Chapter 18 : The Reason
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Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Twilight! Never have, never will!
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Edward sat still beside Bella at one of the wooden tables in the library. The lights were dim and many students were abandoning their seats at the tables, their books tucked loosely under their arms, and were shuffling out of the library—but not before casting brief glances at the two of them.
As the last student left, Bella yawned and Edward reached to pull the book from her fingers. She frowned at him and, as quickly as she could, jerked the book out of his reach. Edward chuckled, “Bella. You should get some sleep.”
“I’m not that tired,” Bella protested feebly, her eyes slightly watery from exhaustion.
Edward raised a brow before leaning in, “Aren’t you?” he asked, giving her a crooked smile, the same that always dazzled her.
Bella’s breath caught and for a moment she was paralyzed—but that bit of hesitation was all Edward needed. He lithely reached out and easily pulled the book away from her grasping fingers, continuing to grin crookedly when he placed the book down on the table to his right.
“No fair,” Bella breathed heavily as Edward turned back to face her.
Bella leaned back slightly in the wooden chair, letting her eyes drift from Edward’s gaze and towards the entrance of the library and then further down the stone corridor. Edward’s fingers reached up and Bella felt him brush her hair away from her face.
“Bella?” he asked, concern lacing with his smooth voice.
“Nothing,” she said quickly, trying fruitlessly to seem completely bereft of worry and concerns of her own. Of course, he didn’t fall for it at all.
“Bella,” Edward said again, his voice deeper. He pulled her chin to face him and Bella sighed aloud, knowing that he would be able to see her emotions very clearly in her eyes.
Edward kept his gaze concentrated on her, waiting patiently—although she knew it was torturing him—for her to speak, to tell him what she was thinking.
“I guess…” Bella began, “…I’m just…worried.”
Edward kept his expression even, but inclined his head to show that he understood.
“You should be worried,” he said, his voice no longer calm like before but rather cool and dark, with a cutting tenor beneath it, “You’re putting yourself too close to this—”
Bella stared at him in surprise, “Edward—I’m not worried for me.”
Edward frowned, his features sharpening in the thin light, “You’re worried about me?”
“You especially,” Bella said, “And all of the others as well…Alice and Esme and Seth and…” Bella swallowed, “…Jacob…”
Edward shook his head, “When will you realize Bella that you are the only one putting yourself in harms way? The rest of us will be fine. We can handle this.”
Bella shook her own head this time, “No matter how many times you say it…I’ll always worry.”
“I can’t sit out this time, Bella,” Edward said sadly, his face contorting slightly from his torn emotions.
“I don’t expect you to—” Bella admitted quickly, “—I couldn’t ask you to do that; not when everyone needs you.”
Edward’s expression shifted again, this time to one of near desperation, “But you can, Bella. You can sit out—stay away, keep yourself safe.”
Bella’s mouth fell open slightly as she stared at him, her eyes scanning his unwavering and tormented face, “You know I can’t—it—it would destroy me, Edward! Wondering and worrying and knowing that I couldn’t help, couldn’t do anything!”
“But you would save me from that torture,” he said, bending towards her slightly, “You would be keeping me from having to worry.”
Bella’s jaw tightened as her body went rigid. That was a low blow. He knew that she would do anything to keep from hurting him, to keep him from worrying. She owed him so much after all of the pain that she’d caused him with the Jacob situation.
“You said I could be there,” Bella managed to splutter out, “You said so, Edward.”
Edward’s head bowed slightly, “I always hoped I could talk you out of it.”
Bella swallowed and began shaking her head again, “You can’t. I’m—I’m sorry that I’m causing you so many problems but I can’t just—I can’t just stay here. I—I can’t…”
Edward let out a sigh of his own before they both fell silent. He kept his face turned away from hers and Bella found herself wishing desperately that things were different. That she could stop hurting people. That she could be stronger and always be by his side, fighting with him rather than watching from afar.
“We will never agree on this,” Edward said, his face still tense as he faced her again.
“No,” Bella said slowly, “But—you won’t always be able to protect me or keep me safe. Not forever.”
Edward’s eyes began to burn, “I’ll always be there to protect you,” he promised, “I’ll never let anything happen to you.”
“You know you wouldn’t have to worry—” Bella began and Edward shut his eyes tightly.
“Bella. No. We have a deal and I’m not going back on it.”
Bella felt her heart flutter in her chest. Even though she would have preferred to be able to help him and everyone else, it was nice to hear him say that he was still going to honor their previous agreement—that after their wedding, he would still change her.
