Roxy’s forgetting it plan was my best option. Of course it was. I was throwing myself into it with gusto – she would never hear me utter a word on the topic again…
Unfortunately, since I had no one to whinge to and I wasn’t allowed to actively mull over the topic myself, I had to shunt the dreams (nightmares, if you will) to the back of my mind where I’m fairly certain they were going to drive me slowly and painfully insane.
Therefore, it went like this.
Roxy: “Good morning, Renee. How did you sleep?” I don’t know why Rox is a sickening sweetie-pie in my mind… this just goes to show the depths of my insanity.
Me: “Wonderful, thank you. Shall we proceed down to breakfast and subsequently enjoy a thrilling day of lessons?” Unfortunately I did actually use those words one day. I then legged it into the shower before she could call me out on it.
Today, anyway, I had a bigger issue on my mind.
Today was the first Divination lesson after The Incident Of Which We Shall Not Mention. And I was a teensy little bit worried. Understandably, I’m sure you’ll agree.
“You’re not eating,” Chris observed, at breakfast, eyes on my untouched plate of toast.
I intended to politely pick up a piece and nibble on it to prove him wrong, even though I was sure it would taste of sawdust in my mouth but, like I said, the dreams and lack of sleep were driving me a bit nutty so…
“You’re not eating,” I retorted, raising my eyebrows at his empty plate.
“I’ve… just got here…” He didn’t know whether I was joking or not, which was pretty amusing in itself, so proceeded to pile his plate high with all the things boys like to feast on after an hour and a half’s Quidditch practice. “See?”
“You’re not eating,” I repeated. No food had been consumed, so he was not technically eating.
He then decided that I was joking – quite frankly I had no clue whether I was or wasn’t, the lack of sleep had made me delirious – and stabbed a fork into a sausage and brought it to his mouth with a grin.
I wasn’t going to allow him to win just like that so I snatched it from his fork at the last minute.
“Not eating,” I repeated, then realised I was holding a greasy sausage in my bare hands so dropped it swiftly onto my plate.
In my defence I was severely over tired.
“If you wanted a sausage you could have just asked…” Chris said, a little bewildered that some of his precious food had been taken away.
Rob overheard this and snorted into his porridge, loudly. “Oh God. Too many dirty jokes… which to choose…”
“Oh Rob,” Roxy overheard and shook her head in faux sympathy, “Does it upset you that no one’s asked for your sausage?”
“Does it upset you that no one’s offered you their sausage?” Rob retorted with a leer.
“Roxy’s got her own sausage,” I interjected, just to shake things up a bit.
My comment met silence.
A faintly disgusted look passed over Rob’s face. “That’s just ruined several images in life for me.”
“Rob! You huge perv…” It was Roxy’s turn to look disgusted and she kicked him hard in the shins.
“I meant it in the least perverted way possible! Of course I wouldn’t want to imagine you or Ren with a -”
“Why would you imagine us at all?” Roxy screeched, her expression horrified.
“Rox! I didn’t mean -” Rob tried in vain to defend himself. He probably knew it was too late.
“So how was training?” I asked Chris quickly, so that I wouldn’t get dragged into the dispute to reprimand Rob on Roxy’s behalf when she became too infuriated to speak.
As predicted, the shrieking increased in volume.
“Average,” Chris said, not batting an eyelid to Roxy battering Rob with a teaspoon and Rob’s occasional yelps of pain, “I think we’ve been having too many sessions.” He looked pointedly at the battling duo.
He had a point. We could always tell when they’d been practicing too much because it always ended up in a safe, teasing repartee between Roxy and Rob becoming a murderous row often involving teaspoons or other appropriate weapons.
Chris reckons it’s because they can’t get away from one another. They were both beater’s on the Quidditch team, both in our same close group of friends and even ended up sitting together in most classes, being Weasley and Willis.
I guess that was one option.
My explanation was that they were too bloody similar for their own good. They were both the natural athletes – so with that came the natural rivalry and competition. They were both the sociable type who can’t bear being alone – they always need someone to talk to them or listen to their stupid jokes. They were both unreasonably clever behind the loud, jokey front – enhancing their ability to wind the other up.
Of course, they had so much in common that, on one day, they could be the best of friends.
