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Chapter 5 : A very angry man in black robes
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The disappointment hit me hard when I realised that my heart was still beating, or so it seemed since I could hear it in my ears, beating regularly and healthily despite the numerous cuts and bruises it received since June last year. Sometimes death was the only way to med a broken heart and for one dark moment in the Forbidden Forest when the Centaur hit me, I wished I wouldn’t open my eyes again.
That was the weak and tired part speaking out...but damn the Sorting Heart for placing me in Gryffindor...for I was too “courageous”, or so they say it and too damn stubborn to let the arms of death embrace me. For now. I did not know how many more blows I was willing to take for the Order, but I knew I would take as many as there were for Harry. Only I wished there weren’t many left.
I wondered what really was happening to me, for I was too weak to move or even open my eyes, let alone speak. The pain in my arm seemed to have returned in a ferocious manner and I felt tear forming in my closed eyes. This was nearly as bad as the Cruciatus Curse in one place of my body. I could feel the warm blood still sprawling on my unharmed skin and the stinging sensation of a deep wound, as if it somehow sent electric shocks all over my arm.
I didn’t know for how long I was in that state, but every minute felt like hours. I felt hot and cold at the same time, and my lips were salty and dry. I needed water but I couldn’t move. The bed sheets under me were becoming wet with my sweat and I suddenly felt an urge to pull every blanket in the world over me. I hated the feeling of my hair sticking to my forehead, but the pain was the main thing I noticed. It seemed like forever until I felt a cold vial on my lips, someone holding my head up gently, and some cold and terribly bitter liquid going down my throat forcefully. Than the warm hand from under my head disappeared and I felt the softness of the pillow underneath.
A cool breeze overwhelmed me as I was focusing on inhaling and exhaling, just so I don’t focus on the pain as much. But before I knew it, a dreamless sleep wrapped its long arms around my body and I fell into it with every strength of my being. The pain softened by the second, until all I could feel was a small tingle in my arm. And then I fell asleep again, as my body started fighting for my heart to keep beating.
I have no idea for how long I was unconscious. Maybe I had been like that for hours, or maybe a few days. Time slipped past me unnoticed as my mind and body were concentrating on healing whatever was wrong with my arm.
The first thing I heard when coming back to consciousness, after what seemed like weeks, was the silky voice of Snape talking in a rather irritated manner to Professor McGonagall. I didn’t open my eyes just yet, but I opened my ears as much as I could. The argument seemed to be coming from the opposite part of the Hospital Wing from where I lay.
“....I am telling you Severus, Dumbledore does not think it is another attack! After all Rider has been within the school grounds, has she not?” asked Professor McGonagall and I felt her giving me a very burning glare as if trying to read through me.
For a moment there was a glimpse of silence. Snape seemed as if he was trying to choose his words carefully for the biggest impact upon McGonagall. At least that was I thought, until I heard a fluttering noise of robes coming closer towards me, while his dark eyes were trying to penetrate my mind. I felt the eyes at the door of my head, as if not wanting to come in uninvited. I really hoped he would not go and perform legilimency on me, for I was not a good Occlumen even to save my own life.
But then they disappeared out of my mind as Snape went back towards McGonagall and said something inaudible, as much as I struggled to hear. Then I heard the sound of footsteps echoing towards the door of the Hospital Ward and only when Snape and McGonagall were out, did I dare to open my eyes. Everything was blurry at first, but when my eyes adjusted to the fresh light of the morning coming from the large windows on the stone walls. I was alive.
For the next few days Madam Pomfrey fussed over me a great deal. I had to take potion after potion and the wound on my arm was healing fast. Apparently the bone had not been damaged by whatever caused the blow, only the flesh; and even with the strongest scar healing potion, the long mark on my upper arm would not disappear.
