Chapter 23 : Of Owls and Admittance
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Damon Aalis and Molly Weasley.
I finished the last loop of my hair band, securing my French plaits in to place as Molly stormed up and down the room. She knocked over a lamp as she went; it landed on to the floor with a thud.
Hollie rolled her eyes. “Molly, I honestly think that you’re over reacting here.”
“Oh really,” she jeered sarcastically with a smile. “This coming from biggest-break-up-2023. They could make you a sash.”
“Honestly, Molly,” I said. “That’s a little harsh.”
She jabbed her finger in to my direction. “That’s rich, coming from Little Miss Mess-around. I had never seen James so lost without another person before, like he was actually missing a part of him. But along comes a young French girl who manages to blow his reputation out of the water.”
“Calm down, Molly.” I folded my arms across my chest and perched on the edge of my dresser.
She snorted. “Yeah, that’s likely. You actually did it; you managed to destroy James Potter.”
“Oh grow u-“
“How does it make you feel, Blythe?” Molly questioned as she stamped her foot a little, fists clenched. “To have ruined Harry Potter’s first born?”
I took a deep breath. It appeared Hollie was doing the same. I could imagine that she was merely glad that Molly’s spotlight was off of her for a change. The calmer of my roommates pulled her hair gently over her shoulder and began to run her fingers through it. She and Josh hadn’t much as looked at each other since their break up. It was astonishing what they had both achieved.
I shook my head calmly. “Molly, take a deep breath.” She glared. “Molly, look I am sorry that I ruined your cousin and what not. But I really do want to be with him and if I am perfectly honest I don’t think that it’s any of your business.”
“I actually have to agree with that one,” Hollie piped up earnestly. “Mol, don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that you have an opinion on everything, but at this point if G doesn’t want you to get involved, then don’t. You’re too similar.”
As if by magic both Molly and I simultaneously clamped our hands to our mouth and pointed at one another with a shocked demeanour. My eyes widened with shock while hers seemed to narrow.
“You...you think that we’re similar?” She stammered to our friend.
I grasped hold of the dresser behind me dramatically. “Oh gosh! It’s the end of the world!”
“You’re a drama queen.”
“And I pride myself on it, Hol.”
Molly turned the desk chair around and collapsed in to it heartedly. She began to rock back and forth, wobbling the desk as the wooden back of the seat hit it. “Georgie, just so you know, I totally love the two of you. But if you hurt him-“
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” I mocked. “You will gauge my eyes would with a spoon.”
The desk wobbled a little harder.
“But what if he hurts her?” Hollie asked curiously, catching a quill as it fell from the desk. “I mean, if they break up – Merlin forbid – what if he does it?”
Molly stopped rocking and slouched forward a little. “Then I guess I’m gauging his eyes out. I love you both.” She added, turning to me with a strong push back in her chair.
I was ready to reply with something witty, maybe even say it back if I came up blank. But I was stopped, not by a word, not by an insult, but by an action.
The idea that Molly rocking back and forth on the chair had only seemed like an innocent habit. That was until it turned in her favour. To Hollie and me it had so far been another annoying accomplishment that the hot-headed Weasley could add to her list, but then she hit the desk. Again. This time something fell off.
Yet the things that managed to fall weren’t innocent at all. If only it had been a lamp or a homework assignment. Not these.
Georgette, I heard about your visit to France…
I say it again, what were you thinking?
Ettie, I repeat. I am your father and I expect you to reply to me…
Never before have I had to justify myself, but seeing as you are acting immaturely, I feel that I must. Kellan chose his path…
Georgette Blythe, write back to me this instant…
And from there they carried on. Every word of my father’s handwriting seemed to get scruffier as the letters went on. His words took on an entirely new meaning as each one began. I would take one look at the letters and push them aside. A few I the in to the fire, others would be thrown on to the desk without a second thought. It depended on where I was stood at the time when I receive them.
If at breakfast, I would drop them on to the floor, but they would find their way back to me. If I threw them in to the fire, sometimes they were rescued by the house elves and given back to me again. It seemed that I couldn’t escape his words. So I would just throw them aside I our dorm. This particular pile of six or seven were mingling with my copy of Hogwarts; a History.
