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Chapter 29 : Liar, Liar
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I inhaled sharply as I took in the angry expressions surrounding me – my Arithmancy work abandoned for the moment as I was forced to explain myself.
Kendra, Isobel and Xavier were all staring at me darkly. Maxwell, Oliver and the rest of our class were all gathered around other tables – trying to hide the fact that they were eavesdropping on every word we spoke.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” Xavier asked in exasperation – his jaw set tightly against clenched teeth.
“It’s exactly what I want.” I lied firmly, having decided that I was better off pretending that marrying Evan was really something that I wanted to go through with. That way at least, people would have less cause to try to convince me otherwise.
Except Sirius and Remus, of course, who were the only ones so far who actually knew the whole truth behind this engagement and would have cause to object against it. Remus knew well enough not to meddle in other people’s business, I hoped. But Sirius... well, he might just pose a slight problem.
“What about Sirius Black?” Isobel questioned, as if she had read my very thoughts. “I mean, I thought the two of you –“
“Don’t say it, Iz,” I interrupted the blonde – keeping my face a mask of innocence and trying not to choke on perhaps the biggest lie of all. “There’s nothing going on between me and Sirius. There never was.”
Isobel raised her eyebrows curiously, not sure if she believed me. The girl had become so much more perceptive of late, I was sure. And who could blame her for asking, really, when she had seen plenty of evidence suggesting that Sirius and I had had some kind of attraction towards each other.
It was funny, I had always thought of her as some snobby, upper- class bimbo – but it seemed like this new world we were being thrust into was changing everyone. She had even started wearing her hair down and hanging around her shoulders, rather than the elaborate hairstyles she used to sport.
A hell of a change for her, if you ask me.
“Well, I don’t agree with it,” Xavier answered, crossing his arms in front of his chest matter-of-factly. “After all you’ve been through at the hands of those gits. Why would you want to get mixed up in all of that again?”
I shrugged helplessly, lowering my voice to a whisper to avoid being overheard by the students at the other tables who weren’t doing a very convincing job at trying to hide the fact that they were listening to us.
“I’m not getting mixed up in all of that Death Eater business again, I swear,” I explained truthfully. “Evans been one of my closest friends for years, and he loves me and... it’s a good match for me, okay?”
Kendra rolled her eyes, hardly convinced. “Maybe so, but do you actually love him?”
“Yes,” I answered, forcing myself to spit the word out. “I love him.”
“Bullshit!” Xavier swore, banging a hard fist on the table. I was genuinely startled – it wasn’t often that Xavier lost his temper.
“If I know you, and I think I do – you rarely do anything without having an ulterior motive.”
I stared at him, gobsmacked. Was I really that transparent?
No, I had to remind myself. Xavier was just super intuitive with these kinds of things. Evan, thank Merlin, was not.
“I don’t have an ulterior motive.” I forced myself to lie again, wondering why it was getting more and more difficult.
“You do,” Xavier judged, nodding his head in firm belief. “I don’t know what it is, but there’s something there, I’m sure of it.”
I started to protest, growing increasingly flustered under Xaviers accusaations, until he added.
“I suppose I believe you when you say you won’t get mixed up with the Death Eater stuff again, though. You’re a hell of a schemer, but you’re not stupid.” He said with a dark grin, and I didn’t know if I was supposed to take it as an insult or a compliment.
“So I guess I’ll just have to trust that you have a good reason for wanting to marry that jerk.” Xavier concluded with a shrug, and I let out the sharp breath I was holding in. I did have a good reason for doing it, I knew that much, I thought as I glanced at Isobel and Kendra.
Kendra shrugged uncomfortably. “I'm still not so sure about it. Evan’s still mixed up in all of this You-Know-Who business. Just promise us you’ll be careful around him. ” she added in concern. “I mean, look at Lucius – he turned out to be a complete whack-job.”
I gave her an uneasy, yet grateful smile – Evan was hardly a whack-job, but I wouldn’t exactly call him normal, either. I mean, he had a pretty scary temper on him sometimes. But he couldn’t exactly stop me from seeing my friends, in any case.
