Chapter 8 : Escalation
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The Quidditch game finished with a burst of irrepressible fury. The Slytherin’s were baying for blood, as without their seeker, their chance at winning the game had disappeared. Everyone was celebrating the defeat of Slytherin, with parties, singing and dancing, apart from Ted.
Madame Hooch had taken a quick look at him and agreed with his assessment that he was absolutely fine apart from a few bruises, and he hadn’t gone to the hospital wing. He now wished he had; he wanted to talk to Dromeda so badly, but instead he was wandering around the school, his mind racing with thoughts of her.
He wasn’t sure what he wanted to say. Part of his brain was telling him that he only wanted to see her so she could tell him how wonderful he was and fall into his arms at last. But that was never going to happen, so he nervously kept away, unsure of what to do.
The whole school had seen him take a nosedive to the ground to catch her, and several people had laughed at him. “Got a crush, Tonks?” chortled one thick-set Slytherin fifth year, “Andromeda won’t want you, you disgusting Mudblood. She’s got a boyfriend, Rabastan, a pureblood!”
Ted hadn’t wanted to be reminded of that fact, so he had ignored the Slytherin on the way to his common room. But still there was that nagging feeling at the pit of his stomach; he could imagine Andromeda laying on a bed in the hospital wing, her dark hair splayed in curls on the pillow. Her eyes would flutter open as he leaned forward to kiss her…
Shaking his head, the more practical part of his brain took over. He decided he would go to the hospital wing and see if she was alright; Ted needed to know that. Making a sharp turn in the middle of the corridor, he pushed against the current of people heading to the Hufflepuff common room and changed his direction towards the hospital wing.
He sometimes thought he was a little mad for never allowing himself feelings for any other girl bar her. It was like he was always reaching for the stars; they were dazzling and beautiful, but too far for the human hand to grasp. She would probably turn him away and chastise him for what he had done, but he had to try.
However, along the corridor not far from the hospital wing, Ted ran into some people he didn’t want to meet. Lucius, Rabastan, Rudolphus, Narcissa and Bellatrix were walking up the passage, muttering darkly to each other. It was Narcissa who spotted him first, and she quietly muttered it to the other’s, who looked up simultaneously.
“Look who it is,” smirked Lucius, “the troubadour, the knight in shining armour! It’s Casanova himself! The one who would throw himself out of the sky for our dear Andy. ” There was a smile on his lips but his eyes were as cold as ice. Rabastan had gone as red as a tomato, and stepped forward angrily. His huge bulk of muscles and snapping tendons seemed more intimidating than ever.
“I challenge you to a duel Tonks, right here, right now!” thundered Rabastan. Ted tried not to laugh. “The Slytherin Elite” as they called themselves, would bound around like a collection of Regency dandies and pre-Raphaelite angels, but in reality their hearts and minds were ruthless and cold.
But before Ted could say anything, Bella stepped forward. She was shadowy and spidery, seemingly a blemish on a beautiful day. Her dark eyes, so similar to Andromeda’s, flashed with a hellish rage. “He doesn’t deserve a duel! That filthy Mudblood deserves to be crushed! Sectumsempra!”
The curse came so suddenly that it caught Ted’s arm as he tried to spin away. There was a rip of material and flesh on his arm, and he hissed in pain as he scrambled around trying to pull his wand from his robes. But they descended on him like a pack of hyenas.
Before Ted even had his wand in his hand Rodolphus sent it flying across the room. Lucius was next, but Ted had scrambled to his feet as Lucius cried “Confrigo!” The spot where Ted had just been exploded angrily as he dashed away.
Ted ran for his wand as Rabastan shouted “Stupefy! Stupefy! Stupefy!” after him, narrowly missing him each time. Panic flooded through Ted as he scrambled around wildly for his wand. As his fingers closed round the wand, he span round and shouted at no one in particular “Locomotor Mortis!”|
The spell met a body, and Rodolphus fell to the ground, his legs locked together. But Ted’s triumph was short lived, as Bella had locked her eyes onto her target and shouted again, “Sectumsempra! Sectumsempra!” The vindictive fury in her eyes was terrible, even more so than the curses heading for his chest.
