Chapter 16 : Keeping Faith
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God. It was all his fault. All his fault.
He could still remember everything so clearly.
Her thudding onto the ground.
Her limbs splayed out in awkward positions.
Albus put his hand up to his cheek, and quickly wiped away the tear that had just escaped from the corner of his eye. He would not cry in public. He had to be strong. For Charlee. For everyone. For himself.
He stared at Charlee's still body that was lying on the Hospital Wing bed. Her skin was so pale, and under her eyes were huge, dark circles. Wrapped around her head was a bandage, with tiny patch of blood seeping through.
It had been a week since the accident, and still, there was no progress. She was in a coma, and “Not waking up any time soon,” Madam Pomfrey had said. But Albus refused to believe that. Charlee would come around soon; he just knew it. She had to. Life at school was incomplete without her; even people who didn't know her incredibly well were upset. The thing that kept Albus going was...gone. The spark that was always in his life had gone out.
Albus slid his hand through her cold, pale one, intertwining their fingers together, and gripping onto her, like his life depended on it.
“Please,” he whispered quietly, for her ears only, “Please wake up soon, baby.” he kissed her hand softly, and closed his eyes, remembering back to that dreadful practice...
“Charlee?” Albus gasped, the rain pouring harder than ever against his head.
“Charlee?!” He nudged her arm gently; she didn't respond.
Albus shook as he stood up, taking in deep gulps of air, as he filled his lungs, ready to yell-
“HELP! HELP! SOMEONE! CHARLEE'S HAD A FALL! HELP! QUICKLY! SHE ISN'T RESPONDING!” Immediately, Albus saw spots of red and gold descending down to the pitch, and soon, the whole of the Gryffindor team were crowded around him, gasps and shouts of shock erupting from all of them.
“Albus! Albus! We need to move her to the hospital wing! Come on-” Albus nodded at Jacob, feeling numb, as he fumbled with his wand which was in the inside pocket of his robes. He pulled it out and muttered an incantation. Charlee rose into the air, and Albus started guiding her towards the Hogwarts castle.
As soon as they entered the Hospital Wing, Madam Pomfrey was fussing over Charlee. Albus guided her over to a bed, and Madam Pomfrey immediately set to work with pouring different coloured liquids down her throat, and murmuring different charms with her wand.
Albus didn't know how long he waited by the curtain, waiting for Madam Pomfrey to finish looking after Charlee. But the same thought revolved around in his head: It's all my fault.
It was all his fault. If it wasn't for him, Charlee would be concious and well, laughing in the Gryffindor common room with Rose and himself, telling everyone how wet it was outside, and how they were going to thrash the Hufflepuff's in the Easter match.
But, no. She wasn't. Instead, she was lying in a Hospital Wing bed, pale as the sheets that covered her, all the while unconscious.
He would never forgive himself.
Finally, Madam Pomfrey emerged from behind the curtain, looking grave. By this time, it was well past midnight.
Albus shot up from his seat, his eyes searching hers, as he tried to figure out the words behind her facial expression.
“Is she okay?” his voice cracked on the last word, and he cleared his throat, shuffling on his feet awkwardly. Madam Pomfrey bowed her head.
“She is alive, but very weak,” she said, looking up at him. “She won't be waking up any time soon. All we can do is wait, and hope for the best.”
Albus felt like his heart had stopped beating. Oh God. What had he done?
What amazed Albus the most was how everyone blamed themselves for the accident. As soon as word was out that Charlee was in the Hospital Wing in a coma, tons of people had been seeking out Albus all over the place, apologizing, and somehow managing to blame themselves.
Madam Pomfrey's head appeared from around the corner, and Albus sprang up guiltily, even though he had been doing nothing, except holding Charlee's hand, and murmuring promises in her ear, which he would keep when she awoke.
“Mr Potter, I really think you should go now – it's nearly five o'clock in the morning. I've sent a slip to Professor McGonangall, explaining everything. You don't have to attend lessons tomorrow, but you still need sleep.” Albus sighed, before he nodded. He then walked over to Charlee's side, and kissed her forehead.
“I'll be back later today, as soon as possible. I promise.” he squeezed her hand gently, then he let go, and followed Madam Pomfrey out of the room.