“I promise I’ll be fine,” I tried to convince them, though could hardly begin to believe my own lie.
Would I really be fine, promising to marry a prospective Death Eater? Did I truly know that I wasn’t getting myself into yet another mess? And most of all could my heart recover from the fact that I had snatched away its chance at having what it really wants, and replaced it with something false?
“Evan’s looking out for me now. It’ll be good, you’ll see.”
Isobel clicked her tongue sceptically. “I still don’t understand why you have to get married. Why do you have to rush into things?”
I inhaled sharply, the clogs of my brain working for some kind of explanation. Damn Isobel and her new-found vigilance.
“Oh, you know. We’re just so in love. Why wait?” I managed to croak out weakly, feeling sick to my stomach after every word.
Isobel frowned a little, but it seemed to have satisfied her curiosity for now.
“How is this going to affect things with the Gryffindors?” she asked next with a dark frown, genuinely concerned. “I like Remus, he’s a good Potions partner. And Sirius isn’t so bad when he’s not sulking about something or other.”
I let out a disbelieving laugh, hardly believing my ears. “Seriously, Iz, how did you end up in Slytherin and not, like, Hufflepuff or something?”
Isobel flushed a little, and shrunk back in her seat.
“It’s her pride,” Kendra teased, poking a finger at Isobels side. “She’s too damn snooty to be a Hufflepuff.”
“Maybe that’s why she fits in so well with those Gryffindor blokes.” Xavier added to the taunt with a laugh.
“Stop it.” Isobel demanded sternly, though I could faintly see her lips curving upwards. “If we discriminate between Houses then how are we any better than You-Know-Who, who shows favour to Purebloods?”
“That’s true,” I agreed, thoughtfully. “And as for the Gryffindors, you can be friends with whoever you want. No-one here is stopping you.”
“Unless you want to be more than friends,” Xavier countered silkily. “Then we might have some reservations.”
Isobel squawked in protest, insisting she wanted no such thing, and we all sniggered at her discomfort. Until Professor Vector came strutting out of her office, Daily Prophet in hand, and told us to shut up and do our work.
Ha. I knew she only locked herself in there to so those damn number puzzles. The proof is in the pudding.
Whatever that means.
A new hush had fallen over the class, and I waited a few minutes for the chatter to start up again before I whispered to Xavier.
“I need to ask you a favour. If you’re willing to help me out, that is.”
Xaviers lips quirked upwards, and he raised his dark eyebrows curiously. “How can I be of service, m’lady?”
After Arithmancy, we took advantage of the short break between classes to head down to the dungeons and find Deryk Lynch – who was absent-mindedly polishing the handle of his broomstick as we approached his portrait. I didn’t really see the point in the activity, but a portrait has got to find some way to entertain himself I suppose.
“Alright, Lynch. A deals a deal.” I said by way of greeting, and Deryks face lit up considerably.
“I was wondering if you’d be back.” He drawled in that annoyingly accented voice of his, and I raised my eyebrows at him, somewhat insulted. What did he mean if I’d be back? I wasn’t that untrustworthy, was I?
“Who’s this blighter?”
I glanced at Xavier – rolling my eyes and making a gesture that Deryk wasn’t all there in the head, to which he objected rather loudly.
“This is Xavier Stone – the Ravenclaw who’s going to get you into the Tower.” I explained impatiently, wanting to get the task of lugging the heavy frame to the Ravenclaw Tower over and done with.
“Ah, so this is the lad who’s had your feathers all ruffled of late, is it?” Deryk asked, waggling his dark eyebrows knowingly. “There’s just something about them Ravenclaws, am I right?”
“No, you’re not right, you bloody git.” I scoffed up at him in disgust. “Now if you don’t mind, would you shut up so we can get on with it?”
Deryk made a gesture that his lips were sealed and Xavier, looking rather amused at our exchange, levitated one side of the portrait up and off of the wall, while I took the other.
We trudged through the dungeons and to the Entrance Hall, first checking that the coast was clear before we made slow progress up the marble staircase.
