Disclaimer: It's all Rowling's. Not mine.
Summary: For years a web of lies have been woven around Amber Hart, artistically twisted to protect her. But the half-truths and falsities are crashing down around her, and Amber finds herself in the middle of a series of dark events that revolve around The Sirius Black himself... Not quite as dark as it sounds. Chapter Four is now up!
I burst into laughter.
"Dude, that is so clichéd!" I crowed, delighted by the odd turn of events. I was having demented episodes, and hearing the voice of a werewolf in my head! What an imagination I had!
"I'm serious, Amber," Ginny protested in a slightly hurt tone. But I couldn't stop my laughter, but it wasn't out of amusement anymore. I was blind, stupid, and possibly going insane. My life sucked. I had a grand total of one friend. The teachers either hated me or pitied me, the student body pitied me or hated me or enjoyed making my life harder than it already was, I was stuck in the hospital wingand my life just generally sucked.
"Gin, you've just had a lesson on the lunar phases in defence, so maybe you're just-"
"Why is she so STUBBORN!"
There promptly was a thwacking noise.
"Who, else, Padfoot."
"I dunno, maybe you should give it up."
I could hear the sound of fingers clicking furiously in front of my face. "What?" I asked, still a bit dazed by the vision. Or rather, it wasn't a vision because I technically hadn't seen anything. Who the hell was Evans? OK, it must be a surname, because she's female, and apparently she's very stubborn.
"Ginny?" I asked, "Do you know any wizarding families with Evans as a surname?"
I could almost feel her eyebrows quirking. "What, another vision?"
The next thing I knew, we were in the Library (after sneaking out of the Hospital Wing) and Ginny was flicking through the school records, reading out names with Evans as their surname. "Mark Evans- no, wait, he was born in seventeen thirty, that can't be right... whoops, wrong volume." I heard the snapping noise of her book closing and sneezed as dust tickled my nose. "Can you get me a date?"
"I don't know..." I said slowly, thinking hard about these voices. Maybe I could control them.
"I need a date of Evans. I need a date of Evans..."
My mantra had only been repeated six times when I heard the voices again.
"Hey, Prongs, look at these records. Evans looks pretty mean, doesn't she?"
"When was this photo taken? Nineteen sixty nine?"
"First year. We'd've been about eleven."
"So?" Ginny's well known voice interrupted. "Anything informational?"
Maths... I'd never liked maths, in my old muggle school. I grimaced my nose as I thought hard. Sixty nine minus eleven... sixty-nine minus ten was fifty nine, so minus one more would be...
"She would have been born in nineteen fifty-eight," I said proudly. I was terrible at maths. "Give or take a year."
Ginny started her commentary again. "OK, so I've found the nineteen seventy-five books, so he/she-"
"She," I interrupted, remembering that the guy had said she looked mean. "Evans is a she."
"-she," Ginny started again impatiently. I grinned inwardly. Neither of us had much patience. "OK, would be in her seventh year, OK... no Evans in Slytherin... or Ravenclaw... or Hufflepuff- no wait, there is... but it's a he. Wait, there's someone in Gryffindor."
"Really?" I said sitting up straight in my seat. "Spill."
Ginny flicked through the pages, pausing several times before doing as I said and spilling. "OK, name's Lily Evans, born the sixth of November nineteen fifty eight, Gryffindor... hey look, she was head girl... along with James Potter!"
I could hear the blatant excitement in her voice. I barely stopped myself at groaning at her words. "This is amazing! Do you know what this means?" Ginny babbled excitedly.
I almost yawned at Ginny's obsession. Sure, Harry seemed nice and all, but wasn't this just a tad excessive? "What does it mean, Gin?" I said sarcastically.
"It means that Lily Evans is Harry's mother!"
There was silence for a good ten seconds, and I could hear my heart thudding against my ribs, a steady pulse. Bandages still bound my hand, and my side. "Harry's mother...Harry's mother...Harry's mother..." it seemed to echo in my skull. Then I came to my senses.
My tone was completely flat, lathered with disbelief. Excuse me? Me having actually factual visions? Two words.
Ginny apparently missed scepticism. "It says so here. 'James Potter and Lily Evans, nineteen sixty-five, head boy and girl of 1958.' And down below it, it's got several other pictures, and there's this one of them with their arms around each other and a note saying 'Lily and James celebrate their engagement.' That is so cute! And below it there's a picture of James and his friends, 'From left to right-' SHIT!"
