The next couple days were a blur to me as I spent most of my time with Louis. New Years was coming only tomorrow and we had yet to decide if we wanted to stay here in his apartment or go back to his parents’ place. I started saying spells to make the kitchen clean and noticed Louis fiddling with a camera as he sat on a stool at the counter. I spoke, nearly startling him. “I think we should go back to your parents’ place for New Years.”
He looked up at me as he set the camera down. “I’d rather not have to explain everything to them about the surgery-”
I was shocked. He hadn’t told his own family? I sighed, “You didn’t even tell your parents about this? Louis-”
“I did tell them about why I was going to France and the doctors etc. I meant I don’t want to explain everything to my cousins and other relatives. My sisters know, my parents know and I bet my grandparents even know about the surgery.” Louis sighed.
I walked around the counter and stood behind him, my arms around his neck. “I think they’ll understand.”
I hugged him and leaned down to kiss his cheek. He turned his head and caught my lips with his. I couldn’t help but smile as he grinned back at me. “You’re such a sneak.”
He took my hand and kissed it. “I know.”
I shook my head and he grabbed me around my waist, pulling me onto his knee. I giggled as he left soft kisses on my neck. “Louis, stop it!”
He shook his head and I squirmed in his arms as he continued kissing my neck, knowing I was ticklish there. I stated, trying not to laugh, “So we need to decide! I feel rather bad about Christmas and leaving your family so early like we did. Plus it would only be one night there.”
Louis sighed, resting his chin on my shoulder, his breath tickled my ear. “I suppose we could go for awhile.”
Happiness filled my heart at the thought of spending more time with his family. I turned my head, looking at him. “You sure you want to? I know with you being sick and all it’s hard-”
He kissed me. “I’m sure and I know you want to spend more time with them, no matter how dysfunctional they are. However, as it has been a tradition for a long time, New Years is always at the Burrow.”
Burrow? I gave him a confused look and he explained softly, “My grandparents live there.”
“Oh,” I nodded.
He added quickly, sensing my uncertainty. “We could always just not go-”
I cut him off. “No way. We’re going as long as you feel up to it.”
“I feel up to it. I haven’t gotten sick all day in case you haven’t noticed.” Louis pointed out.
I nodded and asked curiously, “Do we need to bring anything?”
“Nope. My parents are bringing the firewhiskey and the butterbeer. My grandparents are supplying the food and my other relatives will just bring snacks and games, or something.” Louis shrugged.
I bit my lip. “If it’s alright with you, I probably won’t drink anything.”
“Nah that’s fine, I understand. I won’t be drinking either anyways. The Healers say I shouldn’t drink anything stronger than a butterbeer not to mention the taste of firewhiskey never really appealed to me.” Louis kissed my head.
It was decided and the next afternoon we were all set to go to the Burrow. I tied on my scarf, put on my gloves and smiled as Louis tried to tie his knit blue scarf on. I walked over to him, taking the scarf and tying it for him. He lightly kissed me on the lips and smiled. “Thanks, Stephanie.”
I nodded and asked curiously, “Do you want to floo or apparate there? It makes no difference to me, I’ll do whatever is easiest for you.”
“Well I know you hate both but I think apparition would be easier.” Louis put his arms around me.
I buried my face in his coat, holding onto him as tightly as I could. When we arrived at the burrow, I asked, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
He nodded, “I’m fine, you don’t need to worry about me.”
I looked up at his face and studied his warm blue eyes. He looked fine on the outside but I could sense he was a little nervous. His eyes met my gaze and he softly reassured me, even though I knew he was also telling it to himself, “I’m fine, really.”
His slender fingers touched my cheek, running over my skin and delicately brushing my hair from my face. His voice was no more than a whisper as he spoke against the chilly winter wind, “As long as I have you, I am okay.”
My eyes closed as I replayed his tender words over and over within my mind. Louis left a delicate kiss to my lips, making my heart stop for a moment. The December winds picked up and swirled snowflakes all around us as we stood there in our moment, a moment I wanted again and again. I didn’t have to worry for just this once because he was here with me and I was okay because he was. Together, we would be just fine.
We entered the Burrow, took off our winter attire and I was instantly greeted by a gray haired, plump woman who I had met briefly at Christmas holidays. “Stephanie, it’s so good to see you again!”
I smiled at her warm, loving greeting and she hugged Louis, “Louis, you know you had everyone worried sick while you were gone! You’re awfully thin, had you been eating enough over in France? Come into the kitchen and eat something.”
I laughed and Louis whispered in my ear as we walked into the kitchen, “I wish she’d stop telling me I’m underfed.”
Molly handed Louis and me each a warm, freshly baked sugar cookie. I took a bite of mine and tasted pure heaven, as the sugar cookie was still warm and gooey. We left the kitchen only to be tackled by Missy who was eager to see Louis again. He picked her up, swinging her around as she giggled. I smiled and saw Harry Potter talking with Ron Weasley and Hermione Weasley. I’d seen their pictures in the Daily Prophet countless times. Harry saw me and smiled, “Hello Stephanie, how’s your mother?”
“Doing better, thanks.” I nodded.
Hermione smiled, “Well we were all thinking of you after you left. I’m Hermione Weasley and this is my husband Ron Weasley.”
Ron shook my hand. “Pleasure to meet you. My daughter Rose and my son Hugo are around here somewhere.”
