The Sugar Quill
Author: sunnycouger  Story: Unforgiveable Sinner  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Body Unforgivable Sinner

Author: Sunnycouger (sunnycouger@lineone.net)

Rating: R (we have some moderate to heavy description of violence here so if you don't like you should probably avoid reading )

Disclaimer: Not mine, JKR owns all and makes the billions from it I just borrow them on occasion to have my wicked way with them

Category: Seamus/Parvati fic - with strong R/Hr hints as well as some all round friendship.

Authors Notes: This has been a difficult fic to write - I never appreciated how hard it would be to get inside Mr Finnigans head but...well, this is what I came up with. This is a companion piece to Unbreakable so if you haven't read and want to check it out please do and let me know what you think.

Thanks to Fez for letting me moan about this and giving me suggestions on how to improve it when it was even more blah than it is now *huggles Fez* and also thanks to Zsenya for taking the trouble to beta read this and helping to improve it 10 fold.

Oh, one more thing - Ron has a bit of a potty mouth in this but I don't think it will show up so you guys are going to have to use your imagination where ezboard is censoring us

The fic is inspired in part by the song Unforgiveable Sinner by Lene Marlin which is an amazing song which I highly recommend to everyone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You've been walking around in tears

No answers are there to get

You won't ever be the same

Someone cries and you're to blame

Struggling with a fight inside

Sorrow you'll defeat

The picture you see it won't disappear

Not unpleasant dreams or her voice you hear

~ Unforgiveable Sinner by Lene Marlin ~

He couldn't remember exactly where or when he'd first heard the saying 'dreams are wishes your heart makes', but he knew it had been when he was a child. Now, the phrase struck him as somewhat cheesy, although he'd grown up believing that dreams were in direct relation to what was happening inside. If you were a happy person you had happy dreams. If you were sad you had sad dreams. If you were twisted...you had his dreams.

Before it had happened - back when he was normal - he'd dreamed about her. He'd dreamed about them so that had kind of proved the theory that dreams were really tied to your heart's desire. But what he couldn't work out was what about when your dreams were nightmares? Did your heart want that? Did deep down that mean you yearned for something else? Did it show the darkness that lurked deep within you? Did it show your true self when you were awoken with images so vile they made you sick?

Nightmares were something he'd got used to since it happened. In a strange way up until that point he had been somewhat naive to that part of life. He had never before been witness to events that would haunt him, unlike Harry Potter, who had barely had a full night's sleep since Cedric Diggory's death. Hagrid's death in their fifth year had made Harry's nightmares even worse. Harry had blamed himself for both events, but carried that blame inside and it had come bursting out in his dreams. But Seamus Finnigan didn't have the right to draw any further comparisons between the two situations - Harry had, after all, only been an innocent bystander who had witnessed the terrible events.

His nightmares were caused by heroism and not by his own lack of self control. By his own darkness. By his own sickening actions.

Seamus sat and stared at the far away corridor leading to the girls' dormitories as he had done almost every night since it had happened. Sitting beside the fire in the otherwise dark Gryffindor common room, Seamus drummed his hands against his legs - a bad habit he'd only recently aquired. When he drummed he didn't have to think, and when he didn't have to think he didn't have to remember.

And when he didn't remember it didn't hurt.

And he hurt a lot when he thought. The sound of her screams would echo around the inside of his head. Her look of horror as she tried to fight him off without hurting him would float in front of his eyes. The blood streaming down her beautiful face would still feel sticky on his finger tips. The cruel sound of her bone cracking under his foot would be replayed with every crack of the fire. So he preferred to not think - at least then he could pretend that all was still good. As much as he knew deep down it wasn't.

"Seamus?"

Seamus looked up at the sound of the soft voice and forced a smile at the pale figure of Hermione Granger as she clasped books close to her chest and took a few steps towards him from the corridor. It had become an almost daily ritual between the two of them now and on occasion with Neville as well as they all contemplated the events in silence. The stench of guilt hanging in the air. "Morning, Hermione. You off to the library again?"

She nodded her head as she looked at him with a sad smile. "Can't sleep."

"What time is it?"

She looked down at her watch and gave a sigh. "4.27 - I guess we're getting up later now..."

He exhaled deeply. That was later than usual - a good sign he guessed. Getting more sleep had to be a good thing. "Yeah, soon we'll be getting up the same time as the Quidditch teams."

She gave him a weak smile. "It's a pity Quidditch is cancelled - we could have spied on the other teams for Harry - made ourselves useful."

"How...is...is she okay?" Seamus asked quietly as he turned away from Hermione and looked towards the girls' dormitory - wishing he didn't need second hand information about his girlfriend.

Wishing he could ask her himself, but he couldn't risk it - he couldn't trust himself to be alone with her when she was awake.

She nodded her head. "Sleeping I think, she was crying a bit earlier..."

Seamus felt a sharp blow in his chest before Hermione continued quickly. "But that's not because she's still in pain or anything - it's just...Lavender's mum was at the school..."

"Ah," he bit his lip, nodded his head and began drumming again. "Dean did mention it to Neville and me earlier but I forgot..."

"Did...is Neville okay about it?"

"I don't think Mrs Brown spoke to Neville...it was too hard on her, I think," Seamus said with a sigh before turning back to Hermione. "Is...is Parvati okay now?"

She nodded her head. "I think so, she misses you though."

"I know," he began as he looked down, "I miss her too, but, you know..."

"Yes, I do know..." she sighed as she looked mournfully towards the boys' dormitory.

"How...how's Ron? And Harry?"

"Ron's good, he's sleeping without any bother now. Harry is still pressuring Dumbledore to let him take the fight to the Death Eaters who put the other two up to this..."

"He should let us take the fight to them...no point any other innocent people dying," Hermione whispered.

Seamus nodded his head. "I agree..."

She stood in silence for a second before shaking her head. "I should go and get this finished...good night, Seamus."

"Goodnight, Hermione. Be careful Filch doesn't catch you. It wouldn't do for our Head Girl to get a reputation as a rule breaker..."

She gave a sad smile as she began walking away. "I think that's a reputation that I sadly already have. Don't worry - I'll be fine."

