All she could focus on for the past hour was the sound that marked the seconds. Over and over, the ticking continued in its normal pattern, but it was an impertinent chime. It was like having droplets of water fall incessantly on the eyes of a person trying hard to sleep, each time they were past the threshold of unconsciousness.
She felt a hand on her shoulder. Helena opened her eyes and looked up. Salazar Slytherin was standing beside her. "Are you alright?" he asked her in a gentle voice.
But she didn't say anything instead she stepped closer to him. Then she wrapped her arms around his waist and clung to him tightly. She closed her eyes and buried her face into his chest as she could feel his arms reassuringly around her. It felt so good, his embrace. She felt so protected in his arms, as if her problems could never reach her here.
After a while he kissed her on the forehead then he took hold of her chin and bent gently it up. "Feeling better?" he asked her in his melodious voice.
Helena nodded. They walked along a narrow trail. Helena's winter boots sank with each step into the soft coldness of the snow. She breathed in the cool winter air and then let her gaze wander over the wilderness of the Scottish highlands.
Helena and Salazar walked around without talking. The realization of what would happen next settled gradually over Helena in the long minutes, like softly falling snow.
"I've got to go back, haven't I?" she asked, weighing the day's revelations in her mind.
"That is up to you," Salazar replied.
"I've got a choice?"
"Oh, yes." She took a look at him, saw a touch of slyness to his smile, and concluded that he was showing that to her on purpose. After spending such a long time with him, she had come to understand that if this wizard wanted to hide his emotions from her, he could do it flawlessly and effortlessly. Or at least, it wouldn’t be as conspicuous as right now.
Helena closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, trying to get her emotions back under control. Salazar, he had shaken her determination by showing her a life without her sorrow.
It was making this whole thing even more difficult. Was this nightmare she had been thrown into never going to end? She would rather face a Blast-Ended Skrewt then to go back.
Her heart thudding heavily against her chest, she let her hand rest on his arm. “I don’t love him,” she said after awhile, biting down hard on the inside of her cheek.
She could almost imagine him quirking his eyebrow in that trademark, snotty Slytherin-ish way.
“I see.” he said as he looked at her with his blank face. The cold winter wind was ruffling up his dark curly hair. They continued to follow the trail for a while but then it started to snow and thick, fat snowflakes were falling down on the already snowy mountains and the two wanderers passing through the nature. Helena wrapped her rough cloak tighter around herself. It was starting to get colder. But just as she was thinking about apparating back she spotted a place where the rock was forming a small cave. Too small for the occasional Common Welsh Green that lingered here. Underneath the rock was a relatively dry patch which could shelter them from the wind and snow.
"Let's rest for a while," she said to Salazar as she pointed to the protected space under the overhanging rock.
He nodded and they set off towards the small cavern in the rock. As she reached the protected place she sat down and leaned with her back against the rocky wall. Salazar sat down beside her and Helena smiled at him.
He grabbed his wand. No visible spell left the wand but the cold wind instantly stopped and the air around them started to heat up distinctly. In the end it was warm enough for them to take off their winter cloaks. Helena sighed contently and leaned her head back against the stone wall.
"Ah, that's better," she whispered. “You finally got a new wand after the last wand was broken, Salazar.”
Salazar suddenly bent down to her and tugged her hair behind her ear. “Yes. Yew, Dragon Heartstring, 12.5 inches, unyielding, good for Defensive spells and duelling. The heartstring is of a Hebridean Black, to be precisely. Though, I wouldn’t have needed a new one if it weren’t for you and your fiancé. ”
Helena hissed at him, which, annoyingly, made the smirk he was sporting on his face even wider.
They were sitting for some time in this small, protected cave. Helena watched the snowflakes falling down, adding to the already thick blanket of snow that covered the ground outside of their shelter.
"Can I ask you something?" he suddenly said out of no-where.
Helena turned her head towards him and eyed him. He was looking at her and again had his impenetrable, blank mask in place.
"Sure," she said slowly.
“Why are you with him?”
Her heart started thudding heavily against her chest, “What?” without noticing it; she was taking shorter, sharper breaths, and tightening her grip around her wand.
“Why are you with him, Helena? To me it seems you would rather Avada Kedavra him or throw him for a Chinese Fireball then marry him.”
Helena stared at Salazar. She was surprised within an inch of her life when he fixed her with his patented ‘I'm waiting’ gaze. She hated that gaze. She hated the familiarity of this situation. She hated that she now had to explain why… again. She hated that there was really no need for her to explain but that he would make her do so anyway.
