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Chapter 1: Too Late
This is a one-shot from James Sirius Potter's point of view. It reveals how James discovered and consequently felt about his brother's marriage. For the story surrounding Albus and Vivian, please see Twist of Fate.
I can hear her voice – Roxanne’s – around the corner. Grinning slightly, I slow down, trying to muffle my footsteps. Then his voice… Malfoy’s? What on earth has she got to say to him? The spawn of a Death Eater? Besides… she hates him. Hmm, maybe she’ll hit him again. I think that is something I would love to see. Then her name. Vivian. My heart spasms at the thought of her. She is nothing I have ever wanted yet she is everything I now want.
“Vivian? What has Vivian got to do with Al?” Roxanne asks. Albus. The guilt stabs in my chest at my betrayal… I am the only one who knows, I am the only one who knows he is in love with her. He has been in love with her for years. I never understood why… not until now. I cannot place my finger on it but she captivates me in a way that no one else ever has. And she has captivated Albus. I can never rid myself of the guilt… that I know makes the betrayal all the worse… that I am the only one who knows makes it almost unbearable. But I could bear anything for her. For Vivian Iris Nott.
“Oh Merlin… this is going to sound crazy but… well, Vivian just left,” the spawn mutters. Vivian has left? Where would she go? Roxanne voices my thoughts. “With a portkey… I don’t know but I have a feeling…” Oh, spit it out spawn! Where is she? I realise I am now pressed against the wall, eavesdropping on their conversation. I do not even understand why they are having a conversation in the first place.
“You have a feeling what?” Roxanne demands impatiently… I send her a silent thank you. “Malfoy, Al is my cousin, I have a right to know.” The good for nothing spawn mumbles something incompressible. “Excuse me?” Roxanne asks rudely.
“Please don’t think I’m crazy,” the spawn takes a deep breath. “But I think Vivian and Albus are getting married.”
My mind goes horribly blank for a second.
“What?” Roxanne splutters.
I close my eyes… trying to block out the blinding pain. She can’t. She cannot marry him. She doesn’t love him. I know she doesn’t. She loves me.
The sinking feeling of certainty swoops down on me. I have to stop it. I have to. Pushing violently off the wall, I sprint down the corridor, aiming subconsciously for the statue of the One-Eyed Witch. I shout the password at her and slide into the narrow slip. Running blindly down the passage way, I do not stop for breath. I need to stop. I need to get there on time. She cannot marry him.
I stumble on several occasions but I hardly notice: my mind is racing. Where could they be? If Albus had any say… Eventually, I feel the boundaries of Hogwarts fall away and without bothering to reach the end of the passage, I disapparate and hope to Merlin my gamble is correct. I cannot afford to be wrong. I cannot afford to lose her so completely.
The sky is grey as the world reforms around me… a world that will shatter if I am not fast. I sprint the last few meters to the Church. It is a small church, I can see it from my bedroom window in Gordric’s Hollow, my parents were married here… my father wanted it, his parents had been married here too because Grandma Lily was a muggle born… she wanted to get married in a proper Church. Albus is a sucker for tradition…
The doors are heavy as I push them open.
Please let me be right.
Please let me not be too late.
In the back of my mind, I register the old wizard’s words. I was right. Before me, standing hand in hand, is my brother and the girl I love above all else. I just stare at them. I can feel the ghost of their sealing kiss lingering in the air between them. They both turn, their black hair ruffling in the breeze coming from the now open door. His green eyes: her blue ones. They look at me, unblinking, for a fraction of a second before she closes hers and turns away. I can see her heart breaking at the sight of me and I know… deep down, I know she still loves me.
I want to hurt him. Hurt him until he screams for mercy but I will not stop. How could he do this to her? How could he marry her when he knows she will never be happy with him? How could he marry her when he knows she still loves me? His betrayal is worse than mine. I only hurt him. He has hurt both of us. He has hurt me by taking her from me forever. He has hurt her by trapping her where she cannot escape: in matrimony.
Before I can act on my impulse, before I can give in to the dark thoughts clouding my vision, before I can break any further, I disapparate with no destination in mind. Just anywhere other than here. As the tugging feeling grips behind my naval, I hardly notice it over the shattering pieces of my heart… over the echo of the old wizard’s words… then I declare you bonded for life.
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