Chapter 5 : Veritaserum
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It’s not like I had expected detention to be nice but, seriously, that had been torture. “Think about it as a complementary Potions lesson” my ass. Though I had learnt something, all right. It has to be said that it hadn’t been so bad at first though. At six fifty-five I was already making my way to the dungeons, blissfully unaware of what Snape had waiting for me. He was arranging a bunch of little bottles around a table the moment I walked it.
“Take a place, Miss,” he said in a brisk voice. I shut the door and sat down in the farthest table, just to be as far away from him as humanly possible.
“In this table,” he said, his voice extremely dry and slow.
I moved from where I had been sitting and was now but a few steps away from him.
“Have you your book?” he asked.
“No, professor,” I told him. Snape walked over to a small cupboard and produced a book from it. He opened it on a page that was not marked by the name of the potion, which I guessed must have been written on the other side.
He handed the book over to me and instructed me to start working. So far it didn’t seem like such a bad detention. I pulled the book close to me and attempted to turn the page just to see the name of whatever it was I was preparing.
“Do not turn the page,” he said calmly. His back had been turned to me.
I did not even attempt it again. I started preparing the potion taking my time, since I did not know how long detention would last. When I was done the liquid had become thick and practically transparent. Snape walked over to me and examined my potion.
“Very well,” he said, evaluating it and once again turned his back on me.
I took it that the session was over and I slowly got up from the stool where I had been sitting. I picked up the single piece of parchment and quill that I had brought with me and began to make my way towards the door.
“And where do you think you’re going?” Snape asked in a monotone voice I was beginning to hate.
“Pardon, professor?” I asked, confused.
“Take your seat, please,” he said. He was busy retrieving something from a drawer in a cupboard. When he returned to where I was sitting he had a small wooden spoon in his hand.
“Do you know what this is?” he asked pointing to my potion.
“No, sir,” I told him honestly.
“This, young lady, is called Veritaserum,” he said, submerging the wooden spoon into the liquid. Oh God. Oh no.
“And it makes whoever drinks it tell the absolute truth,” he finished. He pulled out the spoon and I saw that it was full to the brim with liquid. Oh God, please, no.
“Open, miss,” he said in a stern voice.
I looked confusedly at Snape. He wasn’t really going to force me to take that thing, was he? What if I hadn’t done it right? What if I had messed it up and somehow ended up dead? What if… what if I actually ended up telling him everything?
“Open,” he repeated.
I did. It didn’t taste like anything I had ever tried before. I couldn’t even find a way to describe it. The liquid moved slowly down my throat until it had finally passed.
“What is my name?” Snape asked.
“Severus Snape,” I told him. I hardly thought that proved I was telling the absolute truth.
“Was Cedric Diggory covering for you earlier today?” he asked. Oh God.
“He was,” I said. I guessed that was the truth. He had been covering for me so I wouldn’t have to say it myself.
“What actually did happen?” Snape asked looking pointedly into my eyes, making me feel defenceless and scared.
“I made Elizabeth cry today,” I said in a calm voice. I guess it is true that there is no reason to fear truth, “Because I saw in her tealeaves that her aunt is going to die.”
“What did you see in her cup?” Snape asked.
“A hat and a cross,” I told him. It felt like the hundredth time I had talked about it. The interrogation had not gone so bad. Snape seemed pretty convinced that I was actually telling the truth. He turned around, his back to me.
“What are you doing here?” he asked. Oh no. “Here in Hogwarts I mean.”
Oh no. Please don’t say anything. Please don’t, please don’t.
“I don’t know,” I told him, taken aback by my own answer.
“Take a wild guess, miss,” he ventured. Before I could stop myself I had answered.
“I have to save him,” I said, quickly regretting the thing my voice had just said. Snape turned around to face me. That was obviously not the answer he had been expecting.
“Save who?” he said.
“Cedric,” I told him simply, as if it was an obvious truth.
“Save him from what?” Snape asked.
“He is going to die,” I told him. It was the first time I had ever said it out loud, let alone mentioned it to anyone.
He walked closer to where I was sitting and looked me straight in the eye.
“Do you feel alright?” he asked me.
“Quite, thank you,” I said cheerfully, “My knees have been wobbly all day, though.”
Enough with telling the truth, I told myself. I was happy that he wasn’t asking me other things. Any other question, any personal question, and I would probably be burnt alive in the Greenhouse.
Snape finally stepped away from me and I was happy the air was clear again. He took the wooden spoon with him and went back to the cupboards.
“It obviously did not work,” he said while cleaning the spoon with his wand.
I decided to say nothing. One word and he might believe it actually had.
“I will let this business with Elizabeth Gerber pass,” he said, “But mark my words, young lady, you will not be this lucky next time.”
He let go of the wooden spoon and turned to face me again.