I couldn’t figure out his motives. My father was in ways, similar to me. We had the same outlooks on apologies however I threw them around more freely. For his to apologise meant something, but in all the beginning of these letters there was not one apology, only orders. I didn’t read the rest; lately I haven’t even opened them. He is stubborn, but so am I. I figured that two could play at this game.
What I hadn’t counted on was a situation like this, where Molly would knock them all off of the desk and recognise the Ministry seal from where he writes. I felt my bubble of pride burst as she picked them up and looked through the addresses.
“G, these are from your father.” She said slowly.
I snatched them from her grip. “I know that. I don’t need to be spoken to like a toddler.” I threw them back on to the desk and walked over to my bed. I sat down with a slump.
Hollie joined me. “Georgie, what’s going on?”
“Have you not been replying to him?”
I looked at my roommates. Molly’s argumentative demeanour suddenly transformed to concern. “Why would I?” I asked rhetorically. “He nearly killed my brother, his own son.”
They shared a nervous glance.
Molly sat down on the end of my bed. “I don’t mean to take his side and I in no way justify what he did. It was horrible. But, imagine how much it must have hurt him to do it. He’ had to hurt his own son.”
“It must have broken his heart.”
I pulled away from Hollie’s hand-on-shoulder transaction. “He doesn’t have one. He never has.”
“He took you in,” Molly said “When you needed to get away.”
“Only because Kellan made him,” I snapped. “I didn’t see him jumping at the chance to spend Christmas with me. I spent it with you guys.”
Hollie threw a hand to her head. “And it was dreadfully awful.”
I pulled her hand away. “That’s not what I mean and you know it.”
“We know what you mean,” Molly said. “I’m just trying to…how do I say this?” she paused for a moment to think. “My father makes me want to set myself on fire, but I still send him a sentence or two every few weeks, just to let him know that I’m alive.”
Hollie sighed. “I spend the holidays with my Gran, as you know my parents travel a lot.” She sighed. “The woman drives me insane, spitting on a tissue and wiping it on my skin, but I still write to her.”
“Yes, I get the fact that we have never had our parents or grannies put our siblings in Hospital, we don’t know how it feels.” I looked up to Molly as she spoke. “But at least let him know that you’re alive.”
“We don’t expect you to forgive him.” Hollie admitted. “I don’t know how you would, but at least reply to one of these.” She gestured to the letters on the desk. One slipped off on to the floor. “That’s convenient.”
It was unopened.
Molly rushed over and picked it up from the floor, bringing it over to me. “How about this one?”
“I don’t want to reply to him.” I said sourly. “I never want to see him again.”
“But you wanted to see Kellan?” Hollie asked. “The Death Eater?”
My mouth opened a little, gobsmacked. I opened my eyes up wide. “He’s my brother.”
“And this is your father.”
I sent a look of betrayal to Molly. I thought that she of all people would be the least forgiving. The simple thought of my father made me want to throw up. To me he was a disgrace. Kellan may not have made the choices in life, but this made him a good candidate for St Johns? I think not.
Molly shook her head and folded her arms. “We’re not leaving until you reply.”
I felt the contrast between the two lights; it niggled away at me until there was no end. At dark light, before we went to sleep I was on a high. James and I had made up, all seemed well for a moment, for a while.
Zoe was back in our dorm. Longbottom had made the three of us sign a peace treaty. He said that ‘impossible doom’ would be inflicted if we broke it. Molly said it was better not to push him. I had popped a yellow bubble from a new packet of Droobles and watched my roommates go to sleep while sitting on the window sill.
Upon waking up, I had felt pretty happy with the new situation. But it had taken only twenty minutes for me to fall from my pedestal. I had replied to my father, it was abrupt and abrasive, only a few words. But I had replied all the same. Hollie accompanied me to the owlery, apparently I would try to avoid it – they knew me so well.
I adjusted my feet as I sat in the windowsill of a glassless window in the owlery, stroking the soft feathers of the head of an eagle owl. Its stare was slightly intimidating. Its eyes were the size of amber dinner plates. A slight exaggeration maybe.
