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[a/n: That’s gotta be some kinda new record with all the death threats I’ve received as result of posting the last chapter. AHH! O_o Should I hire a body guard? It might be a wise investment! *wink* Anyway, much thanks to all of you have been reading and reviewing regularly, and also thanks to all of you who are just gonna read what I have and then move on and never think of me or my silly story ever again! *dramatic sigh* I guess that’s okay...yeah lol! Okay, now if I remember right, I left you guys hanging last time—*flips back and looks*—why look at that! I did! (lol) Okay, I have a feeling I’m making many people groan and grow angry right now, so yeah, go read people!! ^.~] Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, but I do own a ticket stub from WARPED TOUR! Wo0o0o0o0o it was amazing—anyone who went is beyond awesome, anyone who is going in other cities better brace themselves cuz its just like—WHOA! O_O Wow, I’m so good at describing things... hehe ^^; Chapter 8: Insane with Worry Claire just stood there, unable to move, unable to breathe for fear. Robin was a lot of things—slightly alarming, outwardly evil, all alone in the world—yes, many things, but she was not stupid. Claire could just envision her figuring out what the book cover was all about, how Claire wasn’t really from Hogwarts, what she was up to...she suddenly felt the need to pass out again. Robin had been staring at the beautiful drawing of Buckbeak in flight, Hermione and Harry gripping his reins, Sirius’s silhouette against the setting sun coming in though the window of the Hogwarts tower. It seemed like her eyes were darting over it for hours, when at most it was probably a single minute. Claire fought hard to keep her breathing even and her expression blank—but when Robin looked at her and grinned she knew she had not succeeded. “Not going to tell me, eh?” Robin said, grinning and folding the cover back as it had been when it had fluttered into her lap as if caught on the wind of fate. “Well that’s just fine with me—don’t get me wrong, you’re going to tell me what this is all about—but I’ll keep my silence as long as you keep yours...” Claire’s eyes widened and she could feel sweat growing on her brow. She couldn’t tell her--Robin would surely blow her cover! It was the first time Claire truly, one hundred percent doubted anything to Sorting Hat had said. Blackmail—a trait of a girl destined for Gryffindor?! Perhaps it had one too many patches to still be in decent working condition... “Robin...” Claire spoke in a raspy voice, shaking her head in disbelief, “I can’t tell you what that is. I can’t. No one can know—” “If you don’t want anyone to find out, you best tell me then,” Robin said in that evil tone of hers. “You tell me, I keep quiet. Just like I told you, and you will keep quiet. That’s our deal. We’ll be even.” “Oh believe me, we won’t be even!” Claire said, starting to get hysterical. “If anyone finds out your story the worst you’ll get is understanding from people who see you as a mystery—now as for me, I’ll get something much much much worse—” “Sit down, Woods,” Robin said, tossing the book cover lightly to the place she wished Claire to sit, “unless you don’t want to get that worse worse worse thing by me taking that and just randomly throwing it into the loudest group of people in the Gryffindor common room...” Claire wasn’t entirely sure Robin was capable of such a thing, but she was giving Claire such a look that she just couldn’t take any chances. If the Sorting Hat had any brains left at all, Robin would be true to her word... “Okay, fine,” Claire sighed, sitting down glumly on the end of the bed. “I’ll tell you, but you won’t believe anything I say—Lordy, where do I start?—er—okay, here’s the deal. See, I’m not exactly from this world—” “You’re an alien?” Robin said, the corners of her mouth turning up into an evil smirk. “No, I am not an alien, damn it!” Claire said, growing annoyed. “I mean I’m not from the magical world. I just fell and ended up here at Hogwarts. In the world I’m from” –here Claire lowered her voice, for fear that Harry would somehow wake and overhear, in which case she’d be COMPLETELY screwed— “Harry Potter is a character in a book series. None of this is real. I’m a big fan of the books, and somehow I ended up in the middle of the story. I’m here trying to save the life of a man who dies in the latest book. What you have in your hand right there is the cover of the story I’m in right now. I took it off so Harry wouldn’t see it earlier. Now you can go ahead and laugh at me, but I’m being completely serious.” Robin didn’t laugh, however. She stared at the cover curiously, as if it was a piece of homework and she just didn’t grasp the concept. Her brow was furrowed in thought. Then she handed Claire the cover back, and blew out the candle that floated between them. “Off my bed, Woods,” Robin said, rolling over and pulling the covers up to her chin. Claire just sat there in amazement. That was it?! Was this girl completely mad?! “What the hell are you talking about?!” Claire burst out in a hissing whisper. “I just told you I’m from—” “I heard you, Woods,” Robin said. “Now off my bed! I’d like to get to sleep sometime before morning.” It took a while for Claire to understand. By not commenting, Robin was keeping true to her word of silence. Did this mean she would just go on knowing about Claire and her mission without ever once raising a question as to Claire’s sanity? Was this just all part of the plot to drive Claire into keeping quiet about everything Robin had vented about earlier? Or was this just the Slytherin deep within her, trying to get inside her head until she went insane with the blackmail? Whether it was one of these reasons or something completely different, Claire no longer cared enough to think about it. It had been a very long day, and she had been ready for it to end hours ago. Carefully stowing the cover in the pocket of her nightgown and holding the book tightly to her chest, Claire finally drifted off into the world of sleep. