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Chapter 5: Mad Thoughts
A/N: I'm very sorry I haven't updated in so long, there have been a few challenges I've been working on that I'm very proud of. I'm very happy with this chapter, it's really long, but I thought it all went together really nicely, so I hated to cut anything out of this one. I would absolutely adore feedback on this. I haven't done anything so intense in characters thoughts before. Please tell me what you think. Even if it's short, it's greatly appreciated :) Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize, but I do own the plot :)
Well, here it goes.
“I'm Sirius James, who are you? And where did you come from?”
Ron starts cracking up...
“George? Why'd you stop?” Whispers Angelina.
“Um, there's a kid, and um... his name is Sirius James... That can only really mean one thing...” I whisper back.
“Wait, you're name is Sirius James?” Asked mum.
I look at Angelina and she looks just as dumbfounded as I feel.
“Oh Ron stop laughing, why don't you take Sirius James outside for some fresh air. I'll stay here and explain. I'll see you later buddy,” Hermione says ruffling the boys messy dark hair. Merlin the kid looks so much like Sirius, it could be him hit with a Shrinking Charm.
“Ok Hermione,” he kisses her cheek... What?
He picks the kid up and put him on his shoulders which makes the boy giggle. They head toward me.
“Ron, why is that guy's mouth stuck open?”
“Oh, that's what my brother does when he doesn't know what to say. He's had a big day. He'll get better soon,” Ron tells him. To me he lowers his voice and says, “You will won't you? I know nothing's right, right now, but we have each other to lean on you know.”
I nod, closing my mouth in the process.
“Listen to what Hermione's going to tell everyone guys, it's an interesting story,” he says before he leaves the common room.
“So much for getting out of here too soon.”
“George, the least we can do is listen to what's going on,” Angelina said with a shove towards the couch. Why things couldn't be simple enough that I could go upstairs, pack, and go back to my flat was beyond me.
“George, you look like you just want to escape,” Hermione say once I reluctantly sat down.
“That's pretty much it.”
“Well, trust me, once I tell you who that little boy is, you won't mind waiting a bit.”
“But, listen, I really...”
“Well, who is it then dear?” Asks mum, cutting me off.
“Sirius Black's son.”
“What?!!” Yells dad. Me, mum, and Angelina sit in stunned silence. Then Hermione starts telling us what she knows.
7PM George's Store
Click. Leaning against the door, I feel like I finally have a little time to myself. But I don't want to be by myself. Fred should be next to me. Why am I returning to the Burrow or the store without my brother?! How is it possible to have all these wonderful things happening when Fred isn't here to make them worth while? I slide down the door and pull my knees to my chest, trying to suppress more tears.
I know I'm not the only one feeling the confusion of the happiness and the sadness. That was certainly made clear during dinner at the Burrow. There would be these weird points where people would be talking happily, and then being really quiet. They'd talk about plans for the future, like Ron and Hermione finding her parents in Australia, then we'd get stuck missing everyone who's died and reminiscing. Trying to guess what the loved ones we've lost would be thinking, proud? Sad they weren't with us? Disappointed we couldn't save them? I really had tried tuning myself out of these conversations.
The thing is, Fred is my twin! He isn't anyone else s twin damn it! I give up, the lump in my throat is way too big. A sob comes out. And another. This is why I had to be alone. If I were to do this at home, everyone would smother me with, 'it'll be alright's' and 'it's ok's.' Can't anyone see that without my other half, I'm not going to feel like that right away!!
More sobs work their way out of me... Who knows how long they've been coming now.
Knock, knock, knock...
I jump near a foot away from the door, but stay silent. I really don't want to talk to or see anyone. Maybe whoever it is will go away.
“George, it's Luna. I know you're in there, this place is infested with Wrackspurts. You should really let me take a look at this place sometime. My dad taught me exactly how to get rid of them.”
Luna? What in the world? No, even if she caught me by surprise, I'm not letting her in. I don't have the brain power to try and figure out what the bloody hell she talks about. Maybe she'll think I'm sleeping.
“George, I know you're hurting right now. No one can understand this kind of pain you must be going through but, I talked to Professor McGonagall and she thought it was a great idea to go around to visit people. I don't even want to offer help with anything, people who grieve don't usually want it. So I really just wanted to ask if I could share a hug? After all I went through at the Mansion, I feel like I would like some human contact you know? That's why I asked Professor McGonagall about my idea. I don't feel like I have anything to give right now. But maybe sharing our hurt might work out better than trying to give good feelings that aren't quite there yet huh?”
I let that sink in for a minute. Silent tears of hurt still run down my face. She has a point. I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me, but I don't like the idea of giving up all contact either. Isn't that what's hurting the most right now?
I slowly walk towards the door. It's so quiet behind it that she might have left. I open the door quickly, not wanting to miss her offer, but there she is. Sitting on the step. Looking around at everything around her.
She gets up and gives me her dreamy smile, that is also tired, and hurt. This is why I hadn't wanted to open the door, whatever she says or does usually confuses the heck out of me. How this smile of hers cheers me up I have no idea. Maybe because the smile is what everyone feels like right now. Happy that the fighting is over, but worn out, and still has so many more obstacles to come.