Hollie had left me here alone; I hadn’t wanted to go to class. I don’t regret the decision in the slightest. I had Langley again. I would bet my left arm that Josh wasn’t there either. Neither of us had attended since the lesson I got pulled out, I didn’t want to face him. It was cowardly of me, cowardly, but also smart. Speaking with that Professor would end in another argument and I didn’t need one of them at the moment.
The owlery was a little cold. I looked around the dirty circular tower. There was only one room and it was at the top of a spiral staircase located on the outside of the tall structure. Even during the summer it was cold, according to Molly. If you can stand the smell of owls and dust, then it’s the perfect place to cool down.
I sat in the glassless window frame, appearing as more of an arch. It was the only place clear of owl pellets and the skeletons of mice and rats. What a cheery place to be. After a moment of my lone presence in the tower, the eagle owl had made itself comfortable on my thigh. I looked back out to the deep purple mountains that surrounded the distance of the school.
I heard someone enter the tower, their footsteps got louder as they ventured the staircase. I wasn’t watching the doorway; I had no interest as to who it was.
“Georgie,” he said. I knew that voice in my sleep. “G, are you alright?” James asked. He had recovered from his flu, only a slight cough remained.
I looked up to him briefly and the owl flew away. I smiled. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
He could see that I was hurt, even in the darkness of the owlery; it didn’t take a genius to figure it out. “No you’re not.” He knocked my feet off of the arch and squished himself in. “Talk to me.”
“Can I please just be a child about this one situation?” I asked a little colder than I had wanted to.
He said nothing. I looked back to him with an apologetic expression. He slapped his hand down on to my thigh. “Of course you can, love. I will get you a lollypop and all.”
The twist of his mouth gave it away, without it I wouldn’t have known he was upset. “What’s wrong?”
He chuckled darkly. It was a brief sound but one that I loved all the same. It shook me inside. His raven hair which was usually pretty unkempt was disheveled. He looked as if he had been running his hands through it. “I just had a pretty heated argument with Freddy, that’s all.”
He admitted his problems easier than I.
“An argument?” I echoed. “With Freddy?”
He gave one nod. “It seemed unrealistic doesn’t it?”
James looked tired. Before I had put the dark circles beneath his eyes down to the flu, but now it didn’t seem so harmless. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked. “Or do you want to be a child too?”
He smiled nervously. It seemed odd, to see James Potter without his confidence. “Let’s be immature, just for today.”
I was sat inches from him but they seemed to close. I took his face in my hands and pressed my lips to his. It took only a glorious second for my troubles to seemingly disappear. I pulled back and looked at the odd expression on his features.
He didn’t let me finish. Instead he pulled me closer to him and kissed me firmly on the mouth. It was long lazy kisses that seemed to make everything else insignificant. I held on to him tight so that he wouldn’t disappear, so that I knew he would still be there when I opened my eyes. And somehow, hiding out in the owlery, skipping class and sitting in amongst owl pellets became the most romantic place in the world.
My lips lifted in to a small smile as I wandered down the corridor to the Great Hall. I was only half aware of the time; maybe ten minutes before classes began. The scent of Wednesday breakfast filled my senses, filtering its way in to my nose. My stomach rumbled.
“Morning,” I greeted with ease as I slipped in to the seat beside Molly. I looked over to the messy-haired lad, he quirked a brow. “Russell, are you ever going to eat like a human?”
He lifted his head up to face me. “There is nothing wrong with my table manners!” He objected, spraying the table infront of us with crumbs from his overfilled mouth.
“She stands corrected,” Molly deadpanned, brushing off the odd one from her robes.
I looked right to Rory, who was eating in a slightly more humane manner. Infact, he wasn’t eating at all. His robes were neatly pressed as always, however today they were worn with only half as much enthusiasm. His shiny badge was still pinned to his robes, the lapel to be exact, but it wasn’t half as shiny as yesterday. It might have something to do with his grim expression.
“Rory,” I asked caringly. “Are you alright?”
He nodded enthusiastically, flitting his eyes over me in surprise. “Yes, perfectly fine.” But still he didn’t raise his hands above the table.
Russell shook his head slowly, staring to his right at the boy. His head shake wasn’t of concern like mine, but with obvious humor. “I swear, lad – if you keep moving your eyes like that people are going to suspect you’ve had an overdose of ice mice. Can it.”
