THEY COME AND THEY GO were the five words Mara Prescott always remembered to say when her parents chucked her off at St. Mungo's for her monthly check-up. It wasn't a lie and she wasn't exactly omitting the truth to anyone, but how else would you explain chronic headaches and hallucinations to people who worked at a place that doubled as a psychiatric ward?
The hallucinations began at the end of Mara's first year at Hogwarts and as a young girl who barely understood the dangers and judgement that came from the Wizarding World for appearing as anything but abnormal, she kept quiet. Nobody had to know that she hallucinated the blood-red words that appeared on the wall that next Halloween before they happened and nobody had to know that she hallucinated an attractive young man watching her and another young boy by the name of Harry Potter. Nobody had to know that while Harry Potter's scar hurt because of one dark overlord, Mara Prescott's mind was reciting Psalm 118:6 as she closed her eyes and tried to forget about the things her head made her see.
The hallucinations began getting worse towards fourth year and Mara found herself growing into her namesake, growing more and more bitter as every day passed and soon enough, Mara had seen the hallucination that would soon leave the Wizarding World tilted on it's axis; the death of Cedric Diggory. It hadn't happened like she expected; she hadn't seen it happen and as she walked into the girl's lavatory that day, she had the audacity to believe that it would be a good day and that for the first time in a long time, her mind would grant her peace.
And then she turned around.
Cedric Diggory's body was laying at the foot of the stall. His glazed-over eyes staring at her as his hand stretched out, getting ready t― and she screamed. She screamed as loud as her lungs could take and when they couldn't take anymore, she began sobbing, gasping for breath as Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall and groups of students ran in, trying to find the pin-point for her screaming. And when they couldn't and Dumbledore started questioning her, she yelled even louder and began pointing, sobbing as they couldn't believe her. "PLEASE TELL ME YOU SEE IT. IT'S RIGHT THERE. IT'S NOT JUST ME!"
One last word came out of her mouth in the form of a whisper, "Please."
She got taken to the hospital wing soon after that. Madam Pomfrey watching over her as she slept and taking note of every whimper that came out of her mouth and every tremble that came over her body.
Something wasn't right with Mara Prescott and everyone was finally taking notice.
It didn't help that the one person at school who knew the slightest thing about Mara's hallucinations wasn't currently speaking to her and hadn't spoken more than a "Bloody hell, are you alright?" to her since second year and she was forced to live through half of the worst school year alone, bitter, and despondent. Her mind wasn't what it used to be and now it was filled with images of a young Tom Riddle doing everything he could to make her go insane.
When Christmas came and went, Mara found herself again in the hospital wing. Only this time, she had seen Him. It happened during passing period; she had been walking to Defense when out of the corner of her eye, a very familiar man appeared. She wasn't an idiot, she knew who it was. She had been seeing him since second year, but it had never been like this. She tried to ignore him; tried forgetting that he was there, watching as she set her mind on going to Defense. She would not have a breakdown. Not today.
Not today, she thought. You hear that mind? Not today.
It happened as she walked down the stairs to Moody's classroom, two at a time as she was already running late. Theodore was walking close behind her, talking about how Daphne and Tracey had gone down early to save seats for them when she heard it. It was soft at first, but as she got closer and closer to Moody's classroom, it got louder and louder.
A soft hissing sound that soon turned into cruel, mocking laughter and it stopped her dead in her tracks. Theodore quickly moved in front of her, his hand reaching out to steady her as she began trembling. His mouth uttered her name as a question, but all Mara could do was turn her head slowly and watch as Tom slowly morphed into someone else. He wasn't Tom anymore; this man was much taller, his skin egg white and his eyes were not the same warm brown as before.
They were red.
And she began running. Theo ran after her, shouting after her, but she couldn't think clearly. All she knew was that Voldemort was right behind her with his wand raised and she wasn't safe ― She wasn't safe. She wasn't safe. She wasn't safe.
"STAY AWAY FROM ME. STAY AWAY, PLEASE. NOT ME. I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. PLEASE!"
Theodore finally managed to get his arms around Mara's waist, trying to get her to stop squirming, but her eyes weren't still on the figure in front of her. Voldemort's wand was now high up, his mouth forming the words she wouldn't be surprised to hear.
"MR. NOTT, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?"
