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Chapter 3 : Detention and a Painting
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I was holding my Potions manual against my chest a bit harder than necessary as if my life depended on it while heading down the narrow stairs towards the dungeons in order to serve my detention with Snape. He asked me to bring it, so I presumed I would not only have to scrub cauldrons, but do school work as well. I didn’t really mind. Scrubbing things would make me daydream, thus remembering the break up with Harry, but if he made me do school work, then I would have to concentrate on something else.
I turned a corner and some 7th year Slytherins eyed me with annoying superiority, and then smirked when they saw the golden and red colours of my tie. There always seemed to be more Gryffindors down for a detention with Snape than Slytherins...but then again that was no mystery since Snape was head of the Slytherin house and loved to take points from other houses for the smallest mistakes they would make. Especially Gryffindor.
I walked fast towards the door behind which Snape was hiding. I wanted to get it over and done with, but I was sure it would be a very long evening.
I knocked on the wooden door which had metal sneaks engraved on its margins and the wood felt hard against my knuckles. At first, I thought he was not there, but then the deep and silky voice of my Potions Professor invited me to enter his office, so I pressed hard on the doorknob and entered the poorly lit room.
The smell of spices and Veritaserium hit me right in the face as soon as I stepped in, but my eyes took some times to adjust to my surroundings, even if this was by far not the first detention I served with Snape. I was trying a little too hard to focus on what my senses told me about my surroundings, just so I can act numb for as long as it takes not to glance back at what had happened in the DADA Classroom earlier that day. I still refused to believe I broke up with him. It was too painful.
“Good evening, Miss Rider.” Snape’s calm voice made me jump and forced me to come out of my blind act. He made a lazy gesture for me to go in front of his desk and eventually I found myself looking down at him while he was marking some parchment.
“Take a seat and explain to me why you believed it was necessary to not only assault another student, but also to waste valuable potion ingredients.”
His words lingered inside my head for a while before I realized I had to answer him. Yet I didn’t know how. “Err...” was all I managed to say, then I looked down at my short nails and pale skin which became red instead of tanned no matter how long I stayed in the sunlight.
I looked up at him again. This time he raised an eyebrow, expecting me to say something, yet another “err...” came out.
“Well, Rider, since you find it such a challenge to put together words in order to form a sentence, you can do the last part of the detention now, which does not require speaking. You shall tell me later the reasons for the stupidity of your actions in my Potion lesson, after, when your brain remembers how to make intelligible words.” Said Snape sourly pointing a long finger towards a sink full of viscous cauldrons.
Without another word, I stood up and gloomily went towards the sink, while pulling my school sleeves up. I felt his disapproving eyes on me until I turned on the tap and let the warm water fall on my skin.
After about one hour of washing dirty potion cauldrons and trying as hard as my brain would allow not to look back at this morning (even though from time to time I failed and the flashback of green angry eyes behind some round glasses hit me in the heart like a sharp arrow), I sat back down on the chair in front of Snape’s desk while he looked down at me with his “Snape scary” glare.
“Now, Rider, I believe your mouth had enough time to rest and now it can form words. I shall take 10 points from Gryffindor for refusing to answer when spoken to by a teacher before. Your house is not looking too bright right now is it? A few more points and it’s going into the negative. I am sure you don’t want to bear the burned of losing the House Cup this year. Now speak!” Snape raised his voice just before he finished the last sentence. He raised a dark eyebrow again, expecting me to speak.
“We had an argument. He...err...asked for it.” I said not really looking at Snape.
“I am sure Mr Malfoy didn’t want a scar healing potion on his head.” Said Snap sarcastically.
“Well...he started saying things about my family and I could not help it. I will not lose my temper again, and I apologise for such an outburst in the lesson. It will not happen again.” I muttered robotically (a speech that I had practiced before, just to make sure I get out of the detention alive).
Snape was quiet for a minute in which he gave me a very intimidating glare.
“Very well, Miss Rider. Since you wasted the ingredients on Mr Malfoy’s head and got it wrong the first time around, I will have you doing the Potion again, under my supervision. If you get it right, I will take 5 points from Gryffindor, for not paying attention in my class this morning. If you get it wrong, however, I shall take 30 points since it would be clear that you paid no attention the entire week, which is what this potion is all about. Turn to page 345.”
I opened my Potion Manual as fast as I could and started reading the instructions carefully; trying really hard to remember all the small important details Snape gave us at the beginning of the week.
