|Title:||Slytherin Solidarity: Canto IV - Red Moon Rising (Part I)|
|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 One of Two)
October 2, 1997.
Alas, life stumbles onwards. It¡¯s gangly gait reminiscent of times past when we didn¡¯t consider exactly how far we had to leap in hops and bounds to get us from point a to point b. I¡¯m reluctant to admit, where there exists a great gaping void in between there and now, I couldn¡¯t muster the will to eloquence.
Resignedly, it¡¯s had me caught up in between mourning and self-induced insomnia.
Dreams are more wretched than nightmares sometimes. Sod trying to sort it all out, it makes me feel sluggish and insipid trying to digest and process all that¡¯s transpired over the course of the last three weeks.
Strange how certain resilient portions of an individual¡¯s personality seem to bubble up and break the skin at the worst possible opportunity. I sometimes wonder if the wills of the subconscious are trying to test me, prod at my weak points and force me to reconsider what it means to be born into an old family, with predetermined ideals of loyalty and lineage. Since the incident (and I do not wish to go into lengthy detail ¨C I simply can¡¯t bear the humiliation), I can¡¯t help but notice the differences between the members of my house and I. For example, it¡¯s been nearly three weeks since Ted took his own life and that episode outside the common room with Granger occurred. Perhaps it was the presence of another human being standing next to me trembling and leaking from the eyes that set me off, like a violent chemical reaction in a cauldron when two substances are added that react angrily with each other. I¡¯d rather not think of it like that, so to this day I¡¯ll maintain that it was the fact that certain individuals from various houses other than Slytherin did something more shocking than I¡¯d ever thought to be possible. Leave it to Granger to be the one who flipped the proverbial switch. If I think on it too long I really can see myself cracking under the implications.
Written down, it seems almost flippant ¨C perhaps I¡¯ve a tougher hide than I thought. I miss Ted terribly, though, and perhaps in light of the circumstances it renders me weak to admit it. Something broke that night; I can¡¯t remember the last time I¡¯d cried ¨C not like that anyhow; the gibbering, slobbering, and wailing aren¡¯t becoming of a Slytherin in any shade of light.
The performance would have made my Grandparents proud. It was, I daresay, worthy of my last name.
Perhaps in the future I should refrain from any outward expressions of melancholy or desperation. Or perhaps I should just beat myself around the head with a large rock, that would at least, prevent the stares and inevitable questioning of my stability.
Moreover, the ¡®incident¡¯ has left me bereft of any semblance of propriety. Granger has yet to cease throwing pitying glances in my direction, I¡¯d like to think she¡¯s trying to empathize ¨C but really, one sympathetic gesture is surely more than enough for even a Gryffindor.
I¡¯ve learned that I should train myself to believe I no longer care, though I still catch myself glaring at her with thinly veiled contempt at mealtimes.
The table Blaise was sitting at jerked violently as Millicent dropped an armload of heavy books onto the polished surface. Blaise glanced up from his writing and gave the girl a wan smile.
¡°You look like hell, Zabini,¡± she said dryly.
¡°I haven¡¯t been sleeping,¡± he replied shortly. If that wasn¡¯t the understatement of the century he didn¡¯t know what was.
Ever since he¡¯d awoken in the dungeon corridor facing a fading dream of Ted and a sleep bedraggled Granger pointing out an obvious tribute to his dead house mate, he¡¯d only managed a few brief hours a night. Every time he closed his eyes he¡¯d be swept away among the sprawling acres of Mugello, at the foot a villa once belonging to the legendary Medici family, or worse, plagued by recurring flashes of an ancient manuscript, embossed by the symbol of a serpent consuming its own tail. Sometimes he¡¯d be shaken awake violently, seeing himself seated in a stark white bathroom as Ted informed him that he had to protect those he loved, and abruptly the dream would shift. In the last few nights he¡¯d begun seeing his friends¡¯ bodies in various states of decay. The worst by far, had been that of a black, flapping veil being pulled back to reveal a dimly lit chamber, where a pale-faced boy stood over the bloodied remains of several corpses.
In short, Blaise found himself staying up as late as humanly possible ¨C Distracting himself with homework, reading or staring at the canopy of his four-poster for hours at a stretch. More recently, however, he¡¯d taken to wandering the corridors in stealth, sometimes climbing to the height of the North tower and sitting there at the top of the school, watching the night sky before it turned light out and the dawn broke with the mist and the dew.
¡°You¡¯re going to addle your poor excuse for a brain if you keep it up,¡± Millicent sneered, flicking a wadded up bit of parchment at his forehead.
Blaise merely shook his head and looked back down at his journal.
¡°Yes, that¡¯s right, Zabini. Just ignore me for good measure,¡± Millie smirked as she dragged one of her heavy volumes towards her.
