"Love is often gentle, desire always a rage." Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


Chapter 17

I took refuge in the dungeon, the coolness of my skin and the rapid beating of my heart at odds with each other. I ran, my feet flying behind me as I fled down unlit corridors and splashed through small puddles.

My breathing was loud and desperate when I finally hit a dead end. I slammed my fist against the wall, leaning against it. The increasingly familiar urges welled up within me, refusing to be quelled no matter my concentration. I moaned as the magic coursed through my legs and arms, pooling in my chest.

"Help." I cried softly as my hair began to move restlessly around my face.

I didn't know who I expected to help me. Madam Pomfrey? Tonks? My mouth began to ache and I tentatively explored the source of pain with my tongue. I felt my eyeteeth and gasped as I felt them elongating.

The darkness of the dungeon also seemed to be lightening and I blinked. Yes, I could now make out the fractured surface of the wall I was facing. Sufficiently freaked out, I stumbled backwards away from the wall and tripped over a loose stone. Or at least I would have if my body hadn't suddenly twisted on its own violation and landed me in a defensive crouch.

A sudden giddiness filled me and maniacal laughter tinged with hysteria bubbled up my throat. I recoiled at the sound and clamped my mouth shut. With my voice still echoing back to me, I stared down the length of the corridor. I don't know why I was running, perhaps because I could. It was strange, down here in the damp dark I felt…safe. Safer than I had in days—months even. There were no people here to judge me, to condemn me, or spit at me.

No one to tempt me.

With that thought, I sped up, my feet light on the stone steps that I hurtled down as I turned a corner. My fingers trailed along the wall and with a start, I realized that I was falling, almost flying, down the narrow stone staircase. I jerked my hand away from the wall and as a result lost my balance. With a heavy thud, I landed at the bottom of the stairs.

"Whoa." I breathed, my pulse beating excitedly. Absently, I wiped my slimy hand on my robes and shook out my legs.

I felt energized, like I could go on running like this forever. I liked running. I was good at it. My lips twitched. Good thing too, or else I would have died a long time ago be it from a rabid dog or a rampaging hippogriff. Animals had never liked me—had they known I wasn't human? Had my father known?

With a growl I took off again, loosing myself within the passageways that had become more like tunnels the further I descending into Hogwart's dungeon. I tried jumping more, lifting my feet higher off the ground as I ran. I swung around one corner and sucked in air as I came face to face with another dead end. It was odd because even down here in the very depths of the dungeon, there was no light. And despite my adapting vision, I could only make out vague shapes in the blackness.

So how did I know I was at a dead end? How had the muscles in my body known to freeze and abruptly cease my mad journey? I shook my head, forcing the creepy surreal feeling that had carried me down here from me.

"What am I doing?" I whispered. Turning around, I leaned my back against the wall and slowly slid down it.

Crossing my legs, I sat. No sound pervaded my private little part of the dungeon save the quiet dripping of water from the ceiling. Absently, I wondered just how much of Hogwarts extended under the lake.

I sat there leaning against the wall for a long time, assessing how I felt. Quite frankly, I'd never felt physically better in my entire life. I could feel the unnatural strength in my limbs, the ready power in my chest, and the keenness of my eyes and ears. I felt…good. Powerful. Dangerous.

But I also felt unstable—as if I wasn't sure what I'd do next. This weird impulsiveness was unsettling. I knew that I couldn't trust myself around others for fear that I would…well, that was the problem. I didn't know what I would do. I almost felt like a stranger inside my own body. I was so used to being in control of everything, even my emotions.

But now…I sighed, and the sound was almost deafening. I felt like one great jumble of fleeting passions. As if I could flare up in anger and cool down just as suddenly in the blink of an eye.

"All passion, no reason." I breathed quietly, my eyes closed as I leaned back against the wall.


"Miss Sweetblood?" Professor McGonagall called.

I had forgotten about the Introduction to Construction class I had signed up for every Saturday at 10AM sharp. Unfortunately, McGonagall hadn't. She had been ascending the main stairs and had caught sight of me when I had finally emerged from the dungeon. Naturally, she had found it her responsibility to personally escort me to her classroom.

