Chapter 5 : I'll Look After You
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Also, half of this Chapter is from James' Point of View
Once when I was little, a long time before my mother died, I remember walking up to her the way timid little six year olds do, and asking why she liked looking at the sky so much. She told me it was because heaven was up there.
At the time I had no idea what she meant. Now I do. Back then I still had a family. I had a Mother, and father and never-ending love.
Now I have nothing. Because he was dead too.
This sentiment, which you would think should induce howls and tears, only made me feel empty. I couldn’t cry, not yet anyway.
I looked at McGonagall, and when I saw her hard eyes creased with sympathy, I straightened up. She was not to feel sorry for me.
“I need to go home.” I said boldly. It would have sounded bold as well, if my voice hadn’t broken on the last word.
“Well,” Professor Vector stepped in “We haven’t exactly been able to contact your mother.”
Stepmother. I wanted to correct her but no words would come out.
“Yes, well she isn’t responding to our owls.”
Of all the times for that stupid woman to be ignoring the owls…I glared at my shoes, imagining her face. I wondered where I’d be going instead, seeing as Lydia plainly didn’t want to see me anymore. Well, I thought bitterly, the feeling was definitely mutual.
I suppose this must have been the reason I ended up sitting in the Potter’s living room the next morning, staring at the floor. James was there too, staring into space.
They’d come straight to Hogwarts after McGonagall informed them. I wished my parents were – had been – like them. Mrs Potter had pulled me into a hug, but after a conversation with her husband, seemed to be leaving me alone. Which was exactly what I wanted.
James, who I think was asleep, hadn’t mentioned my outburst either. It was odd, really. My father had just died and I couldn’t stop thinking about anything else.
Ok, downright heartless is what it is, but I honestly didn’t mean to be. I felt a sense of loss, but it was nothing new. It was just bigger, taking up a bigger space.
I went home that day, but in the afternoon. Although home isn’t really the correct definition. It’s just a house where I spend my summer holidays. They’d locked me out but I guessed, and correctly too, that my father’s anti-apparition wards would have vanished when he died.
My bedroom was the smallest, and the darkest but I’d never minded. It was full of my mother’s things. Things that Lydia wouldn’t have in the house.
Her dresses, and her trinkets and everything else were all over the place. I smiled sadly, and pulled out the beaded bag that James’ Aunt Hermione had given me for my birthday the year before. She’d whispered later that it had an Undetectable Extension Charm on it.
I thanked her silently, as I went about packing all of my possessions into it. I had a feeling Lydia wouldn’t be very welcoming if she found me or any of my possessions here.
I disapparated, just as I heard the front door open.
I felt exhausted as soon as I got into the Potter’s house. We’d heard that the funeral was the next day, and much as I dreaded it, I needed some sort of closure. I don’t know if that’s the right word.
I just flopped down on the camp bed, which had been magicked comfortable and even though I felt completely horrible, I couldn’t sleep. Maybe it was the fact that it was still only about four in the afternoon. But I lay there none the less.
I knew James was worried. He couldn’t comprehend how calm I was, when I knew he would be inconsolable if he were in my place. I didn’t blame him. He meant the world to his parents, while the only one I’d had left had barely paid my any attention. My stepsisters seemed more like his real daughters than I did.
I fell asleep, because I woke up when it was dark, and I could hear snoring. I had my own room at the Potters’. It was a spare room, but they let me use it when I visited. I was still in my jeans and t-shirt, so I got up to change.
Once I was in my pyjamas, I left the room to go and find a drink.
The kitchen was like a palace. I adored it. Instead of being super modern, it reminded me of a country cottage, complete with an aga. I found a glass and filled it with water (I can’t stand effing pumpkin juice) and leant backwards against the counter top. I still couldn’t cry, which made me feel extremely guilty.
The funeral was the next day. Even though it had only been a few days, it felt like a lifetime since I’d seen my father. Maybe it had been. I didn’t know. I could feel the tears prickling in my eyes, but I shook them off. I couldn’t break down. Not yet.
I don’t think I can believe it.
When Professor Vector came for me last night, and told me what happened, everything sort of slowed. Not because of her father, but because I cant believe it’s happening to her. She doesn’t deserve this. Never. Her mum and now her dad; I’m worried about her. When I mentioned this to my parents, my Dad looked up and said, straight away and sure as anything, “Give her time.” Which I’ve been trying to do.
I’m still worried. I know Charlie. I’ve known her for a long time, but I don’t know what to say to her. That’s the difference between us. She’s so quiet, but when she speaks, it’s always the right thing. I just want to grab her and tell her that I’ll look after her. She doesn’t have anyone else now and I’m her best mate.
Every now and again, she would look up at me while we sat in the front room. She smiled sadly, and I was tempted to grab her hand and hold onto it for dear life. I didn’t though. Demeter might not appreciate it.
