Chapter 12 : Get Me Out of my Mind
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You got these little things that you've been running from
Well take it outta here
I think I'm ready to leap I'm ready to live
I'm ready to go (get me out of my mind, get me out of my mind)
- Ready to Go, by Panic! at the Disco
"It’s an interesting commentary on our lives,” I marveled, “that the simple truth can throw everything into such chaos.”
It was Wednesday afternoon and most people were still finding themselves spurting random truths, although it had wound down. Only about half the school was still awkwardly confessing their deepest secrets.
Colin Creevey – one of my best mates at Hogwarts – nodded and agreed. “You can’t argue that it’s not great entertainment, though,” he added.
I conceded his point. “I suppose, but it’s not going to be funny when I start running my mouth.”
I was so relieved to find that I seemed to have dodged a bullet with whole truth-telling fiasco. I had yet to slip up once. And frankly, I was far too private a person to be emotionally equipped to deal with what might come out. The mere thought of it sent my head into my hands.
You can't stay hidden forever... This with crawl from your rabbit hole at some point.
Not if I can help it!
It looks like you might not be able to...
I had come to terms with these little voices in my head. I'd had them for years, and accepted them as something that was most likely brought on by what I like to call my ‘angsty child years.’ As the anxiety died away, the voices did not.
Colin shrugged. “Good thing you hate almost everyone and avoid most of the population of Hogwarts at all cost.”
I smiled. “Yes. Yes, it is.”
We finished lunch and Colin grabbed his bag. “Well, I’m off to the library. Trying to keep up with my studies since we don’t have classes this week. Want to join?”
“I’m going to not, and say I did,” I replied.
“Okay,” he replied, and with a nod, he was off.
How was I going to spend my afternoon? I was going to grab a book and curl up in a tree branch (thanks to a nice warming spell I’d be nice and toasty – thank you, Magic) and enjoy the far less ridiculous world of Sherlock Holmes. A world in which everything was logical, and stupid adolescents didn’t run amuck thinking that their problems were the worst thing in the world.
Judging each and every one of my peers as I walked through the Great Hall, I listened in.
A conversation between a Ravenclaw couple:
“Thomas. I don’t want you hanging out with her anymore.”
“Priscilla, I don’t understand why you won’t just relax. She wasn’t looking at me like that.”
“I don’t care if she was or wasn’t. It just makes me upset when you’re with her.”
“Because I’m in love with you!” Priscilla cried, before gasping and covering her mouth with both hands, horrified that she’d let the cat out of the bag.
Next to her, her boyfriend’s friend patted her on the shoulder and comforted her. “Don’t worry. We’ve known for ages.”
Across from them at the Gryffindor table a brother and sister I knew by face and name – but nothing else – were having an argument.
“I can’t believe you wrote home about me to Mum. Again! Why do you even care what I do?” argued Arthur, a Fourth year..
“I don’t like that you don’t get in trouble for the things that I do!” retorted his older sister, Daphne, a Seventh year. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. I work my arse off to do well in classes and I hide my transgressions from Mum. And yet you do things that would land me in the doghouse, but don't ever get in trouble! It's completely unfair!"
“That’s ridiculous. You’re ridiculous!” Arthur cried.
At this point, I’d stopped to watch this screaming match.
“And you’re stupid!” Daphne yelled.
“Oh, what a brilliant comeback,” her brother drawled.
At this point, Daphne was growing quite red in the face. She continued to get more and more colored until she finally exploded. “Dad isn’t your real father! So, ha!”
Wow. I wasn’t expecting that ending.
Not wanting to see what was going to come of that, I hurried on my way.
I arrived in the Entrance Hall and happened upon a conversation between Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore.
“Albus, I don’t know what to do. The students are losing valuable learning time as this week wears on, and we have come no closer to finding out what has caused this string of truth-telling, or how to fix it. The staff has been working tirelessly and we’ve come no closer to an answer,” Professor McGonagall fretted. “I know it’s starting to stop on its own, but what if this is a precursor to something more. Something worse?”
Calm, cool, and collected as always, Professor Dumbledore replied, “Do not be worried, Minerva. I’m sure this is nothing but a harmless prank. But, if you want to be sure, I suggest you consult someone who hasn’t been bested since his own years at Hogwarts.”
“You don’t mean . . .”
“Yes, Minerva. I do. Send an owl to Sirius Black.
“. . . You’d better send one to Remus, as well,” he added as an afterthought.
Oh, this is going to be good, I thought to myself. Dad and Uncle Remus back in this castle. If the stories they tell are true . . . I don’t think Hogwarts can handle them again.