("Language, Weasley!") Ginny's abrupt use of less than socially acceptable language surprised me slightly. Both of us swore more than was good for us, but that wasn't it. Think of it this way. One second, your best friend is sounding so lovesick that it's making you want to puke, and the next she's swearing like a sailor. Um, does that strike you as normal?
That would be NO!
"What?" I say hurriedly. For some reason, all disbelief has flooded out of me, leaving no fight. My heart pounded furiously, why I don't know, but it was, and suddenly I found myself begging for Ginny to continue. "Gin, you're my best friend, but if you don't stop leaving me in the dark I might do something drastic."
In a hushed tone, Ginny whispered, "From left to right, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin!"
"Oh my fucking god."
I felt my words summed up the situation very well. I had no idea who this Pettigrew dude was, but the father of the saviour of the wizarding world (Ginny's words, not mine) a mass murderer and our new defence against the dark arts teacher? In one photo? Best friends!
Was it just me, or was there something seriously (no pun intended) wrong with this photo!
"Did you know Pettigrew was the one wizard Sirius Black killed," Ginny's voice interrupted my musings. This provoked a similiar response as earlier.
This was wrong. Sirius Black killed one of his best friends, betrayed the rest, and turned evil. Remus Lupin had been his friend. And James Potter's friend.
What on earth was going on?
"Dad told me. Black blasted him into oblivion, all they found of him was a finger. A finger!"
My head seemed to be spinning with the information. I shook it off. These visions were getting dangerous. I didn't want to know about this. It wasn't right. It was wrong, so wrong. I shouldn't know these things.
"And apparently, when the Magical Law Enforcement Squad got there, he was laughing, like a maniac. He's insane, Amber."
"Lily and James!"
My blood boiled in anger. This voices were completely warped. No. I wouldn't let them take me over, I thought furiously, almost shaking with fury. I wouldn't let them!
The words seemed to be getting fainter and fainter, as I mentally pushed them as far away as possible. I was almost panting with the effort, and I barely knew what I was doing. What was I doing?
"...how could you..."
And then they were gone.
It was like someone had left the room. One less aura. I could feel people, their presence, and their general feeling. Only this time, it was like something inside me had been shoved into the darkest space in my mind, under my control. I didn't know how I'd done it. But it didn't matter, I though wryly. The voices were gone.
And was I ever thankful.
I was confined to the hospital wing for another two days for my expedition. It gave me plenty of time to catch up on my homework. Neither me nor Ginny wanted to bring up the- let's face it- scary topic of my voices, and their reality. I didn't tell Ginny about any more of the voices. She made too big a deal of it, and I was hoping that if I went around as normal, acting like nothing was wrong, it would go away.
But everything was wrong.
"Padfoot, can I borrow some parchment?"
"Sure, but don't give it back."
"Ravenclaw's got a good team this year."
"Mate, she's nuts. Forget her."
"Good on you Prongs. Only took, what, five years to get her to say yes?"
That wasn't all. Even when I went to bed, the voices haunted me, as nightmares, terrible ones that would make my blood run cold.
"Lily and James, Sirius, how could you?"
And then the evil laughter would sound, like whenever the dementors came near me, a cold cackle that would leave me waking up covered in sweat.
I think Ginny noticed, but didn't bring it up, and for which I was grateful.
The voices, although for most of the part very annoying, occasionally, they would help me. For example, I was starting to excel in Defence Against the Dark Arts as at random intervals the voices would give me some sort of information which would help me with my spellwork.
But the odd occurrences soon became a part of my daily routine, and as October started to come to an end, I was sure that whatever they hurled at me next, I'd be ready for.
But, whoever they were proved me wrong.
It was a Saturday, and Halloween. I had wandered off because Ginny was in a detention with Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing for hexing some random Slytherin who tripped me earlier.
My footsteps were silent as I made my way down the well known corridor on the third floor, using the wall as a guide- it wasn't too easy, but I managed, accidentally walking through the Bloody Baron. Lunch had finished a while ago, and Ginny still wasn't back. It had been a fair challenge eating, I tell you. But due to Nearly Headless Nick's friendly help, and my fair sense of smell, I had managed. And waving my stick around threateningly was perhaps not the way to get people to enjoy your company, but it was a fairly efficient way of getting people out of your way.
Hands creeping along before me, found the hinge of an open door, obviously opening outwards. I wasn't sure where I was exactly, but I was pretty sure I was near the Defence classroom.
My ears, sensitive from having taken on the role of my primary sense, heard a quietly unwelcome voice speaking a cold hating tone. "I made an entire cauldronful, if you need more."
