Character(s): Millicent Bulstrode, Anthony Goldstein
Summary: The first time that Millicent tunes into Potterwatch, she swears that it's an accident.
Author's Notes: the request asked for something that showed what the minor characters did in book seven. My goal - and, to be honest, I'm not sure if I actually accomplished it or not - was to sort of blur the house lines (see title) and show that not everyone has to be classified simply by their house association. I'm not sure if this is what you wanted, my dear mystery recipient, but I hope that you enjoy it nonetheless! ♥ Many thanks to virginia_bell for looking this over for me!
- Helen Kellar
Millicent is silent as she walks into the Great Hall, trailing far behind her housemates, wandering along just behind Longbottom and Corner. She keeps her head down as she walks, fingers clasped tightly in front of her, not daring to look up. She doesn't want to see Snape sitting where Dumbledore should, doesn't want to see the wide, empty spaces sprinkled across the other tables. So she simply takes her seat at the Slytherin table and stares down at the surface, absently tracing little drawings across the old oak.
Daphne takes the seat to her left a moment later and looks at Millicent as though she's gone insane. "Millicent," she hisses, nudging at her. "What are you doing?"
"She's just being daft," Pansy snaps as she takes the seat across from the two of them. Flipping her hair, she adds, "She just doesn't understand how lucky we really are."
This catches Millicent's attention, and she raises her head to stare at Pansy. "Lucky?" she repeats dully, unsure of where this could possibly be going.
Pansy stares at her again, this time almost as though she really does think that Millicent is daft. "Yes, lucky! We're here in a very pivotal time, you know. Headmaster Snape is going to restore Hogwarts to its former glory and -"
Millicent tunes out the tirade, instead looking back down and concentrating on her drawing. Her fingers fly over the oak, and if she looks closely enough, she swears that maybe she can see the outline of a heart.
Millicent will never admit this to anyone, but she wishes that it was Professor Lupin teaching them this year. He may have been a werewolf, she remembers as she watches Longbottom scream under Cruciatus, but she thinks that it is Carrow who is the animal.
The first time that Millicent tunes into Potterwatch, she swears that it's an accident.
She had made the choice to sneak out of the dorm the night before - a dangerous thing to do, nowadays, but she was so hungry - and she'd overheard two fourth-year Gryffindor students whispering about it to one another just outside the entrance to the library. The only words she had been able to catch were Potterwatch, radio, and James Potter. It isn't much to work with, but then Millicent isn't half as stupid as everyone seemed to think that she is, and it only take her two tries to get her radio tuned into the right station.
She listens intently to the crew as they talk about Potter and his friends, as they talk about all the things - all the deaths - that she hadn't heard about. She thinks that she should go and tell the Headmaster what she's found, thinks that she should turn it off and pretend that she hadn't found it in the first place.
Anthony Goldstein is the only Ravenclaw that Millicent has ever really had any interaction with. The fact of the matter is that they're both top near the top of the class in Transfiguration, and because of it, they've studied together on more than one occasion. She doesn't go as far as to say that they're friends, but she sometimes likes to entertain thoughts about what it would be like if they were.
Millicent doesn't have many friends.
"This is fucking ridiculous," Anthony whispers for what must be the third time in as many minutes. "We have to do something!"
"Like what?" Millicent asks dejectedly, watching with a morbid sort of curiosity as Ginny Weasley attempts to comfort a crying first-year Hufflepuff in the corner. If the gashes on the girl's arms are of any indication, she's most likely just gotten out of detention with their Muggle Studies professor.
"I don't know," he says quietly, leaning in close, "but there has to be some way to make things better around here. I wish we knew what was going on with Potter. Maybe that would help, you know?"
Millicent bites her lip, unsure if she should take the chance of telling him. But something in his eyes echoes with her - it's the same desperate look in hers, in Weasley's, in Longbottom's - and so she grabs her quill and scribbles four words on a small piece of parchment; Watch. Music. Potter. Black. Sliding the paper into the cover of his Transfiguration textbook, she ignores his confused look and leaves the library.
He's smart, she tells herself. He'll figure it out.
The second time - the third time - that Millicent tunes into Potterwatch, it's entirely intentional.
"We'll be studying the use and effects of Stupefy today," Professor McGonagall says briskly as she enters the classroom. She does not look at her students when she arrives at the desk, instead slamming a pile of books and parchment down.
The sound echoes around the room as a small murmur breaks out amongst the students. Up in the front of the room, Millicent notices Anthony lean over and mutter something to Terry Boot. A moment later he half-turns in his seat and looks back at her, the expression on his face clearly confused. Millicent shrugs in reply, unsure of what's going on.
Beside her, Daphne leans over. "Has McGongall gone insane? This is Transfiguration!"
Millicent stares at McGonagall and, noticing a still-fresh cut on her face, thinks that she hasn't.
Anthony disappears on a Tuesday, along with three other Ravenclaw boys. The Headmaster is upset, Millicent hears through the grapevine. The Carrows are furious. The other professors seem partly amused, partly worried.
Millicent is scared.
She doesn't listen to Potterwatch again, after that.
When Pansy shouts for someone to grab Potter, Millicent wants nothing more than to reach across the table and slap her. She probably would have, too, she thinks, if the other students in the Great Hall hadn't beaten her to it and - despite the severity of the situation - Millicent can't help but appreciate the sight of Pansy trembling under such scrutiny.
The feeling is short lived though. A moment later, Professor McGonagall is telling the Slytherins to leave the hall, and Millicent suddenly finds herself swept away in a sea of green and silver.
She walks with her head bowed, fingers clasped tightly in front of her. She does not look up, she does not speak. She is so utterly caught in her own thoughts that she nearly misses the sound of someone running and a frantic cry of, "Millicent!"
She turns just in time to see Anthony move towards her. "What?" she asks, looking at him tiredly. It's been almost a month since he went 'missing', nearly a month since she's seen him, and there's a part of her that's still angry, even if she does understand why.
"Where are you going?" he gasps, panting for air, almost as though he had run a mile instead of the few feet from his place at the end of the Ravenclaw table to where they are standing. "You - you don't have to leave," he says almost desperately, reaching out hesitantly towards her.
"They won't let me fight with them," Millicent says bitterly, turning away from him and glancing down at her silver and green tie with resignation. "I'm a Slytherin."
"That's not true," exclaims Anthony, sounding offended.
"You know that it is," Millicent replies, still refusing to look at him. She blinks back what she won't admit are tears and clutches her hands together tightly, refusing to let him see her fall apart.
"Then don't be a Slytherin," Anthony says suddenly.
"I - what?"
Anthony has a look of concentration on his face when Millicent finally turns back to look at him. She's just about to speak when, to her surprise, he suddenly reaches up and undoes the knot on his tie. "What are you doing?" she asks, confused.
Instead of answering her right away, he moves closer and does the same to her tie, tossing it on the ground beside his. "There," he says quietly, reaching out a hand. "Now neither of us has any colours."
Millicent stares at the tangled mess of bronze, silver, blue and green for a long moment, the tears suddenly spilling forth. Wiping them away with her sleeve, she reaches out and takes his hand, giving him a small, hesitant smile as he pulls her back towards the Great Hall.
Millicent doesn't know what she believes in, but she thinks that maybe it's time she found out.