Seamus bit his lip as he tapped his hands against his legs, they would all be fine. He knew that. It would just take time. Time that some of them didn't have. Time some of them couldn't give. But given enough time...time could heal all wounds. But the scars would always be there, they would fade slowly but if you looked hard enough you would always see them. They would always be there telling the story.

They may be 'fine' but they would never be the same. He would never be the same.

He closed his eyes before standing up and walking quietly up the stairs to the girls' dormitory like he did every night. It was the only time when he trusted himself to be alone with her - when she couldn't look at him. When she couldn't talk to him.

When his mere appearance wouldn't hurt her like it must do as she remembered it all.

Remembered and hurt.

He got halfway up the stairs and stopped, pulled his wand out of his pocket and bitterly threw it down the stairs where it landed with a thud. He didn't want to take any chance - at least that way she would be armed just in case...in case he was weak again. In case there was another attack, she'd have a better chance against him if he wasn't armed.

If he couldn't curse her.

Not that he had needed to curse her before. He hadn't needed the wand - he had used a more brutal weapon. He looked down at his still scraped and bruised knuckles and felt a wave of loathing wash over him.

He didn't have the luxury of blaming a spell on what had happened to her. He wasn't that lucky. She wasn't that lucky.

That's why it would have hurt her as much. That's why he couldn't be with her.

He opened the door and looked over at her bed to find it empty. His heart began to pound - where was she?

What if they had come for her?

What if they had wanted to finish what he had started?

He ran over to the window to see if there was any sight of her and felt a surge of relief as he saw her - lying asleep in Lavender's bed, hand on a picture of the seventh year Gryffindors while the other hugged the bear that Lavender had given to her at Christmas in their first year. He smiled unconsciously as he sat down on the bed opposite and watched her. Her long silky black hair that he had used to love to touch, her dark eye lashes on her perfect skin and the sound of her breathing. The only sign that anything was amiss was the scarring across her face and the magical bandage around her arm.

Everything else was as it had always been - perfect. His heart began to ache as he watched her - so beautiful yet so fragile. And he'd nearly broken her forever.

He wouldn't let that happen again. He began to drum his hands again as he fought the urge to touch her - overcome with the feelings of longing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Just apologise to her already," Dean Thomas' voice whispered behind him. "She's looking right at you."

Seamus shook his head as he turned away from the sight of Parvati Patil back to his drink. "No."

"Well, if you don't, I see Ernie's eyeing her up," Dean began, "and you know that she'll dance with him to spite you for being an idiot."

Seamus dropped his drink and spun around - he would kill him if the little tosser so much as spoke to her.

"She wouldn't be interested in someone like HIM. She has too much class for a slime ball like that."

"Well, she's interested in you and you're ignoring her so why not? Idiot..."

"I'm not an idiot - it's the principle of the thing..." Seamus said sourly.

"Has he not asked her yet?" Seamus looked up and saw Lavender Brown looking at him disapprovingly as she held onto Neville Longbottom's arm. "Seamus Finnigan, you have never acted this way in your life so will you please just get a move on?"

"Lavender, you're a dear friend so please take this like it's intended - bugger off. I know what I'm doing... I have it all planned to perfection. Trust me," he took a drink and tried to sound convincing as he looked at Parvati. "Trust me."

She began to laugh, looked over at Parvati and shook her head. "Trust you? You're playing hard to get because like all men...well, with the exception of Neville and, I suppose, on occasion Dean - you have an ego problem. You think she can't do better than you?"

Seamus smirked at her. "Well, now that you mention it, I'm a pretty good catch, aren't I?"

Lavender groaned as she let go of Neville's arm and strutted over to Parvati. Seamus grinned at Neville.

"You wouldn't believe that I took her to this two years ago would you? I think I may have gone down in her estimations from then on in..."

Neville nodded his head with a smile as he looked at Lavender. "She still likes you..."

"I should bloody well hope so as well!" Seamus said with a laugh before being quietened by Lavender arriving back with a reluctant looking Parvati in tow.

"Look who I found all on her own?"

Parvati blushed as she looked at Lavender in astonishment. "I was between partners, Lavender...you know that."

"'Course you were," Lavender nodded her head as she looked at Dean with a smile. "Dean, aren't you dancing with anyone?"

"Well I don't have a..."

Lavender's smile quickly disappeared as she glared at him and looked around. "There's Hannah Abbott over at the Christmas tree - you should ask her to dance."

Dean shifted uncomfortably."But she's so quiet and I don't even know her..."

"Well ask her to dance and you'll know her, won't you?" Lavender said sounding more than a little exasperated.

"You know," Dean gulped and smiled apologetically at Seamus as he began to walk away. "That sounds like a plan. I'll see you..."

Seamus looked at his best friend and shook his head in disgust. Some friend that was leaving him in his hour of need. Well if he thought he was getting help with his Transfiguration after that he was very much mistaken...

"Neville? Come dance with me," Lavender said as she gave a smirk to Seamus, breaking him out of his thoughts. "I love this song..."

Parvati looked after her in despair. "Lavender!"

"Oh Parvati, don't worry - Seamus will dance with you, won't you, Seamus?"

Parvati spun around and looked at Seamus with an annoyed tone as she spoke. "Believe it or not - I didn't put her up to this."

Seamus couldn't help but smile at the disgust he had in his best friend abadoning him suddenly mirrored in Parvati's face. "Me neither, but you know what she's like once she gets an idea in her head..."

Parvati nodded her head in the affirmative and gave a low sigh as she seemed to wait on him to do something. He looked at her and gave himself a mental shake - what, was he just going to have them both standing here all night looking at each other? Somehow that didn't really seem like a good option.

"So..." he began as he stood up. "Would you like to dance? Or talk? Or get a drink? Or go dance with someone else?"

"That depends, would you like to apologise?"

He gave her a small smile. "That's a distinct possibility...so what do you say?"

She smiled at him, causing his heart to do a small somersault. "Hmm, in that case I think I would like to talk...and then maybe dance, and then, depending on how badly you tread on my feet, maybe get another partner."

