Chapter 9 : Crazy At Full Moon
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“Who are you?” I asked, rudely.
Which was on purpose, because I didn't think I was generally polite to creepy old men in cloaks. With super long girly blonde hair.
“Lucius Malfoy.” I took a sharp intake of breath.
I was terrified, honest-to-goodness. Absolutely scared out of my mind. I pulled my wand out.
“Keep talking then, or I'll blow you to smithereens. You'll end up looking like that sink. In pieces.”
I was bluffing. I didn't know quite how I'd managed to destroy the sink, but it made the murderer pause.
“Okay,” I said, hoping desperately that my voice wouldn't break, “I need answers. My Father. You killed him. Why?”
I focussed on my breathing.
In, and out.
In, and out.
“I did nothing to your father.”
Lies. He was lying.
“Liar,” I hissed, stepping forward, wand at the ready. He recoiled slightly, but didn't back off.
He held his hands up.
“I promise you, I've never hurt your father.” He smiled, as if inwardly laughing at a private joke.
“Alright, if that's true, where is he?”
“I don't know. In hiding, I suspect. Or dead already.”
“Dead? You just told me that you didn't kill him! So you got somebody to assassinate him, is that it?”
He chuckled, and grinned manically, showing white teeth.
“Oh, no. Nothing like that, Gaunt.” I didn't believe him for a second.
“And why do you keep calling me Gaunt?”
He threw back his head and laughed.
“Enough. Now, let's finish this.”
Lucius Malfoy pulled out an ornately handled wand, decorated in silver. He started towards me. I prepared to attack.
Then, the Potter's front door opened, and I looked at it, and a cheerful voice rang out: “Willow, dear, are you coming in?”
It was Audrey, Molly's and Lucy's mum.
I turned back, wand at the ready.
“Oh, gosh Willow, what have you got that out for?”
The murderer was gone.
Vanished, into the cold night air.
“Oh yes, um... I thought I saw a werewolf.” I was horrible at lying, but luckily, Audrey didn't seem to notice my squeaky voice.
Probably just passed it off as me being afraid.
“Oh, probably just a stray dog. There's a few about, I suspect. Why on earth didn't you just get inside the house?”
“Oh.. uh.. I dunno.” I squinted into the darkness, attempting to make out the outline of a cloak. There was nothing.
“Well, come on in then, or you'll get a chill. It's supposed to snow tonight.”
I followed her inside silently – thoughts echoing and bouncing off my skull.
Why was he saying he didn't kill my Father?
Why did he call me 'Gaunt'?
Was he trying to kill me?
Would I be dead if it wasn't for Audrey?
Why did I lie?
I didn't know the answers to those questions. Try as I might, no brilliant stroke of inspiration hit me, and I was left kicking myself for lying.
Although, what could I have told her? That there was a strange man who possibly just tried to kill me who was the same guy who supposedly killed my Father, although he claimed he hadn't, who seemed to think I was called Gaunt?
Yeah, she'd believe that.
And something told me... I was in danger.
Well, maybe it was something about the fact I'd probably almost been killed, but I didn't need the Wotters in danger, too.
“Willow! What took you so long?” Ron said jovially, his mouth full of potato. Although it came out as more of a 'illow! Wha' 'ook oo oh 'ong?'
“My Mother,” I half-truthed. That's a word now, clear?
“Muggles!” exclaimed Ron, who had obviously had quite a bit to drink already. Hermione was trying not to be embarrassed by him, chatting to Ginny about Memory Potions and the effects that they had on different people.
“This one thought she saw a werewolf,” Audrey laughed. I decided I didn't like her much.
“Did you see a werewolf, then?” asked a stranger with bright green hair. Was he a Wotter? Strange, I thought I just about knew them all. I watched in morbid fascination as he tore into a bit a raw, bloody steak. “It is full moon.”
“Teddy's father was a werewolf,” added a blonde, beautiful girl whom I had also never seen before, who was clinging to Teddy's arm tightly, and had a high-pitched giggle.
“Really? Well, that explains the steak. But not the hair.”
