Chapter 14 : Eyes On Fire
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I’ll be posting this and This Bliss as an every-other deal. Next update will be Bliss. Please review guys, I miss it :(
Title and Summary song:
“Eyes On Fire” by: Blue Foundation
One more word and you won’t survive.
And I’m not scared of your stolen power,
I see right through you any hour.
I should have run. But I didn’t. I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life, but I can honestly say that this is the worst. I have no idea why I decided to show up. I was an idiot.
I think I knew, however, that I wouldn’t be able to run. She’d find me eventually. Even if I holed myself up in a cupboard or under my bed, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I felt her claws sink into me and yank me from my safe haven. There was no running from Porrima Black.
On the other hand, I had nothing to run from. And in all frankness, I’ve never hidden from my mother. Maybe on the offhand occasion when I was little and she tried to force me into some wretched dress for a family function. That’s the only time I ever saw fit to hide. But throughout the years when I screwed up or pissed her off, I’d never cared enough to evade her wrath. It made no difference to me. I didn’t care how much she screeched and how far her war path went. I’d always stood there, bored, waiting for her to stalk off, even more angry because I hadn’t responded.
Pride wasn’t keeping me tethered to her. It was probably the fact that I knew that she would hunt me down like the despicable mutt that I was. And it would have been utterly humiliating if she had marched through the castle, dragging me out of a hiding spot by the hair. I would have died of embarrassment.
It wasn’t long before I was sitting in Slughorn’s office. It was quarter to seven; I knew Mother would be painfully prompt in arriving, probably showing up ten or so minutes prior to the time she set. She’d complained all my life about tardiness. Which is why I was usually fifteen minutes late. It never made any difference to her schedule though; she usually left without me anyway, not caring what kind of means of transportation I found. But tonight was different, I knew I needed to be on time. Or else Porrima would come after me.
I’d been contemplating what could have caused this impromptu visit. I knew it couldn’t possibly be about the Christmas holidays. Porrima never invited me home anymore. And if (when the apocalypse occurred) she did require me to be home, she would have just owled me or something. Porrima never went out of her way to address me face to face. Not unless we were in public and people were watching.
As I gazed vaguely into the amber flames of Slughorn’s fireplace, I continued to contemplate what the hell was going on. A sudden shudder overcame me at the thought of Mother throwing some kind of “Find Capella A Husband” party. She’d done that once before, the summer before my sixth year. But it had gone so horribly wrong (in her eyes), that she swore upon my grave that she would never do anything “nice” for me again. In my opinion, Mother was overreacting; I’d only set fire to seven of the suitors’ socks. The other four mysteriously got food poisoning that had nothing to do with my specially made bubotuber tarts. It was a little dramatic for her to swear on my grave, but that’s just my humble belief.
This went on for a few moments, my deep concentration on what kind of stick Mother had up her ass now. It wasn’t before long that the fire began to furiously spark and turn a lovely shade of emerald. I felt my stomach churn at the sight, watching as two figures emerged from the flames.
It wasn’t until I my gaze was locked with my mother’s that I realized what this could possibly be about.
I couldn’t remember a time when I had seen such fury in Porrima’s eyes. Not even when I screwed around or embarrassed her. No, the rage that was absolutely boiling in her murky jade-colored eyes. I felt myself internally recoil, reminding myself to never outwardly flinch. Dread settled in the pit of my stomach, simmering like acid as it burned through my internal organs.
As our eyes met, I knew at that moment she saw the recognition in my face. She knew that I knew. How could I have been so stupid?
“You!” Her tone was low, raspy as it shook her vocal chords. She brought up her hand to me and I briefly thought it was just an accusing finger she was pointing at me...until her hand enclosed around the collar of my blouse. Porrima yanked me up from my seat, pulling my face as close to hers as humanly possible. I was staring straight into the eyes of the beast, and it scared the shit out of me.
I had a fleeting thought about the position I was in right now. My mother currently had me by the neck and looked like she wanted to brutally flog me. This wasn’t right. I felt my own anger surge, red-hot through my veins as I scowled at her.
