The Eyes

Chapter Eight

The lessons were not boring. The library was not quiet. Everything that had to be one way was another. He glimpsed at the broom, held within his hands. He soared through the air, twisting and pulling it as he flew away towards the castle's towers. He could hear the screams and the people left behind.

He sharply turned left, then right. He flew above the highest tower and then back down, letting the wind caress his face as he free fell with the broom. The wood creaked and answered his call, making his entire body twist together with him.

He pulled the top of the broom upwards, and soon his feet dragged across the rooftop he had nearly crashed against. The sun glared its rays high in the sky. Madam Hooch whistled and screamed, trying to catch him with her bony fingers. She miserably failed. He was on a slower, older broom.

She had experience. She had the fastest broom. She was clearly in better shape. Yet she could not catch him. It was like trying to grab the wind, or to hold within the palm of the hand water.

The howling wind roared and shrieked, giggling madly as it toyed with the brooms in a game that to him meant nothing. The flame in the sky burned brightly, the glare enough to bling for just a moment Madam Hooch. A second the woman shouldn't have lost.

She crashed, her breath gone from her lungs, against the wall of the Dark Tower. The broomstick broke into shards as she fell backwards, her mind muddied by the impact. She couldn't properly think, her bones broken and the light coming less.

She landed with a sickening 'thud' sound on the grass.

The students shrieked.

Harry wasn't hearing them at all. He was flying, carried by the wind. It was exciting. Tentacles of air spun him around, like a toddler rocked by a giant monster that knew no reality or disguise.

Tendrils of the sun burned through the air, as he rose high, higher than ever before. The broom creaked louder. He shouldn't have laughed. His very breath, his very hands gripping tightly on the cold wood, they annoyed what wasn't meant to be.

A swatting hand of wind, a strong gust, slammed him back towards the cold ground. It was too easy. Why deliver that which could help? Wasn't it sweeter, the despair that came from flying and crashing to the ground?

Icarus felt true despair not when he saw his wings burn. He did not feel pain when the wax melted or the feathers ignited. He knew true agony when he no longer could fly; when his body crashed, he was already gone. Stolen by the wind, that would have been the possible truth.

Harry just laughed even as he fell.

His heart was beating, the air cut at his cheeks and the unblinking gaze cursed and screamed. Yet he fell, and he enjoyed it.

There would be no release, even as the broom tore to bits and became but wooden shrapnel that dug into his hands deeply. His blood sprayed crimson and strong in its smell. The pain did not wake him from his adrenaline-induced laughter, but he cracked to the point where his lungs, his ribs and his entire being rocked as he descended.

Suddenly, a force yanked him away from death. He struggled against the weight that brought him in the opposite direction. The roars and the gleaming disgusted gazes in some of the creatures watching were evident. He landed softly, held by a pair of strong lumberjack like arms.

He laughed quietly, as the giant face of Rubeus Hagrid —albeit filled with a bit of fear— gazed down at him.

"Arry, are ye mad?"

He chuckled.

"Broom wasn't responding, probably," the stern voice of McGonagall came to his ears. "Was it cursed?"

"It was," Severus replied. "What of Madam Hooch?"

"She took a bad hit, but she managed to deaden her fall," Minerva exhaled in relief as she watched Rubeus let Harry stand on his two feet. The boy looked completely unfazed by the terribly scary accident. At least, in her heart it had been scary to watch such things. The broom had twisted and bucked, before taking straight to the air and towards the sun.

"Who do you think did it, Severus?" she murmured, her eyes glancing to where the Gryffindors and the Slytherins stood, on the other side of the courtyard. They all looked aghast, and probably would require a talking to…but now, she had to ensure the school was safe.

"It requires eye contact to maintain a curse and a counter-curse," Severus whispered. "Anyone with access to a window into the courtyard could have done it, or anyone passing by the hallways. You should ask the portraits if any saw someone stand still by the window."

"Is Mister Potter fine?" the voice of professor Quirrell cut into his thoughts. The man's bright yellow turban shone into the gleaming light like a sort of torch, making Severus queasy about it. "Does he require…something muggle to calm him down, maybe? It might help him reminisce about…home, I think."

"I doubt Mister Potter has much of a need for childish muggle toys," Severus didn't know why his reply came with an unusual amount of heat. "As his head of the house, I will take care of him."

"Of course," Quirrell nodded. "Snakes watch out for one another."

"Was anything the matter, Quirinus?" Minerva asked softly. "Shouldn't you be teaching class?"

"I gave them a self-study period with a…television," Quirrell replied. "They are sixth years. I am sure they can handle and not break it."

"Oh, one of those…a pity they do not work at Hogwarts," Minerva murmured softly. Severus turned sharply away to gaze at the boy, who was dusting off the dirt from his robes as if nothing had happened.

He took deliberately slow but heavy steps in his direction, before stopping short.

"Mister Potter," he began, only for the boy's eyes to stare at him. They weren't the eyes of someone who had been deathly afraid. They were the eyes of someone who had just finished having fun.

He didn't dare to pry inside his mind. There was just a sense of wrongness tied with trying that.

"Would you like a cup of chocolate?" he said, his voice quiet.

Harry Potter said that, not him.

"Why would I require a cup of chocolate?" Severus retorted.

"You were afraid," Harry said, his face in a frown. "You don't like chocolate? I like it, when I try to think about what isn't in there."

"You were not scared by losing control of your broom? You were not afraid?"

"Oh, no," Harry shook his head. "They wouldn't have allowed that. He wouldn't have… well, not much anyway, because he doesn't like it when you steal his fun away."

In a quieter voice, Harry added softly. "It wasn't scary. I saw worse."

The lump in Severus' throat hardened. "Worse?"

Harry just nodded. "I have lesson after this, right?"

"Yes," Severus breathed in sharply. "You do."

As Harry was about to scamper off, completely unscathed, Severus added. "Did you enjoy it? Flying, I mean."

"Of course," Harry replied, stopping for a moment to think. "The really scary things are on the ground…or below."

He scrunched his face. "Or really high above…but in the air, they don't bother much…not everyone."

Severus had to admit it was somewhat surreal. It was as if around them a bubble of sorts had formed, as if the words Harry were saying were meant only for him, as if they were just everyday babble that the others were not caring about.

The boy had nearly fallen to his death, and already Minerva was talking with Quirinus about 'soap-operas'. Already, Hagrid was collecting the brooms in place of Madam Hooch.

It was…

It was as if the air itself was giving them a personal moment of shining light upon a stage in a theatre, and only two actors at a time could recite the tale.

He did not like it.

He did not like it at all.

Author's notes

Lloigor and Zhar, Twin Obscenities. Lloigor has the power to control great winds, which it can use to snare and capture any unfortunates who chance upon it.