Professor McGonagall had shown up, having had students run into her classroom, screaming about how Mara Prescott was having another fit and it seemed like Moody was close behind with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in tow. Theodore hesitated to speak; he, himself, wasn't even sure what the hell was going on. As he sighed and got ready to speak, Mara interrupted him as a shrill scream left her mouth.
"IT'S VOLDEMORT. HE'S TRYING TO KILL ME. PLEASE HELP ME. TH― THEO PLEASE. PLEASE."
McGonagall's face had gone pale and with Theo's help, they had managed to get Mara off the floor and standing. McGonagall quietly instructed Theo to accompany Mara to the infirmary, stating she would be there with Professor Dumbledore and Mara's head of house as soon as possible. She stood there and watched as Theodore struggled with Mara before she sighed and turned, imploring Moody to take care of the crowd that had surrounded them as she ran off to find Dumbledore.
Mara, who was still shrieking and squirming in Theo's hold, turned her head to stare at those behind them, screaming at them to help her. And as she did so, she managed to catch Moody's eye.
And he smirked.
Mara woke later that night to find someone she hadn't spoken to in a long time sitting at the foot of her bed. Even as her body cried with pain, she pushed her hair behind her ear and managed a smile. "Took you long enough," she whispered.
Ron Weasley's face became red with embarrassment. "Shut up," he whispered back.
Even as Mara rekindled her friendship with Ron Weasley little by little, she would come to realize that the hallucinations would not go away. The hallucinations did not care if they hurt Mara both physically and mentally ― they did not care if they hurt Mara to the point where she just wanted it to stop and wanted everything to be over. They did not care if Mara would come to feel guilty as she sat in the Quidditch Pitch watching as Amos Diggory cried over his son's dead body, thinking she could have stopped it from happening if she had just told someone.
They did not care if Mara Prescott was now scared of living as she heard Harry Potter utter the very words Mara had said only a few months prior.
The hallucinations were there to stay and because of that, Mara Prescott would burn.
C A S T:
NAOMI SCOTT: MARA PRESCOTT
COURTNEY EATON: TRACEY DAVIS
FREYA MAVOR: DAPHNE GREENGRASS
FRANCISCO LACHOWSKI: THEODORE NOTT
S O U N D T R A C K:
oh, apollo loved cassandra and for that, troy burned.⎮i. gold dust, banners⎮ii. never be like you, flume ft. kai⎮iii. half light, banners⎮iv. monsters, ruelle⎮v. don't forget about me, cloves⎮vi. this love, taylor swift⎮vii. maria, matt cavenaugh⎮viii. constant knot, city and colour⎮vx. shark, oh wonder⎮x. runaway, ed sheeran⎮xi. haunting, halsey⎮xii. control, halsey⎮xiii. gasoline, halsey⎮xiv. silhoutte, aquilo⎮xv. guilty, marina and the diamonds⎮xvi. fall away, twenty øne pilots⎮xvii. here, alessia cara⎮xviii. anybody out there, civil twilight⎮xix. all my stars aligned, st. vincent⎮xx. river, bishop briggs⎮
A U T H O R ' S N O T E:
this is an hp fanfic that i have posted on wattpad (DON'T MAKE FUN OF ME FOR THAT) but i wanted some more comments on it and ppl on wattpad suck at that. i've worked really hard on this fanfic and have planned everything out to a t and so, i hope that people like it!! i've got the first couple of chapters written already, but since school is starting up and i won't be able to write as much, i'm not posting them all in one go. i will update bimonthly, maybe trimonthly?? we'll see when school starts and if i'm not swamped with work & college apps by then.
please let me know what you thought and how i can improve my writing!! constructive criticism is very important to me, so i hope you guys can tell me how to get better!! and if anyone wants to beta, message me!! my twitter is @jennacoiemans and my wp is pieiades!!
thank you so much for hopefully reading and enjoying!!
MARA HADN'T SPOKEN SINCE Theodore and Daphne had walked her back, albeit reluctantly, from the hospital wing following a collapsing moment outside the great hall. The only words she had grudgingly spoken in the past half-hour were a quiet grumble as Daphne placed a wet cloth on her forehead ― something Madam Pomfrey had told her to do as soon as they reached the dungeons, huffing as Mara refused to stay in the infirmary.
"The calming draught won't help if you go back out into a stressful environment, Ms. Prescott,"
"Mara, please listen to her!"