As soon as Albus entered the Gryffindor common room, he was pounced by what seemed like half the house.
“Oh Albus! I'm so sorry!” cried Lily, who was the first to reach him. She had tear tracks down her cheeks. Rose was next, Scorpius by her side; she was still in tears.
“Albus! Is she okay? God! It's all my fault!” she whimpered, as a fresh set of tears broke out. Albus opened his mouth to deny this, when Jack started.
“No – it's my fault! I couldn't see where I was hitting the bludgers; I probably knocked her off her broom!”
“It's my fault – I was talking to her beforehand; I never should have. Then, maybe, she wouldn't have been hit-” Rebecca said quietly, before Jacob interrupted her.
“No, it is my fault – i shouldn't have made you guys practice-”
“It's my fault!” Emily cried out. “I should have been stubborn and refused to play; then we wouldn't have had a practice in the first place!” Jacob opened his mouth to argue, but Albus held his hand up.
“If it's anyone's fault, it's my fault for leaving her when I went to get help-”
“Albus,” whispered Rose softly, gripping his arm. Albus shook his head.
“It isn't your fault, mate.” Jack said quietly. Albus sighed, and looked down at his feet, afraid that the tears would resurface.
“Well, it's none of yours either. Charlee got struck by lightning – it could've happened to anyone; Quidditch practice, or no Quidditch practice.” he sighed, and looked up at the crowd, tears swimming in his eyes.
“I'm going to go to bed.” There was a murmur of agreement, before the crowd part, and Albus raced up to his dorm, before he threw himself onto his bed, and let the tears that had been building up inside him gush out.
Albus sighed, and looked up at Charlee, checking for any signs of movement.
There were none.
“Why is this happening?” Albus thought quietly to himself. He didn't know what to do any more. When he'd been under a coma, he could hear everything anyone said. And when Charlee told him that she needed him back...he'd just awoken.
What did Charlee need to hear to wake up? And who did she need to hear it from?
Albus shot straight up, letting go of Charlee's hand, as the curtains next to him ruffled, and Teddy emerged from the gap in between them. His hair, usually a vibrant colour, was a pale yellow, sandy colour. He had dark circles under his eyes, not dissimilar from Charlee's – it looked like he hadn't slept in weeks.
Teddy walked straight over to Charlee's bed, sliding onto the chair on the other side of her bed, away from Albus, taking her hand in both of his. Albus mirrored Teddy's actions.
“I'm sorry – I would have gotten here last week, but Victoire wouldn't let me go – what, with the wedding being so close...” he sighed, closing his eyes, and shaking his head. He then reopened his eyes, and looked at Albus.
“When will she wake up?” he asked quietly, his voice steady, but his eyes betraying him.
“I don't know.” Albus whispered. Teddy nodded, and looked down at Charlee's hand, which was held in both of his.
“Can I have a few minutes alone with her?” Teddy asked quietly. Albus nodded, and scraped back his chair, before he walked out from behind the curtains.
Teddy sighed quietly, as Albus slipped through the curtains, and disappeared from sight. Teddy then turned his attention back to Charlee, squeezing her hand that was wrapped inside his.
“Oh Charlee...” he murmured, stroking the top of her hand with his thumb, shaking his head. Charlee was constantly getting herself into trouble; had been even before Teddy had met her. If he had to describe her in three words, he would say: Reckless, wild, crazy. But he loved her for it. He just wished that these kind of things didn't happen to her, and he couldn't help but blame her recklessness for it.
“You've gotta wake up soon, okay honey? Some of us need you around more than ever. My wedding's in a week and...I can't go through with it if you're not there. You're the girl that's gonna be pushing me up to the alter when I start rethinking things, and getting nervous. You'll be the girl that'll be there for me the whole way through. I need you back here, sweetie.” Teddy leaned over, and kissed the top of her head lightly.
“I miss you – more than you think.” he murmured, before he squeezed her hand gently, and walked out from behind the curtains.
