Time was flying by like I couldn't imagine. I grew closer to Rafe as the days went by. Most student thought we were an item. Nothing was official yet though. He was just my closest friend here, really. I hung out with Lily when I could. She was nearly a genius, so she helped me with homework a lot. As for Mitchie, I think she was doing well. More than once, I saw her roaming the corridors, arm and arm with another girl in her year, and Mitchie would wink at me.
That leaves one certain wizard left unaccounted for. I'll get to him in a moment. Right now, I was sitting down at the Slytherin table between Rafe and Lily. She sat with us sometimes just so we could hang out. Nobody really cared as long as it was just for one meal every now and then, and nobody caused a fuss over it. Kassidy Blane shot us dirty looks, but she didn't have the balls guts to do anything about it. She hadn't given me too much trouble. Something told me I should still watch out for her though.
"Rafe, will you pass the . . . erm, salt?" Lily asked, her eyes wide with embarrassment behind her glasses. She hadn't seemed like the shy type when I'd first met her. I knew for a fact that she was naturally outgoing. I also knew that she had a crush on Rafe, and guys she liked were the one thing in the world that made this girl nervous. It was kind of cute. At the same time, however, I always got a little jealous when I spotted the two of them together without me. I know it was selfish of me. I should be happy for them if they liked each other that way. Then again, I had unresolved feelings for him, too.
Rafe sent the salt over to her with a flick of his wand, barely looking up from his pumpkin juice. I noticed Lily's face fall and I felt bad. Boys could be so oblivious sometimes. Another (greedy) part of me was moderately glad he didn't seem to be returning her affections in abundance.
Back to Malfoy, right? He's another story. Just thinking his name made my heart beat rapidly and my face heat up. I knew it couldn't be healthy for me. I stayed after class almost every day just to talk to him. He was still trying to get Ms. Horwitz fired, but he said that until McGonnogal could find another professor, she was the best we could do. Which was pathetic.
I guess there was a lot I'd been feeling guilty about lately. My parents had written me about 3 letters each since I'd been here, and I guess I'd just been so busy with schoolwork and my friends and such that I hadn't really remembered to write back. Maybe the truth was that I felt kind of embarrassed. My mom asked me about the blokes here. I didn't know what to say to that. I was one of those daughters who told their moms everything. Therefore, I didn't really know how to respond to that.
"You still with us, Sid?" Rafe teased, snapping his fingers in front of my face. I shook my head.
"Yeah, sorry. Just dazing off, you know?" I replied. I'd been doing that a lot, lately.
It was the middle of November already. Snowing outside. September and October had flown by. Christmas break was just around the corner, and everything was set up for me. I would spend the first week or so with Rafe, Mitchie, and their family. Then, on the 23rd I would go back home to be with my own family for the rest of the break. I was a little nervous about meeting Rafe's parents, but he assured me that they would love me.
I hadn't asked Mr. Malfoy about his plans. Although there was hardly any tension between us anymore, he and I both knew there were still boundaries that shouldn't be crossed. I had a feeling this might be one of them. I didn't want to go too far, even if I had a safe answer ready about my own plans.
Lily gave me a concerned look. "I think you need to go to the bathroom. Come on."
Rafe noticed the confused expression on my face and laughed as I was being pulled away from the table.
To my surprise, she actually took me into one of the bathrooms. It was the Prefects Bathroom. I'd never been in here before. It was pretty nice.
"Sid, what's going on?" she asked me, hands on her hips. She wasn't angry. I'd come to notice that this was just a quirk of hers.
"What do you mean?" I asked, going over to one of the many faucets. I turned it on and purple water came out. When I brought my hands away from it though, there was clear water in them. I smiled squirted some soap out.
I was assuming she was about to ask me about why I'd been so distant lately or something. This was not the case, however.
"Do you like Rafe?" she asked.
I twirled around, nearly tripping myself. "What?" I asked with a little nervous laugh. "Why would you say that?"
Lily shrugged. "Women's intuition. I know you know I like him. The two of you just have this . . . thing. Going on. It's like chemistry or something. I don't know. I'm just wondering."
I took a deep breath. "Rafe and I are friends."
"I know you are," she answered. "I just have a feeling that you both want it to be more than that."
"He was just the first student I met when I got here. And we kind of clicked. As far as I know, there's nothing more going on, though . . ." I was choosing my words carefully, trying not to encourage or discourage her. I was a complete contradiction.