Mara would have listened to them, but she caught sight of Harry Potter entering the hospital wing followed by Dumbledore and all she could think about was Cedric Diggory and how everyone had finally seen what she had seen a few months ago in the girls' lavatory, the only thing different was the location and she couldn't take it. The guilt was oozing out of her like blood and all she could think as she stared at the bruised and bloodied boy in front of her was that she shouldn't be there. Not when Harry had witnessed someone dying while trying to survive an assassination attempt. Not when someone had actually died.
Who was she to complain about a panic attack and a couple of headaches when a boy had died?
It took another calming draught to calm Mara down as the presence of Harry had caused an emotional outburst in her and by the time she had regained clarity, she quietly insisted that Daphne and Theodore take her back to the common room and didn't wait for a response as she began walking towards the doors, trying not to cry as she passed by Harry.
Theodore and Daphne finally caught up to her just as she was about to
MARA TOOK ONE LOOK at the room in front of her and then grimaced as she looked towards the small group standing behind her. It was kind of them ― really, it was, but Mara deemed it unnecessary for an entire group of people to watch as she got a bedroom presented to her. If they were waiting for her to have an episode, they were out of luck because she wasn't going to. By the looks of all that had happened the year prior, Mara Prescott was sure she was out of hallucination cells in her DNA and to be honest, she was worried.
It was strange, to be frank. Mara had begun to think of the hallucinations, visions, whatever the hell they were supposed to be as normality. She lived most of her every-day life being plagued by these sights that now that they were gone, Mara had no idea what to do.
These hallucinations, or at least some, left the spirit realm and actually became reality. And in a time where Voldemort was back and Mara's last 'Big' hallucination showed someone who actually ended up dying, Mara thought it would be better to be safer rather than sorry and she found herself hoping for even the slightest glimmer of the unusual sights that felt so familiar to her.
Because maybe this time, she could actually save someone.
"Sirius," she said, taking a gander at the older man standing a few metres behind her for the first time since her father had brought her inside the Black family home. "Are you sure you want me to stay here? I don't want to impose."
As Sirius began answering, Mara took the opportunity to get a good look at him and noticed he looked nothing like the Sirius Black in the photograph her father had shown her that morning. She wasn't stupid ― Mara knew people aged, but they weren't supposed to age like this.
Looking at him closely, Mara couldn't help but wonder if this is how all of them would look by the time the second war was over ― worn-out, unkempt, smiles that didn't reach their eyes appearing on their faces, looking like all the happiness had gone from their world. It was a huge difference from the younger Sirius in the photograph, that much Mara could tell.
That Sirius was lively, eyes bright as he laughed exuberantly at the joke ― Mara guessed ― the bespectacled boy with messy hair sitting right next to him had said. And looking at him now and comparing him with the photograph, Mara couldn't see any similarities.
"You wouldn't be, believe me. This house is too big and far too lonely for just one man."
Mara nodded unsurely, her head turning back around to stare into the room before her. It was a nice, simple four-poster bed room and as Mara looked closer, she could see the color of the wall was a faded pale green and it seemed like the rest of the room followed suit.
The canopy adorning the bed was also the same shade of green, as were the bed sheets and Mara couldn't help but wince as she realized this room most likely belonged to one of Sirius' many relatives in Slytherin. If she looked any closer at the walls, she would see a small Slytherin banner, the color faded away with the time having gone past.
Perfect for me, I guess, she thought.
"Are you sure?" She asked again, turning around quickly to face Sirius once more. He was standing by a half-covered up portrait of an older man with graying hair, presumably a family member, Mara thought. Going by the portrait of Walburga Black downstairs, it didn't seem like the Black family would have portraits of anyone who wasn't family.
Or at least, pureblood.
"I just wouldn't want to be a burden on you," She carried on, dropping her gaze onto the floor as she fiddled with the fringe on her worn-out leather jacket. Mara Prescott was a lot to take in and her hallucinations and migraines were the prime factor of that. She wasn't sure that Sirius or the Order knew what they were doing and she certainly didn't want to see them figure out that Mara was a handful later on and have it be too late for them to send her elsewhere.
Sirius studied her closely as she avoided everyone's eyes and kept quiet after her last sentence, realizing he had seen her once before during Harry's third year ― she had almost torn Malfoy's arm out of it's socket when she had seen him kick her cat away from him ― but with the bags under her eyes and the nearly thinning meat on her bones, she was almost impossible to recognize.