Albus didn't know how long Teddy would be in the room with Charlee; he didn't wait to find out. He walked straight out of the Hospital Wing, and down the steps, entering the Entrance Hall. But instead of going into the Great Hall, he slipped out of the front doors, and made his way down to the lake for some peace and quiet. If he went into the Great Hall, people would immediately crowd round him, asking for news, and apologizing to him. But he didn't need their apologies. His girlfriend would wake up soon.
Albus sighed to himself, and slid down against the old willow tree that hung over the lake, watching the giant squid swim around.
Just then, he heard some noise from the Hogwarts gates. He turned around, frowning, and saw Hagrid walking through the now open gates, two very tiny people following behind him, looking slightly intimidated by his height. Albus scrambled up, and walked around the trees towards them, trying to get a better look.
They were Charlee's parents.
Feeling curious, Albus hurried after them, all the way up to Professor McGonagall's office, making sure, all the while, that they could not see him.
“Cat whiskers.” said Hagrid. The stone gargoyle sprang aside, and the three continued up the spiralling staircase towards her office. Albus followed quietly after them, putting a finger to his lips as he passed the gargoyle. The gargoyle nodded at Albus, and Albus grinned, as he climbed up the staircase after the three people.
Once Charlee's parents and Hagrid were inside the room, and the door was shut, Albus pressed his ear against the door, trying to hear what they were saying.
“Good morning Mr and Mrs Moore. Now, as you know, your daughter, Charlee, has had quite a severe Quidditch injury-”
“I've always told her that she should stop this Quidditch nonsense! I told her she'd get hurt – but no! No, she carried on playing it!” came a quite high, and shrill voice.
That must be her mother, thought Albus, as he pressed his ear harder against the door, wishing he had brought along his Invisibility Cloak, or a pair of Extendible Ears.
“Yes, I do understand, Mrs Moore. But Charlee is a very talented player – one of the best beaters we have ever had on the Gryffindor team for a while-”
“And? Isn't her safety supposed to come first?!” Charlee's mum's voice had gotten shriller.
“Honey, please, calm down.” Albus heard the sensible words come from a deep, male voice: Charlee's father.
“How am I supposed to calm down? My little girl is lying in some bed unconscious!” Her mother shrieked. Albus heard a chair scrape back, and backed away from the door slightly, before he heard Professor McGonagall's voice.
“Please, Mrs Moore – I have something important to tell you.” Albus heard movement in the room, before McGonagall spoke again.
“Things concerning Charlee are looking grave,” she paused, as Mrs Moore in took a sharp breath.
“Charlee fell an awful long way. Her bones are healed, but Madam Pomfrey does not know if she will ever come out of her coma. It could be days, weeks, months – or even years.
“We do not know what is best for you – and best for her. If Charlee is in pain then...then maybe it is better if we turn off her life support-”
“NO!” yelled Albus, crashing through the door, his eyes aflame, as he glared at McGonagall.
“You can't turn off her life support, you can't!”
“Mr Potter! I must insist that you leave my office-”
“YOU CAN'T! SHE WILL WAKE UP!”
“SHE WILL WAKE UP! SHE WILL!” By this time, Albus' throat was choked with tears. He crumpled to the ground, his whole body shaking.
“Hagrid, could you please...?” Albus heard McGonagall's voice, then heard heavy footsteps approach him. Soon, he was swept up into someone's big, strong arms, and felt the scent of the Forbidden Forest.
“Take me to the Hospital Wing.” pleaded Albus. He heard a grunt, and soon found himself sat on one of the hard plastic chairs that surrounded Charlee's bed. He looked at her hopefully.
Nothing had changed.
Albus leaned over to her bed, his lips at her cold, and very pale ear.
“Please wake up soon, baby. I can't live without you.” he kissed her ear softly, before he sat back onto the chair, and closed his eyes, letting some well needed sleep invade him.
In the changing rooms at Quidditch practice that evening, everything was dull and quiet, people only talking in hushed murmurs. Quidditch just wasn't the same without Charlee there – and Albus knew everyone was thinking it.
Just then, Jacob entered the changing rooms, followed by the big-busted Georgia Bell. He looked nervous.
“Um, okay. Uh – right team. Well, as you know, our good beater, Charlee, is, uh, ill in the Hospital Wing, and, uh, because we have an upcoming match this Saturday, um, I have asked Georgia here if she would, um, take her place for the match-” Out roar broke out.
