Chapter 7 : The First Step
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Oh, and I wrote this two years ago (when we were studying Egyptian stuff funnily enough). I have no idea what it means now.
New A/N: I find this old A/N cute. Um, this chapter was a doozy to edit. I think it is the longest chapter in Sparkle in Her Eye, which is sort of... well, you know. I cut out over 2000 words though, words that I felt were really superfluous. I really did depend on stream of consciousness writing when I began and, while I feel that it is important, I think dialogue now is much more interesting. There is not a lot of dialogue, I fear, in this chapter--but the upcoming chapters are very special, so I hope that you enjoy :)
Defense Against the Dark Arts was, perhaps, the worst class in all of the curriculum.
To start off the new week--the first whole week of the new year, Aney reminded them happily-- she decided on a 'review' on the origins of charms and from there she would go on to the other major branches of magic. She further explained each chapter would open with a hands-on project and would finish with--by Scarlett's estimation--hours upon hours and days upon days of notes and myths from the days Aney went to a retreat in Egypt.
If Scarlett was in a bad mood--and today she was (she was down two Galleons and her favorite teams had both lost)--she would say that she really didn't give a Knut about her teacher's expeditions. If the class wasn't mandatory for the student body--and for the Death Eaters--she would have happily and hastily dropped it.
Aney began another story about a charmed amulet in a pharaoh's tomb; Scarlett sighed, playing with a quill in her hands, before pulling out a piece of parchment. She looked back at the quill, sighed again, and looked up at Aney, who seemed too absorbed in her story to pay her any attention.
At least her company wouldn't be missed.
Save me. Please.
Discreetly, she passed the piece of paper across Narcissa's right side, and she smiled when she noticed that Aney had taken no fancy to their side of the room, instead setting up a slideshow of images from Egypt.
The note was sent back shortly in Narcissa's beautiful calligraphy.
I have to handle the same thing you do, Scar.
I think we only have one hour left, anyway.
Scarlett groaned quietly and placed her head in her hands, muttering obscenities under her breath. Narcissa smiled, as if eyes were in the back of her head, and took the note back from Scarlett, writing on it avidly.
Oh, don't be so disappointed. What's next?
Scarlett dipped her quill in the ink, looking up at the ceiling curiously. She might have had a free period--but then the answer came to her in epiphany, alongside another quiet groan.
Narcissa chuckled under her breath at that, scribbling something down in return.
I'll see you there! It will be a party!
Scarlett hit her head against the desk.
I hate you.
Narcissa was very close to laughing loud enough to attract Aney's attention, but Scarlett thanked years of being taught subtlety for Narcissa's discretion. Narcissa wrote slower this time:
And then lunch...Herbology...some studying...and then sleep and a training session. You've got to be up to it, Devous.
Scarlett hit her head hard against the table.
Perhaps too hard. Professor Aney finally looked at her with interest, and Scarlett returned the glance with narrowed eyes. "So, Scarlett," Aney said, and Scarlett swore there was a smirk on her face, "Scarlett, do you know the series of enchantments on the Egyptian djed amulet used for the pharaoh Ramesses II and the significance behind that amulet being used, alongside what the amulet stands for?"
Silence. Damn Aney.
"Um," Scarlett started out smartly, and she was confident that one of the Marauders let out a snicker, "the series of the charms...surely were placed with the intention of granting access to the afterlife, using simple charms that the Egyptians made up themselves, because they didn't have the magical technology used today... and the amulet djed stands for... er... immortality?"
Aney let out a tut. So she was wrong, then. What a surprise.
"Ten points from Slytherin for not paying attention," Aney said methodically. "The amulet djed was known as the backbone of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife of which led the ka to the Weighing of the Hearts ceremony, recorded by a wizard scribe who brought a timeturner to his next life..."
And so the cycle continued. Scarlett honestly tried to pay attention to what Aney was saying this time--in vain she tried to take notes--but the subject was so boring, and after being antagonized by Aney she had less motivation than ever to be attentive.
She looked at the clock. Forty minutes left.
If anyone asked her, Georgiana Nott would simply reply that she was nothing like her brother and she never would be, thank you very much. In appearance they were different and in personality... well, Theodore was as familiar to her as a stranger in that regard.
Georgiana was a Ravenclaw for good reason; she was incredibly intelligent and used this to her highest advantage. She was good at every subject and worthy of being Ravenclaw. She found she shared some similarities with Slytherin, but the Hat had known that she identified most with Rowena's house.
Theodore was a Slytherin--and she was certainly not Theodore.
One Slytherin trait that Georgiana especially identified with was the power of observation. Observations held the truth; the expressions, the look in someone's eyes, the wanting-to-be-forgotten moments that she'd seen...it was all more powerful than words or action in that it was a tool for premonition. Georgiana could see what would happen many times before it did, based on how easy the observation was to make.
And some things were so obvious that they were almost blinding.