He offered his arm before leaning close to her and whispering. "I should take this opportunity then to point out a family secret. I'm a fantastic dancer - my Ma and Da made me take lessons when I was growing up."

"Well, I guess I won't need to find another dance partner then..." she giggled.

"I should hope not," he began as he walked her outside into the brisk night air. "So, I should say I'm sorry..."

"Really?" she said in mock sarcasm, "whatever for?"

"Well, it's apparently not very good form to leave your girlfriend on her own all night because of a ridiculous argument over a broom..."

She looked at him with an expectant expression. "You just figured that one out?"

"I'm not usually that petty you know, you just caught me on a bad day..."

She laughed gently as she touched his arm. "You're kidding? You are *always* that petty when it comes to Quidditch and brooms and stupid stuff like that..."

He folded his arms and exhaled deeply as he tried to keep himself from kissing her as she gave him a slow smile. She wasn't really making it any easier for him by clearing his head of all logical thought processes as he looked at her. "What I'm trying to say is - I may still believe I'm right and you're wrong. But, I shouldn't have argued with you about it four hours before this dance. And, I guess I shouldn't have called you a dense air head because you didn't share the same correct opinions..."

She looked at him and stifled a laugh. "I guess I should apologise as well then - I shouldn't have called you a small town village idiot with the brain capacity of a bubotuber."

"What?" his eyes widened as he stammered, "You didn't say that!"

"I didn't?" she blushed. "Sorry, I must have said that to Lavender, Dean and Neville and not to you. Oops, my fault - you should probably forget I mentioned it..."

He folded his arms defensively as a look of amusement crossed her face. "Are you sulking, Seamus?"

"No," he lied. He was sulking.

"You're not talking..." she said with a hint of laughter lacing her words.

"I'm thinking..."

"Well, I'll do the talking then," she began as she took a step closer. "I don't think you're an idiot - misguided yes, but nobody's perfect. Even you. But," she reached up and kissed his lips gently and he immediately dropped his arms and slid one of his hands onto her waist before she pulled back with a smile. "But you owe me big time for making me walk in here on my own, Mr Finnigan."

He gave a small laugh but didn't move his hand from her waist as he pulled her closer. "Well, what could I do to make it up to you then, Ms Patil?"

She looked at him as she bit her lip and appeared contemplative. "Hmm, well...you could invite me to Ireland during the summer?"

He gave her a broad smile. "You're already invited to Ireland during the summer - I figured that was a given since we've been dating since September."

She blushed as she looked at him with a broad smile illuminating her face. "Really? Seriously?"

He nodded his head. "'Course you are. I would hope that I would be invited to see you in Glasgow as well."

"Of course," she nodded her head as she kissed him. "My family will love you."

He grinned at her - brown eyes dancing as she smiled. It was right what Dean had said way back in fourth year about her being the prettiest girl in the school. But what he hadn't noticed back then was that there was more to her than just the physical beauty. When she smiled she seemed to radiate and it was intoxicating. And, he smiled, for some reason he seemed to be lucky enough to be able to make her radiate that tiny bit more.

"So, am I forgiven?"

She looked at him before nodding her head and leaning close with a playful smile. "Of course, but one more thing - you're still wrong about that you know. Everyone knows that the best broom is the Cosmo Star-Dust and not the Nimbus 2003. And the Star-Dust is not a 'little girls broom' as you like to put it, it can go through some very acrobatic maneuvers."

He feigned an innocent expression as he raised an eyebrow. "Really? Maybe you'll have to show me those 'maneuvers' to convince me?"

She rolled her eyes as she slowly slid a hand up to his chest. "Sounds like a plan...what do you think?"

He fought to keep the grin off his face and to look serious as he nodded his head. "I think I could live with that - even if it is a girl's broom. You should see the maneuvers the 2003 can do then you would be saying how right I am..."

She began to giggle as she pulled his arm towards the Quidditch pitch. "Well, there's an old Muggle saying - 'You show me yours and I'll show you mine', then we can make an informed decision."

"Oh, I think I like that saying..." he said as he tilted his head up to the sky and gave a thumbs up sign to the stars - it was a thing of beauty when the gods got things right and decided to smile on the mere mortals. And, he was certain that the gods were smiling on them that night.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

They had been happy. All of them had been happy and this was one of the few times he allowed himself to remember that. How simple life had seemed.

How happy all their futures looked.

That was then of course. Thirteen months later and the gods had had their fun and decided to rock any happy boats - it wouldn't do for people to be too happy after all. There was a war on. A war that so many of them had forgotten or just failed to think about because they were as happy. That had all changed.

Very few people could say they were happy now. One word had changed that - one word uttered by two people and the whole world changed. Imperio. Such a simple word...so simple yet so deadly.

So destructive.

And it had made them all destructive - ruining the things they loved most in the world. Ruining them for no other reason than they studied Divination and You Know Who was a stupid, superstitious psychopathic murderer who didn't want any Diviners alive. And he'd nearly got his wish - of the Hogwarts attacks, seven of fifteen died, six more were tortured or beaten and only two escaped unharmed.

And the sad thing was Voldermort hadn't even needed Death Eaters to do it when he could rely on weak willed students.

Like he'd been.

He slid off the bed and sat down on the floor beside her and hovered his hand over the side of her head - just feeling the warmth that came off her took his breath away. She was all he'd wanted for so long and now she was the one thing he was terrified of losing. And he would lose her - they had done it once and they would do it again unless he stopped them from getting to her. And he would stop them no matter what.

He would do anything to protect her.

Even if that meant letting her go to someone stronger, braver. Even if that meant he was alone. He would do it gladly as long as she was safe.

He would do anything for her.

"Seamus?" her soft voice broke him out of his thoughts and caused him to jump slightly as he looked down to see her looking at him with a hopeful smile.

"I...you should go back to sleep, Parvati..." he whispered as he sat back up on the bed quickly before standing up. He had to leave. He couldn't stay there - it was too hard. Too hard on them both. "I'm sorry I...I have to go to bed..."

"Seamus, please wait," she began quickly as she scrambled to a kneeling position at the foot of the bed and extended a hand in his direction. "Please."

