A/N: Yay! Some action at last. So now that I have got past that awful transition from second year to sixth year, we can now move on to the main plot. More mysteries arise and lots more action. Hope you all are ready, because I have been waiting to write this chapter for FOREVER!
Salazar burst into the Hospital Wing and stared about him in fury. The room was full of Slytherin boys and girls, all nursing various wounds. They all stared up at their head of house in horror, and many actually flinched when he began to speak.
‘Who did this?’ His voice trembled. The students stared up at him in fear and glanced at each other uncertainly. Who would speak? At the silence, Salazar bellowed, ‘Who did this!’
‘Sir, it was the Gryffindors,’ Briggs replied. He was on his feet, standing over one of the Slytherin boys’ beds.
‘Let me rephrase that. Who allowed this to happen?’ Salazar questioned again. And once again silence reigned. ‘You all shame your house. You shame my name and you shame your own. Gryffindors? You blame this on Gryffindors? This is your lack of pride and your lack of self-respect. Get it back or you won’t be seeing the interior of this castle for much longer.’
‘Mum?’ Zach whispered. He was holding his mother’s frail, bony hand in his strong ones and staring avidly into her blank face. His mother forced a smile but then frowned and looked away in confusion. ‘Does she remember anything?’
Salazar looked down at the boy, sitting next to his mother on the bed. ‘Nothing. She’s at her worst. She has only a while left. Perhaps it is best if you stay here until….you need not return to school quite yet. Not until Hallows Eve at the earliest.’
Zach nodded and swallowed hard. He refused to let his Uncle see him in weakness. Ever since second year, Zach had barely uttered a word to him, only when necessary. His mother had been furious at what Salazar had done. She cursed him a million times over and swore to Zach that when she got better she would take him away. Ironically, that was around the time her sickness took a stronger grasp, and the promise dissolved into nothing.
Zach had forgotten all that now. It had been so long ago. Every holiday he saw his mother, she grew more pale and more frail and he worried for her safety. He mostly talked to her, told her about his time at school. He left out the parts where he hexed Gryffindors and didn’t tell her of his new-found friendship with Briggs and several other Slytherin boys.
She would ask about Micaela often and Zach would pretend that he saw her in secret. He told her stories where he and Micaela had snuck out in the wee hours of the morning and talked until sunrise. They were not only comforting to his mother, but also to himself. It was the path he wished he had chosen. It was the bravery to stand up to his Uncle that he wished he had.
Now, all of that didn’t matter anymore because she was dying. She was the mother who had stuck by him, even when his father past away. She had raised him single-handedly. He loved her more than the entire world put together, and soon she would be gone.
‘Where will I go?’ Zach wondered, but he already knew the answer. He looked up at his Uncle in defiance.
‘I am your closest, living relative. You shall remain with me,’ Salazar stated coldly. He seemed to be asking Zach to question it.
‘Funny that,’ Zach said sarcastically. ‘Everyone time I spoke to her she seemed to wish I was as far away from you as possible.’
‘You dare question me, boy?’ Salazar replied furiously. Zach held his stony gaze and refused to look away. Salazar raised his head and left the room. That was when Zach knew. He was lying.
Micaela looked up in surprise as Godric Gryffindor strode into her Potions classroom that fall, as did all the other students. Chatter broke out at once and Micaela frowned at him as he passed. She saw him shake his head slightly.
‘Professor Slytherin is away on personal business indefinitely and I will be taking this class as well as my own,’ Godric announced to the curiosity of the sixth year students. ‘Instructions are on the board. You must forgive me. Potions was never my subject.’
The classroom laughed and set to work at once. Micaela turned to Bianca and frowned. ‘Where is Slytherin do you think?’
‘I heard a rumour from Slytherin house the other day,’ Bianca whispered back. Carina and Tucker all leaned in to hear. ‘Apparently, it’s got to do with his sister. She’s dying.’