She shook her head as she thought of Scarlett and Theodore. She had noticed only recently; she did not know how much she had missed.. Yes, she had made comments here and there--comments that fit incredibly now--but she had honestly never taken any of them seriously, especially after fourth year.
But she had recently found reason to take them seriously. She had first seen it at lunchtime; under the circumstances she had to work with, it was completely too easy to notice. Bellatrix was trying to finish her homework early and Narcissa was talking with Ambrose--without these distractions, like pulling hair back to showcase eyes, it was simple, even, to see.
Georgiana kept quiet as she watched the dance the two performed with each other. There was really some miraculous sort of choreography to the game, the way Scarlett's eyes would flicker towards Theodore and his eyes would flicker towards her. It was remarkable that the two of them did it with such synchronization, and it amazed her that neither of them had noticed.
But she had noticed it--her knack of observation, of sensing when things had changed between two people, had seen to that.
Georgiana also possessed unbelievable will (when necessary) to keep a secret and of using things against other people at the right time. Georgiana, in identifying and understanding a situation, was able to assert her power over it in a way that Theodore was normally too mild to do.
So, no, she wasn't like her brother, and she wasn't quite like Bellatrix or Narcissa or Scarlett. Her intentions weren't as dark as Slytherins for the most part; her nature was inherently Ravenclaw.
But Georgiana had met Voldemort many times, and always refused to wear short sleeves unless she was at a Death Eater party. Georgiana went to meets in the morning; Georgiana would be wed without her consent of the husband.
For all of her power, for all of her talent in observation and understanding--it would all go towards the cause. Georgiana would give anything for the cause whose allegiance she had pledged on her wrist.
And in that way Georgiana was like her brother, and the Black sisters, and Scarlett. In that way was Georgiana Nott a corrupt Slytherin.
Free breaks were miracles in the school schedule. It was definitely a loss to not continue with his rotations, sure, but Theodore didn't see it as too much of a loss. They were all going to go to Voldemort's service, so what was the use?
The homework that day was easy enough, and because the free period mixed with the end of the day it was as if they had extra time in the end of the day. Theodore finished the homework easily, especially Defense, which came extremely easily to him even though he wasn't the biggest fan. Theodore didn't see why everyone thought the subject was so hard. Most of the time the teachers were incompetent enough to give out little homework after the first month and their motivation to teach ran out of gas as the months passed.
Theodore spent time in the library alongside Georgiana; although the two hated homework with a passion they both still managed to finish it before everyone else. In fact, Theodore was sure that Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Scarlett were all with Ambrose--he knew his friends loved to procrastinate.
Shame, too, because the homework was easy enough. Georgiana was a little distracting, maybe, but the two worked diligently and easily, and it took less than an hour to find the correct way to plant a Jumping Seed and to finish an essay for Defense.
So when Theodore walked into the common room he had expectations on where the three were. Normalcy, predictability--
But when he entered the common room, only the Black sisters and Ambrose met his eyes; so he had only been partially right. Georgiana trailed behind him, a light snicker rising up her throat, though Theodore could really find no reason for it.
Sisters were strange sometimes.
"She's upstairs," Ambrose said before either of the two could open their mouths. "I think she was going to do homework, but she probably fell asleep. I don't know, she isn't as good at coping with the schedule, well, as I am, I guess."
This--the arrogance--was common for Ambrose, and Georgiana moved from behind Theodore to openly show the huge smirk on her face. "Not being too proud, are you, Ambrose?"
Ambrose merely smiled. "I do my best, you know that." Her tone turned accusatory. "But really, she's been tired a hell of a lot, hasn't she? Do you think she was diagnosed with something? I mean, she was peaky all today, and she almost fell asleep in Herbology, so you never really know... Merlin, do you think she's on drugs?"
Theodore rolled his eyes, sitting down at the chair farthest away from all of their seats and watching as Ambrose leaned in to whisper in Narcissa, Bellatrix, and Georgiana's ears. One of them giggled and Narcissa said, "You know, you're probably right," under her breath.
Of course, Theodore valued truth heavily. Yes, sometimes he feared it--liked to keep a safe distance from it--but he still understood its importance. In a situation like this he would have picked off the information from Georgiana immediately after Ambrose was done.
But how could he really expect anything from Ambrose? Sure, she provided a slice or two of information that was useful at times, but when it came to the group, especially Scarlett and Bellatrix, she had as much chance of being truthful as she had winning the lottery.
So at least he didn't miss out on anything important, knowing that the conversation probably led to a former fourth year who got sent to St. Mungo's for being under too much of the influence of drugs. He could have sworn he heard Georgiana mutter, "So cute, it's a shame".
Not really his scene. Theodore stealthily left the common room and headed towards the girl's dormitory.
He hadn't seen Scarlett in a while.
Scarlett tangled webs in her subconscious. She was always a heavy sleeper and was known quite well for that; it took her minutes to get up unless provoked by, say, Bellatrix--which, to be quite honest, happened a fair lot.
