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Chapter 5 : Start With A Bang
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A/N: Hi, my lovely readers! So! Things are starting to heat up for Dora! You'll see what I mean. IF you read on. ;) So be my guest.
Start With A Bang
Finally, we're here.
It feels like coming from one home to another.
Except for the annoying teachers ( Not all of them. Still, it's a big number. ), annoying James fans that glare at me as if I chopped his head of even though we're cousins, and, of course, Faldo. The annoyance at it's worst. Or should I say best?
Ah, Hogwarts, how I love thee.
Of course, people don't have a clue that James and I made truce.
And if it's going to be anything like the previous years, I may as well learn some more advanced spells and jinxes. There's this one I read about in...
"Dora! Will you quit daydreaming? Saint Quidditch, you need to stop that! It creeps me out." Roxy shivers.
"She's obviously a highly reflective person. Something you'd not understand even if we wrote it down for you in Quidditch code language." Lee smirks.
"Oh! Imagine if there really was a Quidditch code language!" Roxy squeals.
I know. It must be doomsday.
The Great Hall pulls me in like every year with it's shining candles, wild house colors and, of course, the food.
What? Did you expect me to say people? I'm not a people-girl, remember?
Roxy, Charlie and I make our way to the Ravenclaw table, closely followed by Al, a slightly darker skinned Scorpius and Faldo.
We usually don't sit together as Faldo and I tend to ruin everyone's meal with our bickering.
But I guess they're finally ready to take that risk again.
It's not entirely my fault. Just because Faldo's slightly attractive doesn't mean he can get away with things more than I can.
We all sit down taking our usual spots and wait for McGonagall to hold her traditional speech. I know it by heart at this point.
Apart from some deviations every year, the speech doesn't really change. So it's hard not to remember it.
I glance at Faldo. Not surprised, I realize he has spaced out.
"So what's your deal, Faldo?"
He blinks and stares at me. "What?"
Albus shakes his head at me as a warning to quit it.
The hell I will! It eats me up! I need to know!
"Oh, come on! You know what I mean."
"Why did you quit the team? And why did you give up your Prefect title?" I put on my best Hercule Poirot face to provoke him to talk.
He just sighs and ignores me by turning to Albus. "Al.."
"I'm sorry! It's her look! I swear! She can dig out whatever crosses her twisted mind!"
That's not nice.
Wait... actually, it kind of is.
I'm persuasive. Hm... I like that. I'm sure I can make good use of this newly discovered trait.
"And she would've find out that I'm the Prefect eventually." Al adds.
I open my mouth to grace them all with a witty comment but the Headmistress takes away my spotlight.
"Dear students, I would like to welcome you all to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. To you first years I'd like to say not to worry as Hogwarts is not a prison at all. It's your home."
"She's obviously never tried being a Dursley here." I snort but someone from behind hushes me.
I start to twirl around when Roxy stops me glaring that scary 'Quit it!' look of hers. Well, all of her looks are somewhat scary. But, you know.
"To the ones that are returning I just want to wish a successful year." It seems as if she's about to sit down.
But then all of a sudden she jolts again. "Oh, and James Potter, stay away from Mr Filch's cat."
Everyone turns to look at James.
He smiles a smile that shows he's not exactly appreciating the attention.
Contrary to popular belief, James isn't an attention freak like Roxy. Well, not as much, that's for sure. He just gets himself into these situations that attract a lot of people. And him being the son of Harry Potter doesn't help either.
"Now let us enjoy the meal!"
With that Headmistress McGonagall sits down smiling and the always deliciously looking food fills the tables.
Everyone grabs as much food as they can so they don't have to be stuck with something they don't like.
For me, the pumpkin pie beats everything else.
Obviously, Charlie snatched the chocolate pudding.
But don't worry. The awesome food didn't make me forget about Faldo.
Well ok, only for a minute.
Don't blame me! It's really tasty.
"So, Faldo. You never answered my question." I eye him.
"And you know why?" He gazes at me meaningfully.
Oh, this is so exciting!
He leans in and takes a deep breath.
"Because... I don't want to."
He smirks and returns to eating his mashed potatoes with fish sticks. Even his food is all healthy and perfect.
