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Chapter 28 : Chapter Twenty-Eight. Elsie.
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“Shut it?” I asked the fifth year who sat by it. We all wished for the fire to stop, but it strangely continued to roar. I turned to Peter, “Where are they?”
He pulled out some kind of parchment and tapped it, whispering something. His eyes glanced over it while I debated whether it was right of me to look or not. I was his girlfriend but just because of that did it mean I was privileged to look into his business? No, I decided. I glanced at the couch we were sitting on and absentmindedly picked off a few stray threads off of the fabric. I sighed as Peter tapped the parchment once more and smiled proudly to himself.
I looked at him with a raised eyebrow and waited while he put two and two together and then answered finally, “Padfoot’s the closest, Moony is upstairs, Mute’s coming in a few minutes, and Prongs is probably snogging Lily in the corridor by the Arithmancy classroom.”
“Do they even care that we’re waiting?” I asked as I tucked a strand of Peter’s dirty blonde hair behind his ear, thinking about how he needed a haircut, and loving the fact that he hadn’t gotten one yet.
“Except for Moony, I’m thinking yeah.”
The portrait hole opened at that moment and I hiccupped. Covering my mouth with my hand, I watched as Sirius and Camilla walked in, far apart from each other. Sirius plopped down on the armchair to our left and asked me, “Did you just hiccup?”
“Yeah,” I felt a red twinge coming onto my cheeks, but I knew I didn’t have a reason to be embarrassed.
“Does it mean you’re going to cry?” Sirius asked.
Camilla, who sat on the armrest of Sirius’s chair, added, “Or that you’re going to vomit?”
“No, no,” I put a hand up, “It just means that I will possibly hiccup again.”
Suddenly Lily entered with James’s arm wrapped around her shoulders, a bright smile across her pale face. I bit my lip to keep from smiling too widely, but it was rather difficult not to. James used whatever power he had over her to pull her head to the side and give me a kiss. She laughed and then pulled away, sitting beside Peter on the couch, James then looked at her for a long while. She sighed, got up, watched James sit down where she had been, and then sat on his lap. He picked up her legs and swung them over to the side, beaming as he did so.
Sirius shook with laughter while Camilla tsked at Lily, who merely blushed and leaned back against the armrest of the couch. I looked up to the portrait hole, waiting anxiously for Mute to walk in. I hadn’t seen her since last night when I’d woken up to find her sobbing. I tried my best to comfort her, but I don’t think it went well.
Peter stroked my hair and made small talk with his mates. Camilla was fastidiously trying to manage her own hair, which looked a bit odd now that the beauty spells were wearing off. But it somehow suited her. I watched as she leaned against Sirius for a moment, and then away just as he began to mold around her. She kept this up for ten minutes whilst we waited for the last two to arrive.
I didn’t blame her for not coming. With the rest of us seemingly getting our happy endings just as we wanted, it had to be hard for Mute. I hiccupped again just as I thought back to her sobbing, distraught face last night. Mentally, I pictured Remus upstairs, pacing, reading, trying to keep his mind off the feelings his heart most definitely was having. I never used to think about other people. I just thought about things.
A collective kind of thought process is what I called my mind. I didn’t have words in my heads sometimes. Lily tells me that’s impossible. That by not thinking, I’m thinking about not thinking. She’s wrong. Sometimes I just stare at the wall and it is absolute peace inside my mind. And Peter thinks that’s nice.
I heard the portrait hole opening and thought for sure that it wasn’t Mute. Most of the kids were either roaming around outside or in their common rooms, and if Mute didn’t want to be here, she had plenty of other choices. But lo and behold it was her.
Her chocolate brown eyes were a little red and lined too heavily, but her lips were naked and chapped. There was a piece of her hair sticking up just a bit and her clothes were too baggy on her, but that’s just how she wore them not because she’d lost weight. Mute likes food too much to get turned off by it. Just like me with my brilliant shakes.
She sat down in the remaining armchair, her eyes on us but her mind looking and watching for Remus. Camilla asked her how she was feeling, to which she answered fine. Lily told her that the polish on her fingernails was an interesting color, to which she answered thanks. Peter asked what time it was, to which she answer two.
I cleared my throat with a high pitched sound and then scooted away from the back of the couch, slouching a bit. I looked around the circle and grinned, “So here we are.”
“All of us,” Lily beamed like this was all because of her.
“Together,” Camilla beamed because it was.
