Perhaps it was the cold. Yes, it was the cold. Harry's arms trembled, shaking with an uncontrollable fright - but it was just the cold. It wasn't that Wednesday had been gone for 4 hours, and it wasn't the unfamiliar faces (unfamiliar thoughts in his head, unfamiliar feelings and emotions,) all around him. It was just the cold.
Daphne had sat by him at first. The prefects were calling roll and she had sat with him, hand close to his but hesitant and not quite touching. It had calmed him to be able to focus on her - her slow heartbeat, the quiet breaths she took, the steadiness of her countenance - he could almost pretend it was Wednesday sitting so near. But Blaise and she were waiting in the floo-call line now. All the Slytherins had lined up to call their parents, all by the single fireplace in the common room which was connected to the floo-network. This was perhaps even worse than before, he could hear families gasp into the ashes, embers flying in outrage. How could Dumbledore allow this? and I knew you should have gone to Durmstrang and Are you alright? and Is your sister okay?
Is your sister okay?
Wednesday was not. That was the worst of it all. Wednesday had been whisked away by a man about as trustworthy as a rainbow and Harry was sitting here like a fool. He thought about calling Maman, perhaps Grandmama. He had a scrying bowl upstairs that would reach across the ocean, he would be able to reach Grandmama with it. Wednesday and he had planned on using it tonight anyway, wish Pugsley a merry time and see how many heads he'd collected. Say hello to the ancestors, all the Addams' gone and past. Harry didn't think he could stand to call.
Who was he at this point? He wasn't sure really. Not an Addams. He didn't have Wednesday and more than that he felt so weak, Addams' weren't weak. Addams' didn't cower in corners or in Hospital wings. Addams' didn't fear crowds, Addams' didn't fear bodies in bloodsoaked cloth, Addams' didn't fear chaos or lose their sisters or sprain their ankles or need a Scottish lullaby to feel safe. Addams' were like Wednesday. They took action, sliced the problem off at the neck and they did it with a smile. Harry took a shuddering breath that hurt like breathing needles, air tough in his throat, but it was just the cold.
The ritual he'd done those months ago hadn't done anything, his blood was still unaltered. That was the only answer. Harry wasn't an Addams after all. He looked around the common room - these people around him were so strange and yet so familiar. These were the people that James and Lily had come from. This is what he was, not an Addams. Everything ached, someone should shut a window or something. Blaise was at the fireplace now, leaning down to kiss cheeks with the fire. In the flames was a beautiful woman, cheekbones high and her hysterics even higher as she heard about the night. She babbled at Blaise and promised to rain down fire upon the troll which dared threaten him and all those who failed to stop the troll. It reminded him of Maman. Harry shivered. You'd think the fire would shut out all this damned cold.
Blaise's mother was speaking lowly to him now, French. Something rose in Harry with those words, building in him with every rounded sound and pulsing in time with phantom hands across his brow. He could almost feel his mother's, Tish's, nails combing through his hair. They were strange though. Monstrous instead of soothing. They didn't rake across his scalp but instead glided. They were rounded instead of talons. Smelled of sweet gingerbread instead of grave dirt. Lady Zabini crooned to her son softly and Harry couldn't take it any longer.
With unsteady legs, Harry pushed himself from the couch. His ankle was a steady pulse. it should have bothered him but the cold canceled its burn. His eyes flickered upward, the line to the fireplace was steady and still, those students who had already been through it were huddled close around the room's study tables. A low murmur hovered around them like a fog; groups clutched each other's hands as they whispered prayers, clusters of upper years gripped their wands as they argued lowly. Harry saw it all in that glance, the connections between people. She and her were best friends, all three of the boys over there were thick as thieves. The girl just there loved that other girl six back in the fire-call line but the second girl was just worried for the man two in front of her. Yet - Harry was all alone.