I turned my head to the side, maybe overdoing my concern a little. “Rory, are you su-“
“He’s fine,” Molly exhaled crossly. She narrowed her eyes slightly at Rory. “He just didn’t sleep well last night. My recommendation would be for him to wipe the frown off of his face and perk up.”
Her words seemed to be more of an order than a friendly suggestion.
Russell stared between the two, shrugged and returned to an inhuman display of disgusting chewing. Rory gave a casual laugh that I couldn’t help but find a little demonic. Molly slumped down a little and folded her arms across her chest; I stayed upright, rudely putting my elbows on to the table.
“What good advice Molly,” Rory chimed with a smile that was suddenly plastered on to his face. He was trying to fake it so bad he looked suddenly constipated. Boys.
“Ow, Molly.” I said, grasping at my leg slightly dramatically. “Next time you go to kick Rory under the table can you get better aim?”
She shrugged. It was a complete opposite to my miffed demeanor. I didn’t want to admit that it hurt. But it really did. They girl packed a punch, or rather, a kick. A turbo kick.
Russ piled some more eggs on to his plate with a large spoon – a spoon that Molly knocked on to the table with an angry tut. “Molly!” He boomed, attracting a little more attention that maybe necessary. “What was fuck was that for?”
“I wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t make me eat my breakfast opposite a Neanderthal.”
I rolled my eyes. “Come on, kids.”
Russell glanced up from his food, still chewing rather distastefully. “Itf not ma fauf.”
“I gather speaking has become too advanced for you in human evolution.”
“Fuf off Mol.” He shoved another spoonful of cereal in to his mouth, making it over flow.
I closed my eyes slightly and turned away from the two arguing children.
The subject of Russell’s departure had been brought up again late last night. The group of us sat in the Common Room, taking our usual place on the scarlet sofas. James wrapped his arms around my waist and held me tight. I wasn’t going anywhere, but I knew recognized the feeling of loneliness if he let me go.
It had been two weeks since the night in the owlery, neither had elaborated on our problems and neither of us had argued since. Not with anyone. Taggert had stayed oddly quiet and he and Freddy seemed as good as gold the following morning. Molly on the other hand found it rather difficult to stay out of trouble.
Fred had asked Russell what he was planning to do. For a boy who had his whole life planned out before him to fall to have nothing, it was a hard position to get out of. Russell had merely shrugged and talked about India. He was thinking of traveling east and spending a year or so there. He wants to write a book. He doesn’t know what kind of book, but a story of some kind. He thinks that he could write of his travels.
You would assume that everyone would be happy for him, that despite the fact that we are going to miss him, you would let him go with pride. But Molly seems to have missed the post it. Since the day he announced he was going, she had thrown a constant temper tantrum and given him hell. Although, it’s Molly, no one is going to bring her up on it. Her temper had bled through to us.
It’s making it harder for Russell. But then again, that’s the plan. She and Russ grew up together. His parents work with hers. Believe it or not, they’re good friends. They have similar outlooks on life; the difference is that Percy gave up on his hopes and dreams for Molly many years previously. The Finneganns’ held on to theirs as if it were their entire world. And to be frank, it was.
Russell’s parents don’t know of his want to leave the country, he has agreed to tell them, just not yet. He will face that hurdle when he comes to it.
We spent that night infront of the fire, Russell getting increasingly excited about the upcoming summer. He wants to leave right away. The fire began to blaze furiously and every time he mentioned leaving the expression on Molly’s face showed that she wanted to throw herself in to it. Molly was always a drama queen, but about this, I don’t think she’s lying.
It would be like Joanie without Chachi or asking a human being to be without food, a pen without ink, the earth without sun. Useless.
At this moment Russell had slowed his chewing somewhat and rolled his eyes. Molly had stopped speaking, a first for man kind. But it wasn’t a good thing. She refused to look at anyone. I knew the expression on her face. If she looked up, she would be crying. Molly Weasley doesn’t cry. She inflicts the emotion on others, but never on herself. I’m sure not even Russell knew what his departure would do to his best friend.
A low groan emitted from the back of his throat. “Look, I’m sorry Moll, but you can’t stop me eating. I’m an eating machine.”
