Chapter 19 : I'm in a foreign state, my thoughts they slip away
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Leaning heavily on the sink, still staring at my reflection, I felt like screaming at myself to get a grip. I knew I had to get myself together; school started back tomorrow and I had to be ready, ready to face the others and show them that I wasn’t weak and that I wasn’t going to stand back and let them continue to hurt me. I would stand up for myself and I would do whatever it took to make them understand that I was the last person they wanted to mess with. It was personal now and they would all know that I meant business. Splashing cold water on my face, I took a deep breath and attempted to sort myself out, grabbing a shower and trying to make myself presentable. The students were coming back today, ready for classes tomorrow and I had to face them and face the questions about what had happened over Christmas.
Remus had been a good friend. He had stayed with me the first couple of days after it happened, making sure I was eating and drinking and not about to do something stupid. And then he let me be, sending me a note everyday asking if I needed anything and coming with me when I needed to see Dumbledore. He never made me talk about it and never asked me how I was and for that, I was grateful. Dressing in clothes that would blend in, I left the dormitory for the first time in days and headed down to the common room. Empty bar a few students, who gave me long, curious glances before turning away, I headed for the boys dormitories, climbing the stairs until I eventually came across the one that had the boys’ names on it. Knocking quietly, I opened slowly and when I saw Remus awake and dressed, I walked in, closing the door behind me.
Looking up from the book he was reading, shock adorned his face before a small smile replaced it. He closed his book and placed it in front of him on the bed.
I gave a smile which I knew was more like a grimace and I walked slowly to his bed, taking so much time that it seemed like my body didn’t want to comply with my brain.
“Hi Remus,” I tentatively touched the edge of his bed, feeling the soft blanket which lay at the end of duvet, “can I sit?”
He smiled once more and moved over so that I could sit down. Climbing on, I manoeuvred myself so I was facing him although instead of looking at him, I was finding my fingers more interesting. Peering up, I saw he was about to say something but changed his mind. I knew the question he wanted to ask me and bit my lip.
“You can ask me, you know. I won’t bite your head off.”
“How are you?” Remus asked the question slowly, still clearly cautious of what my reaction would be the question that I had come to hate.
I shrugged, which was a genuine testament to how I was feeling; I just didn’t know. “I couldn’t tell you, really and I think if I actually said it out loud, you’d have me taken to St Mungo’s for being a basket case.”
Remus laughed quietly. “Although that idea is amusing, I think I would understand the reason for the conflicted feelings. I’m quite a good listener if you want to talk about it?”
I shook my head. As kind as his offer was, I didn’t want to talk about it, not yet anyway. I was still finding the whole thing quite ridiculous in all honesty. “Thank you but no but I reckon you’ll be the first to know if I do want to talk. And scream and rant and Merlin knows what else.”
“I look forward to it. Except for the screaming part. That I could probably live without.”
I nodded. “I’ll try to remember that,"
I was about to ask how Remus had been when the dormitory door swung open and Sirius and James appeared in the door way. They clearly didn’t notice my presence as they came barging in, dropping stuff onto their beds then turning to Remus.
“What happened with Martinez over Christmas? Did she get hurt?”
I rolled my eyes at Potter’s questions. The optimism in his voice when he asked if I was hurt was amusing, if anything. I looked to Remus with a smirk and a questioning glance but all he could was shrug in apology.
“Is she okay?”
It was nice to know that at least one of them cared about my wellbeing, even if it was Sirius. Not all of them hated me so much, which I guessed was an improvement over the last few months. Still having not noticed me being in the room, I gave Remus another glance before clearing my throat.
“Sorry Potter but I’m fine, in a manner of speaking. I could be diagnosed as ridiculously psychotic at the moment but I’m fine. I apologise for disappointing you.”
I turned so I was facing the two boys and had my back turned to Remus. Having finally noticed I was in the room with them, I watched Potter as he gaped like a goldfish gasping for breath. Sirius was calmer and took my appearance in his room in his stride. He almost looked relieved to see me sitting there.
“You didn’t disa-“ Potter was trying to come up an excuse but I shot him down almost instantly.
“Whatever Potter, you wanting me to be hurt is the last thing on my mind at the moment.”