Teddy's hair was changing colour, from bright green to orange.
And so forth ensued a delightful conversation about why exactly Teddy's hair changed colour, which was a rare magical ability he had inherited from this mum. A Metamorphmagus.
I found out quite a lot at dinner, just by listening. Fred and Roxanne were twins, despite the difference in height. George, their father, had had a twin who had died in the Second Wizarding War – also named Fred – which Harry, Ron and Hermione were the key to ending.
“Dumbledore,” Harry recounted, “never gave me the full story, exactly. He showed me memories, of the Horcruxes, but -”
The Wotter kids all were looking into space, bored, like they'd already heard it a million time. Which they probably had, to be fair.
“What were the Horcruxes again, Harry?” Ron questioned, throwing a large chunk of steak – well cooked – into his gob.
“Ooh, let's see,” started Hermione, instead of Harry, very enthusiastically, “there was Riddle's diary, the snake, the cup, the Gaunt's ring, the locket, the tiara - diadem, I mean - and Harry himself.” She finished, appearing to be slightly tipsy.
I was stuck on 'Gaunt's ring'.
People talking too loudly.
“Willow, are you alright?” Hermione; worried. “You've gone white.”
“Uh... I'm – I'm okay, I just – just feel a tad dizzy. I'll – I'll be fi- fine in a minute.”
Much too big.
Gaunt. Gaunt, Gaunt, Gaunt, Gaunt.
“Who – who – um, were the Gaunts?”
A hush settled.
“The Gaunts?” Harry repeated, no emotion reflecting in his voice.
“The ring Horcrux. What connection did they have to Voldemort? You were saying before how he chose personal items?”
“Well,” said Harry, sharing a glance with Ron and Hermione, “Merope Gaunt was Voldemort's mother.”
That night, I dreamed.
I dreamed of horrible, ghastly things. I dreamed of writhing snakes, and screaming, and green light, and bits of Lucius Malfoy's words came floating down like snowflakes, although they weighed a thousand tonnes.
“Willow... Willow Gaunt,” he sneered in my face, before shooting away, and then he was standing over my Father's body, and my heart was beating for revenge, and I got it, I did, I killed the monster, but then I hadn't, and he was standing behind me, a dagger raised.
Pieces of the conversation I'd had with the Golden Trio floated about, like solid objects that weren't quite there; literal subtitles being broadcasted around a Quidditch pitch, and James became a serpent and bit into my arm.
“The Gaunts were an ancient family of pureblood Slytherins, well known for their temper, as well as their ability to talk to snakes.”
“Gaunt...” hissed James the serpent.
“They were hated by everyone in their right mind. They were foul.”
I woke with a start, heart racing, bed-sheets soaked in sweat. It took me ages to fall back to sleep, and I dozed fitfully.
Bella shook me awake.
“Ugh,” I moaned.
“Oh, stop that. Sleepy head, it's ten o'clock already! We're going to Ron and Hermione's soon, so get up.”
I pulled the covers back over my head in annoyance. But I did get up, anyway. I wasn't going to miss a visit to Ron and Hermione's place.
Maria Evergreen's POV
Magic. Who needed it, anyway? What was the logic of being able to simply wave a stick in the air, say 'kababbity babbity boo', and have all your problems fixed so easily?
Pfft. Nobody needed magic.
Willow came down for breakfast – finally – the lazy thing. She was different. She didn't remember. She wasn't the same Willow. But still... how to tell her?
Yes, I knew Willow was important. But Rose was my bloody daughter, and she wasn't happy. So she was the primary worry on my mind, not Willow.
“Bloody hell,” I told Hermione, “that Malfoy boy has a world of pain coming to him very soon.”
“Ron,” warned Hermione, “you can't just arrest him. You're an Auror, you have to have evidence that he's practising Dark Magic. The Malfoys are fairly respectable now, you can't just arrest the boy because he hurt our daughter.”
“I know, but maybe I could -”
And that was that.
That bastard Malfoy.
I missed Scorpius. It wasn't logical, but I just did. I missed everything about him, from the way he smiled to the way he'd held me when I'd been down. Not this time. This time he was the one who'd caused my pain.