Of course, on other days they’d clash – they were always bloody competing against one another. To be the better beater, to make the better jokes, to be the better friend, to get the better grades.
Unfortunately for Roxy (or Rob, depending on how you looked at it) she always seemed to be more riled up by these…disagreements. It was the Weasley temper.
I sighed as her face deepened in colour, turning a strange purple beneath her smooth golden complexion. “What do you reckon?” I asked Chris, “Intervene or leave them to it?”
“What’s first class?” Chris asked, then caught my eye with a grin.
“Runes,” We both remembered at the same time, “Leave them to it.”
The Ancient Runes classroom was conveniently on the opposite side of the castle to the Arithmancy classroom, where our bestest chums would be headed.
“Bye guys!” I called, in a fairly quiet voice so that no attention would be drawn to me, “See you at break,”
“Nicely done,” Chris shook his head in amusement, “I’m sure they heard that whisper over Roxy’s wailing,”
“I tried,” I shrugged, innocently.
“I wonder…” A contemplative look appeared on Chris’ face as he absent-mindedly hauled my bag onto his shoulder along with his own and, with his spare hand, reached for mine.
“Don’t strain yourself,” I took his hand, entwining all of our fingers as was the usual. It was a comfort thing for me, pressing our hands as closely together as they could.
Often if we were lounging around in the common room or just lying in bed together I’d find myself sleepily playing with his hands; holding them, tracing the lines, fitting them together perfectly. I wouldn’t even realise until something I did tickled his palm or something and he’d twitch, making me jump.
Holding his hand now, acting so normally with the whole dealing (or not) with Roxy and Rob thing, going to lessons as usual… it relaxed me a little more. Helped me with the Forget It plan really, and made it obvious, I think, that the vision must have been an anomaly. A mistake. Because there truly was nothing I wanted right then more than the love and comfort of Christian Macmillan. Nothing at all.
I pulled myself closer to him as we walked, another thing I often did, holding our clasped hands up against my shoulder. He’d never really understood that – not that I did really – and often would comment on it, but right now his ‘wondering’ distracted him.
“I wonder when the sexual tensions going to catch up to those two,”
“Because! Same reasons it’s always been. Too similar and too much time together.”
“Or because they want to fu-”
“Christian!” I shushed him hurriedly, clapping my free hand over his mouth, “You’re the one who’s been spending too much time with Rob with ideas like that…”
“Ren, Ren, Ren,” He shook his head, “So naïve…”
“I’m not naïve,” I bumped him with my hip. It probably hurt me more than it did him.
“Well it’s either that or you’re just extremely susceptible to Roxy’s brainwashing,” He said, knowledgably, as if that settled the topic.
“Um, brainwashing?” We reached the Runes classroom and took our seats at the back of the room. It was a small class, just us from the Ravenclaw’s, two Slytherin’s, a Hufflepuff and four Gryffindor’s.
Chris nodded, evidently pleased with his conclusion.
“Explain.” I requested.
He shrugged, “Come on. How many times have you had Roxy storm up to your room ranting about whatever he’s done to piss her off this time, declaring her undying hate for him, that sort of thing?”
“A lot,” I allowed.
“Exactly. She’s convinced you and herself that they’re never going to get along because she’s said it so much.”
I stared at his slightly cocky grin that clearly said ‘I’m a genius’.
“Or,” I suggested, “They really are just argumentative little shits who try and often fail to be friends. And you’re just reading into it too much.”
“Or maybe you’re not reading into it enough,” He shot back with a sarcastic smile, not to be outdone.
I had to repress my own smile. See, back when Chris and I were first… well, I wouldn’t call it dating, even. When we were first beginning to feel… uh, that way about each other but were both too stubborn to be the one to mention anything in case the other didn’t (we were thirteen, give us a break), that had – according to Chris – been my problem.
Apparently I didn’t read into all those little things – the flirting, the arms around waists, the eye contact, the sad puppy-dog face whenever I spoke to another guy – enough. All the hints as to what he was feeling.
Of course, he was wrong. I totally read all those signs – of course I did, I’d seen him work up the guts to finally tell me – I was waiting for it.
But I had to pretend to be oblivious. Because, for one thing it was just plain weird that I’d seen that, and for another he hated it when I saw anything. Seriously. He hated it if I saw that he’d do well in an assignment, let alone something like this. I guess it was a kind of intrusion of privacy.
