Everyone was staring, and it wasn't the 'I'm trying to make it look like I'm not actually staring even though I am staring' either.
It was the first week back at school after my three week absence and I was terrified. It also looked like my fears weren't unfounded either. As I'd come through the oak doors that looked very ominous in the January morning gloom the hundreds of occupants of the great hall (including many of the professors) turned their faces in my direction.
I could feel the heat of my face rise and could tell that it was slowly reddening, my cheeks burning. My eyes were hidden behind the protective tinted glass of my sunglasses. It was lucky, I suppose, that I didn't have to hide the glasses any longer as they meant that the people gathered for breakfast couldn't see the watering of my eyes.
I made it over to the Gryffindor table after what seemed like an age. Every step felt like a lifetime, but eventually I came to where my friends were sitting. My voice was shaky as I said "Hi" and for one horrifying moment I feared that the worst had happened and that my friends had decided to turn against me like the rest of the school. My fears dissolved into nothing though when Sophia span round to face me with a huge grin.
"Hey Lil, how goes it?" Her quiet tone was amplified around that hall through the stony silence and everyone seemed to be poised waiting for my answer.
"Okay." I said, not sure what else I could say with everyone paying so much attention to me. I felt cautious as I sat down in between Sophia and Alice. Iola was looking at me intently as I sat and I tried my hardest to give her a convincing smile but failed as I could see that she had worry heavy in her eyes.
Suddenly as if struck out of her daze she shook her head slightly and turned around to look at everyone in the hall. Whilst surveying everybody there she said in an unnecessarily loud voice, "What are you looking at? Poking your nose in where nobody wanted it. Get back to whatever you were doing or I'll personally ensure that you're not gonna' be hearing any more gossip for a while!" And with one final glare at the room she turned and picked up her spoon.
People all around the room seemed to be startled all caught in those metaphorical headlights. I gave Iola a real smile this time and sent a silent 'thank you' through my eyes. She shrugged in response and shovelled some soggy cornflakes into her mouth.
What she had said had seemed to make a few, more sensitive people turn back to their previous activities but the majority of the room was still glued to my every move. I felt like I was on one of those reality TV shows, people tuning in to my every twist and turn it was very unnerving.
As breakfast went on a couple of others apparently lost interest in me, but most of the students were all still looking at me. Mind you, some of them were only sending sly glances my way, taking a bite of breakfast before lifting their heads and looking in my direction. I had tried to force down a piece of toast, but a lump had formed at the back of my throat and I couldn't swallow more that a couple of bites.
After only ten minutes of the dense hush I decided that enough was enough and got up to leave the hall. Those people that had lost interest in me during my stay in the hall were focused on me again.
"Look guys, this is getting stupid. I'll meet you in potions. See ya." I would have said a lot more, and I felt like giving the hall what for but some part of me couldn't be bothered. I thought 'let them stare' especially if they did enough staring that morning and it meant that they didn't stare half as much at dinner.
I could hear snippets of conversation as I walked to the doors. "Oh my god! She's staring at me, quick turn your eyes she might read your mind."
"God if I was wearing those awful glasses I'd just die." This came for a particularly fashion conscious 4th year.
The worst was from a 7th year in my house, I used to get on quite well with her but now it seemed she disliked me, "What a freak, can't believe I helped her with her charms. She was probably reading my mind the whole time, copying everything I thought." Okay, so maybe it was a bit more than dislike. This hurt me as I thought I had a friend in her, my eyes once again were watering.
If it was possible the journey felt even longer that it had previously. As I just cleared the Gryffindor table I was stopped by a voice.
"Potter!" Recognising the confident voice of was Matt Donovan. I stopped but didn't turn around, knowing that a snide comment was surely to follow. I just couldn't handle any more ridiculing and was about tell him so (in a less polite way of course) when he beat me to it, "Hey Potter, turn around I want to talk to you."
This surprised me. He wasn't usually the type to snidely make jokes and confuse his victims; he normally just came out and said it. Giving in to my curiosity I turned to face him. He had a plain expression on his face but his hands beside him were twitching as if nervously. I was confused by this as he usually came off as being confident, most of the time overly so.
"I just wanted to congratulate you on something I haven't ever had the guts to do." His hands had stilled and he was looking me straight in the eyes through my sunglasses.
I made an odd sound in my throat telling everyone of my utter confusion. This wasn't right! What was happening to the world, a Slytherin congratulating a Gryffindor? Unheard of!
The Slytherin table seemed to think so too as some of the rowdier ones had risen to their feet yelling in protest.
For once the Gryffindors were in agreement with the Slytherins, they yelled out some profanities and generally protested against our conversation. Some jeers followed a couple of brash Slytherin 6th years as shaking their fists in the air they came up to Donovan's side. "What the hell man?" One of the less dense ones said.
"Shut up for a sec would you?" Donovan snapped, "I'm talking to someone." The Slytherins (I think one of them was called Parkinson) looked horrified and betrayed by his brush off and because of their shock they stood dumfounded rooted to the spot.
