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Chapter ten:

Angels and demons

POV: Draco Malfoy

Several weeks past by without any significant incidents. It was close to the end of the day, after all of our classes were over.

Falin and I rarely spoke to each other anymore. And on the rare chance we crossed paths, we avoided eye contact at all costs. I was perfectly content, as I had no intentions of being friends with the insufferably morbid boy. He reminded me too much of pain, as if the life had been beaten out of him, and that was why his eyes were always so dark and soulless. I hated it.

I stared up at professor Binns as he stuttered on about something from the Goblin wars or something. Stuff I found to be useless. I felt something light tap my hands. I looked down to see that a note had been dropped there. I looked around. Pergei was to my right and Pansy was to my left. Neither looked as though they'd thrown it.

I looked back down and opened it with trembling fingers. It read;

Do you hate me?

I raised my eyebrows in confusion and looked around again. Who the bloody hell had thrown it? I stared pointedly at Pergei until I caught his eye and stared at me, raising his eyebrows in question. I raised the note slightly for him to see, and mouthed. 'did you throw this?'

He shook his head, making a face. I raised an eyebrow and shrugged. I scribbled on the note. Then looked around the room. No one looked like they'd thrown it. I noticed Cerenbus to my right as well, just beside Pergei. I made a face and looked back down. I crumbled it up and tossed it at Cerenbus, the only person I figured it could be.

His pencil stopped moving as he stared down at the note. He opened it, then looked back up at me, making a face. I shrugged. He scribbled something down, then tossed it back.

What?

I looked back up and he was staring at me, his hands out slightly as if trying to ask 'what the hell?'

I made a face. Okay, so it wasn't from Cerenbus. I looked around again to just see Pansy staring at me as she quickly turned back to her work. I smiled, realizing it must be her. I erased my words and Cerenbus' and scribbled down 'no! I really like you!' then I crumbled it and tossed it at her.

She caught it, then, reading it, her face lit up and she scribbled a reply. I caught it when she threw it.

Her: I'm glad, it's just… we haven't talked in a while…

Me: Maybe we can talk some more later? In the common room?

Her: I'd like that

Me: :)

We kept writing back and forth throughout the lesson, and, blessedly, didn't get caught. By the end of the day, I was feeling pretty good, because every time we passed each other in the halls, we would press crumpled notes into the other's hand, or when we were in the same class, we'd spend time handing notes back and forth.

I smiled and sat down next to her in the common room during free time. Everyone was hanging out and messing around. "Hey." She smiled.

"Hey." I smiled back. The silence was awkward. We had talked about so much in the notes, I had no idea what to talk about to her face.

"So… you like… um, Quidditch?" I asked.

"Yeah, I like watching it. Dangerous sport though, I'd never play it." She told me. I nodded. Made sense. We started talking casually, and I noticed with increasing impatience that our faces were slowly getting closer… and closer.

By this point we were talking barely above a whisper. I closed my eyes and was about to lean in when I was grabbed and yanked to my feet. My eyes flew open to see Cerenbus with his hands firmly on my shoulders. "Bloody idiot! What do you want?" I cried, yanking free of his grip and fixing my robe as it was about to slide off my shoulders.

"We need to talk." He said seriously.

"Can't it have waited like, another minute?" I cried, frustrated.

"No." He said firmly, staring at me with his livid black eyes. I turned to Pansy, who was glaring at us both.

"Sorry." I murmured.

"Fine, see you later Draco… and, Draco's friend." She smiled, though I could tell she was as upset as I was. I stared after her as she walked away.

"Cerenbus! How could you do that? Have you no soul?" I hissed. He stared at me blankly for a moment, seriously considering that. I stared at him, horrified.

He then rolled his eyes. "Sorry I kept you from your first kiss, Malfoy, but I have something I need to talk to you about, it's important."

I stared at him, memory flashing behind my eyes. "Fine, but it's not my first kiss." I grumbled, turning away.

"Whatever. I-" He hesitated a moment, and I felt something probing my mind. In a flash I pushed away my thoughts and shielded them from him, realizing he was a Legilimens. It startled me to realize this, as he was as young as I, which was indeed quite young to be into such advanced forms of magic as he seemingly was.

"Don't do that!" I cried, almost childishly as I shoved him away. I was desperate to push my haunting memories away so he couldn't find them, and relieved when he probed me no further at my request, more of, plead. He stared at me for a moment, waiting for me to get my bearings. "What?" I asked, glaring at him.