I watched as both boys took seats on their beds and fell into a silence; an uncomfortable one. Shaking my head, I stood up from Remus bed and smiled at him.
“Thanks for everything Remus,” he nodded and I walked away not giving the other two so much as a glance. Before leaving I turned around and looked at Remus. “You should fill them in, I don’t really want to.” He nodded once more and I left the room and walked down into the common room.
Glancing around, I saw the vibrant red hair of Lily Evans and groaned inwardly. She would want to know everything and I wasn’t up for explaining. As she approached me, I was about to cut her off and tell her to talk to Remus but instead she motioned to the stairs leading to our dormitory and began climbing them. I frowned but followed her up and as I arrived in our room, I watched her shut the door behind me before making her way to me. Before I could stop her, she had enveloped me in a hug and it was all I could do to just stand there. Frozen by the gesture, I waited until she pulled away before opening my mouth to talk but I was cut off by the red head.
“I know about what’s happened, I hope you don’t mind that Professor Dumbledore informed me. It’s just with me being Head Girl and the fact that Lola is in our house now, he felt I needed to know so he called me to his office and let me know what was going on around here and that I sho-“
“Evans, please shut up.” My bluntness worked as she stopped talking and looked at me, questioningly. Sighing, I ran a hand through my hair. “It’s fine you know, it’s saves me telling you or Remus. I was going to get him to explain to you because he’s currently telling Sirius and Potter. But now that’s out of the way, I have a few rules we need to go over.”
She nodded and sat on her bed, looking up at me expectantly. “Okay, first of all, I want no awkwardness around me. It’s bad enough that everything has happened but awkward silences are not going to help me and in fact, they make everything worse. Two, I’m not a fragile puppy. I don’t need asking every five minutes whether I’m okay, I don’t need pitying looks and I’m not about to go and jump of the Astronomy Tower so be normal. Merlin knows I need a bit of normalcy at the moment. And lastly,” I took a short breath and looked at her, seriously. “No hugging. I don’t do hugs or any other type of contact so no more of that shit that’s just happened. Got it?”
“I can do that, promise.”
“Good,” I turned away to walk to my bed but I stopped half way and turned back to Evans, who was still watching me, doing her best not to look like she was pitying me but failing miserably. “and thank you, you know, for hugging me when we were up here and not in the common room.”
I watched as she laughed and gave me a big smile. “Well, I figured you wouldn’t exactly appreciate the embarrassment of me hugging you in front of everyone.
I nodded and attempted a small smile. “Thanks."
She smiled again and I as turned to back to my bed, I couldn’t help but be slightly wary of the fact Lily Evans seemed to know me rather well.
I had not been made to attend classes on the first day back. The Slytherin lot were to be warned about what would happen if dark magic was to be used again by both Dumbledore and McGonagall. I couldn’t see them listening at all but I was given leave of classes until tomorrow so there was no accidental crossing of paths before they were warned of the consequences. I hadn’t even been to the great hall, Lily had gone and gotten me food, taking over from Remus and had commented that the boys had seen my brother beaten black and blue. I raised an eyebrow at this, knowing that before school he hadn’t been punished by my father but he may have had a change of heart when he found out my sister was going to be in St. Mungo’s for a while. They still hadn’t discovered what curse was used but it wouldn’t be too long until someone in my family gave a hint to one of the doctors. There was no way my father was going to let Lola suffer and the curse used by Pedro would have come from the lessons we had had with him about the Dark Arts.
So instead of going to classes, I had decided to go Quidditch pitch. I didn’t really know how to play but I knew the pitch and the locker rooms would be empty as the season hadn’t started back yet so I figured it would be the quietest place that wasn’t the four walls of my dormitory. I had been on the benches for a couple of hours before the snow began falling again so I had headed inside to the lockers and used my wand to magic up a fire to warm my numb fingers. So engrossed in the dancing flames of the small fire, I didn’t hear anyone come in until I saw legs appear in front of me. Grabbing my wand, I quickly looked up and held the wand up, pointed at their face.
“Merlin’s beard, it’s only me Martinez.”
Looking at the cold bitten face of Sirius, I sighed and put my wand away and went back to looking into the fire. Sirius sat down opposite me and we sat in silence for a while until I heard him clear his voice.
