The Sugar Quill
Author: Brielle  Story: When Shadows Creep  Chapter: Default
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Hogwarts and all its inhabitants belong to JK Rowling and

When Shadows Creep

 

 

Disclaimer: Hogwarts and all its inhabitants belong to JK Rowling and

her associates: I make no profit whatsoever from this

piece. I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles belongs to West Ham

Football Club and Jaan Ken Brovin and John William

Kellette.

 

A huge tankard of Butterbeer to my beta, Night Zephyr, for disciplining this story so thoroughly and putting up so patiently with the Documents That Would Not Download fiasco.

 

~*~

 

“He’s not going off to ruddy Scotland, not at his age! I don’t care how crucial you think it is; he’s only a lad!”

“It’s his future, Liam; it’s in his damn blood!”

“The future isn’t set in stone; he’s got a better future without some freakish school! I won’t have him becoming like you, alienating himself, not him, not my son!”

“No, Liam, don’t, come on, Liam, calm down, please…”

 

Seamus Finnigan woke up with a jolt. His brain raced ahead of him for a moment while he took into account that he wasn’t in the kitchen back at home. He looked up at the scarlet canopy of his four-poster bed and tried to relax.

 

Everything was okay now, he told himself. He was at Hogwarts. The greatest danger anybody was in here was from detention, or from that slimy-looking professor up at the teacher’s table, the one that looked like the fellow from Dracula. That film had terrified him because Mam had told him that vampires actually existed, but he had had to put on a brave front when he saw it with some of the other boys from school.

 

He put his hand up to his forehead to push his hair back, and found that it was covered in cold sweat. Irritated with himself for letting a dream unnerve him so much, he turned over and buried his head in his pillow, trying to drift off again.

 

~*~

 

Half an hour later he sat up again. It wasn’t working. He had counted sheep jumping over fences, pretended that he was sleeping on a cloud, even replayed in his head

conversations he had had with his Great Aunt Niamh (possibly the dullest woman ever to come out of County Cork), but to no avail. His head was still buzzing, conjuring up image after image, his Mam’s face burnt into his brain.

 

What would happen to her without him there? Not that he’d ever been much use to her even when he was at home, but without him there was nobody to clean her up, nobody to help hide the bottles, nobody to fetch Mrs Beagan from next door in the mornings… (Mrs Beagan was a retired nurse, who frequently worried about the amount of falls her neighbour seemed to have.) There was nobody for her to make idle promises to, nobody to convince her that it wasn’t her fault, nobody to try and calm Dad down when he got riled up.

 

On the other hand, his not being there might help matters. He knew that nearly every row his parents had was over him, so maybe if he was out of the picture then they’d be alright. Maybe Dad would stop the drinking, stop losing his temper, and then everything would be grand, the way he remembered it when he was a little kid.

 

Seamus rolled over again and hid his head under his pillows. Maybe “maybe” wasn’t good enough.

 

~*~

 

Neville Longbottom couldn’t sleep.

 

This was a pretty rare occurrence. In fact, Neville couldn’t remember the last time it had happened. He was an extremely sound sleeper, something which irritated his grandmother intensely.

 

“That boy could sleep through a Hexes and Harpies concert, he really could!”

 

She had lately taken to waking him up by placing the family tawny owl, Evangelia, next to his bed and poking her until she hooted loudly in his ear. Neville could only

hope that none of his new housemates had such ideas up their sleeves, although he had his doubts. Already on the train two red-headed older boys had handed him what turned out to be a Hiccup Sweet and somebody, probably the same boys, had put Belch Powder in his jam sandwiches.

 

It was possible that the circus in his stomach was due to the combination of Belch Powder and the Hiccup Sweet, but Neville knew it wasn’t. He had been feeling it for a day or two now. It was just a case of, as his Auntie Iris said, “almightical nerves”.

 

Everyone knew that his magical ability was weak, to say the least. It had taken Uncle Algie dropping him out of that window to show any at all, and he was still convinced that that was only because he had landed in the rhododendron bush.

 

What if he couldn’t do any of the lessons? Transfiguration sounded awful, even if his father had got an Outstanding N.E.W.T. in it, and Charms didn’t sound much better. Herbology he might be alright at- it was only gardening and he’d been helping Gran with that for as long as he could remember – but it was Defence Against The Dark Arts he was really worried about. What would they have to do? Would they have to learn to duel? Would they have to – no, surely not, but would they? Would they have to learn to combat the Cruciatus Curse?

 

Neville felt sick just thinking about it. He grabbed Trevor, who was sitting there, croaking happily on his bedside table, and squeezed him tight, then shut his eyes

and tried to return to his normal, unbreakable slumber.

 

~*~

 

Dean Thomas woke up and looked around in slight surprise. Why had he woken? It all seemed quiet in the dormitory, with the exception of loud snoring coming from behind the curtains of Ron Weasley’s four-poster. Then he looked at his watch, which was sitting beside a glass of water on his table, and realised why. It was six in the morning.

 

Normally at six in the morning Dean would be awoken by his two sisters, Stacey and Deirdre, jumping up and down on his bed and telling him to get up. He hadn’t had a lie in for the past four years. It was quite a luxury really, not having two hyperactive kids screeching in his ears.

 

Now, he supposed, they would be jumping on his parents. Mum would be groaning and burrowing her head under her pillows, begging for an extra couple of minutes. Ever since she started the extra evening job at Dixons she had been exhausted every morning, which was why Dean had tried so hard to dissuade his sisters from jumping on her in the early hours. Dad would be laughing and gathering the two girls up in his arms, convincing them to give their mum a bit of a lie in, taking them downstairs to make breakfast and-

 

Dean’s vision had gone blurry. He was crying, but he couldn’t be crying; he hadn’t

cried since he was a kid and Kevin Edwards had beaten him up for borrowing his best purple felt pen and losing it. That had been justified for an eight-year-old, but now? He shouldn’t be crying, he was lying in a four-poster bed in a tower of a castle and in the morning he would learn how to do real magic, the sort of magic he used to read about in Mr Majeika books when he was little. He should be the happiest guy on earth.

 

But all of a sudden he was feeling very small and very lost, and more than anything he wanted to be at home, with Stacey and Deirdre pulling him out of bed and Mum moaning about the noise. He wanted to be waking up in his tiny bedroom with his sketches on the wall and his huge West Ham poster on the ceiling above. He just didn’t want to be here, miles away from home, with people he didn’t know and nothing familiar.

 

Dean gathered his knees up to his chest and buried his face in them. Humming under his breath, he tried to banish the images of the house in Upton Park. He failed miserably, but kept on humming anyway.

 

 

When shadows creep

When I'm asleep

To lands of hope I stray

Then at daybreak

When I awake

My bluebird flutters away

Happiness you seem so near me

Happiness come forth and cheer me

 

 

~*~

 

But when the bell rang that morning, none of the three boys had slept, and none of them were any more cheerful.

 

//
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