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Chapter 10: Confusion
A/N: CHARLIE'S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah; I couldn't let her get stomped on by James and not have her make a comeback. (Though I'm really not sure who's the antagonist in their relationship)
On a more serious note: Seriously dissapointed with the lack of reviews recently. These chapters are important; I really need your reviews.
Anywho . . . ENJOY! (Ya'll are going to hate me at the end . . . just to let you know)
I don't own HP. 'Nuff said.
Simply amazing pic of Charlie by a muffin @ TDA!!!
When Charlie woke up, the first thing she saw was white. Pure white, almost blinding.
The next thing Charlie registered was pain. It was crushing her chest; each breath was really a wheeze. This actually blinded her, but she could make out a bunch of blurs surrounding her.
“Wha . . .” She started, finding her mouth dry, and her voice cracking from lack of use.
“Charlie?” Albus. Charlie knew it was Albus’s voice. Her best mate, waiting right there in the Hospital Wing. She wondered how long she had been out. Maybe she’d beat his record of five days.
“It’s me,” She croaked, as her vision cleared.
“Ms. Grace, you must refrain from speaking, at least for the moment. Your vocal chords and lungs have been severely damaged, and talking isn’t helping.” That wasn’t Madame Pomphrey.
“Where am I? What happened? Who are you?” Charlie asked, ignoring whoever it was speaking to her.
“Charlie, stop talking.” It was Austin. Austin was here? What the hell happened?
“You need to focus on getting better. We’ll explain everything as best as we can, but. . .” Rose started, and Charlie almost smiled. They were all here; she could see them now. Rose, Albus, Scorpius, Austin, and even Skye, Laurel, Fred, Louis, and . . . Professor Longbottom? Mr. Potter?
The person, who turned out to be a Healer, blabbered on, waving his wand. Some of the pain disappeared, but Charlie still had to bite back tears from the effort of breathing. He had placed a Silencing charm on her as to ensure she didn’t speak, but that didn’t stop the others.
“As Rose said, we don’t know all of it,” Albus started, taking her hand in his once the Healer left. “Actually, we don’t know most of it. There’s only one person who does, and that’s because he’s the one who saved you. The thing is, though, it’s-” Al hesitated, glancing around. I gave him a questioning look, urging him to get on with it.
“It’s James.” Scorpius said bluntly, scowling. Meanwhile, Charlie’s mind was racing. James? Why would James save my life! He hates me! Her mind kept going in the same circles.
“Thanks, Scor, I was getting to that,” Al replied bitterly, looking nervously at me. Then he explained everything, Scorpius and Rose jumping in occasionally, while Lily gave her own snide remarks. Charlie smiled; nothing had changed. She was still there, and so was everyone she cared about. Except James. . . Everyone else looked much more worried, however. Charlie guessed she would have been much worse, had it been Rose, Al, or Scorpius in her place. She had almost died. But she hadn’t, and that was why Charlie was so happy.
As the story went on, however, Charlie began to grow more and more confused and upset, because of James. He was the one who found her coughing up blood? He was the one who somehow managed to get the antidote right when she needed it? She didn’t understand; James had never liked her. Sure, he had put up with her for Al’s sake, but as soon as she joined the team he had made it clear where his loyalties had lay. So why did he do all that for her?
Rose stopped telling this part, looking towards Mr. Potter. Harry; he always said to call him Harry. Harry nodded, before taking a deep breath.
“Look, Char, I know James and you don’t get on, but you have to understand; he’s got issues of his own. Major issues. He’s here, he’s just up on the roof. My godson, Teddy, is talking to him right now, trying to get him to come down. It’s a lot more than that, though, but-” Harry hesitated, then decided not to continue. He just ran his hands through his hair like Albus always did when he was upset. James, too.
Charlie’s temper flared. Sure, James may have issues, but did it give him the right to treat her like dragon dung? Everyone has issues, but you have to pack it up and get on with it!
“What Uncle Harry is trying to say is that James needs to tell you himself,” Rose translated, her brown eyes watery. Charlie felt horrible immediately; she had put her best mate through hell because of this. This . . . after her dad . . . She tried to speak, cursing explicitly when she realized the charm prevented her from doing so. Austin and Scorpius chuckled slightly, before stoppin abruptly at the sight of the new arrival.
It was Teddy Lupin. He looked distressed as he talked to his godfather.
