Chapter 9 : Kill
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“Now, son, remember that this pain is nothing but a mind trick. The ultimate manipulation of this curse, you see, rests in the recipient. Rather than deflect, I want you to control your emotions, make your hardness your strength, never allow for doubt to invade the security of your mind, and you will be stronger, much stronger, than anyone else.”
“And if you find someday that you cannot trust in me, trust in my teachings, and most importantly, trust in what you know…you know that I love you more than anything, Albus.”
Harry to Albus; Chapter 4
Half past midnight and the castle was asleep. Under the full moon’s glare, a fourteen-year old boy and girl traipsed through the Forbidden depths of the Forest, latter chasing behind the former. She called for him in the childish way she often did— C’mon Al, wait up!—but he paid her no heed. Puberty gave him a significant physical advantage; he moved at a pace impossible for her to match. He wasn’t sure what compelled him to throw over his invisibility cloak and disappear into the darkness. An unfair trick, and she would call him a cheater for it, but Albus didn’t care what Rose thought.
He watched her from a distance as she grasped at thin air, violently, angrily, trying to extract him from their surroundings, yelling obscenities. Her jaw was clenched, her eyes dark and fierce. He could imagine her throat constricting from his painful abandonment—how pathetic— and suppressed the sharp elation that her fear stirred in him. He wanted to punish her. He had been ignoring her all day in an effort to mask his irrational fury. And now, in the midst of treacherous trees, they would finally have their confrontation.
A spell disarmed her and she frantically swung around for the source.
Of course, it was not all her fault. Barry Goldwin had played a significant hand in her foreseeable demise. The older boy had sandy hair, the sort of smile that made girls blush, and a rather unfortunate penchant for tall tales---to which Rose had fallen easy prey. The girl was naïve. Albus was not. She had spent too much time in potions and spells, or otherwise, fixated with her brother’s welfare to understand the implications of an adolescent boy’s smile, especially one that promised late-night adventures of a carnal sort. Curves, hips, breasts—puberty had taken its toll on her, distorting her into an object of indecent interest and despite her (thankful) inclination towards baggy sweaters, dickwads like Goldwin seemed to persist. Spinning outrageous accounts about witnessing a werewolf transformation, he had both enchanted Rose and taken advantage of her hapless youth. He had used her fascination with him as an incentive to ask her out. She had said yes.
Another spell threw her against a tree.
She stood up, steadied herself, and in her focused anger lunged at Albus before he could dissipate into nothingness. She tackled him to the ground and pinned his arms, using the sheer weight of her to keep him from escaping. He was stronger than her, but not bulky, and she had gravity to her advantage. She pried his wand from his ironclad grip and kicked it aside.
She thumped his forehead.
“You can’t use invisibility in a duel, asshole.” She scowled at him. “Why?”
“You know what!”
“Keep your voice dow—“
“Shut up.” She grabbed him by his hair and pinned his head to the ground. “Tell me why we’re here.”
“Rose Pose,” He looked at her with amused suspicion. “You do know what night it is, don’t you?”
She was silent for a moment. Albus continued:
“Now, what was the storybook description he gave you? Large arms and yellow eyes?’ Are you ready to see for real?”
“Let it go, Al. Goldwin was just—”
“Trying to impress you?”
“And what’s wrong with that?” There was a note of vulnerability in her voice.
He looked away for a moment. Very much the fourteen-year old boy, he’d wanted to settle matters by dueling, not conversation.
“You’re such a dimwit.” He murmured, ‘Large hands, meaty thighs, loud moans, long nights’ –what did you think it all meant? Merlin, did you really think he was on about werewolves?”
Color bloomed dangerously on her cheeks. She didn’t need to ask how Albus knew—of course he knew. He analyzed. He deduced. He was rarely, if ever, wrong. He read people the way he read books: quickly, thoroughly, and dispassionately. And he tore her girlish fancies to shreds with a few simple words.
She stood up abruptly and walked over to the side. He took the opportunity to seize his wand.
“You’re an as—hey!”
