Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter.
Authors Note: First of all, thanks for your overwhelming support on the last chapter. I am amazed & I thank you all. I also hit 500 reviews which is just so amazing and thanks again. The last chapter was important as Pippa finally realized she wants to live after all. So that will help her move forward. Also, The Human Factor was voted Gryffindor story of the month for February. Thanks so much for that my fellow Gryffindors! It made my week! Also I’m a bit behind on answering reviews but your responses are coming soon!
Sorry for the wait with this chapter. It’s taken a while due to still having no computer which sucks. It also has bad language in it, don’t read if that stuff easily offends you :) Please remember to keep any reviews 12+ otherwise they’ll get deleted :) Thanks so much to ramita for all her help on this chapter.
Also The Human Factor is 1 years old! It's hard to believe but it's true! So thanks for all your support for this past year!
Chapter Seventeen -
The One With All The Anger
Amazing chapter images by HoneyDukesKid01@TDA
“This is the hospital wing. Stop skipping, you hyperactive chihuahua.” - Damien Nott
I couldn’t breathe. The snow pelted down so hard on my skin that I thought it would bruise but it didn’t matter. Nothing did. But I didn’t move, I needed this, it almost made me feel real, like I wasn’t that ghost that I saw every time in the mirror. The hollow dead eyes that haunted me weren't me. It couldn’t be. I was real. I needed to feel real because I was tired of my fakeness dragging me down. I was just going through the motions barely existing.
Everything was fuzzy and I could no longer tell what was reality and what was a dream because they were both horrific as each other. I was being stifled and I was losing control on everything that mattered. I felt this deep inconsolable sadness that made my chest physically ache, but it was still one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. There was something almost poetic about it.
Things were very wrong.
I could hear the mindless chatter from the kitchen as I stood in the garden. The snow was washing my impurities away, leaving me with the innocence I once held onto for dear life. It was attempting to wash away the darkness that clung to my skin. It was too late, I couldn’t be saved.
I believed this.
I believed in it more than anything.
My sight was being blurred by the snowflakes.
“Pippa.” Damien stood at the backdoor, leaning casually. My failed saviour. My king. “What the hell are you doing out here? It’s bloody cold.” He stepped on the snow in bare feet and I heard it crunch. It sounded like an explosion. He was destroying my peace. He shivered and I just stared at him.
“Here.” He pulled off his jumper and shoved it over my head. It was almost comforting. He tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear. “What’s up?” He was offering me a way out, a shoulder to cry on and ears to listen. I didn’t know whether I could even find the words.
“I want...” I paused. I wanted so many things. I closed my eyes before opening them. I stared in his eyes, the exact same shade as mine, but his were more alive. He had the spark that I lacked. “I want all this to go away. I want to feel normal.”
Love came slyly like a thief and ruined me.
“What happened?” he questioned softly.
“We’re falling apart.” I bit my chapped lip. “I’m trying to hold on as much as hard as I can, but-”
“Sometimes,” he whispered so quietly that it was almost lost in the wind, “you have to just let go. It might be the hardest thing in the world, but sometimes, good-byes are meant to happen. Things end for a reason.”
I didn’t understand. I couldn’t go on living without him. He was everything to me but he was giving up. On us. On me. Love was too rough on me it left me with the scars that only I could see.
“He told that I’m the biggest mistake of his life.” The words were tumbling out. The truth burned me. “He regrets ever falling in love with me.” I regretted falling in love with him because he had turned me into this weak pathetic mess. I was strong before him. He has made me weak and I would never forgive him for that... but I still loved him. I always would.
“He said I’m destroying him.” I couldn’t stop the tears from slowly sliding down my face, Damien tried to wipe them as quickly as they came but he couldn’t keep up.
I wanted to forget that he ever said those words, but I couldn’t.
I was too far gone.
So I stood there, tears streaming down my face as it snowed as my brother promised to be there for me and protect me from all the negativity that surrounded my life. I still wasn’t sure whether he was stable enough to cope with me gripping on him with all my life.
