Chapter 8 : Hogsmeade
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Reference Cast List:
Elsa Yaxley - Rachel Leigh Cook
Dominic Yaxley - Chad Michael Murray
Evander Yaxley - Sean Bean
Marisol Yaxley - Kate Winslet
Damon Avery - Marc Blucas
James Potter - Gerard Ulliel
Sirius Black - Jared Padalecki
(chapter image by Camila @ TDA)
The weekend came with a burst of excitement as third years stood in the long line-up to hand in their permission forms. It had taken Elsa a lot to keep her date with Damon, for the most part she wanted desperately to cancel it. There was only so much of Damon that she could take, helping him in classes seemed to leave a wear on her nerves she never thought possible. He wasn’t all that bad, she remembered, but it only helped his cause slightly.
The hustle and bustle brought the slightest bit of excitement to her, but breakfast had dampened any joy she thought she might have with Damon. Lightly her fingers touched the letter from her parents that was tucked safely in the back pocket of her jeans. Why they had insisted they’d meet her and Damon in Hogsmeade for tea was beyond her, no other parents came to visit their children like her parents had planned to. She wished they would stay at home and let her live her life the way she wanted to. Instead she knew they would be waiting for her and Damon shortly after they left the school.
“You look like you’re going to be sick,” Damon said, standing beside her as they waited.
“I’m fine,” she said letting the lie glide off her tongue like it was second nature to her.
“If you get any better at lying I may never know when you speak the truth,” he replied but wasn’t upset that she had lied.
“Three months ago I couldn’t lie to save my life, now I can’t seem to stop them,” she sighed and looked at him sadly. “I hate the lies, the half truths, the way it makes my skin crawl and my stomach turn. Lying is for cowards.”
Sirius took that moment to walk past them; an angry glare shot in her direction as he pushed past Damon. In the week that had passed, Sirius hadn’t said so much as two words to her. She had seen the tentative glances her way, the curious and cautious wonder concealed behind his eyes. It had never been like that between them before and Elsa hated knowing that she had hurt him as badly as he had hurt her. For days she hadn’t slept, replaying the memory of their fight in the rain. His cold words stung more than the rain itself had. Yet, she had not yet tried to speak to him. Time was something they had and she wasn’t going to push him to accept that she was not the person he had expected her to be.
While she had no idea if her secret was still safe with Sirius, she had to trust that his friendship with her meant more to him than the secret they now shared. Elsa knew that Sirius was one of the few people she trusted with her secrets, no matter how bad they were. She had deceived him by keeping Dominic’s murder a secret and she had asked him to keep it safe. All she wanted to do was run to his side and beg his forgiveness, to make him see that she had not wanted to do nothing, that she wanted justice for the child’s murder. Instead she glanced at Damon and sighed.
“Still not talking?” Damon questioned, though it sounded more like a statement.
“No,” Elsa answered simply and tried not to think about it anymore than she had to.
They said nothing to each other as they walked away from the school, towards the village beyond the gates of Hogwarts. While she knew Hogsmeade was safe from any outside dangers, there was a small part of her that dreaded the chance that the Dark Lord would attack them when they were vulnerable. She knew he wasn’t above causing chaos amongst children. Half the students in Slytherin were children of Death Eaters and planned to one day join him, her brother amongst them she suspected. Would the children of those amongst his ranks be the only ones spared if he ever decided to attack, she wondered, not for the first time.
“We could stay behind,” Damon suggested.
“Mum and Dad are waiting for us, if we don’t show up they will be disappointed,” Elsa replied.
“Is that what has you so tense?”
“I don’t know, maybe.”
“Relax. What could they possibly want?”
She didn’t answer that. Instead she watched the well trodden path in front of her and listened to the chatter of the students. Everyone was excited, everyone except her. Had her parents not bothered to show up she might have been able to enjoy the day, but if they were there that meant there was something they needed to discuss. Had her father somehow figured out that she had told her friends?
As soon as the thought slipped through her mind, Elsa stopped and looked at Damon, fear washed over her face. What was she going to do if her father knew the truth? He’d demand to know why she had broken her promise. He’d have her clean up her mess and then he would make sure that no one ever had the chance to speak the truth. There were always other means to keep a secret and some of them scared her more than the murder Dominic had committed.
