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Chapter 3: What The...
A/N: Thank you for the reads, guys!
I know the first two chapters are a little slow, but things will get more and more interesting as the story progresses. So, stick with me! ;)
As always, I would love if you could review, too!
Sorry for this long A/N. :/
I blink and find that I've been staring at the ceiling for quite a bit.
James raises his eyebrows.
Wait... What did he just call me?
"You've been looking at the ceiling for a minute now. I'm surprised there isn't a hole up there, by now."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Dora..." He steps closer and looks me in the eyes. "We need to talk."
My heart starts to pound, as my eyes get lost into his chocolate ones. I feel a shiver going down my spine.
Is he really going to say it? Is he gonna say...
"James!" Aunt Ginny shrieks as she spots us in the hallway. "Thank Merlin! I need your help in the garden. Your dad's late and I have no clue where all the other boys went. They're probably hiding somewhere from me."
I try not to laugh.
Aunt Ginny loves to torture the boys with some garden work, from time to time. And she makes sure they don't use magic. She usually spares the girls. But Lily loves spending time there anyway.
Aunt Ginny then looks at me. "Oh, Dora! You're so red!"
At first, I don't understand what she means, but then I look at my arms.
I knew I didn't expose my body to the sun for a reason!
"Wait! I know exactly what you need to do!" She disappears into the kitchen.
James opens his mouth again, but aunt Ginny is already back, carrying...
"Yogurt? Mum?" James looks at her in disbelief.
I join him.
* * *
"I feel smelly!" I cry while laying on the extra bed that uncle Harry conjured in Lily's room.
It's a miracle it fits in, really.
"That's because you are." Lily laughs.
I trow a dirty look in her direction.
"I don't understand how you're not red anymore. I saw you burning up just hours ago!" I say and try not to touch any part of my yogurt-covered body.
"My skin is used to it by now. The red just turns into brown." She smiles sweetly.
Great. Even the sun hates me.
I look around the room.
I feel like an old person tied to her bed with nothing to do. And Lily looks like she's about to have a nap.
"Can I ask you a favour?" I gaze at her with my puppy-dog eyes and take the chance while I still can.
She gets up and laughs. "Sure. I guess you're kind of like a sick person right now. What do you want?"
"Thanks, Lily! Maybe something to read?" I suggest.
"We have 'Daily Prophet'." Lily shrugs.
"That'll do. You're the best!" I say as she gets up.
Lily smiles shaking her head in that 'Yeah, right!' way and goes downstairs.
That's when her eldest brother decides to enter her room. He was obviously waiting for his sister to leave.
He glances at me nervously. Or is it just my imagination?
"Dora, I... Oh, wow... It does smell." He takes a step back.
"It stinks, to be exact."
He actually laughs. Has he ever laughed with me and not at me?
I don't quite remember...
He sighs. "Should I come back later?"
"I think that would be for the best." I nod.
He does too and leaves the room.
Did I just have a chat with James Potter?
All this time I was sure I couldn't stand him for who he is and now... Now I wonder if it was just my hurt feelings, because he didn't accept me as his cousin.
I mean, when I think about it...
Do I even know who James really is?
No. He never let me find out. He has always shown this... offensive, harsh person to me.
But... Deep down, I've always known there is more to James Potter than that. Everyone knows it. I was just led into seeing him like this. I had no choice. To me, he has always been James Sirius Potter-the bully.
But if I come to know him truly...
Can I like him as a person? Can we actually get along? Can we get to a place where our love for each other isn't forced and is... genuine?
If all this time I was just hurt, does it mean that James' apology is all that I need for us to be an actual family?
Or are we going to end up as our dads? Just a pair of strangers with the same blood.
I almost jump at Lily's voice that wakes me up from my thoughts. She hands me the paper.
"Was James here? I just ran into him on the stairs."
"Yeah... He's calling me Dora now."
Lily smiles and frowns at the same time, as if not quite believing what she's hearing. "Really?"