I hate it.
"You have to!"
"Blue, find someone else to interrogate. I'm not interested."
I scan his face. I almost see a trace of tension on it.
"I see. You're scared."
He rolls his eyes. "Blue..."
"What are you up to? Just tell me!"
"Oh, for Snitch's sake! I knew this wasn't a good idea!" Roxy yells at the two of us.
We immediately shut up.
It's her voice. It's like some kind of an unbeatable weapon.
"Don't worry, Roxy. There will come a time when these two will tolerate each other. I just know it." Charlie smiles.
"Not likely." Faldo and I exclaim at the same time.
I glare at him. He glares back.
Wow. I kind of...
No! No, no, no! Bad brain!
You do not enjoy arguing with him! It's what annoys you.
Havens! Even my own brain is against me.
After finishing dinner we all go to settle down in our rooms.
Charlie and I unwillingly part ways with Roxy. It's moments like these I hate the sorting hat the most.
The rest of our walk flies by in my nagging of Faldo to tell me his secret.
"No! For the last time, Blue, stop it! I won't answer even if you strip for me!"
At the moment that this particular sentence is said, Al, Faldo, Scorp, Charlie and I are in the middle of the Ravenclaw common room.
Naturally, everyone's staring at us.
Faldo fires up. "See what you've done! I'm starting to talk like you!"
"Excuse me! I never said I wanted you to strip for me!"
"No, you just said that we 'tend to lie on each other'!"
I gasp. "Faldo! It wasn't intentional and you know it! I wouldn't 'lie' on you even if you were..."
And just like that a blurred image of Louis pops into my head.
Closely followed by my recurring dream with the 'It's a surprise.' echoing throughout my mind.
I never saw it like that before. It's all fuzzy and intertwined.
And for a moment, I feel like it's more real than Faldo standing right in front of...
Suddenly I come back to reality only to realize that Faldo has vanished.
How long have I been spaced out?
"Wow, Dee. That wasn't nice." Scorpius says in a low voice.
I see that everyone around us agrees as they are death-glaring at me.
Well, nothing new.
I sigh. "What can I do? Every time we talk I just want to... I want to..."
"Be his friend?" Charlie fills in, hopeful.
We all look at her shaking our heads.
"No? Well it was worth trying." She shrugs.
All the while through my little outburst a girl sitting at the back watches intently.
Thinking just one thing.
"Please, Merlin, let him fall in love with me."
* * *
Charlie and I make ourselves comfortable in our dormitory.
I missed it. I really have. The calming blue walls ( I know. It's like 'blue' is something that's permanently attached to me and follows me around. ), the glorious window view right next to my bed, the window sill where I have sat through many of my confusing nights, the big 'Animals' World' poster on my closet, the small night stand where I'm just putting my favourite pictures, framed and all, and the bathroom that always has hot water. I missed it all.
It's strange. People here tend to think that I'm some kind of a monster. But I still love being at Hogwarts.
Does that make me a masochist?
While I'm putting my clothes in the closet, one of our room mates comes in. And thankfully, it's the likable one.
"Hi, Dora! Charlie!" She smiles brightly at us.
"Hello, Ophelia." We return.
Ophelia Norton. Possibly the most lovable girl at Hogwarts. Charlie says she's the nicer and prettier version of me. Naturally, I punch her arm every time she does.
But there's no denying it. We really do look alike. Only, her hair is not as curled as mine, she's shorter and, well... bubbly.
In short, Charlie's right. Even though I hate to admit it.
"You guys ready for the OWL's? It's gonna be dreadful. Well, that's what Marilyn keeps telling me, anyway."
My eye twitches. My pulls speeds up. My anger's on a verge to make me explode right here, right now.
"Don't listen to Marilyn. She's a b-"
"What Dora's trying to say!" Lee interferes and glares at me so I don't say that word. "Is that Marilyn's just trying to frighten you."
"And I read every single fifth year book. You know, just in case."
We all automatically turn to the door.
Oh, the horror.
The hell girl herself turns from her friend ( Hell girl Junior. That's all you need to know about her, really. ) and smirks upon seeing me.
