It was a musical bonanza in the Potions classroom for the sixth year class. It had come time to test their potions, all of which would be non-harmful if the color was close to being right; a warning to those who screwed up the potion. Slughorn had assured them at the beginning of class so the class wouldn't be afaid to test them. Their potion had been the Euphoria Elixir and if brewed correctly it was supposed to induce euphoric feelings or feelings of great happiness in the drinker. However, Slughorn had conveniently not mentioned the side effects to the potion: excessive singing and nose-tweaking because they were rare. They were only occasional side effects, as he had tired to explain to the only victim of the potion: Emily.
Emily currently felt so happy with the world that she just had to sing about; she'd even found time to sing about tweaking her classmates noses. It was rather unfortunate to the rest of the class though, as Emily was completely and utterly tone deaf. To those who had brewed the potion correctly and were very happy, they didn't seem to mind the singing, but the rest had their ears covered and cringed at every high note. Slughorn didn't look the least bit worried.
"Don't worry dear, I'll have you fixed in a jiff!" Slughorn chuckled, his large belly jiggling with his laugh. "Believe it or not this happened once before. Someone else added too much powdered newt last year, causing the overdose of happiness, so I had the antidote ready."
Emily smiled widely and sang her gratitude. "Thaaaaaaank yooooooooUUUUU!"
The class cringed, Slughorn included. "However, if I remember correctly the last student had a very lovely singing voice."
"WhhhAAAAttttt's thhaaaaaatttt sUpooooooosed to meeeeeeaaaaaaannnnn?"
"Nothing dear, I'll be back in a quick sec!" he said as he hurried to his office.
"Someone shut her up!"
Emily's face burned and she held her books closer to her chest when two Hufflepuff girls walked past her giggling madly, glancing back at her. Regulus glowered at them and they stopped immediately, walking a little faster.
Regulus sighed and placed a hand around her shoulders. "It'll be okay; they won't even remember it by the next potions class."
"I've never been so embarrassed in my life." Emily groaned. "I know I didn't add too much powdered newt. I've never gotten a potion wrong in my life."
"Well there's a first for everything." Regulus said reasonably.
Emily nodded glumly. "I guess. I can't believe you even want to walk with the girl that sang about the color purple for ten minutes."
"Well purple is a pretty color." He said with a smirk.
Emily shot him a look.
Regulus laughed and moved his arm to her waist. "Well what kind of boyfriend would I be if I avoided you for a mistake anyone could have made?"
Emily looked at her feet. "A bad one."
"Right, and I'd like to think that I'm a very good one."
"Oh, you are." She reassured. Too bad I'm such a bad girlfriend.
Regulus saw her sad look and gave her waist a light squeeze. "Don't worry so much about it. So you messed up a potion, and so you have the worst singing voice in the world, that doesn't matter. And something else is going to come up that will make everyone forget what happened. Worse things have happened in Hogwarts."
Emily nodded in agreement. "I know." She whispered softly.
Regulus shook his head. "Come on, cheer up, or do I have to cast a cheering charm on you?"
"You know that has an even worse effect than the potion did." Emily said with a smirk. "I sent some boy to the hospital wing last time."
"Well who knew you were such a fine range dancer when you're so cheerful." Regulus said with a laugh.
Emily laughed as well. "Guess the dancing makes up for the singing then?"
"Now I didn't say you danced well." He said slyly, letting go of her waist as they made their way up the stairs.
"I think I dance perfectly well." She rebutted. "At least I can do more than the waltz, unlike some…"
"I'm a man, and I don't need to know how to dance."
Emily rolled her eyes. "Right."
Regulus reached the next platform and continued up the next stairs. "I don't…"
Emily smiled as Regulus continued talking and walked after him, but as she reached the platform, the stairs shifting out of place behind her, a spell hitting her ankle without her seeing. What she noticed however was the fact that suddenly her legs couldn't walk straight, causing her to fall back. She found that her voice worked though, quite well as she let out a loud scream.
Regulus turned in surprise and his eyes widened. Emily was hanging off the edge of the stone platform, trying with all her might to pull herself up.
"Emily! Hold on!" He yelled as he raced back down the stairs, but as he got closer to the bottom, the stairs he was on began to move. He grabbed the railing and stared helplessly as the stairs moved away from Emily.
Emily screamed. "SOMEONE HELP!" She looked around but any students or teachers nearby were on the levels above or below, because the platform she was hanging off lead to no corridor or room. And until the staircase Regulus was on returned she was trapped, hanging on for dear life.
