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Chapter 6 : Out of Sight, Out of Mind
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The days dragged on after that, every one felt slower than the last. They all felt hollow and strange. I was floating through the motions of life rather than living in vibrant colors, like I normally did at Hogwarts.
I didn't speak to Sirius, I could barely bring myself to look at him. I was almost greatful- for the very first time- that we were, not only in different years, but different houses as well. If I didn't see him it didn't hurt as much. Or that's what I kept trying to tell myself. Out of sight, out of mind.
I threw myself into school and Quidditch over the next few months, enhancing my already flawless marks and top-notch seeking skills.
When I patrolled with Remus, we avoided the topic completely. Neither of us dared to mention Sirius to the other. Oh, I knew he was well aware of our confrontation. The Marauders told each other everything (and they say blokes don't share their feelings. Ha!) There was no doubt in my mind that he'd gotten the whole sodding story and that the lot of them had discussed it. In detail. But I wasn't about to give them more material.
Instead, we kept it light-trying to stifle the awkwardness by discussing books and classes, like usual. We never talked about his secret and he never asked again if I'd told anyone- not even about Sirius, James and Peter's part of it. I'm pretty sure it's because, not only did he want to avoid infuriating me again, but he also knew all along I wasn't going to out them like that. I loved Sirius too much, despite the current predicament.
I silently kept track of the gossip, of who he was dating. A new girl every week, another spasm of heartbreak. But I consoled myself with the fact that they were only flings. If he every got a real, long term girlfriend though, I knew my world would cease to spin. I would be crushed under my moutain of sadness and that would be the end of me. The Death Eaters wouldn't stand a chance of torturing me next to that.
It was a wretched fact, but I could no more escape my love for Sirius than I could the blood running through my viens. No matter how much I wanted to get rid of both.
I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and yearned to drain out every ounce of "pure" magical blood. And I became increasingly irritated with my heart for not allowing me to forget Gryffindor's golden boy. With each passing day, I grew more disgusted. With my bloodline and my own inability to cope with rejection.
The Death Eater's reeked havoc outside of the safe walls of Hogwarts School. Each day was met with foreboding, everyone picked up the paper solemnly each morning and scanned it with baited breath.
For me though, it was not because I was searching for a dead loved one, like everyone else. (Though, admittedly, I worried about that too.) No, I was searching for familiar names among those caught preforming these heinous offenses. I found a few that rang a bell but none of them were members of my family. I wondered when that was going to change.
I maintained the pretense of a well-adjusted teenage witch. I alternated my time between the familiar and exasperating Slytherins and my beloved Ravenclaw family, expertly like always (especially now that I was splitting myself between two sets of people rather than three this year). And during the infamous prefect meetings, I kept my head down- pretending not to notice Lily Evan's furtive glances. When Rabastan would sling his arm around me now, I'd begun to feel both a sinking in my stomach and a tingle down my spine.
How could I like a Death Eater, that I wasn't related to, so much? I didn't even like some of the ones that were my flesh and blood. But at least it was understandable with family. I was bound to them by blood, wasn't it natural that I should love a few of them, despite their hideous acts?
But I wasn't tied to Rabastan by blood, at least not in any relevant way in my opinion. So how could my hollow insides feel warm when he smiled? Why was it so easy for him to make me laugh?
The rest of the school assumed we were a couple. But we most certainly weren't. No matter how much I liked him, I would never date a Death Eater- even a dormant one. Sometimes, on the rare occasions my life slowed down and I was in danger of thinking about Sirius, I wondered idly if Rabastan still went on missions with his fellow Death Eaters or did their Dark Lord let him off for school?
There were certainly ways around that little dilemma. Sirius had shown me at least seven passages out of the castle and Rabastan was certainly clever enough to find one of them should he have the need. But there was no way in hell I was helping him on that one. I'd be Avada Kedavra-ed before I would help a Death Eater sneak out of the castle. Even Rabastan. Because, despite that fact that I found his company strangely enjoyable, I never ever forgot who he was. A Death Eater, plain and simple.