Now that right there is one thing I didn't miss.
"Well, well, if it isn't Dursley?" She pronounces my name the way she always does.
"Got a problem with that... Gold?"
Yes, her surname is Gold. I know, right?
"I've got a problem, yes. If the school allows the brat of Dursley to attend then it may as well let muggles come here too." Her dark look glow evilly.
My eye twitches even more.
It's not that she's only a problem of mine. She's the school's "journalist". It's the way she likes to call herself. To the rest of the world, she's a younger and prettier ( Yes, I can admit it. ) version of Rita Sceeter.
"I don't know what's worse, to be honest. Having you around or that Death Eater's son, Malfoy."
And that's when everything goes black.
At least in my mind.
I don't even remember how I earned the black eye. What I do remember though is how Marilyn got hers.
And it was one hell of a punch.
Is it too late for me to still try and convince people that I'm rational?
Yeah... I king of figured.
* * *
"This is outrageous, Miss Dursley! It's the first day. The first day!"
I sit in Professor Lonbottom's office taking in all the yelling as it comes. Not in a good way, though. I tend to burst in these kind of situations.
"You didn't hear what she said, Professor! She insulted me! And Scorpius Malfoy, too!" I feel the tears cluster in the corners of my eyes.
Professor Neville is the Deputy Headmaster.
The poor guy's usually the one who gets to deal with stuff like these. I assume he doesn't like it that much. But life's a bitch ( There, I said it! ). What're you gonna do?
He sighs looking worn out. "Dora, no matter what she said... It was a bad choice to respond with violence. I hope you know that."
He gazes at me beneath his bushy eyebrows.
I hate that look. It makes me feel all wrong and stupid for what I've done. I guess that's exactly what he's aiming at.
"I know." I mutter examining the floor.
He sighs again. "Dora, come on. You're better than this."
My head jerks slightly. "What if I'm not?"
He studies my face intertwining his fingers and putting his hands on the desk. "Why would you say that?"
"Look at my father." I raise my voice. "Half of his life he was a bully and... I'm afraid... What if that's all I'm meant be too?"
With the last word my voice drops, reveling my most hidden fear.
I don't think about it all the time. But... I still do.
I know dad has changed. But what if I can't avoid it?
What if I end up just the way he started?
'Cause I really feel I'm getting worse with each year.
Professor Neville takes a deep breath before speaking. "Dora, you just said it. It's your father. Not you."
"I don't know that. I don't know anything." I take a look at the floor once again.
"It's all right to be confused. You're just fifteen, for Merlin's sake. I didn't have a clue who I was at that age either."
The thought comforts me. But it doesn't take away my fear. It's there. Like it awaits to eat me up. To my bones.
"What if I never figure it out?" I pick my head up trembling. "What if I stay stuck with this image that's so attached to me? What if I never run away from it?"
"That right there is your problem, Dora." He pats the desk with his hand.
He does that when he's besotted and enthusiastic about a subject being discussed. In this case, me.
"You always run. If you want something, you need to fight for it."
It's not like I don't know that. But... "It's hard."
He nods. "I know. But I'm sure you have it in you. I have faith in you, Dora. I believe you'll do great things in your future. If you only stop running."
"Really?" A slight smile escapes my lips.
I know it sounds silly. But since Professor Neville and I had our share of meetings ( Usually because of the same reason, over and over again. ), I came to like him.
Not just like him, actually.
I don't know. I feel... He's some kind of a mentor to me.
And hearing him say that he sees great things in my future.
It... it means something.
It means a lot.
He gazes at me painfully. "It's difficult seeing you so insecure."
"When so many people seem to hate me... It's hard not to be."
"You know what your other problem is, Dora?" His eyes glisten knowingly. " You've fallen into this loop. You mistrust people 'cause they hurt you. Now, you want them to stop. But... they won't. Not unless you begin trusting them again."
I glance at him, amazed at his ability to dig so deep into me. "What if it's not worth it?"
"It's always worth it. Animals are not enough, Dora. I know I said it's ok that you love them. I love my plants, too. But, there's a line. You can't replace human beings with animals. People need other people, Dora. And you... You need to open up to them."
