Chapter 6 : Paint It Black
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The fury from our little tete-a-tete did not recede as I exited the owlery. I walked aimlessly, my eyes blazing, my breathing quick and shallow as I tried to control the anger bubbling inside of me. A anger that had been festering for a long time, waiting until something happened, waiting until the fuse was lit. Of course most of this anger was not against Sirius, no, but he was the one who made the festering bundle of fury awaken. He had just lit the match that sparked the burning rage now flowing through my body.
The anger did not dissipate throughout the day. I missed lunch, unwilling to encounter Sirius, and during my afternoon lessons- Astronomy and History of Magic- I would enter the classroom last, and sit alone. Lily, being highly perceptive thankfully, noticed my foul mood and let me be. Perhaps she would be a good friend to have...
The afternoon lessons seemed to drag on forever, and I found myself looking back on the argument with Sirius, dwelling on his words and my own. This only intensified the ire, so much so that I found myself unaware that I had dug my manicured nails into the skin of my palm, breaking the skin, and releasing a few drops of crimson liquid during a particularly boring speech on the Troll Wars during History of Magic.
I was extremely glad when the lessons of the day were over, but still found my anger problematic. I am not a nice person when I am angry, although I’m sure some people will claim that I’m not a very nice person in general, but when I am angry I find it very hard to control my actions. I get this flare from my father, a trait I also share with my brother. It is not a facet of my personality that I am particularly fond of, but I cannot change this fundamental past of myself, however hard I’ve tried.
I decided, in order to protect those around me from a sudden flare of fury, to go to the library and remain there until dinner was over. I could then go to my dormitory and get an early night. A simple, and efficient plan that would keep my somewhat-innocent fellow students from facing my undiluted anger.
After getting through a particularly simple essay on the Troll Wars I packed up my books into my satchel. I left the library and entered the quiet corridors of Hogwarts, my anger slightly more under control.
I planned on going straight to my dorm and settling down early, possibly reading for a few hours before getting a good nights rest.
However, my plans were ultimately dashed when, as I walked down a particularly empty corridor, I heard raucous laughter, and sounds of a struggle. My hand went instinctively to my wand, curling around the end of it with a firm grip. I rounded the corner and my eyes unconsciously narrowed when I saw the familiar form of Sirius Black, and his best friend James Potter. They held their wands out, pointed at a figure floating in the air, held upside down by an invisible force. I recognised the victim of their game as my potions partner, Severus Snape. Now, as much as I abhor anyone who lists my brother as a friend, or even acquaintance, I felt that I had to help him. If only to stop Sirius from having some amusement from this... torture.
“Expelliarmus.” I barked, sending the spell towards James Potter who was currently the one torturing Snape. His wand flew from his hand and skidded across the floor. Snape fell to the floor with a thump, as Potter and Sirius turned to face me.
“So, this is what you do for fun is it Black?” I hissed, “Your really not much better than the rest of your family are you?”
That struck a nerve, his eyes darkened and his arm straightened, the tip of his wand pointing directly at me.
“Don’t you dare compare me to them.” He snapped.
“But Sirius,” I said, smirking, “When I came round the corner I had to do a double take, and question whether I was seeing you, or your brother.”
The anger I had been experiencing all afternoon was spilling out of my lips now, unstoppable.
His arm was visibly shaking, his mouth set in a thin line.
I saw Snape slide up the wall, leaning against it for support and watching our exchange curiously, his eyes darting from Sirius to me. Potter stood behind his friend looking worried, perhaps contemplating whether he should intervene.
“Surely you can see the similarities?” I teased darkly, “You are more like them than you’d care to admit, I assure you.”
I felt a shallow ache run through my chest when I saw the pain flash through his eyes, but it was subdued by the overwhelming, suffocating anger engulfing every other emotion. The fire inside me ravaged it. Any hint of sympathy I could have felt was doused in the destructive flames.
“I am nothing like them.”
He was trying to keep his temper in check, he seemed to be failing however.
Would he hex me? Before this I would have said no, but if he were as angry as me then I would not put it past him. I wouldn’t blame him actually.
“So, what was that? And oh, who did you learn it from? Hmm?” I twiddled my wand in my hand, “I’m sure, now tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m sure that we learnt that spell while hiding in the library at the Malfoy manor watching Lucius torture that house elf? Do you remember that Sirius?”
