Disclaimer: I am just a messenger; JK is God.
A/N: Chapter two - just a filler, unfortunately. All of those holding out for a Sirius/OC romance; it's coming. Just, you'll have to wait, a while - because I'm still figuring out the story for myself. Oh, another exciting thing! I've started making my own banners. So the banner for 'You're My Magic' and 'The Fall' is made by me! Please be lovely and leave a review, it will make my day. Much love, chickens.
I don’t know what compelled me to do it, but no sooner was the train coming to a halt and I was sprinting from it – determined to get away and clear my head. The platform was deserted, except for the games keeper, Hagrid, whose half-giant figure was unavoidable: tall, broad and sporting a shaggy mane and beard; Hagrid was everything a real giant was not – the kindest being alive.
“Addison!” he called gruffly as I darted past, pulling a band from my wrist with a grimace and pulling my honey locks into a scrappy ponytail. The platform was ending and a small woodland trail was finally coming into view. That way, my head told me. Just walk, you’ll get there soon enough.
I moved past the waiting carriages with trepidation and stopped suddenly. There were black, ghostly horse creatures pulling them. Their eyes looked demonic. And these were the infamous Thestrals, which you could only see if you’d seen…
Stop. Just, keep walking. The moonlight is bright enough to see the way. If only this monotonous rain would just stop. The ground felt soft as I padded through the forest, damp leaves covering the mud in a sort of blanket and the lush branches overhead making a canopy for me. This is what I needed. Silence and darkness and just walking. No students, no prying eyes… And no Sirius.
Definitely no Sirius.
Even thinking about him made my head pound and my hands tingle in memory of his touch. And that night – really, a mistake?
In the distance I could see the undergrowth start to disperse and the Hogwarts’ lawn was glistening from the rain in the light of the evening. Just a little further. The castle windows looked bright with candlelight and warmth; yet I would prefer to stand here, in the dirt, soaked to the skin, watching from afar. I was better out here, but I needed to go in, or people would start to ask questions.
One foot in front of the other, I started to slowly walk, letting my body drag me onto the gravel path and crunch up to the oak doors without fear. Just as I pushed my hands to the wood, it flew open, and a blonde-haired woman ushered me inside, conjuring a blanket from thin air and rubbing her hands up and down my arms continuously. I only realised how cold I was when I felt the warm air hit my face and feel my jaw start to chatter, as if absent from my body’s control completely.
“Were you trying to get yourself killed?!” she hissed, still rubbing my arms and half kneeling to look straight into my eyes. “Addison? Addison!”
“Huh?” I looked up into her eyes and saw Miss Williams staring right back at me. Miss Williams, or Will as she preferred to be called, was the same age as my parents, in love with Muggle music and a fan of all things cheesy; her laugh was one that sent many into hysterics, whether the joke was funny or not. She was the best Divination teacher we’d ever had, and though I was good at that subject and succeeded in every level, I never really understood it – it was hard enough coming to terms with the magical world seven years ago but knowing people could predict the future? That was a bit too far for me. Sometimes I was sure she could look inside me and read my thoughts and feelings and con her way into my private life. We’d always had fleeting conversations and inside jokes in lessons and last term had been fun with the extra revision sessions to take my NEWT early and take an advanced one at the end of this year, but she had waited for me – really?
“I said, were you trying to get yourself killed? Walking through the forest in the dark and in the rain! You could have caught your death!”
“Please… Stop…” I sobbed, dismissing the concern in her eyes and ignoring the moisture building up there. That word. Those words. They were going to follow me around until I fell off the edge myself.
“Stop what? You’re lucky I was waiting for you, otherwise McGonagall would have you in detention for the rest of the month,” she sighed, then started to laugh quietly. She was laughing at McGonagall putting me into detention, I was sure. I was a good student, I had no need to be polishing the kitchen floors when I could be learning new charms in preparation for the Ministry. Not that being out there was on my mind. I didn’t want to be at home. And I didn’t want to be here. I just wanted a bed and a duvet to cry into – maybe even a stuffed toy for company. Then, the laughing stopped and her voice became serious. “What were you thinking, Addison?”
“I just didn’t want to hear,” I whispered, closing my eyes to block out her pervasive ones and to try and block out my head and the memories and the thoughts.
“Hear what?” she asked, her hands on my shoulders. Why should I tell her? She wouldn’t understand. No one would understand.