Still gazing intently at what he¡¯d just written, he replied in a monotone, ¡°You¡¯re impossible to ignore, Mil. The Erumpent of Slytherin always makes her presence known five minutes before we can actually see her coming.¡±
Blaise ducked with a chuckle, as she lined up several more scraps of parchment and, with a wave of her wand, sent them soaring across the wide library desk and into Blaise¡¯s raven curls.
¡°It¡¯s not my fault I was born big-boned,¡± she sniffed resentfully.
¡°No darling, you can blame your parentage or a poorly placed engorgement charm when you were still in nappies,¡± he replied lazily. Millicent scowled playfully and sent another volley of rubbish in his direction.
Blaise was still absently plucking bits of paper out of his hair as the library door banged open and Draco sauntered in, with Crabbe and Goyle at his heels. Madam Pince, the librarian, practically snarled from the reference desk at the boys¡¯ noisy entry.
Across the table, Millicent snorted into her Ancient Runes text, ¡°And you say I have a flair for entrances.¡±
Draco was swaggering; a cheeky grin plastered across his pointed features as he dropped into the seat beside Blaise and leaned in conspiratorially.
¡°Weasel here yet?¡±
Millicent glanced around, seeing that the nearby tables were devoid of signs of life she shook her head.
¡°Potter here yet?¡± The blond¡¯s grin was morphing into a smirk, his eyes narrowing.
Millie shook her head again, a tight-lipped sneer beginning to take shape. Apparently, Draco had made it his prerogative to announce to anyone in the Slytherin common room shortly after the incident in the fourth floor corridor what Weasley¡¯s implications had been regarding Ted¡¯s death.
Needless to say, it had not gone over well with the members of their house. They were demanding Weasley¡¯s head on a platter, bronzed if possible.
Draco peeked around Blaise¡¯s hunched shoulders. ¡°No need to ask where Granger is, she¡¯s still watching you like a hawk, Zabini.¡±
Blaise rolled his eyes in response, and took a cursory glance at a table about five rows down. Sure enough, Granger was sitting amidst a teetering pile of books. In between muttering to herself and flicking through a large brown volume in front of her, she was glancing at him every few moments with her eyes narrowed.
The last thing he needed was to have the muggle-born running her mouth off and divulging his gross display of grief. Thankfully it seemed thus far she¡¯d relegated herself to picking him apart mentally, instead of running her mouth off to the entirety of Hogwarts.
Blaise smiled at her thinly. Unable to restrain himself, he raised his hand and gave her a caustic waggle of five fingers, which presumably passed as a sarcastic wave ¨C at which point she gasped and knocked over a stack of parchments to her left at having been spotted.
¡°Absurd,¡± Millie clucked, watching the ruffled Gryffindor collect her scattered notes from the floor.
¡°Perhaps you should put her out of her misery, Zabini,¡± Draco drawled from his left. He¡¯d sat back to watch the spectacle with his arms folded across his chest imperiously. ¡°A proper snogging might actually help her extract that broomstick from her arse.¡±
Goyle and Crabbe chuckled appreciatively from behind them. Blaise, however, trained his gaze on the Gryffindor, noting the slight flushed look and dishevelled appearance. Admittedly, she wasn¡¯t bad looking, when she wasn¡¯t threatening him or docking points, anyhow. Her hair was disastrous unfortunately, though everything else seemed to be in its proper place and proportion. Blaise cocked his head and peered at her slim ankles below the table. Hell, if the bint was going to visually dissect him he might as well return the favour.
¡°Lord knows, she might learn a thing or two from a real Casanova rather than some carrot-headed prat ¨C Speak of the devil!¡± Draco chortled gleefully, as the library door banged open once again admitting Ron Weasley tailed by a sullen looking Harry Potter.
Blaise scoffed and shook his head, muttering under his breath several choice adjectives in Italian as the two Gryffindor alpha males passed by.
¡°Well, chaps,¡± Draco hissed, a malicious glint in his grey eyes, ¡°it looks as if Crabbe, Goyle, and I shall bid thee adieu. Feel free to stick around and watch the show.¡± He winked, Millicent sniggered and Blaise stiffened.
Keeping his eyes trained on the pair of Gryffindors being tailed by his three housemates, Blaise leaned across the table and hissed at Millicent.
¡°What¡¯s he planning, exactly?¡±
Millicent stuffed a meaty knuckle in between her lips and bit down between stifled giggles.
Across the library, Draco, Greg and Vince had paused near a shelf in the Transfiguration section and were presumably browsing, while Weasley and Potter had stopped by Granger and were speaking in low tones. Draco was making an elaborate show of plucking books off the shelves, bobbing his head and tapping his lower lip with his wand.
