Chapter 1 : How Soon Is Now?
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CHAPTER ONE: How Soon Is Now?
You shut your mouth, how can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does
~How Soon Is Now ~ The Smiths ~
I stared into the flat, dead eyes of my captor, whose face was otherwise disguised by a mask and hood. Those eyes would haunt me forever. They held no feeling, no warmth. Just cold, emotionless tunnels of ice blue. I wouldn’t give them what they wanted, those Death Eaters. I wouldn’t give them any information regarding what my father was doing in the Department of Mysteries. In fact, I didn’t even know what he did, seeing as he was an Unspeakable and couldn’t tell anybody. But apparently the truth wasn’t good enough for Voldemort, and so they kept me for a month and a half in that furniture-less room, chained to a muggle radiator, wandless and helpless. They tortured me daily, of course, but I had nothing to declare. All I could do was grit my teeth and refuse to scream. Before they kidnapped me, I wasn’t brave or courageous, or even proud. I liked to read books and keep myself to myself. But then I had to be brave and courageous, and from that came some pride. I wouldn’t let them know how miserable this was. I wouldn’t scream, which would be music to their ears.
When the Order of the Phoenix finally tracked me down and saved me, and my captor was thrown in Azkaban for the rest of his rotten existence, I felt freer than I had before I was kidnapped. In fact, I appreciated that I was free- that was the difference. I would be eternally grateful to Dumbledore for this.
But going home was weird. My parents had thought I was dead, and I don’t think they quite comprehended the fact I was home and safe. I was a lot skinner than when I left, and needed a lot of square meals. But really, I was re-evaluating my life.
I realised I was sixteen years old, and there was so much I hadn’t done.
I’d never been kissed- had never even been on a date, let alone had a boyfriend. I’d never even touched alcohol, had avoided the parties covertly thrown at school by friends who managed to get hold of some Firewhiskey. I’d never even had a detention before, being the bookish Ravenclaw that I was. What kind of sad existence was I living, being meek and quiet? This year, that would all change.
So when I boarded the Hogwarts Express to return to Hogwarts for my sixth year, I had my head held high, despite everyone staring at me. I had been all over the papers ever since I was rescued from the Death Eaters. I had nothing to hide away from- I was just glad I was alive after everything I’d been through.
I found a compartment and settled down, looking out at the platform. It was full of first years running around excitedly, seventh years shoving younger years out of the way, and emotional parents. Just like always. I’d forced my parents to stay home this year, and I was glad that I had because they’d be the worst of all the parents. It wasn’t long before the whistle blew and everyone hurried onto the train. I’d only made the mistake of getting into that crush once, in third year, and I never planned to repeat the experience, new attitude to life or not.
As the train turned a corner and Platform 9 and ¾ vanished from view, my compartment door slid open, and a surprisingly flustered looking Sirius Black entered.
“Hey, everywhere else is full. Do you mind if I join you?” Sirius Black had never spoken to me before, and I’d sat beside him in Ancient Runes for a full two years. I nodded and he waved his wand at his trunk, which filed itself away in the luggage rack, before he sat down.
“You can already do silent magic?” I asked, interested.
“I’ve had a lot of time on my hands.” He shrugged, then peered at me. “Aren’t you the one who was kidnapped by Death Eaters over the summer?”
“Tactful.” I snorted. “I’m also the one whose notes you’ve been copying since fourth year.”
“Oh.” He looked embarrassed. “Sorry. I’m not the most attentive person.”
“So, are you?” Sirius asked awkwardly.
“What?” I raised an eyebrow.
“The one who was, you know, kidnapped?”
“Yes. I do have a name though.” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m sorry, I don’t-“
“Erin. Erin McNamara.” I supplied.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Sirius Black.”
“Yes, I know.” Who didn’t? He and his friends were notorious. They were in Gryffindor, and called themselves the Marauders. They consisted of Sirius, his best friend James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Sirius was considered the good looking one, James the sporty one, Remus the smart one, and Peter the weird one. They liked to play pranks and cause trouble, which is why everyone knew who they were. That, and for the fact that they had a small entourage of girls from various years hanging around them at all times. I had never seen Sirius on his own before. “Where are your, erm, friends?” I asked.
“Remus has a Prefect meeting, Merlin knows where James and Pete are. Where’re yours?”
“That,” I began to say, “Is a very good question…” But then of course, the compartment door opened, and my friends actually stepped in.
“Erin! Oh Merlin I’m so glad to see you!” Alice Prewett, my best friend, flung herself at me, hugging me tightly. I smiled over her shoulder at Frank Longbottom and Perry Everly. The latter had gone blonde over the summer, and seemed to have gotten even taller than ever.
“How are you?” Frank asked.
“Great.” I smiled, being honest. “Never better. Have you met Sirius by the way? I sat next to him for two years and he only just found out my name.”
“I said sorry.” Sirius protested, then turned and put on his most charming smile. “Hi.”
“It’s nice to meet you- I’m Perry.” Perry gushed, and I wished there was some way of hitting her without Sirius seeing. His eyes were all over her never-ending legs.
“So…” Alice looked at me meaningfully, then I noticed that Frank and Perry were giving me the same expectant look. I sighed; I guess I should have expected this. Everyone would want to know what had happened while the Death Eaters had me. And these were my friends, I probably should tell them. I resigned myself to this, and decided to keep it as brief as possible:
“Well, I got to know what the Cruciatus Curse feels like pretty well.” I began. “But I couldn’t give them what they wanted, so they got even more sadistic. I’m fine though- I’m taking the good with the bad.” I felt kind of uncomfortable saying this in front of Sirius who I barely knew, but he didn’t say anything. Actually, he was looking at me in a kind of… admiring way.
“It must’ve been horrific.” Alice said, looking disturbed.
“I’ll learn to live with it.” I smiled grimly. I hoped they’d let it go now, and thankfully, they did. I think they sensed I didn’t want to go over it- I’d already had to enough times, first for the Order of the Phoenix, then the Wizengamot, then my parents, when I’d finally been given the all-clear from St Mungo’s and allowed to go home.
“Well, I have some news.” Frank began excitedly, but then paused. “Oh, fuck! I just remembered, I’m meant to be in the prefect meeting!” We all laughed at this classic Frank moment of forgetfulness as he dashed off.
“I wonder what he was going to tell us.” Perry said.
“Actually, I know.” Alice responded, and suddenly she looked nervous. Actually, more like terrified. “Frank and I… we’re getting married!”
A/N: This is my first attempt at a semi-serious fanfiction so please be kind. I know it might seem a bit dark but I promise it won't be like that all the time. Also, I would be eternally grateful if you'd leave me a review!