WARNING: I'm going to save you from some reading you might not want to do. If you're looking for laughs, look elsewhere. (I personally recommend "Imaginary" by Enooby. It's a riot.) I swear to you that this story is serious. Why? Well, after reading My Immortal's hysterical epicness, I was inspired. Was there something . . . more to E'noby? Had Tara actually stumbled across something deep and interesting? Was it possible that beneath all the hopelessly broken bits there was something worth more than a cheap laugh?
The answer, incidentally, is no. I tried. It is not possible to breathe life into a nonexistent plot. Even worse was trying to make something of Ebony. "I hate effing preps, Gerard Way is effing hot and it's not real effing clothing 'til you add effing fishnets. Misspelled effe!" does not an award-winning novel make. Still, I persevered, and, after a level of contemplation that the story frankly did not deserve, I present to my audience My Immortal: Ebony Redefined. It is my very first fan-fiction, so feel free to criticize 'til your fingers go numb. "Jus n0 fl4m3rs!" as XXXbloodyrists666XXX would say, "an fangz4 reeding all u awesum goffiks!!1!111" :-)
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter series or XXXbloodyrists666XXX's OCs, including Ebony Blah-Blah Raven Way (nor do I have any desire to).
I nearly dropped my bag. The Slytherin Common Room was deserted. Not almost empty, but for the first time in three full months actually devoid of any sign of life beyond the irregular throbbing of my own heart. Studying for the approaching Transfiguration exam was no longer important; Transfiguration in general was no longer important. I tiptoed over to the black stone of the fireplace, relishing the delicious heat of the red flames, and peeked around to see if anyone was napping on the soft, green velvet armchairs. I suppressed a mad giggle. No one. The fireplace was burning just for me. The chairs were clustered in various parts of the room purely for my own enjoyment. The tables, the cold stone floor, the dim glow of the lamps...it was all for me.
A huge grin threatened to split my face in two as I danced downstairs to the Girl's Dormitories, reaching up to run my fingertips along the low ceiling as I went. Throwing my bag atop the bed, I pulled open my trunk and shifted through the bottom mess of broken quills and old robes until I found the hidden treasure I had been searching for.
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. It was Muggle literature, something frowned upon by even the most lenient members of the Slytherin House, but I simply could not help myself. If only it hadn't turned out to be so fascinating! For the first time in my life, I was getting a real glimpse into the mind of an educated Muggle. I walked back upstairs slowly, searching for my marked page as I went. I found my favorite armchair without looking up from the soft, brown pages, snuggled into a cat-like ball, nuzzled my head securely against the armrest, and took a deep breath. The strong, comforting scent of printing ink, mildew and dust filled my nose. This was paradise.
Finally at peace, I allowed my mind to eagerly descend into the worn brown pages of the frayed volume. I was one with the characters in this novel. I sat with the Trask family at their Thanksgiving meal, felt Cal tense beside me as his father admired his brother's thoughtless gift in place of his own, struggled with him as darkness clouded his heart, threatening to consume the both of us until—
"Ugh! The only thing worse than Divination is History of Magic, don't you think?"
I paled and quickly slipped the book inside my robes, praying the bulge it created wouldn't attract attention. Pansy Parkinson's sneering tone was recognizable even at a distant whisper. I shuddered away from the thought of her finding me out and telling the others. The Cruciatus Curse was hardly the only method of making a witch wish she was dead.
"Divination isn't that bad." I did not recognize this second voice. While Parkinson's was viciously high-pitched, her companion dragged her syllables along with a caveman's grunt. "Think about it. Is there any other class that isn't interrupted every few minutes with, 'Oh, Granger! A smart Mudblood like you gets another ten points for Gryffindor!'"
"Don't even think that name around me!" Pansy snapped. "Honestly, when will Dumbledore learn that the only way to get any decent wizards is by barring those Muggle-born defects? Everyone knows Grang—I mean, that Mudblood—only gets good marks because Potter fancies her."
Potter... I felt an ashamed blush rise to my face. With a sharp mental shake I pushed the thought from my head. This was definitely not the time to be thinking about something like that. I did my best to curl tightly against my chair as I heard them get closer. It was always easier to hide from Pansy than listen to her endless complaints. One of the book's hardcover edges jabbed me hard in the side when I turned too far, and I bit my lip to keep from cursing.
"Huh," the other girl said in her Neanderthal groan. "There really isn't anyone in here."
"Of course there isn't!" Pansy snapped. "It's the Slytherin versus Gryffindor match. No one in their right mind would miss it."
"Then why are we?"
"Because, Millicent, dear," the girl's sharp voice dug like a knife, "if we're out there watching, we can't very well set up a party for Draco and the others, can we?"
