Chapter 22 : ~*~ Chapter 22 ~*~
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~*~ Chapter 22 ~*~
The next couple of days at Number Twelve were quite tense. After the night of when we arrived, Devlin was subdued into his own reverie. He kept sneaking up to his parents’ bedroom to see if his mother was all right, only to return and tell us that she wasn’t very well.
Of course, I couldn’t believe him. He usually came back downstairs looking with red eyes to see what all of us were doing. There wasn’t that much to do at Number Twelve, but that soon changed dramatically.
“Today we’re going to be cleaning down this place,” Lupin explained happily as he put rubber gloves on over his hands. “You’re going to put yourselves into pairs and I will tell you which room you are to clean.”
The guys scowled at him, feeling angry at having to clean and slave away through their holiday. It felt to them as though they were back at school, having to slave away at homework everyday of their lives.
Eventually, our pairs were as follows: Eleora went with Sirius and Madison with Todd. To Kenny’s dismay, so went with Halden, for Devlin had sidled up to me and had grabbed my hand to join him. My face turned a delicate shade of pink when his fingers laced mine.
“Right! I guess we’re ready then!” Lupin said, clapping his hands together. “Eleora… Sirius, you take the kitchen; all your equipment for what you need to do is already down there.” Lupin opened the living room door for them, and they both walked out and through the door in the hallway. Lupin turned back to the rest of us. “Madison… Todd, you both take the dining room, I will assist you in there seen as it’s a big job to handle. Kenny and Halden, I know this isn’t going to be pleasant, but the bathroom upstairs needs doing…”
Halden huffed past Kenny and trudged up the stairs. Kenny stuck her tongue after him but sighed when she left the living room. I felt sorry for her having to work with him, and I would’ve taken the trouble away from her, but it seemed to me that Devlin wanted to talk.
Then it was just him and me. “I’ll be in the dining room if you need anything…” Lupin said and then he left us to be. As soon as he had left, Devlin picked up a dust-cloth and began removing the different ornaments and artefacts off of the mantelpiece above the fireplace.
He then began to dust off the thick layer of grime that had layered itself around the different objects. I took the broom that was leaning against the wall next to the door and began sweeping the fallen dust off the floorboards.
Devlin was quiet as he brushed all the dust off every surface in the room. He was exceptionally quiet when he cleaned all of the ornaments, not moving off the spot he was stood in. It felt as though he was the only one in the room.
To me, I felt invisible. I followed him around the living room, collecting the dust in the sweeping pan, like a solitary shadow that didn’t belong to the body it was trying to connect to. I wanted to talk to him desperately.
Once he had finished dusting and polishing, he went into the dining room and brought back a wet cloth. He then took the leather cushions off the two sofas; the one against the wall and the one in front of the window, and cleaned them down. He also did the same to the armchair that was a foot away from the door.
He magically dried them and replaced them, while I watched. He then took the pillows that adorned the sofas and plumped them to a more comfortable shape for themselves. I was breathless for him, for this chore didn’t seem to faze him, unlike Quidditch did.
I wouldn’t have guessed Devlin to be the cleaning type, especially not at Hogwarts. His school bag was unorganised and he always had his shirt un-tucked and his tie not done up properly. And of course, his hair was never quite so brushed either.
“Devlin…” I spoke up once he had moved on to polishing the coffee table in the centre of the room. He ignored me and kept his cloth in the rhythmic motion on the glistening dark wood.
“Devlin…” I said again. I hated to be ignored but he seemed to like the quiet. It kept him online with the job at hand. He then moved on to sweeping dead flies off the windowsill. He put back the vase that was on it too and added water to it, conjuring up delicate smelling flowers to go with the room.
He took a comb-type tool and then began brushing down the dust off the curtains. He retied the hangings that kept them in place, undoing the knots in the tassels. By now, I could see the strain in his face.
“Devlin…” I whispered a bit louder. His face seemed to contort from me saying his name; it seemed to hurt him. And I wanted to know why.
His being moved away from the window and walked steadily towards the door. He gently closed it, the lock clicking in place. He strolled back towards the centre of the room and raised his wand above his head.
“Scourigfy!”He shouted in an audible voice that could’ve been heard all around. It was the first sound I heard from him all day, and even though it made me smile, it looked as though it made Devlin want to cry.
I dropped the broom when sparkling drops of water fell from the ceiling and began to cleaning extra hard around the room. Devlin watched the magic go, the soap suds that erupted from the ground cleaned in between the floorboard cracks.
