Chapter 9 : Saying Goodbye
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Sita leaned against the stone wall and slid slowly down to the floor. She rested her head and shuddered. The light seeping in through a nearby window faded as night fell; Sita shut her eyes and tried to block out all reality. She felt numb and lost, sad and grieved, alone and forgotten. How could her father be dead? He was always strong. He couldn't be gone. The image of her father’s fallen body appeared each time she tried to think of something else. She could even see a skull with a snake-like tongue floating above the body.
Her hands gripped the stone floor for support as she shivered again. Tears filled Sita’s eyes as she sniffled and gasped for breath and she didn't bother to wipe them away. Sita brought her knees up to her chest tighter and curled against the wall.
Sita didn’t know how much time passed before she heard someone approach. Darkness had fallen and she was hidden within the shadows of the corridor. She gulped loudly and swallowed her tears. The footsteps came closer, but still she could see no one. Her bloodshot eyes scanned the darkness and found nothing. Slowly she stood; a loud hiccough escaped her lips while she wiped away her tears. She shuffled down the corridor toward her common room until she heard steps behind her again. Sita turned quickly and glared behind her. Still nothing.
'Rabastan, if that's you, come out right now.' Sita swallowed thickly as a noise came from behind a pillar to her right. A tall figure emerged, but it wasn't Rabastan.
'Sirius? Why are you here?'
'I could ask you the same thing,' he replied, smiling weakly as he noticed her bloodshot eyes. 'What's wrong?'
Sita blinked as more tears threatened to fall. She regarded Sirius for a moment, then hung her head. 'I'd rather not talk about it.'
Sirius nodded softly, not really paying attention. Sita saw him twitch a little; his eyes were gazing out the window at the full moon. 'I hope you feel better, Massaro,’ he said sincerely, ‘but I have to go. Things to do, pranks to pull, y'know?' Sirius winked at Sita before turning his back and strolling back into the dark corridor.
Sita smiled in spite of herself and shuffled back to the common room, half expecting someone to be up waiting for her. She found no one. Rabastan had obviously not told the others. Not wanting to wake anyone, she lay across the couch and stared blankly at the dying embers in the grate. Her eyes closed, and she shuddered one last time before falling into a disturbed sleep.
'Sita, wake up. Are you okay?'
Sita grunted as someone shook her violently. Her eyes opened slowly, and she gazed, confused, up at the figures looking down on her. Her blurry vision sharpened, and she recognized Sierra and Tobias staring at her, their expressions worried.
'Rabastan just told us. Sita, I'm so sorry!' Sierra cried, throwing herself on her friend in a tight hug. 'I can't believe it. How could something like this happen?'
Sita forced a small smile as she sat up.
'Don't worry. I finally have what I've been asking for. I've spent the last five years bitching about the man. Technically, this should be the best thing that's ever happened to me.' Her voice faded at the end. She couldn’t even convince herself that she was glad; she was empty inside.
Sierra stared at her disbelievingly.
'You can't be happy about this. Don't be silly,' Sierra said, hugging her again. 'You can always stay with us until you find a place of your own.'
Sita smiled in gratitude and shook Tobias's outstretched hand. He looked very uncomfortable.
'I'm really sorry, Sita. I never thought it would happen like this.' He played with the quill in his hand awkwardly, unable to make eye contact. 'I'm really sorry.'
Then Rabastan appeared at the bottom of the boy’s dorm stairs.
'You're awake,' he said as he joined them. Sita stared at him with great dislike. Dumbledore suspected Rabastan had information about what had happened to her father. She didn't know what to do about it. Was Dumbledore right? He was an old fool, but maybe Rodolphus had sent Rabastan inside information. But Rabastan would have stopped anything terrible from happening to her father... wouldn't he?
'How are you feeling?' he asked, taking a seat next to her. He leaned in and pecked her cheek affectionately.
'Not good,' Sita replied honestly. 'I can't think of anything but the image of his dead body sprawled across our living room floor...' Sierra flinched. 'I want to find his murderer and kill him for what he did. I hated my father, but I did love him. He was my dad, after all.' She paused. Sita turned at Rabastan and finished speaking. 'His murder proves that blood doesn't matter.'
'Voldemort supposedly killed him or ordered him to be killed. Purebloods are rare enough; why would he want to kill a pureblood? Obviously blood doesn't matter to him. He just wants to see death and destruction. He's a sadistic bastard.'
Rabastan blinked in surprise at this angry outburst. Sita stared into the blackened fireplace, ignoring the glares she had gathered from her classmates.
Tobias stared around the common room uneasily.
'When's the funeral?' he asked.
'The funeral is tomorrow morning,’ Slughorn said. ‘You'll be leaving Hogwarts this afternoon after your last class. Professor Dumbledore and I will be accompanying you. Will any of your friends be coming?'
'I don't think so.'
'What about Mr. Lestrange? Mr. Yaxley?'
'No, they won't be coming,' Sita replied, staring at the wall behind him.
Slughorn gave her a worried look.
'Very well. I will let Professor Dumbledore know. We will meet you after dinner in the Great Hall.' Sita nodded and left the room. How she disliked the man.
Sita wandered aimlessly around the corridors, ignoring her rumbling stomach. She had missed breakfast and was currently missing Transfiguration. She couldn't focus; her thoughts were jumbled.
No longer would her father be there to punish her for no reason. Never again would she hear his mutterings about Muggles and Muggle-borns. Never again would he return home late with a sick smile twisted across his slender face. At these musings, Sita felt a great surge of independence.