I don't even realize that I have a few tears running down my cheeks.
Wow. I didn't know a simple punch could trigger so many hidden emotions.
I turn my head to the side so I'm not facing Professor Neville. I don't want him to see me broken. I don't want anyone to see me like this.
He stands up from his chair, goes around his desk and stops above me. He crouches so his eyes level mine.
I try to look away again.
He doesn't let me.
"Stop seeing yourself as a victim of your dad's mistakes. 'Cause that's what your doing right now."
I look into his burly eyes full of wisdom. Of care. Of love.
I take a deep breath and close my eyes for a second. When I open them, I finally see it.
He nods his head, sadness twinkling in his gaze.
"I don't want you to feel this way, Dora. Do what I said. Share. So people can move on from the image that is so attached to you. If you keep these fears inside for too long... It'll kill you."
That's it. Now I'm officially sobbing.
Professor Neville puts a hand on my shoulder.
He then stands up and goes to sit on his chair.
I lift myself up, feeling empty.
Our eyes meet again.
"Have You ever been scared?"
He looks confused. "Of course. Why?"
"'Cause than You'll understand that all this that You just said... Everything... It's really, really hard to do. I feel... paralyzed."
"I need time."
He smiles at me. "I respect that. I just hope that you won't run forever. And don't make that excuse about not having Gryffindors' bravery."
Hey! Am I an open book or something? How does he know I do that?
He laughs, obviously reading my mind.
I manage to smile too.
"As for your punishment, you'll be cleaning Professor Slughorn's potion bottles tomorrow after classes. And the day after tomorrow. Actually, the whole month."
Crap. I kind of hoped he forgot about that.
I nod my head and leave his office feeling completely emotionally spent.
Oh my Havens!
Did I just tell him all of that?
I can't breath!
I'm not good at sharing my feelings.
I run amok to the nearest toilet, feeling like someone's crushing my lungs.
Professor Neville's words are haunting me. Pressing my chest. And I can't breath.
It's always like this when I try to share my feelings. It's as if I'm breaking my heart into these small pieces and giving them away. Without the hope that I'll ever get them back.
Have you ever felt like that?
* * *
I finally make my way to the dormitory. But before I go in, I catch a glimpse of Faldo leaving the common room.
Now, it wouldn't be anything unusual. If it wasn't so late. Also, he looks too sneaky for it to be a simple walk.
Against any better judgment, I decide to follow him and have a little fun.
Don't hate me. I'm having a really hard day here.
Surprisingly, he leads us to the Room of Requirement.
I stand behind the nearest wall and watch him marsh in front of the massive door three times.
After it gets open, Faldo slides in. Of course, he first checks if anyone's following him. I smirk to myself when I stay unnoticed.
I play with the idea to come closer and try hearing something. But just for a second.
I'm not Marilyn, after all. That much, I know.
What is astonishing to me, I have a great sleep that night. And the dream just makes it better.
Unlike this morning, though, I don't see Louis' face intertwined with the dream figure.
He's just as unknown as usual. But in a strange way, that comforts me.
And I seriously don't have a clue why.
I'm so weird sometimes.
But aren't we all, really?
* * *
The next day as the classes start, it feels more homey to me. Being here, that is.
I know, who likes going to classes?
Apparently, the new Dora does. Hey, maybe this self-discovery thing isn't that bad!
Of course, I'm still not opening up to people.
But I have time. It's not like I'm not used to being seen as I am now.
All right, that's my exact problem to begin with.
Don't judge me! Please?
As we pace to the Great Hall after a horrid History of Magic class, Charlie and I meet up with Roxy. She's all about trowing insults at McLaggen after he tried to "woo" her again. Not those really bad ones. Still, it doesn't sit right with Lee.
She doesn't swear. Or, rather, she tries not to.
As the two of them are again lost in an endless discussion, I take a look at the toilet that we are just passing.
I suddenly feel a great urge to be alone again.
It happens all of the time, to be sincere.
I know, I know. I shouldn't run.
But just this one more time! I need to!
"Hey! Am... I'm gonna go... to the loo."
"Why?" Roxy eyes me suspiciously.