“The voices. The ones telling me not to tell but just to sparkle in front of them… I can’t sparkle. I can’t!” I cried, feeling my body start to shake and my eyes start to pool with tears again. What was I doing? Come back, Addison, my head told me. Come back inside, we don’t need them.
“Okay, okay, calm down. Sssh, everything’s okay. Nobody’s making you sparkle,” she promised, rubbing my shoulders now and making ssh-ing noises, soothing me. The tension in my back relaxed and my body sagged into relief from actually feeling understood. I felt my head fall onto her shoulder and her grip become tighter to hold me up.
“But I used to sparkle. I used to sparkle…” I repeated, shaking my head and feeling the tears start to fall of their own accord again.
“What happened to your sparkle?” she said quietly, the hall around us completely silent, her voice echoing around the stone walls. What happened, Addison? Why don’t you tell her and end up back there again? I ignored her and moved away from here, straightening up and pulling my hair out and shaking it whilst simultaneously taking off my cloak and placing it over my arm. It would dry out soon enough.
“What happened to your sparkle, Addison?” she asked again, leaning against the wall and folding her arms. I daren’t look up at her now – she’d see through me. But what else could I say to get her off my back?
“She died,” I murmured, moving away and racing towards the Great Hall, my footsteps clicking daintily in my wake. Miss Williams stood still, her face shocked and stared at me open the door and disappear inside for dinner, beautifully composed.
However, what I didn’t expect when I opened the door was to see five hundred pairs of eyes stare back at me. Though I probably should have expected that. Closing the door pathetically behind me, I put my eyes down and moved away from the Slytherin area as fast as I could. I noticed the main course was laid out in golden platters on the four main tables and Dumbledore incline his head as I walked in - the speech must be over and dinner must nearly be finished, there was a God. Sucking in a deep breath, I began to move down the aisle to the Gryffindor seventh years and sat down quickly in between Lily and Brooke, who’d kindly left a space for me.
“Addie, are you…?”
“I’m fine,” I smiled, picking up my goblet and sipping from the water inside it. My mouth felt like sandpaper and my body was still shaking slightly – from the cold or from no nourishment? I drained the goblet and placed it down on the table trying desperately to ignore the platters of meat and vegetables in front of me and the smell that made me feel even more nauseous.
“Apparently Peter isn’t coming back this year,” James choked, shovelling food into his mouth from opposite me. “Something about an exchange trip or… I don’t know, he was vague.”
“It’s his loss – nobody wants to employ someone without NEWTs,” Remus replied matter-of-factly. “He’ll be back soon enough, you’ll see.”
“Well, I guess it won’t stop us from having the best year ever!” James shouted, grinning at all of us in turn before clearing his throat when I realised that everyone looked more subdued than excited. Carefully, I picked up my goblet again for an excuse to look over at Sirius, but cursed myself when I saw his dark eyes watching my every move.
Time must have passed because I heard everyone talk around me, but all I saw was the plates clear and mountainous piles of ice cream, profiteroles and pavlova take its place.
“Addie…” Lily soothed, touching my arm.
“Lily, just…” But Lily didn’t want to hear what he had to say.
“Sirius. Shut up, okay?” she said, turning back to me and keeping her hand steady. I could understand the concern now when I saw the first splashes of my broken plan fall onto the oak table. Then, there was a hand gripping my hand tightly and an arm being pulled around me.
“Come on, honey; let’s go,” Lily smiled, lifting me up and ushering Brooke to follow as well. Their arms were snaked around my little frame now, holding me up from completely breaking down in the middle of the room. All of those people – just, watching…
“Addie, please…” Brooke whispered when we got to the entrance hall and started ascending the stone steps to the staircase. “Let us help you.”
I shook my head and bit my lip, trying to steady myself. I kept my eyes trained on the portrait of the man polishing shoes on the wall to my immediate left. He was shining the shoes, then rubbing them furiously, then picking them up and smiling at his handiwork. So simple, so easy…
My friends were silent, though I could feel their glances at each other, about me, and almost hear the silent conversation pounding in my head. I ran the last couple of steps to the portrait door then realised I had no idea what the password was. Falling into a crumpled heap in front of the door I felt my sobs turn into shakes and torrents of tears. Lily muttered something and Brooke’s little hands helped me up and led me to the plush sofa in the middle of the room. I led myself down on it, feeling safe, away from prying eyes; and fell asleep to the comforting feeling of having Lily’s soothing presence back, her hand rubbing my arm and her words lulling me into a false sense of happiness. I was falling into a darkness that only held nightmares and had no means of escaping.
