Chapter 16 : Let Me Go
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I dream ahead to what I hope for
And I turn my back on loving you
How can this love be a good thing
When I know what I'm going through
In my head there's only you now
This world falls on me
In this world there's real and make believe
And this seems real to me
You love me but you don’t know who I am
I'm torn between this life I lead and where I stand
And you love me but you don’t know who I am
So let me go
Let me go
Christmas morning arrived quickly. It seemed as if the days grew shorter without James, horribly quick and unnerving. Lily awoke, her arms covered in goose bumps. She looked mournfully around her empty dorm. Hardly anyone had stayed at Hogwarts that Christmas. No seventh years had stayed in her house, only a couple of first and second years. She missed her friends, she missed her family, and most of all, she missed James.
It was her own fault, she knew that. She let Ethan Sullivan twist his way into her vulnerability. She hated herself for it, she was strong. She shouldn’t have let someone come between the two of them so easily.
James had headed off to his empty house with Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Lily had written to her mum and explained her wishes to stay at Hogwarts opposed to coming home. Leah had gone off to her foster parents’ home, Ruby to her family’s cottage, Erin next door to Potter, and Vita to France for the holiday.
They had all offered to take Lily home with them, although they were quite upset about James and Lily’s recent breakup. Lily had declined as politely as she could, knowing she needed to be at home for the time being.
Her thoughts needed to clear, her mind needed to become optimistic. She couldn’t stray the name James Potter from her head. It was stuck, immovable, irreplaceable.
As she walked down the cold stairs to the Gryffindor Common Room, hot tears strolled down her cheeks. Her green eyes easily became puffy these days. The room was empty, the fire was blazing. She hadn’t even bothered to look at the presents that sat at the end of her bed. The armchair resting before the hot fire seemed so much more inviting. It was calling for a heartbroken seventeen year old girl like herself.
Ruby Wallace sat on the edge of bed in her pajamas, fresh from awaking, reading the note attached to her present from Remus Lupin.
I hope your Christmas is as perfect as it should be. I’m stuck at James’ house with my three lunatic friends. James isn’t his normal, crazy self though. He’s been trying too hard to be fun, hoping to forget her. I can tell he misses Lily like crazy.
If you talk to her, send her my regards.
I must say I find myself missing you as well. You're such a lovely person to be around. It’s difficult for me to openly trust someone, but I know I can trust you. That is the greatest gift of all. You’re a beautiful person inside and out. I am lucky to know someone as remarkable as you.
I was unsure about the present I bought you. I hope you like it. If you don’t, don’t be afraid to tell me. I won’t be offended.
I wish you the happiest Christmas in the world.
Ruby smiled as she read the words Remus had written. She put the letter down gently on her night stand. The small parcel he had bought her was sitting in her lap.
She slowly untied the small bow and opened the velvet box. She saw a pair of shimmering blue earrings. She touched them gently, holding them in awe. They were stunning.
The door opened quickly and Ruby hastily tried to put the earrings back into the box. Mrs. Wallace stood at the door, her ruby red lips thin and suspicious.
“Who are those from?” she asked her daughter in a low voice.
“No one,” Ruby insisted, fumbling to close the box.
“They’re obviously not from anyone,” Mrs. Wallace pointed out. “They’re beautiful. Who would buy you something so beautiful?”
“A friend,” Ruby confided in a whisper. Her black curls were tucked behind her ears and she felt like a little girl in the presence of her mother. She always had. No one could make her feel so childish.
“Hand over that letter,” Mrs. Wallace demanded, eyeing the piece of parchment on Ruby’s nightstand.
Ruby obliged, sitting down sheepishly on her bed. Her mother’s eyes skimmed the words, her eyebrows raised.
“This Lupin character,” Mrs. Wallace mentioned. “Sounds a bit overwhelming. Are you paying him to say these nice things to you? Did he feel obligated to buy you those earrings?”
“No,” Ruby defensively cried. Her voice was raising.
“I mean, you’re so tall. I can’t understand how a boy could possibly find that remarkable,” Mrs. Wallace said. Ruby’s mum was a spitting image to Ruby aside from her short stature. Ruby had inherited height from her father and had always been ridiculed about having a boyish frame.
