Potter than empty threats.”
Potter rocks back on his chair, and the swinging of the front legs annoys me. I want them back on the ground again.
“An empty threat is as serious as a full one until it’s not carried out.”
I sneer at him who do you think you are and shoot my leg out to tip him off his swinging chair, but the chair doesn’t move and now a searing pain trickles through my foot. I resist the urge to wince as Potter smirks at me, twirling his wand between long, thin fingers.
I am angry, the emotion pooling in my stomach like desire. I want to break off every single one of his twirling fingers, throw them into the cauldron where they can bubble and fizz and rot.
Worst of all, he knows he’s annoyed me, and he’s enjoying it. I frown, trying to read him. No-one has ever dared to threaten me. At least, not whilst within range of my potions knife.
“Whatever you say,” Going for a different tactic, I smile and lean forwards across the desk so that I can see every individual eyelash framing his eyes. His breath fans across my face and I want to pull back with revulsion, but I manage to keep my gaze locked upon his own. He is staring at me, his face composed but a glint of something flickers in his eye. (fascination?)
Then I bring my knife crashing down into the sleeve of his robes, missing the flesh by a hair’s breadth. He jerks backwards.
And I know that I have won this battle.
Some of the first years, the ones who haven’t been warned about me, are brave. As soon as they hear the stories, I get a midget approaching me in the corridors, curiosity and disdain alight on her pinched-up face. She points at me and her friends are there, egging her on, making her feel powerful. But she does not know what true power is.
“Hey!” she demands of me, and slowly, I stop walking and turn to look at her. “Hey, isn’t your mum the one they all talk about? The famous whore?”
I am immediately upon her. Her flimsy ponytail is clutched in my hands and she squeals as I drag her away from her little group and twist her arm so that it almost breaks. She’s sobbing now, and her friends are backing away, terrified.
“Don’t you ever say that again, you little shit,” I whisper in her ear, my words leeching into her brain like poison. She shakes her head feebly and I let her drop like a stone to the floor, satisfied.
A teacher wings their way through the throng of bodies, and I melt into the crowd, as transient as a ghost.
There is a new History of Magic teacher.
He strolls into the classroom- sleeves rolled up and hands in his pockets- as if he’d never left it. Then he flings himself into a seat, lights a cigarette with his wand, and stares at us for a good five minutes before speaking.
“The heart of the second war: was it fuelled by hate or love? Or was it neither?” he waits for someone to put their hand up and respond but only a shuffling silence meets his ears. Undeterred, he glances at his register. “Miss Brown, then.” he says. A hush falls across the class as they twist in their seats to see how I will react.
I am aware of Potter’s eyes drilling into the back of my skull, and I wonder whether if my bones split open he would be able to see my thoughts, hazy and half-formed, as they drifted away from my consciousness.
“Yes?” I drawl. The professor doesn’t pick up on my lack of a ‘sir’.
“If I took you back in time, stood you in front of a defenceless Voldemort, and thrust the handle of a wand into your fist, would you kill him?”
“No,” I reply without hesitation. The man inspects me carefully and takes a slow drag from his cigarette.
“What about,” he says, “If I shoved the cold metal of the sword of Godric Gryffindor into your hands. Would you kill him then?”
Of course, sir.”
a/n: writing this on a total whim because I wanted to write an "evil" character for a change. It’s a lot more fun, I can tell you. :P in case there’s any confusion, the main character is Lila Brown, Lavender’s daughter. Also, I do know that a Hogwarts teacher wouldn't be allowed to smoke, but I wanted to create a specific impression. I don't own anything. story title credit to Dylan Thomas. please leave a review, it means so much to me !!