It caught Ted square in the chest and he felt his skin ripping, and his blood pouring from his body. Screaming in pain, he fell to the ground. “Bella you idiot!” shouted Lucius, “what the hell have you done? You might have killed him!” The Slytherin’s stood in a circle around him as he writhed around in agony.
“Good!” sang Bella happily, “that’s all he deserves! He dared to touch my sister, a girl of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. He deserves to die, until all his blood is running across the floor! He deserves no more than this, to die in his own filth.” There was a mad joy in her face, as she leered down at him.
Rodolphus, who had quickly freed himself of Ted’s curse, had hold of her arm, and he began to run up the corridor. “Hurry up! God, we’ve got to get out of here! We will be expelled!” As Bella and Rodolphus disappeared round the corner, Rabastan gave Lucius a shifty look and followed his brother.
“Cissy,” began Lucius, his voice suddenly not its normal steely self, “let’s go, Rodolphus is right.” Without even reaching for her, Lucius went sprinting down the corridor with his friends. That only left Narcissa, and she hovered behind, breathing heavily in terror as she looked from where her friends had gone to Ted.
Sprawled on the floor, Ted could see and feel his blood trickling around him creating a deep sanguine pool, outlining his body. He knew if he lost much more he could die. Lifting one arm off the ground, he leant towards Narcissa, imploring her to listen. She was his only hope left in the world.
“Please,” he whispered, his voice tiny and cracked, “please don’t leave me.” Narcissa took one look at where her friends had disappeared to, and then back at Ted. Her eyes were full of concern, but she flipped her silver hair over her shoulder and gave him a terrible look.
“I’m sorry,” she mumbled, breaking eye contact as quickly as it had come, “I am so sorry.” Spinning elegantly on the spot, like she was in the middle of a waltz, she cantered after her friends and disappeared round the corner just as quickly as they did.
"Please,” muttered Ted again to no one at all, “please don’t leave me to die.” He could see his own blood crawling away from his body, and he felt light headed and sick, before the world seemed to collapse on itself and he fell, falling and falling and falling into darkness.
It was the voices that work Andromeda from her sleep. She rolled over, trying to block them out, but they became louder and louder as they reverberated off the walls as their owners moved towards the hospital wing and she was forced to listen to them.
“Melanie Cage, the fifth year prefect, found him. He was lying in the corridor, unconscious, in a pool of his own blood. She went screaming to Mr Filch, who informed me.” It was dark, but Andromeda could still tell it was Professor McGonagall speaking.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” concluded Madame Pomfrey, “It’s like someone’s been chopping at him with a sword. I’ve tried a couple of things, which has stemmed the blood flow, but this is beyond me. I’m not entirely sure what to do, but at least I’ve stopped him bleeding. ”
Chopping at him with a sword? The thought made Andromeda nervous. That was a spell that Bella used, she had been taught it by that creep of a first year Snape. It was dark stuff and it made Andromeda shiver. By the day, Bella’s soul was becoming more and more twisted.
“What’s the poor boy done to deserve this?” asked McGonagall, “He’s a good student, popular and has never harmed anyone. He’s a laid back type, and has never been involved in any trouble as far as I know.” Madame Pomfrey agreed with McGonagall, and then seemingly began to address the boy’s wounds.
“I think it was his heroic’s in the Quidditch match today,” came Professor Dumbledore’s voice. Andromeda felt a bolt of ice pass through her body. Was it Ted who was in the next bed along from her? “I don’t like to make accusations but I think Mr Tonks has always had a soft spot for a certain someone and that her friends may feel a little threatened by this.”
Andromeda felt as cold as ice, but closed her eyes and waited as the teachers left and Madame Pomfrey had finished muttering spells. It was then that she heard his voice, and goosebumps shot over her back. “Madame Pomfrey, what happened?”