Sirius and Mute exchanged a look. Something deep and indescribable. At least to me anyway. Then, and this was a surprise to everyone, Mute let out a small laugh. And Sirius barked a bit with laughter, shaking Camilla who had finally just rested against him. The entire circle erupted.
“Peter, Elsie, plans?” Mute asked. I didn’t know if I should tell her that Peter invited me to go to Poland with him after graduation, if that would depress her.
“We’re staying together, if that’s what you’re asking,” Peter said plainly. Mute gave us a small smile and her eyes lit up. It hit me now that she was truly and sincerely happy for us if not happy herself.
“And you two?” she asked Camilla and Sirius. He put an arm around her shoulders and she shivered for some reasons, giving him a look that suggested that such an incident was something between them, an inside joke.
Sirius barked a laugh and then said, “We’re takin it day by day, ya know? I mean, she’s a bit touchy, but I’m going to just work my way up, ya know?”
Camilla sighed and shook her head, but turned and gave him a kiss on the cheek all the same.
Mute turned to Lily and she answered without being asked, “We’re in love and he’s reformed. What more could I want?”
“A Nimbus 750? Yeah, me too,” James and Sirius slapped hands and laughed.
I turned the question on Mute.
“I’m leaving for a while. Going to Dublin to visit my cousin, and then I’m thinking about coming back or going to work there, dunno. Either way I’m gonna pave my way, hopefully.” I stared at Mute as she said it and watched the lights behind her eyes dim slightly, hoping just for a moment that they would be happy like her words. But they weren’t.
“You better write,” I told her. And she gave me a soft smile. And that meant that she wouldn’t.
“And floo me at least three times a year depending on how long you’re there. I’ll give you the address of my flat I’m getting,” Lily conjured a quill and short bit of parchment. Mute took it when she was done.
“Don’t call me. Don’t floo me.” Camilla said with a deadpan voice. And then she added after we all stared at her in horror, “oh, er, because I’m coming up there to see you.”
“I’d like that,” Mute smiled. They shared a look. I could never tell with girls. I knew that I was one of them, but for some reason the catfights were just a bit out of my realm. But I understood then what the look meant. It meant that honesty was there. I liked that quite a bit. Actually, I liked that a lot.
“I’m going to study for a few years and be a professor I think,” Remus’s voice came floating from the stairs. We all turned to see him, looking weak but holding up.
“Fits ya, mate,” Sirius smirked.
“Yeah, thanks,” Remus said with unintentional sarcasm.
“So that’s it then?” Lily asked, her voice growing softer. “After graduation, we’re all just going our separate ways?”
“That’s the way it is,” Mute gave a weak, apologetic smile. “Sometimes it’s for the better.”
There was no mistaking who that comment was meant for, but Remus didn’t flinch, merely nodded.
“Bullocks,” James barked. “We four aren’t splitting up anytime soon, ladies, so if you expect to never see each other, I think that’s shit.”
“Watch your language,” Lily hit him playfully on the arm. They laughed a little and then looked about them.
“Definitely,” Remus coughed.
The graduation ceremony was the most beautiful event I ever witnessed. Students sat in their house colors, receiving their honors as their name was called. Professors cried. James and Slughorn shook hands and called a truce. Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter all swarmed around McGonagall until she gave them a group hug—it took about half an hour, but those persistent bastards managed to do it. A huge feeling of unity swept across us all.
The marauders had a send-off prank—the words “Mischief Managed” floating high above the great hall remained all week. Even after our trunks were packed, our tears shed, and goodbyes said. Even after we boarded the train and watched the castle we’d called our home disappear in the distance from the small windows beside our seats. Even after we wept at the train station and exchange addresses, phone numbers, floo lines, and other means of communication.
I kissed Peter goodbye as I went with my parents. We’d see each other in two weeks and be on our way to vacation. I hugged the other three Marauders, giving each a kiss on the cheek. I told Camilla how much I’d miss her, my address, and that she should really beauty charm her hair again. She squeezed me tight and actually shed a tear. Mute smiled kindly at me, gave me a warm hug, her cousin’s address, and her very best goodbye. Lily didn’t say goodbye, claiming she’d see me soon anyway.
And that was that.
This is going to seem like the most pathetic thing in the world, but I nearly cried while writing the graduation part. I have no idea why, but the entire concept was so jarring in my mind. It was beautiful. haha.
Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed. I really hope you REVIEW again. haha. I'm excited that next chapter is the last, and I can't wait to read and answer every single one of my reviews.
Again, thank you all.
Review Question: What do you think is going to happen now? Now that they have graduated?
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