Edward let out another sigh before reaching up to touch Bella’s cheek, “You should get some sleep now, love.” His voice was softer and Bella knew that their conversation was over for tonight.
She nodded as she let her exhaustion begin to lull her towards sleep. Bella stood and Edward mirrored her movements before he placed a steadying arm around her waist and began to guide her towards the Gryffindor tower.
* * *
“Very good, Neville!” Charlie Weasley called out as Neville cast a stunning spell at Carlisle, managing to knock the vampire off of his feet, sending him backwards across the room.
Neville looked delighted with himself as Luna touched his arm and gave him a kind smile of encouragement. Harry felt his own face light up as he watched Neville. He knew that Neville was capable of anything and he was glad to see that Neville was once more beginning to believe it himself.
Around him, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, George, Malfoy and Astoria were all practicing on the Cullens while Harry and Charlie walked around and the pack and Bella observed.
Embry and Seth both began to clap loudly when Ginny and Hermione successfully bound Emmett causing him to tip over and sink to the floor while cursing loudly.
“Emmett!” Esme called at him from her position beside Rosalie who had her arms folded and her beautiful face set in a deep grimace.
Emmett broke through the binds and rolled his eyes at a frowning Esme before standing back up.
“Again, ladies!” he jeered and this time Rosalie rolled her eyes while Ginny and Hermione giggled.
Harry let another smile slip before he cast his gaze towards Malfoy and Astoria who were with Alice. Jasper watched, his hands behind his back and his expression hard as Malfoy and Astoria cast a successful binding spell of their own at Alice, managing to contain her for an impressive period of time.
Astoria looked pleased with herself, her grin brightening her normally fearful features as Jasper helped Alice to remove the remaining of the binds that she had broken through. Malfoy, however, looked weary—a direct contrast to Astoria’s lightened demeanor. His mouth was in a firm and concentrated line and his eyes were glistening with an emotion that Harry couldn’t quite place. It looked like a mixture between sadness and anxiety.
Astoria then turned away from Alice and Jasper and gave Malfoy a comforting smile, reaching out to tug lightly on his sleeve. Malfoy’s serious expression shifted slightly as he let a tiny smile cross his lips and a glimmer of warmth entered his cool eyes.
Harry’s concentration broke when he felt a presence behind him and Ron appeared by his side, his gaze locking on Astoria and Malfoy.
“Didn’t see that one coming,” Ron said with a slight shake of his head before turning back to face Harry, “Anyways, think we’re done for today? I still have that essay to write for McGonagall. Mind you,” he said, leaning in, “I think I might be able to convince Hermione to write it for me.”
“Yeah,” Harry said with a chuckle, “We’re done.”
Ron grinned and turned, beginning to tell the others that the practice session was over for the day. Harry thought back to his own unfinished essay that sat up in his dormitory. The wizards had all still been attending classes everyday—although Harry and Ron had both skipped a few—but, to Harry, the lessons barely seemed to be a part of his life. He was glad that he had several breaks throughout the week and that the teachers still hadn’t begun to unload too much homework on all of the students—McGonagall seemed to be the only teacher to give an overt amount. Harry wondered if perhaps the reason that some of the professors weren’t giving as much homework was because of the still recently passed war.
Harry shuddered slightly—the war felt as though it had been ages ago, even though it had only been a few short months. It was only just October now.
Harry then turned back to face everyone, ripping his thoughts from his memories before forcing an encouraging smile, “Great job today everyone,” he announced while everyone smiled back at him, their expressions pleased with their success, “We’ll continue this again tomorrow evening.”
Everyone then began to make their way towards the dormitories—Malfoy and Astoria breaking off to go down to the Slytherin common room while Luna began towards the Ravenclaw common room—, Harry, Ron and Hermione in the lead while the others followed.
“Blimey, I’m exhausted,” Ron yawned as he, Neville and Harry climbed up the boys’ staircase after saying quick goodnights to Hermione, Ginny and Bella who entered the girls’ dorms.
“Really?” Neville said, his face splitting into a confident grin, “I’m actually really energized. This is going to work, isn’t Harry?”
Ron shook his head with a small laugh while Harry nodded to Neville, “Yeah, I think it is.”
Neville beamed as he and Ron began to get ready for bed. Harry knelt down before his own trunk before opening the lid and freezing, his muscles locking into place as his eyes took in the impossible sight. Lying there, on top of his robes and clothing, was the missing journal.