Afterwards, when we figured out the whole ‘seer’ business, I’d had to confess about the whole thing. He asked me - I wasn’t going lie. But anyway, I’d told him and he’d, in typical Chris fashion, hated it.
I attributed this to his dislike of being predictable – I mean look at the birthday thing. Never a predictable present in all these years. Chris was all about having the freedom to do whatever he wanted, to surprise people, to act impulsively… and all of that kind of went to waste on me.
It surprises me, even now, that he still appears to like being with me. On paper I’m pretty sure I’m the worst match for him. Look at it – guy who likes to surprise, be spontaneous, be impulsive… and girl who can see it all coming. Complete waste.
It wasn’t so bad, I guess. Could have been worse. At least this stuff only works for me through mediums, like the tea leaves and crystal balls. If I was one of those seers that could be attacked by a prophecy at any moment, or had those big prophetic dreams… well, I don’t think I could have handled it. Chris certainly couldn’t have handled it.
He didn’t show it a whole lot, but he must have struggled over the first year or so of our relationship. Going to all the trouble for all these romantic gestures - because that was the Chris way - just to know that I’d probably seen it happen before he consciously planned it.
Must have been a relief when I figured out how to stop it and he could actually surprise me. To be honest, I preferred it this way too.
“I still think you’re wrong,” I whispered, half-way through the lesson. Running it through my mind – Roxy and Rob – it just seemed more and more ridiculous. Sure, they were both so similar it should work, and they were both probably smart enough to know that. And they both had eyes – therefore Rob could see Roxy’s dark, sassy beauty and I knew for a fact that Roxy had at times observed Rob’s considerable six-pack.
But they were also both smart enough to count the number of times they clashed per day. That wouldn’t be healthy for any relationship. Chris and I very rarely argued – about anything important anyway. Chris was so blasé and confident about everything in life that very little annoyed him at all, and me… I’m just not the confrontational type.
“Am I though?” He shrugged and smiled infuriatingly to himself without looking up.
“Yep.” I replied.
“Am I though?” The smile widened.
“We’ll See,” He stopped his pratting around upon hearing my mock-annoyed tone of voice, “Or, well, you might. I guess. Hey, maybe you should allow yourself one sneaky look just to settle this.” He chuckled.
“Don’t be stupid,” I snapped, instantly. Then I immediately felt bad. I hadn’t meant to say it that quick, or that fervently. It came out in panic. In guilt. In worry about this bloody next lesson I had. The one after this. The one where I would be required to look into the same stupid ball that, oh, just ruined my life for me. That sort of thing.
This did drag Chris’ eyes up from his work. “I was only joking, Ren.”
“I know.” I still sounded defensive. Why did I have no control over my voice when I was panicked? And why had it taken me until now to bloody notice?
There was a couple of seconds pause as Chris stared at me from across the desk. I wasn’t looking up but I didn’t need to, I could feel it and I could definitely picture his slightly furrowed brow as he figured it out.
Because he would figure it out. Oh God. He could always figure me out. Why did I even bother keeping this from him? Chris knew me almost better than anyone. Pretty much as well as Roxy knew me, even as much as my sisters. Stupid of me, to think he wouldn’t…
“Did you See something?”
Oh bum. Oh bum, oh bum, oh bum.
'Don’t kid yourself. You know as well as I do that he’s going to be devastated'... The sincerity that had been on Roxy’s face when she said that…
I couldn’t. I’d never been able to do anything that might upset him, not intentionally anyway. And, I acknowledged guilty for the first time, what if he wasn’t upset? How was I supposed to feel then? What if he was baffled as to why I was worried? What if he legged it in sheer panic that it had even crossed my mind? What if he laughed?
I couldn’t do this.
I forced myself to look up and meet his worried, intense blue eyes.
“Of course not,” I pushed away the twisting guilt as I lied through a smile, shaking my head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap. I didn’t sleep very well last night…”
“You haven’t slept very well for the last few nights,” Chris still looked worried, “And you’re extra jumpy today.” I could see him racking his brains to see what could be bothering me and found myself praying that for once, he’d miss it.
He shrugged, “Look, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. It’s not like we have to always tell each other everything -”
But we do. We always do.