McGonagall came to me two days in a row asking me what had happened and I told her I could not remember...but I was sure it must have been an accident and not an attack. There was already too much panic going around with the return of the Dark Lord and I certainly did not want to be held responsible for the prohibition of students going into Hogsmade. It was the only bit of freedom we had left since this insane break out of Azkaban occurred.
Of course, the number of people who believed Harry about the return of He-Who-Must –Not –Be-Named were no longer limited taking into consideration the events that happened two years ago in the Department of Mysteries. The Ministry had been annoyingly ignorant until Fudge saw Voldie disappearing into a mist and Harry passed out on the floor.
I believed he was back the second Harry told me saw at the end of our 4th year and this was not to do with the fact that we were together. As for when he kept telling Umbridge that Voldemort was back, I always stuck up for him, which was the main reason why we ended up in detentions together.
But I was there when the battle at the Ministry of Magic happened. I witnessed it all and eventually I managed to help him let go of Sirius’ death. Well...not necessarily let go of his death, but at least make him stop blaming himself for letting Voldemort in his head.
“Anna!” said a very concerned Hermione giving me a strangling hug. I didn’t even notice my friends coming in the Hospital Ward to see me, as I was too caught up in my memories. Hermione had her arms enclosed around my neck really tightly. She was quite overprotective over all her friends, to the moment when her hugs hardened the normal reflex of breathing.
“Her-mi-one...I’m fi-ne...can’t..bre-athe.” I said turning a little bit purple.
Hermione let go, but the worry had not disappeared from her big brown eyes. I was then enclosed in another hug by Ron and then Fred and then George. I looked behind the twins expecting to see Harry there, but he was nowhere to be seen. Nor was Ginny.
Hermione saw the disappointment in my eyes, because she said: “Harry kept asking about you constantly...and then we heard from McGonagall that you were okay. He really worried you know...just not ready to face you.” Said Hermione giving me a weak smile.
“What happened mate?” asked Ron with that Wesley worried expression on his face.
“I...can’t really remember. I think I must have fallen down and then fainted for a while, because the next thing I remember was...err...falling in Snape’s arms.” I lied. I remembered what happened, but not even Harry knew I was an Animagus and that was not a secret I wanted to divulge even to my best friends.
“Snape’s arms?” asked both Fred and George at the same time, a bit disgusted.
“Don’t be mean...he helped me.” I said defensively, but then I felt a bit stupid after. As much as I despised the man I had to admit that he had helped me.
“Why are you defending Snape?!” asked Ron while he helped himself with a Flavoured Bin which he brought to me.
“She’s right, Ronald!” hissed Hermione. “As much as you dislike Snape, he did help her.” Said Hermione. “Anyway, how did you fall down?” asked Hermione, somehow deducting that I did fall down instead of shifting to my wolf form and being attacked by a herd of Centauri.
“Err...stairs. I lost my balance.” I muttered finding the Flavoured Bins pack very interesting all of a sudden. “And I can’t really remember what happened after.” I finished trying to dismiss the conversation.
I spent one more day in the Hospital Wing before Madam Pomfrey allowed me to go back to my normal life. Ok...so now I couldn’t shift anymore because I was terrified of the Forbidden Forest and there was no place inside the castle I could do it unnoticed. Why did I have to have all this bad luck?
Everyone in the common room came up to me and asked me for details of what happened, and it took a few days before everyone was settled down with my small explanation of falling down the stairs and not remembering anything else.
Harry didn’t speak to me at all and now Ginny seemed to have a new best friend. That new best friend was Harry, ever since Ron and Hermione were a pair, they didn’t see much of each other. There was a growing monster inside my chest that wanted to rip through my skin and bite Ginny’s head off every time she innocently put a hand on Harry’s shoulder or every time she sorted out a ruffle in his hair. She couldn’t do that. That was our thing...mine and Harry.