It was a well-known fact that when Dad was in school, he, Remus, James, and Peter spent most of their time pulling pranks. Uncle Remus and Dad still referred to themselves as the Marauders - even Mum played along - but I refused to acknowledge that. They reminisced about the 'glory days' often, in particular the Great Prank of '76. If I remember correctly, (and I did, because I’d heard the story over, and over, and over again,) it had involved lots of water flooding the castle corridors.
I don’t believe that anyone had been able to top them since the years they ruled the halls of Hogwarts. The Weasley twins had given them a run for their money, though; now infamous for their fireworks prank last year, the brothers had turned their hobby into a livelihood with their joke shop, not to mention, they rid our school of that horrible hag of a D.A.D.A. professor.
I was no stranger to pranking (although with Al as my older brother, I was usually on the receiving end), but I was certainly glad to have dodged the bullet. Others weren’t so lucky.
As much as I detested most of my schoolmates, I certainly didn’t hate all of them. In fact, I liked some of them very much – those who had fully developed brains and whatnot. But, I couldn’t dispute that even those I didn’t care for offered a very high entertainment value.
Honestly, the whole concept of the chaos reeked of my elder brother. I'm actually not sure why I didn't realize it before. Screwing people over and siting back watch chaos ensue? Yeah, that has Aldan Black's signature all over it.
Of course, he's too daft to plan out and implement something this big all by himself. And, not to put down Seamus or Dean (well, maybe I’d like to insult Seamus) but they’re not exactly bright enough to do this either.
Dad, James, and Peter had Uncle Remus, but whom does Al have?
Well, I suppose it’s possible that he wrote Uncle Remus for help, I mulled over in my head. But would Uncle Remus still help? Like Dad, he was wild at one time, but I think they’ve hung their hats on pranking . . . I think.
Frankly, Uncle Remus would probably help me if I asked, but with Aldan's more-than-mischievious mind, he'd probably be a bit more tentative to help him. Although he’d never admit it, I did sometimes feel that Uncle Remus favored me a bit.
Lost in my thoughts, I almost didn’t hear someone calling out to me. “Will! Will! William Black!”
The last one finally caught my ear, maybe it rung somewhere in my subconscious; Mum always used our full names when we were in trouble.
I looked around. In my reverie, I’d traveled out of the castle and a good ways across the grounds, towards my favorite tree. I caught sight of my friend Logan, waving for my attention.
“Where are you headed, the lake for a midwinter swim?" he asked me, running to catch up. Logan was definitely my best mate at Hogwarts. We were sort of partners in crime. Well, there wasn’t much crime. Occasionally a little mischief. But usually the worst thing we did was sneak off to the kitchens to grab a late night snack.
“No," I replied, giving him a look. “Just planning to do a little reading and take a break from the madness that is, unfortunately, our school.”
Logan nodded in understanding and tried to wrap his cloak around him tighter. Logan was a baby about the cold. I laughed as he pulled his hat further down his head and readjusted his scarf so that it covered practically his entire face.
“You know you’re absurd, right?” I asked, laughing.
Logan shrugged. “Absurd? Perhaps. Warm? Definitely.
“Personally, I don’t understand why you’ve come outside in the middle of the winter to read a book, when there’s a perfectly warm fire in your common room, and there could be a perfectly warm fire in the Room of Requirement if you really wanted to get away from everyone.”
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I just like the outside.”
“Come back to the castle with me,” Logan said. “I’m much more entertaining than a book. We can play . . . Monopoly.”
I looked at him curiously.
“Okay, I suppose Monopoly isn’t that enticing,” Logan submitted.
“I wasn’t knocking Monopoly,” I explained. “I just thought it was a bit random of a suggestion. That’s all.”
“Well, maybe we can do a trivia game,” Logan suggested.
Trivia. Logan’s Ravenclaw-ness was always showing through. Just a little bit of Mum’s inexplicable dislike of Ravenclaws had been instilled in me, but Logan was great enough that I didn’t care.
Although I definitely wouldn’t be telling Mum that my best mate was a Ravenclaw, because that petty abhorrence she had never wavered.
“Perhaps we can go to the library and do some research,” I recommended. “I know everyone’s been trying to figure out how to break this nonsense, but two more soldiers can’t hurt, eh?”
“Sure,” Logan agreed.
“My sister’s just about beside herself. I don’t know what it is about the girls, but they have more secrets than I have bones in my body. And, well, unlike my brother, I rather care for my sister. I don’t like seeing her out of sorts,” I further explained.
“Well, that’s sweet,” Logan commented.
As we walked through the cold it began to snow.
