*Disclaimer: I did not write the Tales of Beetle and Bard. Again, that's JK Rowling's. *(This chapter is very much a filler but I thought it was still important to put in before we get to the good stuff. Sorry! Next chapter will be good! Promise! ~RED~)
Chapter 7 ~ Time's Up
It's bugging me, grating me and twisting me around
Yeah I'm endlessly caving in and turning inside out.
~Hysteria by MUSE
"... As he was dragged away to the dungeons, the tree stump cackled more loudly than ever. 'By cutting a witch in half, you have unleashed a dreadful curse upon your kingdom!' it told the King. 'Henceforth, every stroke-" I stopped reading the beloved tale of Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump abruptly, when I realized that my little angel had drifted to sleep already. It surprised me, normally she stayed awake till the end of her favorite story and demanded another with her third favorite word ("More!"). She must really be exhausted.
I didn't blame her honestly, it was my second to last day home before Effie and I left for Hogwarts and all week I'd dragged her around, determined to give her fun adventures to remember me by. That, and I was fully aware of how terribly I was going to miss her, how acute that pain was going to be, so I wanted to spend every one of my last moments with her.
Meaning I'd had no objection when she'd begged forher favorite bedtime story, "Ba'ty Ra'ty". (Her second favorite bedtime story was The Fountain of Fair Fortune. She didn't care much for The Wizard and The Hopping Pot and The Tale of the Three Brothers had never interested her. And I'd never read her The Warlock's Hairy Heart - as I had no desire to permanently scar her.)
I closed the thick storybook and set it back in place on her bookshelf (it was the only actual book on there- the rest of it was filled of pictures and stuffed animals) then I kissed my daughter tenderly, turned off the light and retreated through the adjoining door.
I thought about a lot of things that night, one of the most silly mental topics being about Babbity Rabbity (which I won't go into because it would show just how many times I've read that story in the past year) and the main topic being the journey I'd make in a day's time. I was going back to Hogwarts.
The thought completely freaked me out. The faster it approached the more anxious I became.
I didn't even try to sleep anymore because it was a futile effort. I simply waited, my brain spinning in circles like a dog chasing it's tale, until finally my heavy lids would fall and I'd drift into unconciousness.
It had become a sick routine over the past month. I'd bought some vanisher in Diagon Alley (when Effie and I went for school supplies) for my under-eye circles and my body fell back into my old schedule of functioning on only a couple hours of sleep. Of course, last time I'd had a newborn who'd cried with the lungs of life and had to eat ever few hours but still.
Tonight was no different from any other. I stared at the ceiling, unseeing and buried in thought- I doubt I'd've noticed if a bomb went off to be perfectly honest- until that glorious hour when my eyes became too dry and my lids became too heavy and my tired brain finally gave into the system shut down and the restless slumber.
I spent the next day saying my goodbyes to the A-listers. My saviors, so to speak. They'd helped me through the dim, lonely months of my life between my departure from that castle now looming in my future and the arrival of my sunrise, my Aurora Alice.
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Oh give it a bloody rest, Alicia!" Adam scoffed. "She can't turn back now!"
"Yes, she can," my anxious friend replied.
Of all the A-list, Alicia was the only one who was worried about my decision. Adam and Ames showed their ridiculous approval at every opportunity and Aubrey, Amelia and Aidan were just annoyingly tranquil about the whole thing.
"I'm not going to change my mind, Lee," I murmured softly- as not to wake up my daughter, who'd fallen alseep on my lap. "I'm going to go and finish out seventh year. For Rory. And then, I'll be a Healer, get my own place and pretend that Howarts never happened."
The other's nodded in sick approval and made me promise to write them often and come home whenever I could sneak away but Alicia still looked uneasy.
"Just promise you'll be careful alright, Airy?"
I hugged her tight and whispered, "I promise."
She didn't really say much for the rest of the day. She didn't even respond to Ames's teasing or object when he slipped his arm around her- a sure sign that something was bugging Alicia.
I knew what it was but refused to bring it up. Did she really think I was that weak? Did she honestly believe I was going to make the same mistake twice?
I was resolute in that area. There wasn't a chance in hell I'd go down that path again. My luck I'd get a disease rather than another Rory this time. No, I was in no danger of falling back into that trap. I'd most certainly learned my lesson the first time. The memories flashed in my head and I shuddered in revulsion and horror.
I pushed any thought of Hogwarts away after that, determined to enjoy my last day of freedom. I laughed and chatted animatedly, eating more pizza than I should have and purposely gorging myself on Muggle sweets.
I cried when it was too late and they had to go, wanting them to spend the night, wishing they wouldn't go. But they had to go, our time was up. Tomorrow my freedom would vanish on the tracks of that scarlett train and I'd be forced to reunite with my very real, very alive ghosts.
"Just remember we love you, Airy." Mia told me with a tight squeeze.
"Make us proud, Air." Ames and Adam both told me.
"I will," I sobbed.
Aidan wiped my tears away, hugged me tight and whispered, "Be brave."
I nodded through more tears.
"Think of Rory."
I nodded again, unable to speak. When they finally left I stood at the door and watched. "Love you," I murmured.
I didn't even attempt to sleep that night, didn't bother getting in bed. I sat it Rory's rocking chair agonizing over what tomorrow would bring. I was leaving my daughter and friends, boarding that train I'd vowed never to board again and seeing the people who'd haunted me with their strange absence for over a year.
It was then that I broke the most sacred vow I'd made so long ago. Completely threw caution to the wind and let myself relive it. I shut my eyes and began to remember every laugh, essay and ridiculous inside joke. After that I waded deeper into the waters of repressed memories and emotions. Every tough, every hearbeat, every kiss.
Somewhere in the night, my memories be came dreams. Or, at least, I think they did. I might not have fallen asleep at all.
But when I finally regained awareness and opened my eyes it was tomorrow. The day I'd been dreading for so long was finally here. My time was up.
I moved like a ghost into my room, threw a few last minute items in my trunk, closed it and got changed into my favorite pair of jeans and a T-shirt Aidan had given me for my birthday. I flicked my wand and my hair twisted itself into a complicated style to match my conflicting emotions, I applied some cover up and a clear lip gloss on and the stared at my reflection blankly until I heard my mother yell up the stairs.
"Arabella! C'mon, it's time for breakfast!"
I sighed. My time was up, it was time to face the music.
(Don't forget to review! Also, before she goes back to Hogwarts you might want to refresh your memories just in case by reading the first on -Cause and Effect- and if you dod don't forget to re-review that too because that server crash wiped out most of the reviews. I'm shameless I know! lol
Until Chapter 8! <3 RED)
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