“- I just want to know if you’re alright.”
What in hell had I done to deserve this boy? It must have been in a previous life because, try as I might, I really didn’t make the fit of a good person in this one. It was this stupid ability I was born with – it didn’t create the right circumstances to be a good person. Fraught with secrets and lies. How can you be a good person with secrets and lies?
“Don’t be silly,” I poked his arm with my quill, “Me and Roxy have just been up all night talking for the last few nights, you know what we’re like -” Well, it was true. I didn’t need to tell him what we were talking about, right? “I’ll get an early night tonight. Promise.”
There was a second before Chris returned the grin. It killed me to lie to him. It killed me that I didn’t know if he believed me, and it killed me that he accepted it.
“Good.” He said, simply, picking up my hand and kissing my knuckles. “Good.”
“You’ve got to do it at some point,” Roxy whispered through the musky perfume of the Divination loft. We were crammed onto one armchair on the corner table in the hope that Trelawney would conveniently forget about us and not check up on us.
“Not right now, though,” I hissed back, sinking back into the squishy chair as if the crystal ball was going to leap up into my face and assault me with things I didn’t want to see. “I should wait. Put it off until it’s not so fresh -”
“You can’t put it off forever, moron. The longer you wait, the more scared you’re going to be and the bigger deal it’s going to seem. Just throw yourself into it -”
“I can’t -”
“What are you so scared of? Ok, worst case scenario - you fail. You can’t keep it from your mind and you accidentally see something else. So?” Roxy looked genuinely puzzled, “You’ve already seen the end of the world -” Oh, thanks Rox. Way to be consistent in the ‘it’s not such a big deal’ quest. “What could make it any worse?”
I folded my arms sulkily. “I don’t want to do it.”
“You’re still telling yourself it could be wrong, aren’t you?” She accused.
I didn’t say anything. It seemed too childish to retort with an ‘it could be’.
“Ren. You obviously don’t believe that, not really. Or else you wouldn’t be so bloody worried that you’re going to see something else that’s going to confirm it.” Her eyes were narrowed but bright and knowing. Because she knew.
Between her and Chris, it was no wonder I was such a god-awful liar. They saw through everything, I didn’t get the chance to become half decent…
I kept up my stubborn stance for a whole two seconds more before I crumbled.
“I can’t.” I had to whisper or else I would have wailed. “Rox, I can’t… I can’t take seeing him again -”
“Him?” Her voice was high and shrill.
“It.” I corrected myself, hurriedly, “It. The vision. I can’t take seeing it again…”
“Him.” Roxy repeated. “D.H.G?”
“It.” I maintained.
“Eurgh.” I slumped back, if possible, further into the chair. It hurt my head, all of it. Especially how Roxy could read me. I couldn’t lie to her. It made my stomach sink further to consider that while I couldn’t lie to Roxy, I could lie to Chris.
Roxy hauled herself up from the chair and perched on the arm, facing me expectantly.
“I just…” It sounded pathetic in my head, let alone out loud, “I’ve only seen him from behind. It makes him… I don’t know, it just makes him -”
“Less real,” Roxy supplied.
“Right.” It probably should have surprised me that she knew but it was Roxy. It didn’t. “If I… to see his face, I…”
“Again, it’s something that’s going to have to happen at some point.” She gave a small half-smile even though it wasn’t really funny, “You’re going to marry the guy -”
“Sorry.” She meant it. Then she laughed, “Sorry for reminding you about the currently faceless bloke you’ve already seen yourself marrying who isn’t the guy you’ve been in love with for three bloody years. Jesus, Ren, this is ridiculous.”
“Oh really? Ridiculous, is it? That I’ve had to keep more secrets and tell more lies in the last few days than I ever have before? Because I was getting by just fine -”
In reply, she just threw back her head and laughed. Loudly. Attracting the attention of the majority of the class.
“Roxy.” I hissed, embarrassed and annoyed that she was drawing attention to us, especially where the aim of today’s class was for me to be inconspicuous.
She didn’t stop.
“Roxanne.” I dug her fiercely in the ribs and she slid back down from the arm into the chair with me. “People are looking!”
“Sorry,” She finally stopped after one last weak chuckle. “It just hits me sometimes. The bizarreness of the whole thing. Look, Ren, just do it. Just look into the stupid, sodding ball and just, I dunno, tell me if it’s going to snow this Christmas…”
“I don’t -” I began to protest but was interrupted.
