|Title:||Slytherin Solidarity: Canto IV - Red Moon Rising (Part II)|
|Posted On:||2005-01-01 00:00:00|
Summary: The journal of Blaise Zabini falls open, revealing the story of the last Slytherins before the great battle begins. A house broken and torn from the inside, and the greatest of loves – lost to the ages.
Disclaimer: A non-profit adoration of J.K. Rowling’s characters. No money is being made by this endeavour and characters, places and curses remain the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Warner Brothers and all those other profiteering bigwigs.
Canto IV - Red Moon Rising
(Part Two of Two)
For the sixth night in a row, Blaise couldn’t sleep.
He’d left the library earlier that evening after establishing certain terms with Granger. It was with much aplomb that Blaise relayed to her his desire to join her in the undertaking of “breaking the book”. Its swirling song had eventually become too great, so he found himself bargaining for a piece of the glory. He’d research the binding charms and curses used on its old and worn cover, while Granger would try to crack it open.
When they did, he hoped that his recurring dreams (nightmares, actually) of Ted would end. Blaise desired nothing more than to understand the repeating images that weaved themselves about his skull. More deep-seated however, he found the desire to avenge Ted’s death preoccupying his thoughts as he lay, staring at the canopy, in his dormitory. How he would go about it, he remained unsure, but the nagging suspicion that uncovering the mysteries of the Principia seemed to take a place of eminence that he had no logical reasoning for. It seemed simply that un-shrouding the thing was what he was supposed to do.
Incensed, Blaise flipped the sheets and rolled from his bed. The bedside clock flickering alternately between 4:14 a.m. and “Time to Sleep”, he quietly trod across the dormitory, collected an assorted array of clothing and hastily threw them on. Donning a warm cloak, he passed through the snores of his sleeping house mates and slid quietly up the stairs, through the common room and into the dungeon corridors.
Hardly noticing where his feet carried him, Blaise tuned out his surroundings and continued onwards, ascending the staircases and passing through the darkened corridors without so much a though to the school’s caretaker or needing to slip by unnoticed.
Thoughts of what Higgs had said over dinner nagged at him. At least now he knew that one had made their choice, though it wouldn’t be confirmed until he’d see the Mark on his arm, then he would be certain. He wondered vaguely if this would be the method by which he found his new enemies; it was after all, not his war. The Italian wizard had every intention of escaping to his homeland promptly after graduation. He’d convince his parents to steal away with his youngest siblings – there was simply no choice in the matter. They couldn’t be part of it when death decided to stumble onto their doorstep.
Before he knew it, Blaise found himself ascending the steps to the North tower. He could watch the dawn rise from the topmost turret, the fingers of early morning light would wash him clean, burning away the last traces of his confusion.
Pushing open the wooden door to the spire, Blaise stepped out into the darkness and the chill. Overhead, the Blood Moon hung bloated and orange in the night sky, a fat orb dripping its weak glow on the sleeping grounds that stretched out far below.
“I was wondering when you’d show up.”
Giving a start, Blaise stared blankly into the moon-tinged gleam around him.
“Who’s there?” he called out, automatically reaching for his wand and unsheathing it.
At the edge of the turret, the air seemed to shimmer, as if something was giving off heat. In a second however, the rippling air shifted as a cloak was pulled back revealing the tousled, messy black hair of a small boy. In the moonlight, a glint reflected off his spectacles; the disembodied head of Harry Potter seeming to sit on the air quite solidly.
Blaise blinked. Not lowering his wand, he reached down to the fleshy part of his thigh and pinched himself hard.
“Sweet Janus!” he yelped, obviously, he was very much awake, if not a little disturbed. “Potter, where’s the rest of you?”
The Gryffindor repressed a smirk as best he could, “Relax Zabini, you’re not hallucinating.” Demurely, the boy turned to face him and pulled apart the opening seams of a cloak, displaying a baggy assortment of muggle clothing beneath the delicate, shimmering fabric.
“Look, all in one piece.” The Gryffindor grinned.
Blaise re-holstered his wand and approached the edge of the tower. “I am way too tired for parlour tricks, Potter. Shit,” he wheezed, clutching his chest dramatically. “I think I just had a heart attack,” Blaise said with a shudder as he sank down to his haunches and plopped down on the cold stone.
The Gryffindor sank down next to him and regarded him with an unmistakable look of concern. “You ok, then?”
“Fine, fine,” Blaise waved the question away. He wasn’t about to roll into a drawn-out conversation about his former best friend cropping up into his nightly dreams. Blaise pondered for a moment if his paranoia stemmed from the brief haunting. Though it had only been one day of random appearances, Blaise highly doubted Nott had stuck around much longer after that. After all, he would have shown himself since… Wouldn’t he?
Brow furrowed, Blaise surveyed the Gryffindor. “What are you doing here Potter?” It came out sounding harsher than he meant it to; inwardly Blaise flinched at his cool exterior. When he’d arrive home for the summer, his mother and aunt would definitely set his attitude right, they reinforced everything with the back of a wooden spoon most of the time.
The Gryffindor shrugged and flopped down beside the Slytherin.
“I’ve been seeing you come out here for the last couple of nights. I considered going elsewhere, but the choice of towers gets limited after a while.”
“Right,” Blaise replied restrainedly. “You’ve been spying on me have you?”
Potter glanced at him briefly, before turning his attention back to the castle grounds. “Not quite. I came here for the same reason you do.”
Blaise blinked. The kid was a little presumptuous wasn’t he?
“To think,” Potter finished.
“Well I can’t argue that,” Blaise groused. “So what’s the deal with the glamour?” he said, nodding at the crumpled up silver and grey fabric pooled around Potter’s feet.
“Invisibility cloak,” the Gryffindor shrugged. “Family heirloom, comes in handy.”
