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Chapter 11 : In Bad Planning And Impulsions
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Was I missing something? Seriously?
“Gaunt?” I whispered. Unusual for me, I guess. I usually shouted, or spoke too inappropriately loudly.
“Gaunt?” I spoke a little louder. Not that it was heard, or anything. Would have been a miracle, considering the shouting, the crying, and the people who were trying to calm things down.
Willow was in James’ arms. Poor girl had finally lost her grip on everything. Not surprising. She’d been losing her hold on reality ever since she’d walked out of the Room of Requirement. James was almost crying himself, which was horrible. James never cried. Not for anything.
Willow and James. I’d always figured they’d realise that they were meant for each other, get married and be happy together. They were that kind of people. Not like me. I had a problem with commitment, I supposed. But hey, snogging and dumping was fun.
We were going to get thrown out of St Mungos in a minute, if we didn’t calm down. So that’s why I did what I did. Not just because I’ve always wanted to smash glass. There isn’t much opportunity for that, though.
So, I picked up a glass of water, chucked it over Willow – that’s how I calm people down, okay? Then I smashed the glass in the middle of the room.
Everybody stopped talking, yelling, and even Willow quietened to choking sobs.
“Dom?” Lily questioned.
“Shut up. Everyone. Explain. You,” I pointed at Mrs Evergreen.
“Willow’s adopted,” she faltered, “her real name’s Gaunt.”
“NO!” I screamed, “SHUT UP!”
“Willow... it’s true, I’m so -” Hermione was in on it?
I jumped up, ignoring the tears dripping down my face.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP! I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE!” I halted, choking back a wail, “IT’S ALL MY FAULT!”
I tried to hold my head high. I walked out.
I didn’t hide. I simply walked around St Mungos. Until I found a room that was unattended. In it; a small girl, of about five years old, lying – tinged green, unconscious. I sat down on a seat, and cried. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. A nurse – or Healer, whatever they called them – bustled in.
“Oh, it’s alright dear. Your sister will be able to have quite a normal life. It’s only once a month.”
She’d mistaken me for the sister of the girl.
At five years old?
I felt a kind of kinship with her. She would never know normal. Kind of like me.
What even was normal, anyway? Who was to say what was usual? How could they even say that?
The girl blinked once, twice, and sat up.
“Who... you?” She asked hoarsely.
“A friend,” I replied, with feeling, “and I promise you, it’s going to be alright.”
She nodded, and then fell back asleep.
I suddenly felt a surge of conviction. I needed to get away from everything. I walked to the waiting room, and grabbed a handful of Floo Powder.
Bloody hell, I thought at the same time that Ron said it.
So the truth was beginning to unfold. We hadn’t ever planned this. It was spiralling out of control, so fast that I couldn’t even see where we’d started. I looked at Ron, and Harry, sharing a three-way glance full of meaning.
“If she’s found out this much,” I whispered to them, sidling up next to them, “how long is it going to take for her to figure out the whole truth?”
Ron and Harry grimaced.
“Nobody would guess...” Harry hesitated.
“How did she find out, anyway?” hissed Ron.
Fucking hell. Willow could be a drama llama, sometimes. But this time I was completely with her. I couldn’t believe it... Willow would always be my sister, no matter what.
So I slipped out of the room, unnoticed. As if anybody would have noticed me, anyway. Not with everybody yelling, and talking too fast, and asking too many questions.
Nobody else noticed, but I did. Because I was in love with him. Yes, that’s right, I loved him. I slipped out, too, and followed him. Stupidly. And bravely. I’d never done anything much brave in my life. Until now. I felt a rush of adrenalin.
Shane Finnigan could go get stuffed.
I grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, just as a crazy little Nathan Evergreen ran up and hugged me tightly, getting me by the waist and picking me up.
“Woah, brother, you’re getting so tall!” I exclaimed.
I caught a glimpse of Lucy Weasley standing over by the door, as we disappeared in a flash of green.
We landed on the floor, coughing up dust. Nathan stood up, and I laughed hysterically at him. He looked like he was made of coal, he was that covered in soot. But soon my laughter turned into silent tears streaming down my face. I wiped them away.
“I... can’t. I don’t even know what’s going on.”
He looked exasperatedly at me.
“So, where are we, anyway?”
“How am I supposed to know?” I looked around. It was a shop, very musty – a peculiar smell hung about in the air. It was covered in grime, and was dark – it’s dominating colour seemed to be grey. It didn’t even matter that we’d spread soot all over the floor. You couldn’t see the difference.
There wasn’t a single person in sight, anyway.
“Let’s get out of here,” shivered Nathan, “it’s creepy.”
“Hang on, I wanna look at some stuff.”
A large book had caught my eye. It didn’t have about two inches of dust, like everything else.
The title was ‘Prophecies: The Untold Stories’.
I reached out a hand, to pick it up, but a strange pale grey one gripped my wrist.
I gasped, and struggled to get out. Impossible. Man, it was a strong grip.
“Shit!” my brother yelped, jumping backwards.
“Nathan! Language!” of course my first reaction was to reprimand him. My second reaction was to look up, at a ragged old man, whom had an eye that seemed to be looking in another direction.
I knew him. I didn’t – I couldn’t explain it. I just knew that I’d seen him before.
“Miss Evergreen,” so he did know me, “I’d be grateful if you could be so obliged as to keep your hands to yourself.” He said all of this in a creepy, monotonous voice that reverberated eerily. I shuddered.
“Maybe I would like to purchase this. Am I permitted to handle it, then?” I replied haughtily, staring him down. Which was distracting, with his lazy eye.