I was thankful that there was no-one around to witness what we were doing, as I highly suspected that we looked nothing short of ridiculous levitating the large portrait through the corridors of Hogwarts – especially so with Deryk narrating the journey like a bloody Quidditch commentator the entire way, with me having to tell him to shut up every two minutes.
Not to mention we would probably find ourselves in detention if we were caught lugging the big-headed Quidditch player around the castle, which is why it was handy that the other inhabitants of Hogwarts were busy either teaching or learning, giving us a clear passage.
We finally made it into the Ravenclaw common room, and I almost broke my spell on Deryk as I looked around in awe. I had never been in another House’s common room. I wasn’t even allowed in another House’s common room. I mean, not that I couldn’t have found a way to get into one if I had really wanted to.
Which I never had.
I was amazed at how bright and shiny and blue everything was. It kind of reminded me of James Potter’s dormitory to be honest. Not that I particularly wanted to be reminded of where that git of a Head Boy slept. I can’t even believe that I had been in his room before.
Next, however, we faced the problem of where to actually put Deryks’ frame, as there wasn’t exactly a spare blank stretch of wall just waiting there for his arrival. We settled on propping it up behind a bookcase in the Seventh Year boy’s dormitory. Deryk complained openly, as I was so used to him doing – but the moment he was on the wall he scampered off to the considerably smaller portrait of Annabelle the Fair anyway, which hung down in the common room.
“So, which one’s your bed?” I teased Xavier as he pushed me out of the door with a grin, and ordered me down the stairs.
I quickly located Deryk and, shielding my eyes from the disgusting public displays of affection that he and Annabelle – some blonde-haired medieval looking bint – were enacting, demanded him to give up the information.
“Alright, alright,” He agreed, tearing himself away from Annabelle long enough to answer. “Let me think. The bloke you want to look for, well, he’s rather tall.”
I raised my eyebrows incredulously. “Is that it? He’s tall.”
“Jeez, what is it with you and your bloody impatience,” Deryk swore, before apologising to Annabelle who had covered her ears in shock.
“He had dark hair that he kept pushing out of his eyes. Oh and his eyes, they were grey.”
I faltered, realising at once exactly who Deryk was talking about and wondering why I hadn’t thought it him before. Hadn’t I already witnessed how angry he had been at having to watch Greyback and Travers torture me, and not being able to do anything about it?
Well, it seemed like this time he had done something about it – and not only something that had saved my life, but something that had ensured the protection of his own as well.
He had been the one to warn Deryk what would happen the night of the full moon, and make sure that he did it in a way that wouldn’t cause any suspicion that Professor Dumbledore and the others had been tipped off by one of the Death Eaters own.
“What is he talking about?” Xavier asked as I bolted from the common room with him behind me, calling my thanks to Deryk over my shoulder.
“The guy who saved my life,” I explained bluntly. “The night I was attacked by Greyback.”
Xavier shook his head, not quite understanding. “I thought that Dumbledore and the others were the ones who saved you?”
“Yes, but how do you think they knew to go there in the first place?” I asked, trying to make him understand. “They were tipped off. By someone who already knew what was going to happen.”
“Regulus Black.” I concluded with absolute confidence.
Xaviers eyebrows knitted together darkly. “Why would he do that, if he was risking himself as well?”
“Because he’s braver than anyone’s ever given him credit for,” I answered, though mostly to myself, before adding.
“I had better get to class anyway – no doubt I’ll land myself another detention for being late.”
“I have a study break. You can always hang out with me?” Xavier offered, and I sent him a witty smile.
“Trying to lure me away from my academics? That’s very un-Ravenclaw of you.” I teased, and he rolled his eyes lazily.
“Yeah. Maybe it’s the Slytherin in me.”
I laughed openly. “Well, the Ravenclaw in me is telling me if I miss anymore classes, I’m in big trouble.”
Xavier nodded in understanding. “I think I can help you out a little, at least. Hand me a quill and some parchment.”
I did as he said and he managed, in what I’m sure was record time, to write up a rather convincing note, excusing me from class to go to the Hospital Wing, and signed by Madame Mellick herself.