“Look, I’m sorry, Harry, but I don’t know what I can do. Nothing I’m trying is working. Ever since the first session, it just seems like he shut down. He won’t talk, not to anyone. I’ve been trying, but it’s not working. He’s not eating, he’s not sleeping, and I don’t know what to do! I’m trying, I really am, but James won’t respond. It’s like he’s there . . . but he’s not. I don’t know what to do; I just want him to be okay, like the little tyke who sent me pranking ideas all through Hogwarts. He’s changed so much, and I don’t know how I can help him . . .” The poor bloke looked at the point of tears. Harry looked him in the eye, putting his hand on his shoulder.
“You tried your best, Ted. James is just . . .” But even James’s own father couldn’t find the words. They both looked to me and swore, realizing their private conversation hadn’t been as private as they thought.
“James needs to tell her, but-”
“It’s obvious he’s not coming down any time soon, and-”
“If he doesn’t . . .”
“Who knows?” They literally finished each other’s sentences. That just added to Charlie’s fear. What was wrong with James?
“I’ll do it,” Laurel volunteered hollowly, standing up and stalking out of the room. Despite her tough exterior and turquoise hair streak, Charlie knew she was extremely worried, for both James and her. Her eyes gave it all away.
“Do you think Laurel will . . .” Scorpius started skeptically. I saw Austin snort with laughter.
“It’s Laurel. She’s a force of nature. Even bloody England and its rain would obey her.” Everyone laughed, before glancing nervously at Charlie. HOLY MOTHER OF MERLIN! I’M FINE!
“Love, stop glaring. It’s not good for you,” Albus said lightly, smirking at the girl in the hospital bed. She tried to respond again, but the Silencing charm was proving to be quite strong.
“Yes, yes, I know. You can’t wait to jump-” Her speech may have been incapacitated, but Charlie’s fists still worked fine. “-Bloody hell, Char!” Charlie just smirked back.
“That’s the Charlie we all know,” Austin said, ruffling her hair. “I taught you well, Miss Grace.”
“Don’t encourage her!” Rose scoffed, slapping her boyfriend as Scorpius laughed. “She’s almost as bad as Ja-” But she was cut off. Laurel had reappeared, sauntering in, followed by none other than the Potter in question. No one spoke, but they all started at James; thinner, troubled, sunburned, and huge-bags-under-his-eyes James. Charlie was confused; he had looked fine the last time she saw him. Then she remembered the conversation she had overheard between him and Rose.
“It’s getting worse-”
“I know but-”
“No buts, you need to-”
“I’m fine, Rose. I just-”
“-talk to Longbottom. Or your-”
“No! He’ll just make me quit-”
“You can’t play Quidditch forever, James!”
“Can you help me or not!”
“I will, but you have to focus.”
“I can’t, remember?”
“Still, James, you need to work on this.”
“I CAN’T HELP IT, ROSE! YOU THINK I LIKE THIS?”
James Sirius Potter definitely had his own issues, Charlie decided. After what seemed like an eternity, though it was only a few seconds, James spoke.
“I’m so sorry.”
Had it been any other time, Charlie would have exploded right then and there. However, this time wasn’t like the others. She couldn’t speak, and was in a good amount of pain, and James was . . . well . . . Charlie would say James was falling apart at the seams. She couldn’t fight someone who was falling apart. It was just wrong.
“She can’t reply, James. They put a Silencing charm on her because of the-” Rose spoke to James as if he was a child.
“THEN HOW COME SHE SAID SHE WAS ASKING FOR ME?” he bellowed, pointing at Laurel, before taking a shaky breath, his hand finding his hair. “Sorry, Ro,” he mumbled. Rose nodded, but his godbrother wasn’t as forgiving.
“James, you need to control this. This is why you-”
“Stop reminding me you’re my goddamn therapist!” This surprised Charlie. She had no idea James saw a therapist.
“Language, James,” Harry warned, his face furious. No, not furious . . . more like . . . frustrated and worried meshed together to create a face that can be confused with furious, if that made any sense.
James cursed again. “Charlie . . .” His face was pale, realizing what he just revealed. “It . . . it isn’t wha . . . what it lo- lo- looks like,” James stuttered, turning to run.
“Don’t. Even. Think. About. It,” Albus growled. “Charlie needs an explanation. And you’re the only one who can give it.” James swore vividly.
“Your mum would Scouringify your mouth if she heard that,” Professor Longbottom pointed out. James growled. Then he exploded.
“SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP! YOU DON’T KNOW A THING! HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO TELL SOMEONE . . . TO TELL SOMEONE WHAT I HAVE TO? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I JUST DID? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’VE GONE THROUGH; WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH?” James turned to his father, his face contorted with rage. But something terrified Charlie even more. Even though his voice was filled with rage, his eyes were still hollow. James’s eyes were never dull or hollow; they were always twinkling or glinting slight madness as he preached about Quidditch.