“No. It is not for sale.”
“Everybody has a price,” Nathan stepped in, having recovered from his initial fright. “Name it.”
The creepy guy just shook his head.
“This item is reserved.”
And that was it. He limped to the front of the shop, and ignored us.
I walked out, my head held high, spitting on the desk as I went.
What? I was already in deep shit, I might as well have some fun.
We were left in a shady alleyway.
And when I say shady, I don’t just mean there isn’t much light, although that was a contributing factor to its creepiness. The people – none wearing bright or remotely happy clothes or smiles – were walking with their heads low, stooped; no one looking in anyone’s eyes, no one stopping to talk. It was bizarre.
I heard Nathan take an intake of breath – in fear.
“Willow, we gotta get out of here,” he hissed, not bothering to explain further, and dragging me. For once, I didn’t argue. The place was giving me the creeps
We burst out, fully intact, into daylight.
“Right,” I said, collapsing by a wall, “what was that?”
“Knockturn Alley,” replied Nathan shortly. “It’s full of witches and wizards who are... bad.”
He joined me, looking exhausted.
“I didn’t really plan ahead,” I sighed, “I was thinking I could move to Peru though.”
“No good,” he shook his head, “they eat guinea pigs there.”
“GUINEA PIGS?” I yelped.
“Shut up,” he reprimanded, glancing around nervously.
We wandered out, onto the streets of London. Nobody would recognise us – they were all Muggles.
“We’ll grab something to eat, then figure out what to do.”
I nodded in agreement. Nathan had always been the more mature one.
Then I frowned, because I’d remembered that, and I was having a flashback.
Dad had smiled when I asked that question. I’d been attempting to be grumpy, which hadn’t been working. I could never hold a frown.
“Seriously?” I’d asked in mock disbelief. “You think he’s more responsible than me?”
“Yup,” he’d said, in mock solemness, ruining the act by popping the ‘p’.
“We’re definitely talking about the same person here, right? I don’t have another one hidden somewhere?”
I’d seen a brief shadow pass over Dad’s face, but I’d thought nothing of it.
“Definitely,” he’d replied after a short pause.
“I said; Willow, wake up!” Nathan waved a hand in front of my face, concerned.
“Geez, you looked pretty pale. Are you sure?”
“Yes. I just... remembered something.”
He let the matter drop, even though I knew he was bursting with curiosity, and even though he knew I’d spill if he pushed it. I was grateful. I didn’t feel up to recounting.
We chose a cosy looking cafe from across the street, and ordered a couple of doughnuts.
“So. No plan?”
“I told you, I didn’t want this to happen. But it’s my fault poor Rosie is in that hospital, and everyone is in danger.”
“I don’t exactly get how that works...” Nathan began, but was rudely interrupted by me pulling him down underneath the table.
No, I wasn’t crazy. That mop of long blonde hair approaching from across the street looked painfully familiar.
“C’mon, Will, at least let me finish the doughnut before you go all crazy mode!”
“Shut up Nathan. We’re in deep shit now.”
I glared, and pressed a finger to my lips.
The door opened, making an annoying tinkling sound that nearly made my heart jump right out of my throat. I heard several loud gasps, and the resonance of fancy, large, shiny shoes, accompanied by a cane.
There were more footsteps behind that.
Too many. A baby started crying.
I glanced across at Nathan. He was staring, wide-eyed, right back at me. I drew a finger menacingly on my throat, miming death. He nodded.
It was Lucius Malfoy. And Co.
“Check out the back. She can’t have gone far.” Malfoy Senior’s voice was creepy. It was a mixture of contempt and an inner satisfaction.
Which, I supposed, didn’t make much sense.
What the hell was his fucking problem? Had I killed his pet hamster or something? His pet hamster would probably be called Fang. Or Dracula. Or Death.
Footsteps clopped past our hiding place.
I could practically hear Nathan’s thoughts.
What the fuck? Is he after you? What’s happening?
I frowned. I could hear him. In my head.
Strange. Probably a magical thing. But then, if magic folk could communicate via mental text messages, what was the point of Malfoy Senior talking out loud?
Eh. Nathan’s voice in my head was probably just a sign of stress.
“Okay,” I whispered once I was sure they’d passed us. “You just walk out of here, normally. They don’t know you.”
I hoped against hope that I was right.
“And I’ll follow,” I pulled out my wand, “I’ll have to fight out, probably.”
Nathan nodded. He was a bit of a wuss, come to think of it. But I didn’t want him in danger.
I watch on, with drawn breath, as my brother hauled himself smoothly back into his seat, and walked away.
I steadied myself, mouthed a few spell I’d learned – although they didn’t exactly work very well – and jumped out of my seat.
A guy – tough and large – was standing there, a wand held out. He was wearing a very authentic cloak, and a very authentic, shining, silver mask.
Nathan was lying, paralysed, on the floor. The other – innocent bystanders – people in the cafe were terrified. Their expressions reminded me of Rose’s. Poor, innocent Rose. Caught up in all of this, when she didn’t have to be.
“Well, now, that is a surprise,” drawled Malfoy Senior Murderer Guy.
“Is it,” I spat. It wasn’t a question. It was more of a sarcastic statement.
“No,” he chortled, pointing a wand directly at my furiously beating heart.
Wow, sorry, I've been so lazy!
That seems to be my excuse a lot. Ignore that.
Anyway, anyone who reviews gets a free invisible biscuit!
I'm not entirely sure what just happened in that chapter...
Plus, another cliffhanger!
Please, please, please, please, please with a cherry on top of the invisible biscuit, review?
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