Chapter 12 : Timing Is Key Part III
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Karl Wilhelm von Humboldt
“Anne, you just threw up.”
“I am fine. I’m just going to go and rest my head.”
“It only takes a couple of minutes to go to the Hospital Wing.”
“I don’t want to go to the Hospital Wing. And – Fred, I really don’t want to try any of your stuff until I’m a hundred percent sure. If you want to do something useful, tell your brother that he doesn’t that to bother lying anymore.”
I was just being paranoid – I had to have been. How on Earth would have George have guessed that there were any feelings? Because there weren’t anymore. And why would he think differently? It’s not like any of my friends were stupid enough to say anything to him about it, so why would that have made a difference? He was just being awkward because of the love thing, but that’s just pathetic, isn’t it?
“Actually I think I’m going to get out of here… alone.”
I had to run away. Away from everyone and everything. I wasn’t going to stay there while people tried to suss out what was going on. And I definitely didn’t want to be there when they realise what had happened and start feeling sorry for me, because there’s no point; I mostly brought it upon myself. I shouldn’t have been so cruel about George. I shouldn’t have said yes to him when I did – not until I knew that I was completely over Oliver. But I should be over Oliver, because otherwise… I would still be in pain, and I would stop being funny again. And why should I make that sacrifice? It wasn’t my fault that he didn’t want me.
The taste of salt was overwhelming as the tears continued to stream down my face, which I didn’t even bother to wipe away with my sleeve, mostly because part of me hadn’t even noticed them until now. My main concern was where to go. I wanted to be as far away from other people as possible. But there was another feeling which was the complete opposite. I didn’t want to be lonely. I didn’t want to feel rejected and practically slapped around the face as I did now. I had even considered Pucey for one mad moment, but then I realised that there was one more person, even though part of me would hate myself more because of it.
Almost sliding to one side, I began to run towards Ravenclaw Tower. I must be mad to spend time with Roger Davies, but something told me that I would certainly get a self-esteem boost. It was almost as if fate was pulling me in, for whatever purpose it had in mind. Whoever thought I was talking about another person, you can go stuff yourself.
My past relationship with Roger Davies may not be that well known among you people, but that’s just because I vowed that I would never talk about it again. It wasn’t even a relationship; he just kissed me once because Cedric wanted to distract me while he made his move on Amy, though he says that he did fancy me after a while. Oh, and he wanted to prove that every woman wants him. It’s like a Ravenclaw version of Pucey – except I have more respect for Davies. – never thought I’d heard myself saying that. He never landed me in the Hospital Wing...
I looked at the entrance. It was the same as it was when I first visited it. It seemed so rustic and so old. The bronze eagle doorknob took a while to reach – it’s really high, OK? Before the eagle could speak, with some kind of stupid riddle, I said, “I want to see Roger Davies.”
“I cannot look in there for you,” chimed the eagle.
Rolling my eyes, I stood back. “I’ll wait.”
The eagle transformed back to its original position. Part of me knew that I would have gotten a response like that, but it was still worth a shot. It’s better than the stupid riddles it used to give me. Besides, it wasn’t like I didn’t have any time to kill. I had an eternity of hiding from George Weasley to use up, so I might as well hang around there. Or maybe it was a sign, telling me to back away from the door and go and hang out with somebody else. After all, Roger Davies isn’t the most trustworthy person on the planet. Also, he’d probably spend and hour gloating about how he knew I would come to him one day again, that I just couldn’t resist him, or something. The resemblance between him and Pucey was uncanny, really.
Why on Earth was I here?
To my own surprise, I found Cho Chang looking at me. Her eyes were red and puffy and I could tell that her cheeks were also red and tear stained. This made me rather embarrassed, to be completely honest. I hate being in these situations, generally because I come off either as nosey or unsympathetic.
“What – what are you doing here?” Great, she’s sniffing. That’s like the first sign of someone who’s spent a good half hour – at least – crying in the bathroom.
I straightened myself slightly and said, “I was waiting for someone. But they’re not in so I’ll be… on my way…”
Beginning to turn, I felt her hand on my shoulder. “Wait. I haven’t spoken to you in a while.”
Actually, you’ve never spoken to me. “Yeah, I suppose so.”
“How are you all? How’s… how’s Amy holding up?”
“Amy’s… fine.” How do you tell someone that they’re devastated about the loss of their ex-boyfriend? It just doesn’t happen. “How about you?”