Emily felt tears running down her face as her grip she on the platform weakened from strain. The stone was also very smooth and hard to hold on to. She pulled up enough so her arms rested on the edge, but that wasn't enough support to pull herself up. She tried to reach over and grab the railing on the side of the platform, but just as her fingers brushed the railing the arm holding her up began to shake gave up beneath her and her arms gave out, only her hands on the edge. She screamed again, the high pitch wail bouncing off the walls and causing every person within the area to look over the edge of their staircase and railing.
Emily screamed again. "Regulus! I'm slipping!"
Regulus willed the staircase to move faster, having to anxiously watch, powerless, as Emily's hands began to slip further and further off the platform. He looked below her and saw miles and miles of empty space and staircases.
"Emily! Emily please, just hold on!" He screamed desperately. The stairs had almost returned to place.
"I can't!" She sobbed. "I can't, my arms! It hurts!"
"Please!" He cried. "I'm almost there. Just hold on! Please!"
Emily cried, her arms shaking hard. It hurt so much. Was this a punishment for her? Did she deserve this for being such a bad person? She had promised to be with Regulus and care for him, but she had let herself be swept up by Sirius, just like every other girl. She was disgusted. She deserved this. She was right after all when she decided she wasn't good enough for him. She should have left him alone.
It hurts…It hurts so much!
She didn't know what hurt more, her arms or her heart. Emily knew she was a bad person for what she did. She regretted it so much now. She knew why she did it. She was being selfish before. She had kissed him back because… a part of her had liked feeling so needed. Need for love and not for comfort. She hated herself for it and just wanted to…
Emily let out another sob and began to let herself let go.
I'm better off dead.
"Emily! HOLD ON!"
She heard his voice and tried to ignore her beating heart filled with guilt. "I'm sorry…"
She let go.
Regulus clamped onto her wrists, but Emily didn't try to grab onto him. He tried to pull her up, but she kept slipping.
"Emily…ugh…Emily grab onto me…please. Let me pull you up."
Emily looked up tearfully. "Regulus…I'm sorry…I did something awful."
"Okay…but we'll talk about it later…after I pull you up."
Emily shook her head. "I can't…I can't…I'm not strong enough."
"Yes you are Emily, just try. I need you to try."
Emily stared up at Regulus, into his pleading eyes that were filled with tears. "I don't care what you did Emily, just grab onto me."
Emily stared for a moment longer before closing her eyes and nodding, grabbing onto his wrists. Regulus pulled with all his might and Emily tightened her hold on his wrists. He fell back after one final tug, Emily landing in a heap on top of him. She curled up against him, a tight grip on his robes, and sobbed.
Regulus rubbed her back and held her. "It's okay, Emily. You're okay." He sounded as though he was reassuring himself as well.
Emily took a shaky breath. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" He asked confused. "Nothing was your fault."
She shook her head. "No, I'm sorry for-"
Emily looked up and saw Professor Flitwick scurrying down the stairs as quick as possible. They were probably supposed to be in his class by then she thought absently.
The short teacher stopped next to them, panting slightly. "Miss Potter…I heard the scream…and was informed…Are you alright?"
Emily nodded slowly, her head still resting against Regulus's chest. "I-If Regulus hadn't…hadn't…" her voice broke. "I'd be…"
"Yes, wonderful job Mister Black, true heroism." Flitwick said happily. "Twenty points to Slytherin for saving a fellow student."
Regulus smiled slightly, but turned serious and glanced down at Emily. "Professor…I know it's time for class but do you think that I should…take her somewhere?"
"Oh, yes, yes!" The tiny professor chirped. "I think you should take her to Madame Pomfrey and she'll give Emily a nice Calming Draught and a place to rest. I'm sure your other professors will understand you missing the rest of your classes. What are the rest of your classes?"
Emily breathed in a shaky breath. "U-Um, I just have Defense, b-but I don't want to go to the hospital wing! I'd rather just go to class."
"Are you sure?" Flitwick asked. "That was quite the scare you went trough Miss Potter. I'd understand-"
"No!" She said loudly, standing up slowly, her legs a bit wobbly. Regulus stood as well, a supporting arm around her waist. His arm burned her skin through her robes as the guilt arose. She crossed her arms and cleared her throat. "N-No, I'm fine. If…If too big a fuss is made I'll just worry everyone. And class would be a good form of distraction for this."
"Alright," Flitwick said slowly, concern thick in his voice. "But if at any moment you wish to see Madame Pomfrey for that potion…"
Emily smiled. "I'll let you know immediately professor."
Flitwick nodded and headed back up the stairs, motioning his two students to follow. "Well then come, come. Much to learn and so little time."
Emily and Regulus followed, Regulus helping her up the stairs and holding her close so that she wouldn't fall over the side. "Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital wing?" He asked.
"I'm fine Regulus, besides I think I've had enough of potions for one day." She let out a small laugh and looked up at him, but his face was completely serious. She sobered and sighed. "Regulus, stop worrying about me."