I suppose, if anyone had dug deep enough, it would be fairly clear I was against the psychotic purebloods and their rebellion on peace itself. I despised the majority of my family, a look of digust twisted my face everytime I read of the turmoil in the paper and I was friends with half-bloods and bloodtraitors alike. I even kept a friendly aquaitance with a muggleborn or two.
But, for my sake and partially for their own, my friends made an effort not to advertise their blood statuses. Lena didn't voice her view outright for everyone to hear anymore, because that would make her a bloodtraitor and off limits to me and Nora didn't mention her Muggle family anymore either, because half-bloods were unacceptable to the purebloods too.
I tried not to consider what my options would be if some sinister soul decided to look into my friends' bloodlines and (Agrippa forbid) inform my parents of the company I'd been keeping since first year. But it was hard not to think about it anymore. What with the daily reminders in the form of Sirius Black, the Daily Prophet, the prefect meetings, Rabastan Lestrange and all the other Slytherins I occaisionally hung out with to save face, it was almost impossible to ignore what was coming.
It felt inevitable. Eventually, my time would be up. My choice would be made and my life would either tip off one end of the cliff or the other.
If I was disowned, discovered for what I truly was and no longer considered clean, my life would depend on circumstance and chance. I would either get away and escape punishment, flee to Merlin knows where or die.
But if and when they decided to induct me into that horrendous inner circle, I could either risk everything and run or be obediant and live a life of sickening deeds and wicked proclaimations.
It was inevitable. Eventually, time would run out and I would have to choose.
Quidditch. It had always been a way to escape everything for me.
When I was younger, my brothers, Sirius and Regulus and I- along with a few choice cousins- would all play impromptu games whenever the garden parties and wizard balls we were forced to attend got dull. Once we were older, such things were accepted less. We were no longer children and we were expected to act accordingly.
So I was always ecstatic for Quidditch season. Especially this year.
It gave me something to think of besides my hopelessly unrequited love, confusing likability of someone I should hate and recklessly disfunctional family of maniacs.
Except, of course, when I found out that our second match would be against good ole' Gryffindor.
Yeah, I know. I almost hurled my entire breakfast into the locker room toilets.
Hufflepuff had been our first match. A cake walk in my oppinion. I'd waited an hour to catch the snitch simply to make the game more interesting. Their Seeker was a tool and incapable of seeing a fly on his nose much less a snitch near his arse. So, though I spotted the glittering gold ball about two minutes in, I waited and let the soothing wind caress my face as our chasers did their thing.
But, at this point, I'd much rather face Slytherin.
Rabastan was their captain and he wouldn't dare order an attack on me. Nor would any of the teammates think to do it. I may have been a condescending Ravenclaw in their opinion but I was still (to them) a faithful pureblood daughter. Still one of them. Many still insisted that the hat was going senile because of it. Especially now, as I "proved my loyalty" by shunning Sirius.
The Gryffindors, however, had made it clear that I was their enemy.
Ever since I'd scorned their beloved Sirius they'd been seething with hate. They constantly glared in my direction and spread nasty rumors among themselves about me. The story of mine and Sirius's fall out had gotten more outrageously far fetched and elaborate since September. Everyday I found out a new detail about how my own drama had unfolded. It was ridiculous.
But one thing was obvious. In their eyes, I was as bad as a Slytherin. And that meant I was fair game for Quidditch aggression.
Our captain, David Stephens, was well aware of this fact. He gave Gabriel and Everett- our beaters- permission to fend off any attacks. He told them that no matter what kind of assault it was- physical or bludger- they were to protect me. They would've anyway, it was clear on their faces. They were like my brothers at school in so many ways. And they were just as protective as brothers should be.
"Oh come off it, Stephens." Lena scoffed, "We're playing the Gryffindors, remember? The noble house. They stand for chivalry, for Merlin's sake! Whether they like Mira or not, they value their hoity-toity reputation far too much to jeopardize it in front of the entire school!"
"She has a point." Arina, the other Chaser, agreed with an amused smirk. "They wouldn't want to give the Slytherins that satisfaction."
"Or a reason to kick their arses," Kathlena snorted.
"Yeah," Nora grinned, "Rabastan Lestrange, especially."
David looked at me, still worried about his star Seeker. "Just... catch the snitch fast, alright Belle?"