I froze, more on instinct than anything else. One thing about me was that I was a shameless eavesdropper.
Lupin's more pleasant, slightly hoarse tone was then recognisable. "I should probably take some again tomorrow. Thanks very much, Severus."
"Quick, behind that tapestry!"
It was the first time the voices had spoken that day, the voice I'd been hearing all month, and this time, the voice seemed to be giving pretty decent advice. There was a tapestry against my back. I wasn't sure how, but I somehow managed to skilfully twist behind it. There was a small space, not large, maybe three square feet, but enough to hide me. I hid, listening carefully to the conversation. "Not at all," Snape's cold voice was saying. I could hear his cold, sharp footsteps backing away slowly.
I relaxed as the footsteps died away, lowering my guard. That had been close- too close. I was no stranger with close calls, but it didn't mean I liked them.
There was a pause, and then Lupin's voice could be heard again. "Professor Snape has very kindly concocted a potion for me," he said. "I have never been much of a potion brewer myself, and this one is particularly complex."
I mentally thought through my list of things I knew about the potion. Particularly difficult to make, not a standard healing potion, can't be stored for long periods of time, smokes, and has to be taken directly. I couldn't recognise it as any potions I knew... maybe me and Gin would be making another visit to the library sometime soon...
"Pity sugar makes it useless..."
"Why-" a male, vaguely familiar tone started, but I couldn't quite put my finger on who exactly. Lupin cut him off.
"I've been feeling a bit off-colour," he said. "This potion is the only thing that helps. I am very lucky to be working along side Professor Snape; there aren't many wizards who are up to making it."
I wasn't a simple-minded person. Sure, he could mean that not many wizards could make it, but what is he didn't? What if he meant that? What if he meant that not many wizards would make it?
It was the catch.
I just wasn't sure was it was.
"Professor Snape's very interested in the Dark Arts," the other voice blurted out, and this time, I recognised the voice. It was Harry, Ginny's 'soul mate'. If you ask me, Ginny was a bit of a romantic, but whatever.
"Really?" Lupin replied in a mildly interested voice. Mild much?
"Some people reckon-" Harry hesitated, then plunged on. "Some people reckon that he'd do anything to get the Defence Against the Dark Arts job."
Something about his tone made me think that there was some hidden meaning to his words. Then my (rather limited) mind made the connection. Snape wanted Lupin's job. Snape was giving Lupin potion.
Surely Harry didn't think Snape was poisoning Lupin, I thought. He had been given the same potion last month, so that was out. But Harry didn't know that...
There was another pause, before a light clunk of metal on wood and Professor Lupin's voice. "Disgusting," he said. "Well, Harry, I'd better get back to work. I'll see you at the feast later."
There was then the clink of china on china, and Harry said, "Right." I could hear his chair's legs scraping backwards, and his footsteps, the door shutting quietly behind them.
It was then that I lost my balance and, in an uncharacteristically clumsy moment, fell forwards, through the tapestry and into a heap on the floor, my stick rolling out from my hand. This was the first time I had just realized how hard the floor is.
"Amber?" Harry's voice said in a slightly surprised tone. "Why are you here?"
"Uh, hey. I'm lost," I invented on the spot, not exactly lying. I was lost. I just wasn't exactly trying to get un-lost.
I pushed myself to my knees, wincing slightly. "How much did you hear?" I could hear his flat, resigned tone, and I wondered briefly what they'd been discussing that had made Harry feel as though I had heard something that I shouldn't have.
I was an idiot to have been caught. I didn't know why I'd fallen. Being blind meant I had to compensate for sight, with hearing and balance. How could I have let myself lower my guard, even for a moment? "Something about a cauldronful, the Dark arts and work," I answered truthfully, fumbling around for my stick. Damn thing!
"Here." I felt a warm hand gently push my stick into my hands, Harry's fingers brushing the side of my hand, and in a completely strange moment, I felt something twist in my stomach uncomfortably. I suddenly felt myself, somewhat reluctantly, agreeing with Ginny. Harry really was as nice as a guy could get. It was strange, after disagreeing with Ginny for so long. But she only saw Harry, the knight in shining armor, which, being blind, would necessarily shine to me because of my often forgotten blindness. Not that Harry wore armor. I think.
I least, I don't think he wore armor...
No. That would just be weird.
"Thanks," I said quietly. I was... I don't know. Awed, but not at all. I couldn't explain it...