“She’s different… I can’t put my finger on it.”
I heard the voices filter into my head slowly, and then sharply come into focus. I kept my eyes closed shut, wanting to listen to the rest, and then try and prove them wrong. They couldn’t know, could they?
“Well there’s definitely something wrong…” James put in intelligently.
“I’ve never seen Addie so…” Lily started, but stopped. The room was silent except for the soothing rubbing that someone was running up and down my arm. It was warm, and caring, and suddenly their worries didn’t matter…
“So what?” Remus asked, quietly.
“Sad,” Brooke sighed. I could almost see her pulling her hair back and gripping onto Remus’ hands, like she always did when she was anxious. And that word made me feel like I was falling. Sad. The others don’t ever say that one, not to my face. That one word that haunted my summer and squeezed me dry when everyone I knew called me sad when they thought I couldn’t hear them. I could always hear them. I was always listening. Listening for her, listening for a memory, listening for the kind silence that brought pain, but relief and a blanket of darkness that swept over me like a flood every time I thought of her.
And I thought of her every second, of every day.
“Yeah,” Lily said, leaving the room in another bitter silence.
“She didn’t eat, did you notice?” James murmured, concerned. The person beside me shifted and the heat from all around me fell away and then blanketed me again when I felt the weight fall back next to me.
“We all noticed.”
“All that weight she’s lost – you can see it everywhere,” Remus added and I self-consciously mentally examined myself. I’d lost weight, and a lot of it, maybe even on purpose, but in my eyes I still saw a pathetic teenage girl in the mirror – one that didn’t fit anymore, one that looked lost. Didn’t girls have to be skinnier now to fit? Wasn’t that logical?
“And her eyes, they’ve lost their -”
“Light. Yeah,” Sirius interrupted, his voice closest to me and the hand rubbing my arms stiffened for a moment. He was the one holding me. His was the body keeping mine warm. His was the hand comforting me.
The thought made me want to crawl into a tree trunk with the sap and the insects and live in the rotting wood and damp.
“She hasn’t said a word…”
“She spoke to me. Not much, but she spoke,” Sirius replied, his hand now stroking the top of my head and his fingers twisting the ends of my hair. I loved it when anyone fiddled with my hair. I loved not being able to completely feel everything, but it was almost like having a sixth sense if you could feel someone touching your own hair…
“But it’s unlike her. And she didn’t write to me over the summer…” Lily said indignantly.
“Or me,” Brooke whimpered.
“Well I’m glad it wasn’t just me, I was thinking I’d done something wrong!” James half-laughed, but the room didn’t laugh with him.
“It’s not you, James,” Sirius said, his voice grave.
“Oh, well… Good.”
“I think it’s me…” he continued, his body trembling slightly against mine. I just wanted to move away from him now. Away from all of them. Out of this room, out of this place. Where was I anyway?
“But I thought you guys were -” Brooke asked sensitively, her voice becoming all high and squeaky when she asked things she wasn’t meant to. You could always tell with her, even if you couldn’t see her, just hearing her voice you knew what she was thinking or generally feeling…
“I thought so too…” Sirius said flatly, a large sigh escaping from him. There was another pause in conversation, and my mind urged me to speak up at last.
“I can hear everything,” I whispered, my voice carrying like an owl’s cry in the night time, echoing around the room – hanging; limp.
“Addie!” Lily cried. Sirius’ hands fell off of me instantly and I shuffled off of the bed and stood up, finding myself in the boys’ bedroom.
“We didn’t…” Remus interjected, struggling for the right words. I scanned the room and noticed a blanket strewn on the bed; they must have covered me in it.
“We just…” Brooke sniffed, dabbing the corners of her eyes. There was a box of tissues next to her, and I was really upsetting her…
“We’re worried!” James shouted, sitting up straight and looking at me with fear, all the things I’d been terrified of, coming true. My friends were worrying.
“Don’t be. I’m fine,” I smiled, my teeth clenched and my body shaking slightly. I pulled my robes around me tightly and started to move towards the door, avoiding Sirius’ eyes like I was avoiding the fatal stare of a basilisk.