Damon took her hand in his and led her towards the Three Broomsticks where her parents were waiting. Even as they approached the pub, Elsa wanted to return to Hogwarts and forget that she had even received a letter from them. Her mother would be disappointed that she couldn’t discuss her daughter’s future wedding with the couple. Damon gave her hand a light squeeze and pushed open the door leading into the pub.
Finding her parents proved difficult with the small building being so busy. Students, teachers and other patrons filled almost every available seat. Hidden in the back corner, Elsa found her mother and father discussing who- knew- what while they waited. Forcing a small smile to her lips, she walked towards them, her head held high. If her father indeed knew that she had told Sirius and Cordelia then she was not going to feel ashamed about it.
“Elsa!” her mother said happily, standing up immediately to toss her arms around her daughter.
“Mum,” she replied and hugged her mother back. Looking around Marisol, Elsa smiled at her father, “Dad.”
Her father gave her a curious look and motioned for them to sit. Evander wasn’t a man of many words, but his actions always proved that above all else he would keep his family safe.It was Marisol who began talking almost immediately, wanting to know how school was, how wonderful it was to see that Elsa had given up her deep hatred for Damon and was now serious about her future marriage.
Else rolled her eyes, “If anything, Mum, Damon and I are only friends. I won’t agree to anything more than that. Not right now. I barely know him and I still refuse to accept that I will marry a man I do not love.” She corrected her mother.
“You will learn to love him in time,” Marisol said gleefully and smiled over at her husband. “Just look at your father and I.”
“Precisely my point, Mum, you married dad without love involved. I don’t want to be the wife of a man she’s not in love with, that I have to find a reason to love him. I want to know before we marry that I’m meant to be with him.”
“If he provides you with what you need, what else do you want, Elsa?” Her mother questioned her. It was the same old argument they always had.
Sighing, Elsa looked at Damon trying to get a read for what he was thinking. He hadn’t said much since her mother began to speak. In truth, she thought he hated being there as much as she did, though he would never admit it. Her parents adored him, what could he possibly have to fear from them?
“Leave it be, Marisol,” her father said sternly. “In the end Elsa will realize that she and Damon are a good match.”
“Do we have to do this all the time? I feel like every time we sit down to talk it always turns out to be us arguing over the same thing. Can’t we have one conversation that doesn’t turn toward marriage? Is it not enough that I even agreed to go on a date with him?” Elsa questioned watching her parents closely.
“It is to me,” Damon finally added. “It’s a step in the right direction and I’m sure eventually you’ll come around.”
“If it’s good enough for Damon, it’s good enough for me,” Evander said.
“Why are you here? It can’t be about the wedding, since that won’t happen for at least two years. So why’d you come?” Elsa asked after a period of silence.
“To visit with you,” Marisol said almost hurt by the question.
“That’s not it Mum, I’m not stupid. Something brought you two here and it certainly wasn’t a social call. You’re checking up on me, aren’t you? Making sure I haven’t done anything that would get Dominic in trouble. Or is it because Dominic is making things difficult and you want something from me? Because if that’s the case, Dominic’s made his mess and I’m tired of cleaning up after him.”
Her father looked at her mother, there was something there in the look they shared but Elsa couldn’t figure it out. Marisol excused herself from the table with the excuse she needed to freshen up, but Elsa knew the truth. Her father wanted a moment alone with them. Whatever it was that he needed to discuss with them he didn’t want his wife to know, or he was worried it would upset her.
Once her mother left, they fell silent for what seemed like forever, but Elsa didn’t complain. Whatever her father wanted to talk about, he was weighing his words carefully. She knew her father well enough that whatever he said probably had a hidden meaning in it, something cryptic that would take her weeks to figure out, but there was always the chance that he would simply come out with it.
“Your brother seems to believe you’ve told Cordelia Crouch and Sirius Black what transpired in July,” he said and Elsa’s stomach dropped. “I would like to believe you have not. It would not be wise if you did.”
“Dominic’s right,” Elsa said truthfully. “Lying is killing me. What happened is destroying me. I spend more time lying and less time being me, I don’t like what I’m turning into and I trust Cordelia and Sirius. I would never have told them if I didn’t.”