He knew it wasn’t about the food.
A crackling of paper came from Rory, as if he actually made the noise himself. I raised a light brow and tried to look over the table. “Rory, what’s-“
“He’s got a paper.” Russell acknowledged. “He’s hiding a paper under the table.”
Rory pretended to look casual. “No I’m not, not paper here.”
I snorted at his slightly pained expression and shook my head dismissively. “Ror, you can rule out a career in acting.”
“That’s what Molly’s glare said to me a few minutes ago.” He sighed.
I watched him curiously out of the corner of my eye. There was no immediate reaction as I leant over to grab the hidden paper. But he pulled it back. As he did, pages flew out and landed silently on to the floor only the odd ripple of it could be heard.
“Rory, could I please take a look at the paper?”
He shook his head. “No.”
The eager expression on my face flattened somewhat. “No?”
He nodded his head. “Yes, no.”
“So yes or no?” Russell asked.
“Please don’t do that?” Rory asked his bigger companion. “The answer is no. I am not letting you read this paper.”
It took Russell only one second to rip the thing from his hands and throw it to me.
Molly looked up, glaring at her friend through teary eyes and caught hold of my arm. “Georgie, please don’t read that paper.” I raised a brow at a rather confused looking Russell. She elaborated. “It’s for your own good. Russell was just to in to his breakfast while we were discussing it.” He groaned as she exorcised her new habit; kicking under tables.
“Why can’t I read it?” I asked with a forced ease.
Molly released the grip on to my arm and took a bite out of a freshly buttered piece of toast. No one but me seemed to have noticed her teary expression. Rory shrugged absently, eyeing Molly toast. She handed it over reluctantly. I mentally rolled my eyes.
Rory’s ears perked up a little and he stopped chewing. “Just let her read it, Mol. It’s better that she finds out with us then … well, not with us.”
She seemed to agree with this and her whole posture changed. She nodded in slightly agreement and then against towards the paper. “But maybe she shouldn’t do it here…”
“I’ll be fine.” I assured and stretched out the paper.
I wanted to stop at the title. Death Eaters Caught in Paris.
‘On the 13th of March, the body of the famous Death Eater Damon Aalis was found in the river Seine. The French authorities refuse to disclose information on this thankful tragedy. The only facts that can be gathered is that Aalis was murdered by his own kind by the killing curse.’
Molly’s eyes watched me carefully. “I’m fine.” I said shakily.
‘The coroner working on the case confirms death by magic. The word ‘traitor’ was carved in to his chest by a blunt instrument. The French Minister for Magic, John-Paul Leverbe, assured the public that they were safe. However he also announced that he will be discussing the ordeal with the English authorities; they had no information about Aalis being a ‘Double Agent’. Of course the other option is that he wasn’t leaking to the authorities at all. A leader in the English Ministry of the correct division, Kellan Blythe, Sr states that-“
I slammed the paper down on to the desk. “Obviously he just had to get himself in to the profit.” I snapped. “He’s probably got it framed on his bedroom wall.”
“G, are you-?”
“I’m fine, Molly.” I brushed off my anger towards my father and faced my friends. Russell was clueless.
Rory bit down on to his lip. “Did you finish it?”
I shook my head. “I didn’t want to.”
“Well maybe you should – don’t look at me like that Molly.” He said with a glare. “Please don’t kick me.”
I looked to Molly. “It’s written by Rita Skeeter.” She said hurriedly. “It could be complete bullocks.”
“But she said that it might not have anything to do with the authorities.” I said. “How did she know that?”
Molly shrugged. “Lucky guess.”
I was prepared for this, for one of them to get killed. It’s what they all signed up for. I couldn’t stop them if it was what they wanted. It was just the fact that I had expected it to be Bonnie, even Belle before Damon. He was careful, he would never get caught. Not unless-
I had told Kellan what he was doing.
I clamped my eyes shut and I felt a heavy hand grip my shoulder. “I told Kellan what he was doing, Molly.” I admitted. “I told him that Damon was on my side.”
“Wasn’t that what he wanted?”
I shrugged. “You never know with Kellan. Not anymore.”