It occurs to me that she still hasn't hugged me. She's probably waiting for me. I still haven't said I wanted one.
I shrug. What's the worst that can happen?
We both move forward at the same time, her arms go lightly around my waist she's so short. Mine go over her shoulders with my chin resting on her head. My first thought is that I've never been hugged like this. Completely neutral, and my mind seems to have gone blank from everything I had been thinking of.
She starts humming slightly, but I feel my shirt get slightly damp. Is she crying? She must be. Then, one by one, all the reasons there are to feel sad about enter my head. Next thing I know I start crying too. The only difference is that this is calmer. More natural. I feel more like myself this time instead of thinking, I never cry. Well, this has never happened before either.
We stand there for a while, on the front step of the store. Sharing our pain, feeling better, but not because of giving each other a good feeling. We are giving each other natural feelings.
Finally, Luna stops humming, and looks up at me. “Thanks for sharing that hug George. It doesn't make it all better, but maybe easier to handle. For me anyway.”
“I think so too Luna, thank you for coming. If you ever want to share a hug again, you know where to find me,” I say with a tired smile.
“Goodnight Luna,” and she turns around and skips away.
I skip away from George's shop to The Leaky Cauldron so I can use their Floo. I'm running a little late to visit Dad at St Mungos. I still can't believe what happened to him. He's not the same at all. I know there were bad things going on in the world, and I know there was a chance I'd get in trouble. None of what actually happened ever crossed my mind though. No one was around when I stepped through the arch into the pub, so I help myself to some Floo powder.
Momentarily I lose myself in the green flames and the warmth swirling around me. It's almost as if the fireplace was sharing a hug of it's own. It somehow gives me more strength to go and see Dad.
Abruptly, I slide out, spinning like a Fizzing Whizbee on my bottom. This time though, I can't find it in me to giggle like I used to. Instead I settle for my new smile I show people. I don't feel like myself though. Dad wouldn't have me moping though, so I flutter my eyelids to keep more tears from falling.
Right as I get up from the floor, someone comes out of the Floo behind me and knocks me back down. Merlin does he ever have a bad mouth. Wait, I recognize that voice anywhere.
“Luna?! I'm sorry I knocked you down. What are you doing here?”
“I'm here to visit my father. You must be here visiting your parents right? My father just might be joining them. I'll find out by the Healer soon.”
“Do you want company? I don't really have an appointment, just visiting.”
It surprises me that is his first question, not about the condition of my father, but if I want company. Before, I thought it might be better doing it alone, but now that I'm here, I'm glad Neville is willing to be around.
“That would be really helpful Neville, thank you. What about you? Do you want any company visiting your parents? The least I can do is return the favor. I might be going up there with dad anyway.”
“You know Luna, I think for once I would like some company up there. You know, that isn't Gram. She always seems to kind of take over when it comes to visiting, and acts like the people they were aren't inside them anymore. I think they are.”
We move towards the receptionist and she recognizes us immediately. Neville I'm sure she recognized because he always visits his parents, and me, well... My father and I sometimes get in here a lot when we're experimenting. No major damage, but enough that we've had to visit.
“Ah, Ms. Lovegood, yes, your father is, of course, upstairs; and Mr. Longbottom, you know where to go. Here's you visitors badges,” says the receptionist with a small smile. I try to return it like I normally do, but still can't quite manage it. I give a sigh.
We're walking down the hall, and Neville asks, “What was the sigh about?”
“Oh, I just can't smile the way I used to. I don't like it. I know it's normal to not be able to after going through a lot, but I somehow never thought about it before I couldn't anymore.”
“I know the feeling.”
We stop outside of my Dad's room. I can hear him from out here.
“MY DARLING WIFE! DEAD, SHE'LL NEVER COME BACK! AND MY LUNA! THEY TOOK HER, AND I'LL NEVER SEE HER AGAIN!”
I try opening the door so he knew I'm here. I knew it wouldn't help. But I still want to try.
“They must be giving him something to calm down,” Neville says. He grabs my hand.
“LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! I HAVE TO SAVE MY LUNA! OR LET ME DIE!”
I hold his hand tighter.
“IF I CAN'T HAVE EITHER OF THEM, I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE! PLEA--” and now it's silent.
I'm trembling. I love my Dad, he can't not know I'm alright. He can't be this way! I turn to Neville and start sobbing. I just can't take it. I can't be strong anymore.
“Luna, I'm here. I'm here for you. You go ahead and cry,” Neville says softly. I feel his arms wrap around me, and strokes my hair lightly. I think of George, and the hug I offered to share. Now Neville's doing the same for me. I feel tears on my head.
The door we're standing next to clicks open.
“Oh, Ms. Lovegood. You're here. I'm sorry you had to hear that. I was trying to administer the high dose of Calming Drought before you got here. He proved a little troublesome.”
I turn around to face the Healer, forgetting his name. Smethy-something. Tears are still leaking from my face, but I manage a nod to let him know I'm listening. Neville is still holding my hand.