I told myself I was being stupid, since they were only friends, but Ginny still got to spend more time with him than I did and I really missed him. This was my new obsession. Although it did more harm than good to me and the wound in my heart started bleeding again, I was very observant when they were around together trying to see he was fine without me even if I was slowly dying without him. I knew I should not feel that way. After all if Ginny truly made him happy then he should go for it. Then I slapped myself hard, because all the jealousy and the hurt bugged their way back in into my head. They were only friends. Right?
In my first Potions lesson after I came out of the hospital wing, Snape gave me his cold, yet penetrating glares more often than usual. While I had to brew a new type of Veritaserium potion he was constantly behind my back and on a number of occasions, I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck.
It felt strange feeling that breath over my neck...he was breathing
just like any human being. Suddenly, I felt sort of sorry for him since mostly everyone called him the Dungeon Greasy Bat. It was true that he had a little too dark manner and that he was sarcastic and never happy, but...still. He was a good teacher. Then I let out a small giggle thinking just what Ron would say if he knew what I was thinking. Favouring Snape...maybe I was going insane.
At the end of the lesson I took the small vile with my potion to his desk so that he can grade it. Most of the students were already gone, except for a few Gryffindors who were too slow with washing their cauldrons. He was marking some pieces of parchment and the expression on his face showed annoyed disappointment, in the dying candle light.
I placed the vile next to all the others and was about to turn around and go, when Snape’s silky voice sent a chill down my spine:
“Just a moment Miss Rider.” I turned around to face him, yet his eyes were still buried in the long piles of yellowing parchment.
“Professor?” I asked trying not to sound to grumpy that I had to stay behind.
It took a few more minutes before Snape answered me. He was just finishing an angry comment on a piece of homework...judging by the expression of his face, that comment was bound to haunt the kid for days.
“I believe you have a detention with me.” He said in a sour voice and his eyebrows were up in a questioning glare.
“I...what?” I asked wondering what in the name of Merlin I did wrong.
“You were wondering on the corridors after curfew, when you decided to collapse in my arms.” Said Snape in a sarcastic voice, while the corners oh his mouth went up slightly in what seemed to slightly resemble an evil smile.
Ok this was ridiculous. I was on the edge of depression, angry with Ginny that she liked my ex boyfriend, angry with myself for getting involved with the bloody Order and grieving over Harry...not looking forward to spend Easter with my drunken father, nor face Lilly with painful questions about Harry. And now this. I tried to tame my voice for not screaming at Snape and cursing him into next week, even if I knew I was the one who would end up hurt.
“You are honestly giving me detention for being hurt and seeking for help?!”
“No Miss Rider. That would not be fair. I am giving you detention for being on the corridors in the first place. I do not believe something happened in the Common Room...not under the eyes of Professor McGonagall.” Said Snape simply yet sourly.
“But...” I started but was soon interrupted by an angrier tone of Snape’s voice.
“If you argue I shall withdraw points as well.” Muttered Snape while
his eyebrows came down, forming a line between them. He was getting annoyed. “7 o’clock, my office. If you are late, you shall serve another night of detention. Dismissed, Miss Rider.” Said Snape burying his face back in the unmarked parchment.
I left the room, stepping slightly harder on the floor. I couldn’t believe it! He gave me detention for...collapsing in his arms. I knew that was the reason...he wouldn’t give me detention straight away for wondering around the corridor. It must have been for spilling blood on his robes...I couldn’t believe I actually sympathised him earlier. Bloody Bat!
I stormed my way all the way up to the Gryffindor Tower, giving some death glares to some first years who stuck themselves to the wall as I walked past them. Even Peeves didn’t pull a prank of me when he saw my facial expression.
And then it hit me. The painting. I had been so busy about my Animagus form and nearly getting killed, that I totally forgot about the painting and how to find out more about it. That detention with Snape might help after all.
I tried not to walk too fast to the dungeons. I could not believe that I was actually looking forward to a detention. That was just not like me. Not like me at all.