“Remus is tall,” Ruby said. “He’s taller than me.”
“You’re still the tallest of your friends though, aren’t you?” Mrs. Wallace said in an accusing voice.
“Does it matter?” Ruby asked.
“Of course it matters,” Mrs. Wallace shrieked. “I don’t want my daughter standing out like a freak.”
With that, Mrs. Wallace took the letter and herself out the door, leaving a teary eyed Ruby.
“Happy Christmas to you too, Mum,” she whispered, wiping the tears.
“More attacks,” Leah muttered, reading the front page of the Daily Prophet. “It’s Christmas. You would think the attacks would stop.”
“Unfortunately,” Leah’s foster dad sighed. “That’s not the way it works.”
“Twisted,” Mrs. Graham, Leah’s foster mum mumbled. “The whole lot of them.”
Almost immediately Mrs. Graham put a hand to her mouth and covered it in embarrassment. Leah nodded and walked out of the room quietly.
It was a well-known fact that Leah’s father had been a very high up Death Eater before he had been killed by Voldemort. Back when she was in first year she used to be ridiculed by Slytherins for her father’s cowardice. The fact that her foster mum said it only made things slightly worst.
She knew Mrs. Graham hadn’t meant what she said. She was just sad about the deaths. Leah didn’t want to be judged by her father’s mistake.
Christmas was a time for family, a time for joy and love. Leah didn’t have any of those things. The Grahams had adopted her when she was nine years old and had treated her as their own. Yet, Leah still remembered her mother. Her mother had been a kind woman, very pleasant. She had been killed by Leah’s father. With memories of her old family, it was hard to accept her new family.
She missed Sirius so much. He always knew how to make her smile. She still had about a week before she could see him again. She also missed Lily, knowing her friend was alone and confused right now. It would be hard to spend Christmas alone. Leah would know, she always felt alone on Christmas.
“Drunk,” Sirius declared, seeing a passed out James on the couch. A bottle of fire whiskey was open beside him, nearly empty. A strange stupor was coming off of him, lingering into the air obtrusively.
“James never gets drunk,” Peter justified. “That can’t be it.”
“You’re absolutely right, Peter,” Sirius mocked. “A near-empty bottle of liquor in his hands and a passed out James Potter couldn’t possibly point out the fact that he’s drunk!”
“Bloody genius,” Remus congratulated. “Good thing his parents aren’t going to be here for another week.”
“Poor Prongs,” Sirius muttered. “He had Lily, now he doesn’t. He had his parents, now they’re gone traveling. It’s Christmas and he has no one.”
“He has us,” Remus reminded him.
“It’s not the same,” Sirius sighed. “He misses her. I know he does. The two of them are far too stubborn to sort out their problems the mature way.”
“This coming from a man who had a pool going on when they would break up,” Remus said, rolling his eyes.
“Hey,” Sirius objected. “It was bound to happen. They’re the most estranged people I know. Well, maybe not. Bellatrix is a little out there. I figured I may as well try to make a little money off of it. I know that was wrong, don’t give me that look Moony.”
“Maybe if we’d all shown a little more faith, they’d have made it,” Remus quietly stated.
“I don’t know,” Peter said. “We don’t know what could have happened. They’re a confusing bunch. Lily and James don’t usually contend to being in the predictable category.”
“You’re right,” Sirius said. “We will never know.”
James’ passed out body lay on the couch dreaming of Lily at that very moment. He only wished she would be doing the same.
Lily awoke to the sound of a slamming Portrait Hole. Her head lifted up from the armchair and she looked around. Thankfully the first years hadn’t bothered her.
She tried hard to remember what she had been dreaming of, but all that came to mind was James’ unmanageable hair. How she missed him.
She had been horrible, she had backed down after he had worked so hard. She let her insecurities take control. She didn’t want anything controlling her life other than the rational part of her mind. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case for Lily.
She would be lucky if he ever talked to her again. The look in his eyes when she had brought up the subject of breaking up had been enough to scare the wits out of her. He had been hurt, so hurt. She had done what she had been afraid of all along.
She had hurt him; she had hurt him bad.
A/N: Please review.
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