“I do think it is best to move Mr. Lovegood from here on the first floor, to the 4th floor where the closed ward is for long term patients. Now, since you are considered one of the Hero's from the recent downfall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the Minister insists on covering your father's stay here. So in that department you have nothing to worry about.”
I nod again. What a shallow thing to say. I'd rather him not be here at all. I want my Dad back.
“Right, well, we'll get to moving him there then. I just wanted to confirm with you that your father is well looked after.”
“I still want to see him. Whether he's well or not, I want to see him. No, I have to,” I push past the Healer, and his objections, Neville right by my side. Right as I saw him, I stop dead in my tracks. I'll never get used to seeing him like this. He was like this last week, but in the time in between then and now, I must have gone into denial.
Now, I sink to his bedside and sob. I don't see how he'll ever be the same again. I love my Dad the way he was. Why couldn't he stayed the same? I've never felt this way before. At least with mum I knew for certain she wouldn't come back. I can't say the same about Dad... He's here, but he's not. People everywhere had said he was mad before... Now it's official.
Neville comes up behind me, and guides me up from the bedside. I have no idea how long we were there. “Come on Luna... Unfortunately if you stay here and cry longer, it's not going to make the hurt go away later.”
I stare up at him. Now that's what I would have said to someone else. I've never really been on the receiving end of that before. It snaps me out of it though, and I take the tissue he hands me. “Yes, and we still need to visit your parents.” I bend over to my Dad, and kiss his forehead. “Good night Dad. I love you, even if you don't know I'm here, I always will.”
We leave the room, and the Healer stops us in the corridor to tell me they'll be moving Dad in about an hour. I nod vaguely, I'm not too much aware of anything right now besides Neville's hand in mine.
I've never seen Luna like this before. Sure she's been worried but she's always had the little skip in her step, and spacy look in her eyes. Now, there's no skipping, and although she has a spacy look, it's the most saddest, hurt look I've ever seen. There's nothing I can do about it either, but hold her hand, and walk in silence with her. I mean, we're going to visit my parents next, how much more is there that I'll be able to do? Somehow though, with everything she's going through, she's slightly easing the pain that's always is in my heart when I go visit my parents. I think this time will be especially hard, since I want them to recognize me, and have proud looks on their faces. I've gotten that from most everyone now, but them.
We both dimly register greeting the Healer in charge of the room and make our way over to my parents. They're both sleeping. That makes it slightly easier for me to talk to them without them asking for more Droobles Best Blowing Gum.
Luna looks up at me questioningly, like, what do you want to do now? I gesture to some chairs. She pulls some over and sits right next to me, still holding my hand. I see the change though, that holding my hand now is more for me than for her. I give her a slight smile. Not much, but as much as I could.
“Hey Mum, Dad. I just want to tell you that so much has happened since I've seen you. Voldemort's gone. And so is Bellatrix LeStrange. According to Harry, he said I helped defeat him, but all I did was cut off the head of his snake. Maybe it was just really protective of him. I don't know. The thing is there are so many other people gone now. It's all been so different all I feel like doing is absolutely nothing. The whole year has been nuts.”
Luna squeezes my hand slightly and it snaps me out of it enough for me to realize, I have tears going down my face. I impatiently wipe them away. They've never helped me recover who ever I lost before. Why should they now?
“You know though, as nuts as the year has been, I've never felt more useful before. So, now I know I'm too useful to just do nothing. I'll have to figure it out. When I figured out what to do this year, I went ahead and led Dumbledore's Army while Harry was away. I think if I hadn't the whole school would have been a nightmare. I mean, it was, but not as much as if I hadn't. I finally feel like I'm living up to your name... No, that isn't right. I feel like I've made a name for myself. I'm not sure what I think of that yet. Maybe I'll be able to figure it out next time I visit. I love you guys, and I know you love me. I'll come back soon.”
I got up to kiss their foreheads, and Luna and I make our way out of the room. Once in the corridor she turns and gives me a hug. “I never really thought about what I'd do now that everything's over. I wasn't even sure I'd be able to leave the Malfoy's alive let alone think of the future. Now, I'll have to think about it. The only things I can plan on in the future now are the Sunday dinners at the Weasley's.”
“Me too. Luna, it just occurred to me, since you haven't been planning much. Where are you staying?”
“Well, most of my stuff is all back at Hogwarts. I heard nothing's left over at my house. Just a pile of rubble...”
“Why don't you stay with me and Gram? Tonight at least. You don't want to travel all the way back to Hogwarts tonight right?”
“I am really tired. I don't want to fall asleep with all the nightmares I've been having, but I don't think I really have a choice.”
“Don't worry about that, Gram always has a stock of it just in case. Especially nowadays.”
“Well then, thanks Neville. That'd be wonderful. She wouldn't mind me over?”
“Of course not. What are friends for?”
A/N: Sooo what did you think? This is probably the most I've gone into characters yet, and I'd absolutely love feedback on this. Neville, Luna, and George are some of my favorite characters other than the trio. I hope you enjoyed the chapter, and don't worry, the next one is a bit more fun :) Thanks!