Louis took my hand while we walked through the Burrow trying to avoid relatives and getting grabbed for mindless chatter. Suddenly his mother appeared and smiled, hugging me. “It is good to see you again Stephanie! How is your mother doing?”
“She’s doing well, thank you.” I smiled at her.
She nodded, “Good. Louis, when is the surgery taking place?”
“In a few days in a city outside of London.” Louis sighed, wishing to move on to another subject.
I bit my lip as she asked, “Do you want me or someone to go with you?”
“I hadn’t thought that far actually.” Louis hesitantly answered, looking at the wooden floorboards.
His mother looked at me curiously, “He never mentioned anything of anyone going along did he?”
I shook my head. “Nope. He never mentioned anything to me at all but I assumed he had arrangements made beforehand.”
“Louis Weasley, you are not going to that hospital alone. Someone has got to go along and make sure everything goes well-” His mother started to scold him.
Louis cringed and apologized, “I’m sorry but there’s been a lot on my mind lately.”
She groaned, “Merlin help me! Well either Stephanie or me is going along with you, so just let me know what you decide later, okay?”
He nodded and she left to go to the kitchen to bring out snacks. I looked at Louis, seeing his face still downcast and his eyes not meeting mine. I inquired softly, “Were you going to ask me to go with you at all?”
He bit his lip, still not meeting my concerned gaze. “I wasn’t sure if you’d want to go and I really hadn’t thought of it till just now.”
I knew he was worried but I could not help feeling a little hurt that he hadn’t thought to ask me to go with him. I pulled away from him and said with an edge of hurt to my voice, “Well when you figure it out, just let me know.”
I walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch next to Charlie and Becky. Becky seemed to notice my saddened expression. “Are you alright Steph?”
I managed a small smile, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
Becky nodded, “Okay, but you looked a little down for a minute. Everything alright with Louis?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine.” I quickly said, getting up before further questions could be brought forth.
I wasn’t quite comfortable talking about what was going on with Louis so I walked to the kitchen, grabbing a handful of nuts from a bowl. Ginny, Molly and Fleur were chatting away about something, hardly noticing I was standing a few feet away from them. I didn’t really mind. I ate the rest of my handful of nuts before grabbing a chocolate cauldron. I bit into it, surprised by its bittersweet taste. I sighed, wondering what else could go wrong tonight.
As the night continued, I avoided almost everyone and as the men started bringing out the firewhiskey, I grew even more uncomfortable. I hadn’t realized how much I needed Louis until I was without him. I felt sort of empty, almost like a half full glass of water. I wasn’t quite myself without my other half. James offered me a small glass of firewhiskey. I shook my head, “No, thanks though.”
He shrugged, not pressing me to drink it, and I was thankful for that. He continued passing out drinks to those of age and they all started telling stories of Hogwarts and the old days. I sat in my chair, looking around the room at all the laughing, happy faces. Missy was curled up on the floor, half awake and she looked at me. “Stephie?”
“Hmm?” I looked at her.
“Did you and Uncle Lou have a fight?” She asked curiously.
I bit my lip and asked, “What makes you think that?”
“You just look sad.” She sighed, playing with her stuffed animal dog.
I smiled at her, “I’m okay.”
“Good.” She smiled at me and went over to her father, crawling up onto his lap.
I looked around the room again and noticed Louis was missing amongst the happy faces. I frowned and asked Dom who was sitting next to me, “Have you seen Louis?”
She shrugged, “I haven’t seen him since you two walked in.”
Victoire overheard my question and pointed out, “I think he went outside. He usually does whenever he needs to get away from everyone.”
“Thanks.” I stood and left to go find him.
After putting on my gloves, hat and coat, I walked outside in the dark, chilly winter night. I tied my scarf tighter around my neck and scanned the vast countryside for him. I spotted a dark figure leaning forward on a fence, his back to me. I made my way over to him and quietly stood near him. Louis noticed me and I softly said, “Sorry, about earlier.”
He nodded, biting his lip, not commenting. I sighed, leaning forward on the fence, my arms resting on top of the wood. “It’s fine with me, with whatever you decide about the surgery and whatever. I hadn’t thought about who was going along at all either.”
Louis sighed and looked at me. I thought for a brief moment I could see tears in his eyes. He softly said, “The surgery just has me stuck in this place I can’t get out of. I can’t stop thinking about it, wondering if something would go wrong or what is going to happen afterwards-”
I quickly cut him off. “Nothing is going to go wrong.”
“Yeah that’s so easy to say Stephanie, but do you know how hard that is to believe? For the past few days, I’ve tried to not think about it but now it’s getting to me.” Louis held his face in his hands for a moment, before looking back ahead at the field of snow.
I wrapped my arms around him and I softly said, “Yeah but you’re not the only one worrying and you’re not going through it alone. Your family is there for you, and me, I’m there for you.”
Louis turned and wrapped his arms around me, his breath warm in my ear. “I know I have you and that’s what keeps me going through the day, knowing you’re there.”
We stood there in the chilly winter night, holding each other, taking in the others emotions and pain, and I knew for certain that he needed me as much as I needed him.
a/n: sorry for the wait! It's been crazy for me the past few weeks with exams (hallelujah those are done!!!!) and my school studies come first, before my writing. And I've had issues with internet not working etc. But I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Thanks for all the reviews/support! I'll update soon! :)