I glared at her. I was sitting at the far back corner of the room, sunk low in my chair, my hair falling into my face as I drew runes on my desk. The desks around me were empty and the other students kept sneaking looks over their shoulders at me. If I happened to catch them at it, my gaze locking with theirs, they would jump and quickly return their attention back to the front of the class.

Cowardly little shits.

Tendrils of my hair lifted away from my face at a surge of anger. I swallowed hard and forced myself to clear my mind of emotion, slamming down a mental wall between me and my emotions. It was like I was sealing off a part of my brain, locking it up to prevent it from contaminating the sane, logical and reasonable part of me.

Down in the dungeons, I had begun to experiment more and more with the Occlumency I had learned from my mother's books. Once I had calmed enough so that my teeth retracted and my body temperature returned to normal, I had begun to form barriers in my mind. This time however, the walls were not built with the intention of keep people from getting in but to keep me from getting out.

When I had the shields up facial expressions were impossible—as if I'd had a Botox injection, and the cold monotone I developed was creepy to say the least. I just quit…feeling.

My hair stopped floating and I felt the tension leave my body. "Too abrupt." I said, finally answering her question.

"Mr. Urquhart's wand movements or his pronunciation?"

The tough looking Slytherin glowered menacingly at me. I vaguely recalled someone mentioning he was captain of the Quidditch team. As if that meant anything.

"Both."

I heard him mutter something unflattering and absently snapped my fingers. His lips clamped shut and I heard the Ravenclaw sitting next to him snicker.

McGonagall chose not to notice. "Would you please demonstrate the correct way to polish the stone?"

I looked at the roughly scratched and deeply marked stone sitting on McGonagall's desk and sighed. Sitting up straight in my seat I drew out my wand. Before McGonagall could say "Stand up" I made a checkmark like movement with my wand and muttered "Tergo."

The ugly rock transformed instantly into a pretty gray stone that gleamed brightly. And then the bell rang. Everyone rose to their feet and began filing out the door. McGonagall called out a chapter assignment, eliciting a handful of groans.

Not wanting to risk physically touching the other students, I stayed seated. Once they were gone, I let go of the shield holding back my emotions and shuddered. Every time I cut myself off like that it became harder to bring down the wall. I hated the unnatural stillness and indifference that engulfed me. When I let the wall dissolve it was like coming up for air after drowning.

Taking a cleansing breath, I pushed back my chair. But as I turned to leave, I was stopped by McGonagall.

"Yeah?" I asked neither moving towards her nor away from her.

She was giving me a hard look from behind her desk. "Have you learned anything today, Miss Sweetblood?"

I frowned. "What?"

"Did you learn anything today in my class?" She asked. I looked at her for a moment before answering.

"No."

She pursed her lips. "Since you arrived?"

Scratching my chin I sat down on the edge of a nearby desk. Had I learned anything since school had started? I almost laughed.

I was forced to assume she wasn't alluding to the fact that I was a murderous halfbreed with family ties to the Dark Lord.

"I don't really know…" Interesting. I hadn't really given it much thought considering everything else that was going on in my life.

"Are the classes you are currently taking challenging you?"

I sighed and ran a hand idly down my neck. I could feel a couple faint scars there from a tiny kitten that had leapt out of my neighbor's porch to attack me when I was little.

"Honestly? No. I already know what's being taught and often have a better understanding of what's going on than some of the teacher's here. The only class that I find worth my time at all is Healing. Some things you just can't learn from a book." Granger's face popped into my minds eye and I snorted in disgust. "Contrary to popular belief."

"So you have read all of your course books then?" McGonagall asked, raising her severe eyebrows.

"All of them."

"All?"

"Yes, all." I snapped. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. When the need to smack her subsided, I stared at her again.

"This might be difficult for you to grasp but Hermione Granger is not the only talented witch at Hogwarts anymore." I paused and then smiled humorlessly. "Though perhaps she is the only human one."