But they did always say that promises were made to be broken.
“Love you, Pip,” he whispered but I ignored him. I had heard those words before and I had done the crazy thing and believed them. I would never make that mistake again.
I woke up startled and drenched in sweat.
I had survived.
And for some reason, I was thankful for this.
The moonlight filtered in through the window as the memory of drowning came back to me. I didn’t save myself. I was never able to. I could cut myself into little pieces but I could never piece myself back together. I didn’t have the strength.
But different matters plagued me: who the hell saved me after all?
I had no idea why anyone would save me.
It bugged me all night because I refused to go back to sleep as I didn’t want to be reminded about him. I was moving on. Time was healing, apparently, and I was slowly coming to terms with my life without him. I couldn’t focus on the past when I was awake; it haunted me enough when I slept. This is probably why I never felt rested or why I never wanted to sleep. But those things didn’t bother me at this moment.
Who saved me?
It bothered me. I didn't ask to be saved even though I wanted to be. I wondered what the person would want in exchange for saving me from a watery grave. I mean, no one does that sort of thing just to be nice, do they? I would have to find out. It all depended on who it was.
I didn’t think it would be Scorpius. As much as he loves me, he was pretty much close to passing out on the floor. Damien, James and Fred were all possible players, but I wasn’t sure. Lily was probably too distracted by Damien. I mean, I once saw her fall down the stairs because she was staring at him and wasn’t paying attention. I remember it clearly because it made me laugh for a week. Cassie was playing around with boys hearts and that was almost a full time job for her. Roxy was still a child, even though she had the mentality of an adult but I didn’t expect much from her.
And then there was Albus.
Albus who I couldn’t even start to explain or even make sense in my head. All I knew that there was no goodness in that heart - just a dead bitterness with a dose of pure evil.
A bit like mine, then.
But that’s another story.
I lay there all night and refused to allow my body any more sleep. Eventually, the sun rose and I heard the unmistakable voice of a hyperactive Scorpius talking to a bemused Cassie. There were more footsteps, but I had no idea who they belonged too. In the end, I closed my eyes and pretended I was still asleep.
I heard the doors bust open. Even with my eyes closed, I could still tell that Scorpius was skipping. He’s a skipper, that boy.
“Shhh,” said Damien. “This is the hospital wing. Stop skipping, you hyperactive chihuahua.”
“I know you are, but what am I?” Scorpius replied childishly.
Cassie sighed as I heard her flop into the chair next to my bed. “She’s still asleep. I need her to wake up...” Cassie paused for a moment and I waited for her to say something nice about me, like they do in the movies. “...the dorm needs cleaning and my trunk needs organizing. I am living in a messy hell hole.” I knew Cassie loved my obsessive cleaning nature, even though she tried to pretend that she didn’t.
“I miss her.” Scorpius sighed. “Oh my Pippy!” Wake up!” He yelled loudly before I heard someone swiftly whack him.
“Calm down Scorpius.” Damien scolded him like a small child. “She looks almost sweet like this don’t you think? It’s probably because she isn’t talking.” My brother thinks so highly of me.
“Boo!” I yelled suddenly sitting up. Damien and Scorpius screamed before grabbing onto each other for their lives and Cassie fell out of her chair. “I’m aliveeeee.” I said in my most creepy little voice.
“Pippa!” Scorpius pushed Damien off him and threw himself at me and wrapped me in a bone crushing hug. I just stood there limply as I tried to breath but the pressure on my ribs was making it near impossible. Cassie clambered off the floor and dragged herself back into her chair.
“Scorpius,” I coughed, “I can’t breathe.”
He let go and just stared at me with the most sweetest smile on his face. He was genuinely happy to see that I woke up. It made me feel sick. “I’m so happy you’re finally awake, you were out for a couple of days.” Once my body gets a chance to sleep, it abuses it.
