Chapter 22- Bruised black and blonde
Hogwarts had changed. Drastically.
When I walked back into my dorm Eve in my arms, the silence that used to be comforting was eerie. Death like, almost as if the oxygen ad been squeezed out of the room.
The portraits that hung around the corridors had been moved or shaken up, some of them laying slanted as to disturb those in them. Other portraits refused to speak, once chattering and laughing with students, they sat or stood in their frozen memory sad and tired.
Students were instructed to walk to and from class in lines, escorted by either the Carrow siblings or a mixture of death eaters of current professors, each one reflecting he emotion we all felt in our hearts.
I hadn't;t spoken to Sarah. Our normal chatty mornings at breakfast replaced with silence and cutlery scraping on plates. Silent eye contact being exchanged between us. Silent mouthing of short words and replies.
"Are you hurt?"
Slow shake of the head.
"I miss you." I miss you too I would mouth
"How are you"
Anytime Sarah would mouth it, I wouldn't have anyway to answer her truthfully without actually talking.
Draco wasn't at Hogwarts, thankfully. But that also meant that I didn't know if he was okay. Or worse, if he was even alive.
It also meant that I was left reeling with questions that had no way of being answered, and instead stayed in my head swirling and bouncing around inside my skull.
I hadn't shed a tear. Keeping my self made promise, instead throwing myself into studying in the library or sitting in the common room.
I had read and then reread Draco's letter enough that I could recite it word to word. Hearing his voice in every syllable and his inhale at every full stop or comma. I read it so many times that I had scrunched the piece of paper into a tiny ball of anger and sadness, only to straighten it back out and read it again. I had stomped on it, screaming in anger as I trampled over the scrawled writing that was his name.
I read it and wept, tears hitting the paper causing rings of weakness on the paper, some of the words spilling like the sun splitting clouds.
I knew the letter so well that the pain it caused simply sunk into my pores, settling itself in my sternum giving me a daily ache in my head.
His name slithered around Hogwarts. He quickly became the new Bloody baron, his name becoming a sour note on your tongue or a pop of celebration, depending on what house you belonged in.
My head snapped up and glanced at the library clock.
I jumped up shoving the library book and my parchment into my bag. And then stuffed my phone in my pocket, icy panic beginning to pool in my stomach as I thought about being caught.
I was over an hour late for dorm curfew, a rule the Carrows had so harshly implemented that young Henry Broadstring had lost the top of his ear, the next 5 days being spent int he hospital wing having it grown back on to allow his glasses to sit on his face properly again.
I left the library, shutting the door quietly and began tiptoeing towards the Slytherin dungeons.
The school was silent, the flickering of the lanterns on the wall being the only sound that could be heard, my breathing shallow and timed.
I made it down 2 flights of stairs, many of the portraits watching me, staying silent. We were all in the same hell, forced to follow rules that made us feel imprisoned.
I walk against the walls, shuffling down keeping my bag against my body as I walk the Slytherin common room doors about seventy paces: down a corridor, a left and then it would be in front of me.
I approach the corner, glancing behind me watching the dead corridor still as relief washed over me. I was safe.
"Good evening Clark. Nice to see you not following the rules I set out."
I freeze, my throat constricting as my stomach flips.
My eyes look up to see Amycus Carrow standing in front of me, his black robes blending in with the dark corridor, his body tall and ghostly. A miniature Grim reaper.
I don't speak, my chords suddenly severed with fear as his eyes drift from my eyes down my neck.
"What do you have there" he asks, reaching his hands forward and clutching my earphones that hung from my jumper.
Shit, I had forgotten to take them off and hide them. I am fucked.
He sits the earphones in his hands studying them. He curls his hand into a fist and his thumb presses the play button, the once paused song now playing through the earphones, quietly....yet loud enough that it played down the corridor, almost like my funeral song.
"We love to boogie.
We love to boogie on a Saturday night"
His eyes widen, the black pupils filling his eyes entirely a snarl skidding across his face.
"Muggle music." He sneers the music crashing around us like a wave of impending doom.
"You rattlesnake out with your tailfeathers high
Jitterbug left and smile to the sky"
He yanks the earphones hard and they snake out of my jumper and dangle from his hand, his other hand catching my face as me punches me, my body landing on the floor.
I clasp my eye, feeling the sting radiate down my face and into my eye socket as he drops the earphones on the floor towering over me.
I knew instantly I would have a black eye, my eye seeing red and then it loses it's vision.
"You are not miss curfew which you have done, and so that is entitled to a punishment Ms Clark. And, to make matters worse I have caught you not only listening to muggle music, but carrying muggle belongings.
That is two strikes in under thirty seconds half-blood. So lets hope that this lesson will ensure that not another strike happens ever again."
