Chapter 8 : The Aftermath
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The party was going well. Peter was in charge of the music, and given that no Celestina Warbeck was playing, everything was fine. I had been managing the guests, meaning that no Slytherin’s, or adventurous third years had gotten in yet.
Anna came over and stood with me for a bit. Though she was nice and pretty, there wasn’t really much else to her. We mainly talked about how nice the date was. I guessed you could say it was alright. She was a pretty good snog, which was good since that's what we had ended up doing for most of the date.
The date had gone downhill, after seeing Thalia and George. They seemed as if they were having a great time. That argument with her at The Three Broomsticks did nothing to brighten my mood.
But hey, I should stop complaining. The party was great. I had a sort of girlfriend, albeit not one I particularly wanted. But for some reason, I had a sinking feeling in stomach that something wasn’t quite right.
Oddly, I hadn’t seen James or Remus for a while. They usually came over every few minutes, telling me who’s drink they’d just spiked, what drunken antics people had been getting up to, and whether they should pull a prank on someone or not.
I hadn’t seen either of them for over an hour. They claimed to have heard a suspicious sound outside. I don’t know how they managed to hear anything, as Peter had the music up full up. I would have gone too, but it may have just been nothing. Besides, I didn’t want to leave Peter at the party by himself, as it's a hard enough job to keep the unwanted guests out.
Another reason for James leaving was probably due to Lily dancing very closely with Will Cavendish. Maybe he’d finally gotten his head around the fact that dating Lily was as likely as my family accepting me being sorted into Gryffindor. He probably still needed some adjusting time.
Not that I was looking for her, but Thalia and her friend Mary also weren’t here. It seemed a bit strange, considering the other three Gryffindor girls were here. Usually those girls were inseparable and did everything together.
It did seem a bit odd, so perhaps a brief snoop around was called for? I wandered over to Peter who was jabbing his wand at some gramophone, and shouted over the music, “I’m just going to have look outside for James and Remus because they’ve been gone for a while now. Will you be alright?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” Peter shouted back.
I was attempting to wade through the crowds of people, when I was accosted by Maia.
“Hey, Sirius. You haven’t happened to have seen Remus at all, have you?” She asked nervously.
We all knew that she liked Remus, and the feelings were mutual. Who couldn’t like Maia? I may have even asked her out if Remus didn’t have dibs on her. But, I liked Thalia, so dating one of her best friends wouldn’t do me any favours. I would have to sort out Anna before even considering dating anyone else. When did my love life get so complicated? I should just stick to quick flings, they were much easier to deal with.
Back to Remus. Being the middle aged worrier that he truly was, he refused to do anything about Maia, in case she found out that he was a werewolf, and something bad happened as a result of it. Given his situation, it was best to be cautious, rather than leaping in heart first. No one could predict how Maia would react to the news of his true identity.
“No I haven’t. He and James disappeared about an hour ago. I was just thinking about heading outside to look for them. Do you want to come too?” I asked.
“I will, actually. I know Thalia was waiting for George, so she's probably just with him. Mary ran back to get her wand, so I don’t know where she went off to,” Maia sounding bemused about Mary’s sudden disappearance.
We decided to head back to the common room. Just as we rounded the corner from the Room of Requirement, we discovered a pool of dark crimson blood in the middle of the corridor with no footprints, or other traces of blood leading from it. A chilling sensation went up my spine. Though this was Halloween at Hogwarts, I had never encountered anything this strange before.
I didn't think James had done it as a prank. We tended to stick to tame, funny things. We never did anything like this. There was an eerie vibe in the corridor, which seemed to suggest to me that someone had done this on purpose.
“You don’t think anything happened to them, do you?” Maia asked hesitantly.
“It’s hard to say. Peeves could be playing a Halloween prank.” It seemed strange, that four people were missing from the party and then this blood, “Let’s just check out the common room. We might find out where they are,” I said.
In times like these, I had learned that it was simply best to expect the worst. This rise of darkness was exactly why my parents were so ecstatic. They thought it was wonderful that someone was finally showing the ‘mudbloods’ their true place. I just couldn’t wait to be rid of my family, their views were too warped for any sense of reality.
Maia merely nodded, still observing the seemingly endless pool of blood on the floor. Then she squared her shoulders and strode off in the direction of the common room. I was glad that I could leave the pool of blood, as it was so chilling.
“Mockingbird,” I said to the Fat Lady, who swung the portrait door open to let us in.
I cast my eyes around the room, and saw only George Wood, Thalia’s supposed date for tonight. He was alone. I decided to put my dating grievances behind me, and went over to ask him if he knew anything about them.
“Hi Wood, you haven’t happened to have seen James, Remus, Longwood or McDonald, have you?” I asked.
“You haven’t heard what happened?” George replied wearily, while massaging his temples, as if to rid himself of a particularly bad memory.
“No, was it something serious?” I asked, wondering if the case of blood on the floor, and them being missing was in fact linked. Maia, hearing George’s response, strolled over, probably eager to hear the answer to my question.
