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Chapter 7 : Drifting into Oblivion
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Fear. An unknown force that has the ability to envelope one's mind and control every part of that person. From leading one to crawl under a rock, hiding away from the world surrounding them, for the duration of their life to resulting in paranoia. The one thing that caused me to wake in cold sweat, my heart racing as if it were about to jump out of my body, in the dead of night was the fear of never being able to experience life. All these years I have been burying my face in books so that no one could see the emptiness in my eyes. I filled my mind with fantasies hoping each day that went by that it would become real one day.
Eventually, that one day I had been dreaming about my entire life will pass. Since I would constantly have my head stuck in a book, I would lose the opportunity to have adventures of my own.
I live in fear of spending my entire life dreaming and never experiencing.
But how would I know when was the right time?
"I loathe James bloody Potter," Lily screamed with a certain venom in her words as she stormed down the hallway, head low and eyes piercing every soul who passed.
"We know, we know," Olivia soothed hair, pulling Lily towards a bench that was close to the one I had been reading in moments ago.
"He is just so infuriating. He always seems to know exactly the right words to say to get under my skin."
Olivia allowed Lily to rant on about how supposed hatred for the toe rag named James Potter. At this point, they had heard everything that she had to say about him. People were now just waiting for the fiery red head to snog the poor bloke.
But that day was still far away.
"Hello, Alice!" Olivia called, noticing my figure a few feet away, and waved me over.
My head snapped up upon hearing my name and smiled at Olivia who was rubbing circles in Lily's spine. Closing my book after marking my page, I drifted over to their bench. "Hey," I said with a smile.
Watching Lily sigh as she rubbed her temples, I said, "James?"
"The only person who can cause Lily to be like this," Olivia said, nodding.
"What was it this time, if you don't mind me asking?"
"Well," Lily began, letting out the excess steam whilst she told me the story. "After I found him with that bloody smirk on his horrid face hexing a poor second year student, I had given him detention which he waved off and thought I had only been joking. Then he had the nerve to ask me to Hogsmeade..."
"Which of course brought on more insults," Olivia added.
"At this point, he already game me his usual rubbish about how my comebacks were antiques now and sort," Lily said, huffing but now with a calmer expression.
"It's strange how he seems to become so very immature whenever he is around you," I noted.
"Or maybe he just reveals his true self when I'm around," Lily said staring at the ground.
But James Potter wasn't the only person who was being stubborn. Lily was the only person who refused to see James's care for her although no one could blame her after seeing him with other girls (who were perfectly lovely) countless of times along with his constant insults.
Perhaps he was frustrated after being rejected for so long although I noticed he took it more to heart after the beginning of Fifth Year. I suppose before then he simply wanted to be with her for her perfection but now that he had realised how much more there was to her than her looks, he had truly begun to love her.
Now he just needed to mature a bit.
The leaves swirled around me as my eyes skimmed past the printed words of the page assigned for tonight's reading in Potions. The information was forced into my mind, memorised but not absorbed, as I hastily shut the book closed and forced it into my bag. There was no time to waste as I pulled out a scroll of parchment that was just about completed.
Homework was in abundance these days.
Another strong gust of wind flew past me causing me to question what unknown force made me to sit underneath the Beech tree on this Autumn day. Just as I pondered on the thoughts, a sheet flew out of my loosened grip as I immediately chased it.
"Here," said a student who was donned in the Hufflepuff house colours, surrounded by a few others who wore the same uniform.
"Thanks," I said quickly, looking at the parchment intensely as I returned back to my place.
My eyes focused on my hand, writing the words that poured out of my head as my thoughts wandered elsewhere. A leaf drifted towards my hair, now having lived its life to the fullest and ready to be put to rest, as I gently lifted it. It lied in the palm of my hands as I watched to blow away, discovering the world, once another gust of wind blew. New stories would be told by that leaf, it holds events from the past and has an endless amount that have still not be told.
And it all began right here.
A mass of gleaming black feathers landed before my eyes as the twinkling yellow eyes of the familiar owl looked into my own. A piece of scrap parchment was tied to its leg as it shook it, eager to deliver the letter as she hooted.
My own eyes had widened in surprised and was soon replaced by bewilderment. It was a rare occasion whenever my owl had a delivery. In a matter of a few mere seconds, the black beauty pecked my hand irritatedly as my fingers fumbled with untying the letter.
