Chapter two: Cerenbus
POV: Draco Malfoy
I silently boarded the train to Hogwarts, riding first class, and slipping into the first seat I saw that wasn't taken, praying I wouldn't be noticed, or that all my 'friends' had already boarded and wouldn't be looking to sit with me. I had no such luck. A boy sat down next to me I did not recognize.
I mumbled a greeting and put my elbows on the table, putting my hands over my mouth and staring blindly out the window. It was to be my first year at Hogwarts school for magic. And I was terrified. After learning from my father that none other than Harry Potter himself would be coming to Hogwarts this year too, I had started thinking.
Potter was famous. He'd been famous since he was a mere baby. How could I compete with that? I swallowed, blinking as the train started moving. The boy next to me poked my ribs. I pulled my arms down and stared at him, my eyes narrowed. "Touch me again, I dare you." I hissed, drawing out my wand. Though I didn't know many spells, I could still be intimidating with it.
The boy put up his hands in a surrendered manner. "Just trying to be friendly." He mumbled, looking away and tucking his hands in his lap, scooting away from me slightly. I muttered something about a 'stupid first-year'. He looked at me sharply. "You look like a first-year yourself!" He defended.
"Oh really?" I didn't know what I was playing at; it was just arrogance that kept me going after that point. He nodded, quite sure. My face twitched, and I looked away. "You happen to be correct." I muttered crossly. I glanced at the boy, who now wore a smile. "What are you laughing at?" I demanded.
He shrugged. "Depends on what your name is." He told me, smirking.
My face twitched again. I stared at him for a moment. "Malfoy. Draco Malfoy." I stated confidently, sure he would back down when he heard my name. He simply nodded and put out his hand. I slapped it away. "Don't you know who I am?" I cried.
"Should I?" He was clearly amused by this entire conversation.
"Yes, yes you should!" I told him, then, choosing he was no longer worthy of the conversation, I ignored him and stared out the window at the fast moving scenery. He laughed, poking me again. "Would youstop that?" I cried, whipping to face him. He just shrugged.
"Thought you would want to know what my name is." He told me lamely.
"No, as a matter of fact, I don't." I grumbled, fixing my tie and returning my stare to the scenery flashing by.
"Your loss." I turned my eyes to stare at him without moving my head. I opened my mouth, then snapped it shut. Several moments of agonizing silence passed by.
"Out of curiosity, what is your bloody name anyway?" I asked finally, turning to him. He was turned to me, his elbow on the table and his cheek resting upon it, a stupid grin plastered on his face. I made a face that suggested…. disgust? Maybe. Bewilderment? More than I can say.
"Thirty seconds." Was all he said.
"Thirty Seconds? What kind of a bloody name is that?" I cried.
He laughed, shaking his head. "No, that's how long it took for you to ask." He told me. I stared at him, a deep frown forming on my face. "Whoa, mate. You might not want to wear that face too often." He widened his eyes and moved in his seat, shaking his head and staring at the table.
I furrowed my brow, thoroughly frustrated with this boy. I huffed, turning away from him again and muttering something along the lines of 'didn't want to know anyway.'
Another long period of silence, and I was curious again. "Oh for the love of- would you just tell me your bloody name?" I cried, turning to him, an irritated look claiming my face when I saw he had resumed the earlier position of, elbow on table, chin in hand, staring at me.
"I knew you'd come around." He told me with a smirk. He moved his hand forward. "The name's Cerenbus. Falin Cerenbus." He told me. I stared at him uncertainly, then looked down at his outstretched hand. I looked back up at him. He was staring at me, not smirking anymore, a more blank look than anything.
I hesitantly grasped his hand and found out the hard way how strong a grip he had and how weak my handshake was. He pumped my hand up and down vigorously, effective in nearly dislocating my shoulder in the process. I chuckled self-consciously, ripping my hand out of his firm grasp and clutching at it tenderly.
I looked back at Falin, studying him for the first time. His black hair was a little longer than mine, but allowed to hang loosely, nearly down to his shoulders, unlike my flaxen hair which was slicked back. His skin was pale, paler than my own if it were possible. Almost sickly looking, and his small, black eyes seemed to have no center and looked unfocused. I noticed for the first time that he reminded me of someone. Not someone I knew, someone I'd seen before, someone that was friends with my father.