Micaela’s heart dropped and she stared at her in amazement. Tucker appeared to have the same look, however, Carina looked thoughtful.
‘That’s why Zach isn’t here,’ she said in understanding. Micaela spun around in her chair at once and scanned the classroom. She realised at once that what Carina said was true. He was nowhere to be found. She gulped as her head rushed.
‘Are you alright?’ Tucker asked her nervously. ‘You’ve gone dead white.’
‘Er…no. I don’t…er…feel well. I think I better….,’ Micaela grabbed her books and threw them in her bag before saying a quick word to Gryffindor and disappearing out the door.
‘That was so weird,’ Bianca said, raising her eyebrows. Tucker nodded in agreement.
‘Are you two blind?’ Carina asked in frustration. They both stared at her in confusion and Carina shook her head. ‘Never mind. Boys!’
‘I’m not a boy!’ Bianca cried out in annoyance.
‘You sure as hell act like one,’ Carina muttered behind her cauldron. Tucker chuckled, having heard her whisper, and flicked her lightly across the head with his potions book.
Micaela hurried through the corridors. She felt completely empty. What was she supposed to feel? She hadn’t talked to him in four years, so why did she feel so distraught?
‘Micaela!’ She heard someone yell out her name and saw Alexandria running towards her.
‘Great,’ she muttered darkly. This was just what she needed.
‘Are we having the…’ Alexandria leaned in close, ‘the ROAR meeting tomorrow?’
‘Well, since we’ve been having them every Tuesday, I can understand why you would think it had been called off,’ Micaela said sharply. She immediately felt bad but Alexandria didn’t seem to mind.
‘You’re so funny!’ she giggled before skipping off to join a waiting gaggle of first years. Micaela shook her head in wonder. She could hex the girl and she would still think she was the saviour of the world.
‘Miss Long!’ Micaela looked up and caught Ravenclaw’s surprised expression. ‘What are you doing out of class? Don’t you have potions now?’
‘I-I-I’m on my way to the hospital wing. I don’t feel so well,’ Micaela’s speech wavered-off at the bemused look on her professor’s face.
‘Is there anything you wish to tell me?’ she questioned.
‘Professor?’ Micaela asked nervously.
‘It seems the…situation… around school has become drastically worse this year. I have Ravenclaws being admitted to the hospital wing nearly every week and I cannot help but think you might know something about it,’ Rowena said wisely. Micaela blushed bright red and looked down uncertainly. She didn’t want to lie but she couldn’t very well release her secret. ‘Come with me.’
Ravenclaw’s office was extremely bright compared to that of Gryffindor’s. Books were stacked throughout the room and the many windows shed light on hundreds of silver instruments. Micaela took a seat at her desk and waited for her professor to speak, she didn’t know how to begin.
‘I would like to remark on how maturely you have dealt with all this Micaela,’ Ravenclaw noted. Micaela looked up in surprise. ‘Not many young girls could be plucked from their homes at the age of eleven and thrown into a world where many were condescending of such an upbringing. You have created many friends here, however, through all of that. And many admire your bravery and loyalty. I applaud you for you persistence, but I must implore you to not rise to the occasion that others might create. I know there are many in the school who disapprove of you, and certainly many outside the school as you have no doubt realised from the daily prophet, but fighting fire with fire only makes the flames grow higher. It does not douse them. Remember that. That is all.’
Micaela nodded and stood up. At the door she stopped and turned. Ravenclaw had bowed her head and appeared to be deep in writing. Micaela questioned whether to say anything. She opened her mouth a few times, without any sound coming out before she finally spoke.
‘Is that how you’re reasoning with Salazar, Professor? Are you fighting Salazar with fire or water?’ she asked. Ravenclaw looked up in surprise. She seemed at a loss for words. Micaela held her gaze for a second before she turned on her heel and left.
‘Check mate,’ she whispered to herself.