“Yes… I’m fine too.”
There was a long silence and I was hoping that someone would come up at any moment to interrupt us, but there was no such luck. I really deserved to be able to get out of this, if you thought about it. I just joined a secret group, saw Oliver Wood, found out that Bella’s ex fancies Amy, who’s still head-over-heels with a dead Hufflepuff, and now George Weasley’s under the impression that I love Oliver and is avoiding me.
And this is just on the Friday. Wonder how the weekend’s going to pan out...
“I saw you at the meeting.”
“Oh yeah, well it just seems like the best thing for us, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” agreed Cho. So that was around five seconds of speaking – I suppose I should be grateful for that much.
“Didn’t know Harry knew that much.”
“Neither,” I replied, a little more enthusiastically.
Cho shook her head. “You really have to think about… how much he’s gone through, you know? While we’ve…”
“… being doing jack?”
And that was our topic at hand. Harry Potter. Which seemed fair enough. I felt too awkward to feel resentment towards how admiringly she was talking about Harry; I was just happy that we had something to talk about with each other. It made the atmosphere a lot better on our part, and I managed to then leave while seeming like I was actually having fun, and was devastated to be leaving her.
Once I had left her, I realised that I still didn’t have anything to do, and time was ticking. I guessed that I could return and not talk to George, but that still meant that I had to deal with Amy and the others’ interrogation. They never seemed to understand that they could easily catch myself. I pretty much am my own safety net. There’s nothing else to say about it, really.
The corridors seemed a little more deserted, due to the fact that the sun was beginning to set outside. It was odd how not many people actually snuck around at night. The older students always made it seem to us like it was some sort of pass time back in my first year. I know that Verity was hardly innocent, and she was a prefect. Although, she was a bitch who left the family when she found out about my mother’s preferences, while I picked up the pieces. Merlin, that talk with Amy clearly brought back some hidden emotions within me.
I stood in front of the Fat Lady, as she looked at me expectantly. Taking in a deep breath, I said the password and the door flew open. My foot lifted off the ground, and it all seemed like it was in slow motion from there. It was moving towards the entrance and I heard Amy’s slow call and I looked up. As my other foot lifted up for the next step, I saw everyone there, including George, who had a concerned expression on his face. That’s when my foot span around and, for the second time that day, I ran away from the common room.
I heard calls behind me, and even the faint sounds of footsteps, but I was out of there. I didn’t notice how much my feet were aching, or how many times I stumbled. All I could feel was my own motivation throwing my body forward in a direction that was completely insignificant to me; as long as it was forwards and away, it was fine by me.
I didn’t immediately register where I was. I only saw the sky above me, which looked like a pale pink; it was day-break. Birds chirped around the place, and the melody floated through my ears serenely. It was almost like I was in an alternate reality, or that I was managed to find my own paradise. I sat up and felt the grass beneath me, which was extremely damp because of the snow, so it moistened the tips of my fingers. I didn’t care that my back was completely soaked, because the cold air made everything feel that bit more refreshing, and numb. My head lifted up as I looked at where I was exactly.
I still didn’t know.
I ran outside, I could guarantee that much. My first instinct was the run across to the Quidditch Pitch, but the situation made it seem like an inappropriate thing to do. So I ran into the Forest – I’m a genius, I know. Anyway, so I ran into there and I knew that I was only going to go a short way, but I saw Centaurs , so I changed course. After that, I was not just running for an escape anymore, I was running for my goddamn life. But I found all I needed here.
Still rather exhausted, I staggered up and once again took in my surroundings. I had found a clearing where the trees parted, but the area still seemed perfectly enclosed. The snow was pure apart from where my footsteps and where my body had chosen to rest. I was almost afraid to walk any further, in case I should damage what was around me.
There was a rustle behind one of the trees and I backed away slightly. My breathing became faster and shorter until I saw that it was just a little squirrel. It bravely attempted to jump across the snow, but eventually gave up. It gave a shudder, but saw me and became completely still.
“Hey, there.” I only felt a little ridiculous that I was talking to a squirrel. It’s not everyday that you get to meet something like this. It’s not every day that you turn up in a place like this. In fact, I can confidently say that I might never find this place once I leave, providing that I actually leave.
The squirrel squeaked in response and I laughed. I knelt down since my knees were wet anyway, and hazardously stroked its head. It smiled, though that might just be my imagination.