I shrugged it off. "So, Draco-" he started.
"Don't call me that, we aren't on a first-name basis." I snapped.
He merely shrugged. "So, Malfoy. Scared?" He asked.
I stared at him for a moment. "Not at all." I forced a cocky smirk. He smiled back. I noticed how foreign his smile seemed, as though it wasn't often used. Almost… out of place. It didn't make sense! Here he was, being very annoying to me and teasing, and yet, here I was, thinking his smile seemed unused. How absurd.
He stared at me, his face a sort of smirk, but it was so small, it was hardly there at all. Thoroughly creeped out by the way he was staring at me, I looked away, back out at the landscape. "You're lying." I turned sharply at the quiet accusation.
"Am not!" I defended loudly, then lowered my voice when several stares were sent my way.
"What makes you speak such rubbish?" I asked.
The corner of his lips turned up in a knowing smile. "Because, all first-years are scared." He said confidently, as if he knew.
I made a face. "I thought you were a first-year too?" I cried. He looked away, his eyes searching the table for a moment.
"I am!" He said a little too quickly. "But I know a, uhh- my father! He's a professor at Hogwarts." He told me. I narrowed my eyes, more in confusion than suspicion. I knew he was lying. The thing was, I couldn't understand why.
"Okay." I said, pretending to be convinced. I caught a flicker of relief behind his soulless eyes that was gone in an instant, but his face remained the same, cold, hard stone.
I thought for a while, curiosity gnawing away at my mind and making me restless. I shifted in my seat and stared out the window once more.
I turned sharply to stare at him when I heard him speak. He was staring ahead of him, his eyes slightly glazed, his head tilted to the side. "Shhh, not now." He hissed, his face scrunching up slightly. I leaned further away from him, eyes slightly wide. He was a lunatic!
"When are we getting off this bloody train?" I muttered, glancing around nervously, desperate to get away from him as soon as possible.
"Just about now." I heard the muffled response and turned to see Cerenbus staring across the aisle as the train pulled to a halt.
"Finally!" I huffed, shoving him to make him get out of my way faster. He responded to my impatient pushing with an unexpected shove that knocked me back into the window. He took his good old time standing and moving out of my way. I shoved him forcefully as soon as I'd stood. He was completely knocked over, falling to the floor of the aisle. A girl that had been standing there yelped and jumped out of the way of the flying boy.
"Don't shove me!" I hissed, pointing down at him with a scowl on my face as he stared up at me in confusion. He stood up, rubbing the back of his head which had caught on the corner of the table across from us. He pulled his hand forward and there was blood on it.
He looked back up at me. I was staring, trembling slightly at the blood on his hand. I hadn't meant to hurt him! "Sorry." He told me.
My scowl disappeared, once again replaced with a confused stare. "For what?" I asked.
"This." He slapped my face with his bloody hand.
It was no girl-slap either, it was strong, and struck as hard as a fist. I fell back on the seat, hitting my right elbow smartly on the hard wooden seatback and my other arm cracked hard against the tabletop. My rear-end didn't appreciate hitting the wooden bench too well either.
He stepped forward, reaching up and grabbed his bags, then turning his black gaze on me once again, he stared at me for a moment and I couldn't make out any emotions on his face, but his soulless gaze caused an involuntary shiver to pass down me as he walked away, disappearing into the crowd.
I sighed, pushing myself up and straightening my tie again and pulling my shirt down. I winced, my face was burning where he'd hit me. I grabbed my bags, annoyed, and pushed past a group of girls to get off the train.
"Merlin, Draco! What did you do to your face?" I tensed up at the cry of Blaise Zabini as he caught up to me on the way to the great hall. I had no idea where I was going, I was just following the crowd, much like many other first-years. I stopped in my tracks, staring at him.