I pushed myself to my feet, shaking slightly... I didn't know why. I felt so confused. "What's the time?" I said in an attempt to distract myself from the... entirely wrong feelings inside me. Harry was off-limits. Not to mention he wouldn't go for a blind idiot like me... what on earth was I talking about! It wasn't as though I liked him or anything...
"It's half past four," he said. "The feast's in half an hour. Do you need help getting to the Great Hall?"
No! Don't Amber! Ginny likes him, you can't-
"Uh, yeah, that'd be really helpful, thanks."
My pride, so independent, and my loyalty to Ginny shouted at me, furious at my weakness. I was horrified. What had I done?
What had I done? I wondered again as I felt Harry take my hand and start pulling me gently in some irrelevant direction. Ginny would hate me forever...
But as Harry started talking to me, asking about how I was after the venemous tentacular incident, I forgot my guilt. I felt guiltier for even forgetting it. How could I stab my only friend in the back like this?
But it meant nothing, right? Harry was just being nice, right? And I most certainly didn't like him.
"Careful, we're about to go down the stairs..."
I could feel the stares of the occasional passer-bys as we descended the Marble Staircase, I could tell by the different noise my shoes made on the steps. I could almost hear them thinking, 'What is she doing with Harry Potter?' I barely stopped the grin as I asked Harry if he had any pets. It was completely out of the ordinary, me having an actually normal conversation, with anyone, let alone...
"Amber, I've been looking for you everywhere, I-"
I felt a cold pit of dread filter into my stomach, not unlike the ice I had fallen through so many years ago. This couldn't be happening. It's not like that, I wanted to shout, but there was something wrong with my voice as Harry let go of my hand quickly. Had he only just come to his senses and realized what he was doing?
"Oh, hi Ginny, look, there's Ron and Hermione. I'll see you guys later."
Harry's hasty retreat barely registered. I felt dizzy, like I'd been spinning around and around until I felt nauseated. I knew Ginny, and I had hurt her...
Please don't have noticed, I wished, please, don't think I'm a backstabbing bitch, which I most certainly am, I'm a bad person, come on Gin...
The anger in my voice made me want to burst into tears as she said quietly. "You knew how I felt, and you still-"
"It's not like that Ginny," I said, my voice shaking slightly. My non-existent world was crashing down around me as I realized how very much I depended on Ginny. Ginny who would hex someone if they so much as tripped me. Ginny who would read out loud to me, Ginny who was my eyes, my best friend, and I just...
"You knew," she repeated, and with a hiss like a cat's, I heard her stomp off into the bustle of the crowd.
I didn't even feel my feet moving, walking in shock, carrying me away to unknown places. I loved Ginny like a sister, and I had betrayed her... what kind of friend was I? And for a moment, I felt like I was as bad as Black, betraying his friends and turning to Lord Voldemort's side...
How could you, Sirius?
I was crying, I realized. Not like a baby, but still, hot tears were trickling down my face and a cry of anguish that seemed to not be mine escaped my throat as I realized the consequences of what I'd done... Ginny had been right.
But no! It wasn't like that! I swore it!
My feet pounded against the floor as I broke into a sprint, barreling down a corridor, no idea where I was going, my shoulder banging into a wall, my feet my only guidance...
"I don't have the bloody password! Just open up woman!" A harsh, angry tone met my ears, strangely familiar and yet so foreign...
I almost fell over in my haste to be silent, my heart pounding furiously in my chest with exertion and now... fear. It was definitely an adult, male, and not a teacher... which meant...
It was someone who wasn't supposed to be here.
Please haven't heard me, I prayed, my shoulders still shaking violently. Who was it here?
And where on earth had my nerve gone?
"No password, no entry," The Fat Lady's stubborn tone was heard. I was just on the corridor leading up to the Gryffindor common room, just around the corner from them. My heart pounded furiously in my chest, I could almost feel the tension.
And with an amazingly doglike growl, I heard a ripping noise, and then the Fat Lady screaming in fear.
Later, I wouldn't know what insanity caused me to do it. But before I knew what I was doing, as I heard heavy pounding footsteps as the man started to flee, I had jumped into his path.
We crashed into the floor, and the first thing I noticed was although the man- Sirius Black, apparently- was rather tall, he was also very thin. But despite this, and although I was sure he couldn't have weighed as much as a well fed adult, it still hurt as he landed on me.
The floor was rather hard, as I found out for the second time in one day. At some point I had lost my stick, and, as the man scrambled to his feet, I automatically grabbed a handful of tattered robes and what I was pretty sure was a rather thin arm. My hands were small, but they had a grip which Ginny said hurt.