Rose skid against the ground, painfully. She leapt to her feet in outrage. “I wasn’t looking, you assho—”
Another hex and Rose fell into a pile of mud.
“Would you stop—“
And again. Rose landed face flat into the ground.
When she finally managed to lift herself, he was towering over her, green-eyes set in impatience.
“See now, it’s almost too easy for me to kick your ass.” He tapped the edge of his wand against her forehead, “Only shows lazy and stupid you’re getting. You’ll lose your edge if you continuing acting like such a girl.”
“I am a girl.”
“If you intend to act like one, then I’ll treat you like one.” He snapped and shoved past her, stalking further into the Forest. She strode fast to keep up.
“I refuse for this to end the way it usually does.”
He chortled cruelly. “Oh do you? You refuse do you? I wasn’t under the impression I had to listen to you.
She grabbed his arm and threw him off pace. “You may be a genius but you do a lousy job at getting your point across.”
He rounded onto her, his wand leaping instinctively to her throat. He could sense her take a tentative step backwards. They both knew she’d overstepped a boundary: instigating physical contact when he had so clearly dismissed her for her best interest. He trailed the wand across her delicate pale neck, up to her chin. How easy it would be to tear away at her inside the Forest’s solitude, with no one to hear her screaming. He could to nip her boldness back into place with masterful wand strokes. He would apologize afterwards of course, but just once in the irrationality of the moment were he allowed to indulge the pangs of violence. He couldn’t remember what had triggered his fury this time, only that she had with girlish and insensible actions (or thoughts) betrayed an arrangement that had been implicit between them for quite some time, and betrayal was the worst sort of crime to commit.
But she didn’t falter in his threatening disposition, instead reaching and placing careful hands around the one that held the wand. She made him lower it slowly.
“I think if you keep muddling your point like this, you’ll only end up confusing yourself.”
“You think I’m trying to prove something?” There was a childish twinge in his voice.
“Aren’t you always?”
Green eyes hardened. “Stop talking.”
She ruffled. “You stupid jealous twat—”
“I said shut up.” He snarled, his neck snapping impulsively to the side. “I heard something just now—”
His usually pale features went shockingly white. She turned and followed his gaze directly into eyes. Distinctly yellow. Large.
It stood in front of them, snout etched in a murderous snarl. Low growls resonated from the curled snout as its leg territorially scuffed the ground, about to embark on a killing rampage. Her legs nearly gave way under her and an arm grasped at her waist, making her hoist herself up. It pulled her hair to snap her awake.
“When I say run. Run.”
She turned her head questioningly at him. He gave her a long, all-pervading stare that told her she wasn’t to argue. A furious growl startled her attention back towards the wolf. She could hear his sharp preparatory inhale from behind, blowing against the floating wisps of her hair. She found herself holding her own breath:
“Al, when I said you were trying to prove something—“
“I’m a better shot than you. It only makes sense.” He murmured, “On my signal.”
Rose dashed as soon as sparks emitted from his wand, hitting the wolf as it lunged forward at him. She didn’t look back, running, tears already gathering at the ends of her eyes. He’s dead he’s dead he’s dead he’s de—
No. Approaching footsteps resonated from behind.
“Move it, Rose!” He growled, taking hold of her again and practically throwing forward. His long strides quickly surpassed hers. She stumbled, grinning, her feet and limbs unsteady as she tried to keep up, her boots kicking up dirt.
They sprinted through the Forest, past Hagrid’s hut and the grounds, and didn’t stop until they reached the castle.
She took in long draughts of air, struggling to regain breath, “What? It worked?”
“Why wouldn’t it?” He gasped, collapsing against the wall.
She turned to him in incredulous amazement, unsure whether to be grateful or angry. It took her a while to swallow the set of nerves that came with this new Albus-behavior. Behaving like an angry violent jerk: normal. Getting them into sticky life-threatening situations: normal. Pitting himself against a werewolf in order to save their lives—this was new.
He had closed his eyes and tilted his head back, breathing thickly. She slid on the ground beside him. For a moment they sat recollecting their breath.