“How is Lola?”
I put my head down and played with the laces on my converse. “Okay, I think. She’s still in St Mungo’s. I haven’t been able to see her since the first day she was in there. My father has been by her bedside all day, every day so it’s been too dangerous for me to see her. But Dumbledore keeps me updated with what the healers say. They still haven’t worked out the curse but I can’t see it being too long before Pedro breaks or my father works out which one of the curses he taught us was used.”
There was more silence and I sighed. That was the most I had said about Lola since the day it all happened and it felt strange.
“You should be allowed to see her, you’re her sister.”
I looked up to see Sirius staring intently at me and I shrugged. “I know but I’m the blood traitor daughter. My father still believes he can get Lola onside so he will be relishing the fact that I’m not allowed in to see her. His reasoning will be that the further and longer me and Lola are apart, the more damage he can do to our relationship and turn her against me.”
“That sounds like something my parents would do. In fact I guess that’s what they did do with Reg.” Sirius looked sad for a moment but the emotion disappeared without a trace and that hard look he always wore was back. I had never realised how untruly happy his situation made him. He hid it well under smiles and jokes.
“My father probably asked them for tips on the best way to turn siblings against each other.” I managed a small smile as I said this and I watched as Sirius laughed.
“I can already see that exchange happening.”
“What great families we have, eh? They always say you can’t choose your family. I don’t think that statement has ever been truer.”
Sirius nodded through the hazy air from the heat. “That’s why I’m glad I managed to escape mine when I did.”
I was about to ask about how he did manage to escape, a story I had never learned when we heard voices coming towards us. Sirius jumped up and quickly got rid of the fire whilst I got to my feet. He reached for my hand and dragged me towards the broom cupboard, which was much bigger than the ones inside the castle. Sirius closed the door quietly behind me and we stood in silence, looking at each other with bated breath. The voice got louder until it was quite clear they were in the locker room with us. By now, I had easily recognised the voices and by the look on Sirius’ face, he had too. Clearly Dumbledore’s warning had done as much good as I thought it would if they were already finding places to hide out.
“When my father hears about Dumbledore’s threat he’ll be finished at this school.” Lucius’ high and mighty was voice instantly recognisable as was Evan’s scoff.
“You been threatening that since first year yet Dumbledore hasn’t left. I’m beginning to think your father isn’t as powerful as you make out he is, Lucius.”
I could hear Lucius beginning to argue before a feminine voice cut them off. “Boys please, now is not the time to be arguing over petty things.”
“Both of you just shut up! We’re here to talk about the Dark Lord and his plans.” I could almost see her smiling manically, like she always did when talking about Lord Voldemort. “He’s told me some great things, some wonderful things,”
“Then get on with it so we can leave. It’s bloody freezing in here.” That growling voice was my brother’s.
Knowing we were going to be stuck in here for a while, I sank to the floor quietly and sat down. Sirius did the same and sat next me. I was about to complain when I felt his body heat and then realised how cold the cupboard was and I shut my mouth.
Rayne’s voice was next to be heard. “Come on, let’s just listen and then we can leave, Peter is in no fit state to be out in the cold,”
“Well whose fault is that? We’re not the ones who cursed the wrong sister and had to face daddy’s wrath, are we?” Evan’s mocking tone made me smirk because Pedro deserved all he got. “but I am in agreement, Bella just tell us what is going on before I freeze to death.”
“Gladly but you’d best sit down, he had a lot to say at the last meeting.”
I heard them all groan and then I did the same. If they were going to be in here for a while then so where we. There was no way we would get of the room unscathed and unnoticed. Giving Sirius a sideways glance, I saw him with his head against the wall and he eyes closed in annoyance. Joining him in his actions, I closed my eyes before opening them and staring at the ceiling of the cupboard which was littered with spider webs, some of which were white and glittering with frost.
And it was at that moment that I started believing that being attacked by a bunch of death eaters in training was a better option than freezing to death in a cupboard next to Sirius.
The cold could do strange things.
A/N - so here's another chapter. I will admit, this was quite hard to write which is why it took so long to be published but i think i am finally happy with it. Feel free to rate and review :D
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