I rolled my eyes. Why wouldn't they just go away?!
"But what if we don't win...?"
"You expect my Draco to lose?!" Pansy countered. "To who, exactly? The Weasleys? Precious little Potter? Hardly."
The pain in my intestines grew worse at the sound of those two names allowed so close together. I did not want to be discovered here, or at the very least not like this. With a loud noise I hope sounded like a yawn, I untangled myself from the chair and turned around to face them.
"Oh, someone's here. Morning," I said dreamily, making what I could only assume were stretching motions.
Pansy's hard face paled a fraction. "R-Ravenway," she stammered. She frowned and her voice returned to its normal, vice-like shriek, "Pay more attention! You could scare the f-first-years or something, hiding like that during a Quidditch match!"
"Sorry, I wasn't aware I was hiding. Has the game started already then?" I kept my attention on Pansy to avoid staring at Millicent. I did not need to see what she was doing; the acute pressure her beady eyes boring into the side of my face was telling enough. She seemed to be absorbing every inch of my expression, as though trying to decipher if I was being rude by making my presence so suddenly known. Worried that my behavior might not stack up against her critical stare, I tried at a smile.
"It's been going on for about a half-hour now," the girl sniffed scornfully. "Draco will probably have caught the Snitch before you get down to the field."
"You're probably right, but I might as well try. Thanks so much, sorry again for not paying more attention." My glance flickered to Millicent's massive frame for only a moment, and I nearly bowed in apology. "See you." Without waiting for a good-bye, I wrapped my green and gray scarf tightly around my neck and slipped through the stone door that hid the Common Room from sight without a backwards glance.
In all honesty, I really was curious about how our team was faring, though nowhere near enough to show my face at the field. The large square weight bumping against my leg was a constant reminder to avoid as many people as possible. Thankfully, it was fairly easy to keep out of sight as I worked my way through the dimly lit labyrinth of narrow corridors, my pace quickening slightly as I passed Professor Snape's office, jumped over the disappearing step just before the Entrance Hall, and slipped through the large double doors that guarded the Hogwarts' Grounds. From there, I headed slowly towards the Quidditch field.
The faint narrations of the announcer were audible before the field was even in full view, and the cheers and hisses from the crowd roared like a treble of thunder. Content with my distance after walking only a few paces farther, I veered off the well-trodden path and proceeded toward the gentle hill a couple dozen meters away. Cautiously scanning the earth for any rocky patches or groundhog burrows, I reached the summit without slipping and made myself comfortable on the slightly damp grass.
Flashes of green and crimson filled the sky above the Quidditch field. I watched with awe as a majority of the players zipped back and forth at top speeds. Most stayed at about the same level, some interacting with various dots I could only assume to be the Quaffle and Bludgers, but two bright streaks of color hung lazily above the action. Then, suddenly, the sounds of the audience swelled. The scarlet streak that had been loftily floating above tensed into a dive; he had spotted something! Its green shadow mimicked the motion and they fell together, each trying to outfly the other, gaining speed, disappearing from view, and then--!
"GO-GO-GRYFFINDOR! GO-GO-GRYFFINDOR! GO-GO-GRYFFINDOR!" The crowd pulsated with the deafening pattern, and I fell back on the grass in wonder. Even amidst the mighty roar it was possible to hear the underlying hiss of distaste. Slytherin had lost. "GO-GO-GRYFFINDOR! GO-GO-GRYFFINDOR!"
The huge roar of applause brought to mind my Sorting, though it had been years ago now. It was the same year Harry Potter had been declared a Gryffindor. My vision blurred as the memory of his reaction flooded back in vivid detail. He had...smiled. It was as though he did not realize the strength of the applause he received versus those who had gone before him. He climbed off the stool to join the rest of his House with an excited bounce, and sat happily with the rest of the Gryffindors. His pale skin stood out against those ridiculous black frames he wore over his eyes, and his hair was a tumbled mess. He did not carry himself like a celebrity, but I could not help but idolize him. He had beaten He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He had managed that happy grin even after losing his parents. He was not an incomplete shell; he was real. My face fell. I could never tell him about my admiration. I could never even stand to look him in the eye. He had lost his parents because they stood up to the Dark Lord; I had lost mine because they had not followed Him properly. What did someone with such a strong Death Eater ancestry have a right to say to him?
When it was my turn to face the Sorting Hat, I had thought the exact opposite. Not Gryffindor, not Gryffindor, not Gryffindor, not Gryffindor, not--
"Why ever not?"the Sorting Hat had asked me softly."You have the potential to be quite courageous..."