“Miss Cook, Miss Weasley,”
Marvellous. Roxy’s fit of giggles had attracted the attention of Professor Trelawney. That could only mean…
“You have been practicing, I trust?” She peered expectantly at us through her startling bug-eyes.
“Let’s see how you’re getting on,”
“Oh,” I swallowed, “Oh. Well Roxy was just -”
“- Just telling Renee how it was her turn,” Roxy loudly spoke over me. I glared pointedly at her but she just smiled self-righteously. “Right, Ren?”
I opened my mouth, too panicked to form any sort of coherent speech; too panicked even to hate Roxy a little bit for doing this.
“Marvellous. When you’re ready, Miss Cook.” Professor Trelawney clasped her hands in front of her and waited.
My mouth felt dry. I licked my lips a couple of times and reached out with a shaking hand to pull the orb towards me.
Christmas, I told myself. Just like Roxy said. I could do this. Snow at Christmas. Or a lack of. That was all I had to see.
I could do this. I’d been successfully controlling this for the last two years, this stupid little setback shouldn’t stop me now.
It still took me a couple of seconds to compose myself before I even dared open my eyes.
Only a couple of weeks till the end of term now, so it’s not like I was going to have to strain myself to look very far…
Not that I’d strained myself last time. I mean, bloody hell, I’d only been meaning to look as far as what was for dinner and I ended up years into the future.
No. That wasn’t going to happen this time. I was in control.
The first thing I notice is the warmth. It feels warm with the flickering heat of a wood fire, it sounds warm from it’s gentle cracking and it looks warm in the cluttered, cosy living room…
Roxy’s living room. Complete with… yes. Complete with Christmas tree.
We’re talking earnestly, Roxy and I. She’s sat on one soft, deep sofa and I’m cross-legged on the floor in front of her while she’s doing something intricate to my hair. I can feel her bony knees in my back.
If only I could hear what we were saying… but I never could, not in a crystal ball…
Roxy’s getting annoyed with me repeatedly squirming around when I’m talking, it must be something serious for me to be fidgeting like this…
I catch sight of the window from the corner of my eye. It’s early evening, getting dark but it’s hard to see anything because of all the…
Not snow. Rain.
I try to pull myself away now. Away from the vision. That’s how it usually works, once I’ve seen what I need to I can just bring myself back to reality and…
I can't. Why can't I? What the hell is going on?!
There’s a harsh, green glow from the fireplace to my left, I automatically turn my head but Roxy yanks it back straight with fistfuls of my hair to finish whatever she’s creating. I can’t see who it is, just aware of a shape in the fireplace… I just want to see who it is…
I blinked and suddenly was just back. Without even needing to try. The ease at which I’d found myself back made it hard to believe that it had even been so hard in the first place.
But I’d definitely tried, hadn’t I? I’d tried to leave it, leave the vision, and I couldn’t.
Right? That did actually happen?
I couldn’t even tell.
I rubbed my eyes. My face felt clammy. And I felt oddly disorientated, as if I’d just hit my head. Actually, now that I thought about it I did have a sort of dull headache…
“Whoa, Ren,” Roxy looked a little alarmed, “Are you ok? You look awful -”
“Gee, thanks.” I squeezed my eyes shut for a couple more seconds to try and ease the headache.
I couldn’t help but notice that Professor Trelawney was also listening intently. I don’t know why, but I felt odd talking about a vision about Roxy’s home in front of her. Though it was a pretty eventless vision – weird inability to leave aside – it felt kind of personal.
Weird. I had no idea what was going on in it but it felt personal.
So I kept it short.
“No snow.” I opened my eyes slowly to keep my headache at bay and met Roxy’s eyes, trying to convey that I didn’t want to talk about it right now. “Just rain. At Christmas. Too bad.”
“Well that sucks.” Roxy understood and beamed up at Professor Trelawney, “Professor, I think Ren’s dehydrated. It is awfully hot up here. Shall I take her to get a drink of water quickly or will we miss anything important…?”
“Of course, of course,” Professor Trelawney gestured towards to trapdoor, “You’re looking rather pale, Miss Cook, perhaps… yes, there are only ten minutes remaining of the lesson. Perhaps you ought to take her straight to the common room, Miss Weasley.”