He parted his lips to speak, but no words came. He turned his head sharply, his black eyes focusing on something I couldn't see. I turned to stare into the middle distance, as he seemingly was too, but saw nothing of interest. "Come, let's speak elsewhere. The walls have ears." He whispered, his face a little too close to mine than I felt was necessary, then he briskly disappeared around a bend.

I sighed and followed him, silently wondering if what he said about the walls were true or not. "Cerenbus?" I asked, peeking around the corner to see where the boy had gone. My eyes widened and I let out a startled cry when a fist clenched around the front of my shirt and yanked me forward.

I stumbled, tripping down the steps, forced to make my feet walk quickly to keep up. "Where are we going? Let go!" I hissed, trying to twist out of his grasp. He let go of my collar and fastened his grip on my wrist, yanking me again to force me to keep up. He finally stopped, using momentum to swing me forward and thrust me into a chair.

I crashed into it, grumbling and moaning slightly when it hurt, then shifting my position so that I was sitting properly, the black-eyed boy standing in front of me, staring down at me with a very serious expression on his face. I stared up at him, wondering what emotions his face might be masking.

"So… what? What do you want?" I finally asked. I looked around when he didn't reply. We were in an empty classroom closet. I felt slightly nervous at the tight space and the fact that I realized the words he'd muttered a moment before had locked the door. I looked back up at him as his eyes bored into me.

"Are you going to stare at me all day?" I asked, standing. He pushed me back down into the chair. Wordlessly, he grabbed my wrist with one hand, and with the other, he slid my sleeve up. I winced at the sight of the horrid purple bruises. By now, they were fading, but they were still there.

Cerenbus' eyes traveled back to my face. I ripped my arm out of his grasp, pulling my sleeve back down to cover the discolored imperfections on my skin. "Who did this to you?" He asked evenly, his voice low, leaving no room for lies or even half-truths. He'd already demonstrated himself to be an effective Legilimens.

I carefully built up a wall in my mind to protect myself from his prying third eye. My aunt had trained me in the arts of Occlumency, to protect me from just this kind of situation. My mother had been fully against the idea of me being trained in such an advanced form of magic at my young age, (I had been nine) being that it had taken me almost two years to get to the point where I could block out a prodding mind. Now, I still wasn't great at the task, but I prided myself in being able to block out my aunt effectively. My father had made it clear that I wasn't allowed to go to school this year if I hadn't mastered the skill. I had been, in his words, barely passable.

"I can't tell you." I replied, forcing myself to meet his gaze. I immediately felt him prodding my mind. I reinforced the mental wall, pushing hard against it like a person would push hard against the door to their home to keep out an invader. I was pushing hard against the door of my mind against Cerenbus, in my eyes, an invader.

"Stop!" I whimpered, clutching at the armrests so hard my knuckles turned white…. Well, whiter.

I began to feel my mental wall crumbling under his intense stare. "Stop!" I shrieked as I felt him breach it. My eyes flashed open and I stared ahead, panting and very much shaken.

He stopped and I fell back in my chair, panting. He was a stronger Legilimens than my aunt! "Please just tell me, it will make this easier." He asked me gently, resting a cold hand on my own.

I ripped my hand away, glaring at him. "It's none of your business!" I growled, straightening in my seat, then standing up. He pushed me back down.

"It is my responsibility to find out what's wrong!" He told me.

"Nothing is wrong!" Even I didn't believe that desperate lie. He narrowed his eyes, as I had not yet replaced the mental wall. Before I could even think to, he delved into my mind again.

I hated him for the memories I was forced to replay in my mind while he watched them.

I was smiling brightly, a little boy of only about five. I was walking hand in hand with my mother and father. We were smiling and laughing. I shrieked with delight as they picked me off my feet and swung them between them.

The memory shifted.

"Liar! Liar! You little brat! Get back here!"

It flashed to another memory.

I was standing in a room, then I looked up to see my father walking in. "Draco. This is your new teacher. He will… break you. As I don't have the time or patients for your mischief." I was staring up as my father stepped aside to reveal a frightening looking man. The focus zoomed in on his cold, grey eyes.

The memory flashed again and a new one popped up.

I screamed silently in pain, feeling a sharp biting in my backside as my new teacher 'broke me' as my father put it. I had no idea what he was doing, all I could remember was the pain.

The memory changed slightly, but it was still with my teacher.

He was forcing his lips on mine as I struggled wildly for him to let go, but his grip only tightened on my body. Mad panic surged through my body as he continued, and I kicked wildly at him. My father never came, never stopped him, never even noticed…

The memory changed again.