She sits on her bed. "I guess dad's right, then. Maybe James is finally growing up. But honestly, though... I think that deep down you're his favourite cousin. He's just been jealous of your coolness."
I raise my eyebrow. "That must be way deep, then."
Lily chucles and sighs as she stretches across her bed.
I open the paper.
When I read the 'Daily Prophet', I usually first do so with aunt Ginny's Quidditch column. I follow the tradition once again.
At once, the headline catches my attention.
Receaves A Golden Snitch For Life Achievement
"Hey, Faldo's dad got a Golden Snitch." I mutter, confused.
"Really?" Lily walks over to me to look at the article. "Wow! That's so cool!"
I wonder if Junior heard about this.
He is so weird.
* * *
Ok, I'll admit. With all these great things happening to Faldo, I'm curious as to why he's so... off.
As I finish my shower, I go to Al's room to talk to him. And try dig something up. It's not like I have anything better to do, anyway.
Plus, Lily is fast asleep. I'm bored.
Al's room is bigger than Lily's. That allows it to take in three beds. The color of green is everywhere. And, sure enough, I spot my favourite part of his room. A board above his bed that contains all of his dearest memories. There's also a picture of us two hanged there.
As I glance at the whole room, I find that there is only one person in it. And that he's packing.
"You going somewhere?" I smile at Scorpius.
He smiles back at me.
"Well I am, actually. Dad and mum want us to visit aunt Daphne last minute before Hogwarts, so..."
I make a sad face.
"Oh, come on, Dee. Just admit that you can't wait for me to go."
I embrace him. "You're an arse."
As we part I take a look at Faldo's bed and take the chance to bring him up.
"Faldo's dad got a Golden Snitch. Did you know that?"
"You serious? That's great! Man, Chill has the best Quidditch genes."
"Can't wait to see those again." I say sarcastically.
I never watch Quidditch. And especially not Faldo playing it. Even though I've heard he makes quite a show.
"Actually, Chill won't be in the team anymore." Scorpius says while folding a pair of jeans.
"Thank Havens, you decided to trow him out!"
"No." Scorpius fixates his gaze on me. "It was him. He wants to drop out."
I must say, this takes me by surprise. I thought he was more than quite fond of the sport.
"Yeah." Scorpius nods. "The team was not happy, to say the least."
What is this all about?
Faldo himself walks in and ends my line of thoughts.
"Blue, how's the sunburn?" He smiles.
I rose my shirt, way up to my bra, and show him exactly how the sunburn is doing.
He looks a little startled. Even Scorpius is quiet.
"You just saw it for yourself. Now, stop asking me about it! Scorpius..."
"Come by later. I want to talk to you about something."
And I leave the room, ignoring the boys' confused looks.
* * *
As Lily is in the garden helping James and her mother and two of The Tree Pigs, aka Al and Faldo, have vanished Heavens know where, Scorp and I sit in Al's room again.
I look at our picture. It was taken in this same house two years ago, during my third visit here. The picture shows us playing chess in the living room downstairs. Al is smirking because he was winning at that moment. But I still won the match in the end. Ah, sweet revenge. A small smile finds it's way to my lips.
"So, what did you want to talk about, Dee?" Scorpius sits on his bed.
I join him. Our eyes meet. Blue on blue.
"First, you have to swear you won't tell ANYONE what I asked you. Oh, and that you won't make fun of me because of it." I have the most serious, a little murderous, look on my face.
Roxy would be proud.
"I swear!" Scorpius lifts his hand up, even though I can tell he's trying hard not to laugh.
I'm relaxed. Totally.
"Alright... Scorp, you're a guy..."
"Obviously." He raises his eyebrows smugly.
"Weeeell..." I tease him.
He doesn't look happy.
I take a deep breath in. "I want to know... what can I do to make a guy like me? I mean, what attracts you?"
Scorpius smiles at me in that big brother way, like he can't believe I'm finally asking him the question.