“You should have seen it. Thalia and I were heading to the party, when we found Mary lying on the floor, surrounded in blood. Luckily James and Remus came along, and they managed to get help. If they hadn't acted so quickly, I don’t know if she would have survived,” George replied, looking deeply troubled.
“That was Mary’s blood? Is she all right? Where is she now?” Maia asked, with panic clearly detectable in her voice.
“She’s stable now. Madam Pomfrey has been giving her blood replenishing potions every twenty minutes. The others are in the Hospital Wing with her; I just left them a few minutes ago. Madam Pomfrey said no more than three were allowed to stay, due to how seriously she was injured,” George replied.
“I have to go and see her, I can’t believe this has happened,” Maia despaired, and marched towards the portrait door.
“Wait. I’ll come with you. It’s probably better if you didn’t go by yourself,” I said and followed her towards the portrait.
“Fine, but let’s go. I can’t bear not knowing what condition she’s in,” Maia replied.
“If something changes in Mary’s condition, you will keep me posted, won’t you?” George asked.
“Yes, definitely. You found her, so you deserve to know,” I replied. This was definitely more important than the Thalia issue between us.
Maia and I stepped out into the dark corridor, illuminated every few feet by a burning torch. It was easy to see how someone could be attacked so easily in these gloomy corridors, as we couldn’t see that much further ahead of us.
The teachers had thought that the gloominess would get people into the Halloween spirit; I guess someone got into it too much, and caused this terrible crime.
Maia and I walked swiftly and silently down the corridors, both of us too absorbed in our own thoughts to talk. No doubt the same thing was occupying both of our minds.
We had nearly approached the hospital wing, when Maia decided to break the silence.
“Do you think she’s okay Sirius?” Maia asked nervously. “You don’t think George was just saying that she was stable, so not to worry us?”
Having seen Madam Pomfrey heal some pretty serious injuries that Remus incurred during full moons, it gave me some hope that however bad Mary was that she could recover with Madam Pomfrey’s care
“Yeah I reckon she must be stable. The way George described it, it sounded pretty serious. If it was worse, they would have taken her to St. Mungo’s.” I tried to sound confident, when in fact, I didn’t really know what to expect.
As we stepped into the Hospital Wing we could see three people around one of the beds. All the other beds were empty.
Thalia was sitting in a chair holding Mary’s hand as if to comfort her. James and Remus were standing more to the side, sending protective glances over their shoulders, in case an attacker appeared out of nowhere.
Luckily, Madam Pomfrey wasn’t around so we joined the others. She was pretty stringent on her visitors rule. She seemed to think that having friends around, would hinder the healing process rather than help it.
“Sirius and I just found out. How is she?” Maia asked, with an air of hopefulness in her voice.
Thalia’s head snapped up, with an incredibly surprised expression on her face. I wasn’t sure whether it was surprise that she hadn’t noticed we had appeared, or surprise that I was here.
“She’s still unconscious, but stable now. That’s the main thing really,” Thalia replied. “Madam Pomfrey’s pretty certain that she will recover, with scarring mind, given the extent of her injuries. You should have seen it though, Maia. There was blood everywhere, and Mary was completely white, I thought she was dead.” Thalia let out a sigh. “Her parents are with Professor Dumbledore now.”
Maia seemed relieved that her friend was not in imminent danger. She placed herself in the chair on the other side of Mary’s bed, and took her other hand, as if to will her to recover.
“How did you find out?” Remus asked me.
“You and James had been gone for a while. I was starting to wonder what was taking so long. Then Maia came over looking for you, and said that Thalia and Mary were missing as well. We found the blood in the corridor and then met George in the Gryffindor common room. He told us what happened,” I replied, and looked over at Maia to find her blushing, due to the fact I mentioned that she was looking for Remus.
The door of the Hospital Wing suddenly sprung open, to reveal Madam Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, and a middle aged couple, who I assumed were Mary’s parents.
“What is the meaning of this? Lupin, Potter and Longwood, I already informed you that only a maximum of three visitors were permitted, due to the frail condition Miss McDonald is in. She went through a very traumatic time, and needs to recover from it,” Madam Pomfrey demanded. “You should all leave. Her parents, Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore are here now. Besides, it’s after curfew, so you shouldn’t even be out of your common room.”
“I’ll leave then,” Remus and James said simultaneously. Normally, we would have laughed, but given the situation we were in, it didn’t seem very appropriate.
“Wait a second Remus, do you mind if I walk back with you? I don’t want to be on my own, after what happened to Mary,” Maia asked timidly.
Remus seemed to have a rather dazed expression on his face, surprised that someone would want to walk with him.
“Erm, yeah, sure, that would be great,” he spluttered out, while his face turned a beetroot red.
Maia got up, and walked over to Remus, and they headed towards the Hospital Wing door. James stood awkwardly by Mary’s bed, uncertain over what to do until the two had headed out of the door. Then he nodded to me and headed out. I probably should have followed but Thalia seemed to be in a world of her own. She was still sitting beside the bed, apparently not hearing a word of Madam Pomfrey’s speech.
