Disclaimer: Now that the series is over, all I have to live for is Breaking Dawn, the Twilight movie, and Harry Potter fanfiction. Is that weird?
Chapter 11: Pell-mell Panic
(A.N.) Okay. Here's the deal: I'm seriously thinking about permanantly discontinuing this fic. It seems sort of pointless now that the series is over. However, if someone out there strongly objects, then I'll keep posting. I would also like to take the time to thank everyone who review the last chapter (you all are amazing!) and to mention that there has been beta'ing on this chapter. Thanks, and enjoy.
I-I can't believe that bastard! How dare he? That stupid, brainless, sexy git! I'll—
…Wait a minute. Did I just think the word "sexy" as part of this tirade?
Yes. Yes, you did, the Voice told me, sounding rather miffed.
Shut up! This is so your fault!
Angry, the Voice answered scathingly, How do you figure that, girl?
It… It just is!
Okay. Not my greatest comeback. Though the Voice didn't dwell too much on how pathetic my response was.
Ungrateful brat! After all I've—
This was getting tiresome. And old. I just wanted the stupid voice to shut up and leave me alone. I wanted my thoughts to be own again. So, I imagined slamming a door shut with all my mental and physical might, and then chaining it shut.
Blesses silence. Thank you, Merlin. Now I can think in peace.
Putting the fact that I was enraged with Malfoy aside, I examined the first of two conundrums. One: he had made that horrid, blood soaked room disappear from my vision. How, or why, I don't know, but he did. One second I was close to drowning that bloody nightmare and then, suddenly, I found myself smack dab in the middle of reality with Malfoy kissing me. Which reminds me… He does it very well…
I groaned in annoyance and disgust with my self. Can't I control myself at all? Even a little? "Never mind…" I muttered aloud. My lack of self-control was hardly my most pressing worry at the moment.
On to more important issues. Second question: What is wrong with me? Mentally, that is. I mean, this is getting out of hand. I have sleepwalked in my life, but tonight I somehow did so, ending up in the Common Room with… Well, with Malfoy.
I guess it wasn't a bad way to wake up, considering the painful alternatives. But I just can't help feeling that he took advantage of me. I hate being used or thought of as an easy lay. Always have. The last guy who had implied otherwise had met with a series of accidents.
The worst part though, the true reason I was so angry, was that I'd found my body starting to respond, despite my thoughts to the contrary. Traitor.
I mulled over this things until the sun rose hours later. I didn't even try to go back to sleep, didn't want to. Still, I was reluctant to crawl out of the refuge of my four poster bed. I was grumbling under my breath as I dressed hastily. I hate mornings.
Now, let's see… Blouse on right, buttons all done up?
Ugly sweater vest?
Preppy socks and shoes?
Good. I have my entire uniform. A few days ago, I'd forgotten my stupid fucking sweater vest and one of my socks had been inside out. Trelawney had a fit. Something about the apocalypse.
Professor Tonks had thought it was funny. So funny that she'd giggled all through the day's lesson. In fact, she laughed so hard, her hair had turned bright canary yellow.
Oh, well. I guess it's just better for everyone involved if all garments are present and on me the right way.
I loaded my bag with what books and other shit I'd need for Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts, and then I breezed through the practically empty Common Room.
I suppose Malfoy went to bed…
Why do I care?
The Great Hall was virtually bare of occupants, as well. Only a handful of students and some ghosts were hanging around. As I headed for the Slytherin table, however, I almost choked. He was sitting there already, looking off into empty air.
That's unusual. Where's his posse? Maybe I should find out what's wrong…
Ack. No! I refuse to feel concern for that arrogant son of a bitch.
He rubbed a pale, elegant hand over his eyes, looking tired and as if he had a massive migraine. Maybe…
No. No, I feel nothing. Nothing!
I sat down across from him. It was the most convenient seat available. I swear.
Malfoy didn't look up or acknowledge me in any other way. Not even a bloody "good morning". Instead, he groaned with a voice laden with the desire to sleep, murmuring to himself quietly, almost silently.
It was actually kind of cute. Like a little kid… or even a ted—
I am not going to finish that thought.
Finally, I found myself giving in. Okay. So I wasn't the cold-hearted bitch I wish I was. "Are you alright?" I asked, peering at his pale countenance critically.
"Do I look alright?" he demanded wearily.
"Well, no, actually."
He glared at me with bleary and bloodshot eyes. "Thank you for clarifying that for me. Your power of observation is simply astounding," he muttered sarcastically. Grimacing, he started to massage his temples, clearly attempting to dispel the ache in his head.
