Chapter 22- Fictus

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 Dumbledore finished his speech with a grand gesture and a familiar, "LET THE FEAST BEGIN!"  The newly sorted first years were still getting settled at their new house tables, and I had taken my  place beside George, Fred, and Angelina.  Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny sat across from us, Amy sat next to her.  I watched, mouth watering, as foods of all sorts appeared across all the house tables. Yorkshire pudding, black pudding, Shepard's pie, Bangers and Mash, Cumberland sausage, Fish and chips, and toad-in-the-hole. Grabbing for as much food as possible, I piled my plate with the steaming food. 

"Iris, you eat more than Ron!" Ginny laughed.

"C'mon Ginny, no one eats more than Ron!" Fred retorted. I just grinned though a mouthful of  Yorkshire pudding. The table erupted in loud chatter but I was too focused on my plate to listen to any of them.  After dinner came dessert and I covered my plate with apple crumble and custard, lemon meringue, sorbets, and cakes.  Finally, the first feast of the year was over and we made our way back to the common rooms.

"So, Amy, how are you liking the Hogwarts food so far?" I laughed.  Amy clutched her stomach and moaned.

"So.  Much.  Food."  The rest of our group cracked up.

"Oh, you'll learn how to handle it, don't worry."

The prefects were all yelling for the first years to follow them, but the rest of the students lazily made their own way towards the common rooms. Then I saw him.  A silvery blond head that was making its way through the crowd of Slytherins.  Draco.  I shoved through the Gryffindors, cries of protest following me, left  my friends behind, and disappeared in the crowd before they could stop me.  

"Draco!" I called after him.  He turned and I caught his eye, he was flanked by Crabbe and Goyle.

"Iris?" He asked, shooing away the two oversized goons.  He grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me down a deserted hallway.

"God, Draco what happened?" I asked, exasperated. 

"Things are complicated right now." He said, expression hard, almost cold.

"Yeah, things haven't been exactly smashing for me either." I whispered.

"I know.  I'm so sorry, but I don't have any control over this." he said, still blank and emotionless.  I sighed.  He took my wrist and pulled up the sleeve of my robe to reveal my dark mark.

"It's not real you know." He said.

"I know, Bellatrix told me." I asked, disbelieving.

"Well, as for blinding you, she can change how your eyes appear so you look blind, and you're going to have to put on a show." He spoke softly, releasing my wrist, and my robe fell down to reveal the dark mark.

"How do I get rid of it?" 

"When the Dark Lord decides he dosen't want you as a Death Eater." He said. I let loose a soft yelp and did everything I could to hold back angry tears.  Draco gathered me into a hug, although it wasn't very comforting. "I promise everything will be okay." He said.  I sighed heavily.

"I hope you're right." I said, stepped back, and chewed my lip nervously. The tension in the air became so thick it was palpable. "How are things?" I asked.

"Iris.  You know I can't speak about it to you, especially not aloud." He said darkly.  I swallowed.

"How are Lucius and Narcissa?" I asked, cringing slightly upon speaking their names. The two people who had lied to me my entire life.

"They're getting on. Mother is cracking under all the building pressure." Draco spoke softly.  The shadows in the hallways grew longer as time passed.  I felt guilty, like everything was my fault.  I wished that I was with the Malfoys and had never known any different than the life I'd had before.  I wished that they had never gotten involved with the Dark Lord.  I wished that I had never become a werewolf.  There were so many things I would change if I could.  But, George.  I swallowed and locked those thoughts away.  Holding on to him is all that I can do until I learn the hands around my throat are my own.  Once I think of George, I can push the darkness away.



"What about you?"

"What about me?" He asked back.

"How are you doing?  I know you never get asked that.  Especially with Lucius." I said quietly. Draco's gaze dropped to the floor of the extensive stone halls.

"I'm never asked because it dosen't matter.  I do as I am told and nothing more." He stated coldly, sounding rehearsed and robotic. 

"Oh, Draco." I sighed and hugged him again.  He tensed under my touch, then slowly rested his hands on my back.

"Everything will be fine in the end." I whispered.

"In the end." He repeated. "If it ever ends." He sighed. I pulled back and looked at  him sadly.

"It will end.  And it will be okay.  I promise." I said. He sighed.

"I hope you're right, Iris."

"I'm always right, Draco.  I'll see you around."

"Cya around." He gave on last sad smile and was gone.  I nodded and went running off for the portrait hole.  The fat lady swung open to reveal the common room.  Crawling inside, I looked around happily.  The common room was dimly lit by the fire, empty except for one particular ginger sat in a chair nearest the fireplace.

"George!" I squealed, my mood already lifting.  

"Hey!"  He stood up, holding his arms out, so I ran over and jumped on him.  George resumed his place with me curled up on his lap.  Already my eyelids were growing heavy with sleep.

"Iris?" George asked after a while.

"Hmm?" I asked sleepily.

"Can we talk?" He asked quietly. This got my attention, I sat up a little more.

"Yeah, Sure. What about?" I asked, feeling almost nervous.

"Well... We've know each other for a while- right?" He asked.

"Yeah, quite a while  now."

"So-um I was wondering..." He trailed off.


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