She took the paper back triumphantly. “Well, think of it this way, how could Kellan have got the message out? He’s under lock down. There is no way that anyone could have found out. Besides now you’re ties are all cut off.”
I wasn’t planning on telling her about how Kevin reached me, never. I didn’t know how he did it. I still can’t figure it out. Russell looked guiltily down to the floor. He knew. He had seen me mail him. My foot found his under the table, I wasn’t going to have him be a bad-er actor as Rory. I didn’t kick him; I merely let him know that I was there.
I looked back at Molly. “The room was full of guards, anyone of them could have told.”
“But they were the authorities.”
I shrugged. “You never know in this world.”
“You can’t trust anyone but yourself.”
“A little dramatic don’t you think, Rory?” Molly hissed, throwing the paper back at him. He caught it roughly and went back to reading it.
“Why did you ask me to finish it?” I questioned quickly. “What else does it say?”
She took a deep breath. “The Authorities have caught Kevin Leighton.”
I felt the final string attached to my heart break. Everyone, everyone that I knew…only Belle remained. I hade made sure that Gaspard and Wesley were too young to understand it; no one else had the potential. Kevin, Damon, Kellan…they were all gone.
I mimicked Molly’s breath and turned to the Ravenclaw table. Josh’s usual seat was empty but the paper was on his empty plate. He had seen the article. The man himself was standing in the doorway, leaning on the frame.
“Molly, I have to-“
“Go.” She finished. “We get it. But if you need us.”
“I’ll know where to find you.”
As I approached the door, Josh wasn’t listening to me. His eyes were still locked on to the table where the four of us were sat only a moment ago. His robes were disheveled, not the usual attire for a Ravenclaw. It could be the pressure of upcoming exams or the facts displayed in the article.
“Josh,” I said quietly. He said nothing. “Josh, did you finish the arti-“
“Damon was your man on the inside.” He stated simply.
I bit my lip with perfectly executed pain. “Yeah.”
He looked straight to me, his dark eyes deep. “Well who’s going to do it now?”
I looked up spitefully with slight disbelief. “Are you being serious?” I paused and took his silence as a yes. “No one is going to do it Josh. Harry Potter will figure something out. He did last time.”
“But how can you be so sure?” he questioned. “Last time they had Dumbledore, we don’t.”
“The Great Albus Dumbledore wasn’t there for the final battle, he was murdered. He was murdered by the person who was on their side the entire time. By the person he appointed to be the ‘Double Agent’.” I spoke it as if it was a scummy thing to be. I felt like punching Josh, like hexing him, I really did. “It’s better not to have anyone.”
“You said it yourself though, G.” He said. Still not taking his eyes off of Molly, Russ and Rory. “Being the double agent isn’t all bad.”
“And look where that got him,” I spat. “He was found face down lying in a river. If I can stop that from happening again then I will.”
“Don’t blame yourself for this G.” he said. “It’s not your fault.”
“So then whose is it? I just lost a friend, Josh.”
My mind was in disarray. I couldn’t believe that Josh was even remotely defending anything on this topic. He stayed silent. Again. He had nothing to say.
I brushed past him and stopped before walking away. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
Maybe in a way, Rory was right; you can’t trust anyone who isn’t yourself. You only have you. But I had James, and I had Molly. I had many. So why did I still feel guilty? Why did I feel as if I still had nothing? Maybe I was selfish. Maybe I am. But that’s just me. I will always feel guilty for this; I could have stopped it.
If only I had any idea just how serious this was becoming.
AN: There is was - the penultimate chapter. The next chapter is the last! It’s all gone by so fast. I remember when I first started writing this story, and it was only going to be six or so chapters, she was going to go to Hogwarts and fall in love with James – bla blab la, but I found that boring; I can never write a conventional romance, I have to make it awkward.
A few of you beautiful reviewers got it right, about the whole paper ordeal. So, who thinks they can predict the final chapter? It’s written and finished, done :O
Here is a little preview:
Rory smirked. “I don’t think the glaring caveman stood behind you would be entirely happy with that.”
“Caveman?” James echoed.
His friend nodded. “You look like a Neanderthal.”
I had another, but it gave away a little too much. Thank you to all those who have reviewed so far. Don’t forget to leave another, or drop by by MTA page. :D
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