His foot slides back and comes cracking into my side, ribs splintering as a gargled cry rips out my throat and bounces down the corridors.
I convulse against the hit, vomit swirling in my stomach.
I lie panting as black dots wander into my vision, the air stale and scratchy as I try to inhale.
His boot had hit my square in the centre of my ribs, breaking a couple and possibly fracturing more than half, the feeling of my lungs trying to expand felt like sandpaper, my throat wheezing with painful pants and shuddered exhales.
"Let me make it very clear Clark. I am not afraid to show students where their places lies, and so I shall warn you now. One more mishap, and Bellatrix and her dagger will seem like a picnic compared to what I would do."
He lowers himself towards my face allowing me to see his eyes. Black, serious. He was not afraid to hurt people, even if they were kids.
The foot he used to kick my side reared up and came cracking down onto my nose, blood splattering onto the concrete floor as my nose popped and then began bleeding hard, the pain burning my eyes as they pooled with stinging tears.
My nerves were on fire, and through blurred vision I watched as Amucys turned and stomped on my earphones, the music crunching to a halt as he stalked down the corridor the way I had came.
"If I catch you out after curfew again Clark, ill double your record of 20 seconds on the cruciatus curse to 20 minutes."
And with that he was gone, only the noise of my gargled breathing and whimpers left whispering down the hall.
I dont know how long I lay there for.
20 minutes. An hour. Maybe 5.
But I eventually staggered upright, using the wall as a crutch as I stumbled to the Slytherin common room.
I muttered the password and deceased the stairs, my vision blurring like I was under water with my eyes open.
My head spun on its axis, the pain in my nose echoing throughout my entire brain, the blood dripping as I held my hand against it.
I entered the common room, the audible gasp breaking me away.
"Ophelia what the fuck happened"
Blaise stood from the couch, his eyes wandering over my face and then down to my bloodied shirt.
"I missed curfew" I replied, my mouth filling with blood from my nose as I opened it to talk.
Blaise rounded the couch and stop in front of me, studying my face and then sighing, pushing my down into a chair at the small rounded study table.
"Sit there, ill be back in a second"
He was gone a total of three minutes when he returned, towels in hand and a small pouch in the other.
He moved the second chair to in front of me, placing the pouch down on the table and then holding the towel against my nose.
"Blaise dont. I'll ruin your towel" i groan pulling my head away but wincing as the towel brushes with my broken nose.
He snorts "not my towel. It's Malfoy's" and he continues to hold the towel against my nose as he guided my hand up to hold it.
Once my hand is clutching at the towel, he shifts and opens the pouch, small vials of different potions lay tied down in place.
He plucks 3 out and sets them in front of me, each a different colour.
"This one is a calming one. It'll calm you while I reset and fix your nose.
The next one" he points to it "that's a pain relief elixir. That will help with the pain after I fix your noise....and finally, the final one..."
"Sleeping draught" I but in watching him slowly nod.
"You'll need it" he replies simply. Popping the cork out the first potion.
"This will hurt Ophelia. But it's either that or a wonky nose for the rest of your life, and I know what girls are like."
He gains a smile from me as I remove the towel, the blood halted enough for him to lift my chin and place the vial in my hand allowing me to swallow.
He watches, eyes glued to mine as he keeps his hand on my chin steadying my face.
"This will hurt" he resorts again, allowing me to adjust in my seat as I grip onto the sides.
I nod. Ready.
He tightens his grasp and waves his wand
I gasp as my nose pops and the bone slides back into place.
I let out a cry as I feel my bones grate together and then seize back into place, blood vessels knitting together and the blood stops.
My knuckles are white against the chair and I raise a shaky hand to Blaise's elbow watching him watching me.
"Are you okay?" He asks.
I nod. No sound coming out.
I inhale and then regain myself. "He broke my ribs too. I need you to heal them."
Blaise let's out a breath, and shifts back in his seat.
"Okay. But I can't fix them fully. But I can heal most of it and then bandage you up?"
I nod for the sixth time that evening, standing and slowly lowering myself onto the couch that Blaise was sitting on earlier.
He looms over me making me gulp, and before he can count me down. He begins to heal me, the pain exploding over my ribs again as I cry out, clutching at the side of the couch as he works quickly.
It felt like fire and swords. Stabbing and burning me as the bones crashed back together and began mending themselves and realigning.
I gasped and screamed, trying to stay still as Blaise worked quickly.
My vision swooned and dipped, eventually losing out as I dipped into unconsciousness.
I awoke in my bed,my side tender. I lifted my top to reveal white bandages wrapped around my chest.
Blaise had healed me as best as he could. I owed him for that.
