Hello everyone. I am Raug, and this is my story, The Name in Red. It was originally published on a site that allows explicit sex, so I decided to crop a censored version in the hopes of gaining a wider audience and having more people read and enjoy my story. (Don't worry, there is still plenty of romance and pretty steamy stuff!) According my word counts versus the official word counts for canon books, the finalized original version of the story is longer than any book in canon. Its original publication received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and I am hoping for the same reception here. I began working on a sequel to this story earlier this year, but I am having difficulty motivating myself to work on it, as I now know what a daunting undertaking writing a high-quality story like this is. The Name in Red took me nearly two years to complete. Hopefully, if I receive some more fans and some more feedback, I might be more motivated to work on it. I believe everything in this story to be canonically plausible (for example, I offer a plausible explanation for Snape's survival), but I obviously had to take some creative liberties with certain things in order to craft my story. For lack of a better term, we will call it DH compliant with canonically plausible creative liberties. Nothing 'magically' happens with no highly plausible explanation.
Thank you for bearing with me while I worked out the kinks and got used to this site's format for uploading documents and publishing stories/chapters. The story in its entirety is now published correctly, with all thirty chapters.
Please read and review if you would be so kind. I proudly present: The Name in Red! =) I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
Edit 10/26/2010: Wow, tons of hits, but barely any reviews or feedback... maybe I should have posted the chapters serially to create suspense and get reactions out of people instead of just posting the completed story all at once -.-; Oh well...
Edit 10/27/2010: I've had a couple people asking me for a link to the uncensored version. I cannot easily post a link on this site, however, not even in a private message, because this site has a policy of only displaying links to their own site in order to prevent spam. I'm not sure if messages would even display e-mail addresses, either. If you would like a link to the original, uncensored version of The Name in Red, please pull my e-mail address from my profile by clicking on my name, clicking on e-mail, and completing the captcha in order to see it. Then, send me an e-mail requesting a link to the original, uncensored version of the story, and I'll be happy to send it to you! **NOTE:** The sex scenes of the original, uncensored version are fairly pornographic, which is why I could not post an uncensored version of the story here, as this site's guidelines clearly state no explicit sexuality. I just wanted to state this so that, if you feel inclined to ask for a link to the uncensored version, you know what you are getting yourself into!
The Name in Red.
Chapter 1: Lost.
She was lost. Completely, utterly, and inescapably lost. What's more, she knew it. She walked onward and onward, all the while cursing herself inwardly for having wandered so far away from her campsite. It had been just before dark. Her friends had gone off a distance in pursuit of firewood, and some strange feeling had instilled within her the urgent desire to go for a walk. As she went, the sun had set on her rather quickly. Before she knew it, she had wandered quite far from her encampment and darkness had fallen. Trying to gain her bearings and pointing herself in the direction she believed her friends to be, she began to walk. It had seemed like a logical enough plan, until several hours later when she was still walking to god knows where, completely alone and lost.
"I didn't even tell them I was leaving," she scowled at herself. "They're going to think I was dragged off by wolves or something. Idiot." She cursed herself again, kicking at the ground as she walked, her hiking boot sending a couple stones and a twig or two flying a short distance in front of her in the darkness.
Her feet were beginning to tire. She had been walking along for hours now. A couple hours back she had debated with herself over wether or not to remain in one place and hope she was found, or attempt to find her way back to some form of civilization and risk getting herself even more lost in the process. Being greatly angry and frustrated with herself, the latter decision had won out, and had indeed managed to get her very, very lost. She had long since decided that calling out for help as she went along was pointless, so she continued to walk along in silence. All but for the intermittent cursing-herself-out-loud, of course.
To top it all off, she was now beginning to grow very hungry and very thirsty, and had not brought anything with her. She did not fancy the idea of sleeping all alone on the ground in some strange forest. She was determined to get herself found or rescued. She was determined to get herself somewhere; where that somewhere was, however, she had yet to find out. Until then, she wasn't going to stop for as long as she could help it.
She sighed deeply. Upon breathing in, she noticed that the scent of the forest had gotten thicker and stronger. Looking up and about, from what little she could discern in the darkness, she could tell that the trees had grown taller and thicker. Skimming her hand idly over the trunk of a tree as she walked past it, she grimaced as her fingertips came into contact with thick, dewy moss. She quickly wiped it on the side of her long jacket. The woods she had wandered her way into had grown progressively older and more dense. The darkness, combined with the stifling silence of the forest around her, seemed to bear down on her like some invisible, oppressive force. Regardless, she trudged on.