“Great,” Roxy scooped up our bags and ushered me out ahead of her. “See you on Thursday, Professor T.”
I allowed myself to be half pushed, half dragged across the room and somehow managed to manoeuvre the ladder even with my faint dizziness and my mind swimming about all over the place.
When we got out of the muggy little room and into the crisp, cold air of the tower I felt better. A lot better, after a few deeps breaths to clear my head.
Roxy didn’t have the patience to let me fully recover. “What in hell?” She asked, idly linking an arm through mine and marching us away, “You look like arse.”
Ordinarily I’d have protested but I felt it too. Even though the headache had dulled down to a mild pressure, I didn’t feel entirely sturdy on my feet and my hair felt like it was sticking to the side of my face and the back of my neck.
“I feel like arse.” I said, in an odd croaky voice. I cleared my throat. “And I’m blaming you, Weasley -”
“Bloody hell, what did you see?”
“Nothing. Nothing big. Like I said, rain. No snow. Oh, and apparently I’m coming to yours at some point in the holidays.”
“Really?” Roxy looked a little confused, “Mine or the Burrow?”
She usually spent her Christmas holidays at her grandparents house along with the other thousand or so members of her family. I’d never been – I mean we all have our own family stuff to do anyway so the most I’d see Roxy or any of my friends would be for a day or two. And it’d always be her coming to mine, incredibly thankful for a bit of space.
“Yours.” I hadn’t realised at the time that it was odd for her to be at home over the Christmas holidays, but I was. Very strange. “Weird. Maybe there’s a party or something going on?”
“Not as far as I know.” Roxy frowned. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe you are losing your touch…” She joked, feebly.
“That’s what I’m counting on,” I muttered in reply, wiping my clammy forehead with my sleeve.
“And why do you look like arse?” She gestured to my, probably sweaty, hair.
“I don’t know.” That brought me round to my next point, “I just… when I saw that it wasn’t snowing I tried to come back, just like normal and it… I couldn’t. I don’t know why. I was trying but I just felt trapped. Maybe I… I don’t know. I probably just panicked.”
“How did you get back?”
“I… don’t know. I was trying and trying and then I sort of gave up and then it just sort of happened.” I felt a little cold thinking about it. I wasn’t in control. I always had to be in control of my visions and yet the last two… the last two seemed to be in control of me.
“Sorry for making you.” We reached the Entrance Hall and began to climb the marble staircase.
“No you’re not,” I smiled.
“Worked though, didn’t it. No more mystery sightings of D.H.G.”
“Just a face full of sweat and a killer headache instead.” I pointed out.
“You’d rather that than D.H.G.”
“Stop calling him that. I don’t want him to have a name. He isn’t real.”
Roxy raised an eyebrow but did as I asked. “Sure. Point is, you can do it. Point proven. You don’t have to worry every time we have that joke of a class anymore. You know you can control it.”
“Just as long as all thoughts of Chris, the future and wedding are far from my mind.” My stomach didn’t even flip that much at the thought when I said it aloud. I was improving. “Then it’ll be just fine -”
I was interrupted by a shrill squeal accompanied by the patter of quick footsteps and before I’d even registered that the person was saying her name, Roxy was leapt upon.
“Argh! What… Lily, what’s -” Roxy tried to pry her cousin from her neck and get some sense out of her.
Lily was jumping up and down, her dark red hair flying around her face. For a second my headache flared again and I had to press my fingers to my temples, willing it to die down. Thankfully it only lasted a second but it left a prickling feeling on the back of my neck. I didn’t know why, but this felt significant.
“You’ll never believe it.” Lily said, still clinging to Roxy’s wrists and bouncing.
“Erm…” Roxy was still bewildered.
“Teddy and Vic are getting married!”
…Just as long as all thoughts of Chris, the future and wedding are far from my mind…
This had to be some sort of a joke.
A.N. Hey! Very quick note to apologise for being very slow - on this and my other stories - I still very much love writing them and AM continuining, it's just been taking a while so far! I really hope you keep reading though! I'd love to hear what you think of the chapter, Ren and Chris, Roxy and... Rob? Ren and Roxy in class, this new vision and the side effects...