He knew of her situation ― the entire order did, but it still was a revelation to see how the hallucinations, visions, whatever she referred to them as, affected her.
And going off what she said, he had guessed she felt uncomfortable about staying at Grimmauld from the moment he heard her trying to convince her father to take her back home. She had secluded herself away from everyone ― teens, included and watched as her father conversed with Sirius Black: a person Mara had thought a murderer and ex-convict until this morning.
Still, his response was quick, almost faster than lightning.
"You wouldn't be a burden."
Looking at her in that moment, she reminded him a lot of himself at the age of sixteen. He remembered the day he had run away from home as clear as day and he remembered the way he had behaved when he first arrived at the Potter's even more. Sirius Black had been treated as the black sheep of the family for as long as he could remember and there wasn't a day that had gone past that his mother didn't remind him of the burden he was to those around him and most especially, to their family.
When he arrived at James', he knew the Potter's would take him in with open arms and open hearts because he was family, but that didn't stop Walburga's words from echoing inside his head as he stood in James' living room, watching as Mrs. Potter burst into tears when James told her what had happened.
And looking at Mara now, he could still hear those words.
"You wouldn't be a burden," he repeated himself.
"Besides, Mars―" the familiar red-head standing next to Sirius noticed the tension and spoke up, smiling at Mara as he nodded towards the bedroom. "Hermione and I picked the room out for you."
Somehow, hearing Ron speak and seeing Ron there made Mara feel a bit more comfortable about staying at Grimmauld. Knowing she had friends here ― knowing she had Ron here made it feel better.
"Thought it might make you feel more at home." Ron continued, teasing her about how similar the green-filled room likely was to the Slytherin dormitories and as he witnessed Mara lose some of her rigidness, his eyes brightened and his smile got a bit softer. He stepped forwards to try and get closer to her before the older woman standing next to him stopped him by placing an arm on his shoulder.
"You'll be safe here, dear," Mrs. Weasley nodded at her and then motioned for Mara to step aside from the door, confusing Mara for a few seconds until she saw two identical red-heads beginning to carry her luggage into her room. Fred rolled his eyes exaggeratedly as he walked past Mara causing her to laugh and whisper a faint, "sorry."
Mrs. Weasley didn't notice, however, as she was already hounding Mara about how peaky she looked and reminded her that dinner would happening right after the Order meeting was over. Giving her one last smile and another "you'll be safe here," she ordered everyone to leave Mara alone so she could rest a while until dinner. Ron tried to fight against what his mother was saying, but that only ended up in him getting dragged along by his ear as Mara and the rest watched. One quick wave and he was gone and everyone else followed suit.
Before Sirius managed to get far, Mara called out his name, mentally cringing as she realized she didn't know how to put into words how grateful she was for Sirius letting her stay, but how worried she was that he would come to regret it. As he stood there waiting for her to say something, Mara sighed and just said the two words that came to mind. She couldn't stop him from regretting letting her stay and she couldn't exactly warn him that that would happen ― that she knew it would.
"Thank you," she whispered, smiling faintly at Sirius.
He shook his head, "There's no need to thank me."
Only one of them knew, however, that those were the exact words Mrs. Potter had said on the night of Sirius' arrival to their home.
There's no need to thank me, Sirius. You're family and family protects family.
Mara sighed after realizing Sirius had left and she now stood alone in a cold, empty hallway. Stepping back into her room, Mara got quick to putting her clothes away in the empty drawer unit in front of mirror, carefully folding every article of clothing so as not to crease it. She wasn't sure if Sirius would have an ironing machine and to be honest, she didn't think he would. It had taken her family a while to get one and they were purebloods living in a muggle community.
For someone who had only just recently gotten out of Azkaban and lived in a house that hadn't been habitable for years, having an ironing machine seemed unlikely.
After having finished that, Mara realized there wasn't much more she could do to keep her occupied besides sleeping and reading her muggle books and she wasn't about to read during the summer unless it was absolutely necessary ― Hermione already did that enough for the both of them. Besides, sleeping never hurt anyone. Nothing had ever gone wrong with sleeping. How could it?
But after laying in bed, Mara could only think of when Mrs. Weasley told her she would be safe here and as she tossed and turned, trying to get some shut-eye, her mind revolved around the only thought in her brain at the moment.
It's not my safety I'm worried about.