He closed his eyes as he turned towards her. "Yes?"

"Stay with me," she asked quietly as her brown eyes filled with tears. "Please stay with me."

He felt the oxygen rush out of his lungs and forced himself to take a deep breath as he shoved his hands into his pockets and began drumming his fingers. It would be so easy to comfort her, to comfort him. But he didn't deserve comfort from her. He'd done too much. "I...you know I can't..."

"No, no I don't know that," she shook her head as she stepped off the bed and took a few steps towards him as he took the same number of steps back - he couldn't give into the temptation. "You could if you wanted to."

"You know I want to," he said as he took another step away from her cursing himself for being caught.

"But...but I can't."

Her face fell as the tears began to fall and his heart began to close up - the pain he was causing suffocating him. "I need you, Seamus. I need you here, with me. I have no one else - Hermione is never here, Padma is in another house, Lavender is dead - I'm alone if I don't have you. I love you, please...please stay."

"No..." he bit his lip as he backed off again memories playing in his head of why he couldn't stay. He couldn't stay, no matter how much he wanted to. He loved her so he couldn't stay with her. "No. I can't stay here. I can't!"

He turned quickly and ran out the door and down the stairs picking up his wand as he ran all the way up into the boys dorm where he closed the door, locked it and slumped down and leant his head against it as he let the darkness wash over him as he began drumming quickly, desperately trying to lock out the pain that was consuming him.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He couldn't really remember what he was supposed to be doing but he knew that something felt strange but strange in a good way. He knew he'd felt like that before but for the life of him he couldn't remember when. The feeling seemed so familiar but he couldn't put his finger on it.

He walked out of the common room alongside Hermione Granger, who was acting strangely quiet. As they stepped through the portrait they both took their wands out simultaneously without uttering a word at the other while Neville walked past them quickly. Seamus looked at Neville and wanted to say hello at least but for some reason he decided he better keep walking in the opposite direction from Hermione. He had someplace to be and it didn't concern anyone else - not that he could remember why it didn't concern anyone else.

"Finnigan! Five points from Gryffindor for having your wand drawn!"

He looked up and saw Professor of Potions Severus Snape looking at him with venom as he shook his head. "Would you like to lose more points for your house? Put the wand away!"

Seamus blinked at him as he looked down at his hand - why did he have his wand out anyway? He never used his wand in the halls so why would he have it out now?

"Finnigan, are you listening to me? Ten points from Gryffindor for insolence!"

Seamus looked up at the Professor and nodded his head as he put the wand in his pocket before forcing his hand out and clasping the side of his robes in an effort not to take the wand out again. "Sorry, Sir."

"You will be if you ignore me again, boy," Snape said as he began walking in the direction Hermione had gone minutes beforehand. "You will report for detention tomorrow morning in the dungeons - you and Moon can see if you like those wands you're carrying as much then. Now get going and don't waste any more of my time!"

"Yes, Sir," Seamus said quietly as he walked quickly to the stairs and down them. He felt an overwhelming urge to take his wand out again as he felt a wave of nothingness overcome him. He began to feel like he was floating but, as he clenched his robes tighter in an effort to ward off the sensation, the feeling subsided. He shook his head trying to clear the fuzzy part of his head as he stepped outside the main door and into the crisp white snow on the ground.

He shivered as he walked down the stairs and round the corner. It was so cold - he should have taken his cloak. Why hadn't he remembered to take his cloak? He always remembered it when he had to meet Parvati.

Parvati.

That's why he was out here, he was meeting her like he usually did. He shivered again as he tried to keep his mind clear - it was so cold. He gave up fighting it and put his hands in his pockets to keep them warm. It wouldn't do any harm...it was so cold. As his hands were enveloped in the fabric his left hand immediately locked around the wand that felt so warm and inviting. He pulled it out immediately forgetting how cold he had been, a feeling of contentment flooding through him.

"You know, you keep walking like that I'm going to think you're supposed to be meeting someone else and not me..."

He stopped as he heard the soft voice and felt a strange sensation as he tried to drop the wand. Something just didn't feel like it was supposed to. Something felt very wrong in fact. He clenched his eyes shut in the effort as he forced his wand arm down and held it with his other hand.

He spun around and saw her leaning against the wall as she looked at him with a seductive smile that she kept only for him. "Hey, handsome. Looking for someone?"

He bit his lip as he looked at her - there was something he had to do but something didn't feel right at all.

He shook his head again as he squeezed his left wrist tightly trying to drop the wand.

"Are you all right, Seamus?" Parvati asked in concern as she walked over to him. "You didn't bring a cloak after starting on me about it last week - is everything okay?"

He looked up at her and blinked again as he felt a warm feeling begin to creep in as he began to loosen his grip on the wrist that held his wand hand. "Pa...Parvati? Do...do you have your wand?"

She looked at him in confusion and pulled it out for him to see. "Of course, why?"

He nodded his head as he pushed her away and stumbled a few steps back from her. "Something doesn't...it doesn't feel right! Stay away...go in, get help..."

She looked at him in concern before running over to him ignoring his warning. "What? What doesn't feel right? Are you sick?"

She put a hand on his shoulder as he lifted his wand and looked at her. She was so beautiful...so beautiful it hurt. He reached down and took her wrist, gently at first before pulling it up roughly as he dug his fingers in causing her to cry out in pain and shock.

"Seamus? You're hurting me!"

He vaguely heard her voice but couldn't concentrate as he looked at her and touched her face gently before he took his wand and looked in her big brown eyes without blinking as he slashed the sharp tip of it forcefully across her face - leaving a deep gash that immediately began to ooze blood. She screamed in horror as he didn't remove his gaze from her eyes - she had pretty eyes - eyes that showed all kind of emotions.

"Oww!" she cried in pain as he pushed her down face first into the ground, never letting go of her wrist. The blood from her face seeped into the snow as he pulled her arm up so that it was behind her back while sticking up in the air. He looked at it quickly before shaking his head, sighing and bringing his foot down quickly on the outstretched arm causing a sickening crunch and a rip as the jagged edge of the bone tore through muscle and flesh to become exposed while she sobbed in pain.