“I’ve missed you.” He slid by my side and rested his head on my shoulder. “So much has happened! Yesterday, I tried pineapple and I really liked it, I fell down the stairs... several times. Cassie called me a moose, my mom sent me a new jumper and it has a kitten on it! I love it.” I tried to keep up with all the useless information he was telling me. “Fred dyed my hair purple yesterday and-”
“- that’s lovely, Scorpius.” I said interrupting him.
“Oh! I got you something!” He picked up a cup from the floor. It’s always lovely when people keep your presents on the floor. “Drink this tea!” He shoved the cup clumsily into my hands. “It’ll help you feel better, I promise!” I looked down at the tea, it was made perfectly just the way i liked it. A drop of milk, strong with no sugar. Scorpius knows me a lot better than I think.
I had no idea how he managed to learn these simple things without me even noticing. Maybe there was a reason he was in Slytherin after all. Scorpius was staring at me, willing me to give in for once, so I took a sip to please him. I didn’t want him to start crying or something.
It was perfect.
The boy did good.
Not that he’ll ever know.
“So,” I titled my head to the side, “what’s up?”
Damien raised an eyebrow. “What’s up? What’s up?” he snapped. “You almost died, that’s whats up!” He glared at me. “What the hell were you doing by the water anyway? You can’t swim. It’s dangerous!” Aw, I think this was Damien showing that he cared. “And then you fell in-”
“- what?” I snapped. “I didn’t fall in. I was pushed.” Albus had lied. I was suddenly really angry. Who the hell did he think he was? Did he think I was going to go around with his stupid lie? Oh hell no. I was not that type of girl.
Damien’s eyes narrowed. “What did you just say?”
“Albus pushed me in the lake after I pushed him in for pissing me off.”
“I’m going to kill that bastard,” he snarled. “He didn’t even try to help you.” Damien clenched his fists. “I’m actually going to kill him. I’ll see you later.” He walked towards the door before turning to look at me. “I’m glad you’re alive, though.” He stormed out of the room.
Cassie just offered me an awkward smile. “Scorpius,” she said sweetly, “go and stop Damien from killing Potter, will you?”
Scorpius looked a little heartbroken at the news he had received. “Okay.” He kissed my forehead before running like a chicken after Damien.
“Care to fill me in?” I asked Cassie.
“Well.” Cassie legs hung over the arms of he chair. “You’ll never believe what happened.” Cassie was smirking. “Rose saved you. Albus was just sitting there startled, and Rose dragged you out while calling you a tub of lard.” I couldn’t contain my surprise. Rose? Was she being serious? Rose hated me. I couldn’t process the information she just told me.
I mean, Rose.
“When we asked what had happened, because none of us had seen it, Albus said you tripped over your onesie and fell in.” Cassie paused for a moment. “I thought it was odd. You’re not known for your clumsiness. I mean, if you told me Scorpius had fallen in, I would have believed you. But it didn’t add up to me.”
“That’s because it wasn’t the bloody truth!” I seethed.
“It’s Albus Potter, did you expect anything more?” She raised her eyebrow.
“No,” I replied coldly, the anger in me refused to evaporate.
“All right then.” Cassie shrugged. “So...how you feeling?”
“I’m chilling.” I replied sarcastically.
“Just like when we pulled you from the water. You were pale like an ice cube.” Cassie laughed as I glared at her playfully. “For future reference, keep me away from peanuts and you keep away from water then we’ll have a chance of surviving sixth year?”
I laughed. “We might have a fighting chance.”
“Miss Nott,” Madam Bright appeared. She was in charge of the hospital wing. She was a woman in her mid thirties, rather new to the job but she was rather good. She made sure Cassie was alright when we were last here so that made her alright in my book. “It’s nice to see you awake, are you feeling well?” I nodded at her. “You should be alright to go now. Just stay away from water and take it easy for the next couple of days.” She smiled at me warmly before walking away.
Cassie smiled. “Let’s go hoe.” She winked. “All your stuff is in the bag. Get changed out of that ugly hospital gown before I burn my eyes out to stop myself from looking at it. I looked down, the gown was rather ugly.
“Why the hell am I in this?”
“Hypothermia apparently.” Cassie shrugged. “You started shaking.” Cassie looked away from me. “Now get changed.”