Her eyes flickered downwards, “My mother,” she simply stated.
“Why do you return to him and Rowena, Helena?”
Helena looked up. She hated his deceptively patient expression.
It wasn't the first time she had left her fiancé and mother.
And in her heart, she knew that it wouldn't be the last time either. She hated that she was so weak. That she couldn't seem to just cut him loose and move on with her life. She hated that, despite everything, she would inevitably always end up standing before her fiancé. She hated that he always, without fail, took her back. Even when she left—even when she declared that this was the last time—her fiancé knew, and more importantly, she knew that it was only a matter of time before she walked back in through those doors for another round of torture. Unless Salazar himself left Hogwarts.
She hated that her fiancé viewed her internal conflict as nothing more than a childish fancy. She hated that he looked down on her as an immature brat who, if she didn't get her way, would stomp her foot and try to punish him.
All she had to do was turn on her heel, grab her stuff, and disappear. She would never need to look back. Not at her fiancé. Her mother. Salazar.
But she knew that she didn't have enough self-control to leave Salazar for good. Especially not now. She'd never had much self-control when it came to him.
It still baffled her how this… relationship came about in the first place. How they managed to get together at all was a mystery to her. If any two people were ever completely wrong for one another, it was them.
She shared a powerful connection with him. One where once you spiralled down too deep, it clung to you and you didn't exist without it. She got in too deep and never wanted to resurface again. Some would call it lust, others would call it love, but what it was, was an addiction.
She despised him.
And she told him this.
"Why do you return to him and your mother, Helena?” he asked again, ignoring her declaration. His eyes never left hers.
She closed her eyes and was surprised to see his image still burning into her consciousness. She knew then, with that one simple realization, that she'd never be able to see anyone else. He was burned into her—into her soul… her insides… her brain.
Her entire being was defined by him and she hated the fact.
She rested her head in the crook of his neck and was surprised that he allowed her such an intimate embrace. “Salazar, you're like poison," she whispered an air of defeat apparent in her tone. "You're poisoning me and no matter how often I try to grab onto the anti-dote, I find that I don't really want to be cured. I don't want to be saved. Perhaps it's some defect in me—because all I get from you is punishment. You don't love me. But somehow what you give me is enough. No matter how much I struggle within myself and try to convince myself that I need more—the fact is, that I'm so pathetic that I'll hang onto whatever scraps you give me. And if that means I have to stay at Hogwarts with my mother and him just to be able with you in a way," Helena felt tears slipping down her cheeks and landing on his shoulder. She made no attempt to stop the display of vulnerability. “I will stay there, unless you leave Hogwarts.”
"This is unhealthy. It's wrong on so many levels but I don't know why… I just keep coming back. And I hate myself for that. I don't want to be in this dependent position—I don't want to want you… I don't want to need you."
"But you do," he finally spoke.
"I'll never be happy," she told him in all honesty. “With you, my mother or him. “
She pulled away from his neck and met his eyes again. He was still stoic and seemingly unemotional. She thought she saw something else there but she'd long ago given up trying to read him.
She steeled herself for the remnants of her speech.
"You asked me why I came back." She took a deep breath and looked directly, almost defiantly, into his eyes. "I came back because of you. You being there ensures that I'll always come back."
She paused one final time.
"So, I'm going back home," she declared. “Because I don't have the strength to walk away from you but that doesn’t mean you or them are able to break me. Pride is the only thing I have enough of to boast about. And if you try you will have no idea what monster you will feed. A Hungarian Horntail will be less scary."
It had been a real challenge writing this and in the end I was pleased with what I came up with. This challenge seemed to be way out my comfort zone, but in the end I came up with something that fulfilled the challenge and wrote it in a way that it was still me. I thank the staff because through them I pushed my boundaries ( in a good way). This is dedicated to the staff, Slytherin and all the other houses.
PS: What do you think of my summary? I'm not so sure it fits the story.
- The Prompts used -
- features your House’s Champion (5 points) - mentions at least 4 specific breeds of dragon (5 points) - mentions at least 1 Unforgivable Curse (5 points) - mentions a Blast-Ended Skrewt (5 points) - features a theme of flourishing in the face of adversity (25 points) - mentions the details of your Champion’s Wand, as provided by your Head of House (25 points)
Write a Review Task One Challenge - Illusoire: Illusoire