“Wow,” I said, taking the note and marvelling at how credible it looked. “Perhaps you should have been sorted into Slytherin after all.”
I said goodbye to Xavier, swinging my bag over my shoulder and heading to my Defence class. I had barely tip-toed through the door when Professor Keyes shot his head up and drawled. “Twenty minutes late for class, Miss Cortez. I hope you have a good excuse, or you can cancel any plans you had for tonight.”
I sauntered to the front of the class and handed my note over to the pale, old man with a confident smile.
“Very well,” Professor Keyes said as he surveyed the note. “Why don’t you take a seat with Mr Potter and Mr Black, and they can fill you in on today’s task.”
I groaned under my breath. Perhaps I should have taken up Xavier’s offer to skip class, after all.
After Lucius and Bellatrix’s disappearance from Hogwarts, the classes had been become completely uneven. I spotted Remus, my usual Defence partner, seated with Isobel instead, and wondered if he was still mad at me.
As I strode to my table, near the back of the class, it seemed like these two Marauders were still everyone’s last choice for partners. Though I’m sure they hardly cared if it meant they got to pair up with each other.
I chose the seat next to James, rather than being stuck with Sirius on the other side. I really didn’t need him trying to distract me in yet another class.
“Good afternoon, Cortez,” James addressed me in a falsely pleasant voice as I sat down, though had his eyebrows raised mischievously. “Or should I say, Mrs Rosier.”
Both Sirius and I narrowed our eyes at him simultaneously from either side of him, and he shied back abruptly.
“Jeez. And here I was thinking weddings were supposed to be a happy occasion.” James answered cynically, and scribbled something down on a piece of parchment in front of him.
I rolled my eyes while pulling my parchment and quill out from my bag and setting them on the table in front of me, vaguely noticing Sirius whisper something to his best mate out the corner of my eye. I ignored them, instead taking my book and opening it to the chapter we were supposed to be working with.
That was, until someone cleared their throat next to my ear and I jumped in fright as James whispered to me, rather apprehensively. “Padfoot would like to know why you were late to class.”
I clenched my teeth in frustration, thoroughly resisting the urge to drop my book on James’ scruffy head, since Sirius’ was much too far away to reach.
“You can tell Padfoot,” I replied, with extra emphasise. “That it’s not actually any of his business.”
James shrugged absently and turned back to Sirius. “She said that –“
“Yeah. I heard her, mate.” Sirius cut him off, sounding awfully amused.
I started flipping through my book absent-mindedly, pretending to be doing something productive, when I heard James and Sirius start whispering again.
“I’m not going to ask that.”
“Because I don’t actually care what the answer will be.”
“Just do it will you?”
“I’m quite happy to trade seats with you so you can ask her yourself.”
“No!” I objected in an impatient whisper, interrupting their own whispered argument before realising that I had been digging my fingernails into the flesh of my own palm in annoyance. I took a deep breath to calm myself and asked with forced politeness.
“Can one of you just tell me what we’re doing here?”
Sirius looked past James at me and answered lowly, his dark hair falling over his eyes. “Well, I’m not too sure about the rest of the class. But Prongs and I are devising the best way to convince someone she’s marrying the wrong guy.”
I let out a disbelieving scoff, hoping to hell that no-one had heard him over the chatter from the rest of the class. I chanced a look at the table behind us where Isobel and Remus were gossiping away, and supposed it wouldn’t have mattered much if they had heard anyway, seeing as how Remus already knew about the, well, whatever it was between Sirius and I, and Isobel had her own valid suspicions.
“Blimey, speak for yourself.” James countered with wide eyes. “I personally couldn’t give an owl’s hoot who she marries.”
Sirius elbowed James roughly, and he checked himself. “Oh, I mean yes. That’s what we were doing.”
“Idiots.” I muttered under my breath, snatching James’ parchment off the table, despite his protests, and reading the title.
Dark Creatures and How to Counter Them.