"What do you mean?" I demanded. My face was still tingling and burning from where Cerenbus had hit me, but surely the red mark would be gone by then? He reached forward and touched my face. The gentle touch felt rather awkward, and I knew he felt it too, because he drew his hand back quickly and showed it to me. My eyes widened and my hand flew up to my face. I drew it back and stared at it. There was indeed blood there.
I had completely forgotten that Cerenbus hit me with his bloody hand, of course it left a mark! "It's a bloody handprint! Literally bloody!" He cried. "What happened?" He demanded.
"Shove off Blaise; I need to get to the lavatory and clean this off before a teacher sees me." I muttered, holding a hand up in front of the smear to semi-cover it.
"Come on, I think it's this way." He grabbed my arm and started leading me through the crowd, all going in the opposite direction as us. "Here." He made a sharp turn and went into a large room with many sinks in it. I rushed to a sink and stared at my reflection in the mirror.
My perfect skin was marred by the horrid red streak. I made a face in disgust, turning on the water and scrubbing furiously at the blood. "So…" Blaise began. My eyes shot to his reflection as he stood awkwardly behind me. "Are you going to tell me what happened?" He asked. I stared at his reflection, thinking. Blaise and I had been friends for a long time, seeing as our fathers were also good friends.
Blaise was one of my only friends I ever told anything to. And yet, I was reluctant to tell him of my encounter with Cerenbus on the train. "I got in a fight on the train." I sighed, dabbing at my face to dry it. I inspected my skin carefully, making sure there was no traces of the blood left. It was gone, but there was a red mark still there, and it burned like hell.
"So that… wasn't your blood?" He asked. I stared at his reflection behind mine, then turned to face him, smiling.
"Of course not! I never lose a fight." I told him confidently, placing a hand on his shoulder, then dropping it and walking around him. He followed me.
"Who with?" he asked a little-too excitedly. I stared at him for a moment as we walked briskly down the empty hall.
"No one you know." I told him, increasing my pace as I heard a voice coming down the hall. I cursed under my breath, shoving into the crowd and pushing until I was near the front to stand by Crabbe and Goyle.
"Your triumphs will earn you points, any rule-breaking, and you will lose points." The witch was saying. I shifted slightly, feeling the skin where Cerenbus' blood had been begin to tingle and burn. I absent-mindedly drew a hand to it. I had missed several things she had said.
Everyone was laughing. What had I missed? "The sorting ceremony will begin, momentarily." With that, she turned and went in, leaving us standing on the steps outside.
I surveyed the other first years for a moment, then smirked, spotting a brown-haired boy with glasses."It's true then!" I spoke up, trying not to shrink when everyone's gaze turned to me. "What they're saying on the train." I smirked again. "Harry Potter, has come to Hogwarts." Several gasps and whispers could be heard. "This is Crabbe, and Goyle." I said carelessly, nodding in their direction. I didn't think to introduce Blaise, oh well.
"And I'm Malfoy." I smirked and left the banister I'd been leaning on to stand on the top step, looking directly down at him. "Draco, Malfoy." I smiled. I heard a snicker from right beside Potter. My smile vanished and I turned to the redheaded boy standing there. "Think my name is funny, do you? No need to ask yours." I looked him over.
"Red hair, and a hand-me-down robe? You must be a Weasley." I sneered. His gaze lingered on me, then dropped in shame. I looked back to Potter. "You'll soon find out that some wizarding families are better than others, Potter." I told him. "You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort." I stared pointedly at Weasley at that.
I looked back at Potter and extended my hand. "I can help you there." I told him, smiling.
He looked down at my hand, then back up at me. "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself, thanks." He told me quietly. My smile faded, and I let my hand drop to my side. That was the first time anyone had rejected my friendship!
Footsteps could be heard behind me, and I was tapped on the shoulder twice. I turned to see the witch was back, and a stern look on her face. I turned back to glare at Potter before sliding out of the way. "We're ready for you now. Follow me." She told us, opening the doors to the great room without touching them.
The room we entered, was indeed a great room. It was huge, with four long tables along the lengths with students already seated. Only first-years, us, weren't seated.