But no longer would he be there to listen to her talk about school. Never again would she see him beaming with pride over a test result. They could never watch a Kestrals match together again. Sita felt herself about to cry once again.
She paused and leaned against the wall, mirroring the previous night. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself before returning to the common room.
Sita sat in the front row of the service and didn't cry until the very end, when the coffin was wheeled out. She stood slowly, straightening her black dress robes as she did so. Her eyes scanned the hall and registered the sight of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy; next to them sat the Lestranges with Rabastan. Why had Dumbledore not told her he was coming? Speaking of Dumbledore, where was he?
After a few moments of searching the crowd, Sita caught sight of him amongst some of their neighbours, chatting animatedly, seemingly oblivious to the looks of disgust he was receiving from the pureblood families like the Malfoys, the Lestranges, and the Blacks.
'What are you doing here?' Sita asked in surprise, seeing Sirius sitting in a corner, looking bored. Sirius jumped and raised an eyebrow at Sita before opening his mouth in surprise.
'Is this your...?' he asked, standing quickly.
'My dad, yeah.'
Sirius pushed back his long hair and extended a calloused hand.
'I'm sorry for your loss,' he said softly, staring down at her. 'I didn't know.'
Sita brushed back a stray tear and shook her head.
'Thanks,' she mumbled, staring at the floor. 'I'd better go. Thanks for coming, Sirius.'
Sita walked into the crowd. She shook hands with Lucius and continued to make her way through the throng, thanking everyone for coming and saying how grateful she was.
When she had finally gone through most of the guests, she sat down on one of the chairs against the wall and let out a deep sigh. She forced a smile when Dumbledore glanced over, but otherwise stared blankly at the crowd. Sita noticed Rabastan approaching and straightened slightly; out of the corner of her eye, she saw Sirius watching her. Rabastan seemed to notice him, as well; he pulled out a chair and completely blocked Sirius from view.
Rabastan leaned forward and hugged her tightly. 'You're doing brilliant, keep it up,' he reassured her warmly. 'Everyone is very impressed.'
'They would be,' she muttered. Silence fell between them until Sita spoke quietly, still watching the crowd. 'Rabastan, I don't think I can keep seeing you. It's been fun, but I need space and time right now. I hope you understand.'
'I was going to say the same... well, about the whole not seeing each other thing, anyway.' He turned away. 'It was fun.' Sita squeezed his hand tightly and rested her head on his shoulder, releasing a small sigh.
'I guess I'd better go back out there. See you in school, Rab,' Sita said reluctantly, smiling a little at the look of disgust on Rabastan's face.
'Never call me that again,' Rabastan ordered, smiling faintly as she left.
Sita arrived back at Hogwarts the next morning with Professor Dumbledore. It was a Saturday, so there were no classes to go to. She made her way to her dormitory and dumped her belongings on her corner bed.
The will had been read after the reception and, as had been expected, everything was left to Sita. Her father had no one else to leave it to, she thought sadly. She was nevertheless relieved that the house had been left to her; that was one less thing to worry about when she left Hogwarts at the end of the year.
Quietly, she wandered down into the common room, seeing no one there except a few first year girls. ’Where is everyone?' Sita asked, startling them.
'At the match. Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are playing,' the smallest replied, looking a little intimidated. Sita inclined her head to thank her and ran out of the room to the pitch. How could she have forgotten?
When she arrived at the stadium, she easily found her friends. Rabastan was cursing Potter and Sirius. He never could – or wanted to – hide his dislike for the two, especially when it came to Quidditch. Sita squeezed in between Tobias and Sierra.. Sierra leaned over and gave Sita a tight hug before focusing on the match as a loud cheer erupted from the Gryffindor end.
Sita watched closely as James fell into a spectacular dive, followed closely by Peakes, the Ravenclaw Seeker. Her keen eyes spotted the Snitch, which was flying straight for the Ravenclaw goal at top speed, but James was going the wrong way, and he was bringing Peakes with him.
'And James Potter, Gryffindor Captain, is speeding toward the bottom of the goal posts with Peakes close behind. I can't see the Snitch, but Potter seems to know what he's doing!' commented the Hufflepuff, Madley. Sita rolled her eyes; exactly what every Seeker loved – a commentator that points out the Seeker’s plan to the other team.
She saw James jerk his head back toward the commentator’s box in annoyance before pulling out of his dive and heading to the hoop where the Snitch was hovering, still unnoticed by the Ravenclaw Keeper. Peakes got left behind, and he caught it easily. The Gryffindor end burst into joyous cheers. They were on top of the table, but not for long, Sita thought moodily, remembering Slytherin would be playing Hufflepuff the next month. They had to beat them by more than Gryffindor to take the lead.
She watched as Black embraced James and threw his Beaters bat into the air in celebration. He caught the bat deftly and flew to the ground alongside James, a wide smile was plastered on his face. He casually brushed a stray piece of hair that had escaped being tied up, off his face and marched into the changing rooms, shaking hands with the Ravenclaws as they passed.
Rabastan scowled as he stood. 'Peakes is pathetic. He should've seen the Snitch well before Madley pointed out Potter's plan. Their Keeper is worthless.' Sita half listened to his arrogant complaints about the Ravenclaw team until they reached the common room.
Rabastan dismissed her after rolling his eyes when she called him “Rab”.
That night Sita stared sadly into the murky water through the window by her bed. She felt as if the darkness was engulfing her as her eyes flickered shut with tiredness. The only thought drifting through her head as she dozed off was that she would never see her father again.
A/N: Sorry for taking so long with this! I hope you like it.
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