“I’m fine. Just fine,” I repeated, my robotic default phrase coming out easily now; practiced a hundred times, just today.
“But…” Sirius said, grabbing my wrist as I turned to leave. A sharp intake of breath issued from my mouth and my eyes glazed over with tears. Sirius caught the pain in my eyes and released his grip instantly, his eyes wide and his stature purposeful.
“Please, don’t. Just, no more,” I said quietly, tears starting to pool in my eyes. I walked to the door and pulled it open, escaping onto the landing, away from the prying eyes. There, I fell against the wall for a second, feeling the cold from it seep through my bones and chill my body. Then I looked up, and Sirius was stood there, staring at me.
“Addie, I think we need to talk about this…”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” I said bluntly, ignoring him and moving to get up, away from him.
“Oh, right, so this is nothing to talk about?!” he hissed, kneeling down to my level and pushing back the sleeves on my robes to reveal angry, red scars, criss-crossing my wrist and tangled up tight with my pale veins. I gasped, and covered them quickly, holding my hand across my wrist so he couldn’t see them anymore.
“Don’t do this.”
“Addie, I’m worried. It’s day one and I have a feeling there’s something you’re not telling me,” he said, cocking his head and furrowing his brow at the visible pain etched across my face.
“But it kills me to not be able to help you. I can’t help you if you don’t let me in.”
“Since when does everything have to be about you, Sirius?” I shouted, suddenly feeling energy rise up inside of me and explode from every pore of my body.
“It doesn’t… It’s about you. And what’s wrong with you!” he replied, grabbing my hand and holding it tightly, keeping his eyes locked on mine.
“There’s nothing wrong with me!” I cried, staring straight back at him and throwing my hands down in vain, unable to show a strong image for the act I was trying to present.
“Promise me that! Look into my eyes and promise me that. Swear on your life! No, swear on Riley’s life; because we know she means more to you than anyone possibly could!” Sirius hissed, becoming frustrated at his inability; his helplessness.
“I can’t swear on her life,” I said, my voice cracking and my mind whirring. Riley Riley Riley.
“And why’s that Addie? Because it’s a promise you can’t make?”
“No,” I trembled, looking up into his eyes and seeing a pair of bright blue ones flash back at me, a young girls smile grin in front of me and soft tendrils of mahogany hair ruffle slightly as he moved.
It was Sirius. Not Riley. Riley’s gone.
But she’s everywhere.
“Then what is it?”
“Because she doesn’t have a life I can swear on!” I whispered almost inaudibly, stalking towards the door and flinging it open with as much force as I could muster, making a noise loud enough to push the image of her out of my head. Just for five minutes. Kicking open the door to the girls’ dormitory, I started to scrabble to pull my robes off and throw them onto the floor by my bed. I stripped off everything until I was just stood in my underwear in the draughty room, shivering. The pills, the pills… Hidden, in my socks. Finding the box, I shook out two of the coloured capsules and swallowed them dry, coughing from the friction of them catching in my throat – like a dry sob.
Now what do I do? What do I do?! Looking around the room, everything was dark. Even the moon was hidden behind the rain clouds that were still producing the rain that pounded against the old glass, threatening to spill into the room if another gust of wind pushed through the aged panelling.
And suddenly, there were tears. And suddenly, I was wailing. And suddenly, the room was immersed in a noise I couldn’t make out, but couldn’t hide from. I put my head in my hands and fell to the floor, crumpled against the bed, and sobbed. The door flew open in seconds and Lily ran in, falling onto the rug next to me and wrapping her arms around my shoulders. I heard her talk about blankets, I heard her call Brooke loudly, and I saw faces at the door, all looking at me in terror. I felt material wrap around me tightly, the texture itching against my skin and the sores on my body. My wrists were hot and I glanced down to see the wounds open and bloody, obviously wiped across my face when I’d held my head.
Lily was in tears. Brooke was in tears. She took her fingers and rubbed the blood from my cheeks and went over to the door, murmured something to the terrified faces, and closed it with a soft click!
“Addie…” Brooke sobbed, gripping one of my hands tightly and rubbing it.
“Please, please come back to us,” Lily whispered, leaning her head on my shoulder and holding me tighter as I shook.
But I wanted to be with her. I miss her.