“Bloody frozen water,” Logan muttered under his breath, shooting a dirty look up to the flakes falling from the sky.
I laughed heartily. If Logan were Superman, his kryptonite would be the cold. Definitely.
“Aww, come on? You don’t think snow is magical?” I queried. Perhaps it was a bit of my Mum in me again, but I had a childlike fascination with snow. In my mind, there was nothing quite like a fresh blanket of white powder.
Perhaps it was because it reminded me of the holiday season, which I loved, or perhaps it gave me the chance to relive my childhood, which had been partially wasted to the stress an anxiety of many of my younger years.
Whatever it was, the start of a new snow always brought a smile to my face.
“What’s got you so happy?” Logan asked, as we approached the castle doors, for I was grinning like a lunatic.
“The same thing that’s got you muttering and mumbling under your breath.” I grinned at him and he just gave me the stink eye.
I caught Lupin on her way out of the castle, heading for the big wide world. Or, the grounds. She loved snow as well. It was a Black family thing. We all did.
“Just so you know, I heard Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall talking about bringing Dad in to help,” I informed her.
“Tell Al, not me,” she insisted. “He’s the one who will have to pretend that he’s behaving. I already do.”
“Just letting you know.”
“Well, thanks!” she chirped, then went on her merry way.
Logan turned to watch her practically skip away. “Your sister is so . . .”
For Godric’s sake if he says hot –
“Happy. Like, all the time.”
Oh, thank god.
“Yeah, she is. Dad says she’s just like my Mum. But a little less mad, and a lot less troublesome. But that’s comparatively, and the ‘mad and troublesome’ gene runs rampant in my family,” I clarified.
After that, Logan and I walked silently through the castle, observing and listening to what was going on around us instead of chatting. Logan and I were kindred spirits, as it were. Snobby would be the wrong adjective to describe us, although we both did think ourselves a bit better than many of the other students of Hogwarts.
Like me, Logan longed to finish his schooling and move on into the adult world, where wizards and witches were valued for their skills and their assets to society, rather than how many girls they’d shagged or how far they could throw a Quaffle.
Don’t mistake my condescending beliefs for lack of a sense of humor. Even I would partake in the pranking and horseplaying that went on at Hogwarts every once in a while, I just didn’t make it my life’s goal to peak before I hit seventeen.
As we approached the doors of the library I stopped. Shaking my head, I said, “Logan. We both know this is a lost cause. There are a bunch of poor saps in that library, thinking they are actually going to be able to do what some of the brightest wizards and witches in the world – our professors – cannot. We know better.”
Logan nodded. “Exactly what I was thinking,” he confessed. We started to walk aimlessly about the castle. “But it can’t hurt to theorize, yeah?”
I nodded in agreement. “If it’s wearing off instead of stopping outright, it’s got it be a potion . . . Veritaserum?”
“But it doesn’t last that long,” Logan pointed out. “Unless someone figured out how to dose the entire school constantly, in which case we’re in for a long rest of the year.”
“Perhaps someone came up with a similar potion? A stronger one, so that it lasts longer?” I wondered aloud.
"I've never heard of that, I don't even know if it's possible . . . Perhaps . . ." He was quiet for a moment then said, “I can’t . . . I can’t imagine anyone who’s skilled enough in Potions to pull this sort of thing off. No one I know, anyway.”
“That doesn’t mean there isn’t someone,” I pointed out. “Maybe this was a two man job?”
I knew I was going to have to go sleuthing. I may not be able to set the school right, but I thought I could find the perpetrator. I was going to have to be like Sherlock Holmes.
So, I tried to think like my brother.
At that point, I was convinced that it was his work. It was a shame, but I knew Aldan of course would never step into the trap, after all, it was his trap. And most likely, if Aldan was poisoned by the veritaserum, he probably wouldn't even notice. He couldn’t shut up for a minute and often ran his mouth to anyone. He liked to call it carefree. I liked to call it stupid.
But I had my own secrets to worry about. I preferred to keep a few big ones, and I had no intention of letting them slip.
Talking and speculating, we made laps around the school, and stopped again outside of the library.
Peering into the vast room, I could there were definitely more people than usual. I was no Ravenclaw when it came to my studies, but I spent a fair amount of time in the library. After a rough few years, I got my act together and started doing well in school. I’d actually met Logan in the library.
Back to the topic of the overpopulated library . . . It was filled with starry-eyed idealists who believed that they could cure the entire school, when the best and brightest scholars of the world couldn’t even set us right.
So many of those smiling saps thought that their work and effort would lead to something.
Laughing at them as we continued on, the other part of my brain rebuked itself.