I sighed heavily and began to dig through my giant bag. Did he always have to be such an ass? Probably. As I rummaged through the bag's contents, I commanded, "Pour yourself a mug of water and heat it so it boils."
"I didn't ask for a debate, Malfoy!" I rebuked, throwing him a glower of my own.
I finally found the one of many packets I kept with me, the one I'd been looking for. Small, curly shavings of bark that gave off and earthy smell were revealed as I opened the cloth pouch. Looking up, I found Malfoy prodding absently with his wand at a small flame on the gold plate in front of him while a mug levitated unsteadily over the flames. His eyes were slightly glazed over.
Carefully, I climbed over the table, pulling my bag along with me and avoiding the silverware and plate along the way, and plopped down beside him, magicking the cup down before it could collapse out of the air. The water inside the mug wasn't boiling like I wanted it to be, so I tapped it with my wand and snapped a useful charm that brought the water to an instant boil. Very handy. Then, using a napkin as a make-shift strainer, I steeped the bark in the hot water to make tea. I let it sit for a couple minutes to make sure that the concoction was strong. Once that was done, I handed him the mug and ordered him to drink it.
Malfoy eyed it for a second, glanced at me, and then drank a mouthful.
Instantly, he grimaced, though he did swallow the tea. "What the fuck did I just drink?" He had a bit more color in his skin already and the glazed look had left his eyes, which were staring down at the liquid in question with obvious distain.
"Willow bark tea," I informed him, beginning to pack my bag so that everything was back in its place. "Good for headaches, fever, and slight fatigue. It's bitter, so you'd better down it in as few gulps as humanly possible."
"Thanks for the warning," he grumbled, gray eyes narrowing.
I smiled as sweetly as I could. "Your welcome."
Malfoy looked down at the cup again, hesitating. He took another gulp of the tea, wincing at the horrible taste, and kept drinking until the cup was empty. "That stuff is bloody awful," he told me, practically flinging the cup away from him.
"But you feel better," I reminded him. I was feeling a little smug. So sue me.
He scowled. "I suppose."
His attitude was reminiscent of a nine-year-old I'd once taken care of, but I decided that bringing it up was more trouble than it was worth. It was too early for a squabble. Instead, I glanced about the Hall, watching as students filtered slowly into the enormous room. The enchanted ceiling was cloudy. I guess it's going to rain soon.
Suddenly, Malfoy asked slyly, "Sleep well last night?"
One…two…three…don't hex him…four…maybe just a small spell…five…or a slap…six…seven…or a punch…
Counting to ten has never worked for me.
Malfoy, now appearing to feel much improved, smiled. "Your eye is twitching again, love."
I replied with something that no teacher or mother would ever condone.
"Language, Samara, language," he admonished, wagging a finger at me. "Besides, that is physically impossible." A wink accompanied the last statement.
"That's what you think," I shot back. This is why I shouldn't have helped him. Damn my bleeding heart!
You don't say, the Voice whispered sullenly.
Did I ask you?
No. But you did happen to think it quite loudly. You are a very annoying child.
What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
I was answered by nothing but silence. Again.
Great. The voice in my head seems to be its own sentient being. Just fucking bloody great. I must have done something particularly awful in a past life to earn all this bad luck. It really is the only explanation for all the terrible shit that happens to me. I think the only person who could possibly have more bad luck than me is Potter.
With renewed determination, I ignored Malfoy, successfully this time, while I ate my breakfast. Well, if you can call picking at scrambled eggs eating. I really didn't have much of an appetite. Fancy that.
Eventually, the Hall was packed wall to wall with students eating, chattering, and doing last minute homework. When I was tired of all the meaningless and trivial drivel, I left my seat at the Slytherin table and got the hell out of the Hall, leaving Malfoy surrounded by his little gang.
Not that I cared, but I'm pretty sure he watched me leave.
Since there was still almost an hour before classes began, the corridors were quiet and empty as I walked to my first class of the day, which was Defense Against the Dark Arts. Our lessons these days mainly focused on creatures and, of course, spells used to incapacitate, harm, capture, and otherwise affect those creatures. At this point in the year, we were studying Levifolds, Dementors, and the Patronus Charm. Not that anyone could actually cast the charm yet, though. Well, except for Hermione and Potter. But I suppose that they would have to be the exceptions, now wouldn't they?
Speaking of Levifolds… I wanted one. They strangle and eat people and are virtually undetectable. What better pet is there, really?
My, aren't we feeling murderous today. That Weasley boy was right, girl, you are losing your mind. Quite thoroughly, I might add.