With one last annoyed glance, the owl left with a spread of her brilliant wings as I studied the letter warily. Pondering whether the contents would cause my stomach to flip, I decided to open it.
I am not quite sure how this Owl Post business works just yet but I hope this reaches you. I know you prefer to stay in your school for the Christmas holidays but I must request you to instead come home this year. Do not inquire why just yet.
Best of wishes,
Questions burned a gaping whole within my mind as my eyes reread the brief letter that held so little information and yet at the same time, it told so much. The first thought that flew my mind was that the Christmas holidays were so far from now for I had only just begun school a month ago.
Home was the place my heart felt comforted and warm with safety. It was the place where I was given the ability to express myself freely, to not be ashamed for who I am. The silent home miles away set in a normal, Muggle neighborhood where the most unusual occurrence was when a family moved, was not my home.
This was my home.
Hogwarts, the place that I could leave the guilt that I had felt while visiting that home back in England for a while. It was the place that was familiar, I knew every creak to each ancient step of the Ravenclaw common room. I knew every stone that I stepped across in the corridors. The teachers were my elders and the students were my family, although I barely knew the majority of them.
This would always be my home.
Even when the days here slip away and I explore the workings of the world surrounding me, I will consider this place my home.
"Snivellus," said a voice, heavy with disgust as I swiftly walked through the corridor.
Just about to turn the corner, my feet came to a halt as I pushed myself against the wall, reducing myself to nothing but the stones surrounding me. "Come on you greasy git, get up," said another who I recognised as the infamous Sirius Black.
I knew that I couldn't stay here any longer, this was no place for me. My breath grew thick as beads of sweat formed around my forward. It was not everyday that I found myself stuck in a situation of this sort. After so many years of relentless taunting, I couldn't help but succumb to the urge to leave the place I was hiding and turn the corner.
The smirking faces of James Potter and Sirius Black glance towards me as a blast of colour was shot towards James' face just as Sirius deflected it. "Oh, all high and mighty now are we, Snivellus?" James said in a low and steady voice.
This was the side of the Marauders that I hoped I would never have to experience. Although I knew that their intentions were not to cause harm, I couldn't help but rush over to their side. "Must you two bully this poor bloke," I said, my cheeks coloured as realisation told me what I was doing.
Nobody dared to tell the Marauders that they were wrong.
Except for Lily.
"He is a disgusting prat, Alice. He is nothing but scum. Do you ever wonder the cause of all these violent events, hm? It's because of dirt like him."
The words in my throat had been diminished.
"But you don't know-," I insisted for how could it be true?
"Oh, we do," Sirius said, pointing his wand to the narrowing eyes of Severus Snape who held his own wand towards Sirius's throat, ready to flick a spell at any given time.
"I don't need help from you," sneered Severus, his voice dripping with anger.
"Would you just bloody leave already?" I said, a flash of anger washing over me as I whipped around. It wasn't his statement that caused heat to steam through my body, it was the fact that I was giving him the chance to leave and he wasn't taking it.
"Honestly, it seems to you actually want to be here," I added, staring into his cold eyes.
With one last glare, Severus Snape whipped his robes around and hurried down the corridor, soon becoming nothing but a black figure in the distance.
"Now you two, was that necessary?" I asked, a rare confidence that had been born in the flash of anger taking control of my actions.
"Well-," James was about to say.
"If the reason is because he's either a git or he is supposedly studying the Dark Arts, then that isn't reason enough," I said, my voice softening.
"But we are quite sure that he's a follower," Sirius cut in.
"Quite sure and sure are two very different matters. This is nothing to joke around with."
"Merlin, you and Lily must be talking with one another too much," James said, frustrated.
"She does have a point though," I said quietly, the rush of confidence that had once pumped through my blood now dwindling rapidly.
"When there is another attack, don't come crying to us," Sirius called before abruptly turning on his heel, quickly followed by James, in search of his most recent conquest.
With a slight shake of my head, a sigh escaped my lips as I walked through the corridor that silence had now fallen upon. The crisp Autumn wind sent subtle shivers crawling up my spine as I breathed in the scent of the season.
Boiling apple ciders that are served piping hot, fresh apple pies with a hint of cinnamon, and glowing pumpkins through the dark of night.
It was by far my favourite season of all.
But it passed by much too fast, leaving an empty sense of melancholy growing in the depths of my stomach.
It always seemed to be there.