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Claire awoke the Sunday morning to find Bethany sitting next to her, reading the latest copy of Witch Weekly while jiggling her foot to a tune that was obviously stuck in her head. As soon as she noticed Claire was awake, she put the magazine down and inquired about how she was feeling. “Not so hot,” Claire admitted. “I had an interesting evening...” “Why? What happened?” Bethany demanded, drawing a curious glance from Hermione, while Harry and Ron gabbed on quietly about nothing in particular. But Claire shook her head at her friend and muttered, “Not now. Wait until tomorrow when I get outa here, I’ll explain everything then.” After a few minutes of quiet arguing, Bethany finally agreed to wait until the following day to learn what the trouble was all about. Nothing of great interest happened that day, which was a very nice change compared to the day before, Claire thought. Instead of being nearly attacked by a dog/human, collapsing at the sound of a voice yelling in her head that she had never heard before, and being found out or narrowly escaping questioning from her fellow Gryffindors about her mission—Claire got to sit back and be amused by all of the visitors streaming in to see Harry. She had to draw the curtains around her bed and pretend to be changing her nightgown when Ginny turned up with her homemade card for Harry—she was laughing far too hard and didn’t want to embarrass the poor girl. But she watched intently when the Gryffindor quidditch team showed up, and Oliver Wood was forced to tell Harry he “didn’t blame him in the slightest” for their loss against Hufflepuff in their match the day before. But her fun and glee was always quickly extinguished whenever she caught sight of the shabby curtains on the other end of the room. If Robin had wanted to get inside her head by being silent after Claire’s confession the day before, Robin had certainly succeeded in full measure. Claire couldn’t get the sick feeling of worry to leave her stomach, and this was almost the cause of her having to stay in the hospital wing Monday as well. “Really, Madam Pomfrey, I swear I’m just fine!” Claire begged as Madam Pomfrey took yet another look down Claire’s throat. “Just a bit nervous about a test coming up today is all, I promise!” Eventually Claire had her convinced, however, and she quickly changed into her robes and rushed down to the Great Hall for breakfast. “There you are!” Bethany exclaimed, scooting over a bit to allow Claire to sit down beside her. “We were wondering if you were coming at all!” “You feeling okay, Claire?” Ginny asked her, sipping her orange juice. Claire noticed that her eyes drifted over to Harry while she asked this, and that made it much easier for her to lie and say, “Yes, I’m fine,” with a nice cheesy smile on her face. But she wasn’t fine. She had been up half the night, worried sick that Robin was going to rat her out. That silence was simply killing her! How could she have just been quiet after what Claire had said? HOW?! She couldn’t take it any more. Claire looked up and down the table, and quickly spotted Robin sitting alone at the other end, reading a book and healthily munching on some cornflakes. Without a thought in her head, Claire began to get up and walk over to her. But she was stopped by Bethany grabbing her arm. “Where are you going?” Bethany asked in an accusing voice, following Claire’s gaze to the other end of the Gryffindor table. “To have a word with Robin, if you don’t mind,” Claire snapped, wrenching her arm free of Bethany’s grip. “It’s not like my life is in danger—I think. Anyway I’ll be back in two seconds and we can go to class, okay?” And with that she marched off to the other end of the table, just as Draco Malfoy stood up to give another performance of Harry falling off his broomstick and the owls fluttered in from outside, bringing their morning deliveries to their masters. It wasn’t until she had slid into the seat across from her that Robin had even noticed Claire was coming. Robin gave her a quick glance by way of saying hello and then took another bite of her cornflakes before asking, “What ‘ou want?” “Robin, if you’re trying to drive me crazy, I beg of you, please cut it out,” Claire said in a low voice, even though no one was sitting anywhere near enough to overhear. “What I told you—I don’t understand how you couldn’t at least ask me if I’ve ever lived in an asylum before after I said that! I mean, please, I at least acknowledged that you had said something when you were talking to me. Please, don’t you have anything to say? Anything?” Robin looked up. She had a slightly surprised, slightly blank and unpredictable look on her face. She took a final bite of her cornflakes before pointing over Claire’s shoulder and answering her, “You have an owl.” Not exactly expecting this, Claire spun around and sure enough, fluttering just behind her was the little brown and white owl that had visited her a few times before. Taking the scroll off his leg, Claire turned around to interrogate Robin further, demand that she at least show some sign of curiosity, but all she saw was a blank chair and an empty bowl of cereal, for Robin had swung her bag over her shoulder and was on her way out of the Hall. “Robin—!” Claire half-heartedly called, drawing a few curious stares from down the table, but to no avail; Robin wasn’t going to turn around. Claire sighed, and with nothing better to do with herself, opened the scroll to read a short message: Your detention will be served tonight at 8pm. Please meet Professor Lupin in the dungeons at this time. Have a pleasant day. Yours sincerely, Professor M. McGonagall [a/n: DUN DUN DAAAAAAAAAaaa!! (I’ll bet you thought I forgot about that detention, didn’t you?! WELL HAH, I’m not as dumb as I seem!) Well what is Claire going to be doing as punishment for nearly causing Harry and Oliver Wood a panic attack?! Is Robin’s blackmail going to drive Claire into the loony bin?! Well tune in to the next chapter and you’re questions shall be answered... On a less fun note, just to warn you guys it may be a week or 2 before I update again. My little sister is having a pretty major operation this Thursday (the 29th of July, should you be reading this after that day) and depending on how it goes and how long she’s going to be in the hospital it might be a while before I can sit down and write the next chapter. I hope you guys can bear with me, it’s kinda exhausting having to run back and forth between the hospital and home for several days on end. Thank you for your understanding and patience, and if you have a minute please say a little prayer that everything goes alright! Thanks guys, you all rock muh socks! *hugs*]

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