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Chapter 6 : VI
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A sickly mewing sound was emanating from somewhere in the shadows of the room, sending shivers down the length of my spine. Professor McGonagall had instructed me to help Mr Filch with whatever jobs he saw fit, and rather than have her or Filch supervising my work, I was left in the care of Mrs Norris. She was such an evil little cat, and I would’ve much preferred to have either of the adults watch my work; Mrs Norris just gave me the creeps. She saw everything.
The worst part about all this time polishing mountains of brass, silver, gold and bronze, aside from the blisters forming on my thumbs, was it gave me too much time to think, and the one thought I wanted to lock away in a chest and throw it to the bottom of the deepest, darkest ocean, was the one thought I couldn’t seem to avoid.
Kevin’s got a parole hearing.
As much as I didn’t want to think about it, it was something I just couldn’t avoid. I needed to stay one step ahead of him, for Toby’s sake, but the idea of planning anything brought dark, horrific memories to mind, memories I’d much rather forget.
I looked up away from the brass trophy I was polishing (Hogwarts Champion – Tri-Wizard Tournament, 1747) and out a nearby window. It was raining rather heavily outside and I couldn’t help but smile slightly. Draco, Blaise, Lyra and three other of my fellow housemates were all out there in the cold, having had the quidditch pitch booked for practise since the beginning of the year. This year, it seemed a lot harder for the captains to book time on the pitch, and Draco was determined to get as much in as possible before the season started, rain hail or shine. I knew it was something very personal for Draco this year; it would be his last opportunity to beat Harry Potter, and he was determined to do it. As much as I wished I was out there training with them all, I couldn’t help but feel a little happy about being locked away in the warm castle, even if it meant polishing.
As if knowing I was distracted, a loud hiss echoed through the room, making me drop my eyes from the skies outside to the task at hand, being chastised by a fury little feline. Reluctantly, I focused on completing my detention without looking away again.
“How can she possibly be comfortable in that position?”
I shifted slightly, feeling a dull ache run the length of my spine which made my toes tingle uncomfortably. My detention ran over; I accidentally knocked over a bottle of polish and before I could do a simple spell to clean the mess, Mrs Norris had run off to report back to Filch what had happened, and I was made to scrub the floor until it looked like new. When I returned to the common room, everyone was fast asleep, my teammates long since returned from the quidditch pitch and tucked up in their nice warm beds which made me scowl with envy. I had managed to sneak into the 7th year girls’ dorm room to retrieve my pyjamas, pillow and a blanket, along with my copy of Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them, and returned to the common room, setting up camp for the night on one of the comfortable leather lounges. Despite being physically exhausted after my lengthy detention, my mind was still wide awake at the time and I knew that if I tried to sleep in my bed I would have spent the whole time staring at the ceiling thinking about Kevin, and sleep would definitely be out of the question. Now, however, was a different story.
“I don’t know. Do you think we should try and straighten her up or move her books? Or wake her up to make her go to bed?”
I could hear voices talking around me, and whilst I knew the owners of them were standing close by, they sounded distant, muffled by some unknown barrier as my conscious mind fought a silent battle with my subconscious. “No, I’m sure Tary would be more annoyed at being woken up than the backache she’ll feel when she finally does. Go get some sleep Blaise, I’ll be up soon; just going to have a look at Tary’s notes for class tomorrow.”
Even in my sleepy state, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as the sound of ruffling parchment and footsteps entered my mind; but all the noise fell silent as a cloak was draped over me and I slipped further into unconsciousness.
Ahead of me, there was a small beam of light in an otherwise black room, slipping through a crack and dancing upon my skin. I’m holding something in my trembling hand; it feels foreign, but mostly powerful, dangerous. A loud clatter resonates through the silence as I try and hold back my horror, shielding my brother from the evil that was closing in around us in our tiny place of hiding. My breath hitches, the smell of firewhisky growing strong in the air. My grip tightens around the cold steel as the footsteps stop outside our hideout and I hear Toby whimper at my side.
The light grows brighter, and I lunge, dagger first, into it-
“Tary! TAMARA! Wake the hell up!”
My eyes open with a start, alert and frightened as I grip my wand held directly between Draco’s eyes with a trembling hand. His face mirrors mine, alarmed and worried as he holds his hands up empty in a gesture of innocence, whatever small amount of colour his skin previously holding draining away, leaving him as white as the ferret Mad Eye Moody had turned him into during our fourth year.
“You were having a nightmare, Tary,” he stated quietly, lowering his hands and shuffling back a little, giving me a chance to breathe and realise what he was saying was the truth. The common room started coming into focus more, beyond the point of my wand as my heavy jagged breathing caught painfully in my chest. The fire crackled softly under the ornate mantle, the intricately carved grandfather clock standing nearby it ticked softly, indicating the time was nearly 3.30am as the permanent slow leak of water from a nearby wall could be heard dripping through one of the cracks amongst the cold stone walls.
Draco exhaled softly, a little colour returning at the fact I hadn’t hexed him into oblivion in my startled state as he sat there, a look of concern and pity creeping onto his features. “I was only trying to help.”
I scowled at him and sat up, shrugging his discarded cloak to the ground ungratefully. “Don’t,” I said in a voice so quiet it sent chills down my own spine, “just leave it alone. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
“Tary,” he started perplexed, frowning slightly, “I never said there was-“
“You don’t need to; it’s written plain as day across your face,” I said angrily, getting to my feet. With a wave of my wand, the mess I had created around the lounge I had unexpectedly fallen asleep on was gone, vanished into thin air, including the notes I had been working on for tomorrows Care of Magical Creatures class that Draco had been clearly coping while I slept. Draco looked taken aback at my outburst, and at his source of knowledge being taken away so abruptly, but I didn’t care. I walked hurriedly towards the common room door leading out to the rest of the castle, vaguely registering the sound of footsteps echoing from the boys dormitories in my wake.
“Wait!” I sensed, rather than heard, Draco get to his feet behind me as I muttered the password to escape, “where are you going, Tary? It’s late and you’ll get into trouble-“
“You’re not the only one around here who’s a prefect, Malfoy!” I spat back at him, briefly shooting him a scathing look over my shoulder only to realise he was not alone in the common room anymore. I looked at Blaise briefly, our eyes connecting for all of a moment but in it I saw something that made me feel the smallest bit calmer, like a wave of warmth had surged through my body and nestled in my chest, but just as quickly as it came, it was gone.
“If you get another detention because of this don’t come crying to me!” Draco hissed unkindly and before I could retaliate, the common room door closed behind me, putting a successful end to our conversation.
With a shiver, I headed through the dimly lit passages of Hogwarts in the direction of the owlery, wiping tears I hadn’t known I’d shed at the unwanted assault of bad memories along the way.
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