“James, you need to calm down. This isn’t helping anything. Come back when you’re ready to talk like a mature adult. Teddy will go with you, to ensure-” Harry started, his voice firm and steady, yet his hands shook the effort of remaining calm.
“I DON’T NEED A BABYSITTER!” James exclaimed. “I DON’T NEED TO BE TREATED LIKE A CHILD! IF CHARLIE REALLY WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED . . . THEN I’LL TELL HER! BUT I’M WARNING YOU, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LIKE WHAT YOU HEAR!” Charlie shook with fear. James had never been this angry before, not even at her.
“Fine. Tell us, James,” Lily cut in, trying to ease the obvious tension. She glared at her brother . . . but then she glared at Charlie, which confused the girl even more. James took a deep breath, turning towards Charlie.
“Now Charlie, this is all completely true. It may get a bit rough . . . but I want you to ignore everyone around you. Much of this is news to them, and most of them won’t like what I’m about to tell you, especially at the end. This is . . . this is going to be really hard for you to hear, but you have to remember it’s even harder for me to say. Think you can do that?” He sounded like he was giving a pep talk before a Quidditch game. That scared Charlie even more.
“It all started after the Quidditch game. We all knew you were sick . . . but not like this. I had this feeling, this premonition, if you will, that something was wrong.” Albus snorted, mouthing ‘premonition’. “Anyways, I knew something wasn’t right. So I went looking for you, and I found you lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood. I yelled for help, and you ended up here, in a coma. I was sent back to The Tower, and everyone was worried sick. You should be happy, Charlie, that so many people care about you so much.” James tried to smile, but it was more like a grimace. He coughed loudly before continuing. He was sick? “We didn’t know a thing, though. Until Uncle, I mean Professor Longbottom, told us where you were. We all came, and your Grandmother was here as well.” There was a bunch of coughs, most of them covering up swearwords. “Er . . . this is where it gets complicated.” He looked pleadingly at his father and brother, both who responded with looks that clearly stated James was not done.
“Then . . .” But all Charlie heard was mumbles. She put a hand to her ear, and Albus chuckled lightly.
“I don’t think we heard you, James,” he said, as though taunting his brother. James glared.
“Before I go on, I kind of need to explain this better. I haven’t been honest with you, Charlie. I know that you know that I have issues, but no one told you what. Do you know any Muggle conditions?” Charlie nodded. James didn’t have cancer . . . did he? “Er . . . learning conditions?” Now Charlie shook her head. “Well, I have three, actually, four of them, but one can be seen as both Wizarding and Muggle. Er . . . I have Dyslexia, which means I can’t spell for the life of me, and when I read the letters mix themselves up so I don’t see the right words, which makes my classes really hard, especially the essays.” That conversation suddenly clicked in Charlie’s head. Of course he would be frustrated . . . but what was with the “I can’t focus” thing?
“But that’s not all. I also have ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which means I don’t really have an attention span, but I’m also impulsive, and have issues sitting still. So paying attention in lessons is also kind of hard. The last technically Muggle one is ADD, which is Attention Deficit Disorder. It’s almost the same thing, but apparently I have both.” Charlie didn’t know James went through all of that on a day-to-day basis. Surely there must be a cure . . . right?
“There are Muggle drugs and Potions that can help, but for me they just made me tired and slow, which wasn’t good for Quidditch. And because my marks are so bad, Quidditch was really my only shot. So, because at age sixteen your medical decisions are officially your own, I stopped taking them.” James sent a pointed look at his father. “So my marks got even worse. Things got really bad the week before the match, and I was so frustrated with myself that I took it out on you. I’m sorry. It’s just that it’s like a bunch of hippogriffs are running around my brain holding shiny things and bright colors, constantly distracting me from lessons or essays, and when they finally leave it’s like squirrels are-” James was cut off, but Charlie was still confused. What did this have to do with the story?
“James!” Albus interrupted, obviously irritated.
“Right, sorry. So I was very frustrated, especially after I learned what happened to you. Then my dad and I, er, had a, er, disagreement about what I should do with my life, and everything boiled over, and I might have-”
“Might?” Albus asked incredulously. James glared at him. Albus just smirked back. Some things never changed.
“I had a, er, slight breakdown . . . for the second time. So I had to get evaluated and ended up getting my godbrother as a therapist, who said I have anger and emotion management issues and whatnot. Better, Allie?”
“Very much so. Continue,” Al said politely. Rose punched him on the shoulder. Charlie would have smiled, if she wasn’t so worried for James. Maybe he hadn’t hated her . . . he just had anger issues.
