twenty-three

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"I DON'T WANT TO HURT YOU, sweetheart," he had pleaded, pointing his wand at the one who had raised me.

I hate that my heart swelled, I wanted that approval, I craved it. Hadn't that been what I wanted when I had turned up at his doorstep last summer? For him to worry for me, to care for me, just as he had with Harry?

I was getting that now. But it was too late, not enough. He was threatening the main who raised me. Perhaps Lucius had not always been the perfect father. Not always around, and when he had been, he'd been cold. Yet Lucius had been there. Celebrated with me on my birthdays, ruffled my hair when he approved of something I said or did but could not say so outright, praised me when I got good grades, scarcely sending me a message when I was at Hogwarts.

That was more than Sirius had ever done, and one day I would tell him that. He would regret the day he tossed me aside, the day he looked at Harry how a father looked at son; but looked at me as if I was a distant cousin who he had begrudgingly allowed to stay over. I would make him wish that it was by his side I fought, not the people he had spent his entire life running from.

Then suddenly I was watching him float through the veil. I watched as the laughter slowly began to fade off of his face. I watched as fear took him, but he was too paralysised to do anything but stare. I remember thinking he would appear out on the other side. I remember recalling the folklore of what the veil actually was. I remember realising that he was dead, and there way no way he was coming back.

I remember hating him, above everything else he had done, in that moment, for dying. For taking the easy way out. For allowing Bellatrix to kill him so easily. For being such a fool to leave the safety of the Order headquarters.

I remember that small part of me wishing that it has been me who dealt the killing blow. I remember wishing that his death had not been so slow, that I did not get to see the regret wash over his features, to see him fear for his life, to realise that his time was over, and he had not spent a lick of it with his daughter.

I hated the way he made me feel. I hated that I felt like the world was about to collapse in when he did not come out the otherside. I hated that I wanted to kill him slowly. I hated that I wanted him back. I hated every single thought that ran through my mind.

Suddenly, I'm thirteen again and in the East Wing of Hogwarts. I had accidentally gotten lost in the halls of Hogwarts. Some days, I knew the layout of Hogwarts as if it were engraved in my mind. Other days, I still found myself getting lost.

People were avoiding me, but not completely. No, they still sent me sneers, and quietened when I walked pass, only to begin whispering rapidly when they believed I was out of earshot.

I couldn't take being around them any longer. Theo, Draco, and Blaise were all out on the Quidditch pitch practicing, despite the fact that Blaise was not on the team. Pansy, who I had only started to befriend earlier that year, had gotten a detention for hexing a girl who said her Hogsmeade outfit had been ugly.

If I had stayed there any longer, I feared I would have a panic attack I could not recover from without any of them there. Theo helped with my panic attacks the best, but the others always grounded me too.

I knew Pansy panicked when I panicked, watching me slip away, but she always kept a level head. Draco, ever the brother, would try to snap me out of it with jokes and jives, trying to turn my anxiety into joy or anger. Blaise always spoke calmly, as if he has seen many panic attacks before me. I remember seeing that pity and sympathy flash in their eyes, and I had hated it.

Getting lost in the hallways of Hogwarts had helped; even if it has not been done intentionally. But it was only when a gaggle of Gryffindors strode by that I realised how far east I had gone.

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