"'Cause she needs to pee?" Charlie snorts. "Seriously, Roxy. Use your brain. You do have it. Even if you are in Gryffindor."
"Lee, if you say a thing about my intelligence again, I'll..."
I slowly leave the pair as they continue to walk and argue, happy that their differences always help me get away unnoticed.
I open the door relieved that I'll be alone for a moment.
But as I enter the toilet, it is clear I won't have any alone time soon.
Standing loosely leaning against the wall is Alice, Professor Neville's daughter and Lily's best friend.
Before I know it, she shrieks and starts falling down. It all happens slow. Yet too fast.
Gratefully, I'm able to catch her midst air.
He face is pale and her eyes shut but I can feel she's still breathing.
Then suddenly she looks at me grabbing the end of my robe. It's a stern, dark look with almost no life in it.
At that moment, she speaks. But it's not her usual sweet, joyful voice.
"When the sun falls down
And the dark comes in
It will take away a soul
That breaths within."
She collapses in my arms and I realize she's not there anymore.
Panic fills my every pore as I remember to use my wand.
Her tiny body raises up and I fly her to the hospital wing, all the way on a verge to cry.
This is too much to handle in two days! I'm not a robot! Unlike some others.
I crash into the hospital wing.
Mrs Adams, the new nurse, looks up at us, gasping.
She rushes over and we put Alice on an empty bed near the window.
"I don't know! I went to the toilet and she just passed out before my eyes!"
"All right. Move, Miss Dursley! You can't help her more than you already have."
I stumble backwards, shaking.
I can't do this!
I run outside, tears filling my eyes.
I pace through the corridors, my feet taking me in the direction of our common room instinctively.
But just as I'm about to leave one corridor and enter another, someone stops me.
He takes my hand and pulls me toward him.
"Dora, are you all right? What happened?"
Louis gazes at me brushing my cheek carefully.
I trow myself at him not thinking straight.
He wraps his arms around me.
The warmth of his body is suiting. And it calms me down for a moment.
But I still feel Alice's lifeless look consuming me. Like it wants to suck out my soul.
What was she talking about?
What was that?
After a moment, Louis speaks again. "You're shaking. Let me take you to the hospital wing..."
"No!" I wince.
He looks confused.
"Sorry." I breath out. "I'm fine. I'm... It's ok. Really..."
"Dora, you're rambling. What's wrong?"
I bite my lip. I want to tell him. And professor Neville's words play in the back of my mind, pushing me to do it.
But something's holding me back.
"It's... nothing. Really. I'm fine."
"If you say that again, maybe I'll start believing you." He smirks.
I laugh. "It's nothing to worry about. But thanks."
I turn to leave but he pulls me by my palm again, his blue eyes absorbing me into their depths.
"Dora, next time... Just try to trust me."
With that he walks away.
I stare after him, feeling lost, confused and completely hollow.
Oh, I see.
This fifth year is going to be the end of me.
* * *
The rest of the day passes in my silence. I don't speak to anyone. Don't even answer to Marilyin's pre-sleep insulting. Seriously, even a black eye can't stop that girl. I'm starting to wonder if anything can.
But when the first sparkle of dark lights up the sky, I decide to visit Alice.
With the initial shock simmering down, I think it all through.
Her collapse, her voice, her words...
It's very clear.
I remember reading about it a long time ago. Naturally, Charlie forced me to. But now I'm thankful she did.
It can only mean one thing.
* * *
I open the door to the hospital wing only to find it to be empty.
I never knew I'd be intrigued by something so... irrational. At least going by my standards.
I need to know.
I go back to our dormitory to catch some sleep. But I end up doing various of things. Just not sleeping.
I decide to sit on the window sill.
I gaze up.
The black sky glitters with it's stars, forming a miraculous pattern of light.
I'd never admit it to anyone, especially not to Charlie, but I'm mesmerized by the stars. How they seem so much closer sometimes than they truly are. As if you can touch them and make a long lost wish come true...
And through it all, it suddenly hits me.
"When the dark comes..."
Panic starts to rise up from the bottom of my stomach again.