“Oh, Mr Tonks,” Madame Pomfrey whispered, a hint of fear in her usually warm voice, “I don’t know. A prefect found you on duty sprawled out in a corridor in a pool of your own blood. I’ve done as best as you can, you’ll have to stay here for a couple of days so we can monitor you. You just need some rest.”
It was clear that Ted was going to say something, as Madame Pomfrey did not move away. “I was coming here. I was going back to the Common Room, but then I changed my mind and I was coming here. I was coming to see Andromeda, to see if she was alright.” His voice trailed off, but it made Andromeda feel worse than ever.
“Well, just get a good night sleep Mr Tonks,” finished Madame Pomfrey, “we will see how much you remember in the morning, and hopefully catch the people who did this to you.” An image of Bella’s face came into Andromeda’s head, and she felt sick with nerves.
Madame Pomfrey padded back across the Hospital Wing, leaving Ted to his thoughts for a moment. He was breathing heavily, and he sighed. Andromeda was holding her own breath, biting her lip. Then she decided what she was going to do; she had to talk to him. She had to thank him.
Rolling over, she looked towards his bed. The sight of him terrified her. His school shirt was ripped down the middle, making a burst of red blood across his chest. There were similar wounds on his legs, and another on his arm. Andromeda could even see the one on his cheek, throwing the symmetry of his face out. The sight of him let a rush of sympathy course through Andromeda’s body.
“Oh, Ted,” she said, leaping out of bed and running towards him. He jumped, but on seeing it was her, he pulled himself up into a sitting position, his face flushing red. “What happened to you? Dear God, who could have done this awful thing to you!”
Andromeda suddenly noticed she had hold of his hand, but shook the feeling away. She cared, and wanted to know he was all right. Everything about blood statuses, blood traitors and purebloods disappeared from her mind as she grasped his hand. With him smiling at her, she felt a little better. If he could smile like that, she felt he would be okay.
With his free hand, he leant up and stroked a curl of hair out of he face and tucked it out of sight behind her ear. “I’m fine Dromeda, it will heal up. I’m more worried about you, after your fall. Are you sure you are not suffering from shock? Are you sure you are okay?”
Although his sweetness and concern warmed her heart she tutted him. “Don’t turn this into being about me Ted, you are the one who has been cursed half to death and was found lying in a pool of your own blood. I should be thanking you. But tell me Ted, who did this to you?”
These wounds had Bella’s name written all over them, but she didn’t want to incriminate her sister without any evidence. To try to get him to tell her, she cupped his scarred face in her hands. “Please Ted, tell me who did this to you.”
Ted was blushing furiously, but he copied her movement, scooping her head into his hands and running his fingers through her hair. “I promise you Dromeda, I don’t remember. I don’t know. I wouldn’t lie to you Dromeda, you know…” He was cowed into silence by their close proximity. Andromeda couldn’t help but stare into his consuming green eyes, like ferns, like forests, like the lush grass that led to the lake.
Their lips were almost touching before Andromeda realized what she was doing. Her mother’s voice shouted at her suddenly, “He’s a Mudblood! What would your family think? What would your friends think? What would your sisters think? What would Rabastan think?”
It was the thought of Rabastan, her boyfriend, who she loved all her heart that made her stop and run away. Pulling herself away from him, she dashed back to her bed, covering her red face and desperately trying not to show her embarrassment.
“Good night Ted,” she mumbled, once she was firmly under the covers, “Let’s talk in the morning.” And with that, she rolled over into the position she had been laying when he had been brought into the hospital wing, with his back firmly towards him.
A/N: Ok, I thought this was quite quick for me! I hope you enjoyed this chapter, it's finally stepping up in intensity! I've finally sorted out the rough plan for this story, and it's going to be fifteen chapters. Please read and review, I'd love to know what you thought of my characterisation/plot/characters/setting etc or anything at all! Constructive criticism is appreciated! Thank you so much for reading! Next time...Andromeda and Ted decide what their relationship is and continue with the status quo, and Cissy's gossip leaves Andromeda intrigued.
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