She led us up to the front and stepped up onto the platform in front. "Can you wait along here please." She instructed, pointing. We spread out a bit in the front. "Now, before we begin, professor Dumbledore would like to say a few words." We all turned to look at the man with an impressively long white beard as he stood.
I snorted in amusement. That old bag of bones was allegedly a great wizard? Sure. "I have a few, start of term notices I wish to announce. The first-years, please note, that the dark forest is, strictly forbidden, to all students. Also our caretaker-" His haggard old voice was making me bored, so I zoned out again.
I felt a sharp poke to my ribs. I looked up, startled, when I realized I had been called. They were doing the sorting! I swallowed hard, feeling my lungs tighten and my breath hitch in my throat. What if I didn't get put in Slytherin? My father would kill me… I went up to the stool, too frightened to put on my cocky mask.
The hat had scarcely been placed on my head before it cried out; "Slytherin!" I smirked as I stepped out from under it, gliding down from the front as the thunderous applaud and cheers greeted me to the Slytherin house. I sat down at the table receiving random congratulations from people I knew, and others I didn't.
"Well done." One voice stood out among the others and I turned sharply to see the black eyes of Felin Cerenbus boring into me. I drew back slightly, as he was sitting rather closely on my left side. I swallowed hard. Cerenbus had been put in the Slytherin house! Oh great.
I gave him a fake smile and turned away, letting my true emotion take over my face –annoyance, with a hint of fear. I blinked it away and smiled as another random Slytherin patted me on the back and smiled.
I sighed, staring down at my plate as the other students went on congratulating each other. I let all sounds fade until all that could be heard was a distant, echoing murmur.
I had spotted Harry Potter at the Gryffindor table, smiling. I rolled my eyes. Figures he'd go to that house. After all the students had been sorted, I heard a tapping sound on a cup and everyone silenced. "Your attention please." The witch from earlier, professor McGonagall, as I had learned was her name, called.
Professor Dumbledore stood. "Let the feast, begin." And with the subtle movement of his hands, there was suddenly food before us.
My eyes lit up at the sight of it, and I eagerly took up my utensils. I was startled into dropping them again when suddenly, the room was filled with ghosts.
At the sight of them, I broke away, frightened. No one noticed me, they were too busy laughing, pointing at the ghosts, and of course, eating. But ever since the death of a friend, many years back, I had been frightened of death and every manner of the word.
I hid in the boys bathroom, sitting on the edge of the sinks and staring at my reflection. The red blemish on my face was still there, and right then, it was burning. I scratched at it, learning the hard way that that only makes it burn worse. "Ow, ow, ow!" I whimpered. Finally unable to take it any longer, I stuck my whole face under the faucet and turned it on, sighing with relief as the cold water splashed over the burn.
Why was it hurting so bad? It was like Cerenbus' blood was toxic; it was disturbing. I stared at my reflection. My face was red, and dripping wet. I clutched the sides of the sink so hard, my knuckles turned white. "Bloody hell." I hissed, dabbing gently at my face. I was startled out of my mind when a pale hand rested on my shoulder.
I spun around to face none other than Cerenbus himself. I put a hand to my heart, panting. "Don't do that." I told him, momentarily forgetting that I was scared to death of him.
"My apologies." He droned, smiling. My face blanked from its pained, frightened look to a growing sense of confusion. There was that feeling again. The feeling that his smile was foreign… and if so, to whom was it foreign? Myself? Or to him?
I shook myself out of it, putting a hand up to my still-burning cheek. "What the devil is in your blood?" I demanded. "Just look at my face, it's about to sear a hole right through it!" I cried. He blinked, staring at me with no emotion.
"Calm yourself, Malfoy. My blood is as harmful to you as a poisonous snake." He told me.
"Oh." I nodded, then blanked again. "Wait, poisonous… snake? You mean, non-poisonous… right?" I tried.
He gave me that same curious, half-smile at the upturn of the corner of his lips. "Right, what you said." He said curiously before turning and walking away. I Stared after him, then whimpered and put a hand to my cheek, turning back to the mirror to inspect my face.
AN: Just to let you know, Felin Cerenbus is my character, not to be used in any other fanfic without my permission, clear? thanks. Please review! :)