"Emily you just went through a near death experience and just spent the last five minutes in hysterics, I don't think that class is the thing you need right now."
Emily glared. "Don't try to tell me what I need right now, Regulus. I'm the only one who knows what I need. I do not want to drink a Calming Draught and sit in the hospital wing. If I am stuck alone for one second I will drive myself crazy with my thoughts. What I need right now is a distraction and I want to go to class. Okay?" Her eyes were wide by then and she tilted her head, staring up at him.
Regulus looked like he wanted to agrue, but he nodded.
Emily inwardly screamed at herself for speaking like that to him, but she ignored it and walked into the classroom. She avoided all the stares and ignored the whispers and took her regular seat, Regulus sliding in next to her.
Emily grabbed his hand and whispered quietly. "Thank you."
Regulus smiled and placed his other hand on top of hers. "I would do anything for you."
"Regulus could you please drop it?! Haven't I explained this already?" Emily snapped, shoving the book she had been flipping through a little too back onto the bookshelf.
"Emily, you said that you were going to use class as a distraction, but now classes are over. You need-"
Emily shot him a look.
"I mean," he corrected. "It would probably be best if you rested. You can do your homework later."
"But I have to find the books I need before someone else checks them out." She protested. "Which is why I am in the library."
"Regulus…" She said slowly, turning to him. "I'm okay. I'm not a fragile doll that will break easy. I'm tough." He gave her an unsure look and she let out a small sigh to calm herself. "But if it makes you feel better, I only need one more book. Then we can go to the common room and do our final homework of the term and talk about what we're going to do for break before we go to dinner." She placed a hand on his cheek and smiled. "Okay?"
Regulus softened and leaned down to place a small kiss on her lips. "Okay." He then turned stern. "But hurry."
She narrowed her eyes playfully and moved away from him and to the next bookcase. "I don't like to be ordered around, Regulus."
Regulus smiled and leaned against the bookcase he stood beside. "It was only a suggestion, my dear."
"Yes, well don't be offended when I don't do as you suggest." She retorted automatically as she scanned the shelves.
He sighed and looked around the room absently. "Don't worry, I never take much of what you say seriously enough to be offensive."
She let the corner of her lip upturn, letting the side conversation with Regulus end as she concentrated fully on finding the book.
Regulus yawned and stared at the ceiling, speaking to himself. "I'm glad the term is almost over. I need a bit of time to relax."
Emily hummed in agreement.
"And there's Slughorn's Christmas party to look forward to. He always has some influential people there."
Emily nodded. "Although you're just excited that you actually got invited."
Regulus's cheeks turned a light pink. "It's not like I care either way."
Emily laughed quietly. "Right."
"It doesn't." He said indignantly. "He only cares for my ancestry anyway and that if I do something great in life I'll give him some of my success."
"Well he deserves it if he helps you gain that success." Emily said reasonably.
"Yes well…" He paused and turned his head slightly. "What's that noise?"
Emily looked at him confused. "What?" Suddenly a shadow formed over her and she looked up. Her eyes widened. The large bookcase was falling over and was heading straight towards her. She was frozen where she stood and opened her mouth to let out a soundless scream.
"Emily!" Regulus yelled.
Regulus tackled her out of the way and they landed in a heap next to the fallen bookcase. They sat up and looked at the mess in shock.
"If that landed on me….I could have been killed." Emily muttered under her breath. She looked up at Regulus, her eyes wide. "You saved me…again." She launched herself at him and hugged him tightly. "Thank you Regulus…If you hadn't been here I…I would've..."
Regulus rubbed her back. "Shh, It's okay."
"Oh, my word! What have you done?!" Madame Pince shrieked, looking down at Emily and Regulus and then the fallen bookshelf, her precious books scattered about.
"It wasn't us." Regulus snapped, helping Emily stand. "The bookcase just fell over, almost killed us!"
"Well it couldn't have fallen over by itself!" The librarian said irritably. "Now get out of here before I inform the Headmaster!"
Regulus threw her a nasty look before ushering Emily out of the library.
"She's right." Emily said quietly, clutching Regulus's arm. "The bookcase wouldn't be able to fall over by itself…"
"Are you saying someone knocked it over?" Regulus asked shocked. "But that would mean…"
"Someone's trying to kill me." Emily said horrified.
Regulus stared at her before letting out a laugh. Emily looked up at him sharply. "You think that's funny?"
Regulus sobered. "Of course not. It's just…Why would anyone be trying to kill you? What would anyone gain from your death?"
Emily bit her lip. "Nothing, but… this is the second near death experience in one day…"
"Accidents happen." Regulus said with a shrug. "Just the other day you were complaining about the safety of the stairs and it turned out that they really aren't safe. Someone was probably trying to mess with Pince by knocking over the bookcase and didn't see you."