There came a brilliantly bright light. For a fraction of a second, the entire forest around her was illuminated. As quickly as the light had come, the forest once again submerged into deep darkness. With a sharp intake of breath, she glanced frantically about, trying to discover the source of this new light which had come and gone so quickly. Had it been a flash light? A search light? Had someone finally found her? Optimistic possibilities raced through her thoughts. Seconds later, the loud rumble of thunder high overhead removed all mystery, and all optimism. The thunder, and the beginnings of raindrops that began to make their way down to the forest floor, had replaced them with misery and dread.
Continuing her march, she attempted to stay close to the large tree trunks, seeking the shelter of their leaves from the increasingly heavy rain. There were a few more flashes of lightening, and a few more cracks of thunder. The forest was under a deluge now. Even the slight shelter of the forest canopy was not enough to prevent her long hair from becoming a wet and heavy weight on her head, and her clothes becoming mostly soaked. Her jacket began to feel as if it weighed at least twenty pounds. In a fit of rage, she tore it off and threw it blindly into the night as she continued to walk. This came to be yet another decision that she would rue, when not fifteen minutes later, she began to shiver in the cold rain, clad only in her t-shirt and jeans.
She was weary now. Drenched, hungry, and freezing. She could feel the warm flow of her tears against her cold cheeks. She was just about to sink to her knees and howl defeat when she heard what sounded like a heavy footfall on the wet forest floor behind her.
Startled, she wheeled about, her eyes darting through the darkness. Terror seeped into her, as cold as the freezing rain on her face, as she began to hear more and more of these heavy footfalls in front of and around her. She knew she was not alone. Even though she was unable to see anything in the darkness, she somehow knew that dozens of watchful eyes were now looking at her. She began to shiver from more than just the cold.
"Who is it?" she shouted out into the darkness. "Who's there?" She began to very slowly back away from the source of the footfalls.
Another brilliant flash of lightening revealed the onlookers to her. A loud rumble of thunder in the following darkness drowned out her frightened yell, her eyes wide with fear. Large, immensely tall creatures with the bodies of horses joined to the torsos of men. Centaurs.
She was paralyzed with fear and stood rooted to the spot. Her heart raced. She had just quite clearly seen a bunch of creatures who were not supposed to be real. She silently prayed to whatever god was listening that hunger, exhaustion, and cold had driven her into strange hallucinations. This wild hope was crushed when she heard a deep voice emitting from the darkness several yards in front of her, quite clear, and quite real.
"This one is not supposed to be here," the deep voice issued.
"The star that shone too brightly and therefore must be veiled, like His should have been, had they only heeded our warnings," another voice spoke, higher than the first. There were several grunts of agreement.
"This one has been veiled," a different, gruff voice spoke.
"Then what is she doing here, so close to the place they have kept her from," the first voice spoke again.
"She must not reach it. Stop her," the gruff voice spoke again.
She was snapped back into reality by another bright flash of lightening; the monsters were advancing on her. She immediately turned and began to run as fast as she could, the wet earth gripping at her boots and her drenched clothing weighing her down. All around her she could hear terrifying thunder; not from the storm above, but from hooves.
Branches and brambles slashed out at her as she ran, dodging between trees and trying to escape these nightmare monsters that she must have imagined. Fear and adrenaline caused her not to feel the stinging cuts and scrapes she was sustaining during her frenzied flight. All weariness and hunger were forgotten. She ran as fast as she could, her lungs burning. She did not even notice that in her fear and panic, she had somehow summoned the speed to stay ahead of her swift, four-legged pursuers.
To her surprise, the forest around her seemed to be rapidly thinning. With a glance ahead, luckily illuminated by another flash of lightening, she could see what she thought must be the edge of these woods, where the trees cleared into open ground. With a rush of hope, she charged onward. She thought that if maybe she could escape this horrible forest, she could escape these imaginary monsters.
This hope was quickly driven from her by an sudden intense, searing pain in her right shoulder. She yelled out in agony. Her pain, combined with the force of whatever had struck her, caused her to jerk forward and trip. She was airborne for a second or two before hitting the forest floor hard. Her staggering impact slightly cushioned by the wet soil giving way under her, she tumbled for a few seconds before coming to a stop, face-down.
Her ears were ringing now. She could hear nothing but her own labored breathing and the thunderous beat of her heart reverberating in her ears. She could feel nothing but terror and the terrible pain in her shoulder. The area that the pain emanated from was growing warm with what she knew must be her own blood. She was surely going to die now, she thought. Her life was surely over. She was going to be killed by these imagined nightmares. She gasped for air and resignedly lifted her head up to gaze into her own death; instead, she saw her salvation.