He turned back to me and carried on speaking regardless of my obviously dumbstruck expression, "As I was saying, I think what you did; or rather what Professor Malfoy did for you was pretty cool. And like I was saying I wanted to both congratulate you and join you, that is if you don't mind of course."
I still hadn't regained the use of my voice box and was struggling to make any proper sounds move from the back of my throat. So I stuck to nodding my head stiffly with a still slightly dazed expression on my face.
He then did something that I wouldn't have counted upon in a thousand years. He raised one of his hands and pulled at the top of his fingers. Off came a black glove as if from nowhere revealing an arm that was criss-crossed with dark coloured veins much like my own. He then repeated the action with his other arm whilst still holding the glove from the first hand again revealing a dark veined limb. As he was facing the hall gasps were heard from all over each table.
"Oh yes, it's not just Potter that can keep a secret." He gave a wicked grin whilst yanking on his pointed hat. It came off to expose not the ruffled hat hair you would expect, but a black bandanna pulled tight around his forehead to keep the stray thoughts at bay.
By this time there were hurried whispers making their way around the hall and many people had hands on their mouths in obvious shock.
Donovan gave a burst of bitter sounding laughter and held out a hand to me glancing first at his own table and then to me. "So what do you say Potter, a truce? I mean we can't be against each other now can we. That'd be like abandoning and ally!" I almost turned around on the spot, but a small part of me wanted to call a truce.
It would be nice to not have to worry about what the Slytherin had to say about matters when in classes. It was be nice to be able to walk down that halls and have a quiet life. But most of all it would be great to have someone who knew what it was like to have to hide your identity and know everything yet nothing at the same time. My friends were great listeners but they didn't know how it felt to be me. At least Donovan had an idea.
With only a slight lasting hesitation I took off my own (now visible seeing as everyone knew about them) white gloves, and put my hand in his. Knowing that I wouldn't get any thought from him as he was a fellow Thinker, it was safe to shake his hand with skin to skin contact.
Regaining my voice at long last I stopped him from removing his hand too quickly. He gave me a questioning look and went to say something but I beat him to it with my compromise to the situation, "But this does mean that now you've made a truce with me, you've made a truce with my house. And vice versa of course."
He looked stricken for a moment. I didn't need to be a Thinker to be able to see that he had an inner conflict. He was very loyal to his house, but hopefully he would be able to work around my little negotiation. Luckily he did realise what an opportunity this deal was and said, "Fine, if that is how it has to be then so be it." With that he pulled his hand from mine and went to walk past me.
I was almost about to turn in his direction too, thinking of asking him to walk to our shared first lesson when, but of the blue, there was a cry from the other side of the hall. Funnily enough it was the Slytherin table.
"How could you?! How could you do this me! You lying bastard, I could seriously hurt you right now!" Candice jumped to her feat and launched herself into the isle.
Matt quickly turned around beside me and spoke quite calmly for the situation, "I never lied to you, I just never told you the whole truth. And besides why would I tell someone that I was the exact thing that they thought were 'the disgrace of the wizarding world'. That was what you said wasn't it?"
She seemed to have had the wind knocked out of her as he said this and for the second time that day she made a cry of frustration before choking out "Well, I hope the both of you are happy. Especially since you can band together and not be lonely when you're cast out of the wizarding world for being disgusting freaks!" Her face was an angry red and she was shaking from her bottled up fury. She stormed out of the hall and all that could be heard from the corridor outside was another roar of her obvious rage.
I couldn't help the grin that spread across my face, looking to Donovan I saw that his face wasn't particularly disappointed and shrugging at me he said "Well at least she's out of my hair now." With that final word he walked from the hall. Just before he left through the doors however he stopped and turned his head to face me and asked, "Aren't you coming, we do have potions together next, I thought you might like to walk down with me?"
Having had the same idea only minutes earlier I walked up to him and left the hall at his side with a small smile on my face. It did feel quite weird standing so equally with a former enemy and we were by no means friends, but we weren't exactly rivals any more which felt good. I felt a weird sense of kindred towards him because he was a Thinker too. He would have surely known about the trials and tribulations of being a Thinker.
And maybe it was the start of something good…
Well no, maybe not that but it couldn't hurt. And beside, my dad's friend Moody has always said "Keep your friends close and you enemies closer". Having said that my dad has always told me that Moody (AKA Mad Eye) was a few eggs short of a basket if you catch my drift.
This is a rewrite of a pervious post having received a review I went to check it and found that writing something at 12 midnight isn't as good an idea as I first thought! Oh well!
I was slightly hurt that I didn't get any but being ever the optimist I hope that this will spark your creative juices and review REVIEW REVIEW!
I am so sorry that it took so long but this is the first time in a LONG while that I've had enough free time to sit down and write it.
And this isn't a new addition to the story's plot cos I've had it planned for quite a while and I hope that it pleases you.
It may seem that Matt is being a bit OOC but I haven't put that much of him in the fic and what had happened was that Candice was usually the one insulting them and because he was always there the group assumed that he went along with it. Kind of like Lupin in the marauders.