Emily looked unconvinced, but nodded anyway. "I suppose you're right."
Regulus smiled. "Of course I am. Now let's go to dinner, I'm starving."
Emily smiled back, but at the moment she didn't feel very hungry. Anxiety was the only thing that filled her stomach, but she agreed anyway and soon found herself seated next to Regulus at the Slytherin table, a bowl of soup in front of her and her plate empty.
"Is that all you're going to eat?" Regulus asked; his lips pursed. In comparison to her, his plate was filled with all sorts of food.
Emily nodded meekly. "I'm not very hungry."
Regulus rolled his eyes. "This doesn't have anything to do with a diet or something, does it?"
Emily shook her head. "No, I just not hungry."
"Good," Regulus said with a nod. "Cause you're fine the way you are."
Emily blushed and smiled. "Thank you."
Regulus looked back down at his plate, a bit of red on his cheeks as well. "Just telling the truth."
Emily watched this with amused eyes out of the corner of her eye. She returned to her soup, but lurched forward when she was suddenly knocked into. Turning, she glared at the first year Hufflepuff who hit her. He looked at her, fear in his eyes, and let out a shaky apology. Emily's eyes softened as she realized that the boy had probably just tripped and hit her by accident. "You alright?" She asked with a smile.
He looked even more scared and nodded quickly, not saying a word and standing stock-still.
Emily's eyebrows furrowed. "You sure?"
Another quick nod and the boy squeaked a small "Yes." He was shaking like a leaf from head to toe, his brown eyes wide with fear and horror.
Regulus, annoyed with the younger boy, glared. "Then scram, before we decide to do something about it."
But the boy still stood there, looking pale under Regulus's glare, and not moving. The two Slytherin sixth years stared at him, one with concern and the other annoyance. The boy looked like he was going to faint. Emily wondered what was wrong and was about to ask, but was startled when the boy suddenly jumped and ran away; past all the tables and out the Great Hall.
"That was…strange." She muttered turning back to the table.
"Looked like he was about to wet himself." Regulus said with a laugh. "If he gets so easily scared then it's no wonder he's in Hufflepuff.
Emily glared at him. "Well you weren't making it any less scary by glaring at him like that. It's not like he meant to run into me."
"Emily, as Slytherins, we have a certain reputation to uphold, and it can not be kept if we go around being nice to others." Regulus said sternly.
Emily rolled her eyes. "Well you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
"Why would I want to catch flies?" He asked, looking very confused and a little grossed out.
Emily blushed, realizing the muggle phrase would mean nothing to him. "It's just a phrase my mum uses. It means that you'll get more people to like you if you're nice rather than mean."
"Well that's all and true, but why would I want a random Hufflepuff first year to like me?" Regulus asked.
Emily shook her head. "Nevermind Regulus." She took a quick drink from her goblet. "You're just-"
She broke off suddenly and her eyes widened.
"What?" Regulus asked concerned. "What's wrong?"
Emily paid him no mind and brought her hand to her throat, dropping her goblet carelessly. It landed in her soup and soup and pumpkin juice splashed everywhere. Emily brought both hands to her throat and her body began to shake violently, the color draining from her face. Suddenly her body gave a jerk and she fell off the bench, her eyes rolling back into her head and her body twitching and. Her face was beginning to turn blue as she was unable at take in any breaths.
"EMILY!" Regulus screamed dropping down beside her.
The Great Hall silenced and the attention slowly turned to the havoc at the Slytherin table. The Slytherins watched shocked and surprised as their housemate convulsed in seizures. There was a crash from the Gryffindor table and James rushed over.
"Emily!" He bent down at her over side and tried to stop her flailing movements, but a yell stopped him.
"Stop, don't touch her!" Madame Pomfrey came rushing over from the head table, her wand already out. Behind her came Flitwick, Slughorn, McGonagall, Sprout, and Dumbledore. "You may hurt her. We have to levitate her to the hospital wing."
Professor Flitwick was already on it and Emily was levitated into the air, still twitching and trying to scream. Flitwick and Pomfrey left quickly, and the room became immediately hectic after they were gone. James and Regulus tried to follow, but were stopped by Dumbledore.
"Mr. Potter, do not try to go yet. You will not be able to see her yet while Poppy works. Return to your dinner."
"But my sister-"
"Will be fine in the hands of Madame Pomfrey." The headmaster said gently.
James nodded and headed back to his table. Dumbledore turned to Regulus. "Mr. Black, you will follow me to my office and tell us what happened."
Regulus nodded and followed the Headmaster out, Slughorn, Sprout, and McGonagall trailing behind.
The thought on everyone's minds being:
What the hell just happened?
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