¡°Millicent!¡± Blaise hissed again, while Bulstrode was turning red in the face with stifled laughter as she bent over her Runes text.
Blaise had learned over the years to keep himself well out of the ongoing Malfoy-Weasley-Potter feud, but given the fact that they were in a predominantly public area with the potential of several unwitting students getting caught in the cross-fire, he was beginning to doubt Draco¡¯s calculations.
There were several legitimate rules Slytherins prided above all else. The first being: Never get caught. The second, ironically, was: If you do, blame it on the person next to you and over two paces.
It was the second rule in the Slytherin code of ethics that presented a concern to the Italian Wizard at that very moment.
Casting a glance between Millicent, who was doubled up, her faced stuffed into her sleeve and her beady eyes crinkled at the corners as she shook silently with unvoiced gales of laughter ¨C and Malfoy who was sauntering jauntily up and down the row out of sight, while casting glances around the corner at the Golden Threesome, Blaise swivelled in his chair to find Madam Pince. The librarian was in plain view of the row of tables, shuffling through a card catalogue with rigid flicks of her wand. She did not seem pleased.
The sudden movement seemed to have snagged Granger¡¯s attention, she was eyeing Blaise outright, unmindful of the fact that Weasley seemed to be pleading with her to her left.
¡°Merda,¡± Blaise muttered as Draco swept out from behind the row of books and strode purposefully towards the redhead, readying to catch him off guard with wand in hand. Across the table, Millicent let out a loud snort of laughter, effectively earning a glare from the librarian who had seemingly had enough minimal outbursts in her otherwise quiet library, and was stepping around the reference desk to berate them.
Looking between the quickly approaching Madam Pince, the Slytherins and Weasley, Granger quickly caught on, following his gaze. Her eyes widened in recognition, but before she had the chance to give warning, Weasley and Potter were snatched bodily by Crabbe and Goyle and dragged off into a row of books and out of sight.
Blaise leapt up, toppling a chair in the process, as Pince descended on him and Millie.
¡°What is the meaning of this, Ms. Bulstrode? Mr. Zabini! Kindly restrain yourselves when in the library!¡±
Millie was biting the inside of her lip, tears sparkling in her eyes. ¡°Yes, Madam Pince.¡±
¡°I¡¯ll not tolerate disruption! Silence, please!¡±
¡°Yes, Madam Pince.¡± Blaise muttered quickly, mentally willing the old bat to fly off somewhere as he righted his chair. Out of the corner of his eye, Granger seemed to not have noticed her two best friends had been slung off out of sight.
¡°Oh! Madam Pince, before you go,¡± Millicent simpered in between snickers. ¡°I was wondering if you had any recommendations on cancelling out Cheering Charms, Blaise here seems to have hit me with a right good one,¡± she snickered. Blaise glared at the girl as she was led off by the librarian to a far corner, though not before Pince shot him with a reproving frown.
Blaise turned quickly, practically jogging down the row of tables. Granger was still sitting amidst her mountain of reading material watching him, unmindful of the fact that her two closest friends had just been manhandled by Slytherin¡¯s two biggest gorillas and were probably having the stuffing knocked out of them mere feet from where she sat.
¡°Granger, I need you, now!¡± he hissed and snatched her by her sleeve, dragging her from her chair and hauling her after him down the row where Malfoy had disappeared.
¡°Zabini! What ¨C¡±
Blaise spun on his heel and snarled down at her. ¡°Are you blind woman?! Non mi scazzare i coglioni,¡± he spat and continued striding down the long aisle with Granger in tow.
¡°Zabini, I can¡¯t understand you if you lapse into another language.¡±
Blaise gave her arm another harsh tug and turned a corner.
¡°Cagati in mano e prenditi a schiaffi,¡± he retorted snappishly before skidding to an abrupt halt.
In front of them in a heap, were Crabbe, Goyle, Malfoy, Potter and Weasley. Arms, limbs and spittle were flying in every direction, though the only noise being made was coming from a gasping Draco, who was pinned under Weasley¡¯s left knee and being pummelled from the side. The grunts being emitted by Crabbe and Goyle, one attempting to sit on the Weasel¡¯s head and the latter was wrestling Potter to the ground. The Gryffindors, however, though their mouths were open in obvious howls, were emitting no noise whatsoever due to the fact that a heavy silencing charm had been placed on them both.
Granger, incidentally, was the only person in their midst to screech at full volume.
Forgetting his wand totally, Blaise threw himself at the closest person possible, which happened to be Vince.