Somehow, and I am not entirely sure how it happened, I got the Scar healing Potion right and ended up losing only 10 points. I was about to stand up and run towards the door, when Snape ordered me to clean a small cupboard which I had never noticed before.
It was located right on the wall that faced his desk, to the far end of the room. The door was made of mahogany wood, yet had no metal decorations like all the other doors in the dungeons. When I opened it, the smell of old cloth, trapped air and old paper made me sneeze a couple of time before realising that I needed at least one candle to see what was inside. Snape pulled a long face when I asked him for one, but then he handed me one of the long candles on his desk.
Once light bathed the old cupboard, I realised that it was not as small as it seemed the first time around. There were in fact two rather oval shaped rooms joined together with another door on the wall. That one had the metal decorations and for some reason it took me some time to take my eyes off it and focus on the dusty shelves and old books thrown in a messy pile on the other side. I kept stepping on old broken quills on the floor and I decided to clean that first. It was strange how messy this cupboard was, taking into consideration how clean Snape’s classroom always was.
Once the first cupboard reached a more tidy appearance and the dust off everything else was transported mainly on my face, I took the cleaning broom (Snape confiscated my wand for the detention, so I had to do everything the Muggle way, which was terrible) and headed for the more decorated door, with the feeling that I would have much more work to do than in the first one.
I reached for the rather rusty door knob and it felt hard against my skin. I thought the door would be blocked, but to my surprise it opened to reveal what seemed to be an old book cupboard. I held the candle higher up to see it more clearly, but to my surprise there was absolutely nothing in it (except for huge spider webs), or so I thought until I looked in the far corner of the room where a portrait lay, covered by an old black cloth.
That moment I should have closed the door and tell Snape that I finished cleaning his cupboard. But I didn’t. There was something about that covered painting that made me terribly curious and before I could control it, my legs started going towards it as if hypnotized. Soon, my hand reached for the black cloth and the next minute I was staring at a rather large portrait of a young man. The man in the painting did not move like any other magical painting, which made me wonder if it was muggle. But why would Snape have a muggle painting in his cupboard?
My hand reached out to touch it and when I felt the old oil paint touch my fingers, I felt a sudden warm heat that overwhelmed me all the way down to my toes as if someone shoved a hair dryer inside me. Then the heat went back in my stomach and remained there giving me a comforting sense of security I had not felt in a long time. Not even with Harry. My eyes dropped all over the man’s face...his elegant nose, his full lips and his pale perfect complexion. He had black straight hair worn in what seemed to be a low pony tail and was wearing black robes to match it. But when I looked at his eyes, I couldn’t stop staring. They were bright green and something about then reminded me of both Harry’s and Lilly’s eyes, but they were not as sad as theirs. They had a rather cheeky twinkle inside them which made the green even more prominent.
What was more, those painted eyes gave me a feeling of irrational happiness which despite the current events that were evolving around me, refused to disappear. The burned of what happened on the 6th June last year seemed to have eased and the break up with Harry left my mind for a moment. All I could do was stare in those green eyes of the mysterious man in the painting and wonder who he was and why he was not talking to me. I lost track of everything around me until the silky and deep voice of Snape made me jump up straight to my feet and look away from the painting.
“There is no need to clean here. You may go.” Snape seemed quite nervous until he saw me out of the cupboards and back into the Potions classroom where he handed me my wand back and gestured me to get out before closing the door in my face.
I lingered outside there for a few minutes before I started making my way back to the Gryffindor Common room. The painting of the handsome young man was still before me every time I blinked his eyes brighter and brighter each time. There was some strange curiosity that overwhelmed every senile sense inside me and all I wanted to do was go back and have another look at him. That was partly to do with the fact that the painting seemed to ease my pain from every possible aspect and give me more strength to get through the day.
I turned a corner and some Ravenclaw girl said hello to me. I replied and I gave her a smile too, which was even stranger, since I barely smiled to people any more. If this was the effect that painting had on me, I had to get closer to it and possibly find out about it too. But that would mean getting more detentions with Snape or sneaking inside the cupboard and risk getting caught and possibly end up in even bigger trouble. No...I had to find a different way.
The Gryffindor Common room was filled with people relaxing. Dean and Neville were playing a game of Wizard Chess on the desk by the window. When they saw me they said hello and cheered me about the Malfoy incident. I gave them a small smile before moving away from them in order to avoid a conversation. But then I bumped into Ron, who pulled me into a very tight hug,
“That was bloody brilliant, mate! The look on Malfoy’s face was priceless! You know I worship you for that, Anna.” He said giving me a wide grin.