Come on now, Will. It doesn’t matter if they’re naïve or not, at least they’re trying to help. It’s more than you’re doing – sitting around and laughing at those who are putting an honest effort into helping our school.
Get off your high horse.
I imaginarily swatted at the imaginary angel on my shoulder. And then I actually started to feel bad for my judgmental thoughts.
Bloody war going on up here...
Logan and I were strolling through the corridor – I don’t think we’d ever actually discussed if we had a place where we were going – when I saw Professor Dumbledore down the hall, flanked on either side by Remus and my Dad.
“Hey there, Will!” Dad called from a ways away.
Looking up from his conversation with Professor Dumbledore, I could see Remus smile. “Will!”
Remus got to me first. “How’re classes going? Well? Handling the stress alright?”
Despite my being much better and less prone to anxiety attacks and such, Remus always remained a bit worried about me. I couldn't really blame him, He was the only one who really, truly understood how much I struggled as a child; he was the one who helped me through it, not to mention Remus knew a bit about rough childhoods himself, what with being a lycanthrope, and all.
“Excited to come home for the holiday?” Dad asked, before I could answer all of Remus’ questions.
“Well. Yes. Yes,” I answered each question in order.
“Ah, Will, you’re looking more dapper every time I see you,” Dad commented. “You must be quite the lady killer here,” he remarked jokingly.
“Well, sorry to be off so soon,” he added quickly. “But Dumbledore’s got us on a mission. Don’t worry, boys, we’re going to fix your school.”
And they were off.
I had faith in my Dad about a lot of things. I trusted him to look after our family, even as the threat of You-Know-Who grew. I trusted him to make a dinner that wasn’t poisonous (which was more than I could say for Mum). And I trusted him to keep the entire Wizarding world safe as an auror. But I did not trust him to set our school right. If this really was the work of Aldan (and most likely some brainy accomplice), then this wouldn’t be put right until Aldan wanted it right. I didn’t compliment him often, but when Al wanted something to happen, it happened.
Logan and I encountered Al mere minutes later, after leaving my father, Professor, and Remus.
He was walking with a girl, and appeared to be quite surprisingly, genuinely interested in what she was saying. But, who was I to say? Perhaps he was just a really good fraud.
The girl’s name was Emma; she was in my year and in Hufflepuff. I didn’t know much about her, but she’d always seemed nice enough.
Al looked up long enough to say, “Hey, freak.” After that less than stellar greeting, he went back to his conversation with the girl.
I rolled my eyes. I was used to his insults.
I don’t think Logan had ever encountered Al in real life before, though. “Wow. Your brother is kind of a jackass."
“That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what he is.” Al was once the bane of my existence. When I was younger I sometimes honestly wished he would just disappear. But as I grew older and less nerve-wracked, and as he grew (very slightly) less annoying, he started to become more of an annoying fly, and less of a life-ruiner.
“Does it bother you when he makes comments like that?” Logan asked. We were walking aimlessly around the castle at that point.
“Like what?” I asked.
“The ‘freak’ comments,” Logan explicated.
I shrugged. “Not really. He’s been taking cracks at me since I was eight years old. It doesn't bother me as much as when he takes cracks at my sexuality; he thinks he’s being harmless . . . He doesn’t know that he’s actually right.”
Oh, dear Godric . . .What the hell just happened? Since when does William Black blurt out his deepest darkest secrets? Never! That's when! Oh dear Godric...
We'd come to a halt in the middle of the second floor corridor, and silence lapsed over us. Logan was looking at me, a bit taken aback, and I was standing there as though I'd just swallowed an entire lacewing fly. Every time I opened my mouth to say something, my tounge stayed stuck to the roof of my mouth. My lungs felt as though I were being taken in side-along apparation.
It would seem that the curse of Hogwarts has finally gotten to you, Will.
My mind liked to toy with me sometimes. It did not get along with itself.
I – I – I – I don’t even know how that happened. I was thinking it, and the next thing I knew it was coming out of my mouth. What in the world is happening?
“Er . . .” I began, but I trailed off.
Oh no. This is absolutely terrible. I just spouted out my most kept secret in front of my best friend! Now Logan will be entirely weirded out and then I'll be left all alone in this loony house we call a school. Will Black doesn't do sincere honesty, not like this.
What the hell am I supposed to do now? Do I take it back? Pretend I didn't say it? Oh, this is so bad, I thought, tortured.
Logan’s going to hate me. He’s going to be so freaked out by my sexual orientation, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I lose my best friend!
My grades will drop without him dragging me to the library, and I could just kiss any semblance of a social life I had goodbye; most of my friends were people that Logan had introduced me to.