Ah yes, Demeter. I keep forgetting about her. That’s not a very good sign is it? But what do I care? She’s been my girlfriend for all of five days and Charlie’s been my best mate for six years. I think the best friends wins.
So when the time came to go to Charlie’s Dad’s funeral, I grabbed her hand and held it the whole time. It wasn’t until we got out of the car and walked up to the Church, that she really lost it. One minute she was smiling softly at something my Dad said, the next there’s tears rolling down her face and the whole worlds collapsing in on itself. I feel that way too, even though I never saw her father for more than a few minutes once a year. The sight of Charlie crying is enough to do that.
She squeezed my hand as we sat down near the back. She should have been at the front. She should have been right there, instead of her stepmother.
Despite the tears, she sat up straight with a blank expression. As the priest stood up and began his slow, melancholy sermon, she didn’t move. Then, as the service finished and most of the guests left, she stood up, tugging my hand. I followed her through to a little room and on to the churchyard, where lines of graves stood, almost to attention.
We walked quickly towards where a small crowd had gathered and came to a halt next to the priest. I saw her search out her stepmother in the little crowd. The woman was glaring at her but Charlie didn’t reciprocate. I gripped her hand and she squeezed it again.
As the priest said his bit, I couldn’t help wondering why he was being put to rest the muggle way. Richard Phillips was a wizard, and a damn good one. He had worked with my dad, which was how Charlie and I became friends so easily.
Once the speech was over, Lydia what’s ‘er face stepped forwards and with a shaky voice, dropped a red rose into the ground.
“Goodbye Rich.” She said.
As the crowd began to dissipate, Charlie’s stepmother and stepsisters stayed, and so did we.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, Charlotte,” Lydia said, “You’re no longer part of my family.”
“That’s my father.” Charlie replied bitingly “He’s my father. By blood.”
Lydia laughed out loud. “And that gives you what right? This is family only.”
“Then get out.” Charlie hissed, and I felt her go for her wand. Lydia missed the movement, and I didn’t move.
The woman looked furious but Charlie continued, “If you have the nerve to tell me that my father isn’t my family, you should really get your head checked. Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone. Here.”
With a huff, the horrible woman and her two daughters turned round and walked away. I saw Charlie smile, and then she seemed to crumple to the ground, next to the gravestone. She was kneeling on the grass, tracing the words on the granite.
Richard Phillips, beloved husband Lydia, and father to Leanne and Susan.
‘Rest in peace.’
I felt Charlie hiss slightly at the words. Anger, very justified anger, began to bubble as I read those words.
“It’s wrong.” She said softly, as she withdrew her wand from her pocket and murmured a spell. The words on the stone disappeared and in their place, glowing red as they appeared, were new words.
As the magic finished, Charlie reached out and touched them, and when she turned to face me, she was crying again. She smiled to reassure me, but it only served to make me worry more.
“C’mon.” She whispered, wiping away tears with the back of her free hand. We walked back towards the road, where my parents had waited, and drove home in silence.
James has been such a bloody sweetheart. Especially at the funeral yesterday. Frankly, I’m glad I desecrated the gravestone. Lydia can go fuck herself as well, because she is no longer part of my family. I did ask James’ mum if there was anyway to see the will, as he was a wizard and she asked James’ Aunt Hermione, who happens to be the Head of Magical Law Enforcement don’cha know.
So on Sunday, I went to the Ministry with her, and saw the lawyers. As it turned out, My Dad had never changed his will, and so, because my mum was dead too, I got everything. Except the house, which was half Lydia’s, but she was welcome to it.
It still felt incredibly weird, not having a family. Not that I’d had much of one before but still. And it was slowly dawning on me, that I had nowhere to go.
I hoped James’ parents would let me stay for the Holidays until we left school. They probably would, but I didn’t want to impose. Not every family has room for a quiet, moody little orphan.
Oh how Oliver Twist.
Anyway, while revelling in the fact that I had everything I, as the real daughter, was entitled to, I had forgotten that I had to go to bed. It was nearly one in the morning and we had to go back to Hogwarts the next day, so, feeling rather stupid, I got up and got changed into my pyjamas and went to brush my teeth.
I still feel as though I should have shown more emotion, even though I couldn’t possibly. I’ve been trying to rationalise it, and use all the logic my brain has room for and, maybe it’s nothing to do with the fact he’s dead. He’d barely been there for me since he got together with that vile woman Lydia and that had been seven years ago. I’d mourned him along with my mother, because Ricky Phillips, the man who had married my real mother, and fought dark wizards because he believed in the cause, well he had died along with her.
And with this strangely comforting thought, I fell asleep.
It's not as long, but I didnt want to stretch it out too far. I hope this chapter made sense, what with P.O.V changes and the like, and I hope Charlotte didnt come off the wrong way, so CC would be much appreciated.
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