A/N: Here's the second chapter, beta'd by the brilliant Lululuna! Please, review! I want to know what everyone thinks! Your opinions matter a great deal to me, so it would be wonderful of you to share your thoughts.
Hogwarts is a place that I, like many others, consider home. Yes, I have a roof over my head and a family that feeds me, but I do not feel comfortable at home. I do not feel as if I belong.
Which is why during any break, the only thing I feel is the longing to return to school, for it is the only place I have a true family, though it is rather broken and small. It is still my family.
When the Christmas Holiday finally found finds its end, I am more than happy to leave Grimmauld Place. The morning that students were to catch the train, Alphard and I head out early, in hopes of being the first to board the train.
These hopes lead to me standing here on the empty platform. We have beaten the train to the station, so Alphard and I are currently standing quietly together, our trunks shrunken down in our pockets.
It is ten o’clock on the spot; exactly one hour before the train is to depart. Of course, no one with magical capabilities would arrive this early if they were in their right mind. However, Alphard and I are not, in fact, in our right minds. We are desperate, you see.
We are desperate to escape.
We do not exaggerate in believing this, either. Staying with mother is torture. Living up to her expectations is simply impossible. No matter how tall we stand, how quiet we are, or how much we smile, it never seems to be correct.
It is suffocating, living with my family. I feel as though everyone is judging me. There is never a moment where I feel comfortable around anyone in my family, other than Cygnus. Even Alphard makes me feel as though he is judging me.
Of course, he is judging me. Judging the decisions I make and the actions I take. But I do not care about that. He is my brother, so I accept his judgement, for it is meant to build my strength and superiority, not to put me down.
Slowly, as we stand side by side, shoulders brushing slightly, fellow witches and wizards begin to filter in, waiting for the scarlet locomotive to make its scheduled appearance. Purebloods are the first to enter, as per usual. Never is a pureblood family to arrive late. They are punctual people, purebloods. They are the example of Wizarding Kind, according to them.
We need to represent.
Thinking this, I feel Alphard tug on my hand, pulling me back to the present. I finally notice that the train has already pulled in.
“Ready to go home?” my younger brother asks, smiling down at me, his grey eyes, so much like mine, lit up like a small child on Christmas morning.
I smile back. “Absolutely.”
Leaving Alphard with his friends and finding my usual compartment, I levitate my trunk up to the luggage rack before making myself comfortable in the corner with one of my treasured books, ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ I managed to steal this copy from a vacant table in the Hogwarts library one time, and left before I could discover whose copy it was. The front cover is blank, disguising it from the outside world.
In other words, I could read it and lie about what it was without anyone realizing.
For if mother discovered I was reading a novel written by a Muggle, I would cease to exist.
Curling up with my legs crossed on the seat with me, I lean my head against the window, blonde curls wild as always. I rest the book in my lap and read, waiting for the compartment to fill up with my friends. In the book, Mr. Collins has proposed to Elizabeth. Unfortunately for me, I am just about to discover Elizabeth’s answer when Elladora slides open the door. Elladora Greene is a good friend of mine. She has been one of the few people to accept my ‘cynical’ personality. I do not actually have a cynical personality, but many people happen to believe that. Elladora has silky blonde hair and piercing green eyes. She is very tall, standing at a staggering 5’10”. She is extremely witty and very intelligent; she had to argue with the sorting hat to place her into Slytherin with me. According to her, the only reason she is in Slytherin now is because of how determined she was as an eleven-year old.
“Walburga!” she squeals, dropping her trunk with a loud thud and running over to me. I have just enough time to set my book to the side and stand before she has her rather strong arms around me. I laugh, so happy to be home, hugging her back.
“Elladora! How are you?” I ask, pulling away and holding her an arms-length away by her shoulders.
She rolls her bright green eyes. “I’m perfectly alright, Mother.”
