Sunday, June 09, 2013

Feathers and Betrayal

Spike twisted the bronze chain through her fingers, idly weaving cat's cradles with it.  A diadem, she thought.  Leave it to the Ravenclaws to have to use a fancy and particular name for a thing -- not a coronet, not a crown, not a tiara, no.  A diadem.  "What's the bloody difference, anyway?"  she muttered.

It had seemed like a good idea when she joined the gang in purple, the Order of the Phoenix Reborn.  A chance for mischief, an opportunity to foment some chaos.  To be the wrench in the wheel of the Knights of Walpurgis, safe behind the shield of youth and inexperience.  Making false Horcruxes to bring a schism into the unified Knights, to break them into factions that would trust that someone was strong enough to take the place of Voldemort and seek the banner to gather under, and to create another faction distrusting their own magical senses.  Meanwhile, this keeps their energies diverted and has the group acting at cross-purposes.  She sighed, looking at the clutter of unfinished practicals awaiting her attention.  Trouble is, it's diverting my energies, too.

She laid the chain down, twisting it into a series of loops.  It looks almost like a crown from this angle . . . if I could get it to hold steady . . .  Sascha broke into the room, something cradled in his hands.  "It flew into a window," he said. "Sorry to be disturbing, but, can fix?"  He held out the bluebird, beak open as it gasped for air.

Spike looked it over, from the splayed wings as it lay on its back, toes grasping an imaginary branch.  Its eyes still had a little light, but they weren't seeing anything. Its heart shook under the white feathers of its breast.  Its head lolled in his palm.

She shook her head.  I hate to do this in front of him . . . but I need it to complete the Horcrux.  "Give it here."

He handed it over, and she placed it gently on top of the looped chain.  "I'm sorry," she whispered, and it was over.  She pricked her finger and dabbed the blood, watching as the blue and bronze Horcrux formed.

"It had no chance, Sascha," she explained.  To him, and to the remaining feather that had fallen from the bird.  "It was gone in essence when it fell from the window; it was dead but didn't know it yet.  There wasn't any fixing, just ending.  You understand, don't you?"  Silence.

"Don't you?"  She turned, pleading, but saw only the empty room, the door left standing open.

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