Her eyes widened, her pupils dilated, and she gasped as she saw the most beautiful sight she must have ever seen in her whole eighteen years. An enormous castle stood in the distance, outlined by a flash of lightening in the stormy sky, its many spires soaring majestically, its many glimmering golden lights flickering at her in the subsequent darkness. She knew that if she could somehow reach this place, she would be found. There would be people there. She would be saved from death at the hands of these imagined nightmare creatures.
All pain seemingly forgotten, she scrambled to her feet, summoning every last ounce of this strength that she never knew herself to possess, and took off again in the direction of the looming building. Her pursuers must have slowed some distance behind her after she had fallen, thinking her to be felled, for she heard several cries of surprise as soon as she had sprung to her feet and started running once again. The thunderous sound of heavy hooves picked up a second time, gaining behind her, but she did not care, and she did not glance back. All that mattered to her now was reaching this castle, and she would not be stopped.
To her horror, with another flash of lightening, she saw out of the corner of her eye that one of the monsters had gained on her and surpassed her. Out of the dim light now floating toward her from the castle, she could see the monster coming straight toward her, howling, and holding aloft a spear that was meant for her.
She dug her heels into the earth, planning to jump aside and dodge the creature, but instead she fell back. The creature was almost upon her. She gasped in terror, her eyes wide as the creature reared above her, its spear pointed downward at her heart. She yelled in fear. She was surely going to die now. Her entire body tensed as she braced herself for her imminent death. But the deathblow did not come.
It was then that her entire world seemed to slow. She watched as the creature was ever so slowly driving its spear down toward where she lay, as if the passage of time had almost come to a screeching halt. All sound of the storm above, the howling wind, the heavy rain, and the thundering of hooves had vanished. She could hear nothing but her own thoughts echoing inside her head, her own heartbeat pounding slowly in her ears, and her own breathing. In this split second of clarity, she knew that she had to take advantage of whatever bizarre intervention this was and save her own life. Taking a deep breath and shutting her eyes tight, she rolled to the side, out of the spear's path.
As soon as she made this movement, time seemed to resume its normal, all-too-speedy flow, for she instantly heard the spear tip driving into the ground where she had just been, followed by two heavy thuds as the creature's front hooves came into contact with the earth only inches beside her. She knew she only had seconds, maybe even less than seconds, before she was assaulted a second time, and it seemed unlikely to her that time itself would slow down for her once again and allow her to throw herself out of death's path.
She had know idea what she was doing, or why. She only blindly obeyed her body's instincts which drove her to thrust her hands out toward the creature's closest leg as she lay there on her side and grab hold of it. She had no idea what this could possibly accomplish, but when her hands tightened, seemingly of their own accord, and grew very hot, she knew she had done something.
The creature above her howled in agony. It reared up to wrench its burning leg from her grasp, and she let go instantly, lest she be dragged up with it. The creature's eyes were as wide with pain as hers were with surprise at this miracle she had produced. It lost its balance and tumbled backward, crashing into its pursuing fellows and causing them to collapse in heap of tangled, flailing limbs.
Calling upon the last of her strength, she righted herself once more and continued to run toward the castle. She was very close now. If the creatures gained on her a second time, she would most likely not be able to make another narrow escape. It was only after a few moments that she realized that she was no longer being pursued by the rolling thunder of hooves. Chancing a glance back over her shoulder as she ran, she could no longer see the monsters pursuing her. She could not see them at all. They seemed to have stopped chasing her. Letting out a loud, relieved groan at the second lucky thing that had happened to her all night, she continued to run on toward the castle.
She had reached it.
She was a mere twenty yards from its large front doors when her body slowed to a walk. The reality of what had just happened to her, her fatigue, and the pain from her injuries, slowly crept up on her as this foreign strength she had summoned seemed to fade away. She was completely exhausted from several hours of walking as well as her flight through the forest and up to the castle. Several cuts and scrapes bit at her arms and legs. Her clothing was torn in many places, and there was once again the great pain in her right shoulder. The entire right side of her back felt very wet and very warm. This pain seemed to shoot through her entire body with every step she took. The last steps toward the castle's doors were agonizingly slow and painful.
With effort, she dragged herself up the stone steps in front of the massive wooden doors. Had her mind been clearer instead of fogged with so much pain and fatigue, she might have been wondering what had allowed her to previously ignore all this pain and exhaustion while she was running for her life. She might have been wondering what exactly had happened when time itself seemed to slow for her, allowing herself to dodge the Centaur's plunging spear. She especially might be wondering what exactly she had done to the Centaur's leg, and what had driven her to do it. Instead, her only thought was the same exact one that she had been having for most of the evening; she wanted to be found.
Grimacing in pain, she raised her right arm and began to pound as hard as she could on one of the large doors. Terrible pain shot through her arm and shoulder with every knock, but her desire to be found was greater than her desire to spare herself additional hurt.