I spent most of my life having no feelings towards my mother. I certainly didn’t love her but I’d never cared enough to hate her. Sure, she treated me like the scum of the earth, but I was so used to it, I couldn’t despise her for it.
But as I stood, face to face with her, I felt something. It was completely new, to associate any kind of emotion with Porrima because up until now I’d given her as much thought as I would a passing cloud. I never cared. But now, as her hands were inches from throttling me, I realized how wrong the situation was. What kind of mother treated their child with such disrespect, such disregard? How many other kids, laughing and joking around behind the walls encasing us had felt like this? None. They all had loving parents who had babied and coddled them for the last seventeen years. Those kids had been given the world...and what had I gotten?
All I could feel was the utter revulsion pulsing my blood.
I wrenched myself back, out of her grasp, glaring.
“Don’t touch me.” I snapped, giving myself a cursory pat down to smooth my wrinkled clothes. Porrima’s was something of a cross between a shriek and a sarcastic laugh. She stepped closer to me, trying to close the gap. I evaded her again and it looked like we were doing some kind of angry dance. I barely registered my father’s stoic stance by the fireplace.
“I’ll do what I want, I’m your mother!” She barked, finally stopping. However, she snapped her fingers twice and pointed to the space in front of her, ordering me like a dog. I momentarily realized I was halfway across the office.
I didn’t respond and I didn’t move. I saw the growing impatience on her features and her face began to contort into some ugly expression. The only sound was her heaving breath.
“Come here, you brat!”
“I’ve done nothing to you.” The words flew out of my mouth before I could think about stopping myself. Porrima let out that horrible cackle/shriek again and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
“You...” This time, her finger really was pointing at me. She looked at me like I was the most disgusting creature on the earth. The blood pounded in my ears as she closed the gap between us again. I didn’t dare retreat.
“You ruined Lucida!” She screamed in my face. Specks of spittle hit my face, but I kept my expression as clear as I could. There was no possible way the entire castle couldn’t hear her tone. I swear any dog within a ten-mile radius could hear her.
“I did nothing!” I shouted back, clenching my teeth.
“You...you...” Again, the index finger shook at me like a wand hexing a foe.
“You have ruined this family!” She yelled directly in my face. I knew her hands were making wild gestures, but I could only focus on her bulging eyes. It was then that I realized that Mother had silver flecks in the exact same places Lucida did.
“You and your rebellions that have been going on for years. I’ve ignored it, thinking that you were just a bad egg. We’ve all had our mistakes. Look at Sirius and Andromeda; wastes of space too.” She said, as though trying to convince herself that faux pas’s like me happened to everyone, “But Lucida. She was my jewel. My absolute sensation! Beautiful, obedient, everything. I knew she would marry into a great family. She’s been perfection since she came from the womb. I knew I should have stopped with one child. That asking for two miracles would be too much...
“And then you came along.” It was all I could do to keep from flinching and the way she addressed me. She looked me up and down, wrinkling her nose and snorting, “The radical. You, who can’t stand for rules or respect anyone-”
“I’ll return what I’ve been given.” I growled but she ignored me and continued.
“The All-Knowing Capella Black,” Porrima taunted, her face twisted into some maniacal grin. I knew she was trying to get a rise out of me, but I wouldn’t, couldn’t, stand for it, “with her charming cynicism and originality. You just know everything, don’t you? Tell me, Capella, what’s it like to be a genius?
“Oh, and your independence! How’s that working out for you? What’s it like being a pariah of society?” Her voice was getting louder, more hysterical in her rage. I couldn’t flinch as she continued to ridicule me, getting so close our noses were almost touching. Meanwhile, my own fury was bubbling so close to the surface, I could have sworn a volcanic eruption was imminent.
“Play the victim like you always do, Capella. ‘Mummy doesn’t love me’, ‘I’m the ugly duckling’, ‘Lucida’s the favorite’. You were always that way as a child, insolent and selfish. Yet highly intuitive! No wonder Lucida was the favorite...”
Porrima was now pacing back and forth in front of me, her steps rapid, anxious. Her eyes never left mine and I was vaguely reminded of a lioness stalking her prey. Everything she had just said to me was nothing new. It was all true, too. Lucida had always been the prize. It had only been in recent years, once Lucida had left Hogwarts that we began to see eye to eye. We’d never really been friends before that, as she was Mother’s pet and I’d spent my life resenting her. It wasn’t until when Lucida admitted her distaste for Mother’s primping that we finally connected.