"Useless!" I felt a sharp sting as my father's staff collided sharply with my bony shoulder, the same memory that had flashed behind my eyes that night we were staying up late in the Slytherin common room when Blaise had playfully punched my arm.

"I'm sorry!" I begged, scrambling backwards, covering my face as tears streamed down my face.

"NO! Lucius, leave him alone!" my mother's voice shrieked, jumping to grab me.

"Get out of the way, woman!" He growled.

"He's just a child!"

The memory flashed and changed again.

"No! Stop! Let me rest!" I begged my aunt as she dug into my mind, trying to force me to learn the art of Occlumency.

"No! Your father will only hurt us both if you don't learn by the start of your year at Hogwarts!" Her shrieking, demented voice screamed at me.

"But Hogwarts isn't for another two years…."

My voice faded and swirled until a new memory appeared.

"…and if you don't return with perfect grades, there will be consequences." My father's harsh voice was warning in a quiet tone. The bright smile he wore only to not raise the suspicions of passer-by's did nothing to stop the tremble in my voice as I replied.

"Yes father." I had replied meekly. He just stared down at me with his cold grey eyes and the joyless smile. My mother sighed and crouched down in front of me in the train station. She smiled, putting a hand to my cheek.

"You can do this baby. I have faith in you. Don't do anything to implore your father's wrath." She whispered, hugging me gently. My face twisted in pain, as there were still fresh bruises hidden beneath my upper-class clothing.

I'd had enough. I forced my mental wall back up, glaring at him as he stared down at me with a shocked expression. "Those are private!" I cried, feeling my tears building up and little beads of sweat dripping down my forehead. He came closer.

"Not to me." He whispered, right in my ear. I felt myself go numb, chilled to the bone by his words.

I felt the skin on my cheek burn from the closeness of his face to mine. His cheek brushed mine as he pulled back and the burn immediately turned into a sharp stab of ice.

Wordlessly, he helped me to my feet and gently pushed me out of the closet after unlocking it. He then pushed me all the way back to the Slytherin common room. I allowed him to guide me, walking as if in a trance, not noticing things until suddenly, I was sitting in the common room and he was sitting next to me.

I faded out again, just trying to push away the memories that had been forced to the surface due to Cerenbus' adamant digging. I blacked out.

POV: Falin Cerenbus Snape

I stared at a young boy with white hair and pallid skin. He looked like a seraph from heaven on high, but his world was drowning to the essence in the shadows of hell down below, dripping with bitterness and regret. As I stared at him; all I saw was a broken child who laughed at others before they could laugh at him, who would tell them they are worthless so that for a moment he might believe he wasn't.

What I saw before me was not a spoiled child, but indeed a lost one who wanted so desperately to be found and pulled out of the darkness in his own soul. I knew I could save him! If only he'd let me. I knew even as I stretched out untiring hands, the gradually cracking glass of his soul would shatter, and refuse to be comforted or pieced back together.

I knew I went too far by forcibly reading his mind, but I had to know what was going on there, because I knew there was no way in the near future that he would ever have revealed any of the things to me that I had found out in those meager seconds.

And I knew, as soon as he broke out of the trance, he would be angry with me. The trance he seemed to be in as he tried to overcome the weakness at being forced to come to terms with haunting memories he was content to leave as such –memories. But no good could come from burying them. They needed to be dug out and disposed of before they became too deeply embedded in his soul.

I knew I could help him, but I also knew he didn't trust me. Not at all. I had to change that. I had to let him know I could be trusted. Then, and only then could I help him overcome the lies he kept telling himself to make it easier to lie to others.

He kept telling himself that it would be fine, that he was indeed the spoiled child everyone made him out to be instead of asking for the help he so desperately needed and so obviously desired. He was destroying everything for a lie, for a future that seemed so perfect. He was trying to make a heaven for himself, when really all he was creating was a hell in his own mind as conflict took place.

He kept digging a hole that he couldn't get out of, deeper and deeper below the surface to find that there was nothing there. Where should he go from there? He kept begging silently for someone, anyone to give him something that he could feel other than pain. I felt I could do that, I could! I just didn't know how.

I retreated from my thoughts as I noticed Draco had fallen asleep, his head resting lightly on my shoulder. I moved him so he would be comfortable, then opened my book and pretended to read while I was still pondering the difficult situation forming from the murky depths of my friend's fragile soul.

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