“Five points will be taken from Ravenclaw on account of your disastrous Veritaserum,” he said as a final word.
I didn’t argue. I fought hard to keep my mouth shut and just accept whatever may come. Truth was still bubbling inside my throat, waiting for an occasion to burst out. I picked up my parchment and quill again and made my way practically running towards the door. That had definitely been torture.
I fought hard to not run into Cedric. I took every long way I could think of to get to Ravenclaw hoping it would be enough. By the time I got to our common room my heart was beating hard with exhaustion and absolute fear. I couldn’t take seeing him again so soon. I couldn’t take seeing him again at all.
Luna was sitting by the fire reading an upside-down old copy of the Quibbler.
“How did it go?” she asked me, hardly looking up.
“Oh,” I hesitated. Luckily the effects of the potion had worn off by now, “Normal, pretty normal.”
I excused myself shortly after that. My body couldn’t take much more. Lying in our room completely alone attempting to write an essay for Trelawney (“The dangers of Divination”) I kept thinking that I couldn’t keep running into Cedric like that. This had practically been the first day I had ever seen him, let alone talk to him, and I had already kissed him on the cheek and had been dangerously close to kissing him full on the lips. At this rate I would be head over heels for him by the next day. And that had to stop. No matter what methods I had to resort to, and no matter how painful it might be, I had to stay away from Cedric Diggory, if only to protect my already fragile heart from completely breaking.
The next couple of weeks I felt like I was going to lose it. Avoiding Cedric meant waking up at five in the morning and going to get breakfast at five thirty, enjoying only the company of the Drumstrang student body, which got up at four to exercise and by five thirty were yet to shower. The stupid Goblet of Fire being there didn’t really help either. I kept wondering whether he had put his name in already. Avoiding him meant arriving always late for Professor Trelawney’s class and leaving as fast and as early as I possibly could. And still I couldn’t avoid him completely. Whenever I was trying to read into Elizabeth’s tealeaves (something I was very careful with now) or waiting for her to read the ones belonging to me, I would feel Cedric’s gaze on my neck or my face. I was scared of going to the library because the fear of running into him was far too great, so I had to go only when it was absolutely necessary while everyone else was having lunch. I lost a lot of weight in those two weeks.
I still smiled at him whenever we ran into each other in the hallways, but would quickly walk away or sneak into the girl’s bathrooms. Still, for all I could see, all my ridiculous attempts to avoid him were doing neither of us any good. Luna kept commenting how I looked like the Grey Lady and insisted on checking every couple of days for nargles in my pillow; Cedric seemed quite hurt; I felt like someone had ripped my heart out and had left me a walking wounded.
On September the 19th I felt so weak I had hardly been able to move my feet around. Trelawney’s class seemed to go on forever and the whole time I was unable to remove Cedric from my thoughts. He had completely ignored me the moment I walked in the door, too busy to notice my red eyes or pale skin while flirting with a third year Gryffindor. I tried to run away from the classroom the very moment Trelawney dismissed us, but my body did not seem to respond to me anymore. By the time I was able to stand up only Cedric and I were still in the room. My legs failed me when I tried to stand up and I suddenly found myself in his arms yet again for the first time in what had seemed like years. For the few instants he held me it felt as though my life had returned suddenly to my body together with my strength. The electricity that I had felt in his company on that first day returned to me like lightning, and I wondered if he felt it too. But he had said nothing. He limited his contact with me to set me down in my chair and pick up the books that had fallen to the floor.
“I guess you’d better skip Moody’s,” he told me and quickly got away from me.
I sat in the chair for what seemed like hours, though it must have been but a few minutes. When I felt I was able to stand up I had practically crawled to the Ravenclaw Tower and had lied in bed for the rest of the day.
I supposed that everything had gone according to plan. That Cedric had forgotten about me and was back to being, well, Cedric. But then, if everything had worked out just fine, how come I felt so broken? When everyone was asleep I managed to get out of bed and well away from the Ravenclaw Tower. Though I hardly knew what I was doing I ended up in the second floor girl’s bathroom. My image in the mirror had deteriorated very much. I understood Luna’s concerns since I really did look like a corpse, and pretty much felt like one, for that matter.
I walked slowly to the bathroom window and was reminded of a song I used to love when I was back in my world, my real world. Slowly I broke down, until I was lying in the cold floor crying so hard I thought someone would eventually come to my aid. Still, no one came, and when I woke up at four in the morning frozen and covered in my own salty tears I came to understand that staying away from Cedric was not the way I was going to save him; it was merely the way I would end up destroying myself.
Hello there! I am so happy to see that my numbers are going up! yey! I love you all for making it possible. I want to apologize on account of this chapter, because I feel like it's more of a filler than anything else. Enjoy it, in any case, and I promise that the next one is a bit more exciting. Cedric appears again, at least. Hope you enjoyed it :D leave comments if you feel like it :)
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