“You were instructed not to say a word to anyone Elsa.” She watched the disappointment fade into anger as he decided what to say next.
“I’m not like you. I’m not like Eleanor or mum and I’m certainly not like Dominic. I can’t lie the way you do. Everyone can tell when I do. Sirius and Cordelia have been my friends since we were children, do you not think they would have figured it out sooner or later, Dad? They’ve known since the first day of school that something has been bothering me. The nightmares don’t help. The lies only add to the problem. I may lose my friends over what happened, but I refuse to lose myself over it. I’m not a cold person, dad. I’m not and will not become like the rest of this family.” Elsa said keeping her voice low so others wouldn’t hear her.
“Sirius already thinks I’m as bad as the rest of us. He already thinks I’m no better than any other pureblood. That I’ll do what it takes to get what I want. Because of Dominic I may very well have lost my best friend. You and mum may not agree with some of my friends, and I will never argue that point with you because my friends are special to me. I promised I wouldn’t do anything that would get Dominic in trouble. I promised I’d keep his secret safe. I trust Sirius to keep that secret even if he’s not speaking to me. You need to trust me to know who to trust.”
“He is a traitor, Elsa,” Evander said coldly.
“He’s a Gryffindor, father,” she replied equally as coldly. “He gives his word and he keeps it. Trust and friendship are two of the qualities I admire in him. He’d never betray his friends. Dominic’s secret is safe with him.”
“It had better be. I do not want to see one word of in the Daily Prophet. It would not be good for you if it did.”
“Are you threatening me?” Elsa asked shocked by the tone in her father’s voice.
“No, I am not. I am speaking the truth. You know your brother well enough to know he will not blame your friends, he will blame you.”
“You’re just making sure I’m aware of the consequences? Don’t you think I already know them? I saw the look in his eyes, I saw the pleasure he got out of what he did. I know well enough not to cross him. And I know you well enough to know that Dominic is only getting more dangerous and protecting our family is becoming harder. You keep fixing his mistakes and you are growing weary of it, I can see it in your eyes.”
Evander looked shocked that she had noticed that much on his face and it made her smile. It was never easy to surprise her father, Elsa knew that, but she was going to enjoy the fact that she had.
“Cleaning up after him is not teaching him restraint, father. It’s teaching him that you will always be there to make everything disappear. How many more will there be before you say enough is enough?”
“Do not take that tone with me, Elsa.”
“He needs help, more help than we are giving him. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I don’t think it’ll ever get better. What will you do if he thinks Ellie or I have outgrown our uses? What if it is one of us next time?”
“It will never come to that.”
“You don’t know that. He hates me. I would never put it past him. I was sure of it that night, and I’m sure of it today. One day it’ll be me.”
“I won’t let that happen, Elsa,” her father said sincerely, and Elsa could almost believe his words.
“I want to believe that, dad, but I can’t. I promise I won’t let Sirius or Cordelia say anything, but I need to talk to someone about it, and they are the only two I trust. I’ll talk to Sirius; I’ll make sure he understands.”
Marisol returned to the table looking no different than she had when she left, though Elsa suspected her mother had indeed freshened up. The table grew quiet, an unhealthy silence that hung precariously between them. Elsa tried desperately to ignore the look in her father’s eyes that read like a novel of disapproval. She shifted her attention to the nearby bay window, watching the other students flit passed as they went about in their excited merriment and left her feeling dreadful. If she could find an excuse, any excuse at all, she would run from the pub into the warm fresh air to enjoy her day. Instead, she shifted in her seat and tried to conceal her agitation.
As she watched the window, she caught sight of James and Peter and they stopped, as if feeling the weight of her gaze. James turned his attention towards her; a dangerously playful grin on his lips, his eyes twinkled mischievously as he motioned for her to join them. Did he not care that Sirius wasn’t speaking to her or was it a ploy to get the two of them to talk? Damon put his hand in hers to remind her that she was there with him; as if by the act alone he could possess her.
“Go have fun,” Marisol said softly, “we’ll discuss wedding plans over Christmas.”
“Remember what we discussed Elsa,” Her father reminded her.
It was all she could do not to drag Damon out of the pub as she quickly pushed past the patrons until she was beneath the light of the sun. The wind gently caressed her cheek, as if reminding her that it too had missed her presence, but the chill in the air almost made her regret her decision to rush. Slowing down, Elsa glanced around the village taking in the sight of students with their hands full of candy milling about without a care in the world. She missed feeling like that.