Well, finally Keyes has decided to teach us something that might actually come in handy one day, I thought as I gave James’ his work back – of which he had only written the title and the name ‘Lily’ circled in a heart – and flipped through the pages of the chapter that I hadn’t actually read yet, scanning over the various pictures, and desperately trying to ignore the fact that Sirius was leaning back in his chair comfortably, shooting me knowing looks behind James back.
Jeez, do you think he could have made it any more obvious what he was up to? He might as well of just yelled across the classroom that we had kissed earlier that morning, and got it over with.
I mean, that he had kissed me. Because it was all his wrong-doing, of course.
Well, that’s what I like to tell myself, anyway.
I shot a glance across the room to where Evan was seated, hoping he wouldn’t be watching me with those hawkish eyes of his. I was surprised to see that he was seated with my sister, Serenity, again – talking lowly to her about something or other.
Whatever it was, it struck me as seriously weird.
I turned my attention back to my book, ignoring the nagging feeling that Evan was up to something that I knew nothing about, and tried to absorb the information.
And by tried I mean that I read the same line about fifty times over, still not having any clue as to what I was reading and uneasily aware of how my cheeks were flushing under the constant, amused stare of Sirius Black.
He knew that he was getting to me, and I would have strangled him for it if I hadn’t been forcefully and absolutely excluding from my life, as was my plan.
And Merlin knows that I was hell-bent on sticking to that plan. I had already proved to myself that I couldn’t be trusted to think sensibly around him, so this was my way of remedying that.
Though it would have been so much easier if I could have stopped my treacherous mind from thinking about how good of a kisser he is.
I flipped the page of my book in aggravation, and no longer had to worry about my mind wondering into treasonous places because in an instant a shock of horror ran through me.
It was as if someone had taken a precise picture of the beast that had haunted me these past weeks, and printed it on the page in front of my very eyes. Every part of it had been recorded in such vivid detail. The hunger in its eyes. The outstretched claws, waiting to strike and kill.
A Werewolf, taken from my very nightmares and cruelly inserted into my reality.
I could smell him in my mind as vividly and fresh and if I was still trapped in that clearing deep in the Forbidden Forest. The heat of his foul breath tortured me. The feeling of claws ripping through my flesh, sharp as knives, left me sweating in fear.
I struggled to set my mind straight, but it was as if something had ripped open the scars on my body and was forcing me to relive the pain of the attack over and over again.
It was only when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder that I was startled back to reality, and was met by the pale face of Professor Keyes staring down it me in concern.
“Miss Cortez?” He spoke lowly and I was terribly aware that every pair of eyes in the class was now resting upon me. “Are you feeling alright?”
I inhaled slowly, trying to steady the unnatural pounding of my heart. What the hell had come over me?
“I’m fine.” I assured him shakily.
I couldn’t help but notice Professor Keyes eyes drag across to the book that I still held open in my lap. He took in the image and then offered a small smile. I couldn’t place it straight away, but there was something behind that smile that made me panic.
And then I realised.
It was pity.
Most, if not all, of the Hogwarts Professors knew about what had happened to me the night in the Forbidden Forest with Fenrir Greyback. A fair few of them were there themselves, Keyes most probably amongst them, given the subject he taught.
“Perhaps you should go back to the Hospital Wing?” He offered smoothly, still sending me that sympathetic smile of his.
Oh no, Mr Vampire-Defence man, you do not get to pity me. I’m not some dumb, defenceless girl who shuts down at the mere thought of some rogue werewolf who wants to hunt me down and turn me into one of his kind.
Well, obviously I was. But I sure as hell didn’t plan on being for much longer.
“I’m fine.” I said, more firmly this time, and Keyes gave an understanding nod before striding back to the front of the classroom.
I started breathing a little more freely as eventually the rest of the class went back to their work. Evan shot me a questioning glance from his table, a little further towards the front of the classroom, but I only had to mouth to him that I was okay for him to turn around and go back to his work, or conspiring with my twin, or whatever else it was he was doing up there.