He wasn't an Addams, that much was clear. He didn't deserve Wednesday and anyways he had already failed her. He was a fraud. Papa would find out the ritual didn't work, that he wasn't worthy to be in the family, and he would kick Harry out. He'd be stranded and nobody would take him in. He was alone, not an Addams but not normal enough for anybody else either (he wasn't stupid, he'd seen the looks and it wasn't a secret that most people found Harry quite odd.) Neither an Addams or a Not-Addams, Harry was nothing.
That was how he slipped out of the common room, like nothing. Harry was nothing and so as he passed the fireplace Blaise and Daphne heard nothing, as he passed the prefects who guarded the common room door they saw nothing, as he passed through the body of the Bloody Baron and into the hallways the ghost felt nothing. This was good, perfect, Harry told himself. When you're nothing, nothing hurts. What fell down his cheeks was nothing, the failure in his blood was nothing, the disappointment in Papa's eyes would be nothing. After all, isn't it the existing that hurts?
His feet stilled four corners down from the common room. If he was nothing, where did he go? Nothing had no home, you had to be something to go somewhere after all. It was so cold, Harry could barely think.
If there was nowhere to go, then he would go nowhere. Where was nowhere if not everywhere? It made the kind of sense that only really exists when you don't think about it. Like happiness or love, it's the chasing after it that breaks it. It's like Grandmama said - no, don't think about that. You don't deserve that. That's something, think about nothing.
But how does one think about nothing?
Harry couldn't quite figure it out, so he settled for thinking about inconsequential things instead. He thought about the castle, the things he was passing. He thought about all the things a boy of 11 could think about, and then he thought some more.
Harry was nothing, except a great deal of cold, and so he went all the places where nothing is. Nobody seemed to mind him (that is to say, there isn't anybody that did mind him. Perhaps there was a nobody, just like Harry was nothing, and nobody minded Harry a great deal). Now and then there were creatures which paid Harry a bit of mind, Harry liked those moments a great deal. There were a great deal more creatures in the castle than he would have expected. Certainly, a fair number of cats and owls running about, lizards, escaped newts and mice too.
There were spiders along the walls, fish and grindylow and a big friendly squid in the lake. There were beetles and bats hidden away, some cute puppies, gardens of sentient plants, a sleepy snake, and a most peculiar toad. Harry liked the toad a lot. It seemed to be going nowhere with him most of the time. The toad would hop somewhere and be something, but the next day it would be nowhere again. Peculiar. Harry would often scoop up the toad and take it with him. He named the toad Aglebemu, but perhaps that name too was nothing, so Harry gave it little weight.
It was lonely being nothing. Aglebemu wasn't very good company truth be told. He didn't hug Harry or try to poison him or do any of the things which would have shown Harry that Aglebemu cared for him at all so Harry walked the corridors of Hogwarts alone, the chill biting into him.
Day after day Harry felt the cold, it bit deeper and deeper into him. Harry stopped being able to move his toes first, then his ears, then his fingers. It was painful, but something in Harry welcomed it. It was tiring being nothing. The cold was something, perhaps that something was better than nothing.
Harry wasn't sure if that made sense at all. He figured it didn't matter, the cold had reached his whole body now, it was hard to think. Slowly, he fell into nothingness once again.
Yikes, that's a sad chapter man. It'll get more light again after Harry stops being a drama queen. All kids get seperation anxiety and adopted kids manifest that shit in lots of ways, he's just going through some inadequecy issues.
Well, that has been a long time in the coming. I lied a bit, I didn't ever get the second account up and running. I'm 18 now, which is a bit weird to think about, but that's sure to mean that my style has changed a bit. I haven't written creatively since I last updated because I live a sad existence - if there's something I was doing that I'm not doing now lmk and I'll do my best to incorporate it again. I'm still learning of course, and I've likely backpedaled a lot since I was writing more frequently.
I won't lie and say the chapters will get longer or that I'll update more frequently but I've been playing with the idea of trying to write a novel and I need practice for that. (I'm a broke college student now so waddup). Would you pay for a whole novel written by me, you think? (Well, not y'all - I'd prob do a promo or some shit cause I know at least some of y'all are as broke as me). I'll work hard to improve by continuing this and my other stories, and try to keep my promises this time.