“You can't replace Charlee!” Rose shot up from where she was sat next to Emily and Rebecca, glaring at Jacob.
“Yeah! She'll wake up before the match!” said Emily indignantly, standing up next to Rose.
“Yeah!” chorused Jack, standing up too, his beater's bat at hand. Jacob looked lost and helpless.
“Guys, even if she does wake up before Saturday, she won't be well enough to play-”
“Yes she will!” said Rose, a murmur of agreement going around the changing rooms. But Albus knew that everyone knew it was a lie.
“Charlee will wake up.” Albus croaked out, not looking at anyone.
“But she won't be well in time for the game. Sure, when she wakes up, she'll be pissed off that she missed it-” Everyone chuckled quietly, “- but I think we should try our best to win for her.” He looked up at Jacob. “It would make her happy.” Jacob nodded solemnly, smiling slightly at Albus, before he glanced around at the rest of the team.
“Okay – let's get practising.” The team nodded, and slowly walked out of the room. Albus walked out last.
When he passed Jacob, he patted his back gently.
“She'll wake up soon, Albus. You just have to keep faith.”
The next school week passed by in a blur of homework and Quidditch practises, Albus visiting Charlee whenever he could. He had seen Charlee's parents visiting the school on a regular basis, and knew they were discussing transferring her to St. Mungo's. He couldn't help but get a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach whenever someone talked about Charlee: It was all his fault.
On Thursday night, Hufflepuff had the pitch booked, so Albus decided to visit Charlee.
When he arrived, it was nearly midnight, and most of the beds were vacant, apart from a Slytherin in the far corner, snoring loudly, and, of course, Charlee, who was in the bed opposite the Slytherin, her chest lightly rising and falling, her skin as pale as ever.
Albus dragged a plastic chair towards her bed, and took her hand in his, rubbing them together in his, trying to warm her up.
He felt a bump on one of her fingers.
He opened up his hands, and saw a delicate silver ring on the fourth finger of her right hand. He smiled softly.
“I'm glad you wear it.” he murmured in her ear, kissing her hair, ear, cheek, neck, hand, and then lips.
Suddenly, Albus heard a noise from behind him, and jumped up to see Madam Pomfrey standing at the end of her bed.
“Good evening Mr Potter. I do believe it is best curfew-”
“Yes, but I had to check she was okay-”
“I know, dear, especially since she's leaving for St. Mungo's tomorrow-”
“WHAT?!” Albus turned himself fully around, speechless. Charlee was going to St. Mungo's tomorrow?
“Oh, I...I thought you knew.” Her eyes searched his, and she sighed sympathetically.
“I'm really sorry, dear-” Albus held up a hand, and shook his head furiously, before he stormed out of the Hospital Wing, running all the way to Professor McGonagall's office, ignoring the shouts from Madam Pomfrey as he went.
On the third floor, however, Albus turned a corner, and ran slap bang into Professor McGonagall herself.
“Professor!” he gasped out, clutching a stitch in his side.
“Mr Potter! It is well past your bedtime-”
“I know, but-”
“No excuses! I understand what you are going through, but it does not mean you can wonder about the school at all hours! Detention, tomorrow, my office!” and with that, she strode past him, leaving Albus furious and speechless.
Silently, Albus made his way back to the common room. He muttered the password to the Fat Lady, who swung forward.
But as Albus stepped into the common room, the grandfather clock in the corner chiming midnight, Rose hurled herself at him, yelling words at him at an incredibly fast speed.
“What? What?! Rose! Rose, I can't understand you! Slow down!” Rose sighed, and rolled her eyes. Albus frowned at her.
“Now what do you need to tell me?”
“Albus!” a grin broke across her face. “Charlee's awake!”
A/N: Yup. I didn't kill her off :P I don't think I could anyway – I mean, this story is pretty much based from her point of view :P
Love me, or hate me? That is the question :P
I hope you enjoyed this chapter – first Teddy P.O.V.! I hope it was okay! I hope you all liked a chapter mainly coming from Albus' P.O.V. - I thought the boy deserved a whole chapter to himself :3
Rate, review – you know what to do (:
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