"Ever tried 'Open Sesame'?"
I had no time to think. The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them. It didn't occur to me that since I was practically at the mercy of a mass murderer that it might pay not to aggravate him. I was dragged to my feet, and then I heard the same harsh angry voice growl, and I ducked my head, almost sure that he was going to hit me, even though I could even see him.
So you could imagine my surprise when instead, I heard a low, growling voice. "Let go."
I couldn't. This guy was a murderer. Could I just let him walk out? I couldn't do this. And as a swell of Gryffindor pride flowed into me, although I was digging my heels into the floor to stop him from escaping, I lifted my chin and spoke without the slighted falter in my determined tone. "No."
For such a thin man, as a hand closed over my wrist that had grabbed him, I realized he had a really strong grip. Sirius Black spoke softly, but urgently, "Please, I don't want to hurt you."
For a wild moment, I believed him. For a moment, I thought I saw- even though I was blind- that he wasn't insane, that he actually still had compassion in him. Maybe-
"Black blasted him into oblivion, all they found of him was a finger. A finger!"
Ginny's voice echoing in my mind had rubbed a sore wound on my heart. Suddenly, I felt so guilty, like Sirius Black, for betraying her. Could I betray the school too?
"So I'm supposed to just let you go?"
"Lily and James, Sirius, how could you?"
No. I couldn't do it. I wouldn't.
"Sorry buddy," I said mockingly. "Not gonna happen." Strangely enough, I could feel my lips curving in my trademark smirk. It was wrong to feel like this, but I felt so… well, happy, as though this wasn't the worst situation I could be in (which it most definitely was.) As though, no matter what happened, everything would be OK, because…
I didn't know.
But whatever sanity I possessed told the truth. Now he would kill me and the school would become a better place.
And suddenly, I felt myself being thrown off my feet. I instantly let go to break my fall, and the air exploded out of my lungs as I hit the ground. Loud footsteps were dying away fast as I shoved myself back onto my feet. My head was spinning, I couldn't hear, and I was aware of nothing except one thought. He had escaped.
I don't know how long I stood there in shock, my keen ears hearing the furious pounding of my heart, and my ragged breathing. Then, as though in a dream, I heard lots of footsteps, chattering voices and laughter.
But then they all stopped.
Except the breathing. That didn't stop.
"Somebody get Professor Dumbledore," I heard Ginny's older brother Percy say sharply.
A mass of whispering broke out, but I could catch next to nothing of it. Until I heard a voice call out, "Amber!"
I recognized that voice. How couldn't I? It was my best friend. Did this mean she'd forgiven me?
"Amber," Ginny said more quietly and I felt her hand take my wrist and start to pull me somewhere. "Amber, come on."
"Gin, what's going on?" I asked in confusion.
"No time, come on!"
The whisperers suddenly stopped, and I could hear clear footsteps coming towards me and Ginny.
"We need to find her," I heard Professor Dumbledore's clear voice coming towards me. "Professor McGonagall, please go to Mr Filch and tell him to search every painting in the castle for the Fat Lady. Miss Hart, Miss Weasley, I'm sorry, but you will have to come with me."
A/N OK, I know there's no excuse for me not updating in so long, but I'll try to update more frequently. I'm a bit busy for the next few weeks, with a history assignment, a DT project and a English task (which I'm actually supposed to be doing this second, but screw that) but I'll see what I can do.
On the other hand, I've found out that ridiculous threats actually work!
A MASSIVE Thanks to:
Dcscprincess :Thanks for reviewing.
DarkCalas000: Thank you for the encouragement, sorry, it took so long!
Kei Ikari: Um... yeah...
The Lilac Elf of Lothlorien: Thanks! Really, nothing makes you feel good about yourself that being told that you insult people really well. And I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. Really. Sorry I couldn't update sooner!
Bananamachine615 : Thanks for reviewing.
gothgirl : Thanks ;)!
Lady Saffron of the Daggers : THANK YOU SO MUCH! You really helped me finish this chapter, and I'll be starting the next one as soon as possible. Yeah, my kitten is a real demon, but absolutely gorgeous. Her name's Lily. But NO homicide. There will be no homicide on my watch! Thanks for the summary, but I've finally found something that sounds OK. But I'd really like it if you could fill out that character form. I'll put it here.
Age and Birth date (this year is 1993):
There. Now, everyone knows the drill.
REVIEW TIME! (rings dinner bell)