The water drained all the way down the walls and wiped away the grime that had appeared upon the surfaces. The damp was embellished from every corner with waves from Devlin’s wand. And when the dirt had gone, the room wasn’t its usual dark self. You could now truly see what it was - it was an airy room and could be filled with life and light all round.
Shame these times were dark at the moment… the room would’ve been a safe sanctorum for one’s such as the prophets of today.
“C’mon we need a break…” Devlin spoke up mournfully. His voice sounded dry and off-put by something unknown to me.
“OK, but I don’t really need a break. I haven’t really done much, it was all your doing really. I didn’t know you were such a clean freak, Devlin Potter!” I wanted to sound as though I was cheering him up, but if he was trying to put on the laughter that escaped his mouth, it was recognised by the grimace he did when his name was again mentioned.
“Don’t be silly, April! You’ve been sweeping after me all morning. This room wasn’t so difficult to clean anyway… it’s always used so mother tries to make it look decent whenever guest are here,” he explained, moving towards the door.
I followed him again but he didn’t seem to complain. “Erm… Devlin,” I began, sounding nervous. He turned round to look at me; those weary eyes of his giving me a sensible warning. “Can we talk after the break? We haven’t talked properly for awhile…”
“Sure…” he answered almost too quickly for my liking. Maybe he sensed my own nerves as wanting to approach his problems, no matter how personal they were. But then again, maybe he sensed the matter arising of my own problems.
We entered the dining room where Madison and Todd were working thoroughly with the aid of Lupin. Madison was cleaning down the window looking out on to the garden. Todd was washing the worktops, while Lupin sorted through the cupboards and drawers of cutlery and dishware.
Lupin’s eyes darted towards us when we entered the dining room. “We’ve just come to get a drink…” Devlin reassured him. Lupin smiled genuinely and passed him and me a glass each. Devlin took mine away from me and poured water from the tap and gave the glass back to me.
I smiled gratefully at him as we sat opposite each other at the table which had been cleaned right down to the very grains in the very fine oak wood. My eyes wandered around the room, it feeling more homely.
“How you all getting along anyway?” Devlin asked in a quiet tone. He put down his empty glass and began to walk about the room, quite inquisitive at everything that had been done. He even inspected all the clean dishes.
“We should be finished by no later than dinner this evening. I’m hoping for your father to return before this evening… he’ll be wanting to talk to everyone later on…” Lupin explained, as he jumped down off the worktop and began sorting out the different plates and dishes.
Devlin placed his hands in his pockets and looked down at the floor miserably. “He hasn’t gone back there has he?” He asked, feeling embarrassed the mistake that had befallen his parents.
Lupin nearly dropped a plate if it hadn’t have been for Todd who noticed his shaking hand. “I… I don’t know, Devlin. He left very early this morning before I had time to talk to him…”
“So he has gone there then? A lie-in wouldn’t have kept himself from going there! He should just give up… both of them should give up! It’s never going to happen… ever! I’m sick of them losing one after the other… It’s not fair!”
Devlin took one of the plates off the side and threw it over to the opposite wall behind him. It smashed loudly sending shards everywhere. Todd ducked Madison’s head who screamed in shock, while Lupin brought down Devlin’s. I stood up against the wall behind myself where the shards couldn’t get me.
Madison looked up from Todd’s chest and heaved in heavily, but came out of their embrace abruptly; her face going red slightly. Meanwhile, Devlin stayed locked in the embrace he shared with Lupin, who was comforting gently, soothing him with words that lulled his own sorrow which seemed to be aimed at his godson.
“There, there, Devlin… they’re going to keep on trying, even if it might be impossible… but I’m sure it won’t be. Don’t doubt yourself or your parents… they’re tough and brave in themselves. And they’re not just doing it for themselves, but for you too. So don’t say those words again, unless you truly mean selfishness…”
“I just don’t like to see mother like she is… she’s always like it. And I’m not stupid either, but she was like this when she nearly lost me…” Devlin’s voice cracked and he buried his head into Lupin’s chest more deeply. I could hear his sobs, and only Lupin could soften his depression.
So that’s what it was about. Ginny had been pregnant and she had lost the baby. I felt the sadness choke up in my throat, I wanted to cry with Devlin, for I knew that losing something so precious was like heartbreak upon your own soul.
“Go on, son… go back into the living room and just relax, all right? I’m sure April will look after you. I must finish off this work…” Lupin soothed, prising Devlin’s body away from his own.