We were 8 at the time, we’d been in the library messing around when we heard someone coming, we hid behind the large desk. A 9 year-old Lucius entered with Bellatrix, carrying a small house-elf in his hand. I remember how scared the house elf looked, I remembered how I felt. I wanted to save him. Sirius had held my hand tightly as Lucius tortured the poor thing.
The ire in Sirius’ eyes dissipated for only a moment, overtaken by a somewhat soft look. Perhaps he was remembering better times. I would never know.
“Come on Padfoot, lets go...” Potter said, putting his arm on Sirius’ shoulder.
He slowly lowered his wand, never taking his eyes off me. He then stepped forward, moving his body too close to for comfort to mine. My heart stuttered in response to the proximity, my senses clouded by him, his musky scent, the heat radiating from his body...
Something burned, like coal embers, deep below the anger.
Painful, heart wrenching, unwanted desire.
“Of course I remember.” he whispered briskly in my ear, “I remember everything. And I know that this is not you. This isn’t who you want to be.”
I pushed him away from me and stepped back. My skin felt ice cold without his warmth.
He smirked, “Have fun with Snivellus, Bennet.” He hissed, before turning and waltzing down the corridor, closely followed by his friend.
I stood there, watching them go, my fists clenched, my breathing slow and deep.
I closed my eyes for a second, and took a final, deep, and cleansing breath. I then turned to Snape, “Are you all right?”
He narrowed his eyes at me, “I didn’t need your help.”
I smirked, “Of course you didn’t.” I muttered. I noticed then that he had a bloody nose and that he was keeping his weight off his left foot. “You should go to the hospital wing.”
I narrowed my eyes slightly and stepped forward, bringing my wand up level with his face, “Episkey.” I muttered the healing charm and watched his broken nose fix. He winced and brought his hand up to his nose. “You’re welcome.”
This boy was grating on my nerves.
“Now, I am going to help you back to the Slytherin common room.”
“I do not need your help.”
I took another deep breath, “Stubborn fool.” I muttered, “You have hurt your ankle Snape, I intend to make sure that you get back to your common room without any more injuries, or attacks by those damn gryffindors. You have no choice in the matter.”
It wasn’t that I particularly wanted to help him. It was more helpful to myself really. When Quentin found out about this he would be... pleased.
He muttered something under his breath but then turned and started limping down the corridor. I smirked triumphantly.
“Do they do that a lot?” I asked, as we walked towards the dungeons.
“Yes.” he answered shortly.
“I don’t need your pity.”
“Pity?” I laughed, “I don’t pity you. God, no.”
“Then why are you here?” he asked angrily.
“I have my reasons.” I said, nonchalantly.
He retreated back in to silence, limping painfully on his swollen ankle. We entered the dungeons and I suddenly felt rather claustrophobic, memories of the previous night returning to the forefront of my memory.
We reached a dead end and I frowned about to question where we were, he whispered something and pressed on one of the bricks. The wall opened up revealing a smaller, lit corridor.
He turned and was about to say something when he looked over my shoulder, I turned and saw my brother walking down the corridor, accompanied by Bellatrix, Lucius, and Evan Rosier.
I kept the emotionless expression on my face, “Isabella, what a surprise.” Bellatrix said, “What are you doing here?”
She twirled her wand in her hand like I had earlier.
Note to self: Stop doing that.
“Severus?” Quentin said.
“I was just helping Severus here out.” I said, uncaringly, “You see he was having a little...disagreement with Sirius and that Potter boy. He refused to go to the hospital wing.”
“I hope you taught them a lesson.” Rosier smirked.
“I just gave Sirius some home truths.” I said bitterly, “He seems to be living in his own happy little world.”
“Well,” Lucius said stepping forward, his eyes moving up and down my body, “Why don’t you join us in our common room? I’m sure you’ll find our company better than that in the Gryffindor common room.”
I held back a disgusted shudder as he mentally undressed me.
What a gifted individual to be able to illicit such disgusted feelings from a mere look.
I looked to Quentin surreptitiously to gauge his reaction to this invitation. He noticed, like he always did, and gave a small nod of his head.
“I suppose I can spare a few minutes.” I answered, pasting a apathetic smile onto my face, before following Snape into the Slytherin common room.
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