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Chapter 13 : A Very Important Discussion
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I don't know how annoying I've been about the reviewing lately, but I'm very sad when there are only five reviews out of a couple hundred reads. And when I'm sad, I think more and more about killing Rhian in a brutal merry-go-round accident.
Kidding! I guarantee that I won't kill her via merry-go-round. But that doesn't mean that I've ruled out Ferris wheel.
Kidding again! But seriously folks, reviews warm my heart. And it's January, so it's fairly cold outside. And you don't have to be all bubbly and positive when reviewing. I'm totally cool with criticism if you've got something helpful to say.
Alright then. Away we go!
“Will’s moving in here?” asked Lily incredulously. It was nearly five o’clock in the evening and Will was due to arrive any minute. “With us? Today?”
“His flat is still a crime scene! He’s got nowhere else to go, and you’re moving out really soon and you always spend all your time with James anyway,” Rhian explained. “It makes so much sense for him to live here, it’s so close to his work and school, and I wasn’t going to let him be homeless!”
“No, it’s okay, it’s fine, but Rhian, do you realize what it means to move in together?”
“It’s not like it’s a big deal unless you make it one. We have such a good connection in our relationship, we’re not going to break up anytime soon.”
“Sorry, I just hadn’t realized that you slept with him.”
“What?” asked Rhian dumbly.
“I thought you would have told me when you first slept with him, I told you when James and I did a month ago. But it’s okay, you told me your first time with Sirius—”
“But I didn’t sleep with him!”
Lily raised her eyebrows. “Rhian, Will is moving in here! To your apartment! Now, I can’t read his mind, but he’s probably expecting something.”
“Oh my God!” Rhian’s eyes bulged. “We always joke about not putting out for each other, but the issue never seriously came up!”
“Well, Rhian, all I ask is that you don’t make whoopee while I’m home.” Lily patted Rhian’s shoulder.
“No!” Rhian was really freaking out now. “I didn’t know that when you moved in together you were supposed to have already had sex!”
“The point of living together is supposed to be that you can do it whenever you want. Well, not the whole point. But that’s why guys put up with us using all the closet space, I think.”
“We haven’t even been dating for five months! Lily, help me!” Rhian grabbed her.
“Calm down, any halfway decent guy won’t push you to do anything you don’t want to. And Will’s a lot more than halfway decent.”
Rhian exhaled. “You’re right. Oh, and I never asked you because you were so embarrassed telling me, but what’s James like in the sack?”
Lily’s face turned crimson and she refused to answer.
“Don’t worry, me and him are totally platonic. I’m just curious.”
“I told you before! He was very nice about it!”
“I need details! I used to tell you details about Sirius.”
“But I didn’t want to hear them!”
“It’s what girls do, Lily! We’re supposed to talk about our boyfriends’ you-know-whats!”
Just then, the front door of the flat opened, and Will walked in carrying several large boxes.
“Thank God!” Lily exclaimed, hurrying over to Will. “Your girlfriend is completely perverted!” she pointed at Rhian.
Rhian rushed over to join them. “Nuh-uh! Lily was being a prude again!”
“Wanting to keep the information about what I do when I’m alone with James to myself is not prudish, it’s normal!”
“Ow, let me put these boxes down,” said Will. He did so. “Okay, so Rhian wanted you to tell her something you deem isn’t her business?”
“Precisely,” Lily answered.
“Sorry Gidget, but I guess that’s out of my jurisdiction. I’m going to go downstairs and show my mates where your place is,” Will exited.
“Gidget?” Lily asked. “Like that TV show you won’t stop watching?”
“It’s my nickname!” said Rhian excitedly. “I call him Moondoggie.”
“Aw, that’s sweet. A bit odd, but sweet,” Lily smiled.
“At least I’m not ashamed of my sexuality. Zing!” Rhian declared.
The door opened and Will reentered, carrying even more stuff. This time, he was accompanied by two other guys.
“Rhian, Lily,” Will said, “this is Alfie,” pointing to the bloke with blond hair and a very chiseled jaw, “and Sebastian,” pointing to the other, who was Asian.
“Hi!” Rhian greeted. They said hi back, then started bringing in and putting away more boxes. Rhian whispered to Lily, “Sebastian’s so cute!”
“He’s the Asian one?” Lily whispered back.
“I’ve always had a fetish for Asians!”
“I’ve got dibs on Alfie.”
“You and a blond?”
“He’s not that blond, plus he’s got a nice bum.”
“Lily!” Rhian said almost too loudly. “What about James?”
“You know I’d never actually do anything, I just like to look. Plus they’re your boyfriend’s friends!”
“But I’m not engaged to him—hey Moondoggie!” Rhian almost shouted when she saw Will coming.
“I guess I’ve got all my stuff up here,” he said, putting his hands in his pockets.
“Good,” said Rhian, stepping on her tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek. “Alfie, Sebastian, do you guys want anything to eat or drink?” Rhian turned her head and could not believe it. Lily was being quite uncharacteristic and already chatting up Alfie. “Hey Lils, don’t you have to go meet James? Your fiancé?”