* * *
The next morning Harry and the others made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. He could feel the improved moods of everyone around him and he was pleased that the sessions in the room of requirement were such a success.
However, even with his confidence in their abilities growing, he couldn’t shake his worry over the journal. How was it possible that it had just reappeared in his dormitory if someone he knew hadn’t taken it?
Harry cast a sideways glance at Ron and Hermione. Their attitudes towards him hadn’t changed in the slightest, although, Harry continued to wonder if Hermione was still suspicious of him. Was it possible that one of them had taken it? Again, they weren’t acting any differently and Harry suspected that they would have said something if they’d found it—they were the ones discouraging him from looking into dark magic.
But that left Neville and Ginny—neither of whom had let onto anything when he was around them last night. And it couldn’t have been Malfoy…he had been late last night to the meeting in the room of requirement but how could he have gotten into the Gryffindor tower?
Harry turned his gaze to Hermione who was eyeing him cautiously, “Are you alright, Harry?”
“Yeah,” Harry assured Hermione quickly, “Excellent. Just thinking…”
Hermione’s expression tightened but she nodded. The group entered the Great Hall which was already bustling with chatting students in their school robes.
Harry and the others sat at the end of the Gryffindor table beside Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan. For a while, Harry had quite disliked Dean since he’d been dating Ginny but now he didn’t have as much of a problem with him.
“Hey, Harry,” Seamus said as Harry pulled his goblet of juice towards him, “Haven’t seen you around in a while—where’ve you been?”
“Oh just showing the newcomers around,” Harry lied, quickly taking a sip from his goblet, eager to steer the conversation in a new direction.
Although Harry and the others were still attending their classes, they rarely saw a lot of their classmates outside of the classroom setting. Harry suppressed a dark grin—it was just like most of his other years at Hogwarts, except that the adventure was occurring much earlier in the year.
“Hey, Harry,” Dean said, “Given any thoughts to the quidditch try-outs yet?”
Harry, Ron and Ginny all froze.
“Quidditch try-outs?” Embry asked from beside Seth who looked over, seeming just as interested in the conversation as the others.
“Yeah,” Dean said, “Harry’s captain of the quidditch team.”
“You never told us that, Harry!” Seth said, looking thrilled, “Any chance we’ll get to see a game?”
“Maybe,” Harry said. To be honest, he’d almost completely forgotten about his duties as quidditch captain. With all of the preparations they were trying to make, it had slipped his mind, “We’ll probably have try-outs soon, Dean.” He said, trying to appear entirely calm about the situation, “I just need to set a date.”
“Oh okay,” Dean said, smiling at Harry, “Let me know when you do?”
“Sure,” Harry agreed before reaching to grab some toast and placing it onto his plate.
He exchanged short glances with Ron and Hermione before turning back to his breakfast and slowly beginning to eat. Soon after, Hermione was pulling on Ron and Harry’s sleeves, encouraging them to get up.
“Come on, you two. We don’t want to be late for potions.”
“Er-my-nee!” Ron choked through a mouthful. He finally swallowed before taking a quick gulp of pumpkin juice, “I’m not finished!”
Hermione huffed, “Fine. I’ll just let you two be late, then.” And she stormed off without a backward glance while Ginny chuckled.
“Looks like you two have been left behind.”
Harry and Ron exchanged glances before Ron rolled his eyes, “Oh c’mon…” he muttered while Harry smiled at his best friend.
The two boys got up, before waving their goodbyes to the others still sitting at the Gryffindor table and rushing after Hermione.
* * *
Rolf quickly grew bored with the paper that he’d picked up. He’d managed to pilfer a two day old Daily Prophet from a trash bin on the outskirts of the tiny village of Hogsmeade. It was a bit too close to Hogwarts—and much further than he would have preferred to travel. But he had been pulled towards Hogsmeade and hadn’t been able to stop until he arrived.
He played mindlessly with one of the buttons on his dark coat before tossing the paper back into a waste bin located on the perimeter of the village. He could hear the heavy buzz of humans talking coming from within the warm buildings and he flinched away from the sound. It wouldn’t be good it he massacred half of the village right next to where their enemies were located.
Rolf retreated into the forest and began his way back to the warehouse, dreading his own return and dreading seeing the rest of the members of the Forus as well as the whining newborns. And Tom.