She could almost picture laying in the field behind the house, the warm summer sun dancing across her skin like a lover’s touch watching the white puffy clouds as they changed from one shape to another. Shaking away the thoughts of better days, of happier days, Elsa let the fall chilled wind seep deep into her skin reminding her of the harsh reality that with the end of summer comes the change of the seasons and she too had been changed by the events of July.
The harsh laughter of Dominic’s flitted towards her, forcing her to remember the way he looked that dreadful night. How his eyes sparkled with mischievous delight at the suffering he had caused, not only in the muggle girl but within his own sister. Groaning, Elsa followed the sound wishing more than ever that she had the will to stand up to him. He was evil through and through and Sirius was right, she was no better than the rest of her family, who refused to fight back against Dominic.
Elsa found him standing in front of a third year Ravenclaw girl who was cowering against the wire fence surrounding the Shrieking Shack. Instinctively, she ran towards the two, worried that the summer would repeat itself. Placing herself between the younger student and Dominic, Elsa glared hatefully at her brother. She was not going to let him bully a younger student, especially not a Ravenclaw. It didn’t matter that somewhere her parents lurked waiting for the right time to step in and stop them from fighting. It didn’t matter that she knew Sirius was bound to happen across the scene and assume she was going to do nothing. All that mattered was that somewhere deep down inside, Elsa had found the slightest bit of courage to stand up to Dominic.
“Get out of my way, sister,” Dominic said coldly, pointing his wand at her.
“No,” she replied, forcing her voice to remain strong. “I won’t let you bully Shannon. I won’t let you repeat what you did before.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said innocently, though Elsa knew better. There was nothing innocent about him. “If you don’t get out of the way...”
“You’ll do what? Hex me? Go ahead. Father is nearby and I’m certain he will be displeased with you for causing such a scene.”
Realization dawned on his face as a crowd began to gather. No matter how many times they fought, people always seemed interested in it. It was not like sibling rivalry was unusual amongst some students. She knew it was more the thought that something interesting might happen and they wanted to be a part of it in some small way.
Elsa stood her ground, even as she watched Sirius push his way through the crowd to see what all the commotion was about. Almost immediately after seeing Dominic standing in front of Elsa with her arms stretched out protecting the smaller girl, rage filled Sirius’s eyes. Propelling himself forward, Sirius threw all his weight into a single well aimed punch that threw Dominic off balance, sending the two boys falling to the ground. She watched as both boys began to brawl in the middle of the crowded street.
“Stop it!” she yelled the two of them, but her protests fell on deaf ears.
Her eyes searched the crowd hoping for some sign of a teacher or her parents to put an end to the madness that was Sirius’s rage and Dominic’s hatred.
Finally, as her father appeared, James managed to push his way to the center of the crowd, pulling Sirius off Dominic. Though, it took the help of Remus to keep Sirius from continuing. Elsa watched as the boys dragged Sirius away and as her father helped Dominic off the ground. With as much disinterest as she could muster, Elsa glanced at her brother taking in his injuries. One black eye swollen shut, a cut lip and cheek were all that she could see, but she had watched Sirius land several shots to Dominic’s torso.
Her father looked her way only once as he helped his son hobble his way back to Hogwarts to get cleaned up. Turning her attention to the young girl behind her, Elsa sighed. Things were only getting worse at Hogwarts, not better. Dominic knew better than to attack another child, he had been warned to keep away from the younger girls. There was absolutely no way he could commit murder at school and get away with it , and her father distinctly informed them all that should Dominic commit such an act there would be no one there to clean up after him.
“Thank you,” the young girl said before sprinting off towards her friends.
“We should probably go too,” Damon added, “your dad looked furious that Dominic was up to his old tricks again.”
Elsa simply nodded and followed after Damon towards Hogwarts. She didn’t feel like spending any more time in Hogsmeade. Dominic and Sirius had ruined any chance of her having a good date with Damon, now she just wanted to be alone and forget she knew either of them. It was embarrassing to have a brother as psychotic as Dominic was and a best friend who allowed his rage to fuel his revenge.
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