Lily’s face turned a little red. “Oh yeah, right. Bye everyone!” she hurried to the door.
“She’s a cute one,” said Alfie as soon as Lily had left.
Sebastian laughed. “Why haven’t we seen you around, Rhian?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Ask this clown,” she said, punching Will’s shoulder.
“You know me, I wanted to keep her to myself,” Will grinned, putting his arm around Rhian’s waist.
“That’s our cue to exit,” said Alfie.
“Take her out with us this weekend, Will,” said Sebastian.
“And bring your red-headed friend,” added Alfie.
“Sorry boys, but the red-headed friend comes with the very jealous and protective fiancé,” said Rhian.
“Bad luck, then, Alf. See you guys later, then,” said Sebastian, exiting with Alfie.
“Hey roommate,” smiled Rhian, turning around in Will’s arms to face him.
“Hey yourself,” said Will, leaning down and kissing her very gently.
“Mm,” said Rhian, breaking away, “I actually need to talk to you about something.”
Will leaned down and began kissing her again.
“I’m serious!” Rhian protested. “Ah, I’ll sit down right here,” she sat on the couch, “and you sit over there,” she pointed to several inches away.
“Uh, I don’t quite see what you’re getting at,” Will said, obliging. Rhian thought he was much too cute when he was confused.
“Well, I think that there’s a very important issue that we have yet to address, and its importance has been expediated due to recent events.” Rhian folded her hands in her lap, attempting to appear business-like.
“I quite agree,” said Will very sternly. “I know that this issue is incredibly significant to all dairy consumers, and we should just come out and discuss it: do you prefer whole, 2%, or skim milk?” He cracked a smirk.
“Will you please stop being so difficult?” Rhian smacked him.
“Will you please stop hurting me?” Will retaliated, kidding. “Oh, fine,” he conceded, seeing that Rhian was agitated, “what is it that you want to talk about?”
Rhian breathed deeply in and out, trying to decide how to word what she wanted to convey tactfully. “As you probably know, we have not yet had sex.” Well done, that was extraordinarily subtle, she thought a second later, mentally kicking herself.
“Er, yes, I actually was aware of that fact,” said Will courteously.
“I thought that now was an appropriate time to bring up the issue,” Rhian attempted to regain composure, “because of our new housing situation.”
“What was it exactly that you wanted to say about the issue?” Will asked. Why was he being so darn nice? That made everything so much harder!
“I propose that we wait,” Rhian said, trying to annunciate properly.
“You do, now?” Will asked with mild interest.
“Well, yes, I do. It is no secret that in our modern world, many promising relationships end prematurely because the involved persons…do stuff they shouldn’t,” Rhian stumbled over her words.
“Why no, this is not a secret,” Will inflected his voice in agreement with Rhian.
“And I wanted to make my wish known, before we get caught up in everything, that I think we should be in the minority and wait.” Rhian unconsciously nodded her head to emphasize her point.
Will sat back in his sit, concentrating on Rhian and almost comically stroking his chin. Rhian stared back at him in utter confusion for several minutes.
“Say something, dammit!” she exclaimed when she could take it no longer.
“Sorry, you’re just acting so strangely,” Will said frankly. “What, you thought we couldn’t comfortably talk about this?”
“No, that’s not it at all!” Rhian insisted. “I just—I just didn’t know your view of the situation.”
“And so you are asking me now,” Will finished her thought.
Rhian felt stupid. “Yeah.”
“Rhian, you know me,” Will reaching for her arm tenderly. “Or at least I thought you knew you know me.”
“Say that five times fast,” Rhian joked softly.
“You can talk to me about absolutely anything. That’s going to be the policy from now on, alright? I’d never want to make you feel uncomfortable, or do anything you don’t want to do.” He moved over and put his arm around her shoulders.
“Okay,” she smiled. He really was unbelievably wonderful.
“I mean, if we’re going to be together until we’re eighty, I really hope that you change your mind, because I am physically attracted to you.” Okay. So he did have some typical guy qualities.
Rhian laughed. “You really think we could stick together for that long?”
“Our relationship is just weird enough that it just might work.”
“True that,” said Rhian, standing up. “So, if you will assist me in carrying some of your things, we can move your stuff into my room and I will sleep on the couch.”
“No,” Will objected, “I am not putting you out of your bed. Nope.”
“Will, you are my guest until you start paying half the rent next month, and you get no choice but to sleep in my bed.” Rhian crossed her arms.
“What choice do I have, then?” he asked rhetorically.
“If it’s any consolation, my mattress is extremely comfortable. Sufficiently squishy, but with good back support.”
Will sighed. “If I have to.”
“You do,” Rhian said, picking up one of his boxes.
When Rhian Apparated in front of the Hog’s Head several days later, her feet became immersed in a pile of slush. She opened the door of the dirty old pub, shaking off the excess warm snow and watching it fall on the filthy floor. Aberforth, the bartender, didn’t seem to mind.
