Chapter 14 : One More Thing To Think About
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Disclaimer: I don’t own anything! This is all J.K.Rowling
“Chris?” I asked, dumbfounded at finding him in a deserted hall after midnight.
He stopped abruptly. We were mere inches from each other and I quickly backed up, uncomfortable with the sudden proximity.
“Lily,” He said, his voice startled and his brown eyes wide.
“Chris, what are you doing out so late? You need to get back to your dorm…” I said, trying to make my voice sound authoritative.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Chris said, his head dropping slightly as he turned away from me. “I came out for a walk.”
“Oh,” I said, taken aback by his answer. I was accustomed to dealing with students who were breaking more than just the curfew rule.
“Um,” I stuttered, unsure of how to proceed from here. It felt strange, ordering Chris around.
He looked up at me expectantly, waiting for me to continue.
“You should probably go back to your dormitory,” I said quietly, dropping my eyes to look at my shoes.
When he didn’t respond, I looked up. He wasn’t looking at me anymore, but gazing off down the corridor, a troubled expression on his face.
“Is…is everything alright, Chris?” I asked, dreading the answer.
He sighed and turned his face back to me. It was apparent from his appearance that he was sad, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to hear what he was sad about. I immediately regretted asking him. And then I felt bad about regretting it.
My stomach twisted with guilt at his sorrow and I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was my Chris standing there, looking so dejected. I wanted to comfort him, put my arms around him. It took a lot of self-control not to. I glued my hands to my side, but moved a few steps closer to him.
“Can I walk with you for a bit?” He asked his voice thick with emotion.
I nodded and started forward, Chris falling into step beside me.
“I’m sorry I was a complete git earlier in Potions. That won’t happen again,” he said quickly as we turned another corner, working our way back towards the center of the castle where I would end my rounds.
“Don’t worry about it,” I muttered, keeping my eyes straight ahead. I couldn’t bear to see his face again.
“I shouldn’t have let myself get out of control like that,” he said, shaking his head.
“It’s fine, Chris, really.” I said trying to keep the sharpness out of my voice. I wished he would drop it. “You know how I am about potions. And of course you’re familiar with my temper. It’s partly my fault.”
“You know, I never thought we’d be here,” Chris mused, with a small humorless laugh.
I looked over at him bemused. “What are you talking about?”
“You and I,” he let out a small sigh. “Acting like this around each other. I mean, look at you. Your hands are clenched into fists, you’re incredibly tense, and you won’t even look at me. I always knew there was a possibility that we would break up, but I guess I didn’t expect it so soon.”
I winced, biting my bottom lip. This conversation was turning uncomfortable.
“I’m not mad, Lily,” he explained, seeing my tense expression. “I’m just… sad.”
“I am too, Chris,” I said softly, not looking up. “I know I may not act like it, but I am.”
“That’s good to hear,” Chris said as we reached the cloisters on the outskirts of the castle. “Do you want to sit?”
I nodded mutely as he led me to one of the stone benches lining the edges of the grassy square.
“It’s nice out tonight,” I commented casually as a warm breeze fluttered lightly around us. I pulled my legs up underneath me on the bench, angling myself slightly towards Chris. It felt so natural to be sitting here with him. I knew it shouldn’t, that I should try to avoid this at all costs because there was a chance of me falling for Chris again. But he looked so sad, and I couldn’t leave now.
“Do you remember how we used to go up to the astronomy tower and watch the stars when it was clear?” Chris asked in a quiet, nostalgic voice.
“Uh huh,” I said, as a lump formed in my throat. My head was swirling with thoughts and I was having trouble concentrating. Had I made a mistake breaking up with Chris? It felt so easy, sitting with him here. I was trying to remember the reason for breaking up with him in the first place, but I couldn’t think of it.
“Can we… maybe—“ Chris stuttered on the words. “Do you think we could be friends?”