As his speed picked up, he felt a tug in his torso begin to pull him in the opposite direction. Rolf spun immediately, his body unable to resist the urge to go further into the forest—and closer to the castle. His mind knew exactly how dangerous his location was becoming but he continued to run, the tug becoming stronger and stronger with each long and swift stride that he took. His coat whipped behind him as he delved deeper and his eyes scanned the forest wildly, searching for any possible attacks or golden eyes.
He then heard the sound of soft footsteps—a creature’s perhaps as they were much too close together to be a human’s. Rolf came to a slow, the tug still towing him towards a small clearing in the forest.
Rolf stepped into the clearing as small rays of sunlight found their way through the canopies and thick green, yellow and orange leaves of the trees. The clearing was tiny and patches of leaves and small boulders littered the ground. But there was also a skeletal looking horse, with black wings that were tucked into its body. It turned its head towards Rolf, its white eyes taking him in before it stepped back slightly.
A flicker of the past crossed Rolf’s mind as he realized what the creature was: a thestral. He remembered dimly back to his days as a child when his grandfather, Newt Scamander, would sit him down next to a glistening creek and read to him sections about magical creatures from his books. He remembered back to when he wanted nothing more than to be a naturalist himself and to study creatures such as the ones that his grandfather read to him about. It seemed so long ago…his human desires, although it had only been a few years since he had been changed. He could barely remember the events of that night…only that it was dark and that the transformation had been painful.
Rolf’s thoughts evaporated as the wind shifted, blowing towards him a scent that he immediately recognized…it was the one that had pulled him earlier, the one he had chased before Gavin had caught up with him.
Though his throat was burning hollowly at the scent, he was more shaken by the intense burning that was occurring in his torso. He was no longer moving but the tug seemed to still be present. He was meant to be here. Standing at this very spot.
And then, stepping slowly out from behind the trunk of a thick tree, a pale girl with silvery eyes and long blonde hair appeared. She gazed at Rolf who stared back in shock. Shouldn’t she be running from him? Screaming?
The girl slowly began to approach him, reaching out to rub the neck of the thestral soothingly. She turned to look at it, “There, there,” she told it, “He’s not interested in harming you.” She then focused her intense yet dreamy gaze on Rolf, “I don’t think he’ll hurt me either,” she concluded as she studied him.
Rolf let out a breath and as the girl stepped closer to him, he found that he was doing the same. It was no longer the pull in his stomach that was reeling him in—it was her.
“Hello,” the girl said as she paused, her head tilting slightly to the left as her radish earnings dangled delicately from her ears.
“Hello,” Rolf murmured back, unsure of what to make of the situation. How could this girl—who seemed a bit odd to say the least—have such a strange power over him? How could she be pulling him in?
“I don’t think you’re going to hurt me,” she said again, this time as a smile stretched smoothly across her pale face, her voice wistful.
“I don’t think so either,” Rolf agreed, noting that the burning in his throat was still there but not terrible enough to act on. After all, he wasn’t a newborn.
“My name is Luna Lovegood,” the girl said before waiting for him to respond with his own title.
“Rolf Scamander,” he said softly as Luna smiled at him once more, her eyes briefly flashing with interest.
Luna…the name seemed oddly to fit her. Rolf watched as Luna took another step forward. She didn’t seem to be afraid of him at all—she was very honestly convinced that he wouldn’t hurt her. And, again, Rolf didn’t think he would.
Luna then did something that Rolf expected even less than introducing herself and concluding that he wasn’t a threat: she reached out a hand, stretching it towards him and connecting her silvery and kind eyes with his own deep crimson and bewildered ones.
“You don’t have to be afraid,” she assured him before tilting her head again, “I have a very good feeling about you. I’m quite certain the blibbering humdingers would like you a lot, as well, and they are very good judges of character.”
Rolf blinked, “I’m not sure those exist…” he said, finding himself drawing on his dusty knowledge of magical creatures.
“Hmm…I think they do.” Her eyes sparkled, her hand still stretched out before him.
Rolf looked down at it before hesitantly reaching out and taking it into his own. The warmth from her hand spread throughout him and her smile widened. It was the first smile he had seen in a long time that didn’t hold malice or spite. It was comforting and trustworthy.
Luna then turned slightly and began to tug on his hand, pulling him towards the castle. She could have been leading him into a trap; she could have been leading him to his death. But Rolf found himself giving in and following her. Because he was certain that she was the reason he was here.
Author's Note: I hope that everyone enjoyed the chapter and I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors! Thank you guys so much for taking the time to read this and please leave a review with your thoughts! I'd love to know what you think about the whole Luna/Rolf situation. Thanks so much again you guys! :)
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