"You're avoiding the question," she insisted.
I sighed. "You know what, Lily? I don't need this. I've got a lot on my mind. I'm sorry."
There was nothing else to it. I didn't know what else to say. It seemed like she and I both knew I couldn't answer truthfully without saying something that neither of us wanted to hear. I hated how complicated everything had to be. We walked out of the bathroom with sheepish smiles to each other and that was that.
I had a feeling it wouldn't be brought up again. We'd both remain friends with Rafe. We'd both see how things went. He was just one subject that we wouldn't talk about in private anymore. We were back at our table.
Rafe looked at us expectantly, but I just stared down at my food.
"What's up?" he asked in his best no-nonsense tone. It made me want to giggle. Lily looked at me out of the corner of her eye, and somehow I knew exactly what she wanted me to do. I had to do it for her, too. It wasn't fair of me to lead anyone on like this. I had to let my friends have a chance at happiness first. If you're a little confused as to what I'm talking about right now, please just continue reading.
Lily stood up and looked at Rafe with a worried smile. I took a deep breath and looked at him, too as she walked away.
"Sid . . . what is this all about?" he asked.
"Lily," I told him.
"What about Lily?" he said ignorantly.
I looked at him apologetically, pleadingly. "She likes you, Rafe. She likes you a lot."
He shook his head at me. "No, that's ridiculous. I've only talked to her a handful of time. Besides . . . you know it doesn't matter anyways."
I didn't know where he was heading. Suddenly I was very nervous though. I couldn't do this right now. I couldn't hand him over to someone else. But I couldn't keep him for my self either. I just needed to get out of here. I stood up abruptly, nearly knocking the bench back from behind me.
"I'm sorry, Rafe. I need some air."
Then, I bolted. I didn't know what was wrong with me at all. I wanted to cry. I wanted a hug. I wanted to laugh myself silly. I wanted to bury myself in the ground. I wanted to run into a wall. I wanted to be anywhere but sitting across from Rafe, looking into his sad blue eyes.
I didn't know where I was going right now. As soon as I was out of the Great Hall, I started sprinting. I would have probably run into a wall, tripped down some stairs, or trampled over some students if something hadn't grabbed me around the elbows and yanked me into an empty room.
A hand was clamped gently around my mouth, but it was enough to cut off my shriek of terror and surprise. Then, I looked up into those surprisingly familiar cold gray eyes, and everything inside me seemed to speed up and slow down at the same time. I was calm but out of breath at the same time.
"Oh, Mr. Malfoy - it's you. I'm sorry. You surprised me. And I was just running aw- I mean, I was just heading out for some air. And I didn't see you there. I should probably be getting back to the Dining Hall, too. I just ran off from one of my friends, and he's probably wondering where . . . " I had begun rambling but the look on his face stopped me. Something was wrong. Something was very, horribly not right at all.
"Sid . . . I don't know how to tell you this, but . . . something has happened." He said gently. It was like he was talking to a child he was afraid might burst out into tears at any moment.
There was already a sob caught in my throat, but I don't know why. I knew I was about to cry, whatever this news may be. "What?" I whispered.
"Your parents," he explained softly. "Back in America . . . somebody was after them. We didn't know until it was - well, until it was too late. Sid, your parents . . . have been murdered. A dark wizard killed them. I'm so sorry."
I was stunned into silence. My knees gave out beneath me. I didn't know what anything around me looked like. All I could see was my DADA teacher's sympathetic face. I felt myself sinking to the floor but then something strong and warm wrapped around me and I was floating. Floating through the air before I was sat down in something soft and comforting. Water was leaking from my eyes, but I didn't understand any of this at the moment.
Horror washed over me. My parents had always been good people. They'd never hurt a fly. They'd never been anything but generous and loving towards me. They'd each written me several times since I'd been here. I was so horrible that I hadn't even bothered to respond. And now they were gone. Killed.
"H-how?" I choked through my tears. I heard him from far off. It also sounded right next to my ear, naught but a whisper.
"We're trying to figure it out. McGonnogal is furious that neither she nor the Ministry knew about it sooner.. I don't think you're quite ready for all the details, Sid."
I think my body began to shake. It was cold. Wretched, wheezing sobs were heaving from my chest. I couldn't get enough air. The thought of never seeing my parents again. The realization that my dad would never again hold me in his arms and tell me everything was alright, hit me like a truck. The fact that I would never again be able to talk to my mom about my petty problems again, weighed down my shoulders until I felt I couldn't sit up straight.