Seconds past and Porrima stopped suddenly, her eyes boring into mine and her demeanor taking a completely different aura. Up until now, she’d been mocking, sarcastic. I could feel her fury building to a point that it had burned off all her cynicism. Now, she was dangerous.
“Look what you’ve done to her.” She said quietly. “The disease she’s caught from you.”
Promptly, she walked over to me and slapped me across the face. I was too shocked to move. She digressed.
“Now she’s gotten herself knocked up! By a Muggle!” Porrima’s scream could have broken glass, I was sure of it. I could barely process this as my right cheek burned with the imprint of her hand, “Your influence! Your fault!”
Then, I felt the sharp pain of her fingernails piercing my upper arms as she gripped me tightly. Her eyes were wild but I was speechless.
“You rotten filth! How could you have done this? How could you ruin my daughter?!”
The words felt like a bucket of icy water splashed in my face. Every word she said was like ten new handprints on my cheeks. I’d always known that Porrima had never loved me, or even liked me. But with this new revelation, I knew that she didn’t even consider me her daughter. I was nothing to her.
I pulled away, awakened by her harsh words. Out of her grasp, I backed away, shaking my head.
“I did nothing.” I swore, my voice dripping with disgust, “You. You are the one.
“The way you’ve treated us. Like puppets, like show dogs. No wonder we acted out. It was just that I realized it sooner than Lucida did.” I said, my voice eerily calm for the anger that was brewing beneath the surface. However, I could hear a few of the notes wavering.
“I did what was best!-” She countered, still shrieking. My head continued to shake ‘no’.
“It was never love.” I said, “And that’s made all the difference.”
“Love means nothing.” Porrima snapped, waving her hand dismissively, “It will get you nowhere.”
“And how has that theory worked for you?” I prompted, giving an acidic laugh. Her eyes narrowed, “You’ve spawned one rebel by birth and your trophy has run off. Screwing up is genetic, it seems.” I added callously, surveying her, indicating her own defects.
“Don’t speak to me that way!” Porrima barked, but I heard the quiver of affront in her tone.
“You’ve never seen fit to fix me before.” I taunted, calling her on her shit. She stepped up close to me, eyes burning a hole through mine.
“You’re worthless.” She spat and I shrugged.
“Tell me something I haven’t heard.”
She raised her hand to slap me again, but a low rumble of a voice quickly stopped her.
“Porrima, do not strike her.”
Corvus Black had never spoken a word against his wife. Both Mother and I stood in utter shock, as Father approached us, his face set in a stern expression. He did not look at me or speak to me, but his midnight eyes were settle on his wife. It seemed like he was daring her to contradict him, to defy him.
He came between us, I took a few steps back, allowing him to face Porrima. Though I could not see his face, I was sure his severe expression was still there. From behind Corvus, I thought I saw a flash of panic in Mother’s eyes as she stared him down, trying to understand what this meant. I would have liked to know too, but I didn’t dare contend with Father the way I believed she was about to do.
“Leave.” He said, his tone commanding and I felt goosebumps erupt over my skin. I had never known my Father to be so powerful. It both scared and impressed me at the same time.
Here was the man who had stood in the back his entire marriage, letting his wife run the show. I couldn’t recall a time when he had said more than a few words, and if it had been, they were words Mother had fed to him. He could never do anything without Porrima’s permission. And now that he was here, flat out refusing her demands, I was more shocked than I had been previously when Mother had shouted. Because this was an occurrence that I would never imagine could happen, and now that it was, I still couldn’t fathom it.
And yet again, something totally unexpected occurred.
With a frustrated shriek, Porrima turned on her heel and headed back for the fireplace, actually heeding Father’s order. Swiftly, she threw Floo Powder into the flames. She stuck her foot into the emerald flames, looked at me and proclaimed,
“You are nothing to me.”
And those were the last words Porrima Black ever said to me.
Father left after her, without a second glance in my direction.
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