Chapter 8 : Damaged Minds
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Hello friends once again! I know I haven't updated in quite a bit but I've been holidaying so I haven't had a machine for a bit. Enjoy this one xx
"Dreaming dreams with happy endings
In backyards, winning battles with our wooden swords
But now we've stepped into a cruel world
Where everybody stands and keeps score"
-Eyes Open, Taylor Swift
Make it stop, I begged, my hand flying to my mouth. This was too much. Too many deaths. Too much blood. Just too damn much...
I watched, wide-eyed, as the tall blonde from Beauxbatons tackled Hannah Abbott on the forest floor, her feet on either side of my schoolmate's body, a gleaming knife in her hand, raised above her head, poised to attack.
Hannah was trembling- no, shaking insanely, tears were pouring out of her bright eyes as she watched the blonde bring the knife down. But Hannah refused to scream. Refused to whimper. Just watched the knife come down.
The knife pierced through her stomach and forgetting the consequences entirely, I opened my mouth to release the strangled cry lodged in my throat. A hand covered my mouth in the last second, stifling my scream and also making me jump straight out of my skin.
But when I didn't feel a knife stabbing into my back or a bullet shattering my spine, I dismissed my captor for the moment- my eyes fixed on the sight in front of me instead. I wanted to run to her. I wanted to kill the murderer sitting straddled above her, stabbing her not once but repeatedly. I believe I even would've had the person behind me not pulled me away from the sight.
I squeezed my eyes shut as my head hit a bark softly, one firm hand over my mouth and another holding me back with a strong hold on my shoulder. I shook my head, trying to rid the image of Hannah from my mind. It was just too much to take... So soon after Calyx.
A cannon boomed. One less heart beating.
I screamed a muffled scream again and tears stung the back of my eyes but I refused to let them advance. I could not cry. I would not cry.
I took a deep, shuddering breath and opened my eyes slowly to look into stormy blue ones. I stared into them, trying to distract myself from the grotesque vision of the brutal murder that I witnessed. What I had just seen was... Horrible. Sick. Even after Hannah was as good as dead, the girl had continued stabbing her. Bloodlust. It was fitting. So very fitting.
Just thinking about it brought a wave of emotions crashing over me and I closed my eyes again, trying to calm down. Trying to resist the urge to burst into tears for the second time in two days.
I could hear them in the clearing. The three tributes that had formed an alliance- one girl from Beauxbatons and two boys from Delists and Durmstrangs. They were laughing. Talking. As if a slaughtered body wasn't lying a meter away from them.
My eyes flew open, fury ignited within them. I moved, the gun gripped in my hand tightly. I would kill who I could. If only he would let me go.
"Granger, don't be stupid!" Malfoy snarled, pushing me back against the tree.
"Leave me!" I whispered furiously.
"No. Stop and think for a second." He said, firmly holding me back despite my protesting. "Three of them. One of you. Even if I helped you, one of us are bound to die. Going out there is suicide, Granger. You've come this far and-"
"-And they just killed Hannah!" I growled.
"Exactly. She's dead. Rather one of you than both of you. She's dead already and nothing you do can bring her back. You hear me? It isn't your time to die. Not now. Don't blow your chance of winning because of irrational thinking."
I knew he was right. I knew I couldn't argue. Rather one of us than both of us. That's what Calyx had said as well. So I stayed where I was and soon, Malfoy loosened his grip. After a point, after the voices had faded away, after their footsteps could no longer be heard, he released me and I didn't waste a second. In a second, I was kneeling down beside Hannah's fallen figure, stroking her hair and cradling her face in my hands. With shaking hands, I moved her light brown hair out of her face, revealing her petrified brown eyes. We had grown to love this face. She had grown to love us. And Neville- Oh, Neville!
The girl he loved was dead. He had, perhaps, even watched her die. Were they watching? Were the gathered in the Great Hall together, watching as one-by-one their friends, family, the ones they loved were slaughtered?
I turned around. Malfoy was gone.
* * *
(3rd person narration,
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry)
"Neville..." Ginny whispered, covering his hand with her smaller one. "I'm so sorry." Tears gathered in her eyes and she was aware of a large number of eyes in the Hall on the boy beside her. The ones who weren't staring at the Gryffindors, were staring at the projecting screen at the front of the hall. It had been running since the games began and projected to the audience their school's tributes.
No one knew what to say. Neville stood up on shaking legs and strode out of the hall quickly. Ginny, Harry, Ron and Dean followed him, afraid their friend would do something rash.
The large oak doors slammed shut behind them and Neville grit his teeth together and squeezed his eyes shut, clutching his head in his hands. He opened his eyes and pulling back his fist, he punched the wall in front of him. The others heard his knuckles crack and blood dripped to the floor instantly. He didn't care. He covered his face with his hands and released a strangled, almost animalistic cry. Ginny moved forward and put her arms around the vulnerable boy and pulled him towards her. He buried his face into her shoulder and hair and broke down. His bloody hands gripped the sides of her sweater and he cried. He cried for the love he had just lost. He cried for the pain she had gone through. He cried for Hermione, was had to witness everything firsthand. And most of all, he cried for them all, who had to endure so much pain and anguish that it was a wonder none of them had killed themselves yet.
