Chapter 6 : Chapter Six
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“Shadow, there’s something I must ask you.”
“Were you…Did they…” Remus glances down at your right wrist.
You nod sadly. “I went through the Ordeal of Blade when I was seven.”
“Shadow, I’m sor—”
“No need for that,” you interrupt bitterly. “What’s done is done.”
A tall man with graying hair stands before you on a raised platform. His voice was imperial, demanding respect. “Shadow, daughter of Eryn and Mordar, speak the oath of Blade.”
“Blood of mine enemies will make me strong,” You muttered the grotesque rhyme you’d been taught for as long as you could remember. “Spill the blood, the job is done. Vanish the body, leave naught behind…” You swallowed, feeling cold beads of sweat break out on your forehead. “But the blood, a tribute to thine.” You bowed deeply, as was custom.
“Do you believe this?”
You pressed your lips together. ‘Of course not!’ your conscience replied.
“No,” you whispered at last.
“I don’t believe that was the correct answer, youngling. You are to say ‘yes’. Imperio!”
A soft voice filled your mind, whispering to you. Say yes…Just say yes…
You burst into tears. “All right, yes!”
“That’s better.” Your father smiled thinly.
You hated that smile.
Oh, how you hated it…
“Whom do you serve?”
“Only you, my lord.” You responded through gritted teeth.
“To me, youngling.” He pointed at the place before his feet, a place stained red.
You gulped and approached slowly.
“Your arm, youngling.”
You squeezed your eyes shut and extended your right arm. ‘This is gonna hurt…I don’t want it to hurt…I don’t wanna see it happen…’
“Open them. Imperio!”
Your eyelids were wrenched open forcefully.
Muttering something even you could not hear, your father began to conjure the image of a slender dagger in the air. Its blade was crimson, its handle the blackest ebony. He raised his wand arm in the air and brought his wand tip crashing down upon your wrist.
You screamed, and then everything was dark.
“There’s nothing you could have done, Remus. Just be happy you weren’t there.” Your voice is laden with pain. “I—”
“Ole Wolfie used to be a babysitter?” Peeves the Poltergeist cackles, swooping out of a nearby classroom where he’d been listening.
“Sod off,” you mutter.
Remus sighs. “Pay no attention to Peeves, he’ll go away eventually…”
“Ooh! Nasty, nasty, are we?” the poltergeist tuts at you, ignoring Remus’s comment. “Loony Loopy Lupin must not’ve taught you good enough manners! Perhaps Peevesie will help out a bit…” The poltergeist laughs evilly and flies through a wall.
Remus sighs again. “There’s no changing him…He’ll only listen to the Bloody Baron.”
“The Bloody Baron?”
He nods. “The ghost of the Slytherin house. He hasn’t been keeping as sharp of an eye on Peeves as we all would like. I’ll ask Professor Snape to have a word with the Baron sometime tonight.” Remus stands slowly, dusting his robes off. “Now to grading those summer assignments…”
You push up off of the ground, getting up without his help. “I’m going to go…I’ll see you tomorrow, Rem.”
“See you tomorrow, Shadow.”
You’re alone…At last.
No teachers to reprimand you (which hasn’t happened yet, thank goodness), no students to harass you, no bloody poltergeists to drive you to insanity…
Life is good.
You lie on your back; staring up at the blue sky, grass all around you. Raised stands surround the field and high metal posts with round openings at the tops reach skyward. You have no idea what they’re for, but you could care less. It’s quiet out here.
You sigh contentedly, eyes closed.
After all the hustle and bustle of school, it’s good to be alone.
But then again, you’ve always been alone.
The sound of footsteps startles you suddenly. Your eyes snap open, but you don’t sit up, merely scanning the field for signs of movement.
No one’s there.
You close you eyes once more, only to sit up abruptly and open them again as someone trips over your legs.
“Oof!” The dark, messy-haired youth you’d met just the other day scrambles into a sitting position and places the broom he’d been carrying across his knees. “Sorry about that, I didn’t see you there, Shadow.”
What is his name again?
You frown slightly. With the craziness of school, you seem to have forgotten his name.
“S’fine. I didn’t think anyone would be out here…” You brush a few strands of hair out of your face.
“Quidditch practice today…I’m here a bit early, though.”
You raise an eyebrow. “What’s Quidditch?”
“That’s funny.” Harry lets out a good-natured laugh. His grin fades a little, noticing that the confused look hasn’t left your face. “You’re serious?” He pauses, looking at your expression. “And that was a stupid question. How do I explain this…” Harry trails off, thinking. “It’s a sport, for starters. There are seven players on each team, they all fly on brooms. There’s three important balls: the Quaffle, Bludgers (there’s two of them), and the Snitch. Each person on the team has a specific job and a specific name. The Keeper—” Harry points at the posts on the field, “guards those, the goal posts. Beaters hit the Bludgers at members of the other team with bats, Chasers score ten points by throwing the Quaffle through the hoops at the ends of the goal posts, and the Seeker—” Harry takes a deep breath, “That’s me. I have to find the Golden Snitch to score one hundred-fifty points. Once the Snitch is caught by a Seeker on one of the teams, the game’s over.”
You blink, processing all the information. “Oh.”
“That’s it, just ‘oh’?” Harry wonders aloud, an amused smile playing across his face.
You shrug. “I’ve never really been a fan of sports.” ‘Seeing that I’ve been in Azkaban for a large part of my life and couldn’t play any,’ you add silently.
“It’s the greatest game invented, as my friend Ron would say,” Harry assures you. “Listen, why don’t you get a firsthand experience and watch us practice? You can see everything from the commentator’s box.” He points at a section in the stands.
You think about it for a moment. You’re not extremely interested, but Harry’s just gone through all the trouble of explaining Quidditch to you, so it’d be rude to blow him off and head back to the castle.
“I’ll do that. Thanks.” You get to your feet, reaching down to help Harry stand.
Harry hops on his broom. “I could give you a ride up there, if you want. It’s a bit far to walk…” He eyes the steps leading up to the commentator’s box.
“Are you sure?” You glance at the broom. It definitely looks well made, but you’re not too sure that it can hold your weight and Harry’s combined.
“Positive. My Firebolt’s not made for two, but it can last.”
“Only if you don’t mind…” You get on the broom cautiously, having never ridden one before. To your surprise, it’s not uncomfortable. There seems to be an invisible cushion of some sort on the broom. You let out a small yelp, noticing that the broom has risen a foot in the air.
“You’re fine,” Harry soothes. “Just hold on here.” He taps his side.
You wrap your arms around his waist, unconsciously noting the firmness of his abdomen.
Harry turns to give you a reassuring smile, green eyes sparkling behind his glasses. “And we’re off.”
With a burst of startling speed, the broomstick hurtles off in the direction of the stands. Your hair streams out behind you and your robes flap loudly. The sky has never looked so blue, and you’ve never felt so free in your entire life. You laugh delightedly, surprising yourself.
All too soon, your broom ride is over. Harry dismounts and helps you off into the stands.
“What’d you think?”
“It was nice, thank you.” You remark with a hint of a smile.
“Just nice…?” he murmurs, trying to conceal a grin.
“Maybe a little more than that.” Your smile broadens. “But thank you.”
“My pleasure, Shadow.”