“We all went back to Hogwarts. We tried to figure out who did it, but we couldn’t get anywhere. We had our suspicions, but they weren’t proving up. We thought it was hopeless until five hours ago, when my temper may have snapped, and I managed to track down our suspect and get the antidote. Simple as that.” But it wasn’t. Charlie could always tell when he was lying.
“James is forgetting the part where-” Lily started, obviously pissed off.
“If he doesn’t want to tell her, he won’t,” Fred added in fiercely. They were hiding something from Charlie, and she knew it.
“That’s where we’re confused, Mr. Potter.” The Healer had returned. James glared at him harshly, but it was still missing its normal fire. He coughed again. (violently)
“Leave my son alone,” Harry growled. Professor Longbottom shot his friend a look telling him to back off.
“How did you acquire the antidote?” James didn’t respond, and it looked as though he was a million miles away.
“James?” Harry Potter asked his son. “If you want the person who did this to be punished you need to-”
“You can’t! He’s too strong!” James Sirius Potter looked like a child. James Potter looked frightened.
“Who, James, who?” Teddy asked, treating him as if he was a child.
“I can’t tell you!” He looked like he was about to snap. His eyes were darting around the room as though he was looking for an escape.
“James Sirius Potter, I am Head Auror. I need to know so justice can be done. I can protect you,” Harry assured his son, who had slumped against a wall.
“You know, you can always use Veritiserum. As legal guardian and Head Auror-” the Healer started.
“Shut up.” Harry glared at the healer.
“I’m not going to tell you. It’s too late, even you can’t do anything,” James spat, laughing bitterly. Charlie was terrified. She just wanted to help him. She remembered at the Burrow, and after she had hurt herself it was James who carried her back. So Charlie nicked Albus’s wand and undid the charm.
“Please, James,” she begged. “It’s hurting you; just tell them! They can help! I can’t see you looking like this! I’ll forgive you, just tell them! I can’t bloody hate you when you’re so fragile! I’m scared, just tell them!” Charlie was hysterical.
“Charlie?” he asked, his voice deathly quiet.
“Please . . .” she begged, her eyes almost watering. She just wanted whoever did this to her, to all of them, to be punished.
“Dear Merlin, just tell him!” Albus exclaimed. “You’re hurting her!” James’s eyes stirred with something. Fear.
“I can’t,” James whispered, before getting up and storming out.
“YOU CAN AND YOU WILL!” Albus roared after his brother. “IF YOU REALLY FEEL AS GUILTY AS YOU SAY ABOUT CHARLIE, YOU’LL DO THIS FOR HER! NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SELFISH REASONS ANYMORE, JAMES!” James turned around right at the door, his eyes once again blank.
“I’m selfish? Do you have any idea what I’ve done?” Then James just laughed.
“No! That’s the issue, mate!” Fred said exasperatedly. “We don’t know what you’ve done, but we know it’s big.”
“I can’t. It’s too late,” James repeated, his eyes scanning the room.
“Look, Potter. I don’t give a flipping bat bogey about your personal issues. From what I know, you know who did this to Charlie, who’s hurting her, and you’re protecting them. That makes you the pillock here, not me,” Austin reasoned, defending Charlie. Of course he would, Charlie thought.
“Why do you lot want to know so badly?” He asked skeptically. They all rolled their eyes, while James coughed violently, leaning on the door frame for support.
“James!” Charlie cried. She recognized that cough. The Healer realized she could still speak, but before he could put the charm back on her she burst out. “Why are you being so difficult? It’s hurting you; you need to tell them! Harry just wants to help . . . please. For me. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, especially you.” Charlie was crying suddenly, though it was now silent.
“Char . . .” Albus whispered, hugging her tight as she cried. The squeeze hurt, but not as much as crying or speaking. “Why won’t you tell us? Why are you being so dramatic about it all?” He asked his brother crossly. James was still coughing. When he finally stopped, he wiped his mouth. Charlie thought she saw red. After a long while James responded.
“Because . . . everything’s more intense when you have a time limit.”
A/N: Dun, dun, duhhhhn.
Okay . . . this chapter is UBER SUPER MEGA important. So I would really really really appreciate reviews, as I don't think I've got Charlie right in this. Thoughts?
What are you thinking of James right now? He seems like so much more of a jerk from someone else's POV, but from his you just can't help but feel bad.
Lastly . . . the bit at the end. What are your thoughts on that?
PLEASE! I really need the reviews! So go forth, minions; I command you to review!
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What do you mean I don't have minions? Ah well, just please review, dear readers!
Thanks a mil!