The lamps glowed dimly as ancient pages were flipped by the weary hands of students who forced their minds to focus on the one thing that we had an abundance of: homework. I, Alice Liddell, had somehow managed to write every last word to every essay assigned to us for the past five years, six years if this year had been included.
This resulted in my hands writing furiously the words that came so easily to my mind as I dipped my quill into the thick ink.
That is, until the faded whispers of familiar voices caused a distraction.
There was not a flicker of surprise when my eyes found the four Marauders hunched over at a table just around the bend. However, if they had not yet taken out their homework assignments nor any books that could only mean one thing.
"Oh, excuse me but you dropped your scroll," I called softly to a person surrounded by a mass of black robes which all whipped around upon hearing my somewhat weak call.
The robes were embellished with the Slytherin crest stamped onto their chests, accessorised by a deep green tie with silver threads. One of the students' eyes widened upon realising having dropped his essay as my usually pale cheeks coloured due to embarrassment.
"Thank you," he said, although not having meant it as he snatched it out of my hands. Further examination of his features led me to believe that I had crashed into this student once before.
"I'm sorry, but what is your name?" I found myself asking before I could stop the words from rolling off my tongue.
The boy with black hair that gleamed in the grey light of this classic Scottish weather stopped in his tracks, his friends tapping their feet with a certain impatience. "Regulus, Regulus Black. What is it to you?" he sneered, his eyes narrowing.
"Curiosity," I simply said.
"I would watch your tongue," he said before turning on his heel.
"I would watch that smirk of yours, you may get wrinkles," I said without realising that those words had slipped out of my mouth.
At this point, his fellow Slytherins gave him one last glance as they stormed down the corridor but he had turned to face my calm demeanor although a sudden urge to leave rushed through me.
"Alice?" Upon hearing that familiar voice whisper my name, I peeled my gaze off of Regulus and instead my eyes smiled kindly to the slightly surprised expression of Remus Lupin who was on his way towards our History of Magic class.
"Hello, Remus!" I said, leaving Regulus standing in the middle of the corridor as I turned the opposite way, walking beside the tall figure of Remus. Soon matching his graceful stride, I left any sort of inkling of an argument with Sirius's unknown brother behind as I quickly realised the situation I had been about to undergo.
"May I ask when you had a friendship with Regulus?" he asked coolly, allowing me to step through the arched doorway.
A blush creeped through the skin of my face as I said," Oh well, I had crashed into him quite a while ago in the corridor but he looked quite familiar. Today, upon finding his scroll on the floor, I decided to inquire his name but I suppose he didn't take it too well."
Lies were never truly able to pass through my lips.
"It sounded like you two had been well acquainted. Although I must urge you to try to ignore him."
Curiosity burned my soul as I asked,"Why?"
Remus's eyes glanced at me as they returned towards the parchment in his hands as he said,"Well, to put it simply, they are not exactly the sort of people you want to be involved with."
"That's for sure," I said with a nod as I rested my chin in my hands, looking forward at the board now covered in a thick layer of chalk dust.
"Sirius's brother is Regulus," I said, it was meant to sound like a question but I knew that it was true.
Remus glanced at me once again which also acted as a sort of confirmation. "Do they speak?"
"My, my are you a curious one," he said, chuckling.
"Oh it's one of my many faults," I said with a smile spreading across my face.
"I doubt you have many," he said.
"You are the first to say that."
Remus's gaze turned to mine once more as a frown formed on his face and said, "Everyone has them."
"Lily seems to be quite the porcelain doll though," I said with a hint of teasing.
"I suppose she does," he said, a grin slipping through his face.
"But you still have not answered my question."
"No, they don't," he said with a sigh.
My eyes dropped to the engravings on the splintering wooden desks and said, "Oh."
Remus's eyes returned to watching mine as he sighed once more, "They are quite different from each other and although Sirius had wanted his brother to not succumb to his family's... views, the path Regulus chose was his own choice."
I nodded slowly and said, "It must be difficult."
Curiosity filled the scars engraved into his delicate skin as I explained, "To have a family that opposes your own beliefs."
"It is hard for Sirius but it helps that he has friends."
"I suppose," I breathed, sinking into the thoughts whirling in my head.
Hello! As you can see, the story has changed quitea bit, in a good way though, hopefully? Thank you for all of your views and reviews! I really, really appreciate it You are all awesome! I hope you all understand the importance reviews have to an author (honestly, it's the only reason why I haven't abandoned this story yet).
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