“You’re a cold little thing, aren’t you?” OK, now I just sound weird. But it seemed to get what I was on about, because it crawled onto my arm and up to my shoulder. Though I wanted to believe that this was some sort of cute story, something made me think otherwise. Weren’t squirrels supposed to be vicious? And since when did they crawl up people’s arms? It almost makes you want to frolic.
Regardless, I said, “Let’s go find our way back,” I began to walk along. The squirrel gripped onto my shoulder a bit, but generally seemed to feel comfortable about it. I tried to recognise what I was walking through, but it all seemed like a mystery to me. How long had I been running for? However long, I was impossible to distinguish where I was now. The squirrel seemed to have more of an idea, as it often tried to make some sound of struggle and would look longingly in one direction. I have to hand it to them - I never thought they were that smart.
When I finally spotted something that I knew, I almost jumped with joy. However, I thought it was best to save my energy and aim to get back to the castle, rather than just slightly know where I might just be. The sun began to shine more brightly in front of me at one stage, and the snow began to thin out, making me think that perhaps I was getting closer. At last, I saw the clearing that was the Hogwarts grounds. I wasn’t even worried about whether or not Filch or someone would catch on that I spent the night sleeping in the Forbidden Forest; my main thought was that I had made it, and I had made a new friend – not that I thought that creatures like squirrels could technically qualify to be a friend of mine.
“No running now,” I said firmly to the squirrel. “I have to go and beat this, squirrel.” I paused. “Looks like I’m going to have to name you.”
The squirrel quickly jumped from my arm back down into the snow and I laughed, saying, “You can give you’re opinion, if you want. How about Sam?” I know that Sam the squirrel was kind of dumb, but I have a rubbish imagination. The squirrel noticed this as it buried its head in the snow.
There was a small squirm. Sighing I looked out towards the castle, away from the squirrel, who was now hiding its head in shame. “Harry?”
There was a thud, which made me think that it was actually protesting now.
“How about Drew?”
I found out that you can’t run quickly in snow the hard away. I tried to turn, but my shoes were stuck in the ground. I then tried to reach for my wand, but Drew yelled out, “Expelliarmus!” and my wand flew out of the way, lost within the white blanket of sleet beneath me. Damn you snow and your fluffy and soft texture…
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that… I shouldn’t have scared you like that.”
“Who are you?”
“Yes, well I got that,” I replied sharply, my breathing returning to a normal speed. “But what are you doing here? And I don’t remember a Drew on the list of registered Animagus.”
“How do you know who’s registered?”
My head sunk slightly as I answered, “My dad works in the Ministry.”
“Whose parents don’t work in the Ministry, these days?”
Shrugging my shoulders, I retorted, “My friend, Amy’s dad’s an accountant.”
“Don’t know; it’s a Muggle thing.”
“So he’s a Muggle.”
“Of course. Amy’s Muggleborn. I forgot.”
“You know her?”
“I used to, yeah.”
“Used to - don’t change the subject!”
Drew’s eyebrows rose slightly, only to drop down again. “It was worth a try. Look, I would have saved you from the near death experience, but I can hardly walk along the snow in my previous form, after you saw me, now could I? Besides which, it wasn’t an Animagus, I was just Transfiguring myself but,” He crossed his fingers, “one day, eh?”
“Why were you like that in the first place?”
“Well… you looked so happy while you were sleeping; I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Oh yes, good thing. We wouldn’t want any sort of disturbance,” I snapped sarcastically. “I think we would be pretty screwed if you were to freak me out in any way…”
“If you put it like that, then I guess it was pretty pointless.” Drew crossed his arms in irritation – like he has any reason to be irritated – and then said, “But I didn’t realise that it would take this long for you to reach here. Not even fur could protect me from the cold any more.”
He actually had me completely confused when I finally said, “Now isn’t the time to criticise my sense of direction. And you shouldn’t even have fur. What the hell are you playing at? Besides, it still doesn’t explain why you didn’t just approach me as a human. I would much rather of been woken up by you than finding out that you carry around nuts in your spare time…” Well, most men do that – damn it, this is not the time for innuendoes!
“Funny, I thought you would prefer it because you had just been wasting time while talking to a squirrel.”
“I love nature, OK?”
“So do I! I’m very much connected with my natural surroundings.”