“What you did out there….that was almost heroic.”
“I mean, why?”
A scowl crossed his face.
“It's a stupid thing to die. I know how to calculate risks and make the rational decision. Nothing else.”
Her mouth twitched. “Definitely not part of your plan to impress me.”
He opened an eye and glanced at her.
“Do you think I plan near-death experiences?”
“You know how to calculate the risks.”
He closed his eyes again and turned away again as if irritated by her perceptive pandering, but his hand groped the space between them until it found hers. Fingers grazed her wrist for a pulse.
“So how does it feel to see a werewolf, hmm Rosie?”
“Traumatizing.” After a moment she added: “But it blows Goldwin’s description out of the water.”
“Hmm.” His voice was distant, vague.
“What you did was brave,” She faltered. “I don’t mean—I just think…Look, I know you’re not James and you’re not your dad. You’re not some Gryffindor Golden boy. I know that. If I’m completely honest, you’re a big time asshole. But that’s not all you are.”
He didn’t respond, just sat there with eyes closed. Clenching and unclenching his fist around her fingers.
Moments of prolonged silence passed and he could feel her hand squirm inside his: she'd had a thought. Shyly, and with a noted moment of childish hesitance, he felt her draw closer and soft lips grazed the right side of his face. Her voice rang in his ear, both soft and firm, curiously devoid of her usual anger. It was haunting.
“You’re Albus Severus Potter.” She whispered. “I just hope you figure out what that means.”
The wandmaker was older than most—he had been around for many turns of the world, both muggle and magical, and drifted through just fine. Now, he was an old and wizened, retired from being a wandmaker, enjoying the last comfort of his days in a sleepy unnamed town by the sea. Hermit, they called him.
One strange afternoon, there was a knock on hermit-wandmaker’s door.
It was a boy, bloodied and dirtied and underfed. He was young—not quite yet a man—and even in his tattered demeanor there was a strange regal beauty about him. Refined cheekbones, firm steady gaze, the sort of old-age mannerism to which Mr. Ollivander was unaccustomed from today’s youth. And of course, he was familiar looking. A Potter, although Mr. Ollivander couldn’t be sure which one.
“Merlin’s beard, why…you look just like him…come in. Come in.”
He led the boy to a small sitting area. The wandmaker quickly ushered out his elves with tea and biscuits, but the boy did not take any—not immediately anyway. It was only once the wandmaker started eating that he did as well, albeit hesitantly. How odd. While the boy looked as if he was starving, he did not behave so.
“Tell me, are you James or the other?”
“Beg pardon.” The wandmaker flushed. “My memory is not what it used to be, and I haven’t seen Harry for, well nearly two decades now.”
“It’s quite all right.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I need a wand, Mr. Ollivander.” He put down his teacup, leaning forward, “I was hoping you could help me.”
The wandmaker paled. “Oh no no, I’m not in that business anymore, dear boy. Terribly, terribly sorry. You must try Diagon alley.”
“Diagon Alley isn’t what it used to be.” The boy had a tone of agitated calmness. “My father saved your life, Mr. Ollivander. You owe me.”
“How is Harry?”
“Dear me.” The wandmaker said faintly. “My condolences to your family.”
The boy did not reply for a moment, instead chose to wipe dirt off his shoulder.
“He came to see me some twenty years ago,” The wandmaker continued, “Your father. He wanted to know about wandlore. Pestered me about all sorts of books. I suppose I thought it strange—no one really cares for the sort technical details wandmakers use when constructing, but your father was very zealous.”
Dull-green sparked with interest. “What exactly did he want to know?”
“The manifest of magic, Mr. Potter.”
The boy was silent for a moment.
“And did you tell him?”
“Who am I to refuse the hero of the Wizarding world?”
Another contemplative pause.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Ollivander.”
The wandmaker stood up as the boy reached the door, perhaps compelled to give one last piece of information, which, really, was all he had. He felt the slightest pity for the boy.
“Magic is not in the wand, Mr. Potter. It is in the wizard. It is a penetration of thought, the essence of an idea…and ideas may manifest themselves in many forms. The greatest wizards are able to perform magic wandless, wordless. Although such a power may take decades to master.”