I turned to my bedside table, the sleeping draught from before hand sitting there untouched.
I down it and lay back down. Thankful for the dreamless sleep taking hold of me.
Walking the halls with sore ribs was like walking with a thorn in your side. Stairs were agonising and standing and sitting from a chair felt like I was being kicked again and again.
But the bruise on my face and eye made it clear that I had fallen victim the the Carrows.
People offered glances of sympathy majority of people not asking what happened, most likely too scared to know what they actually did.
Even some of the Slytherin had taken pity, patting me on the shoulder during breakfast or dinner, eyeing my face and then glancing back to their plates.
My vision had taken over a week to return fully. For the first couple of days it was like my eye had ben submerged in chlorine, visions hazy and unfocused.
By the fifth day, it had cleared enough that I could make out faces if they were close to me, or colours that were bright.
By the ninth day it was almost back to normal, the only thing left behind was the bruise, the outer rims beginnings to fade to a murky yellow as my skin finally decided to stitch itself back together and heal.
Sarah managed to grab ahold of me one afternoon in the Slytherin common room, her eyes hurtling from my face down to my posture.
"What the fuck happened Ophelia. I haven't seen you in weeks since you went to your fathers funeral, and then you come back and within a couple of days youre black and blue. "
Right. My fathers funeral, that felt like an eternity ago. But in reality it was only two weeks ago.
I stare off, my brain feeling like mashed potatoes as it takes in her sentence.
I snap out of my thoughts and look back to Sarah who hadn't changed her expression of concern.
"I missed curfew, bumped into Amycus on the way back: I replied, my throat tightening at the though of his shoe cracking with my nose.
Sarah's shoulders slacken, her arms wrapping around my shoulders as to not hurt my ribs.
"I'm worried about you..." she says, her face buried in my hair.
"I haven't seen you this down since the summer, and that was a bad time for you."
I stiffen and then shake her off. Looking her in the eye.
"I am not like how I was during the summer, I'm just sore. And...And.."
i trail off, unsure if i wanted to explain Draco. Explain to her that I knew Dumbledore was going to die. Explain to her what Bellatrix did that night. Show her?
She reads my posture and decides not to push, stepping back and grabbing her back from her feet.
"I need to head to class, Amycus has been in a foul mood since yesterday afternoon, Longbottom said he saw him push a first year down a flight of stairs while he walked past. Poor fellow broke his arm"
I shudder at the news, knowing full well that the boy got off easy.
I nod, waver her goodbye and watch her leave the common room.
The class passed in a whirl of anxiety. The lessons consisted mainly of writing things from books now, the Carrows had taken away most of the practical aspects to most of the subjects. Only defence against the dark arts had actual wand or magic usage in full swing. But we were normally pitted against each other like sword fighters, throwing hexes at each other and then being screamed at by Alecto if she wasn't happy that the jinx or curse wasn't evil or dangerous enough.
We copied form our textbooks the "importance of being wand aware" students staying quiet as professor Flitwick wandered around the classroom, the dread clear on his jawline as it was on all of ours.
The bell rang and we all stood, lining up at the door awaiting for someone to collect us.
Once they arrived we marched down the hallway like ants, each looking at the person in front of us, the tapping of our feet on the ground replacing the laughter that once somersaulted around the castle like the wind at sea.
We walked on and on, my mind wandering to look to each of my sides. Many of the portraits remained empty, those that once lived in them moving away from the blinding evil that Hogwarts had now become.
Others had been taken down, the discoloured wallpaper created a shadow of the frame, causing me to wonder where they had stashed them.
I turned the other way, glancing at the other wall, the portraits reflecting the same as before.
And then I spotted him. Walking down the corridor, his suit pressed and clean. His hair like lightening.
Draco was back at Hogwarts.
He was there, in the flesh. Two weeks of feeling nothing but numb and empty. And here he was, the answer to my questions that had been swimming around in my head.
I felt my breath hitch in my throat as I realised we would cross paths, my confidence dying when I noticed his tense jaw as he stared straight ahead. He hadn't noticed me.
I was in Alecto's line, I couldn't just dip out the line and hide, I would be punished, and Amycus' words sprang out at me.
I looked forward, not daring to watch him pass.
15 seconds away.
His arm grazed mine and I gasped slightly, my face turning to his.
Our eyes met, my blood pumping in my veins as I watched his eyes flicker over my face once, then again, widen for a millisecond and then return back to normal. His eyes snapped forward and he strolled away, his posture unchanged and tall.
I clocked back around, my eyes stinging with abandonment. I shook my head and stared forward, focusing my time on chewing the side of my gum, not releasing until I tasted metal.
Draco Malfoy was back.
But he wasn't back for me, that I knew for certain.