As she made her way up the stairs, Rhian started to unconsciously bite her lip. This was her very first lesson on the Unforgivable Curses, and she was terrified. How could anyone have ever thought that she, Rhiannon Clark, was powerful or hateful enough to hurt someone in such terrible ways?
Rhian entered Order headquarters and spotted a witch not seven years older than herself sitting at the large round table. “Hello Alice,” said Rhian. “I hope I’m not late.”
“No, you’re right on time,” Alice Longbottom smiled warmly. She and her husband were Aurors and Order of the Phoenix members. Rhian did not know them well, and she had only spoken to Alice once, when she taught a lesson on poisonous herbs and fungi to Rhian’s Auror training class. “So, Rhian, are you ready to begin?”
“I suppose so,” said Rhian meekly. She wished she could muster up more enthusiasm, but she had been dreading this lesson for days.
“Well, I thought we’d begin by determining what you already know, and hence what you will need to know, about the Unforgivable Curses,” Alice said kindly, but with great seriousness.
“At Hogwarts, they taught us that these curses are calling unforgivable because being convicted of using them has the punishment of a lifelong sentence in Azkaban,” said Rhian. “There are three of them, the Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and the Killing Curse.”
“And do you know the spell for each?”
“Imperio, Crucio, and Avada Kedavra,” Rhian recited calmly. This wasn’t going to be so bad.
“Good, you have a basic textbook knowledge of the subject. However, why are they relevant to Aurors?”
“Voldemort tells his Death Eaters to use them.” Rhian was almost surprised when a powerful Auror like Alice Longbottom jumped upon hearing Lord Voldemort’s name.
“Right. And now Aurors have been authorized to use them in capturing Death Eaters. Usually, though, trainees are taught these curses at the very end of their training, but Dumbledore has informed me that you are a very special case.”
“And you need to have a lot of hate to effectively cast the Unforgivable Curses, right?”
“Also true. Like finding the right memory for a corporeal Patronus, summoning enough anger to truly hurt someone is usually the most difficult part of learning these curses. The incantations are simple enough.
“Alright, Rhian, we’ll cut to the chase. The first curse you will be learning is the Imperius Curse, but for now we have to concentrate on making you angry enough, which I have been told will be quite a task, considering how well-adjusted and optimistic of a person I have been told that you are. At what time in your life were you most rawly infuriated?”
Rhian didn’t have to think twice. “When Voldemort killed my dad,” she promptly answered.
“I suspected as much. Now, can you put yourself in that state of mind, please?”
Rhian closed her eyes and concentrated on her mind. The feeling of despair and loathing was fresh in her mind from the encounter with the Dementor. Opening the letter, reading the cold, uncaring words of polite sympathy on the parchment, feeling her knees break beneath her, causing her to collapse on the floor…crying, sobbing, feeling pathetic and weak, crying all alone on the common room floor…how could one man be so cruel?...how could one horrible, wretched shell of a man cause so much pain to so many people?
“Keep that feeling in your head and your heart, and keep you eyes closed,” Rhian heard Alice say from a distance. “Grab on to your wand, and be prepared to cast the Imperius Curse when I tell you to open your eyes.”
Rhian remained silent and kept her eyelids shut, fuming inside her mind.
“Alright, stand up and open your eyes,” said Alice slowly.
Rhian did so, and saw a tall, looming figure in Death Eater garments hovering over her. She stifled back a shriek of surprise, and instead shouted, “Imperius!”
A burst of light shot from her wand and hit the Death Eater in the chest, causing it to disappear. Rhian was perplexed. She had concentrated on making him fall over, but the curse didn’t seem to affect him.
“Excellent, you’ve got good nerves!” said Alice, emerging from behind Rhian. “Oh, don’t worry, that was just a picture of a Death Eater that I conjured. I want to test your competence under pressure, and you did freeze for a millisecond, but you recovered quite quickly! Being able to remain calm and collected under pressure is key to being an Auror, so good for you.”
“I thought I was going to have a heart attack,” Rhian admitted.
“But you didn’t, which is the important part. You also had a decent amount of power on your first casting of the Imperius Curse, which is also very good. It probably wouldn’t have been very effective on a real person, but you still were able to control your hatred relatively well.”
“Gosh, I had no idea casting the Imperius Curse on a hologram would be so draining,” said Rhian, breathing deeply and sitting down.
“It’s extremely difficult the first few times,” said Alice encouragingly. “You’ll be able to last longer gradually. Unfortunately, I have Order duty now,” she glanced at her wristwatch, “but will this time next week work for you?”
“Yes, it’s fine,” said Rhian, grateful that the lesson was over because she was so exhausted, but eager to learn more.
“Good, then. See you around the Auror department,” said Alice.
“See you,” Rhian replied.
Some more unfulfilling ways to kill Rhian: dropping a piano on her, having a dragon burn her, having her fall down a flight of stairs, having her choke on gum...ooh, I thought of the perfect pathetic ending! Rhian woke up with a start. She was lying in her bed at her parents house during the summer before her sixth year at Hogwarts. It turned out that it was all a dream...
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