Letting out a weary sigh, I tried to assess my situation. Wasn’t the whole point of me marrying Evan so that I would be put out of the way of anything that was a danger to me? Obviously the biggest threat I could think of to my life came from Voldemort, who was enraged over my family’s refusal to support him. But second of course came from Fenrir Greyback – who’s failure to turn me, or kill me or whatever plans he had in that sadistic mind for me had surely heightened his intent to do so.
Evan had guaranteed me safety from that, though even after I had agreed to his proposal, I found myself still unable to wholly commit my mind to the fact that no horror was going to rise from my nightmares and hunt me down.
How could I truly trust, that a Wizard as wild as Greyback, having being banished by his master for his failure of subduing me – was not going to take matters into his own hands, and do as he pleased now that he had no-one to answer to.
That fact of the matter was that I could not. But I was so desperate for the sense of security that Evan and his Father were offering me – that I had to try.
I was distracted by the sound of a low moan of protest from next to me, as Sirius reached over James, snatched my Defence book out of my hands where he then proceeded to rip out the Werewolf page, crumple it into a ball and send it flying across the length of the room – earning a detention from Professor Keyes for littering his classroom.
He then propped the book back in front of me, wearing a triumphant smile and I shook my head at him disapprovingly, as I didn’t think he realised that I actually needed the information on that page to complete my work.
If this was him trying to gain points – it wasn’t working.
I spent the rest of the class trying to absorb myself in my work, and tune out everything else going on around me. I had already made the first step in my attempt to protect myself from the dangers of the world outside Hogwarts – the last thing I needed to do was spend my time questioning the validity of it.
By the time class had finally finished, I handed my work to Professor Keyes – all complete except for the Werewolf section. Though I was hoping he would overlook that.
At dinner that evening, I was seated with Isobel when the boys of the Slytherin Quidditch team bustled into the Hall and all but fell onto the benches around us, exhausted from a strenuous training session.
I felt bad for them really – having to deal with their former Captain ditching Hogwarts, and finding a new player for the team, all with their second match of the season barely over a week away.
I glanced briefly at Regulus as he sat across from me – his sombre, grey eyes purposefully averted. I desperately wanted to talk to him, to let him know that I knew all about what he had done for me. But I knew that finding the time to do that in private might prove to be a little difficult.
“How’d it go?” I asked Evan, who had slumped down next to me with a sigh.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise to me that Evan had been made Captain shortly after Lucius’ departure. He and Rodolphus were now the senior members of the team – and Merlin knows that sod all would have gotten done had Rod been made Captain.
Evan had already assigned a new Keeper for the team, and was breaking his back to get him fit and ready for next week’s game against Ravenclaw.
“Rab’s a fair blocker – but it’s going to take a hell of a lot of work to train him to at least a decent skill-level by next week.” Evan said with a helpless shrug.
The way he spoke didn’t sound too optimistic.
Rabastan had been made the new Keeper for the team, much to his delight. It seemed that when Lucius had been Captain, he had been less than willing to give him the chance at a spot on the team.
“So you’ll be pretty busy, huh?” I asked, somewhat hopefully.
Evan gave me a small grin and tapped me under the chin affectionately. “I’ll still have plenty of time for you – don’t you worry about that.”
I smiled in return, though a little uneasily. It wasn’t exactly like I didn’t want to spend time with Evan, I knew that I was going to have to sooner or later; it was more that I was still trying to come to terms with what exactly was going on between us.
Though honestly, I had to admit that it relieved me that he was still taking an interest in something normal. He seemed pretty intent on getting the team ready for their second game of the season, which I was grateful for, as I hoped it would keep his mind off any Voldemort business for a short while at least.
“So, I was wondering,” I started, a little hesitantly, “what you and my sister were debating in class today?”
Evan hesitated a second before answering. “Serenity knows about us.”
“That’s hardly a surprise – I’m sure the whole school knows by now.” I countered, and Evan shrugged in agreement.
“Well it seems she’s taken it upon herself to try to break up the whole thing.” He drawled, clearly not impressed.
I raised my eyebrows incredulously. “She what?”