He wasn't entirely sure what was wrong with him any more as he stepped back and saw her bone stick out through the flesh. He couldn't really comprehend what was happening - it was almost like watching something on a delayed omniocular recording. He couldn't really see what was going on first hand, it just felt like a bad dream, a bad dream with faceless people playing out the terrible parts. Faceless people that he knew he knew but couldn't remember who they were. It couldn't be real, because that looked like Parvati on the ground in front of him sobbing. And he wouldn't just stand and let her cry like that.

He fought a wave of nothingness as he tried to see better - something really didn't feel right as he looked at the figure in front of him. Why wasn't he helping her?

Parvati got to her knees quickly and grabbed her wand, the tears streaming down as she vainly tried to wipe the blood from her face so she could see what she was doing.

"Expeliramus!" she cried as his wand went flying out his hands to land a few feet in front of Parvati as she looked at him, trying not to whimper in pain. "Seamus, you...you're not yourself. You're sick and...and under some cur...curse...oww...the Imperius or something...please, please listen to me..."

He looked at her as he managed to fight through the haze of bliss he'd been enveloped in and saw her on her knees pointing her wand at him. He felt pain like he'd never known flood through his head as he struggled for control - what had happened? Why hadn't he been able to protect her from whoever had attacked her?

"Now, I'm...I'm going to go get help and you...you have to stay here," she whimpered as she clasped her wand tight.

He looked at her and took a threatening step towards her, then another.

"I mean it! I...I will...will hurt you if you come any closer..."

He took another step towards her as she got to her feet quickly. He would protect her, he would stop whoever had scared her like this.

"Seamus! I mean it...you have to go back!"

Seamus? Why would he have to go back? He wouldn't hurt her...he loved her. As he looked at her he felt an irresistible burst of euphoria again as his vision began to turn hazy and he reached out towards her.

"Stanero!" she called loudly as she scrambled backwards but not before he'd dodged the curse and pounced at her as he grabbed her by the broken arm. He felt himself crush the bones so hard they cracked again as the blood flooded out the open wound which caused her to scream and fall to the ground in pain as he brought his fist down against the side of her head.

She looked up at him as the tears fell. He punched her again.

She began to sob while he tried to pull away from her. This couldn't be real.

"Please...stop! You're hurting me...please fight this..."

He felt himself smile despite the fact that he was dying inside as he raised his fist and brought it down again hard against her cheek feeling it soften as the cheek bone crumbled under the impact.

She looked at him in fear and despair and managed to stop sobbing as she began to breathe deeply. He wanted so much for her not to look at him like that - he wanted to help her. He wanted to be able to control his body that his brain didn't seem to be in control of in this nightmare. He brought a hand up to her throat before bringing his fist down again. And again. And again.

*"No!"* he called desperately to himself, trying in vain to fight for control as his head began to pound. He couldn't hurt her - he loved her!

As he struggled for control he was aware of reaching out and grabbing the wand that she had taken from him, before touching her terrified face as he took it in his hand almost tenderly. He then reached down and kissed her - but not in a loving way, more in a way you would kiss someone you hated. Someone you wanted to punish.

Someone you wanted to hurt. To scare. To fear you.

Not someone you loved like he loved her.

*"No, stop it! Stop it! You're not like that - stop it please God stop it!"* He felt a feeling of abject horror overwhelm him as he forced himself to get away from her - fighting every other instinct that seemed to demand he stayed there. Fighting himself.

"Please, Seamus...please. Please, please don't do this...please..." she begged as she fought to stay conscious from the combination of pain and the loss of the blood from the wound in her arm.

He didn't show any outward emotions as he picked up his wand and pointed it to her. He had to do something - it was important. He knew it was important but he couldn't remember how he had to do it - the pain in his head was killing him as he fought to clear the hazy feeling.

"Pl...please..."

He shook his head as the blinding pain cut through his mind. He had something to do but it didn't feel right, something felt wrong and it hurt so much as he tried to fight the welcoming warmth that was trying to overcome him. He knew that if he let himself fall into the warmth he would do something that he wasn't supposed to and he couldn't let that happen. He had to think...but it hurt so much. Too much. It was like his brain was being ripped in different directions...but he had something to do. He knew he did, but it was wrong...

It was so wrong. He stopped thinking as he heard the sound of footsteps in the snow behind him and clasped his wand tightly. No one was supposed to be here. He couldn't let anyone else see...

"What the...? Parvati? What's...Seamus? What the hell do you think you're doing! Put the wand down!"

Seamus spun around quickly and pointed his wand at Colin Creevy, a younger Gryffindor, who had his own wand out and pointing at Seamus - his voice shaky but his hand steady. "I mean it!"

Seamus looked at Colin and tilted his head with a sigh. No one else was supposed to be there...

"Col...Colin...'s the 'perius....Imperius...careful..." Parvati's weak voice sounded as Colin's eyes widened while the colour drained from him.

"The Imperius? Oh no..." he looked at Seamus in horror. "Accio wand!"

Seamus's wand went flying out of his hand and into Colin's as the younger boy looked at Parvati in concern as he began to breathe deeply. He shook his head in disbelief before suddenly steeling himself somehow. "Seamus, listen to me, I...I'm going to walk past you over to Parvati and if you try anything I will stun you. We have to get Parvati to the hospital and stop the bleeding. Remember Parvati? She's your girlfriend - you're in love with her. You don't want her to die or...or you'll never see her again. Do you understand what I'm saying? Of course you don't...aw bugger it. Just don't try anything funny."

Colin barged past Seamus as he ran over to Parvati. He looked at her arm and began breathing erratically as he looked at the bone and the blood while occasionally looking up at Seamus warily.

"Okay, okay, Colin...think, blood, a lot of blood...don't think about the blood...just...just stop it...you can freak out later...stop the bleeding..."

Seamus looked at the figure and felt the lingering haziness lift as he fell to his knees as the pain in his head eased immediately and he was left looking around trying to work out what had happened.