Don't get me wrong. Scorpius is very perceptive. It's only when it comes to matters of the heart that he doesn't notice things.
For example, we all knew long before he did that he likes Rose. It's the most obvious thing. That's why he never had a girlfriend. He's been in love with Rose ever since he started noticing girls as... well, girls. But he never had the courage to tell her.
You may think... Well, she must've noticed he likes her, at least. But, no. This is actually a 'quality' she shares with Scorpius. She hasn't got a clue he likes her. You have to tell her what you really feel. And Dorian Thomas was the first to do so.
But don't think that Rose hates Scorp. In spite all of her dad's warnings, she doesn't give her everything to avoid him.
Although, they're not exacty friends either. I think, to her, he's just her cousin's best friend.
And it kills Scorpius.
He's stuck in between.
That's another thing Scorpius and I have in common. Unrequited love. The ugliest thing the universe has ever come up with. It should be baned. Don't you think?
"Oh, Dora, that's a complicated question."
I sigh, disappointed.
"Every guy's different." Scorpius cuts in. "I'm sorry. I can't really help you, unless you tell me who it is that you like."
Scorpius watches me intently. I know he's waiting to see if I'm going to tell him my secret. Tell him the name.
But I can't do that. I love Scorpius as an older brother, but I just can't tell him. Or maybe that's exactly why I can't.
Scorpius notices my expression. He accepts it by slighly nodding his head.
"Just tell me what you like." I plead.
"Well..." Scorpius frowns. " I ... I like long hair..."
"Your hair is fine."
"Why, thank you." I pretend that I'm surprised.
Scorp rolls his eyes at my sillyness, but continues nonetheless. "I like curls... curly hair. I like smart girls... funny girls..."
"Ok, now you're just describing Rose, aren't you?"
"Sorry." He smiles apologetically.
I sigh. "We really are hopeless, aren't we?"
As it proves to be a rhetorical question, Scrop and I share a depressed look and sigh in unison.
He is never going to fall for me. Even if he takes his eyes of Dawn Young for a moment, I'm sure he'll be looking in another direction. One that doesn't include me.
Do I purposely fall for guys I can't have? Although, he is the only one. There are no guys.
But... If so, what does it mean?
* * *
James and I don't really get the chance to talk that day.
When aunt Ginny walks back in the house, it is clear that she's upset. She avoids to look anyone in the eyes.
Even though we're all siting in the living room, she escapes to the kitchen. Actually, I suppose that's the reason why she does it.
"What's going on?" I ask Lily while James joins Al, Scorp and Faldo in playing Magic poker ( Which I just can't seem to understand. What? Don't look at me like that! It is way more complicated than muggle poker. ).
It is clear they're all absent minded, though.
Lily sighs. "It's dad. Look how late it is. And he still hasn't showed up."
She's right. It's almost midnight now.
And then it hits me.
An unnerving feeling awakes from the bottom of my stomach.
"It happens, you know." Lily explains, but I can hear her voice trembling. "Once in a week. And if we're lucky, once in a month. He is an Auror, after all. Mum tries to have an optimistic face. But in the end, it gets to her. It gets to all of us."
I know he's an Auror. But it's just something you go with. You don't think about it.
Until something like this happens.
And it scares me. My dad's a chef. And I still worry from time to time... The oven can explode or... Yeah, I know it's silly. But it can still happen. I try not to think about it.
It's not easy.
"It must suck being his daughter sometimes." I say, a little shaken.
"Yeah... But I wouldn't have another dad even if he was Merlin himself."
I smile at her and nod my head slightly.
I know what she means. I guess we're here where we are for a reason. Even though I don't believe in fate, it... kind of makes sense.
Suddenly, a crash.
We all stand up, startled. Aunt Ginny runs out of the kitchen.
For a moment, a very long moment may I add, nobody moves.
Then, the door gets open. I don't really see anything because aunt launches herself on someone. I suspect it's uncle Harry. I only hear. And I hear her scream. Yell. And then sob.
It is uncle Harry.