I gave him a mock salute and forced a smile as I said, "Yes, sir."
He rolled his eyes as the other laughed and said, "Right, you lot. I guess that's enough of a pep talk. You all know what to do."
And we did. We made our way on to the pitch silently and in sychronization. Like a well-trained symphony. We were a well oiled machine. Ready to win.
They were glowering at me.
Even their Seeker, Alice Haze- who was always nice to everyone and had a boyfriend who was the team's other Beater- was floating on her broom, hazel eyes narrowed and rosebud lips puckered.
The whistle hadn't even blown yet and I was feeling queasy. I didn't dare lift my eyes to Sirius's, terrified of what I'd see in them. This game was going to be absolute hell.
As Madame Woods ordered the captain to shake hands I watched David and Potter grudgingly obey. I could feel those eyes, burning into the side of my face. Seering my flushed left cheek. I could even see his blurred image from the corner of my eye but I didn't dare look.
I met Potter's gaze though. It was hard and loathing-not that he'd ever liked me very much to begin with but dislike was now pure unadulterated hate.
My jaw locked and I tilted my chin upward in defiance. Potter didn't scare me. I returned his frosty gaze with an icy one of my own, only ten times more powerful. I raised an eyebrow in challenge and his gaze shifted to Gabe and Everett on my flanks, both big and strong for their ages.
With my periphial vision I watched Gabe smile menacingly and Everett invite the challenge by putting his hand palm up and curling his fingers twice. Potter paled slightly, clearly not expecting them to be so ready for attacks on their Seeker. (I wondered, briefly, if he'd told Sirius and Frank to send some nasty bludger attacks my way. Would Sirius really do that?) Nora and Lena smirked, also ready for the challenge. I had a feeling they were going to make sure Gryffindor's star Chaser humiliated himself today.
Despite the support of my team, I didn't feel any better.
My face was flushed, my stomach was turning and my head had already started to throb. I was going to have to find the snitch in record time or I'd be down for the count and I refused to lose to Gryffindor. It wasn't an option anymore.
The whistle blew and we were off.
I took to the skies, circling high above the action and using my extra sharp vision to scope out the snitch. It eluded me.
I literally couldn't find it anywhere and little Alice Haze circling below was distracting me. Or it could've been the person who was hovering near her that was unconciously vying for my attentions.
I huffed, annoyed with myself and my own inability to focus on anything else for more than five seconds.
I decided to go down below them so I could concetrate. Out of sight, out of mind.
Leo was, thankfully, the announcer. Which meant I had one less thing to worry about. I could only imagine what someone from Gryffindor or Hufflepuff would be saying right now, "... it seems a new house fued has arrived because of the end of the tumultuous relationship between Sirius Black and Mirabelle Echols. Or perhaps it's because she moved onto a greasy Slytherin so fast that's got Gryffindor in a strop..."
I cringed at the mental voice, thanking Merlin my friend had volenteered to announce in our third year.
Instead, the commentary went more like this, "...Seems that Ravenclaws Chasers are determined to give Potter a run for his money this afternoon. They do fly well don't th- Oh! And Ravenclaw scores! Nice shot, Prewett!...."
Lena gave Potter a gloating smile-and-wave-combination, then flew away in giddy loops as he glowered, bellowing something at his Keeper.
"... And now Potter rows with Webber, presumably because he let the lovely Miss Prewett score. But look at her! Who wouldn't?... C'mon ladies this is a game! Take the cat fight somewhere else!..."
And it was as I giggled that I spotted it. The golden glint.
My golden ticket out of this nightmare. Maybe I could catch it before the game turned into an actual nightmare.
Leo's commentary continued, but I no longer paid attention as he exclaimed over my brilliant vision. I only had eyes for the snitch, my ears were honed in on the rapid fluttering of golden wings. I barely noticed that Haze was attempting to catch up with me and beat me to it.
I got close.... closer...I reached out my arm and....
And then, Leo shouted, "MIRA, WATCH OUT!"
Pain. A sickening snap.
And then everything went black.
(I know, cliff hangers are evil but I cannot help myself! I will try to update quickly, but no promises! For now, tell me what you think in that little box below! I almost started sobbing when they all vanished because of that server crash.
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