“I don’t have decades.” The boy snapped, “I need a wand.”
“Bear in mind what I tell you, Mr. Potter. Your father was a man of ideas.”
The boy considered this for a moment. “I’m beginning to see that. Good day, Mr. Ollivander.”
Hugo limped after his sister down the street excitedly; it was the first time in two years they would be seeing their home again. Today was Rose’s seventeenth birthday, and she finally came to inherit their parents’ house.
They stood outside the door, and she turned to him, brow scrunched.
“It hasn’t been cleaned in two years.”
“It’s fine, Rose.”
“I don’t want you getting sick.”
He rolled his eyes and urged her to open it. Dust slammed into their faces as they stepped into familiar air—everything was as they’d left, down to the arrangement of utensils. Mum’s books sat proudly in her bookcase in alphabetical order, covered in a thick layer of dust. Hugo’s old wheelchair was in front of the television, a cup of dried water resting on the tabletop beside. It was like stepping back in time to an ordinary family day.
Cleaning would take many hours even with magic. Because their trip had been physically exhausting, Rose had Hugo nap first—he was becoming more able-bodied but walking, even with crutches, fatigued him. When he woke up, he found his sister in the kitchen battling giant rats. Her sleeves were rolled and hair pulled into a disheveled bun.
“Rosie, this is going to take forever.”
“Stop whining,” She huffed, “It’s just the rats. I can’t catch them with magic without killing them.”
“So?” He snorted, “They’re parasites.”
She disappeared into the pantry for a moment, reappearing with more mousetraps. “You know how Mum was about hurting animals.”
“I guess,” Hugo opened the windows, “I just wish you would’ve gotten help. What was Scorp doing today?”
“You’re calling him Scorp now? How often does he come see you?”
“Often…what? He said he’d take me to a Cannon’s game!”
“Out of the question.” Rose threw him a wet rag. “Start polishing silverware.”
They spot-shined the kitchen, because Rose thought it was a damn shame to let things go bad just because they were alone now. Mum had always been a neat freak, and Dad would yell he had raised them better. And parents or no parents, it was still their house. One of the few possessions no one could take from them. They moved into the sitting room and Rose enchanted the carpet clean while Hugo dusted tabletops. There were pictures too, but he turned them down as he went. They were distracting.
“Scorp’s a nice bloke, Rose. And who cares if he’s a Malfoy. It’s more important that he’s rich.”
“What are you on about?”
“My point is that he’s way out of your league.”
A wet rag was thrown in response and Hugo dodged it. “I’m just messing! But seriously, why not?”
Rose led the enchanted mops into the other room. Hugo trailed behind her.
“Is it Albus?”
Hugo didn’t look convinced. “Are you sure?
“Yes I’m sure,” Rose said sourly. “It’s not always Albus.”
“You two have always been—“
“Would you stop? He’s my cousin for Merlin’s sake!”
“And I’m your brother. But you’ve been using me as an excuse for years.”
“You’re a valid excuse.”
“What happens when I’m not?”
“You’re not better yet.” She coughed, fanning the air with a newspaper. “Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
As Hugo moved to open another window, he felt Rose watching him, her gaze heavy and perplexed. It made him self-conscious; she did this often, as if his mobility was all just part of a dream and she couldn’t really believe it, choking up when she found out he could dress himself now. She averted her gaze when he turned around.
“Blast it, I should’ve brought the elves. We’ll be at this for hours.”
“I don’t understand why we’re cleaning,” He said, “Can’t really live here can we? You have to stay with the Head and I won’t be discharged for months still.”
“A shame,” Rose yawned loudly, “that this place isn’t being used for anything. I’m thinking it needs more cauldrons, don’t you?”
His brow raised in startling suspicion.
She gave a coy smile, tapping her wand against her lips.
Hugo regarded his sister warily. Though he’d wanted her to forget it, this no doubt had to do with her recent discovery about their parents. That she wanted to turn their home into a potions lab was no surprise, but Hugo didn’t see how anything good could come from it.