Devlin nodded sorrowfully and wiped at his eyes, just before Eleora and Sirius appeared from the kitchen below. They looked at me quizzically but I shook my head to tell them not to ask questions. They just went over to the sink and poured themselves a glass of water each just as Devlin had done earlier.
Devlin then looked at me and beckoned me to follow him. I did so and he led me back into the living room. He collapsed on to one of the long sofas, his eyes gazing up at the ceiling, tears trickling out of his eyes and over his cheeks.
I knelt beside him on the floor and placed my hand over his cheek, my delicate fingers erasing his fallen sadness. I knew he didn’t have to talk to me, and I would’ve been surprised if words did come from his mouth, but I just sat with him; comforting him, wiping away his tears, when he took a hold of my hand and gripped it tightly.
“You wanted to talk to me…” he said shakily. I flinched at his words. How can he remember such a request when he was so upset? He wanted to know about my problems when there was so much about him that I wanted to unveil.
I shook my head and let go of his hand and turned my body to face away from him. He placed a shaking hand on my shoulder and I grabbed it. “I’m so glad you’re here… I know I can talk to you,” he said quietly.
I wanted to reach out and hug him there and then, but something stopped me. My feelings for him were returning, even though I had decided that maybe; just maybe, I would have my chance with Halden later on in life.
“And I know I can talk you about anything, Devlin. But it seems to me that at this very moment in time, it is you who needs to talk. Please, tell me what’s the matter, and maybe I can help you…”
“No, you can’t help me. It’s not me who needs to be helped. It’s my… parents.” He sat up from his lying-down posture and then came and sat down next to me on the floor, his hand still held in mine.
I looked at him inquisitively for him to carry on, and he did so. He said: “It’s a very long story so you had better be sitting comfortably…” I leant my head upon his shoulder and he placed his own head on top of mine. And he began his own confessional secret.
“It all began about a year before I was admitted to Hogwarts. On one night I heard my parents talking late into the night, and they were thinking on having another one… I didn’t know what they were on about at first, but when I asked father in the morning all he said was this: “Would you be willing to give up your bedroom son?”
“I answered him with a high defiant no of course, but it still left me feeling puzzled. I was given the smallest bedroom in our home… the second biggest belonged as an office for my parents’ work purposes. I was still confused, but I then went to ask Lupin…”
“And what did he say?” I asked in a gentle whisper. Devlin’s hand gripped mine tightly, but he carried on all the same.
“He told me straight out what was going on. He said that I had the right to know. He said: “How would it feel if you had a little brother or sister?” I can’t remember what my reply was but Lupin kept reminding me to smile all the time, so I suppose this had brought on good news to my ears. My parents were trying for a baby, I was happy for them. I wasn’t going to be an only child. I was gong to be lucky and play Quidditch with someone. Take Todd for instance, he wants a brother or a sister, he doesn’t mind which, but his mother doesn’t want another child… problem is Todd’s father had a big family when he was growing up and wants more…”
“Keep to your part of the story, you’re more important here. I don’t like to see you so upset and distraught,” I interrupted in a quiet notion. He rubbed his thumb over my hand and quietened me, and he continued.
“As luck as it may seem, my mother falls pregnant and both she and my father are happy. She gets checked by Healers and comes back positive. And then, havoc approaches. She falls ill and on one evening she collapses and falls down the stairs… she lost the baby in the accident…”
“Ouch!” I grimaced. I gripped his hand tighter, but motioned him to carry on. He took several deep calming breaths and then willed himself to speak once more, his nerves rattling on every word he spoke.
“Yes, my mother and father were really unhappy for weeks upon end. I didn’t know why, no one told me why. But mother kept herself distant from me as I always used to cuddle up and try to feel the baby kick out of her. Of course, no more of that. It affected their work, but of course, they couldn’t leave Hogwarts, so they stuck it out and stayed together throughout their loss. I felt as though I was getting pushed out of their life, but when I told Lupin this he forbade me to say it again for it wasn’t true.
“I knew that my parents were going to try again… they’re always determined, even from their school days…” Devlin laughed slightly here, but carried on solemnly. “And they succeeded. My mother fell pregnant again… but how she lost this one, no one knew… my mother said it was down to some infection passed through her bloodstream…”
“You don’t have to tell me the rest you know… I understand that it must be really upsetting for you and your parents…” I whispered in interruption, a single tear sliding down my cheek.