Elladora, as well as many of my other friends, often refers to me as Mother. They insist I have a strong motherly nature, and that I am always worrying in some way.
It is true. I worry about all of them.
I worry about everyone I care about, in fact: Cygnus, Alphard, Elladora, Beaux, and Winston. While most of them do not have a reason for me to worry about them, I still find the time in the day to do so.
At the mention of Beaux and Winston, the pair of boys strolls into the room, side by side, as always. They are never caught separated unless necessary. At meals, in the common room, or down by the lake, they are always together.
Beaux Phillis is a dashing young man. With his black that sweeps across his forehead, he can easily catch the attention of any young woman. His dark skin makes his pale blue eyes shimmer. He is rather tall, but on the lanky side, and is a pureblood. Unfortunately, due to family business, Beaux was unable to attend the Christmas ball, leaving me to fend for myself.
Mother is proud.
Winston McGowan, however, is quite the opposite of Beaux. He is not all that dashing, but that does not deduct from my fondness toward him. His personality is bright and optimistic, which is uncommon in the house of Slytherin. He has hazel eyes that are round and wide and a smile that lights up the room, as the Muggles would say. His long pointed nose is stuck in a book, more often than not in a book, and his intelligence is extraordinary. His blonde hair is a simple buzz cut, and shows off his angular face. He is a halfblood, much to mother’s distaste.
The two young men make up the remainder of the people I love in this world.
I beam as they entered the compartment and Beaux shut the door behind him. Elladora does as well, and the pair of us tackles the boys, enveloping them tightly and laughing all the while. These four people, other than my brothers, are the reason I am still alive, still here on this earth. If they were not a part of my life, I do not know what I would do with myself.
They are my everything.
The four of us sit and talk for the remainder of the train ride. As usual, I stay quiet, sitting in the corner with one of my novels in my hands. Winston takes the seat next to me, and often times leans to read over my shoulder. Every time he does this, I snap the book shut and glare at him menacingly.
Elladora has the tendency to talk one’s ears off, so that is exactly what she does to Beaux and Winston. I, however, have mastered the art of blocking her out after sharing a dormitory with her for five years now. I simply read my book and ignore the world, wishing I could just sit there forever, reading every book ever written.
Eventually, we reach our destination. Quickly changing into our robes and leaving our luggage on the train, knowing it will find its way down to our dormitories, we find ourselves a carriage.
A pair of Thestrals is currently pulling our carriage, which is the last one in the line of carriages that led to the castle. Hogwarts glows in the nighttime sky, looking powerful and invincible. It is extremely intimidating, Hogwarts, for it has held the most powerful of people within its walls as well as dangerous creatures that lurk about, particularly in the dungeons and on the third floor, as well as on the grounds and just beyond them, within the Forbidden Forest. Howling, snarling, and growling are often heard at night.
Despite these intimidations, the castle allows the warmth of safety to wrap itself around me. I feel safe when I am within its walls. It is impenetrable, and I am quite confident my parents cannot reach me there. They can make their way into the castle, if they so desire, but can never lay a finger on me.
It is something of a safe haven for me.
Sitting next to Beaux, I peer out the window past him, watching the woods, and the students and faculty walking in the darkness. It amazes me that people would want to walk, when it is nighttime, but I do not make an effort to stop them. If they wish to walk, then I am not one to interfere.
“What are you looking at, Walburga?” Beaux questions, an amused glint in his pale eyes. A smile tugs at the corners of his lips as he watches me carefully.
The seriousness of the question does not pass me; I know he actually does want to know, and is somewhat concern. However, I smile slightly, waving his concerns off easily. “Just thinking.”
Beaux raises an eyebrow into a perfect arch. “About what, may I ask?”
I meet his pale eyes with my light grey ones. Looking into his pale blue eyes remind me of Abraxas Malfoy slightly. However, Beaux’s hold an amused, innocent interest; Abraxas’ normally hold an amused, dark interest.