“Thalia, do you want me to walk you back to the common room?” I asked.
“What, oh, do we have to leave then?” She asked, sounding distracted.
“Yeah Pomfrey’s getting anxious with the amount of visitors, and how that may affect Mary’s health, so we better go soon. Unless you want to be banned from here forever,” I replied, trying to sound cheerful and lighten her sombre mood.
“Oh, ok then. And thanks for offering to walk me back. That would be nice,” she replied, still sounding rather dazed.
“Bye Mary. I’m so sorry this had to happen to you. I’ll come and see you tomorrow,” she whispered to her, while giving her hand a squeeze to let her know about her departure.
We headed out of the door in silence. Thalia was obviously reflecting on something. I felt rude intruding in on her thoughts, so I just kept my eyes alert in case of any danger lurking ahead.
We had just walked past the Charms Corridor, when Thalia piped up, “You know she was worried about something like this happening. She told me so herself when she came back for her wand. I mean, that was her reason for getting it, in case someone attacked her for being a half-blood. I didn’t think twice of it. I thought it was just her worrying, and then this happened. I should have taken her more seriously, and then she wouldn’t have ended up in the Hospital Wing.”
“This wasn’t your fault. No one could have anticipated this happening. Nothing like this has happened before,” I said, trying to comfort her.
“I know. That’s what James and Remus said as well. You still can’t help but wonder if George wasn’t late, would this have happened? We could have left earlier, and perhaps prevented it. It just makes you aware of how vulnerable you are, and I hate that,” she replied, coming to a standstill. “That’s how my dad died. Back then, they didn’t take the Death Eater threat so seriously, as it was just the odd person spreading their warped ideology. Not the full scale attacks they do now.”
Wow. Thalia must be really affected by this as she’s usually so secretive. I’ve heard the other girls talk about how rarely she opens up to how she’s feeling, and rarely talks about her home life.
I just let her carry on talking since it seemed to help her deal with everything.
“When he was sent to gather background information, on this person called Avery, I wasn’t at all worried. He said it was just something routine, not a dangerous mission. But he was wrong. That’s probably everyone’s fatal flaw, underestimating people. He ended up dead because of that; apparently he was killed by Voldemort personally. What an honour,” Thalia spat out. “Then this happens. It’s just so scary, and no one understands. No one knows what it’s like to lose a parent. My mother didn’t care. She had to act heartbroken for society, otherwise it would be seen as improper, but she never grieved. She still ignores me, and never comforted me over his death; I mean, what kind of mother does that to her child? I guess you can understand, given who your parents associate with, and their views.”
Thalia had seemed to have worn herself out with her speech, and slumped to floor. She looked like she needed some comforting, so I went and sat next to her.
“I’m sorry about your dad. James told me a bit about him. He sounded like a great guy. You’re right, no mother should do that. I can understand with my parents, but losing your dad, must have been a lot worse.” I took hold of her hand to provide her with some comfort.
“He was,” she replied, with a smile on her face while remembering him, “Yeah, we are in the same boat, aren’t we?” She leant her head upon my shoulder.
“I guess we are.” I smiled back at her. “You know that if you ever need to tell anyone anything, you can tell me, right?”
“Yeah, thanks Sirius. That would be great. It’s just the others have such perfect lives. None of them seem to understand as well as you do. You certainly do have a different side to what most people see, and I like it,” she replied. “We’d better head back to the tower it’s way past curfew, and I don’t want your bad reputation ruining mine,” she joked.
It was good that she was slowly recovering, but I could see it would still be a long way to go, especially where her mother was concerned.
“Come on,” I said and pulled myself up. I offered my hand to help Thalia up. She looked so weak and fragile, probably due to emotionally draining herself, with Mary, and talking about her dad's death.
When we arrived outside the portrait of the Fat Lady, Thalia stopped herself.
“Thanks a lot Sirius for tonight, it really was nice of you to listen to me, as it helped me a lot,” she said.
“It was no problem, and I’m glad that I could help. Like I said, anytime you need a chat you now know where to go,” I said happily, I guess if I couldn’t date her, helping her and being her friend was better than nothing. She certainly seemed like she needed the help.
“I’ll bear that in mind,” she said, and to my surprise gave me a brief hug, though it was long enough to catch the scent of vanilla off her hair.
As we stepped inside the common room, much to my surprise and relief, we found it deserted. The party dwellers were either already in their dorms, or still partying away in the Room of Requirement. James and Remus must have gone back to it and sorted it all out. They were good like that. I just didn’t feel as if I could go back after what had just happened. I needed to go and think.
“Good night Thalia,” I said while heading for the stairs which lead to the boy’s dormitory.
“Good night Sirius,” she replied while heading for the other set of stairs.
Author's Note: I hoped you liked finding out more about what happened in this chapter, and it should be fully resolved by chapter 14 :) I would love to hear what you thought of this chapter, so if you wanted to be great you could leave a review.
Thanks again to pixileanin for being an awesome beta and updating this chapter!
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