Author's Notes: (NOT A SONGFIC!) Not everything in the warning is in the first chapter, which is short... you'll have to wait.
Faint of Hearts
That was the first thing I noticed as we entered the hall. No raining, thunderous clouds. No setting sun. The Dark artifact checks on the Hogwarts Express had put off our arrival until well past the usual bedtime.
The ceiling was a dark, midnight blue, with a thick haze of stars scattered unevenly along the skyline. I wish I would’ve looked into the sky earlier, outside, and seen it for myself, but I suppose now the imitation in the charmed ceiling would have to do.
I also noticed the air. In my first five years, every year, it had been choked with giddiness, restless laughter and the constant talk of grinning, giggling fools. Despite the escape of Sirius Black in my third year, the hall had been happy, with chaste chit-chat of the escaped madman as though it were all an act. Despite the reports of “the attention-seeking excuse for a Boy-Who-Lived” before his fifth year, talk of him had been cheerful, and the socially elite had led the way in scorning him and making it a point to whisper when he walked by.
But not this year. Now, the air is thick with awkward silence, with chilling quiet, with a biting wind that no one could hide from. Was it sorrow? Regret? Helplessness? Confusion? Betrayal? Was it anger?
Or was it the sharp awakening of Reality?
I feel strangely satisfied with the sallow looks on the Ravenclaw faces
( How could we have not seen this coming )
( Why didn’t we realize )
( I feel like such an idiot )
who seem to have suddenly realized study isn’t always the answer. I feel sickeningly content with the Hufflepuffs
( What do we do )
( Is this our fault )
( I should’ve tried harder I shouldn’t have listened to my parents I shouldn’t have believed the Daily Prophet )
but I frown when I gaze at the Gryffindors. A few of them are crying. Crying. One of them is reading a newspaper and frowning as he leaned over, pointing something out to his friend, who shook his head sadly.
The voices find their way into my head, swirling slowly and becoming more and more coherent…
( Goddamn Umbridge I was grounded for weeks )
( I failed I failed I have to repeat the year )
( Make-up classes Oh hell )
( When are we going to eat )
I find myself shaking, hands fisted, teeth grinding in what could only be described as impatience. Frustration. They didn’t get it. They didn’t get it. Why the fuck don’t they get it?
Wake up, I think to myself. God damn you red and gold sons of bitches.
Of course, the Slytherins are no better. They realize, oh, yes, they’ve always known, but their pleasure was so misguided, so wrong…
( Mudbloods get what’s coming about time )
( Finally they realize they know they’re going to lose )
( The Mark the Mark I’ve finally got the mark I’ll show that smarmy bitch Parkinson )
I shake my head. I’m tired of the buzz, of the whirlwind of wonderings and confusing thoughts. I feel someone tap me on the shoulder.
I turn, raising my eyebrows when I see him watching me, judging my reaction to whatever it was he was going to say.
Professor Snape interrupts and orders us both to our seats
( God damn I need a drink )
and Potter looks somewhat disappointed. Suppressing a grin at my Professor’s silent, alcohol-deprived irritation, I manage to make eye contact with the Gryffindor, and I was surprised to feel myself suddenly cold, suffocated, drowning in a sudden onrush of thoughts, feelings, emotions, all of them incoherent and bleeding into one another, blurring my vision, stopping me in my tracks, giving me one hell of a headache.
Except for the one message, the one phrase that seemed to be threaded together by the others, the one that both settled me and startled me:
( Thank you )
He turns, unaware that I know.
Snape walks to the teachers’ table, ignorant of what has just happened.
I stand, trembling, afraid, suddenly sick. I watch Potter as he takes his seat underneath the red banner, turning to classmate. I want to be sick.
How the hell did he know?
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