¡°Crabbe,¡± he grunted. ¡°Off.¡± He heaved on a meaty forearm. ¡°Weasel,¡± Blaise huffed, tugging at the larger boy¡¯s forearm. ¡°Now!¡±
The force when Vince relented was enough to send Blaise flying into Granger, knocking them both into a nearby bookcase and sending several thick volumes crashing to the ground on the other side. Blaise however, didn¡¯t get the chance to see if he¡¯d crushed the witch or not because as soon as he¡¯d righted himself, the redheaded Gryffindor was upon him, fist flying and head lowered.
It took two swift punches to the stomach before Blaise¡¯s fury kicked in and he shoved the other boy backwards against the shelf. Pinning his flailing limbs, the Gryffindor thrashed about, landing several strong kicks to the Italian¡¯s shins.
Shrilly, from behind them, Granger screamed ¡°Finite incantem!¡± and the level of noise shot up, ricocheting off the walls in the quiet library.
¡°You sack of shite! How dare you ¨C I¡¯m going to hit you so hard your grandchildren will feel it ¨C¡± The flushed Weasley paused momentarily and stopped struggling against Zabini, now flinching from the severity of the idiot¡¯s blows, as the Gryffindor seemed to realize he¡¯d regained his voice.
A howl rose from Blaise left, glancing quickly over his shoulder, Potter had freed himself from Goyle and was limping backwards, wand raised, before Malfoy lunged at him and knocked him over once again, causing several more books to topple to the floor. At that moment Weasley found the suitable window to let a fist fly, connecting with Blaise¡¯s jaw.
¡°Merdata!¡± he hissed as his vision cleared, and lunged for Weasley. ¡°Listen you doddering pillock ¨C¡± Weasley struggled against him breathing harshly.
¡°Let go of me damnit!¡±
Granger in the meantime had leapt over a sprawled Goyle and was hauling Malfoy off Potter, as the first curse flew.
Blaise wrapped a hand around Weasley¡¯s esophagus and leaned in.
¡°Stop it! Stop struggling! I¡¯m trying to end this fight you fessacchione! But if you keep kicking me I swear on my grandmother¡¯s grave, Weasley I¡¯ll rip you in half!¡± Blaise snarled, his face mere inches from the reddened, freckled, spitting Gryffindor. With one hand drawn back, his fist raised, Blaise didn¡¯t even see the curse coming.
¡°Impedimentia!¡± someone roared from Blaise¡¯s right.
Everything in Blaise¡¯s world had slowed down to a bare crawl. The expression on Weasley¡¯s face was almost comical, unfortunately since the impediment jinx caught them both at once, Weasley¡¯s open-mouthed snarl and Blaise¡¯s creeping fist were moving at the speed of thick molasses.
¡°Protego!¡± came another, presumably from Potter.
¡°Tarantellegra-AHHHH!¡± was the response from Malfoy.
¡°Diffindo!¡± There was a distinct sound of cloth tearing and a disgruntled grunt from Goyle.
¡°Get off me, you filthy mudblood!¡± Malfoy shrieked. Granger had launched herself at the blond and was presently clinging to his back and beating him over the head with an open palm.
¡°WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS IN MY LIBRARY?!¡±
Everyone froze abruptly as the shriek of Madam Pince reached them. The librarian stood, hands on hips and seething at the foot of the row, her face a blotched mess of purple and red, and her spectacles sitting on her nose partially askew.
Behind her, Millicent was snickering into her fist.
The frieze was composed of Granger, clinging to Malfoy like an irate baboon and gradually sliding off his back, Blaise clutching the Weasel in a choke hold, Potter beneath the meaty knee of Crabbe who had his wand trained on the scrawny wizard, and Goyle standing stock still in the midst of it with his trousers torn through the crotch ¨C with just a bare hint of white boxer short peeking out.
¡°Never in all my years have I seen such a disgraceful display!¡± The aged woman was visibly shaking with rage, with little flecks of spittle raining on everyone as she continued her tirade.
¡°Ms. Granger! A Head Girl! This behaviour ¨C in the LIBRARY!¡± She screeched. ¡°MY BOOKS! How dare you desecrate my BOOKS with such a Neanderthal-like display of total barbarism! Total disrespect! Never have I ever ¨C¡±
¡°Madam Pince, please,¡± Granger tried softly, as she disengaged her hold on Draco, who promptly shook her off and looked appropriately disgusted.
¡°SILENCE!¡± the librarian shrieked.
Weasley at least had the decency to flinch. Potter appeared rather groused as he knocked Crabbe¡¯s wand out of his face and he stood.
¡°A prefect as well!¡± the librarian cried, pointing an accusing finger at Draco, who sneered disdainfully in return.
¡°And you!¡± Pince rounded on Blaise. ¡°I would have thought better of you Mister Zabini. Brawling! You! Of all people!¡±
¡°Madam Pince, really, Granger and I had come to break up the disturbance just before ¨C¡±
¡°Disturbance?¡± Pince hissed, her lip quivering in indignation