“How illegal is this potion?”
“Going behind your superior’s back—do you know that counts as treason? You could get seven years for that!”
“You’ve been reading the law.” She said fondly. Hugo could be so much like Mum sometimes.
He flushed. “I have a lot of free time. It’s either that or healer Augusta’s lovey-dove novels."
“Explains the quip about Malfoy.” She rolled her eyes, “And the Head won’t find out about this. I promise.”
“Things are going well. You said so yourself he was starting to despise you less!”
In the recent Ministry escapade, The Head had saved Rose from taking a lethal spell to the face. Rose was mesmerized— it was the closest to amiability they’d ever gotten.
Still—“It doesn’t mean I trust him, Hugo.”
“Everything’s sorting itself out.” He said earnestly, “You’ve made Auror. I’m being discharged in a few months. My point is we’ve come so far. Why was you trying to muck things up?”
Rose didn’t answer him. Since finding about her parent’s mysterious disappearances, everything seemed to sharp, too bright, as if some covering had been lifted from her eyes. She wasn’t sure why her priorities had shifted so suddenly—maybe she was just itching to dabble in magic again. Maybe Hugo was right and they were dead. Maybe she was wanting the wrong things.
But then, Rose had always wanted the wrong things.
Little Norton—Albus only heard of it over whispers. It was godless. Without rules. A place for the scum of the Wizarding world, hidden in the ugliest crevice of England. The square was littered with people. Lawless rebels, Azkaban escapees, and barely educated thugs congregated here. Dark hooded men and women stood, conversing in low tones. The pavement, damp, was slippery with grime and ash. Filth festered in the gratings between the stone slabs—cracked and jagged. There was no sun, no dawn, just the perpetual gloom of night as he made his way through the crowds.
His senses fell into sharp scrutiny, surveying the surroundings— people walking, talking, whispering, whispers, a faint scream from somewhere, a body being dragged elsewhere, the shifty potions merchant glaring straight at him across the street. He had only one eye. Brown, with specks of green. Without his wand, Albus had only his perceptive powers to rely on.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette.
A wholly muggle contraption, but one the seventeen-year old weaned himself on. During sleepless winter nights with barking dogs and monsters of men that hid in shadows with blades and guns, the taste of fire kept his mind alert.
Albus finished the cigarette, crushed it under his shoe, and continued moving.
A woman caught his eye. She was beautiful, outrageously, devastatingly so, with hair and hips and legs that went on for miles. But Albus wasn’t interested at her legs. It was the wand in her back pocket, hanging in broad sight. Within stealing distance—
“What the ell do you think yer doing?!” A large hand grabbed him by the collar and swung him backwards. Albus steadied himself and scowled at the man.
“Little thief,” The man lunged at him, grabbing him by the collar and lifted him in the air. Drunk, obviously. “Tryin’ to steal meh girlfriend’s wand? I’ll kick yer—“
“Put me down right now.” Albus snapped. “What are you, a muggle? Attack me properly with your wand.”
Movement in the square stilled. The drunk man blinked twice. He put the Albus down and procured his wand.
“Good.” Albus took a few moments to readjust his coat. He could have run, but after months of muggle confinement, he was also aching to see some proper magic.
“Too mild. Something more aggressive.”
The man stared at him, a bit perplexed. “Per—“
“No, no. That’s not good either.” Albus shook his head, “Come now! Aren’t you capable of thinking up a single decent enchantment?”
The crowd that had formed around them chuckled at this, and even Albus cracked a smirk. This threw the man back into his drunken fit of anger. The girlfriend shrieked as the man lunged at Albus with his bare hands, intent on strangling—
Albus side-stepped, dodging his blow easily enough but was unable to keep himself from feeling a little disappointed. Was this the best the wizard underworld had to offer him? He’d spent weeks dodging more danger from muggle thugs.
The man collapsed after slamming into a wall, allowing Albus to remove his wand and bind him with incarcerous.
“It’s a bit cruel to take advantage of a drunk man.”