“Oh, April…” he soothed quietly, pulling me into an embrace. “Please don’t cry! I don’t want you to be upset for me or my family… we don’t know why she can’t keep a baby, but I know they’ll keep on trying.”
I smiled up at him as he pulled out of our hug. He smiled back, thanking me for my sympathy. He wiped my cheek free of the tear, keeping his other hand held tightly in mine. He came closer to me and we sat side by side; my head leaning on his shoulder as he combed through my hair, telling the story.
“So anyway… I thought my parents would give up… but last Christmas, my father told me that mother had fallen pregnant again. I was so happy, but the funniest part of it was, was that when your sisters saw them on the stairs that day, they were actually happy to just be having this chance again… until yesterday morning…
“You know about girl stuff don’t you? You know, about the thing that comes every month?” He asked and I nodded my head; it must’ve been really awkward for Devlin to go into that area of conversation, so I was happy to reduce his efforts. “Well, it came yesterday… she became distraught. She only managed to get out of bed to help us with our trunks… she’s very depressed after she loses a baby.
“She nearly lost me you know…” Devlin carried on in a high tone full of sadness. “When I was born, I stopped breathing in her arms… of course, the Healers were able to revive me. But even after I was born, my mum had a bad case of post-natal depression… she was always angry with dad and cried… it turned worse when she miscarried… she used to scream into the night…” he stopped on this note and sighed, letting his own tears fall clearly down his reddening cheeks.
“Oh, Devlin!” I cried out loud. I put my arm around him and his head fell on to my chest, he sobbed loudly and uncontrollably. I felt so sorry for him that it was unbearable for me to keep the tears locked away.
After about five minutes of letting his emotions run their course, he lifted his head off my chest and wiped away his tears. He then removed his hand from mine and stood up from the floor, his legs shaking beneath him.
“I’m OK…” he said once I caught him around his waist. “It’s happened so many times that I’m becoming used to it. I think they’re going to try again another time… and if nothing happens, then they’re going to give up…”
I placed a comforting hand on his shoulder and squeezed it tight. He smiled at me, acknowledging my comfort for him. He took my hand off his shoulder and held it again; I was glad of this, I felt as though he was the one who felt lost without my touch… or was the feeling withheld inside of me?
I had always missed Devlin talking to me, and now I was finally talking to him, so on a depressing matter I didn’t care, but at least I was with him. I knew that deep down in my heart I still liked Devlin, but the confusing part was that I liked Halden. I was too young to be involved in such things, but the butterflies in my stomach wouldn’t leave me alone whenever I was around either of them.
“Thanks for talking with me, April. I’ve missed talking to you, you know… I always seemed to think that you liked talking to Malfoy a lot… is that true?” He didn’t let me answer; he only took a hold of my other hand in his and brought his body closer to mine. Then he whispered into my ear: “I still like you, April… no matter what my actions or words may say, I still like you… no matter if Halden be on the scene, I still like you… no matter what!”
I dropped his hands from mine and I took a dramatic step back, which made me nearly fall backwards over the coffee table. Devlin caught me with quick reflexes around my waist and brought me back up straight, still close to him. My heart was caught in my throat as he combed his fingers through my hair.
“I liked talking to you too, Devlin… I do like talking to Halden… we’re so similar, it’s unbelievable…” I stuttered, his face dropped slightly and his tight grasp lightened momentarily until I said: “But, to be honest… I still like you too…”
His smile was so bright and genuine, it faltered my heart. I had to look away from his eyes; his deep green eyes, to restart my breathing. But when I came up from looking at the floor, his face was so close to mine, I could hear him breathe. His eyes began to close…
“We’re done you two!” Lupin’s voice announced his presence from the door. Devlin snatched his hands back to himself and straightened his composure quickly, smoothing back his hair. Lupin’s eyes looked from me to Devlin, surveying us intriguingly.
Eleora and Madison squeezed passed Lupin, followed my Sirius and Todd who sat down on the sofa next to me. I breathed in quickly, but I could still feel the eyes of Lupin staring into my being. I looked up to find him looking at me inquisitively, but then he smiled and left the room.
Devlin sat in between Sirius and Todd and didn’t look at me until Kenny and Halden came into the room. He watched Halden wander to the armchair I was sitting in and he placed himself on the arm of it. Devlin scowled secretively, but he caught my eyes and shrugged his anger away. I smiled at him, which made him blush deeply.