Aunt Ginny mumbles something between her cries. It sounds suspiciously like 'jerk' and 'idiot'.
They finally move from the door into the living room with us.
James, Al and Lily greet their father by hugging him and so do I.
That's when I see he has a black eye.
"Rough day?" James asks.
"Well, you should see your uncle Ron. I'm so glad I'm not him. Hermione is scary when she's angry."
"Yeah. And mum clearly isn't." Al adds.
And then, finally, we all laugh. Even aunt Ginny through her tears.
I can feel part of the tension melt. But, it isn't gone completely.
Uncle Harry turns to his wife and kisses her passionately on the lips. James, Al and Lily make squeamish noises while the rest of us cheer.
When they break up, aunt Ginny picks her index finger up. "Don't think that one little kiss will make things right."
"Fair enough." Uncle then smiles. "But, how about two? Or three? Maybe hundreds?"
He starts kissing her again and she laughs.
I love these two. It's like they still have a trace of teenage love in their relationship.
Mum and dad are a little different. They usually have this banter thing going on in front of people. But on countless occasions when they thought I wasn't looking, I have caught them being gentle and in love with each other. It's... sweet.
Don't tell them I said that!
* * *
Usually, when something like this happens, I start reflecting on my life. On life in general. How fragile it is.
But this time around, I'm just too tired.
The moment my head touches the soft fabric of the pillow, it floats into an unknown world.
Here I am. Walking down the street. Or is it a corridor? Not sure.
Darkness, sneaking around like a careful thief prepared to attack me, surrounds my body, my vision, my senses.
Then, a pair of hands block my sight entirely. A voice follows. But I'm not afraid. Nor surprised.
A crooked smile lands on my lips.
"Just a little more." He says.
"What are you doing?"
My voice doesn't show fear. Nor annoyance. But entertainment.
He leans in from behind me and I can feel his lips now almost pressed on my right ear.
"It's a surprise."
I laugh. "I hate surprises."
"Do you even know what hate really is, Dora?"
The way he says my name sends shivers throughout my body.
"Just let me guide you." He whispers.
And I do.
Minutes pass as he now holds one palm over my eyes and the other on my back, making me blush.
Finally, he anounces that we are there.
He puts his hand down and I gasp.
In front of my eyes, towering over the whole city, lit with milions of lights, is the Eiffel Tower.
The moon looks down from it's height, jealous because of all the beauty and the attention the Tower gets.
I turn around, short of words. He simply smiles, brushing my cheek with his fingers, looking in my eyes in a way I can't even belive is real.
"How did you know?" I manage to utter.
He leans in, inches away from my lips that yern, need his like a newborn child needs his mother's arms.
"I saw it in your dreams."
When our lips meet, I swear, a firework flies into the sky, shreding it's wild colors, and blows up above Paris.
Above the Eiffel Tower.
And I know.
I've simply always known it would be this way...
I straighten myself up, completely lost. I look around.
The familiar silver and purple objects... The poster of Saimon Reese hanging above her bed... The big mirror across it...
Yep. I'm still in Lily's room.
It was only a dream... Like always.
When it happened for the first time, I was eleven. It was shortly after I found out I was a witch. In all those days of confusion and almost agony, this dream was something that lit up my nights.
It looked real. It felt real. It still does.
But, like then, I can't seem to remember his face when I wake up. It's unusual, I know. But it's also true. I only remember the gliter in his look, the joy in his voice, the love in his touch.
Alright! I'm officaly busted.
Yes, this is the real reason why I want to go to Paris so desperatelly. And yes, it is rather stupid. I know.
This is also the reason why I ran off when Tate Carrington tried to kiss me once. And it's not just about him. I think this dream is the reason why I don't let ANYONE kiss me. I just...
I want to go to Paris. I want to... What? Seek my destiny?
I don't believe in destiny. I don't believe in dreams coming true like this. It would mean believing in visions. And I'm not Charlie. I don't do that. I'm rational.
