Chapter 51: Death
What just happened . . .?
Did . . . Did Stacee just—?
"Stacee . . .?" her voice shook and laid him down. His body had lost all color, his grey eyes were lifeless and still, and he remained unmoved. "Stacee . . ." she tried again, but her voice cracked and tears ran down her face.
Erela heard Landon fight off the other students. He mustn't had seen . . . he didn't know . . . She wiped her tears away as she got back up, pulled out her wand and smoke bombed the area. "Petrificus totalus!" she screamed at the remainder of them. When she was about to petrify the last one, he Disapparated away. Erela cried out and fell to her knees.
Landon blew the smoke away and jogged over to Erela. "Ela . . ." he sighed with relief and embraced her closely.
She shook her head at him as the tears fell down her cheeks. "Landon . . ." she choked. "They got Stacee . . ." she said and hiccupped.
And just as fast as the words slipped past her lips, Landon's body went pale and numb. He was frozen to the spot and collapsed to the floor, bewildered by the news. Erela cried and hugged herself for her own comfort. It was her fault . . . Stacee went to save her. She was the one to have been killed . . . at least . . . it would have been easier . . . Erela's heart clenched as the realization sunk in. It really was her fault, she was meant to die, and yet Stacee stopped it . . .
Why? Why would he do that!?
"Stacee . . ." Landon's voice muttered some distance away. Erela peeked over her shoulder through her blurred vision eschewed by the tears. Landon was on her knees and collected the light green haired boy into his arms. Just the color of his hair made Erela break down again. He was so afraid . . . the color of fear . . . the color of the curse that killed him . . . it was all a reminder. How cruel . . . how tragic for him to leave in such a way . . .
Why did it have to be him . . .? Why Stacee?
Landon's arms trembled at the cold feeling of Stacee's lifeless body. There was no way of describing how the werewolf boy felt. Angry? Depressed? Hurt? Like someone had punched a hole in his chest and ripped his heart out? No . . . the pain was still there, he felt it and it was overwhelming. There were no words to describe how he felt. His one best friend . . . had slipped away without a word. But—but why did it have to be like that? He and Erela were meant to save him . . . that was the point, wasn't it? To save him and take him to safety?
Why did it have to happen?
Landon lowered his head to Stacee and wept. He wept and wept against the metamorphmagus' cold body. Erela knew . . . and she wished the same thing. How badly she wished Time-Turners still existed. If only they weren't destroyed in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries back in 1996. If only people knew how to recreate them and had them in stock again, all of that could have been avoided. Even though it was illegal, the two teenagers wouldn't have cared and broke the law of time anyway . . .
Stacee wouldn't have died . . .
He couldn't have been taken to use for a sacrifice . . .
It could have been avoided . . . but that was the sick joke of life . . .
Everything happened for a reason . . .
"Stacee . . ." Landon whimpered. "You bastard, this isn't funny . . ." his voice cracked. "Quit playing around, you prick . . ." he started.
"Landon . . ." Erela started and approached Landon.
"Seriously, Stacee . . . wake the fuck up—"
"He's just sleeping, I know he is!" he started, his delusion getting the best of him.
"Landon! Stop!" she cried out and hugged him close. "He's gone . . ." she cried quietly. "I'm sorry, Landon . . ." she trembled. "I'm so sorry . . ." Erela apologized. Landon's body was hot with anger, but that was overwhelmingly overpowered by the misery of losing a friend.
Erela had to snap out of it. They had to go back to the school and report the event. She levitated the petrified bodies of the cult while Landon carried Stacee's body. It was hard to look . . . it was too difficult to believe that he had died. A part of Erela really wanted to convince herself that Stacee was drop dead tired, that he trusted Landon enough to carry him back to bed, and knew for a fact that he would be teased for being held like a baby the next morning. But she had to be realistic . . . Landon was having great difficulty as it was . . . Having Erela believe the boy was alive wouldn't help at all.
When they made it back to the castle, Erela went to the Headmistress to report the criminals she had petrified while Landon brought Stacee to the Hospital Wing. She explained everything . . . that the Dark Arts Cult tried to sacrifice Stacee. That the members tried to kill them and managed to kill the metamorphmagus boy. And, because she felt she had to, that some members had perished when she tried to escape with the boys by the power of the disintegration shield charm.
She killed probably two students . . . she was no different than the one who had murdered Stacee . . .
But . . . the use of spells by law, shield charms used for defense did not mean a ticket to Azkaban, even if people had died. To Erela, that didn't seem fair whatsoever. She had actually hurt people . . . killed people . . . even if it was to protect the people she loved, she still did wrong. But no . . . she was off the hook . . .
A funeral was held the next day. It was difficult to bring up the news to Laila . . . She cried, of course. Incredibly hard in fact. Erela held in the tears as she hugged Laila to comfort the girl, she had to remain stone faced for the broken. Crying with them would have made things so much worse.
Why . . . Why!? Why did it have to be him!? It should have been Erela! Stacee had a role! The calm one, the glue of the whole group, the one that loved everyone equally with compassion. With him gone . . . he had left his girlfriend who he had promised to marry at the end of their seventh year, a suicidal werewolf, and . . . the one who had connections to the cult . . . and Stacee was more than aware of that. He ended up protecting her. . .
Erela kept asking herself why he would do that . . .
The funeral in the Great Hall felt cold . . . and mixed with so many emotions. For the students of the Dark Arts Cult and Stacee, who had died by "an accident," the Headmistress lied. She decided not to bring up that they were all killed.
Erela sat between Landon and Laila during the whole thing. Laila had lost it emotionally and Landon was completely numb as tears ran down his face. Erela . . . kept her stone face the whole time. Yes, she was hurting inside. She cried her eyes out for her friend the night before and felt she had dried herself out. She wanted to cry some more, she felt in her heart that it wanted to weep more. That crushing feeling never lifted and the weight of the world kept getting heavier and heavier.
Everyone had left with that numb sensation as the thought of death lingered over them. Erela looked over at Laila and slid her hand to her shoulder. "You'll be okay, right?"
She sniffled and ran her fingers through her sandy hair. "I have to . . ." she mumbled.
Erela dropped her eyes and squeezed the girl's shoulder before she slipped away to join the rest of her house on their way to the tower. Erela turned and chased after Landon, who dragged his feet toward the Hufflepuff basement in a slow and almost drunk manner. Erela picked up her feet and lightly touched his arm when she caught up with him. Landon weakly took her hand and pulled her off as he kept his pace.
He didn't want comfort . . .
All he wanted was to be left alone . . .