I pulled the ugly nightgown off me and I pulled one of my many pastel dresses on me. I slipped on my shoes, chucked on a cardigan that was a deep shade of lilac and I was good to go.
Cassie clambered out of her chair slowly before yawning. She picked up my bag for me, chucked it over her shoulder and began walking. I followed her out of the hospital wing as I imagine scenarios of me punching Albus.
They made me feel rather jolly.
“I am starving.” Cassie rubbed her belly. “It’s almost lunch time. I hope they do spaghetti today.” Cassie loves spaghetti. Only hoops though. She hates the stringy kind.
So we headed to the great hall for lunch. I watched as Cassie ate her weight in food. It was like that girl had never seen food before as I nibbled on a sandwich. I spotted Rose instantly. She was alone, as usual, sitting on the end of the bench.
“I’ll be back in a minute.” I told Cassie who just nodded with a mouth of food. I walked over to Rose nervously. I just wanted to find out why. I couldn’t help myself. It just made no sense to me. Rose looked at me oddly. “Can I talk to you?” Rose gestured to the bench and I sat down.
“I heard you saved me.”
“You heard correct.”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged.
“Yes, you do.” I pestered.
“I was just lurking by that tree, hoping to gain some peace then I saw you get pushed in and not surface. All I thought was die bitch die!” It was lovely to see what Rose thought of me. “But I couldn’t watch you drown.” Rose laughed bitterly. “Maybe I still have feelings after all.” Rose wasn’t like the dragon she normally was, she seemed fragile and meek. Almost mouse like. Almost human. It was true; everyone feels broken sometimes but this disturbed me. I would not allow my relationship with Rose to change. We hated each other and that would never change. “Who knew?” She shook her head. “I sure didn’t.”
“Erm.” I mumbled. “I...” I felt like I should thank her, the manners drummed into me as a child were fighting to come out but I was trying to fight them because I didn’t want to thank her.
“Don’t thank me.” She snapped. “I don’t want your thanks.” She crossed her arms, the dragon was back. I had a feeling that I wouldn't see that side of Rose again. The moment of vulnerability was over.
I scoffed. “I wasn’t going to thank you.” I was such a good liar sometimes, I actually almost sounded believable. “I mean, it’s not like I asked to be saved or anything.” Rose rolled her eyes at me. “I had it all under control.” I always tried to have everything under control. It was my thing. Pippa the control freak. That’s who I was.
Rose laughed. “Yeah, before or after you blacked out?” She ran her fingers through her messy hair. I noticed she was actually rather pretty, once you know, I stopped focusing on all the ugly parts of her. Her toffee coloured eyes stared me down and I just raised my eyebrow at her.
“After.” I said in the ‘duh’ tone. “Just before you were about to save me, I was about to wake up and kick Albus’ ass.”
“If that is what you want to believe, then you go on and believe that.” She smirked at me. “Is that all you wanted?”
“I guess so.”
“Then leave.” Rose snapped.
I sighed at her before getting up. I felt her eyes watching me as I walked out of the great hall.
I was feeling messed up. I still didn’t understand.
I needed to clean.
I wanted my control back.
And I knew there was a mess waiting for me back in the dormitories.
At least that was the plan until I came face to face with Albus.
“You.” He seethed. “I’ve been looking for you.” He was angry, I could tell so I reckoned he probably hadn’t come to find me to congratulate me on not dying.
“Look at what your brother just did.” He pointed to his face. There was a gash on his forehead and his lip was cut.
I shrugged, feeling no sympathy for him. “Don’t mess with the Notts.”
Albus breathed in angrily. “You’re a bitch.”
“That I am.” I didn’t even try to deny it. It was true. “But you’re no saint yourself either.”
It was Albus turn to shrug which only fuelled the anger I had gained since waking up.