But even so... Something, almost a voice in my head, always stopped me from kissing anyone. Or rather, from kissing Tate.
It's like... It was whispering constantly:
"You know this is not it, Dora. You know."
And I knew. I've always known.
I need therapy.
"Is it possible that you're sleeping with your eyes open now?"
I focus my attention on the owner of the voice.
"Bingo!" He snorts.
"What time is it?" I rub my eyes sleepily.
"It's... early. Listen, my dad's outside waiting for me. I thought we could say goodbye to each other before I go."
"Oh, of course."
We hug briefly. Lily is fast asleep.
"See you at Hogwarts, Dee. Oh, and be nice to Chill."
"You should rather suggest that to him."
Scorpius smirks and whispers. "You two have no idea how annoying you are, do you?"
I frown. "Isn't your dad waiting? By the way, why are you leaving so early in the morning?"
"Dad doesn't really want to confront Mr Potter." Scorpius explains.
"Yeah, I know." He laughs quietly. "Maybe I should just marry Lily over there and make them get along better."
"Well, Mr Weasley is an even bigger challenge." I wink.
Scorpius blushes furiously.
"You are an arse!"
"I know you adore me." I send him a kiss.
I punch him in his arm.
He laughs again and, with another 'bye', exits Lily's room without waking her.
I fall back into my bed wondering about family and its ties.
My dad was acting similar to Draco Malfoy before. He and uncle Harry were on letter terms. They didn't really see each other. I think dad was too angry with himself about his behaviour towards uncle Harry and he couldn't look him in the eyes. But when the 'bottle incident' happened, he had to.
I get up and walk to Lily's balcony.
Scorpius and his dad greet each other. There is no hug or a kiss, rather a nod.
I know Scorpius wishes their relationship was more warm. His face when uncle Harry embraces Al... It hurts me to see him like that.
He says Mr Malfoy isn't that bad. He just... isn't used to showing his emotions.
Mr Draco holds out his hand and Scorpius takes it. And in a split of a second, they vanish, leaving the emerald grass perfectly still and lonely yet again.
I lie back into my bad.
Should family matter that much? But who are we without it?
Although, even with a great family like mine, I still don't have a clue who I am. And that can be a slightly big problem. Don't you think?
* * *
Lily and I watch Al and Faldo play Quidditch. Lily is great at it too. But being the sweetheart she is, she doesn't leave me alone.
I know, I know, I'm going against my nature here. But it was either this or watching a game with aunt Ginny. And when she does that...
Let's just say the bruises on my left hand didn't appear by themself two years ago.
Damn, Faldo is good. I was hoping it was just a rumor. You know, fan-girls exaggareting.
He sure enjoys it for someone who quitted the team. I mean, it's obvious he loves to play. So, why quit in the first place?
I already miss Scorpius. Even though it's been just a few days since le left.
I love my family. But, Scorpius is my family too. Why did he have to leave?
I'm rabbling. Sorry.
Actually... this is my head. I can think whatever I please. So, bear with it!
James startles me when he speaks from behind me. "Dora, a letter came for you."
I get it from him. He looks at me significantly.
We still haven't talked.
Maybe it's better we do it at Hogwarts. We're going there in two days, anyway.
I open the letter.
You little slime!
Why didn’t you tell me you’re with Potters right now? I could’ve stoped by. Unless you’re avoiding me... Nah. I’m great. Why would you want that, right? RIGHT? Oh, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow at the Diagon Alley. So I can beat you up for this! Looking forward to that!
Roxy, the best!
I laugh as I finish it.
She really is great.
Roxy is tough. But not emotionless. On the contrary. Her toughness is actually her way of expressing her feelings. Or protecting them.
But it's usually anger. I guess that's why people are a little afraid of her.
James eyes me. "Can we talk now?"
I look back at Lily. She just shruges.
Yay, thanks for the support, dear cousin!
After a few seconds of hesitation, I finally decide to follow him.
James and I get out of their sight. We walk in silence until we reach a tree.
