Chapter 22 : Chapter 22- The Close
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A few days later Jasper and I were both released from St Mungos. Completely void of bruises, bandages, cuts and scrapes we were free to go back to Hogwarts. Leon and Audrey, who were healing spectacularly, still had to remain under care for at least another week. However, the healers assured us that they had both made full recoveries.
We spent a lot of time, those past days, by their bedside. Leon and Audrey told us of how Rostam had ambushed them while they were sleeping. The cheapest attack ever, yet somehow, that didn’t surprise me. It seemed like the kind of thing he’d do, striking the weak and vulnerable was exactly his style. Magically he had bound and gagged them and told them all about his grand plan. He explained in detail just how magnificent our deaths would be. How exactly he’s kill them, slowly, right before moving on to us. They had tried to fight, but he had taken them out. Just like that.
It was fair to say that we had quite a bit of explaining to do. Jasper and I had mysteriously disappeared from school for almost a week with no prior warning and no explanation. Yet when I got back, try as I might, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell Anna, Greta, Elise and Lucy the truth. I wanted to say to them “oh, well, as if turns out Jasper and I are freaky half-breeds and we just had to go save our aunt and uncle from the guy who killed our parents” but it wasn’t that easy. Not at the moment.
In the end I settled with telling them that there had been ‘a lot of family issues to sort out’. They didn’t believe me, not for a heartbeat. I had to admit, it was a terrible lie. They’d noticed the absence of Lily, James and Sirius as well, and they weren’t falling for my suggestion that they’d grown ‘very attached’ to my aunt and uncle over Christmas.
But there was time. Of that I was sure. We had all the time in the world. Maybe one day I’d tell them the truth, one day they’d know everything, but for now we were all content with what we had. I watched their reactions to my horrible lies and couldn’t help but be amazed. How could I have been missing out on this all my life? How could it be that I’d never had friends like this before? I watched their eagerness to welcome me back and their readiness to forgive and overlook the things I’d done and knew, I knew that I’d never have made it through this year without them.
However, if my friends were taking the fact that I’d obviously been lying to them all year well- It was nothing compared to how the Lily, James, Sirius and now Peter and Remus were taking it.
We sat in what seemed to be the Marauders favourite spot. In the shade of that big tree on the bank of the lake. We lounged around, basking in the bliss of not having any exams. That was it. Our last year of school was drawing to a close; there was nothing we could do now. A certain sense of reckless abandon had gripped each of our hearts. We laughed and chatted carelessly as we lazed about outside.
“So, I suppose, now that it’s all out in the open, you wouldn’t mind telling us something,” James started casually. He was lying on his back with the snitch hovering over his head. Just when it seemed the snitch might escape, James’s arm snapped out and caught it.
I shifted my position against Sirius’s chest. He was leaning up against the trunk of the tree and I lay between his sprawled legs, resting against his chest.
“Sure,” I said. “What about?”
James sat up. “We were wondering how you got expelled.”
Jasper began to laugh. For a moment James was distracted and the snitch escaped. With a snap of his arm Jasper caught it. James was stunned.
“Blimey,” Peter said. “I’m never going to get used to seeing you move that quick.”
Jasper laughed again as Lily and Remus shook their heads, half in agreement, half in amusement.
“So?” Sirius said. I could feel his words rumbling in his chest. “Are you going to tell us?”
“It’s a long story.” I warned.
“What isn’t with you two?” Sirius teased, and we all had to agree.
“Well,” Jasper started. “I suppose there’s not too much to say. We used to go to Olydias Academy of the Magic Arts in Romania-”
“Oh yes, I’ve heard that’s wonderful!” Lily interrupted.
“It was different.” I said. “Much different to here, but I wouldn’t say it was better.”
“Cheers Lily,” Jasper continued, shaking his head and smiling. “Anyway, Lulah and I… well, I suppose we sort of… intimidated the other students.”
“Oh, I can barely imagine why,” Remus snickered and Peter looked on shocked, oblivious to Remus’s sarcasm.
“It would be fair to say we had sort of a top position at the school. I guess our parents were pretty influential, and the whole, the different coloured eyes thing tends to freak people out. Then our parents died and well, kids realized they could use that against us to bring us down.”
“That’s terrible!” Lily gasped and I nodded.
“Not one of the highlights of my life,” I smiled.
“One day,” Jasper continued, “I’d had enough. Well, we both had. This kid comes up to us and says some annoying little comment and, well… we snapped. Lulah goes at him with her fist raised and I whip out my wand.”
“That’s my girl,” Sirius laughed, giving me a squeeze.
“Then this other bloody kid goes ‘I see they obviously missed the lesson about ‘no fighting at school’ from their parents. That’s a shame’ and takes a swing at us… and we lost it. We sort of exploded a little. Nothing too bad, you know, just a few sparks here and there. They just thought we did it with our wands anyhow. But the reason we got expelled, the main reason, I think was because there used to be this massive statue of our headmistress in the Atrium- where this all happened. And um, well, as we went off the statue sort of… caught fire and burnt to the ground?”
The crowd burst into laughter at the ridiculousness of it all. Jasper hung his head in mock shame.
“That was not a proud moment for me!” He said, but he was laughing as he said it. Our friends shook their heads at us.
“You’re absolute nutters, you know that, right?” James said. “Here we were thinking you’d murdered half the school in their sleep or something really nasty like that. But that… that just makes expulsion seem cool.” He faded off into another peal of laughter.
The sun was setting now. It sunk low into the sky, swallowed by the horizon. A warm evening breeze was picking up. Everything was perfect. Slowly we began to drift off into our own conversations again. As Remus and Lily held a heated discussion about giant liberation and Peter, James and Sirius entered an intense debate about whether the Appleby Arrows or Pride of Portree would win the championship this year, I locked eyes with Jasper.
I knew he was thinking just what I was thinking. As I looked around at the wonderful life we had built around ourselves this past year, as I felt Sirius heart beating against my back and his warm breath upon my head I knew several things with full certainty.
We didn’t have to hade anymore and everything would be just fine.
A/N: Wow, finally the end. I've been writing this story for over a year and now, wow. Look, I'm finished. Yes, I did indeed shed a tear :) Thank you VERY much to everyone who has ever reviewed. Each review is precious to me. Hopefully there will be many more to come! I'd like to say a special thanks to my little darlin' rachm34 for encouraging me NONSTOP with this :) Hahah, oh there are so many people I'd love to thank, but I don't want to risk this sounding like an Oscars Acceptance speech even more than it already does.
Thanks! Happy reading! PLEASE REVIEW.