But what do I do?! I don't know who it is! It can be anyone.
Why is it that my brain fails in times of crises?!
It's moments like these I wonder if the sorting hat did a good job with me.
Then again, it's not like I'm brave, nice or cunning.
Seriously, I need to focus.
What do I do?
* * *
"Rise and shine, sleepy!" Charlie pushes me slightly and I find myself sleeping by the window.
No wonder my every muscle hurts.
Wait a minute...
"Damnit!" I dress up quickly.
"What's got your knickers in a twist?" She frowns at me.
"No time!" I storm out rushing senselessly to the Great Hall.
As I arrive, I scan the lot furiously almost not breathing at all.
And there, seated between Lily and Lysander, is Alice Longbottom.
I run to her.
"Oh, hi Dora." Lily smiles at me and then frowns. "Er, do you know that you have a bit of saliva on your cheek?"
I blink and clean it with my sleeve.
I know. I'm so splendid.
"Alice, can we talk?" I mimic for us to move from the gang and be alone.
Thankfully, she understands.
She gets up and we go outside.
As we are walking by the lake, I glance at her.
"You don't remember, do you?"
"What?" She seems confused.
"Me. Catching you in the toilet. Taking you to the hospital wing."
She pales instantly. "I wondered how I got there. I thought it was me somehow but... It didn't make any sense..."
I scan her face. "You're a Seer, aren't you?"
She looks up at me with pure shock. "How did you..."
"Doesn't matter. What matters is your safety and what you said..."
"What was it?"
"You don't remember?" I'm a little surprised.
She shrugs. "Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. It's hard to explain."
She shakes her head. "And I'd like to ask you to keep the secret, Dora. Please, I don't want anyone to know."
"But you need help!"
"No! Dora, don't! I... I can handle it." She looks away.
"Hello? If I wasn't there, who knows what would've happened."
"And I'm grateful to you but I want things to stay like this."
I sigh, defeated.
"What did I say?" She asks again.
"The worst thing possible." I look at her, my voice trembling. "I think someone's going to die. That is, if it hasn't happened already."
Her look suddenly loses it's twinkle.
She turns around to avoid my gaze.
"Maybe it won't."
"You're saying that you're visions are not always accurate?!" A part of my lost hope arises from the bottom of my heart.
She looks at me again.
I can tell she's holding on to a hopeless wish.
"I hate this." She whispers.
In that exact moment Fred Weasley runs out from the castle followed by a crowd of students that are laughing and cheering loudly.
"What's going on?" I ask an unfamiliar blond boy who happens to walk near us.
"No school today! Can you belive that? Apparently Mr Filch's cat died."
Alice and I share a knowing look.
And even though I adore animals and think that people can learn quite some things from them, I'm relieved.
And let's face it. Mrs Norris The Third was not that cute either.
For her, though, things don't end here.
It'll happen again.
And she has to live with that.
* * *
"Who knew McGonagall would give us a day of just because of a cat." Roxy mutters while eating chicken wings.
She's a meat person. And a messy one too.
"Well, her animagus is a cat. I guess that's why she feels more sympathy than the rest of us." Charlie says wisely.
I look across the Hall. Alice is gazing at me.
We share a small smile.
I know I'm not the biggest believer out there. But this changes... everything.
Alice knows the future.
How jealous would Charlie be if she found out?
It's truly haunting.
I wouldn't mind peaking at the future. At what's to come.
I feel it would give me a sense of safety and... I don't know. Maybe I wouldn't feel so lost all of the time.
But Alice's pain... Is it worth it?
Maybe I'll change my mind. I hope so. 'Cause these sentiments don't really make me look good.
But for now, a tiny part of me envies her.
Because, let's face it...
Wouldn't you want to know if you end up marrying your dream guy, buying your dream house or having those two children you always imagined you would?
Wouldn't it give more meaning and savour to everything that you're going through right now?
Knowing that somewhere ahead... it will all fall into it's place?
Ok, I really need to talk to Alice.
A/N: What do you think? ;)
Dora's life is getting more and more complicated. But don't worry. It's just a hard battle before she wins the war. :) This is, indeed, a story of victory.
I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did while writing it.
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