It feels nice, pressureless. But I know, the moment James starts to talk, it will go back to major awkward.
We sit under the tree, covered in a thick shadow. I look at the ground, pretending that the grass is suddenly very appealing and interesting. Even though a huge worm is trying to slip into a hole right in front of me.
I swallow a big amount of saliva and fear that I may somehow choke on it.
Well, I was Hitler, you know. I sure as hell deserve it. At least Charlie would approve. Of me being Hitler. Not the choking part! She is not that weird!
I feel like I'm having an out of body experience.
"Look... I... I know, ok. I know."
I look at him blankly.
He sighs. "I'm a jerk."
I stare at him.
"So you agree?"
Well, what does he want me to say?
"It's ok, it's ok. Because... you're right. I am a jerk. An imbecile, idiot, prick, whatever you want."
I cross my arms. I'm actually enjoying this conversation. Who knew, right?
James runs his fingers trough his thick hair. "I... I judged you because of your surname. Because of your dad. And not knowing, I became what I so despised."
And just then... My heart starts to pound a little too hard. I feel panicked.
"It's true. I tortuted you just like your father did to mine. And I feel so stupid for being so bloody blind!"
"It's all my fault!" He suddenly breaks down.
I can see his chin trembling and his eyes taking a darker shade of brown. "It's my fault you now hate me. And I can't even hold it against you. 'Cause, you have the right to. In the end, I hated you too..."
"James!" I yell, feeling like someone is ripping my heart out and walking all over it.
And I realize, it's James. And it hurts. Again.
"Stop!" I shriek feeling like I'm about to fall apart.
He looks at me with wide eyes, fear clearly dancing in his look.
I breath in, my voice now broken. "I don't... hate you."
"You... you don't?" He looks unsure if he should believe me.
I shake my head. "No. I just... just conviced myself I do. But when I think about it... It doesn't make sense. I'm just hurt."
He gazes at me looking guilt-consumed and takes my hand. I decide not to move. At least for now.
"Dora... I'm so... so sorry." He finally utters the words I wanted to hear all along.
From the day he first insulted and attacked me to this moment. But now that I have heard it...
"It's not enough."
I catch a trace of depression and desperation in his look.
"What do you want me to do? Just say! I'll do it!"
I take my hand back. I see it affects James, as he looks even more desperate.
"I... I don't know, James. I mean, look at us. We're talking about hate here. And we're supposed to be cousins! Does that sound right to you?"
"I know you're sorry. I can see it. But I wonder if the damage is just too big..."
"I want you back as my cousin." He mumbles, shaking.
I put my palm on his cheek and smile. "James, don't be silly. You never had me in the first place."
And I know. I hit him hard. His look is lifeless, his breath cold.
I get up. He catches my hand.
"Dora, please... Just... give me a chance! Be a better person than I am. Please. Please let us start over again."
I gaze at him for a moment.
Have you ever had a feeling that you're doing something right even though everything inside of you screams it's wrong?
This is one of those moments. When all of my arguments fall down and I only see a person who's deeply sorry. A being who wants a second chance. My cousin. My blood. And maybe someday... even my family.
James pleads with his hand still attached to mine.
"James... if... if you want us to one day be a real family and not just strangers... Try to become a part of my life. And let me be a part of yours. Just... let me in."
He now seems hopefull.
"But... I can't forgive you. Not now. It wouldn't be honest. You have to earn my forgiveness. And my trust."
He nods. "I know, Dora. And believe me, you've already done enough."
I turn to leave.
But before I can do so, James yells after me. "Dora!"
I take one more look at him.
"Thanks." He says through a light smile that graces his face and makes him look more human and close to me than ever before.
I nod my head and finally leave.
But as I near Lily again, a small smile climbes up to my lips and makes me think that my life as a punching bag is at last coming to its end.
That everything will finally fall into its rightfull place...
And then Faldo hits me with a Quaffle.
Well, it has to be yin and yang, right?