Do you have to sound so happy about it?
I speak only the truth.
Oh, shut the hell up. I don't really care what you believe is true, bitch. You're only something my imagination made up, anyway.
You make it sound as if you are making me up, Samara. Or that I am some extension of your self. That would be a mistake to assume, you silly little girl.
I snorted. "Oh, really? So you think you're real?" The words accidentally slipped from my mouth, full of disbelieving scorn. The day just kept getting better. Not only did I have a voice in my head, the Voice was delusional. Is that a bad sign? Probably.
Pain stabbed the insides of my skull as the Voice replied. Continue to brush me off, girl, and you will not like what happens. Then again, even if you didn't, you still would not like the outcome, I think. Either way, you lose, dear Samara. And that is, of course, the point.
If you're real, then who are you?
Might as well indulge my crazy hallucination. I was already bonkers. There really wasn't that much more to loose.
Instead of answering me, the Voice cackled, her high pitched and deranged giggles fading slowly and dramatically from my thoughts. Very contrived, in my opinion. However, it left me filled with trepidation. I couldn't shake the idea that the Voice was a real person from my mind. Suppose it was true. That would mean that someone was deliberately trying to destroy my sanity. And they were succeeding beautifully.
Panic hit me full force. There was someone in my head! Definitely time to seek outside help. Going insane is one thing. Having someone lounging about your thoughts was another.
I began running—no, sprinting—to Tonks' classroom. She was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, after all. She would have an idea what was going on. I could go to Dumbledore, too, if I had to. No reason to panic. Right? Right.
No. Wrong. Panic sounds good right about now.
Practically skidding and narrowly avoiding a headlong collision with the classroom's heavy oak door, I entered Tonks' room breathing a bit like an exhausted racehorse. My legs were tingling with a burning sensation, and my left knee was throbbing. I'd gotten into a fight at my old school around four years ago, and a well-placed kick and a painful fall down a flight of stairs had dislocated it. Add that to the fact that, since I'm stubborn like this, I'd refused to go to the nurse to have it fixed. Instead, I had a friend, Whitney, pop it back into place. I'd had to apologize to her later for kicking her in the face when she'd forced it back into the socket.
Unfortunately, Tonks wasn't he only one in the room.
Dumbledore, Snape, and another man were with her, and they seemed to have been arguing. The Headmaster looked rather tired, Snape appeared to be royally pissed off, and Tonks' face was flushed. The other man had a hand on her shoulder, looking solemn.
They has topped speaking when I'd burst in and, now, they all stared at me.
And they stared a bit more.
This was starting to feel awkward. "Um, Hello, Professors. Headmaster." The muscle in my knee began to spasm violently. I wasn't going to be able to walk properly for a while.
"Please wait outside, Miss Shoreglade, while we finish out discussion," Dumbledore requested, as polite as ever.
"I don't think I can," I muttered to myself. I tried to obey, turning around and attempting to walk away. My knee gave out on the first step. "Bloody son of a bitch!" I cursed as I collapsed. Bolts of pain were shooting up my leg.
I heard hurried footsteps, and then Tonks was kneeling beside me. Anxiously, she inquired, "What happened?"
"My knee…" I gasped out through the sheer agony. I didn't have to see my knee to know that I'd popped the joint again. I'm cursed. I have to be. I swallowed convulsively and added, "It's dislocated."
"How in the world did you manage that?" Tonks said, gently straitening my left leg.
"I ran all the way here. My knee didn't like that. So, it popped."
The mystery man and Dumbledore asked, "What was the rush?"
Tonks and my so-called father wanted to know something a little less important. "Why would knee pop so easily?"
I loathed answering any question that Snape asked me, so I answered the former. "I wanted to talk to T—Professor Tonks. I…" Damn it, they're not going to believe me. Oh, well. Not the first time. "I've been hearing this voice in my head. Ever since I was imprisoned Azkaban. At first, I just thought I was making it up, but… Well, I think it's a whole separate person. Not a split personality, you understand. I'm talking about an actual person who is talking to me. All the time."
I waited for them to ask me if I had a fever or if I'd hit my head. However, no one did. Imagine my surprise when the first response was Tonks looking over at Snape and saying, "I told you so."
Thoughtfully, Dumbledore peered down at me over his long nose. "Is this the same voice that has been telling you to hurt yourself?"
Good memory. He'd remembered my babbles from when I'd been carted off to the Infirmary.
I nodded absently as I watched Tonks fuss over my swelling knee. She pulled out her wand. "You didn't answer my question. Why is your knee this weak?" she asked.