He looked over at Colin who was, if possible, even paler than he'd been moments earlier as his blood stained hands were busy trying to tear his robes to make a bandage. Whose blood was he covered in? His eyes widened as he got to his feet and ran over to the figure Colin was holding as he pressed his hands against the wound desperately. "Co...Colin?"

Colin jumped and swore loudly as he picked up his wand and pointed it at Seamus. "I told you to stay back! You've done enough damage already and if we don't stop the bleeding she'll die! So don't do anything you'll regret because I will use this..." the small boy looked at Seamus with sympathy.

"You'll...you'll both thank me for this tomorrow..."

"Die?" he looked down and saw Parvati, her lips almost white and he felt the breath escape from him.

He'd done that? "You...I...I need to...go...get help. Someone...they'll help. Just...just don't...don't let her die. Please. Please..."

Colin looked at him and shook his head. "We have to get her inside, I...I don't know what I'm doing...we need to take her inside."

Seamus walked over to her, ready to pick her up before Colin jumped in front of him protectively. "I...you shouldn't...just in case..."

Seamus stopped and looked at the small figure in front of him as he spoke quietly. "But...you're too small - you won't be able to carry her."

"I..."

Colin was interrupted by the sound of people rushing down the stairs. "Dumbledore, we have two more! Parvati's down..."

Seamus's eyes widened and a look of utter relief appeared over Colin as the two professors rushed to their side. Professor McGonagall immediately dropped down beside Parvati and let out a relieved breath as she nodded to Headmaster Dumbledore. "Thank the stars, we're in luck," she took her wand out and cauterised Parvati's arm to stop the bleeding. "I need to take her up right away, she's not in a good way."

"Don't! Don't let her die..." Seamus said quickly as he stepped towards Parvati only for Dumbledore to intercept him before he got close to her. "Can I...can I go up?"

Dumbledore looked at him and shook his head. "I'm not sure if that's a good idea at the moment. We have to...we have to make sure you're no longer under the influence..."

He bit his lip as McGonagall took Parvati away followed by Colin leaving Seamus looking at a grave looking Dumbledore. "I...I didn't...I didn't want to hurt her. Please let me see her so I can tell her...I would never..."

Dumbledore looked at Seamus with a shake of the head. "She's very sick, Seamus. She will know you didn't mean it and you can see her as soon as she's better."

Seamus bit his lip as he lowered his eyes and saw the snow streaked with blood - her blood. Blood that he'd extracted from her...blood that was on his boot, and on his hands and on his face.

Blood that would never come clean.

"I...I tried to tell her to get away...but she didn't listen...I tried to tell her. I was going to..." he felt complete shame wash over him as he dropped to his knees and brought a hand up to his eyes as he felt a sob escape. "I nearly...I wanted to..."

"Seamus, no one is in control when they are under the Imperius Curse - that's why it is an unforgivable. You're not responsible for anything that happened. The fact that you were able to warn her and not do what you were instructed to by the curse to do is, in itself, a tremendous testament to the depth of your feelings for Ms Patil."

He sat in the snow and shook his head. "My fault..."

"No, it's not. And we will catch those responsible and you will see this but, right now, we need your help," Dumbledore said firmly as he helped Seamus to his feet and guided him towards the building. "There will be time for pity and analysis later, Seamus. Now is the time for action and for that we need your help."

Seamus nodded his head as he wiped his eyes. "Then...then can I see Parvati?"

Dumbledore gave a sigh as he looked up the stairs leading to the hospital wing; the sound of loud sobbing as a teacher tried to calm someone down coming from one of the floors above him while a grave looking Remus Lupin walked down the stairs with his arm protectively around a ghost-like Neville Longbottom. "We'll see, Seamus. We'll see."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Seamus closed his eyes and brought his hands up to his face and took a deep breath. He'd become everything he hated most in the world that day and it terrified him. What kind of a man attacks a woman? No kind of man at all. A nothing. A loser. A bully.

Like Seamus was now.

A bully and a coward - like his Dad had always said men like that were.

"Women aren't as physically strong as men, Seamus. We can hurt them more than they can us and as soon as a man lifts his finger to harm a woman he isn't a man - he's a bully who used his strength to terrorise. It's a slow torture for the woman, because not only is it a physical attack it's an emotional one that will scar them forever - every time they look at the man they will remember and hurt. Always."

Always. She would remember and hurt always.

He would hurt her always.

"She's awake isn't she?"

Seamus moved his hands from his head as the voice snapped him out of his reverie and he looked up and saw a weary looking Dean looking at him.

"Dean? Sorry, didn't mean to wake you..."

"You didn't, I was awake anyway," Dean said with a yawn as he rubbed his eyes. "Seamus, you know you can't keep doing this to her - to you. It's not fair."

Seamus looked at his best friend and forced a smile. "Life isn't fair - don't tell me you were the only one who didn't get that message six weeks ago?"

"Don't I wish that was the case?" Dean sighed as he looked at Seamus sadly. "Seamus, I know you're hurting a lot. I know that you're scared but she needs her boyfriend. She needs you. And you need her - you can put on a front in class like things are fine, you may even believe that you're getting enough sleep with your grand total of four hours a night. But, no one is fooled. You look at her when you think no one is watching and we all know you want nothing more than to go to her, yet you fight your instincts."

Seamus looked at Dean and shook his head. Dean couldn't understand - no one could apart from Neville and Hermione. No one could understand what they had done. What they deserved. "What we want and what we need are completely different things, Dean."

Dean shook his head as he got out of bed and sat in front of Seamus. "What you want and what you need is the exact same thing as what Parvati wants and what Parvati needs," he began slowly but firmly. "You must know that. Have you any idea how much you're hurting her? Do you know what she said to Harry? She said that she felt like she had lost you that day, because you can't even bear to look at her anymore..."

Seamus closed his eyes as he bit his lip. "It's not that simple..."

"It is that simple! She lost her best friend in the world and her boyfriend won't help her through it. She has no one here that can help her with that - she's only got Padma, who lost friends herself. We can't give her what she needs the same way that you can..."

"If...if you spent more time with he..."