I locked eyes with him, taken aback by his request. I thought he had been about to ask something different and couldn’t tell if I was upset or relieved.
“Of course, Chris,” I said, letting out a sigh. “I’d like that.”
“So… what do friends talk about?” Chris laughed, leaning back on his hands.
“I don’t know,” I admitted, letting out a quiet laugh. “We could talk about Quidditch.”
Chris let out a loud laugh. “Since when have you ever been interested in Quidditch.”
I smiled at him. “Since never. I’m trying to find a conversation starter.”
“Alright, fair enough,” He returned my smile. “How do you like your classes so far?”
I rolled my eyes. “You don’t have to ask me about school, Chris. You know that I’ll never stop talking once I start.”
“I like hearing you talk,” he laughed quietly. I liked hearing him laugh, a much nicer change than the forlorn tone his voice had possessed earlier.
“Lily?” I voice asked from behind us and I jerked my head towards the sound.
Potter was standing in the arched stone doorway leading out to the courtyard, staring at Chris and I. How long had he been standing there? How much had he heard?
“Chris, you should get back to your dorm,” I said quietly to him as I stood up, smoothing down my skirt and adjusting my robes.
He nodded and swiftly swept around me and past Potter, heading back to the Ravenclaw dormitory.
I walked quickly towards Potter, feeling strangely nervous that Potter had caught Chris and I having an innocent conversation.
“Are you finished?” Potter asked acidly. I couldn’t tell if he meant with rounds or with Chris.
“Yes,” I said coldly walking past him on my way to the Gryffindor Tower.
“Lily, wait,” Potter called and I heard his footsteps as he jogged to catch up to my quick pace.
I kept my face straight forward and picked up my pace even more.
“Lily, please slow down,” Potter huffed as he ran up next to me.
“What?” I snapped, glaring at him as I slowed down slightly.
“What was going on back there?” he asked, curiosity burning in his voice.
“Why does it matter to you?” I asked him loftily, turning my face forward again.
“I’m just curious,” Potter said lightly, obviously trying hard to sound like he didn’t care either way. “It looked like you guys were having a conversation. You should have sent him to bed when you first came across him. Unless you told him to meet you.”
“I didn’t tell him to meet me,” I said, slowing down even more. “I ran into him in a corridor and he looked really sad… he asked if he could walk with me for a bit.”
“Oh,” Potter said, scratching his head.
“He apologized for Potions. He’s kind of having a harder time with this than I am,” I said quietly, looking down at my shoes again.
“Oh,” Potter said again.
We had reached the common room and I quickly said the password, in a hurry to get to my room and go to bed. I was exhausted and I was still trying to sort out my thoughts, which were oddly revolving around Chris. The lump returned to my throat as images of our past filled my head. I glanced over at Potter’s brooding face and instantly remembered the reason that I had broken up with Chris.
“Lily, is everything alright?” Potter asked when he saw my face. I wondered what my expression looked like.
“It’s fine,” I lied, trying to smooth my face into a more indifferent expression.
“I’m not buying that,” he chided me, tugging on the sleeve of my robe and pulling me onto the couch next to him.
“I was supposed to save him from getting hurt,” I blurted out, the words spilling out of my mouth before I could stop myself. “Breaking up with him was supposed to save him from the possible hurt I could have caused when I—if I—“
I choked on my own words, stopping myself before I said anything else incriminating.
“Its just…this is harder than I thought it would be, the whole break up thing,” I whispered, shaking my head sadly.
Potter stared at me blankly, and I reached both my hands up and yanked them through my hair, letting out an exasperated sigh.
“Where’s Holly?” I asked suddenly, realizing her absence for the first time.
“I sent her back to her room when I finished rounds. I was looking for you,” he explained, his voice tight with something I couldn’t identify.
“Oh,” was all I could say.
“I’m going to bed,” He announced, standing up suddenly and walking swiftly to his room, leaving me sitting on the couch, even more confused than before.
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