But Evan never got the chance to answer, as a sudden hush fell upon the student body. Looking around the hall, I noticed Professor Dumbledore standing behind the ornate wooden dais perched at the front of the Hall, dressed in simple navy-blue robes – his hands held up to quiet the chattering students.
“I’m sure that you are all eagerly awaiting your dinner, but before it is served I have a few words I wish to say to you all.” Dumbledore spoke – his quick, blue eyes scanning the faces in front of him.
“Many will have heard by now the rumours of mysterious disappearances, tragic deaths and the rising of a new rebellion opposing the place of Muggle-born Witches and Wizards in our world. It is my great misfortune to have to tell you that these are hardly rumours at all.” He stated, and I froze. Why was he choosing to bring up the topic of Voldemort now? Surely most of the students already knew all of this.
“Lord Voldemort is very much a reality for all of us.”
A shuddering gasp ran through the students, most of whom had started whispering fervently to one another. Dumbledore patiently waited for the whispering to cease before he spoke again.
“Some of your parents, I'm sure, would not wish for me to tell you this – for no doubt they know as well as I the danger that Lord Voldemort poses to our world. To them, I would say that there is no fault in wanting to protect your children against the terrors of this world. But I would also tell them that in some circumstances, the best defence one can have is knowledge.”
I snuck a glance at Evan, who was staring down at the table as if he wasn’t taking in a single word. I felt incredibly uncomfortable – what would he and the other Slytherins who supported Voldemorts campaign make of Dumbledores speech?
“In this time of uncertainty, I must ask this of you,” Dumbledore continued, his tone nothing but serious. “Look to your fellow classmates for strength and support. This is not a time to single out the differences between ourselves, but to realise that we live in a world where we are free to grow and develop our magical talents – whether we be pure-blooded, half-blooded or muggle-born – and it is no-one’s duty to take that freedom away from us.”
“We are truly stronger united as one, than we are divided as many. It is my belief that unanimity is our best hope at fighting this threat, because believe me when I say that this man – this dark Wizard – is not someone who any of us should take lightly.”
I inhaled sharply – looking towards the Gryffindor table and remembering Remus’ words to me not too long ago. He had said that once we were out in the world fighting for our freedom, it wouldn’t matter if we had been in Slytherin or Gryffindor or any other House – all that will matter is that we’ll be fighting for the same thing.
It seemed like Dumbledore was trying to convince us of the exact same view – but just how many people would it work on?
“It is with that message that I now address our senior students. In light of recent events, myself and the staff here at Hogwarts have decided among ourselves to construct a special programme for our Seventh Year students – to guide and prepare you to withstand the dangers of the Dark Arts. Though it is my greatest wish that none of you will ever have to be troubled with the task of doing so.”
My head jerked towards Dumbledore immediately. Could he possibly have been meaning the night in the Forbidden Forest when Greyback attacked me? I didn’t know, but if this new programme could help me overcome my fear of Greyback by learning to survive him – then I wanted in.
“Like a soldier prepares himself for battle, so too we must train ourselves in the wake of this newest danger. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening you will meet here in this hall for specialised, advanced lessons. I must tell you now that this programme is by no means compulsory for any of you. I know that you have a difficult year with the prospect of your NEWT exams looming closer. But I also strongly warn you that when you one day leave the protective walls of this castle – your very knowledge may be the best defence you have.”
If that was the case – then knowledge was exactly what I planned on gaining.
A/N: Hi everyone! I'm sure you'll be please with the fairly quick update? This chapter is a bit shorter then usual and fairly slow, but it's just more of a filler. I hope it doesn't seem too rough, I ended up having to write and rewrite the ending quite a few times because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to put in there. This chapter was initially quite a bit longer but I decided to leave some of it til the next chapter because I felt like some things were going too fast.
I'm really excited to write the new special lessons! They've been in my plan for this story all along and will be a lot different to the normal classes they attend, they're more advanced and hands on.
Also I have a new story out! If you like next-gen stories go and check it out, it's called "To Capture a King" and follows my new OC Lyra Scamander.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter, please review and let me know what you think xx
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