"She's your girlfriend, Seamus," Dean shook his head and frowned. "Harry and I can't give her any more time no matter how much we want to. He has Ron, Hermione and Neville to look after, I'm trying to help Neville, you and Parvati and that's not even mentioning the fact that Hannah is freaked no end because she'd shared a room with two of the Hufflepuffs," he exhaled and looked at Seamus guiltily. "We can't spend any more time with her. That's why she needs you."

Seamus shook his head. "You don't know what I did or you wouldn't be saying that. I can't trust myself with her - even unarmed...in case..."

Dean looked exasperated as he raised his voice slightly. "In case what? In case it happens again? She is safer with you than she would be with any the rest of us - you've been de-programmed, de-cursed whatever it is they did to you. There is nothing lingering there!"

"Everything is lingering there! Why can't you see that?" Seamus said angrily as he clenched his fist and punched the ground. They had no idea - he wasn't the same. He could feel how different he was and that was because of what he'd done. What they had made him do.

"Because you're the only one who sees it! I'm always going to be here for you, Seamus, but you have to get over this! If not for you, then for the girl who is sitting alone in the girls' dormitory with nothing but empty beds and photographs to comfort her! You're hurting her more with staying away than you ever would by going to her!"

Dean winced as he finished before looking at Seamus with a regretful expression. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that, we know how hard this is for you. I don't mean any of that..."

"Yes he does."

Seamus jumped and saw Ron Weasley sitting at the bottom of his bed looking at them through his curtains where he'd been listening. "He does mean it. You all are hurting and we understand that - but the only people who blame any of you are you. You think me or Parvati asked for this? No. But we're the ones who are being punished - we're the ones who are being pushed away."

"That's not fair, Ron. We don't want to hurt you all..." Seamus looked away from Ron and shook his head.

"We don't want to hurt any of you again..."

"You might not want to hurt us - but that's what you all are doing. You're letting them win. Don't you think Neville would give anything to have Lavender here? He would be down on his knees in thanks because he would be so grateful that he was given another chance because he lost everything when she died. They took it from him - they stole it!" he raised his voice as he got out of his bed and looked down at Seamus, emotion clearly etched on his face as he continued. "But you and Hermione are just giving it all away because you're afraid, afraid of yourselves. Afraid of your feelings. You guys would maybe have handled it better if you had killed us."

Dean looked at Ron in shock as the red-headed boy looked at Seamus bitterly. "Ron, I think that's enough..."

"Funny, I don't think it's close to being enough! Him and Hermione - they wouldn't be feeling as guilty if we weren't here to remind them - that's right isn't it, Seamus? That's why you both spend as little time as possible with us, isn't it?"

"What the hell is going on? You guys are going to wake up the whole house!" A groggy voice came from the bed beside Ron's as Harry sat up in his bed and pulled his drapes back to look out at where Seamus,

Dean and Ron were conversing loudly. "What's wrong?"

Dean shared a look with Harry who immediately crawled down to the bottom of his bed with a sigh as

Seamus continued to look at Ron in horror - how could he think that they would wish to have killed them? How could any of them think that?

"That's not fair," Seamus said as he began drumming his hands on his legs. "How can you say that? That's not even close to being fair on us! You have no idea what we went through! What you're saying isn't fair!"

Ron didn't flinch as his eyes welled up with tears but his voice was strong although quiet. "So you've said, but why don't you tell that to Neville? Tell him how it's 'not fair' that Parvati lived and you can't bring yourself to talk to her. Tell him how 'not fair' it is for you to see her walking and talking and wanting you. Tell him how 'not fair' it is when you turn your back on her again and again and again when all she wants is you to tell her that you're there for her!"

"Ron..." Harry began gently before being cut off by Ron.

"You do that and then you tell me what's fair. Because from where I'm sitting you will have a hard time selling the 'but it's not fair' theory!" Harry and Dean looked at each other in concern as Ron wiped his eyes aggressively and bent down to look directly at Seamus - his blue eyes full of pain as he continued speaking.

"You know what isn't fair, Seamus? It isn't fair that you two are cutting the people who love you out of your lives when they need you most. You and Hermione aren't the only people who are hurting here! You should both fucking get over yourselves!"

"Ron!" Dean exclaimed loudly as he looked over at the bed where Neville was sleeping in apprehension. "That's it. Done. Enough, okay? You made your point but you're going to wake up Neville."

"You say that like we don't know that Neville is sitting behind those drapes awake like he has been every night for a month, Dean," Ron said without taking his eyes of Seamus. "Unlike some people he has a valid reason to indulge in self pity! He is alone after all - I wonder what he would give to be in their situation? To have Lavender ask for him? To hear her voice? To be able to touch her! I bet he would give anything, yet it's not enough for them!"

Harry looked at Ron sternly. "Ron! That's enough! Neville will hear you!"

Ron looked at Seamus who had his head bowed and shook his head bitterly. "Fine. I don't think it makes any difference to them anyway - they don't need to listen to us."

Seamus didn't look up as Ron climbed up into his bed after shrugging off Harry's hand and pulling the curtains closed. The bitter accusations that Ron had levelled at him still echoing in his head. So much of it was true - Neville would give anything to be in their position and they didn't appreciate it. What did that say to Neville?

"It's...it's nothing personal, Seamus - he's still in some pain and this is just stuff he wants to say to Hermione but doesn't get a chance to because she won't stay in the same room as him long enough," Harry said as he rubbed his eyes and looked at Dean with a shake of the head. "He'll feel bad about it in the morning."

"Sure he will..." Seamus whispered. Why should Ron feel bad? He was just saying what he felt after all. He had nothing to feel bad about...

"Well, I'm going to go back to bed...you sure you're okay, Seamus?"

Seamus nodded his head as he stood up. "Thanks, Harry. Sorry I woke you up..."

"Don't worry about it," Harry gave him a small smile as he climbed back up to bed before turning to Dean and lowering his voice to a whisper. "Dean? Can you check Neville before you go back?"

"Will do, 'night, Harry," Dean said with a yawn.

"Night," Harry said as he pulled the curtains closed.

Seamus glanced over at Neville's bed and felt a surge of guilt. He'd lost it all and Seamus still had it but was too scared to take it. "Do...do you think he's right?"