There were hands on my face, wiping away the tears that wouldn't stop falling. There was still something strong and protective around me. I didn't want to think about any of this. I tried to bury myself deeper into the armchair or couch or whatever it was that I was seated on. I wanted to disappear forever; follow my parents into oblivion.
Next thing, I knew, everything went black. Before I could so much as begin to comprehend what was going on, there was somebody calling my name. No, not just one somebody. There were several different voices calling to me, at various volumes. The one closest to me was an elderly, professional voice. Another, sounding a little sterner was rather matronly. I’d heard both of these voice before, but couldn’t put a face to them now, in my state of mind. The third and farthest voice away seemed somehow to be the loudest, the most powerful – the most important. It was the one I cared about, but knew I shouldn’t.
Slowly, I opened my eyes. There they all were. Professor McGonnogal, Madame Pompfrey, and Mr. Malfoy. Then, there were several other people who I hadn’t heard speaking. Rafe was there, along with Mitchie, and Lily. They looked worried, and I wondered why. I looked around at my surroundings. I was in the hospital wing? What the bloody hell was going on?
It hit me like a ton of bricks. The headmaster took my hand and told me that they were doing everything they could to track down my parents’ murderer. Murderer. It seemed like forever ago that Mr. Malfoy had told me the news. Tears were no longer leaking out of me.
When I tried to get up, Madame Pompfrey pushed me back down on the bed, none too gently either. I clamped down on my tongue to keep it from spewing a few choice words at her.
“You are in no fit condition to sit up, young lady. You just rest a while. You’re still in shock, and I don’t need the likes of you trying to move around on your own just yet,” the nurse said.
I looked at her, ready to strike. She was really rubbing me the wrong way right now, and I was becoming furious. Did she think it was okay for her to talk to me like this?
I shoved her hands away from me and jumped off the bed. “I’ll do what I see fit, and you’re mad if you think you’ll tell me otherwise!” I ranted, storming off towards the door.
A large, but gentle hand closed itself around my wrist, and I was forced to stop and face the pleading eyes of . . . Rafe?
“Sid, please,” he whispered. “She’s only trying to help. I’m so sorry – I know this is hard for you right now, but you need to lie down for a bit.”
There was nothing more I could do. I let him lead me back to the bed, and I saw down on it, arms folded, glaring at Madame Pompfrey. She looked startled, but she held out a potion to me very tentatively. I took it and looked at her some more.
“Please, dear. It will help the shock,” she said quietly. I plugged my nose and tilted my head back, chugging the potion swiftly.
My wrath was now directed at the headmaster. “I want to go home,” I told her. She and Mr. Malfoy exchanged a nervous look.
“There will of course be a funeral for your mother and father,” McGonnogal explained. “I think it best for you not to go alone, though. I am granting Professor Malfoy a leave of absence for a couple of days anyway, and he will accompany you back to the States.”
“I don’t need a babysitter,” I snarled.
Rafe spoke up on my behalf. “What about Professor Malfoy’s classes? And besides, Sid will be with the rest of her family back in America. She’ll be safe, right?”
Professor McGonnogal looked at him severely, and for a second, I was frightened for him. I heard she could be very strict.
“Pardon me, but your feelings for Miss Greyson should not cloud the responsibility of a chaperone on her way back to her home,” she responded.
He gave me an apologetic look and walked out after that. I was angry at him for giving up so easily.
"It doesn't even matter. Why should he get to go anyways. He did not know my parents and I don't want the likes of an outsider disgracing their memory!" I shouted before plopping myself back down on the bed and folding my arms.
Mr. Malfoy spoke up, speaking in a soft tone as if afraid a louder volume might set off a bomb.
"But I did. Sidney and Kevin Greyson were a great set of witches and wizards. It's devastating to have lost them," he said, looking me in the eyes."
I pointed a shaky finger at him. "Don't. You. Dare!" I screeched, feeling myself losing control. "You don't get to talk about them like they were some sort of trophy! They were people, okay?! Not just a nice attribute to the wizarding community! And they were my parents. They would have said something to me about you, if they'd had any knowledge of your existence. I'm not going anywhere with you!"
Then, I blacked out again. It wasn't my day. This was all a dream, right? My parents weren't dead. As soon as I woke up, I'd go to the owlery and send them a letter. Everything would be fine.