A disapproving frown twisted her lips and I gritted my teeth. She stared at me for a moment before giving me a brisk nod.

"Very well. If you would please draw your wand, I have a series of questions I'd like you to answer."

As McGonagall began arranging various miscellaneous objects on her desk, I frowned. "What? Why?"

She ignored me and instead asked me to transfigure the crusty old boot before her into a skunk. A series of orders followed this one, ranging from the patterns on the skunk's back to the length of its fur.

This got old fast and soon I was just randomly transfiguring the objects on her desk into whatever took my fancy. I even began using some of my own spells—old ones I'd tampered with to meet my needs.

"Enough!" McGonagall shouted, her face an ugly vermilion color. Feeling a bit like a sadist, I shot a spell at her walls that turned them a hideous orange color.

"Thirty points from Slytherin!"

I barked a laugh. Points? Who the hell cared about intangible points? Nevertheless, I stopped to survey my handy work.

The skunk was now wearing a pink apron and cap adorned with white poodles. The apple on her desk was now a menacing cactus resting in a glazed red pot that whistled tunelessly. Next to it, a ragged teddy bear with one eye kept changing color and texture, ranging from coarse brick red to downy soft blue.

There were now also seven lampshades, all of which had grown fangs and spindly legs that allowed them to scurry around the room gnawing on chair legs. The last straw of course had been transfiguring all of the desks into purple baby hippos.

"Put away your wand." She ordered shrilly. Smirking, I did so.

I tried not to snicker as three of the baby hippos escaped out into the hall while she zapped the lampshades back to normal before they could do further damage to her precious books and the other furniture. I felt some grudging respect for the old lady as she cleaned up my mess in record time. I consoled myself with the fugitive hippos.

True, my actions were childish, but I felt a vindictive sort of pleasure watching her temporarily struggle with the walls. A polite tap on the door interrupted McGonagall as she began to yell at me.

It was Professor Snape. He nodded coolly to McGonagall, only raising an eyebrow at the state of her classroom.

"Dumbledore has requested that I escort Miss Sweetblood to his office."

Breathing heavily, McGonagall snapped her mouth shut. Her lips thinned until nearly vanishing she pressed them together so hard. She didn't say a word as I lazily spun around and left the room. Snape closed the door behind us.

He didn't say anything once the door was closed, merely gave me a bland stare. I tilted my head to one side, running a hand through my hair as I shrugged. But then something strange happened.

Saliva practically dripped from my fangs as some other sense I possessed picked up on the knot of hate and frustration that Professor Snape always carried with him.

I felt my blood chill, my pupils expanding as my mouth parted. The moment it happened I snapped my head around and shuddered violently as I once again used my Occlumency. It was hard, so hard…

Straitening, I finally felt my face die and mutely faced my potions professor.

His pallid and gaunt face was carefully blank despite the passing shadow of disbelief I saw reflected in his eyes. He knew, oh yes he knew what I was doing to myself in order to keep the beast at bay.

"Forgive me." I said flatly. "I can't seem to resist the pull of your…pain." For that's what it was. Now that I was more—aware—of my abilities, I could practically taste the festering tumor of his misery and anger. His bitterness.

The metal divide trembled slightly as I thought about what a magnificent feast Snape would be. Hastily adverting my eyes, I stiffly proceeded down the hallway, jerking my head warningly when my Head of House moved to walk ahead of me.

If he were to turn his back on me, his stride carrying him on past me—I inhaled deeply. It would be as if he were taunting me, as if he were running away…it would be too much for me. My wall would crumble and he would die. Eventually.

At least now I knew why I had wanted to crush his life cord before the match—for the pleasure of his death.

My muscles twitched spasmodically in almost full body tremors. Dully, I could sense what I was beginning to think of as my alter ego, savagely attack the wall separating us. She was pissed. With only minimal effort, I ignored her.

"Miss Sweetblood," Professor Snape said, "if you continue to split yourself in half, you will in time succeed in making it a permanent arrangement."

Despite my lack of feeling, my stomach churned. The rest of the walk to Dumbledore's office was spent in silence.