I looked over at Harry Potter and shook my head earnestly. At Professor McGonagall's raised eyebrows, I stopped mid-shake.
"Not as much as Harry Potter? Are you really sure? You don't even know the boy... Ah, but you're adamant, are you? Well, there's always RAVEN--oh. I see. Yes, I suppose Ravenway the Ravenclaw does make a bit of a sticky nickname. Quite the picky one, aren't you? Ah, well, at least you have a healthy thirst to belong. Very well then, let's settle for..."SLYTHERIN!!"
And Ebony Ravenway of Slytherin I became. I learned the expectations of each House quickly enough. The Gryffindors were brave, the Ravenclaws were smart, the Hufflepuffs were kind and hardworking, and the Slytherins were...what? Evil? "Cunning" was the word most often used. I thought of Millicent Bulstrode and nearly laughed aloud. She was not the only one I had my doubts about. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were hardly capable of reading. It seemed that the other Houses expected Slytherins to be purist bullies, and enough of us were that I could not entirely object to their profiling.
"And yet," I whispered to myself, the cold blades of grass scratching at my cheeks, "is it really the House that makes the student, or the student that makes the House?"
My musings were interrupted by the excited procession of fans hurrying back to school. Sitting up, I watched a spattering of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws lead the way back to the castle, though a makeshift parade of celebrating Gryffindors dominating most of the trail's middle. The victorious players were raised high in the air, dim cheers still surrounding them like a cloud, and the two red-headed Weasley twins appeared especially gleeful in the mesh of faces. In the far back were the Slytherins, their scowls vicious as they stalked bitterly towards the castle.
I wondered vaguely if I should join them when something strange caught my eye. A yellow and red scarfed boy was facing the wrong direction in a group of green and silver. The other Gryffindors were too caught up with their festivities to notice, and a vague sense of dread dominated my senses. More afraid than curious, I jogged up to the scene to see what the trouble was.
"What's wrong, Longbottom?" an older Slytherin taunted, pushing the boy backward and taking an aggressive step forward.
The Gryffindor trembled, backing away with his hands held timidly in front of him as the crowd started to thicken, "My toad...I lost Trevor..."
"Aww, mates, he misses his toad." Adrian Pucey, our Chaser, pushed his way into the group as well. "Why don't we make him feel a little better and turn him into one?"
I paled and looked back at the stammering boy now facing a wall of wands. He was one of the boys who hung out with Potter every so often. What was his name? Neil...? Nathan? It didn't matter; I had seen him carrying around his pet before. I shut my eyes and tried to fix my mind on the image of the fat black toad croaking somewhere in the grassy field. "Accio Trevor!"
The slimy animal flew into my grasp almost instantly, and I barely stoppered a yelp as my hands rubbed against its wet, wart-covered back. My brain seemed to wince. Why couldn't Trevor have been something that didn't feel absolutely repulsive? An owl would have been acceptable; even a rat. Anything in Hogwarts but a toad! With my nose wrinkled in disgust, I ran in front of the Slytherin boys and nearly threw the ugly beast at the round-faced boy. "Here," I said breathlessly, refusing to meet his incredulous stare. "Next time, don't take him to a Quidditch game or you might lose him for good."
My House members appeared even less believing. Pucey was the first to voice his outrage. "What do you think you're doing?!"
There was a general nodding of agreement among the rest of the throng. They appeared reluctant to put down their wands. Something was obviously wrong with me.
"Don't you think McGonagall would have noticed if one of her students came back with more warts than he left with?" I asked, hoping the sweat lining my hairline wasn't yet visible. "And besides—"
"Besides what? Do you honestly believe he would rat on us? He can hardly stand as it is."
I turned around. It was true. The boy was still shaking, his hands frozen around his toad and his eyes begging for someone to rescue him. The rest of the Slytherins laughed, some at me and most at him.
"Move, Longbottom!" I hissed.
He responded with a sound somewhere between an actual word and a squeak. Pucey definitely had a point. This boy was not the type to stand back up after being pushed down.
"What's going on? You're all blocking my way."
Silence followed the cold voice, and the crowd parted in slow motion, leaving me plenty of time to consider my lone defense of the cowardly Gryffindor. I did not need to see the owner of the voice to know who it was speaking. Each word was uttered as though he expected to be paid a Galleon by the syllable. I knew what to expect as the boy came into view, but that did not stop my body from numbing in his presence.
Even though the game had hardly been over for a full twenty minutes, his white-gold hair was perfectly in place and his emerald robes were meticulously smooth. His pearl colored skin stood out against the rich green he wore, and his silver eyes took in my presence with something between disgust and disinterest. When he opened his mouth, I half-expected to see two racks of diamonds in place of teeth, "Why exactly is a Slytherin helping Longbottom?"