"Help!" she yelled out as she continued to beat on the door. "Somebody!"
She pounded on the door several more times. She then sank to her knees in weakness. She could do no more.
"Anybody...," she half yelled. Her eyes darkened. She sagged sideways and tumbled down a bit, coming to a stop. She lay sprawled out, face down, on the steps of the castle. The rain continued to beat down upon her unconscious form.
He hated it when it was his night to patrol the corridors and give the castle a once-over after curfew. Well, that wasn't entirely true, he thought to himself. He did enjoy it on the rare occasion when he happened upon a student sneaking about past curfew time, onto whom he could liberally dole out punishment. It had been a good long while since that had happened, however, and it appeared that tonight was shaping up to be just as uneventful and boring of a patrol as usual.
He strode confidently in the direction of the entrance hall, his wand illuminated, and his black robes swirling about him as he went. The sounds of his footfalls on the stone floor echoed loudly off the walls. He absently contemplated placing a silencing charm on his boots. He might very well be giving students out past curfew an advanced warning to get out of his path with all these echoing steps. He impatiently swept the hall with his wandlight, halfheartedly glancing around, knowing that nothing was amiss. The last part of his patrol was to check the entrance hall. Having done this, he turned about on his heel and began to stride quickly in the direction of the other corridors which would lead him back to his secluded dungeon.
Turning out of the entrance hall, he was stopped in his tracks. A loud noise which sounded like cannon-fire issued from the door. It echoed deafening thunder through the empty corridors. Several more of these noises followed the first, until it sounded as if an artillery battle had broken out just outside the castle's door. Wheeling about, he hurried back into the entrance hall and toward the door, long graceful strides causing his robes to billow. While he had walked, the noises had ceased, but as soon as he stopped at the door, they continued for a few moments longer. Someone was banging on the castle's door. This had better be good, he thought to himself.
Scowling darkly, he flicked his illuminated wand at the door. Its huge security mechanisms immediately began the sequence of unlocking themselves. Waiting for the door to finish its process, he affixed his facial expression with one of his best glares for whomever was standing on the other side of the door making such an unholy racket at this time of night.
The door creaked open loudly and opened up, slowly revealing the stormy night to the dark, scowling figure. To his surprise, his glaring eyes met nothing but empty space where a person should have been standing. He continued to stare out into the rain for a few more moments, his wand held aloft.
"This better have not been a joke," he said quietly to himself. Grimacing in anger and impatience, he lowered his wand, and his eyes followed. There was something, or someone, lying on the steps. He quickly advanced several paces, onto the top step and into the rain, his wandlight trained down.
Sprawled out, face-down on the castle's steps, lay a girl. Despite his determinedness to glare, his black eyes widened in confusion and surprise as he took in the state of this girl. She was dressed in Muggle clothing which seemed to have been torn in several places, and he could see several rough, jagged cuts and scrapes along her arms. Her long dark hair, which was completely drenched like the rest of her, obscured her face. The most terrible part of this analysis, however, was when he noticed what must have been the shaft of an arrow jutting out from her right shoulder at an awkward angle. His eyes followed the dark patch of blood which ran along her back and side. A thin stream of blood was now trickling down the castle steps, washed along by the rainwater. He immediately knew, whoever this person was, they were badly injured.
He held his wand aloft once again and swept it from side to side, the light from its tip penetrating the darkness. He searched for any other figures that might be present, but there was no sign of anyone else. He then shone his wand back down at the unconscious girl. Placing his lit wand in his teeth, he hurried down the top few steps to where the girl lay, moved himself to the step underneath her, and knelt beside her. The rain was coming down extremely heavily, and he was quickly growing wet from only a few moments in the rain.
Placing his left arm underneath her and using his right arm to roll her toward him, he carefully gathered her up into his arms, taking great care to not brush or disturb the arrow shaft protruding from her. He then stood and raced back into the entrance hall, his illuminated wand still held in his teeth. His hurried footfalls echoed loudly, but he no longer cared about the noise he was making. He had to get this girl to Pomfrey immediately.
He glanced down at her as he hurried along. She looked extremely pale, almost as pale as he normally looked himself. He knew it was usually not normal for others to look this pale, however. With a shock, he saw that when he met her eyes, she was looking back into his own, her eyes barely half open.
He did not know why he could sense so much fear and pain in them. Usually he made it a point to avoid empathizing with others. Maybe it was because he too knew what it was like to lie there, helpless and bleeding, and believing that your life has come to an end. Whatever the reason, he felt a strange twinge of this empathy sweep through him. His wand still between his teeth, he could not say much. Despite this, he managed to speak a few words.
"I've got you," he said quietly.
He watched as her eyes became unfocused and then closed as she once again lost consciousness.