I turned the usual corner on the left and started walking towards the rich wooden door behind which lay the headquarters of the scariest teacher of Hogwarts. Although nearly Easter, the corridors of the castle was still bitter cold and I was grateful that I didn’t have to wear my school robes in the evenings. The comfort of muggle jeans and converses were starting to become invaluable and much better than any warming up spell. I suddenly stopped when I heard the sound of shattered glass against the stone floor, behind Snape’s door. Then another one and another one.
I started approaching the door slowly, unsure of whether to knock or not. As I came closer I heard some intelligible shouts form an unknown male voice. Then the shouting of the unknown male ceased under the stronger voice of Severus Snape shouting back. I was too far to understand what was being said, but it was definitely an argument.
My legs were carrying me there, despite any known reasons, and before I knew it, I was pressing my ear against the door. For a moment, no one said anything, but then the sound of more shattered glass, made me jump slightly.
“I will only say this one last time, before I will do it for you! Get back!!” said Snape not shouting, but talking in an even tone that would give nightmares to many first years.
“NO! I STAYED THERE TOO LONG. DAMN IT SNAPE!” shouted a young male back at Snape.
I knew no one who used that tone of voice with someone like Snape.
Even Harry never shouted at him, despite their known cold war.
“EDWIN GET BACK!” I was bewildered to hear Snape using this tone of voice. He always shouted at his students, but...not with worry and was it possible...care in his voice? Who was Edwin?
“THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT! DOES SHE KNOW? DOES SHE MISS ME, SNAPE? I WILL NOT GET BACK...YOU’D HAVE TO KILL ME FIRST! TO HELL WITH THIS LIFE! It’s not fair.” screamed Edwin, making me move away from the door a few steps, for his voice was so horse it made the wood vibrate. That last sentence he said empathised the sadness I too, felt for a long time.
“You sound like a toddler. It might have escaped your notice that life isn’t fair and you can’t get everything you want. NOW GET BACK! YOU KNOW THE RULES” Shouted Snape with a very huge level of authority in his silky voice.
After that there was the sound of something hard being thrown at someone, a moan and a thud as the hard object fell on the floor. I didn’t know who it hit, but I had a feeling it was Snape.
“Artificis per Terra!” roared Snape and a glimpse of ocean blue light escaped from under the door. It felt chilly even through my jeans and I took several steps back.
Than the argument ceased and judging by the atmosphere, Snape was once again released of his strange visitor. Before I could react to what I had just heard, the wooden door opened in an angry manner and Snape looked down at me in a way that could send me to hell and up to Earth again. So I took another step back.
I looked up at his angry face. The eyebrows were knitted together severely as if they had always been that way and his lips were barely visible behind the line which held them back. His hair was silky and straight, but a line of blood was cheerfully making its way down to his jaw line from the top of his forehead where a small cut blossomed, sending some sort of colour to his ghostly pale face. In simpler words, he looked terrifying. I gulped, yet there was no more sarcasm on Snape’s face...simply unleashed anger that sort of winged around him.
“How long have you been listening at the door?!” asked Snape angrily taking one step towards me. For a second I thought his big hand would go onto my neck, but he simply stood there, tall and straight and intimidating like a statue.
“I..I..I just came. I didn’t hear much.” I said in a barely audible voice avoiding making eye contact with him.
For a moment Snape said nothing. Then his eyebrows softened a little as he looked down at my pale face. I was sure that the slightest colour in my cheek disappeared as he laid his cold glare upon me.
“Rider, I am rescheduling the detention for tomorrow evening. You will have some cupboard cleaning to do. Now go!” ordered Snape and I
quickly left because I knew he was at the edge of his long temper.
The last thing I heard as I left the corridor and headed for the stairs was the heavy door of his headquarters slamming shut.
A/N Here you go...chapter 5 for you guys. I really hope you enjoyed this one.So what do you think of the argument and the misterious visitor Snape had? The chapter as a whole? Any review is appreciated...really...good or bad. Thank you for reading!! :)
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