I took in Malfoy's form wordlessly, allowing my eyes to silently move from his face to the two pillars of oafish muscle flanking him on either side. That stupid Muggle book was still weighing down my robes, though now my fear of having it discovered was meaningless. There was never any excuse to question a House member in a higher year, and even less to do anything Malfoy would consider distasteful. This went beyond making me wish for the Cruciatus Curse; this was the equivalent ofAvada Kedavra.
I glanced back at Longbottom again. Neville was his first name, I suddenly recalled. I raced through my options in silent panic. One good Leg-Locker Curse on the chubby little fool, and the whole thing could be turned into nothing more than a bad memory. And yet…
"What's the matter? Mudblood got your tongue?"
I made my decision. "Longbottom is nearly as close to Potter as Granger and Weasley. If I had let these idiots curse him, it wouldn't have put us Slytherins in the best light and—"
"Who cares what precious Potter thinks?!" Malfoy snapped impatiently.
"Hear me out," I begged, taking a step back despite myself. "I helped dear old Neville. He owes me." Intrigue flashed briefly across the blonde boy's face, and I plunged forward. "That means if I need to get any dirt on Potter, or maybe just get a little curious to know what the next Gryffindor game plan is, he'll be a sport and tell me. Won't you, Longbottom?"
I spun around to face the boy and nodded slightly, hoping he would pick up the earnest gleam in my eye. Slowly, Neville nodded. "A-Anything..."
"I get it," Malfoy agreed. "...Alright, run away then, Longbottom. Be sure to tell Princess Potter how good we're being."
At Draco's instruction, the boy found his legs and took off with a squeak, his face petrified into a state of disbelief.
I watched him go and managed a relieved sigh, enjoying a few seconds of peace before it became painfully obvious that no one but Neville had drifted away.
The blonde boy was eyeing my expression intently, a smirk spreading across his thin lips. "I'm Draco Malfoy," he pronounced his name as though I was being allowed a great privilege. "You're Ebony Ravenway, aren't you?"
Draco seemed satisfied and beckoned for me to walk with him. "My father was an acquaintance of Maurice and Morana Ravenway...up until their unfortunate demise, of course." He spoke of death in the same way one might comment about the weather. "He was telling a few guests last summer that they were one of the few wizarding couples that remembered how pure-bloods should carry themselves. Are they of your line?"
"Maurice and Morana were my parents," I said quietly.
"Were they? That makes you one of the real sort. The Ravenways of that line have a pure ancestry running almost as long as my own." He frowned suddenly, "Shame about your uncle marrying a Banbery though. A blood-traitor really can ruin an entire family. Still, at least you come from the better side."
I nodded again, hoping that Draco would credit the flush rising to my cheeks to the cold air. I had lived with my aunt and uncle practically since birth. If anyone had told me even a week ago that the closest thing I had to a father-figure was a blood-traitor, I would have laughed in their face. There was not a more conservative wizard family than my aunt and uncle's in all of Britain.
Our conversation was gratefully drawn to an end, however, as we came to the Entrance Hall. With a quick explanation of my approaching exam, I headed toward the library and left him to find Common Room with only Crabbe and Goyle in toe. I did not mention the party waiting for him, though I could imagine nothing sweeter than Draco's reaction to Pansy throwing a victory celebration for the Gryffindors.
"Ebony!" My cheerful musings were interrupted by a lofty voice with which I was becoming too familiar.
I wearily stopped my assent up the northern staircase, wondering with dismay if I would ever get the opportunity to study for the Transfiguration exam. "Yes?"
"If you're around, you're welcome to join my lot at breakfast tomorrow." I wondered at Draco's ability to sound disinterested even at a yell.
He nodded, glaring briefly at a Hufflepuff who rushed by, and turned back toward the dungeon. Then, with a swift motion I half-doubted was meant for me, he gave a short backwards wave and disappeared.
Shaking my head, I continued my climb and felt something hard hit my leg. East of Eden was still in my pocket. I was running around school with Muggle literature, helped an incompetent Gryffindor, stood up to Draco Malfoy, and lived with the only "blood-traitor" in the Ravenway family. Somehow, I had come through the process with my social standing not only intact, but increased.
"This year is definitely going to be a strange one..."
Author's End Note: And there you are! I hope you all forgive the beginning and end notes. As you can see, not much is left of the original story, though I still intend to incorporate concerts, love interests, Willow and maybe even vampires if it's passable enough (or even readable), but no promises. Anyway, there's Chapter 1 for you!
Oh...and Dobby watched. :-)