All of us sat in silence for ten minutes, until Lupin came into the room and placed a tray of drinks and sandwiches in front of us. He then stood by the living room door, his eyes roaming to the hall outside and then checking on us back in the living room.
Only Todd asked what we were supposed to be waiting for. “Harry’s supposed to be coming back soon… him and Ginny are going to take you to Godric’s Hollow for the rest of the holiday…” Lupin answered.
Todd emitted a huge grin across his lips as did Devlin, but he covered it up well with a cheese sandwich. “Whereabouts is Godric’s Hollow?” Kenny asked after she had taken a drink of her water.
“Just on the farther outskirts of London… it’s a small village home to a few wizarding folk. Harry’s parents used to live there, but their house was blown up some many years ago… maybe Harry will tell you the story when you get there… but the house the Potter’s live in now is fine and quite stately, so to say of the money they have,” Lupin explained quite highly as though he was taking Harry’s pride to his own heart.
“Has he not got back yet?!” Ginny asked from the door. She looked pale and her eyes were bloodshot from all the crying she had committed herself to. Her hair was tied back in a messy plait and her arms were crossed over her stomach, her face contorted with pain; the feeling of longing.
“He will soon Ginny, my dear,” Lupin said from the window. “Ah, speak of the Devil!” A faint pop was heard from outside and then the clicking of the front door being opened. We waited in anticipation just as Ginny began to put her cardigan on.
“Oh, I didn’t expect an arrival party to be waiting for me!” Harry chuckled humorously. He unhooked his cloak and took a glass of water off the tray and sipped it thirstily. “Right, has everyone got everything?” He asked, looking around us all as he put his cloak back on.
We all nodded. “Right, follow me to the kitchen then all of you… Lupin, I suspect that you’re going to travel back up to Hogwarts, are you not?” Harry presumed. Of course, he was right, for Lupin explained that Hermione would have her fire burning for him, whatever that meant.
Everyone followed Harry through the dining room and down a set of stairs to the kitchen, which I had only been in once since my whole visit to Grimmauld Place. It was dark and smelled strongly of food, and it was cold because of the fridge and freezer lying in wait to be opened.
“Now, I know that the boys have travelled by Floo Powder before, so if you all want to step forward and take some from the pot upon the side there…” Harry gestured to a flower pot on to of the mantelpiece above the grate. There were no flames in it, making the coldness of the room more enhanced.
“Step into the grate and say your destination which is, Number Thirteen Godric’s Hollow… be on your way boys!” Harry ordered. The boys smiled between themselves as they stepped into the small opening, their trunks standing with them as they held on tightly.
“Number Thirteen Godric’s Hollow!” They all shouted. Within an instance, flames erupted around them, licking their bare arms and tickling their faces. It hungrily took them into shadows, and with a flicker of green, were swallowed up into the now empty fireplace, into the unknown darkness.
Kenny screamed when the boys had disappeared. “It’s nothing to worry about,” Harry laughed behind her. “It’s the easiest way to travel before you can Apparate… but mind you get out at the right fireplace!”
Ginny eyed him haughtily and took some powder form the pot and said the same as the boys, the flames engulfing her too. “You don’t mind if I go next, do you Harry?” Lupin pondered. Harry handed him the pot and Lupin scooped out some of the ash-powder. He stepped into the grate and yelled: “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!” and disappeared between the flickers of emerald light.
“Your turn…” Harry said silently and eerie. My sisters and I took powder from the pot with shaking limbs, worried about what this experience will do to us. “Just shout out your destination clearly…”
We all stepped into the grate and shouted into the coals beneath our feet, dropping the powder as we did so. “Number Thirteen Godric’s Hollow!” I felt the green flames wrap themselves around me and then pulling me forward through a labyrinth of tunnels. But the journey ended soon and my sisters and I toppled out of a fireplace unknown to us.
Harry came out afterwards, shaking soot off him as my sisters and I got to our feet. We were standing in a brightly lit family room, full of red colour and paintings on the wall, photographs lining the mantelpiece above the now red-orange flames burning in the grate.
“Welcome to the Potter household!” Potter exclaimed, bringing Ginny into his arms, who he kissed upon the cheek. Ginny brought Devlin into her side and tousled his hair, which made him scowl but laugh all the same, just to be home…
A/N: This is such a coincidence that I’m doing this chapter; and the one before and the next one, during my own Easter holidays! I just hope that I don’t have the same misfortunes as these lot, but a bit more fun in my own! Please review! The next chapter shouldn’t be long!
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