Albus didn’t turn around immediately. He could hear footsteps approach behind him, several, heavy. He tucked the wand into his jacket and stood up. The crowd had moved over to make room for a group of men dressed in black robes; their leader stood facing Albus. He was a tall spindly wizard with a long, scarred face. He gave the impression of someone who thought himself important.
“Friend of yours?” Albus nodded toward the struggling drunkard.
“Something like that.” The man said, “Just got out of an Azkaban sentence for murder. He’s also one of my best men.”
“If you say so.”
“What’s your name, boy? And what are you doing in Little Norton?”
“Just passing through.”
Albus turned around and started through the crowd. There was danger in a name as notorious as his, and he had no interest in divulging a group of dark-robed idiots.
A spell shot from behind him, hitting a fruits trolley across the street and blowing it into flames. People ran ducking and shrieking. Albus stared at it, annoyed.
“You have something of ours, boy.”
Albus stood still, listening to the number of footsteps. Fourteen—no –Fifteen large men. They were circling like vultures now, their leader standing directly behind. His front was blocked by fire.
“Hand over the wand.”
“No?” The man laughed spitefully, “Trying to pick a fight, are you?”
Albus inhaled sharply at these words. Tried to calm himself. Swallow his excitement. Bite down that erratic grin.
His fingers twitched at his side.
Sparks shot out the end of his wand shattering street lamps, immersing the field in darkness. Outraged clamor rose.
“I can’t see nothing’”
“Wha’ the hell?”
“Keep your head!” Their leader growled, “Don’t let him get away!”
Thundering footsteps sounded as he turned a corner, readying himself. A man came running out of nowhere and he felt split-second pain as a spell tore past the flesh of his cheek. He responded with Bombarda, splattering said attacker against wall, and narrowly dodged a beam of red sent at from the right. Another man came hurtling out of nowhere, murderous glare on his face, and blasted him across pavement.
Disregarding his injuries, Albus jolted to his feet and dashed after him. He chased him into the narrow opening of an abandoned building, traversing down stairs two at a time.
Another attacker lunged at him from overhead, poison on his lips: “Crucio.”
Albus plummeted down the stairs and fell to the floor, writhing. Cackling men appeared around him— Look at em twitch— but Albus could not make out the rest of their jeers. The searing pain was as unbearable as it had been with his father, stretching his tendons, pulling at his nerves, pulling at his hairs. He felt as if he was suffering from a full-body burn. Still he did not scream. Flashbacks engulfed him—head lolling against grass, fingers clenching into dirt, jaw clenched tongue bloodied from restraint. Sweet agony stretched down the length of his spine to his toes.
Now, son, remember that this pain is nothing but a mind trick.
Albus felt something take hold of him. A pressed, squashed feeling letting loose inside his chest.
The ultimate manipulation of this curse, you see, rests in the recipient.
He found himself rising effortlessly to his feet, dimly aware that the man was pointing a wand at him but nothing was happening.
Rather than deflect, I want you to control your emotions...
The man tried again but Albus felt only a strange tickling behind his eyes. A low throaty sound escaped him— he started chuckling, laughing hysterically.
…make your hardness your strength…
Had he always enjoyed this, the feeling of knives tearing at his flesh? Had he always fed off his own misery? He couldn’t remember anything except pain.
… never allow for doubt to invade the security of your mind…
There a malignant sweetness in that kind of self-suffering, a notion of fulfillment that had gone unexperienced up till now. Who was Albus to refuse his own primal ecstasy, so tightly bound it would take tearing of flesh to set him free? No, he could not refuse himself. He was perfection incarnated. He had finally been born.
…. You will be stronger, much stronger, than anyone else.
“AVADA KEDAVRA! ” He screamed, watching as a body tumbled to the ground.
The rest stared at him in scared silence.
Then fourteen curses shot simultaneously, engulfing the area in colored smoke. Albus felt the searing pain of an enchanted dagger in the flesh of his stomach and ducked behind a barrel as men continued shooting through the haze. Shallow breaths and his vision shook. He dug his nails into his palm and swallowed thickly.