Later than night down at the lowest floor of Hogwarts, Hayley Parkinson burst through the Slytherin common room, her eyes scanning the room for Blaise Zabini. He was seated by the fire on the floor, leaning his back against the side of an armchair.
"Blaise." She said. He spun around, fear and nervousness in his eyes. Had Draco or Pansy-
"No ones gone, Blaise." She assured him. Not yet, anyway. "There's been an announcement in the games." He sat up straighter. "If two tributes from the same school team up and survive, they will both be allowed to leave the games alive."
"So- so Draco and Pansy-"
"-Can both come back as long as they survive till the others are gone."
Blaise swallowed hard. It was the best news he had heard in a long time, sure. But the prospect of Granger and Finnegan dying in the process- he shuddered- why didn't it seem worth it at all? Especially after seeing Finnegan save Pansy?
* * *
"-Instead, if two tributes from the same school team up- there can be two victors. Good luck, all."
I didn't stop to even think twice. It was a mistake on my part, obviously. But I was fed up. I was tired. I was hurting. I wasn't being allowed to grieve. I was fighting for something that was as good as useless. If I won, I would live with survivor's guilt. I no longer knew what I was doing with myself. I had killed, albeit for the right reasons. But I was a killer nonetheless. Bloodlust had changed everything. And I was tired of it.
So I ran. I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, stumbling over rocks and uneven ground- leaves, twigs and branches slapping at my face and crunching beneath my feet.
"Seamus!" I cried, forgetting all else. I was too tired. "Seamus!" I knew he was alive. I just knew it. I had to find him. I had to.
And for the next, what felt like hours, I just ran through the forest, screaming his name, forgetting that anyone else existed. That anyone else who heard me would get me and slaughter me till my organs were hanging out of my body. All that mattered to me was finding him.
Suddenly, two things happened at one time. The first, I stopped screaming and heard voices and footsteps heading my way. The second, the reason for the first. My eyes grew wide as saucers as a- much too familiar?- hand clamped down across my mouth, silencing me, which is why I heard the footsteps and voices. Another hand grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side behind a tree, my chest pressed against the bark.
I began wriggling, my arms flying around, trying to hit whoever was holding me although I had a fair idea of who the hell it was.
"Stop struggling, Granger!" I was right, of course. It was him yet again. I turned around and came face to face with none other than Malfoy. "I'm going to move my hand, don't say a word, understand?" I growled but nodded and he removed his hand.
"Are you barking mad?" He hissed, looking around us. "This is a war zone, Granger. If you're heard, you're found. If you're found, you're killed. Do you WANT to die?"
"Why do you care if I die?" She hissed back, keeping her voice low. "And are you friggin' stalking me?"
"I don't care if you died." He said. "And I don't need be stalking you- why didn't you yell a little louder, Granger? I'm not sure Potter back at Hogwarts could hear you."
I ignored his comment about my screaming. "If you dont care, then why did you pull me away? You could've had the pleasure of watching the others skin me alive".
"Tell me, Granger, why didn't you let him finish me off?" He asked. He didn't need to mention which time and when, it was understood. He was talking about Hulk.
I didn't answer, choosing to look away instead. "You heard me. You found me. What's stopping you from killing me?" I asked softly. I had to know. I needed to know. I just... Didn't understand anything anymore.
"What stopped you from killing me as well when you killed him? I'm beginning to understand what you meant when you said we weren't enemies here, Granger. Far from it." He said, instead of answering. I kept silent again.
"I swear she's around here- split up and find her and kill her." A shrill voice rang out from their left. The girl from Beauxbatons in the alliance. We locked eyes and suddenly we were running away from the voices, our feet padding as lightly as possible on the scrunchy leaves. But not lightly enough.
"That way!" The same shrill voice yelled and in a second, we could hear people running after us.
"Run, Granger!" Malfoy called over his shoulder, ducking a branch in the way. I was hurrying after him, a few steps behind.
"Over here". He said, grabbing my arm and pulling me to one side. He pushed me behind a large oak tree that had low hanging branches that hid most of us effectively. I let him handle me. It wasn't like I was in the right mind to handle myself anymore any way....
The alliance soon left the area, believing us to have run further north. I almost laughed. North. As if anybody knew which way the compass directions actually faced.
Malfoy moved away from me and after a quick look around, began moving in the opposite direction to which the group had gone. I stared after him and watched as he walked a few steps, turned around and looked at me expectantly.
"I- What?" I spluttered, disbelievingly. Coming where? Coming why?! And where would I go with Malfoy? Bloodlust was seriously damaging my mind... And his, too.
"In case you dont find Finnigan- it isn't specified that the two from the same school have to be in the same house." He said, obviously attempting to convey what he was trying to say without actually saying it. Lucky for him, my mind wasn't yet completely damaged and I understood.
And against my better judgement, I found myself following Malfoy. Or maybe it was completely damaged.
* * *
Yep! That's done. So loads more dramione there and yet to come. It's sad how Hermione's losing herself and a warning, the angst is NOWHERE near to ending. It just gets worse. Thank you all for reading! Do do do pleaseeeee review it helps me keep writing :')
Ps: My other stories are kind of on hiatus right now because I'm very close to finishing BL so I want to get it done while im still on this writing streak. Sorry readers!
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