"Ron?"

Seamus nodded his head as Dean walked over to Neville's bed and listened in gently before shaking his head as he closed his eyes and lowered his voice. "I don't think he was right about some of it but with other parts? I think he got it spot on. He's hurting and Hermione is shutting him out, Parvati is hurting and you're shutting her out. It's hard for us to watch."

"It's hard for me to do..."

"Then don't do it," Dean walked over to him and clasped his arm. "It wasn't your fault - you gave her the warning. I know you're worried but...it has to be better than this, doesn't it? We won't let anything happen. She'll be safe with you - we know it, she knows it and sooner or later you're going to have to know it. If it hadn't been you they used they would have just got someone else who wouldn't have gave her any kind of warning - she might not have been as lucky then. As hard as this is for you, just look at Neville - you must know that this is better than that alternative..."

Seamus nodded his head as Dean gave him a small smile before shaking his head. "Listen, I'm going to get some more sleep before breakfast 'cause me and Harry have to see McGonagall straight afterwards. Think about what I said, okay?"

"Will do, thanks..." Seamus whispered as he walked out the door. "See you in the morning..."

He walked down the stairs to the common room while every word that had been said spun around inside his head. Every accusation, every memory, every fear and desire all attempting to make yet one thought seemed to be clearer than the others - that he had to talk to her. He couldn't let her hurt the same way that Ron was hurting. He wouldn't let anyone hurt that way...

He had so much to say to her, so much he wanted to say, to explain. But he couldn't find the words that would work. Somehow sorry didn't seem to cut it - you couldn't go up to someone and apologise for slashing their face, or breaking their arm, or terrorising them or wanting to kill him. Especially if that person was someone you loved. Sorry was such a weak word in that kind of situation - there wasn't enough to it to make up for what he would have done.

The cold fact was that he would have killed her - a few more minutes and she would have been dead.

She would have been gone forever and he would be like Neville. Alone.

He clenched his eyes shut as the mere thought of that ripped through him as he walked purposefully towards the girls room. Taking a deep breath with every step as he shoved his hands deep in his robe pockets and opened the door tentatively.

He stepped in and saw her sitting on the edge of her bed with her head in her hands. His heart began to ache as he bit his lip and fought the desire to turn back around and leave. But he steeled himself - he owed it to her.

"Pa..Parvati?"

"Seamus?" She looked up at him, her eyes reddened by crying. "No! Don't. Don't come in here if you're just going to leave again. I can't take it. It's not fair..."

"I...know," he bit his lip and shook his head as he took a step towards her. He'd hurt her so much how could he explain why he'd done it? "I...I'm not going to leave..."

"You...you're not?" she wiped her eyes as she stood up a look of hopefulness softening her drawn features as she whispered. "Really?"

"Really," he nodded his head and took another small step towards her while clasping the inside of his pockets to avoid reaching out for her - he couldn't let himself touch her until she knew. Until she knew that he'd tried. That he'd wanted to stop. That he would give anything to take it back. "I never, ever, wanted to hurt you. Ever. If...if I could change..."

He looked down from her gaze as he gave up clenching his robes and instead began pinching the skin of his legs in an effort to distract him from the erratic beating of his heart and the searing pain that was burning the back of his eyes. He had to explain it. "I wish I had been stronger for you...I wish that so badly."

She walked to him and took a deep breath. "You were strong, you are strong..."

He shook his head as he looked up at her, eyes filled with tears he wouldn't let himself cry. "I'm not strong...not strong enough. I'm so sorry, Parvati. You don't deserve any of this..."

She shook her head vehemently as she forced her voice to be strong. "Don't apologise - you didn't do anything wrong...it wasn't you. It wasn't..." she lowered her voice as she reached up and put her hand on his heart. "It wasn't your fault. You have nothing to apologise for."

"I have everything to apologise for," he took his hand out and reached and touched her face gently where the mark from the cut was visible. "You're the last person I would ever want to hurt..."

She closed her eyes at the contact of his touch, took a deep breath and nodded her head with a sad smile. "I know that. I always knew that...."

He bit his lip as he looked at her - his heart pounding and wanting nothing more than to hold her. He didn't deserve her. He didn't deserve that trust. "I never..."

She took a step closer to him and put a finger on his lips to stop him from talking as she used her other hand to wipe her eyes. "I know...I know that..."

"I haven't been here for you..." he began as she took his other hand out of his pocket and held it tightly - interlacing her fingers with his. The touch of her skin caused the breath to catch in his throat - he'd missed that so much. Being able to touch her, to hold her...he'd missed it all. "I haven't been here...but... I will be from now on. I promise you I'll be here as long as you need me or...or want me. Even...even though I don't deserve you...I'll be here." He reached out and tilted her chin up to see the trail of tears streaming down her face and took a deep breath as he looked in her eyes. "I promise."

"Don't. Don't say...that...that you don't deserve me - don't ever say that!" She looked in his eyes and the trail of tears became accompanied by a sob that broke his heart as she wrapped her arms around his neck holding him tightly as he reached around and held her back just as tightly. "You're all I have, Seamus - everyone else is gone. I would be lost without you...I was lost without you..." she grasped his robes tight as she began to sob uncontrollably. "I missed you so much, please don't go again..."

"I won't...I'm here...I'll always be here..." he closed his eyes and let his own tears fall as he began comforting Parvati like he should have done since it had happened - Ron's words still echoing in his head. But he'd been right - he'd given away what Voldermort had stolen so mercilessly from Neville. He'd almost lost what he wanted most in the world because of them. He'd almost let them win.

Almost.

He closed his eyes as he held her tight and kissed her hair gently. He would not let the guilt they put on him take her away from him. He wouldn't let anything take her away from him or hurt her.

Not again.

He would never be the same the person he was before that day again. And he wouldn't be the person he'd been ever since but he would be someone in between the three and he would make it up to her. He would get his revenge.

They all would - then they would see what they had done. Not beaten them - but changed them, and they would pay for it.

Pay for what they had done to Parvati, to Ron, to Lavender, to Hermione, to Neville and to him.

They would all pay for it.

~ fini ~

//
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