Now, remember son this pain is nothing---
The beam from his wand hit another man straight in the chest, and he fell to the ground, lifeless. The others ran toward their fallen compadre, and Albus stood breathing heavily. His fingers twitched.
Now, remember son—
“Avada Kedavra!” He bellowed, throwing another man to the floor.
This pain is nothing—
Green eyes shone with a fury no longer repressed. “Avada Kedavra”
But a mind trick—
“Avada Kedavra” And another. “Avada Kedavra” And another “Avada Kedavra”
A mind trick.
An erratic grin drew over his face. “Avada Kedavra.”
Had it always been this easy?
Albus stared at the lifeless bodies decorating the blood stained pavement, as the grin slowly drew itself in. It was as dusk finally met dawn. Thunder snapped inside his head, and green-eyes tore wide, flummoxed, horrified. The pain of the dagger bit into his abdomen and he hunched over. He staggered backwards, clutching his side, and then ran.
Had it always been this easy?
Water sloshed under his feet as he ran, blindly, as fast as he could. Away from Little Norton. Away from the bodies. Dead bodies. Fifteen dead bodies. Finally the burning in his abdomen was too much to handle and he collapsed in an alley, gasping for breath. Blood trickled down his nose. Intense pain shot through his head alongside an ugly slew of memories. His hand reached and tenderly gripped the dagger imbedded in his flesh. He bit down on his lip, eyes clenched shut.
This pain is nothing—
“Arghhh!” He pulled the dagger out and dropped to his knees, breathing shallowly. He felt an extreme pressure in his head and retched.
And if you find someday that you cannot trust in me, trust in my teachings, and most importantly, trust in what you know….
He hunched down a spot in the alley and drew out a cigarette, lighting it with shaky, slippery fingers. Breath, he told himself. Just breathe. In. Out. In. Stop and breathe and breathe and don’t stop breathing don’t you fucking stop.
…you know that I love you more than anything, Albus.
“Bastard.” He laughed spitefully. “You sick bastard.”
The memory shifted from his father’s face to a different one. A softer one.
Shyly, and with a noted moment of childish hesitance, he felt her draw closer and soft lips grazed the right side of his face. Her voice rang in his ear, both soft and firm, and curiously devoid of her usual anger. It was haunting.
“You’re Albus Severus Potter.” She whispered. “I just hope you figure out what that means.”
Why couldn’t he hear her words? What was so difficult about her softness, her affection that he hadn't been able to grasp? She had kissed him, in some twinge of sisterly love, and it had lingered, haunted and ate away at him. I love you Albus---had she said that to him or was it meant to be understood? He wasn't sure. Would it remain as unspoken as the rest of their conversations? He wasn’t sure what he wanted to believe.
Sweet darling Rose with her fighting words and crumpled expressions and small mouth and unconditional forgiveness and fragile little wrists that fit into his hands perfectly small enough to snap. He had thought about snapping them often, the sound they would make, her stupid childish cries as she struggled away, or maybe clung closer to him. Instead of fighting back, she would simply give up, allowing herself to be held and consoled. It was a sickeningly improbable notion, impossible even-- for Rose was not mere sweetness. The difference between Rose In Real Life and Rose In His Quickly Fading Mind was astounding. Rose In Real Life was not a damsel; she was a force.
She’d drive him out of his depth and push him under.
He apparated to several locations not quite sure where he was going, but in case someone was following his apparition stream. Or maybe he did know where was going. He couldn’t remember. Hunger burned from somewhere but could not compete with the numerous other pains. He was losing too much blood to think clearly.
There was light in the distance—death?
A door opened and a vague shadow stepped forward.
“Albus? Holy hell… what happened to you?”
He must’ve known where he was going, all along. That was the only explanation. And thus, he staggered forward and collapsed into her arms, finally allowing himself to pass out.
A/N: Has Albus teetered off the deep edge? Think there's any hope for him?
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Also, let me know what you think of the story so far. Good? Confusing? Getting boring? Reviews are the only way I get feedback and improve on my craft :)
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