Zach paused outside the door leading to his mother’s bed chambers at the sound of muffled voices inside. He cracked open the door and peered one eye through the break. Salazar was hovering over his mother and she was looking up at him, it seemed fully awake.
‘Do I have much longer?’ She questioned feebly. She attempted to raise herself into a sitting position but Salazar rested a hard hand on her shoulder and she didn’t resist.
‘No,’ he said bluntly. Zach’s mother nodded and stared out the window. Her face became drenched in moonlight and she closed her eyes in bliss.
‘You cannot take him away from me, Salazar,’ she said quietly. So quietly, that Zach had to lean in further and strain his ears desperately in order to hear.
‘I cannot fathom what you are talking about,’ Salazar’s voice replied manipulatively.
‘Don’t play games with me brother.’ Zach’s mother turned her face up to her sibling and stuck her chin out stubbornly. Zach was uncomfortably reminded of Micaela. ‘I know none of this is natural. A perfectly healthy witch like myself? I just hope that one day you realise the severity of what you have done. After all, I am family.’
Salazar glared down at the woman. ‘You are not fit to bear the name of our house any longer.’
‘Thanks to you,’ His mother said sarcastically. ‘You will not be able to hide it for long, Salazar.’
‘You dare tell anyone?’ he threatened murderously.
‘How can I when you have confined me to my bed chambers since the day you murdered him?’ his mother choked out. ‘Yet, how ironic it must be for you? That the thing you despise so much resides in your only heir.’
Zach saw his uncle lunge for his mother and immediately threw open the door. Salazar backed away uncomfortably and strode to the door. Zach glared at Salazar maliciously as his uncle paused in front of him on his way out. Zach raised his chin and his eyebrows whilst cocking his head to the side. Salazar strode out of the room without saying a word.
‘Did you hear?’ His mother called across the room. Zach hurried to her side.
‘Not all. What were you talking about?’ Zach questioned curiously.
‘I fear I cannot tell you,’ his mother said stroking his cheek.
‘Why not?’ he demanded, grabbing her hand.
‘It would do you more danger than good, Zachary. Please. Leave it,’ she begged. Zachary had never heard his mother beg before and he nodded. He wouldn’t question her further, but the conversation had sparked his curiosity and he had no intention in letting it wither away. He closed his eyes and held her hand to his cheek as a few solitary tears escaped his lashes.
Micaela splashed her dirt-streaked face in the warm shower of the Gryffindor Quidditch team’s change-room. The rest of the team had already showered, bundled up and headed back to the castle for a warm meal. Winter was creeping its way into everyone’s bones already and it was only Hallow’s Eve.
Micaela threw on her uniform, plus a scarf and mittens, took a deep breath and opened the door. The cold wind hit her like a wall and she gasped and hugged her coat tighter to her chest. Her brown hair whipped her in the face and she bowed her head, only watching her feet scurry across the wet ground.
For Micaela her stance provided an extremely inopportune moment for a Slytherin to take advantage of her. For the Slytherins, it provided a favorable opportunity. Something hit Micaela hard in the chest and she was thrown back onto the wet ground with such force she actually bounced. Immediately her wand was in her hand, however, not fast enough.
‘Expelliarmus!’ Micaela gasped as her wand went flying out of her hands and landed at the feet of three Slytherin boys. Micaela let her gaze creep up their bodies until it rested on their all too familiar faces. She sighed.
‘Good evening, boys,’ she called out cheerfully, trying to hid the turmoil and fear taking place inside her head at that very moment. The castle was too far away to make a break for it, but the forest was right behind her. Perhaps, its dense foliage would provide a safe-haven.
‘Shut up,’ Briggs called back. He approached her and stuck his wand between her eyes menacingly. Micaela went cross-eyed trying to keep it in her vision. ‘Think your funny do you? Rotten Gryffindors. Think they’re the best at everything, don’t they? You think we haven’t noticed you guys have started to fight back? You think we haven’t noticed you flaunting your filthy Mudblood self all over the school?’