Quickly brushing the rather random thought to the side, I smirk playfully at Beaux. “There is a reason I thought, not spoke, Beaux.”
Beaux pouts his lower lip and mutters something I did not quite catch before turning to Elladora, who sat in front of him.
I look across the carriage to find Winston’s eyes trained on me. I raise my eyebrows with question, but Winston merely shakes his head slightly before turning to gaze out his window.
As the carriage halts in front of the castle gates, I stand and gather my robes before stepping out of the compartment, grasping Winston’s hand, who has successfully made it from the carriage before me, to prevent myself from falling.
Walking a bit behind Beaux and Winston, Elladora and I chat animatedly, discussing our summers. Elladora visited Rome with her aunt and uncle, and spent the entire break there. She describes it vividly, and for a moment, I can feel the light breezes of Italy and can see everything as she describes it to me.
I find myself slightly jealous of her, and wish that mother had allowed me to spend my break with Elladora, like we had originally planned.
But, alas, she declined our requests, and while Elladora had the time of her life in Rome, I was forced into attending parties and avoiding the haunting eyes of Abraxas Malfoy, as well as the grimy hands of Orion Black.
We reach the Great Hall and take our usual seats at the Slytherin table, which is slowly but surely filling up. We usually sit with the rest of the fifth year students, which includes three other boys and two other girls. I normally sit between Elladora and Trinity, one of our dormitory mates.
However, just moments after we seat ourselves in our usual places, a group of seventh years takes the seats surrounding us.
A young man with carefully crafted, sleek black hair that frames his extremely pale face sits himself next to Elladora. His eyes are black and empty of any human emotion, but he still cordially introduces himself to my best friend, who blushes slightly at his handsome features.
Beaux and Winston sitting side-by-side and slightly farther apart than usual, find themselves forced together by two boys who shove themselves onto the bench, taking the seats on either side of my pair of friends. They are rather big, both tall and fat, and they have brown hair. However, one is slightly shorter and fatter than the other, and he has a lighter shade of brunette hair. Other than that, they are unnervingly similar in looks.
I feel a cold arm brush mine as someone took the seat beside me. I can smell the mint on his breath and could feel the iciness of his eyes on me. I stiffen and slowly look to my right.
There sits Abraxas Malfoy, his haunting blue eyes on me and his lips curved in a slight smirk. He speaks in a slight purr. “Good evening, Miss Black.”
The greeting catches the attention of all of my friends, who are forced back into the present situation. However, I pay their curious glances no mind as I hold Abraxas’ gaze steadily. “And to you, Mr. Malfoy.”
“Would you care to introduce me to your friends?” Abraxas questions. By the look in his eyes, the question is rhetorical.
“There is Winston McGowan and Beaux Phillis,” I say, beckoning to each one, “And beside me sits Elladora Greene.”
Abraxas nods in acknowledgment toward them in turn, and I quickly realize that he has little to no interest in my mates. My grey eyes narrow, suspicious.
“What is it you want, Abraxas?”
Abraxas’ thin blonde eyebrows raise in amusement. “On first name terms, are we?”
I scowl, letting his interrogation falter. He has done nothing but speak engage in meaningless small-talk since he sat down, and it is about time he finds his point in the conversation.
He seems to sense my thinning patience, and leans in, speaking in a hushed tone against my ear. “I have just come to inform you that the castle has eyes.”
With that, he stands. His friends shadow him.
Then they are gone, as if they were never there.
Seconds later, the remainder of the fifth year Slytherins take their seats around us. Trinity greets me, and begins a conversation, but Elladora picks it up, knowing I will not respond.
For the only thing I can think of are the words Abraxas Malfoy whispered to me.
The castle has eyes.
A/N: So, what'd you guys think? How do you like Elladora? Beaux? Winston? Abraxas? Any guesses on who Abraxas' friends are?;D What do you all think Abraxas means by 'The castle has eyes'?
Thanks so much! Please, review!