Maybe I'd overreacted, though. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe he'd just been feeling guilty about Willow – his grandfather having killed her father – and tried to lay some of the blame on her. Maybe he'd just been defensive. He probably hadn't really slept with Zabini. He was probably just saying that to make me jealous. Or angry.
Whichever it was, I hated him not being around.
Which was exactly why I'd snuck out of the house while my parents were sleeping, and caught the Knight Bus.
I had to make everything better.
Willow walked through the door, preceded by Bella.
“Hey guys,” I made an effort to be cheerful. Probably didn't work.
“Hey,” replied Bella. Willow had become a shell of her former self. Usually she would have been first through the door, and first to greet everybody. I suddenly felt a tad bit guilty about my backfiring wand, and Lockhart, back in second year. But then – nah, Lockhart deserved it.
“Almost Christmas guys!” Yep, cheerful definitely wasn't working for me.
Willow and Hermione both gave me the look. Bella chose to ignore it.
“Yeah, nearly Christmas,” said Bella, a little sadly. She shared a glance with Willow.
Bloody teenage girls. Never understood them. Never will.
“Where's Rose and Hugo?” asked Willow.
“Hugo's at a friend's. Rose's still asleep, I expect,” answered Hermione. “I'll go wake her up.”
She briskly strode upstairs.
“Cup of tea?” I offered, as a loud yell sounded.
I assumed that was Rose. In the mornings of holidays she was impossible to wake up.
But when my wife ran down the stairs, her face as white as if she'd just seen Voldemort's ghost, I knew something was wrong.
“Rose.” I stood up. “She's not in her bed.”
Willow and Bella stood there, shocked.
“You two, stay here,” Hermione instructed, “Ron, you go to Ginny and Harry's. Get them looking for her. I'm going to the Ministry to alert the Aurors. We'll find her.”
I grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, and stepped into the fire.
Willow knew something. I could tell. There was something she wasn't saying.
“Willow, if you know anything, anything at all...” I implied.
“Are you a Seer?”
“No. Willow, you have to tell people, please -”
I stop talking as Rose Weasley burst through the door.
Bella was a Seer, I swear. She knew. Well, she knew that I was keeping something from her.
Rose's face was pale, pale grey. Her eyes; dazed and unfocussed. She was covered in mud, her clothes torn, and she was bleeding heavily from two wounds that looked like they'd been done with a butcher's knife.
“Oh my gosh, Rose!” Bella cried. “Willow, stay here, give her a blanket, keep her warm, don't let her -”
And Bella was gone. To fetch Ron and Hermione, I supposed. Rose took two steps forward, swaying.
“Rose, what happened to you?”
“Lucius... your mother... knows... something... danger... she's in... danger...”
And then she collapsed, into my arms, dead unconscious. I stripped my sweater off, and pressed it against her wounds, trying to stop the bleeding.
Ron, Hermione and Bella reappeared in the fireplace.
“Rose!” cried Ron.
“St Mungos. I'll take her.” Hermione whispered, looking uncertain. She grabbed Rose, and a handful of that green powder, and they were gone.
“Bloody hell,” Ron; sitting down abruptly, looking almost as grey as Rose.
“The thing is, Mr and Mrs Weasley, your daughter... she may not wake up again. And even if she does... she probably won't be the same. She may be badly damaged. Her brain... She sustained several head wounds and bruising.”
It was like a replay of Willow destroying her memory. All over again.
“Willow,” I addressed her, after an awkward silence, “did she say anything, anything at all?”
“No,” she answered, although I could tell she wasn't being completely honest, “she collapsed just as you left.”
Why was she lying?
Wow... Not quite sure what exactly happened there...
Rose?! Why'd you have to go and do that, you silly girl!?
Willow?! Why are you lying?!
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On another note, you may have heard of the author Phoenix Quill? She and I are going to be co-writing a novel on my account, about Teddy and Victoire. Just a heads up.
Anyway, *hint hint* reviewing makes me happy!
Siriusly though, it makes my day.
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