I'll Stand By Your Side (Book 3)

Athena Black's seventh and final year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry brings more than she could ask for. Dolores Umbridge, The latest Defence Against the Dark arts teacher is beginning to take over the school in the Ministry of Magic's attempt to keep the news of Voldemort returning to power on the down low, and that doesn't settle well. Athena is the youngest member of The Order of The Phoenix and is determined to do the best she can to help, as long as she can stand by the sides of the ones she loves. (Book three to the Proud To Be series)

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Athena's POV

It's been two months and I can barely look at Fred without getting sick to my stomach. It's been getting worse every day and I think people are starting to notice. I don't speak out in class anymore, I don't make smart remarks and I don't make fun of anyone. I just sit quietly by Eli and do my work.

Come to think of it, Eliana is the only person I've really talked to other than Harry. George sort of stopped trying once he realized I wasn't coming back, and Lee just sends sad looks over at me now. I don't really eat and I honestly don't mean to, I'm hungry, but as soon as I swallow it feels like I've done something terrible, so I just don't do it. It's a little gross, actually. I can feel my ribs without even having to suck my stomach in, but even if I wanted to change, I couldn't. There's just no motivation.

"Athena!" I snapped my head up and looked at Eli, who was staring at me intently.

"Yeah?" I muttered.

"I've been talking for the last three minutes, did you catch any of it?" She asked.

"Well... No. Sorry." I smiled weakly.

"I am so worried about you, okay? You need to eat. Please, it won't hurt anything, just something." She begged. I looked down at my plate that had been empty since I sat down and I nodded.

"Okay," I whispered. "I will." I said and looked at her. She gave me a small, comforting smile. When I looked back down, food had appeared. I took a deep breath and slowly, but surely, ate and swallowed everything that was on the plate and didn't feel bad afterwards.

I looked around and saw George grinning at me from across the room. He looked so happy and I don't know why, but his smile made me want to smile too. So I did.

"Good job!" Eli smiled. "Now keep it up, I expect you to eat again tomorrow morning." She said, raising an eyebrow.

"I will, I promise."

***

By the time potions, our last class, came, I had no motivation to do anything. I think Snape saw and didn't push it, he knew his limits and he knew where to stop.

"Athena, listen." Eli snapped me out of my daydream and I looked towards the chalkboard.

"Yeah, sorry." I muttered and watched Snape writing something that seemed like instructions on the board.

"Draught of living death. You have an hour and a half. Go, now." He ordered and everyone scrambled to get what they needed. I opened my book and read all the instructions carefully before starting the first task.

About halfway through the class, Snape and his long black cloak came towering over to me. He stared intently at my potion for a moment, and nodded before opening his mouth. "What's the matter, Black? You look terrible." He drawled.

"Nothing that won't be fixed over time." I sighed and dropped the last of the ingredients into my cauldron.

"You've looked like this since you got back here this year. I'd say it's about time you've done something about it. At least you have something on Weasley." He told me. So he knew. Great.

"Oh yeah, what's that." I asked.

"You're ten times smarted than he'll ever be. And you're grades are dropping. The longer you worry about him." He paused and looked over at the ginger who was struggling and back at me. "The less of a chance you'll have at becoming an Auror. You can do a lot better, I know you can." I looked at him, and for the first time since I've met him, I saw something other than hatred in his eyes.

"Thank you, professor."

***

I collapsed on Eli's bed and curled up in her sheets, not wanting to do anything else. "You're such a lazy arse," she told me and I shrugged.

"I know, now come cuddle me I'm cold." I smiled at my best friend. She rolled her eyes and tied her hair up and the crawled into the bed with me, wrapping her arms around me.

"I don't think this is fair, you're always the little spoon. Is it because I'm fat?" She joked. It turned around and faced her, poking her nose.

"No no no. It's because you're better than me and I need protection from the world." I stated and she laughed.

"Whatever, at least let me braid your hair," she said and I sat up, and she pulled the layered, choppy black hair back so she could start.

She started with a regular braid and then gave up, because most of it was falling out, considering parts of my hair were only an inch or two long, and she French braided it, and gave up when she finished and my bangs still fell out. "You know what, it's good enough." She smiled and I nodded.

"Why you gotta be so pretty?" I asked her and pushed the hair from her face when it fell.

"Well-"

"Don't even argue, or I won't sit with you tomorrow." She closed her mouth and I smiled. "If you didn't know, I'm staying here the night." I stated and laid my head on her legs. She smiled and let me lay there, not making a sound.

"Athena?" She asked.

"Yes?"

"Do you still love Fred?" She asked. I say there for a minute and thought. Did I still love him? Well of course I did. I may not have wanted to admit it, but yes, I was still undoubtedly and terribly in love with him.

"I do," I whispered, and have a small smile. "And I think I will no matter what. It sounds stupid, but a part of me with always be his." I admitted.

"That's cute, but that fucking prat broke you. I don't see how you could still be in love with him for doing that to you. I'm sorry, but I worry about you sometimes." She told me and I sighed.

"I understand if you don't get it, I really do. But I still love him and I can't help it. It's pathetic, I'm aware, but he's... Perfect." I laughed stupidly.

"Whatever you say, Black." She smiled. I returned the smile and leaned up, kissing her cheek softly.

"Whatever, I'm going to sleep." I smiled. "I love you, Malfoy."

"I love you too, Athena Black."

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