“Thanks Ron.” I said in a quiet voice. I really didn’t want people to make a hassle about it, but since most of the Gryffindors hated Malfoy it would be a bit hard to avoid. “I’ll see you later.” I said while heading for the girl dorm where I hoped it would be a bit quieter and less busy.
Before I left the common room I casted a discrete eye around to see if Harry was there, but the usual place on the sofa by the fireplace was empty and he was nowhere to be seen.
Once inside the girls’ dorm I found Ginny sitting on my bed and staring mindlessly out the window. She seemed sad and I really wanted to go back out of the girls dormitories but she saw me before I could take a step back.
“Hey, Anna.” She saluted me once again, in an absent minded voice.
“Hello.” I replied avoiding eye contact.
“You broke up with Harry, didn’t you?” she asked making it seem more like a statement rather than a question.
I didn’t reply. I just looked down, the weight of all that happened during the day overwhelming me as soon as she mentioned his name. The green eyes of the happy man in the painting were replaced by the sad ones behind the round glasses that did not give me rest and seemed to stab at my heart every time I thought of them.
“You should...you should talk to him.” said Ginny not really looking at me, but there was something in her voice that made me wonder if she wanted to tell me something.
“I...talk to him about what?” I started playing dumb.
“Anna...he hasn’t come to dinner...Hermione said he missed lessons and he even ditched Quidditch Practice with Ron and Brown. We can’t find him.” she finished in a grave voice.
For a moment I said nothing. I knew he was sad...devastated in fact, and I knew he would probably need time alone. He usually went to the Owlery or by the Dark Lake when he was sad. I felt a sudden urge to go after him and see him and make up but I knew I couldn’t. I knew how important Lily’s plan was, and she was after all his mother. If she was able to sacrifice seeing her own son for his own good, then so should I. After all I did love him.
“Ginny, I don’t think there’s anything to talk about. Yes we broke up and yes, I know he’s sad and I’m sorry, but it’s over.” I said in a sharper voice trying to make it seem like I minded her interference. I didn’t really...in fact I appreciated her worry and care, but this conversation could not go on because I knew I would break out of my armour if it did.
“Anna...but...you love him. He loves you and I really don’t understand...”
“Ginny, thank you for your concern, but what happened between Harry and me...”
“I know. I don’t mean to interfere, but he’s really sad. He’s my friend and I can’t see him like this. And I know you’re sad too. For Merlin’s sake, Anna....I know you better than anyone. We’re best friends and I really don’t see the point of you two breaking up if you love each other so.”
This was getting too far. I knew how well she was able to see through me and it was not good. I headed towards my bed and when she saw me coming, she stood up and came closer. I sat down and started taking my conversed off, slowly.
“Anna, you can’t ignore me.” Said Ginny getting slightly angry.
I said nothing. I concentrated on the other lace as I untied the bow and released my foot from the shoe. The air felt cool against the sock and it suddenly felt a bit stuffy in the dorm as if I couldn’t breathe. And Ginny was certainly not very helpful. Her voice was ringing in my ears and I had the urge to run out. And then it was quiet.
I looked up at Ginny who was with her back at me, her red hair slightly messed up. She then spoke in a quiet and retained voice.
“You know...ever since the 6th June last year you’ve been acting strange. I know what happened was a lot for you and yes, it is sad. We’ve all tried and we all feel sorry for you if you even care to know.” She then turned to face me, her eyebrows knitted together in anger. “You can ruin your life as much as you like, but leave my friends out of it!” finished Ginny and drew the curtains over her bed.
For a moment I lay there not managing to devour what Ginny had said to me. We used to be such good friends, kept no secrets from one another. That was until the bloody Order involved my family in this new plan that offered a better option to Harry than following the Prophecy. And then it got even worse when I had to face him every single day knowing that his mother was still alive and that I knew her better than he did.
I didn’t even bother getting changed. I just drew the curtains over my bed and lay into the foetal position trying to shield myself from all that happened that day as if they were arrows shooting at an already defeated fortress. And sometime that long night, I managed to fall asleep and nightmares forgot about my existence for a few hours.
A/N Here you go...chapter three for you. Sorry for the delay, but I had to add a chapter to my other story, the 8th Horcrux, before I could add this one. So what do you think? The Painting? Snape's reaction? Thank you soo much to all of my reviewers and please tell me what you think of this chapter...your reviews really make my day (good or bad :P)
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