“That is called animal instinct, and it shouldn’t even be allowed that! Why you even bothered revealing such a massive secret is beyond me.”
“You’re Amy’s friend. Which one, I’m not sure, but I recognise you. And I figured if Amy can trust you, I can too. And again, it’s not a big secret. I’m just practicing my Transfiguration.” He then turned to me more seriously. “You going to tell on me to Umbridge?”
“Well, Transfiguration or Animagus, I can’t imagine Umbridge being a fan of this. So are you going to tell on me to her?”
“Unless your purpose is to attack Umbridge, I just might.”
Laughing, Drew glanced towards the castle. “Feel like going back now?”
“Not really. I’m pretty sure that my friends are waiting for me with a sick bucket. But I don’t have much of a choice.”
Nothing more was said for a while. The wind made my cheeks feel even more numb and pink and I continued to blink as the cool breeze was making them water ever so slightly. When I finally decided that I couldn’t stand any more of the silence, I asked, “Where was I anyway?”
“There’s not a name or anything,” replied Drew, “but I like to think of it as a bit of paradise or something like that. I found it back in my second year. It looks even better in the summer.”
“How can anything look better than that?” It was meant to have been a thought of my own, but obviously it was picked up by Drew, as he laughed.
Still smirking, to my dismay, he said, “That’s what I thought. But there’s a stream and it really is just fantastic.”
“So it’s your get-away spot?”
“Yeah, but I suppose you’ll be wanting some of the action.”
It was tempting, I’ll give him that. To have a place like that where I could just run to and get away from it all and rest. Nevertheless, I knew that there were too many risks involved. “I don’t think I’m daring enough to keep running along to the Forest every time things turn nasty," I joked.
Smiling lightly, he said, “Shame. You seem like a very angry person - you’d have been fun.”
“Oh, thanks.” Since when was being angry a compliment? Men have no clue how to compliment a girl. “But I really have to get back to reality.”
“And I’m not real?”
I began trudging through the snow, shouting back, “You’re certainly not something I would normally meet in life, mate.” I know that I don’t usually call people ‘mate’, but I thought it added an extra edge to what I was saying. And it certainly sounded as such in my head.
Hearing footsteps behind me, I sighed. He shouldn’t be following me. Especially since I should be on probation with my boyfriend. If he had seen me with Oliver - for the two seconds that we were in the same room - I really don’t think that he would like to see me walking back from strange boy... after having mysteriously been in the Forest for a night...
OK, I really have to get rid of this guy.
“So what were you running from, anyway?”
Nosey much? “Personal problems.”
“Well I guessed that much. I mean, Snape’s pretty scary but...”
Chortling, I said, “I suppose I should say fair enough.”
“So, what was the problem?”
I turned my head to the side, where he had caught up with me. Seriously, who can catch up with people in the snow? You can hardly race, can you? Shaking my head, I replied, “It’s nothing of great importance, I suppose.”
I cocked an eyebrow. “Oh dear what?”
“Well, from my experience of women, when a girl tried to make a situation seem unimportant, then it’s always serious.”
At least I’m not the only one who senses the seriousness of the situation. Getting a better view of the castle, I wondered if I could get away with saying a quick good-bye here and not get spotted by anyone that could end up blabbing.
Rolling my eyes, I casually said, “Well you saw right through me there. I’m just going to go in that direction.”
“Good to know you want to enter the castle, I was getting worried.”
I mentally slapped myself in the forehead before saying, “I meant my common room. I’m in Gryffindor.”
“Gryffindor? I’m a Hufflepuff, myself.”
“Really?” I asked curiously. “Not usual Hufflepuff behaviour, becoming illegal Animagus, is it?”
“Hey, it took a lot of hard work, I’m being loyal to those I want to, and I had to be patient - it didn’t just happen over night. And anyway -”
“It’s just Transfiguration, I know.” I brushed the snow off my clothes as I entered the extremely warm castle. I had never been so grateful for the entrance hall in my entire life. You think that this room is completely useless until one Magical Day, it manages to completely warm up the area.
As he continued to venture on, I turned in a different direction. I turned around hesitantly, wondering if I should actually thank him for leading me back to the castle.
Drew called, “Any time,” and I could almost hear the lopsided grin that would match. “I’ll talk to you another time.”
“Just ask for me at the portrait hole if you’re ever in the mood for a chat.”
I finally managed to get away from him when I heard him shout, “But I don’t know your name!”
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