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Chapter 5 : sink
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― Homer, The Odyssey
It seems that Professor Hillings actually expects me to do his stupid detention. I couldn’t get away with just not turning up; he came over to me at dinner and practically dragged me here. And now he’s given me a bucket and mop and thinks that I’m actually going to wash the floor. I yawn theatrically to make the point that no I’m fucking not.
“Miss Brown, if you do not do your detention I regret to inform you that you’ll have to spend the entire night in this potions classroom,” Hillings says sternly.
“Okay,” I shrug. So be it. Because I was not crouching down to mop a floor anytime soon. The most ridiculous detention ever: did I look like a house elf? The floor was already clean! Why the fuck would I need to clean it again?
“Mr. Potter in the next room is making delightful progress,” Hillings says.
“Yay for him.” I drone, trying to block his voice out. So. Annoying. I hate people.
I slide down the wall and stare at the floor until he gets bored and walks off in a huff.
I think of Roxanne. I think about her dark brown eyes and ridiculous purple hair and the pain in her voice when she thinks no-one notices and the scars laced across her heart. She seems so restless and lost.
I find myself wanting to save her.
As soon as the thought has flitted through my head, I widen my eyes and bash the back of my head against the wall. I regret it afterwards, but maybe it got that thought, that dreadful, disgusting idea out of my brain for good.
Why would Lila Brown want to save anyone? She can’t even save herself.
She can’t even save herself.
There are so many cracks in the floor. I cover one with my hand and imagine that I can feel the building breathing slowly through it, in, out, in, out. You don’t have a choice about whether you want to breathe or not. So many things I’m not in control of. I want to cover up all the cracks, smother the building, create a seamless, unblemished floor. But I’m not sure how.
Albus stands in the doorway. My hand has been pressed against the crack so hard that there is an imprint of it in my skin. I trace the imperfections with one finger.
“Why are you being difficult?” Albus sighs, walking closer. I glare at him stonily.
“What’s the point, Lila?” Now he picks up the mop that was resting in my bucket and starts to slowly sweep it across the floor.
“What’s the point, Lila?” I mimic. I watch him do my detention for me. After a while my chin falls onto my chest and I give the impression of daydreaming. But I’m not. I’m watching Albus, absorbing every detail.
I received another pathetic little note earlier, mixed up in the torn out pages of my potions book. You’ll get what’s coming to you, whore.
I try to determine whether Albus is in on this little attempt to intimidate me. I don’t think he is though, the notes aren’t written in any way he would do it. But he knows about it. He tried to warn me, after I attacked Lily.
I attacked his sister. Why would Albus warn me? He thinks I’m a monster – no, wait. He thinks I’m mad. Mentally ill. He probably has noble morals or something that prevent him from being able to justify revenge on me.
I feel a flash of triumph; I’ve guessed where he stands in all this now. I’ve figured him out. I have the advantage.
Albus drops the mop then and comes to sit next to me. I tense, not sure whether to move away or move closer.
“Albus Severus Potter,” I try, twisting my tongue around the words.
“Lila Rosaline Brown,” he says back and I feel my heart stop. How the hell does he know my middle name?
“How do you know my middle name?” I demand. He merely smirks. I grab the discarded mop and point it at him. “I asked you a question, Potter!”
“Oh I’m scared Lila, a mop? Really?” he puts his hands in the air. I stare at him with my arms crossed and one eyebrow raised.
“You’d better tell me,” I say.
“That was pathetic,” he says. “But if you must know, I guessed it.”
“That's bullshit,” I snarl. How could he have possibly guessed something like Rosaline? Do I look even slightly like a Rosaline? Like something fragrant and fragile and loveable? No-one could love me. I can’t even love me, not if I try with every fibre of my being.
“I thought it suited you,” Albus shrugs. “Also it kind of fits with the flower theme? Lavender, Lila, Rosal-“ When he says my mother’s name I stop abruptly, hands curling into fists. “-ine. Can’t believe I got it right though,” he looks at me shrewdly through his glasses with those mouldy shit eyes. My hair hangs around my face in tired strands of blonde and I blow them away.
“It’s not Rosaline,” I say suddenly. “It’s Valkyrie.”
Albus snorts. “Right. Lila Valkyrie Brown. Right.”
“Believe it or die,” I hiss at him as I walk out the door. Was I really that much of a Rosaline? Did people look at me and think I was sweet-looking? Kind? Weak?
“Oi! Rosaline!” Albus says, still propped up next to the wall. “Where the fuck do you think you're going?”
I ignore him, still lost in a swirl of self-hatred. The castle walls stretch and mould themselves into prison walls, and I start running. I run and I run. It's freezing down here. Icicles hang from the ceiling - hang from my fingers and arms and eyes, dragging me down through the earth. I weigh a thousand tons.
But my feet seem to move of their own accord and before I know it I find myself in the middle of the kitchens. A roaring fire starts to thaw me.
“Miss Brown!” squeak the house elves, a tad anxiously. I vaguely remember storming in here one evening and smashing almost every plate in an angry moment. “What can we get Miss Brown?”
“Raw meat,” I say. The elf’s eyes widen but he scuttles off to get me some. “And make sure it’s lamb,” I call out after him.
“Mr Potter!” I hear from my right, a voice that sounds a lot more enthusiastic. I scowl. “How can Ellie be of assistance?”
“I’ll have whatever she’s having,” I hear Potter say and I smirk. the elf returns holding two plates of raw lamb and the look on Potter’s face is absolutely priceless.
“Bon appetite,” I say to him, making a drinking gesture. I then proceed to eat the pink, fleshy substance with a vigour that is evidently horrifying to Potter.
Another inherited trait from daddy dearest, I suppose, my bloodthirsty cravings.
I will find him one day. And when I do, I’ll slice him into little pieces and feed him to wild dogs for what he did to my mother.
I swear this.
If I do nothing else in this living hell of an existence, I will do that.
“Lila…” Albus is staring at my bloody hands. “What are you doing.”
“I’m eating, thickhead,” I roll my eyes.
"Yes but..." in his shock, the seemingly permanent sarcastic edge to his voice has vanished. He sounds so young. I pause.
“You have no idea, Potter. You live in your stupid, sheltered little world, full of relatives who love you and friends who want to be you and teachers who kiss your fucking feet. You don't know what the real world is like. You don't know what people will do."
And then I howl. And it feels good. It feels like I’m channelling myself, the pure essence of everything that I am, up and out through my vocal chords, the crazy sound bouncing around the walls of the kitchens back and forth and back and forth and then-
Then it stops-
And there’s silence-
And Potter looks worried-
And I just sink to the floor.
“You didn’t come to the Astronomy Tower,” are the next words spoken.
The house elves are cowering in one corner of the room and the place suddenly feels a hundred times colder.
“Well I just needed to tell you,” he says. “That I know what happened to your mother. I know everything.”
And that’s when the screaming starts.
a/n: Hi everyone, sorry it’s been a while! This story is very dark and is only going to get darker so there we are I’m afraid. Anyway. I love writing it so so much and all your support has been fantastic ily guys! You’re probably beginning to guess about Lila but make sure you stick around for the next chapter and things will be revealed …. -Annon
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