“Why didn’t you fucking drag me out?” I asked, unable to resist the temptation. “I mean, you pushed me in there and you could obviously see me drowning when I didn’t come up to the surface.” I snapped with my fists clenched in tiny little balls. He always made me ruin my perfect composure and turned me into a raging beast. I just wanted to destroy. Everything I tried to hide about myself, all the ugliness, was pushed to the surface. I felt like I had lost control again.
“I thought you were messing around.” He shrugged like it was nothing. “Just another trick.” He smirked at me. “One of your pathetic plans.”
“I almost died.” I knew it. He knew it. Yet I saw no remorse etched on his face. His eyes didn’t cloud over and he didn’t falter one bit. He truly was a monster. Humans had feelings. Albus was sadistic and he was scaring me, but I refuse to show it, I too stood defiantly at him, trying to make him feel something. I wanted to punish. Feelings were our own personal torture device. We couldn’t control them, they worked on a will all of their own and most of the time, you end up feeling shit because of them. Guilt, sadness, fear, hate. Those emotions controlled my single existence. A constant merry go around that wouldn’t fucking let me off.
“What are you fucking expecting Pippa?” I stared at him in horror, he had called me Pippa. This unnerved me to my very core and I wasn’t sure why. He was in my face now, taunting me. He was pushing this argument into explosive territory and I wasn’t sure any of use could handle the consequence but we were both too stupid and too stubborn to even care. Just needed to hurt the other. Who even gave a damn if you took some hits too? If you took down the other person, it would always be worth it. I would destroy myself if it meant I could destroy him.
“I’m not a hero.” He told me and I froze as the hairs on my neck stood on end. “I never am and I never will be.” He was confessing again and I was freaking out. “And do you know what?” I shook my head as my skin prickled. I felt like I was being swarmed by bees. I needed to escape but I was trapped in those green eyes that for a single second, seemed alive again. But when I blinked, they were back to being dead so maybe It was all just an illusion. Nothing made sense at the moment and I could barely think straight. “I don’t want to be.” He smirked manically at me. “It’s better this way.” This was war.
“What?” I snapped. “Being so fucked up that you-”
Albus laughed. “You’re one to talk.”
He was right, I was a hypocrite.
“You refuse to love anything anymore as you’re scared you’ll lose again, that once again, you will be hurt.” He trailed his fingers across my cheek. His knuckles were grazed. It seems that Albus fought back. “I’ve got news for you sunshine, people hurt each other, it’s just the way it goes. One day you’re going to be hurt, you can’t stop it.”
He was turning the tables on me again. I noticed but I was powerless to stop it. Albus wasn’t an easy foe to take down. He was his own kind, something I had never encountered before.
“Have I offended you?” He laughed and I just stood there. “It’s a good thing that I don’t really care then.”
I reached up to him and touched his wounded lip. He flinched. “You deserved that.” I smiled at him. “You deserve a whole lot more.” I trailed my fingers across his bloody forehead. “He went easy on you.”
“Scorpius isn’t speaking to me either.”
“You deserve that too.”
“I deserve what? You did it first. The only problem is that you didn’t climb out of the damn water, you got dragged out like a doll.” He was in my face now.
“Shut the fuck up.” I warned.
“Why?” Albus laughed.
“Because I said so.” I tried a different tactic. “I know what happened to you.” Albus seemed to freeze moment and I could see the horror in his eyes. Of course, I was bluffing but I was a good liar. “I know all your secrets.” I smirked, finally enjoying the power I had over him. “So don’t try anything Potter.”
Albus smiled. “I don’t believe you.”
“Are you willing to risk it?”
He thought about it for a moment, whatever his secret was, he really didn’t want people finding it out and it killed him inside to think that I may know it.
This made me happy.
“Do what you will Nott.” He shrugged. “I can take anything you can throw at me.” He stepped away from me, breaking the close proximity we had just been sharing. He tried to pretend that it didn’t bother him but I knew it did as I watched him walked off. Albus never backed down from a fight and his secret bothered him enough to do so.
This was interesting.
I had to find out what happened in Albus’ past, even if killed me.
Because that power tasted good and I wanted more of it.
It had almost made me feel alive again.
It also terrified me.