Micaela glared up at him. His face was contorted in rage. She glanced at the other two boys. She had sent both of them to hospital last week. Inside she groaned. Why did Slytherins always want revenge?
‘Well?’ Briggs asked her as though he expected her to know exactly what he was going on about. ‘Where are your Gryffindor friends to back you up now?’
‘Eat shit,’ Micaela threw back at him, before kicking out at his crotch. Briggs doubled over in pain, but the other two boys had their wands out in a flash. They hit Micaela with two hexes just as she was on the outskirts of the woods. She collapsed from the pain, crumpled on the border, lying on the pine strewn floor.
‘You bitch,’ Briggs said approaching her. Micaela would have laughed at his awkward walk had the situation been somewhat more humorous. Micaela flinched as he crouched down and put his face inches from hers. Then he stood up, stuck out his leg and smashed it down on her face. Micaela felt her nose crack and the excruciating pain seemed to cover her face like a blanket. Tears slipped from her eyes and she backed up further.
Briggs flicked his wand and she was thrown backwards into a thick tree. The breath was knocked out of Micaela’s lungs for a frightening second, before she was able to gasp for air once again. She looked up at the three boys, her vision blurring. Briggs seemed confident that she was going to beg for mercy. Micaela would never give him that satisfaction. She stuck her chin out stubbornly, ignoring the pain from her nose, and spat at his feet.
Before she knew it, she was writhing at his feet. The pain contorted her body and she opened her mouth to scream but no sound escaped. She lost vision and she seemed to be swimming in a sea of black, when suddenly, it stopped.
She lay panting on the ground and she instinctively curled into a small ball. She heard yells and shouts but didn’t pay them any notice. All she could think about was the relief. She was free from pain. She couldn’t feel a thing. Her whole body was numb with shock. She opened her eyes, not even realising that she had shut them, and beheld the confusing scene in front of her.
‘You stay the fuck away from her!’ Zachary shouted his wand pointed straight at Brigg’s forehead. Micaela frowned, wondering where the other two boys had gone, and lifted her head slightly. They were sprinting back to the castle.
‘What the hell has gotten into you?’ Briggs struggled to his feet, looking at Zach as if he was a madman. ‘Defending a Mudblood?’
‘Don’t call her that,’ Zach said weakly. Briggs took advantage of his uncertainty.
‘She’s not one of us, Zach. She’s the daughter of a Muggle,’ Briggs said, looking at Zach incredulously.
‘Get out of here before I kill you,’ Zach said menacingly. Anger flashed in his eyes and his wand hand shook with fury. Micaela didn’t doubt his words, and it seemed neither did Briggs.
Suddenly, he was at her side. Micaela looked up at him in fear and anger and attempted to crawl away. She heard him sigh as he sat back on his haunches. She met his pitying eyes and looked away. She hated him. She attempted to stand up and cried out in pain. Zach reached for her instinctively, but Micaela pushed him away.
‘Don’t touch me,’ she cried out, her voice trembling.
‘Caela,’ he whispered soothingly.
‘Stay away from me,’ she demanded. She saw his eyes fill with frustration.
‘Don’t be ridiculous. I’m trying to help you.’
Micaela had nothing to say to that. She only glared at him from beneath her lashes. Again he reached for her but she pushed herself away, gasping with pain as she did so.
‘Don’t. Touch. Me,’ she repeated evenly.
‘No.’ Zach replied bluntly. He reached for her again and, despite her struggles, picked her up in his arms. Micaela pushed him away with all the strength she had left but he wrapped her in his iron grip and began walking back towards the castle. The last thing Micaela remembered was his hand brushing a stray curl off her bloody forehead.
A/N: Argh! How exciting was that? Cliffhanger much?
Hope you all enjoyed it! I certainly did.
Anyway, last time the validator told me I was too close to threatening you guys to review (how hilarious is that? Because I said it was an order!) so I will only ask extremely nicely this time. Please give me a review!