“Look, this may sound a little strange, Zabini, but I need to confirm something.”
Blaise stared at him blankly for a moment. At least one thing was established, they didn’t teach you how to be suave at all in Gryffindor. The Italian smirked to himself and leaned back on his hands.
Potter took a deep breath.
“Hermione mentioned something that she saw at the beginning of term, or rather that she didn’t see. She’s convinced that there’s a lot more going on that we don’t actually spot up front. I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt.” Potter looked at him then, the lightening bolt shaped scar gleaming eerily in the blue-tinged gloom.
Blaise, returning his gaze evenly, lifted himself off his hands and rolled back his sleeves. Seeing the flesh on both his arms was bare, Potter merely nodded and turned his focus back to the desolate and shaded grounds of Hogwarts.
“It doesn’t mean anything, you know, Potter.”
The boy remained silent, so Blaise ploughed onwards.
“Trust between our houses has worn rather thin over the last millennium. Just because I don’t carry some abysmally disgusting tattoo on my forearm doesn’t make me any less of a threat.”
Potter’s gaze remained trained ahead of him. Blaise sighed.
“Don’t expect me to act like some sort of redeemed Slytherin. My loyalty remains as it always will. I’m not emancipated. I’m not an anomaly. I’m not justified, self-righteous or brave. Nor do I possess the will or the want for some cause that ventures beyond my sphere of existence. I’m looking out for myself, Potter. It would bode well to remember that.”
Potter continued staring ahead.
“It’s not my war.” Blaise finished quietly.
“And Nott?” Potter asked, his gaze shifting to look at the stars above.
Blaise stiffened. “Nott will be avenged appropriately.”
“Then it is your war, Zabini,” the Gryffindor replied.
Blaise stared at the bespectacled boy, his mouth hanging partially agape.
“What would you know about it?” Blaise hissed softly.
Potter turned his head to look at him then, the cinnabar sheen of his eyes standing out like wildfire in the night; they glittered eerily, sucking the light from the moon and stars. “He’s taken people from me that I loved too.”
Blaise gaped. “Shit, Potter. For a second there you sounded exactly like a Slytherin I know.”
The Gryffindor snorted, “The Hat tried to put me in your house first year. With good reason I’d say. My vengeful side seems to like taking over these days – Seems like it’s the only thing left that gives me purpose.”
“Huh,” Blaise smiled ruefully. “I’ll give it to you, Potter. I thought I had you pegged.”
He shrugged with a grin of his own. “Call me Harry. We’re on the same side after all.”
“I think, Potter, it would be best not to advertise that fact just yet.” Blaise grinned cheekily at the raven haired boy. “Though I can’t give you all our secrets, there’s a lot left to be said about Slytherin house today that has yet to come to light.”
Potter nodded and turned his gleaming eyes back to the night sky; Blaise leaned back again to watch the moon as it sunk lower against the horizon.
“Red moon rising,” he said absently.
“It’s an omen,” Potter replied almost wistfully. The orange globe smiled down at the two boys, a fattened hunter reigning in the stars and swirling wisps of cloud. “Saturn’s retrograde and there’s a ring around Selene,” he pointed. “Studied them quite a bit after third year, kept seeing the Grim everywhere.”
“Trelawney.” Blaise stated flatly.
“Yeah,” Potter frowned.
“Crazy bint’s never been right, though. I wouldn’t think on it twice.”
Potter frowned and looked down at his scuffed trainers. “I wouldn’t be so sure, Zabini.”
There was a prolonged silence, which Potter finally broke after a few minutes.
“Did you mean that this afternoon?”
“About the spaghetti and meatballs bit.”
Blaise chuckled. “Don’t be so naïve, Potter. Weasley would be far too stringy to serve in a proper tomato sauce.”
Potter stared at the Slytherin, a look of horror passing across his features momentarily, which caused Blaise to laugh outright.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he chuckled. “Some of my relatives, however… I wouldn’t put it passed them. My Great Grandmother has the family recipe book if I recall.” Blaise cracked a grin at the Gryffindor. “Crazy lot, those Sicilians.”
“So,” Potter hesitated, “you’re Italian, then?”
Incredible – a Gryffindor actually trying to make polite conversation. A year ago he’d have thought the most they were capable of was pummelling each other senseless en lieu of engaging in banal chit chat. Blaise masked his surprise at the flow of their conversation, and smirked instead.
“I’d have thought that was rather obvious, being named ‘Zabini’ and all. It’s like a rude smack upside the head.”
“Sorry,” he muttered. “I live with my aunt and uncle, muggles, a particularly awful lot, you know. Never gave me much opportunity for experiencing culture.”
“Right, that bit about the closet true then?”
“Yeah,” he replied somewhat stiffly.
In the east, the sky seemed to be purpling somewhat, the velveteen blackness beginning to retract, and seep into a deep ultramarine.
“Can’t have many regrets, Potter. You just have to take what life dishes out and go with it, you know. Make it your own.”
Potter stared blankly. “What do you mean?”
“You can’t choose who you’ll be born to or what conditions you’ll live in while growing up. The important thing is that regardless the circumstance, you’ve got to carve out your own place for yourself.” Blaise shrugged. “We all do it, but with some people it’s more apparent that they’ve actually picked up the knife.”
There was a long silence.
Finally, Potter spoke so quietly Blaise could barely hear it over the rolling wind. “That’s what Nott did, wasn’t it?”
Blaise glanced down at his robes ruffling around him. Ahead, the sky was taking on a faint pink hue. A feeling of vague deja-vue passed over him lightly, though he brushed the sentiment aside without a second thought.
“Yeah,” Blaise squinted at the breaking dawn, partially to veil his expression. He didn’t want to show any inkling that talking about it only pained him. “Literally.”