"Falling down stairs hurts like a bitch," I muttered darkly.
Sounding unconvinced, Snape asked, "You fell down the stairs? How…unlikely."
"Well, it was more like I fell with help, but that's hardly relevant. Let's just say that having your friends doctor you is a bad idea and leave it at that," I announced. "Speaking of, Tonks, would you help me pop it back into place? I'd ask Madame Pomfry, but I'm not walking there any time soon."
"Pop it back in? Manually?" the woman inquired, looking horrified. "Not a chance."
I couldn't help but sight. "Okay, then. I guess I'll do it myself. Lovely." This said, I propped my left leg on chair and braced the top of my knee bone and took a deep breath. This was going to hurt, damn it. Pushing upward, I began to try to force the bone back into its rightful place.
Spears of white-hot agony ripped through my leg, but the stupid thing didn't pop back into the socket. I applied more force.
The bone slid into place with a disgusting combination between a click and a crunch. My entire leg throbbed and I was breathing erratically, but my knee was in the joint again. Hallelujah.
"I think I'm going to be sick," Tonks murmured faintly. She was turning a putrid shade of green. Literally.
The man I didn't know knelt next to me on one knee, pulling out his wand as he did. I noticed how gaunt he was and that he was as thin as I was. Which was painfully so. "Hold still," he told me in a soft voice. Pointing his wand at my rapidly swelling knee, he murmured, "Furula."
Bandages sprang from the wand's tip and neatly wrapped themselves around my leg. They were tight enough so that I won't be able to bend the joint when I stood. A good thing, since I knew from experience that doing so would hurt like a bitch.
I looked up into his dark gray eyes. "Thanks."
He smiled at me and politely replied, "Your welcome." He then turned so that he faced Tonks and adjusted his position so that he was close to her side. She watched him as if he was the only important thing in the world. Who knows, maybe, to her, he was.
"This only proves what I have been telling you, Headmaster," Snape commented icily. "No matter what others might say." The last seemed to be directed at Tonks and her friend.
Tonks' face rapidly changed from sickened to angry. "Are you calling him a liar, Snape?" she demanded.
"Now, Nymphadora—" the pale eyed man attempted. He was using a soothing tone of voice. I couldn't blame him. Tonks was scary as hell when she was pissed. Almost Snape-caliber.
"Shut up, Remus! I've had enough of his snide, sarcastic remarks!"
Dumbledore also bravely ventured to calm her. "Nymphadora, this is hardly the time for this conversation."
"Stop calling me Nymphadora! I hate that name!"
Poor Nymph—I mean, Tonks… Whoops. Although, now that I think about it… It is kind of funny. In an absurd way. I giggled quietly, eventually giving up any sense of tact and let myself laugh. Loudly.
I think I may have been slightly hysterical.
But only slightly.
"What is so funny, Samara?" Snape snapped, irritated.
"Oh, nothing." You all are only acting like petulant children while my sanity—well, what's left of it—is eaten away by some crazy bitch. No problem.
I was still on the floor while this was going on, so I had to crane my neck to see his face when I'd replied. This isn't working for me.
Standing up proved a challenge. But, after a couple of minutes, I was able to stand, albeit wobbly. "So…your little argument aside, I don't suppose there's anything you can tell me about what's happening to me, is there?"
They all exchanged glances. Some actions are louder than words, even if those actions are annoyingly cryptic.
The Headmaster turned his gentle blue gaze to me, speaking softly. "We have our suspicions, Samara. We will see what we can do. For now, go on with your usual activities and try to ignore this voice when she comes again. No matter what, you must end the reliance you've built up," he nodded pointedly to the faint scars that were still visible on the flesh of my forearms. "And you must find another way to end these visions. I believe that the hallucinations will leave you if you stop heeding to this voice."
"But you're not going to tell me any of the details." It wasn't a question. I already knew.
"That is not necessary for you to know at this point. What is important is that you do as I've told you. This voice knew exactly how to terrorize you and guessed correctly how you would react. In order to begin to break her hold on you, you must change your reactions."
I sank into the same chair that I had used a few moments earlier. This was not comforting. At all. I could have lived with being crazy. I really could have. But it seemed that I was wrong about the Voice… What else was I wrong about, I wonder? How do you know, how can you tell, what is real in a situation like this? Not only how, but why bother?
It didn't look like I was going to get those answers anytime soon.
(A.N.) If you want to see the story continue, or if you want me to let it die, drop me a review. Either way, your comments will be appreciated.