"Bullshit!" I snarled, my fingers gripping the edge of the Headmaster's desk so tight it began to smoke. My hair floated sinisterly around my face.

There were big holes in my mental barrier, giving my fury a feral, almost lethal edge. I flung myself away from the desk and continued to prowl the room like I'd been doing for the past half hour. My movements were more fluid and predatory now, the speed of my gestures so fast, they appeared jerky to the others in the room.

Dumbledore thought I was an "id". A being that is totally unconscious of its inhumanity. It has only instinctual impulses to guide it. It needs immediate satisfaction even if its methods come into conflict with social and practical constraints. Supposedly, the creature had served as the bases for psychoanalysis, a form of psychotherapy used on muggles that was created by a squib by the name of Sigmund Freud.

Unlike Freud's id, however, I was not sitting on someone's shoulder holding a pitchfork. No, I was something else entirely. And according to Dumbledore, I could either bond with a more stable mind that would keep me in check, or I could face a lifetime of exile from the wizarding world. Apparently wizards had long ago hunted and killed as many of my kind as they could find. And unless I was enslaved—or bonded as the Headmaster preferred—I was a threat to be quietly and permanently exterminated.

"And what happens afterwards? After I give away the control over my abilities and magic to whomever the fuck I bond to?"

I paused in front of the fireplace, near my Head of House, and shuddered with the effort of keeping myself in check. Prince had already tried to break down Dumbledore's door, somehow sensing my distress. I'd sent him away in recognition of the obvious absence of the Headmaster's pet phoenix.

Shuddering a second time, I walked over to the armchair I'd overturned and sat in it, not caring that I looked ridiculous doing so. I was silent for a long while as I digested everything Dumbledore had—and had not—told me. In the mean time, Madam Pomfrey and Professor Snape watched the Headmaster watch me.

I hated them all.

When I stood up, Pomfrey actually jumped. I twitched in response, my mouth opening. I snapped it shut, my hands clenching. Pomfrey swallowed. Taking a deep breath, I looked the Headmaster right in the face.

"I'm not Potter or Granger. I'm not stupid enough to believe that you won't choose who will have control over my leash. No, you'll want to be able to manipulate them so you can control me in turn. You would use me just as Voldemort plans to, but in the name of your own cause." Madam Pomfrey sputtered and nearly choked on her protest.

I glanced at her and let my pupils dilate. She shut up real quick.

"All this time you have wanted little else but to observe me. To keep an eye on me, gauge my potential usefulness to you. Scheming old bastard that you are." I stared at the Headmaster, unmoved by the deep sorrow in his eyes for not an ounce of regret accompanied it.

"The way you use trust, loyalty, and faith to manipulate those around you is remarkable. Ruthless and revolting, but nonetheless remarkable." I spared Professor Snape a glance. He was enjoying this. I could feel it.

"But you can't stand those who refuse your administrations. Like me. Because even when I was at St. Mungo's, when I thought I'd go to Azkaban or be given to the dementors, I refused you." I gave an abrupt laugh. "I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been." I looked down at my hands for a second and then back up at Dumbledore.

"And so you lied to me. Said you didn't know what I was. But you've suspected what I am—an Id? Suspected it all along. Not now, or just recently like you claim. That's a bald face lie." I hissed.

"Ever since the burrow, you've guessed. That's why you continued to watch me last summer." I stood up again and began to pace the room. "When I cracked in the hallway, when I finally lost control—it was you. Self-assured and oh-so confident that you were in control." I trailed off for a moment, remembering.

"You overestimated my ability to trust, believing me too naive, too oblivious to realize that you had barred me from accessing your emotions. Or you did not believe me strong enough to notice. But I did notice. And nearly killed you when I did." I spat the words out, hating him for tricking me, hating myself for not seeing it sooner.

"Only if you had already realized what I was could you have known to do that, to guard not only your mind, but your emotions from me." I had realized this from the moment I had set foot in the Heatmaster's office. Recognition flashing through me the instant I realized his emotions were absent—hidden like they had been that day in the hallway.