But this night Bellatrix did not intrude on her slumber, and she enjoyed that graciously; it seemed as if she was being lured into slumber, for when she would expect to be woken she only felt the dizzying feeling of fatigue that was not nagging or expectant at all, one that suggested--but didn't urge--her to keep sleeping.
But for some reason, her body consumed the sleep greedily, eating away at it and feeling still starved, and Scarlett, happy to cater, slept more, soaking in her dreams, so easy to forget but so lovely to remember. She didn't dare wake up for the longest amount of time that she could; she slept until her body felt almost completely rejuvenated.
Finally, when enough was enough, Scarlett rolled over and blearily opened her eyes.
From where she was, Scarlett craned her neck to the side, blinking her eyes to refocus; while she was not utterly shocked to see Theodore, she certainly wasn't aware he would be there.
Apparently writing notes had lost its luster.
"Nine what?" she said tiredly, her words morphing into a sigh, and she pressed her head deep into the pillow. Theodore snickered from where he sat and raised his eyebrows.
"Nine o' clock. You've been sleeping since our free period and you missed dinner. You have, for a record, an essay on Defense Against the Dark Arts and the Egyptian charms, a paper on Astronomy you've already finished, a Transfiguration spell to look up, and how to properly plant a Jumping Seed. All due the next time you have class, except for Defense. Anything else, Scar?"
Scarlett snickered, and she groaned again, putting her blanket over her head. Theodore took that as a sign of fatigue and smirked, patting the blanket. "Oh, and the next meeting is tomorrow at three o' clock, so don't even bother going to Tenereus's. Yeah?"
And though Scarlett said okay, and though Theodore left thinking that she was still tired, the contrast, almost a lie, looked her dead in the face. Because it was definitely not a sign of fatigue that the blanket had become an invitation to hide her head over.
No, it was a different reason entirely, and Scarlett's cheeks were still slightly pink by the time she finally fell back asleep, her homework assignments and time completely slipping her mind as she did so. In the haze of her mind a mere thought lingered in her head.
Scar. His name for her, a sense of familiarity, of comfort--comfort that had her very uncomfortable.
The next day passed quietly, with class and Voldemort's meeting in their way.
But, very, very soon, the day ended, and Scarlett realized with a sinking feeling that she had no excuse not to go to Tenereus's, and it was there that she would see the beginning of something she didn't want to begin.
With reluctance, she stepped out of the Slytherin common room.
The night was, in all honesty, flat. Flat and dead and not particularly interesting at all. There were colder temperatures, yes, and these were not unnoticed, for there was little else to notice. It was a particularly normal night to end a particularly normal day.
But when Scarlett stepped uncertainly out of her dormitory, late that night, it didn't feel quite so normal. She knew what was waiting out there for her, a future she didn't want to walk towards; she felt as if the truth was staring her in the face but she was avoiding its gaze.
Scarlett hated the pursuit of truth when it was so eminent. Star reading was different, better, than this--with the stars it was easy to pretend it was all a trick of the light. But in reality--a place where Scarlett liked to turn her head the other way--under these layers of complete glassy-eyed splendor, there was the same fear, a fear of the inevitable.
The day had not been anything special whatsoever; it passed in dull lurches and heavy doses of boredom, Defense Against the Dark Arts starting the day with strict orders and sharp yells from the professor, who seemed to have a permanent bias against Slytherin or perhaps Scarlett herself, she wasn't entirely sure.
Charms had passed by in simple blurs; History of Magic Scarlett made notes for three minutes before almost dozing off; Potions' fumes had almost rendered her asleep by learning again of the Drought of Living Death, which would be one of the big projects of the semester; and a free period and Herbology had knocked her into a numb period where attention came short and plants were uninteresting.
Sleep had come after that, and then dinner; following sleep came once more, but Scarlett woke up at midnight, just as she did every night. In all honesty she was unsure as to if she would go, because the outlook had taken on an intimidation that she was afraid to confront; but, with heavy and reluctant legs, she took the steps to confront it.
There was something unusual about the forest that particular night. It was eerily silent, the birds seeming to mute for the winter, while the other creatures of the forest made no indication of their presence. The wind blew, but it blew in a whisper, barely heard by Scarlett's ears.
It was quiet, but it was building like a steady procession of drums in her body. She could feel that the energy was in disorder, in an arrangement completely foreign to her. It was frightening to her and she willed herself not to think of it. She tried in vain to pretend that she was walking towards another normal night--for her own safety.
Because how Scarlett wanted safety. She didn't want to be sent out into the world of unpredictability.
But this was inevitable, these were Tenereus's demands. She had to face unpredictability and she knew it all had to begin with a step--whether a step that led her out of the common room or a step that led her into a different era of her life.
And as she stepped through to the outlook, in her numb state of thought about safety, her safety, and the unpredictability her life now held, only one short sentence, two words, even, were the only words that lingered on her tongue. The words to greet a new beginning.
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