I’m going to fail my O.W.L.’s and get kicked out of school. I’ll be forced to go home, and Mum and Dad won’t be able to look at me because they’ll be so ashamed. They’ll stop talking to me and then I will literally have no one. I’ll have to live on the streets, using my wand and performing parlor tricks for Muggles in London in order for me to scrape up enough money to live on Gin and ramen. I don’t -
“You too?” he asked quietly. He wasn't looking at me much. He seemed to be very interested in his very boring black trainers.
Wide-eyed, I turned to look at Logan. Logan, my best mate. Logan, who knew more about me than anyone, with the exception of Uncle Remus. Logan . . . Who had nice, soft-looking blonde hair, and beautiful bright green eyes.
I didn't respond. Part of me really wanted to bolt, part of me wanted to have another freakout right on the spot, but all of me could not move a muscle; my feet were rooted to the spot.
Well, this is . . . Good. Much better than I'd anticipated.
Yay, Will! You can do it, freak!
I mentally punched Al in the face for getting in my head.
Now would be a really good time to say something, wouldn't it?
I went with the whole, it's-totally-cool-I'm-not-completely-going-to-freak response.
“Erm, yeah," I said lamely. Logan finally looked up at me, a bit expectant. "You know . . . I was just thinking about how this truth stuff hadn’t hit me . . .Probably should have knocked on wood,” I joked.
That's your cool response?
“Does anyone know?” he asked, looking as anxious as me.
“You’re the first,” I admitted.
“I can pretend you didn’t say it, if you want,” Logan offered.
I considered that for a moment, but once you say something, you can’t really take it back. I’d ignored that part of me for long enough, and clearly if anyone was to find out, Logan was the right person. At least I knew he wouldn’t judge me, if he played for the same team that I did.
I shook my head and took a deep breath, because I was about to say something difficult. But I knew my mind wasn’t in control of itself anymore, and if Logan was going to find out I was crushing on him, it was going to be from me.
“I . . . Like you,” I said, with nearly half a minutes pause between ‘I’ and ‘like’.
“I’m sorry if that freaks you out,” I followed up quickly. “I kind of thought it wouldn’t since, you’re . . . Like me.”
“It doesn’t freak me out,” he said. “In fact, I’m sort of glad you said it. It saves me from having to summon up the courage to tell you that I like you.”
Logan and I eyed each other curiously. I felt as if one of us was a cat and the other, a dog. Not really sure what was going on in this strange meeting, but each fearing the other was going to stop being docile and pull some sort of crazy move.
It was a few minutes of awkward silence. “So . . . What now?”
“I don’t know. I’m not exactly in familiar territory either,” Logan confessed.
"Right." I mumbled unintelligibly.
I moved to the window so that at least I was doing something other than counting the bricks on the wall and avoiding each other's gazes some more.
“Well, at least now this truth-telling thing can’t get me anymore. That was my one big secret!” I laughed nervously.
Logan smiled and I visibly relaxed. “Hey, Will, don’t worry about it.” Even though he was probably as anxious and uncomfortable as I, Logan moved to comfort me. “We’ll figure it out. We’ll take it slow, and see what happens. I’m glad you’re my best mate.”
I smiled. It was a new situation, with an old friend. And it was surely going to be an interesting few months.
A/N: Can it be? Is it possible?! I actually have posted another chapter!?!?! I've had this written for months, it was all a matter of finding 20 minutes to myself to post it. Finally! Anyways, I hope y'all enjoyed Will's P.O.V. today! And as y'all finish reading, be sure to mentally thank BellaCamille for the fabulous work she does on all of my chapters.
A/N2: A sneak peak of the next chapter, so hopefully y'all don't lose interest if I have a giant lapse of time between chapters again!
A few hollered in agreement with Coote. Rumours had been flying throughout Gryffindor house, about how Hooper had taken Coote’s sister’s virginity. There was no proof, until Hooper himself admitted it under the influence of veritaserum.
It was this sort of catastrophe that I’d envisioned when I first concocted the plan.
““I am so proud of us,” I slurred, as I threw my arm around Nicki’s shoulder. When the circle of chanting, drunken students had formed around our two acquaintances, Nicki had come running to find me.
“I’m so proud of us,” she concurred, leaning into me.
I hadn’t exactly been uncomfortable around Nicki, over the past week, but it was painfully obvious that she didn’t want to be near me. I didn’t know whether she hated me, or was still mortified about what had transpired, but something was off.
It was nice, though, to get a taste of the old days. Back then, we’d been unbeatable in drinking games, flirting and touching all through our victories. I mean, what was a better celebration of victory than a great shag?
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