Dumbledore steepled his fingers and continued to look at me; he didn't offer a reply. In fact he hadn't spoken at all since my initial outburst. Pomfrey rallied to Dumbledore's defense.

"You are a child! The Professor had the right to withhold such dangerous information, and probably with good cause."

"Dangerous information?" I said incredulously. "This information tells me what I am, it will allow me to research my abilities and let me take the proper precautions so I won't spontaneously rip out the beating heart of the first kid I happed to pass by in the hall!"

Goosebumps rose on my arms. "That information" I said, my voice a horse whisper, "would have prevented me from dividing my brain in half with Occlumency in a piss-poor attempt to protect you and all his," I pointed at Dumbledore "precious students from harm. Dangerous? The only thing dangerous was withholding that information, you stupid cow."

Before she could recover, I returned my attention back to the puppet master, the man who held all the strings—or tried to.

"As far as bonding goes," I spat out the word, "hell no. I'm not going to let you order me to do a damn thing. Whoever it ends up being…" I sighed heavily, feeling as if a heavy blanket had been set across my shoulders.

Because despite my loathing, I knew that these instinctual impulses, the need to immediately fulfill every irrational thought or desire—needed to stop. If bonding was the answer, I had no real choice. I would enslave myself, but it would be done on my own terms and no one else's. I told Dumbldore as much.

"And the only person who will know the identity of my master will be me. I will make that certain."

"It is rare for an Id to find a person capable or willing to bond. What will you do until you find him?" Dumbledore asked, looking older than ever.

"What I have always done, Headmaster. Survive."

He considered me for a moment and I wondered what he was thinking. Was he going to expel me, force me to leave Hogwarts? Or worse? Force me to stay.

"I understand that you have only been attending Hogwarts for a week now," Dumbledore began.

Had I only been here for a few days? It felt as if I had lived here for months.

"But I have spoken to all your professors and they agree. You are more than capable of taking your NEWT exams early. Though unusual, it is not unheard of. When you pass—for there is little doubt in my mind that you will—I have arranged unofficial apprenticeships for you. This will allow you to stay on at Hogwarts, but will ensure a certain distance remains between you and the rest of the student body until you find someone to bond with."

I stared wordlessly at Dumbledore, not knowing exactly what to think. Did I even want to stay at Hogwarts anymore? Would it be better to leave and fend for myself against Voldemort and the Ministry? Or hide within Hogwarts, allowing Dumbledore more chances to entrap me? His present offer made me think that the Headmaster might be planning to encourage a relationship between me and…

"Unofficial apprenticeships, Headmaster?" I asked uneasily.

"Yes. Professors Snape, Emry, and McGonagall have agreed to train you in the area of their expertise until you decide which specific field you prefer. When you have made a decision, your apprenticeship will be finalized and you'll be given the opportunity to become a master in your chosen profession."

I held very still, my face expressionless as I digested the information. My thoughts chased each other. I didn't ask if I had a choice because I knew I did. I could leave Hogwarts…or I could stay.

But I don't know what to do.

If I leave, the Ministry—"You haven't told the Ministry." I said it as more of a statement than a question.

Dumbledore nodded. "No." The unspoken "but I might have to if you leave" hung in the air between us and I suppressed a sigh.

Thinking, I let the sound of their breathing and the surprisingly steady beating of their hearts wash over me.

If I left I would loose my mother's house, my wand, my legal status as a witch, my right to continue my education…a chance at any kind of normalcy. I would risk the chance of being captured by the Dark Lord, of starvation, of attacking muggles and magical families alike, of going insane for lack of human contact…

When I had made my decision, I stood and righted my chair. I didn't speak. I just met Dumbledore's gaze and saw that the resignation and tiredness visible in my own eyes showed in every line of his face. And just for a moment, an intangible instant, I could sense his regret—for the things he had done—and grief for what he would yet do for the greater good.


(A/N)

Yeah I have no idea how long it's been since I made an update. I'm sorry:) College life is great, I love it.

Merry Christmas,

the author