Chapter 10 : Complications of the Heart
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(chapter image done by everafter @ TDA)
Classes continued after her dreadful weekend, and by Wednesday even she couldn’t complain when she was finally left alone in Ancient Runes with only Remus and Lily to talk to. Most of the other students in her class she hardly spoke to, not for a lack of trying. Ancient Runes was the only class she had that her brother didn’t, and she enjoyed the chance to be out of his ever watchful eye. It was quite disturbing to know that her twin brother paid more attention to her than he did any of the girls her age. She often wondered if Dominic simply didn’t enjoy the company of girls, though she had the right mind to know better than that.
Sitting in the back of the classroom, Elsa tried to listen intently on the lecture. As Professor Loretta Weis explained the group assignment that was to be handed in the following day, Elsa found it incredibly hard to concentrate. Seated next to her, Remus jotted down notes. She couldn’t help but feel envious of his attention span while hers seemed to dwindle away leaving behind a brain as mushy as over cooked peas. With a heavy sigh, she attempted fruitlessly to follow their professor’s instructions. Failing miserably was not within her vocabulary, though, for the first time in her life she wondered what would happen if she did horribly in school.
Lily glanced sideways at her before returning to her own notes, moments before slipping a piece of parchment beneath Elsa’s elbow. It wasn’t unusual for girls to pass notes periodically throughout the course of a lesson, but Elsa often frowned upon being distracted from her learning. This time however, she couldn’t help but feel intrigued by the tiny scrap of parchment.
Casually placing the note in her hand, she began to read. What’s wrong? It read simply in Lily’s elegant scrawl. For a moment, Elsa contemplated what was bothering her. It wasn’t Sirius, who had finally given in and apologized for being a prat; nor was it Damon, who had been incredibly sweet to her the last few days. She couldn’t even blame her addled mind on Dominic, since he hadn’t bothered to torment her since their father had dragged him out of Hogsmeade.
As she raked her mind for an answer, she missed most of the lesson, so when a piece of parchment with the assignment written on it was placed in front of her, she couldn’t help but stare at it blankly. Quickly writing an answer back to Lily, Elsa began to read over the paper before her. While she normally had no problem with group assignments, none of her friends had taken Ancient Runes and that left her at the mercy of the other students.
“Want to work together?” Remus asked both Lily and Elsa.
“Sure,” Lily replied quickly, “that is, if Elsa doesn’t mind working with us?”
“Of course not,” Elsa replied quietly. “Though, I’m a complete scatterbrain today.”
The class was let go early so they could arrange their groups and meet up somewhere quiet to work together. It was a bonus that Remus and Lily had already decided they were going to work with her and quickly determined the library was likely the quietest place to work. Elsa hardly complained as they climbed the enchanted staircase.
“We’ll catch up in a minute, Remus,” Lily said and nodded that Remus head off without them. Once they were alone, she looked seriously at Elsa. “You sure you’re alright?”
“I’m fine,” Elsa replied, “I just can’t concentrate today.”
“Is something bothering you?”
“Not that I’m aware of. If you had have asked me on Sunday, I would have said yes. I could concentrate in History of Magic this morning, but now I can’t seem to think straight let alone consider actually doing any school work,” she explained honestly. “It’s like someone has befuddled my mind, but I know that’s not the case.”
“You aren’t stressing about the boys in your life are you?” Lily asked suddenly.
“No. Why would I be?”
“Because, from what I can tell you’ve suddenly forgotten that you adamantly hate Damon Avery, something happened between you and Sirius Black, and now you’re completely out of it. That’s not like you. We may not have been good friends Elsa, but we’ve gone to school together for going on six years now. I would think that would be long enough to notice when something is up with you.”
“I haven’t forgotten I hate him,” Elsa said defensively. “More like, I feel I should at least give him the chance to show me why I should care. If he really is in love with me like he proclaims, then what’s the harm in finding out if he’s telling the truth?”
“What’s the harm? Are you listening to yourself? He’s a Slytherin!” Lily stated harshly.
“Says the girl who, up until last year, was best friends with a Slytherin,” Elsa said with a glare. “Look, I don’t want to argue with you about this. If Damon turns out to be a good for nothing Slytherin, you can join Sirius in telling me ‘I told you so’, alright?”
They walked in silence to the library, neither wanting to mention that maybe the other was right. Where Elsa had given Damon a chance, she hardly doubted Lily would ever give James a chance. Though, she had half a mind to tell Lily to lighten up where James was concerned. If James loved Lily half as much as Damon cared for her, then she would be happy for the two. She knew Sirius would be. It also meant they wouldn’t have to listen to James being a pompous arse when it came to showing off to Lily. Instead, Elsa said nothing.
The library was noisy despite the fact that the young librarian repeated hushed the chatty students. First years sat cluttered together flipping anxiously through large tomes, while fifth years worked tirelessly on preparing for their O.W.Ls. For the most part, Elsa could ignore the hustle and bustle of the active library with great difficulty. They had agreed on a quiet atmosphere, and both girls soon realized they were staking out the wrong area of the school for peace.
Remus had managed to find a quiet nook off in the far corner near the Restricted Section, far enough away from the door and the other students and with enough privacy as they could need. Ancient Runes books were stacked neatly on the desk, as Remus began to unload his book back with parchment, quills and ink wells. He had everything they would need ready before they even arrived.
“You’re more prepared than I am,” Elsa muttered with a slight laugh and sat at the end of the table.
Digging through her bag, Elsa found her copy of their assignment and read over it for the third time. This time she was able to comprehend the text rather than staring at it with an empty gaze. The words didn’t jumble together and form gibberish. Instead they read fluidly and the concept of the project was simple. They were to decipher several passages that followed further down the page using only the few books listed for assistance.
Dividing up the passages was easy, given that there were six passages listed, they each took two. Lily and Remus set to work almost immediately and Elsa realized that for the most part, Remus wasn’t anything like Sirius. He was calm and courteous, far more studious than his friends, and even possessed a brilliant mind. She couldn’t help but wonder how the boy that sat beside her was even friends with Sirius and James, regardless of the fact that she too was friends with Sirius. She knew what could attract a person to the likes of Sirius Black.
Again her mind turned away from her books to the boys that had forever been a part of her life. She couldn’t remember when her life had become so complicated. Damon and Sirius had never weighed so heavily on her mind as they had for the last month and a half. Despite the fact that she knew having any feelings for Damon was dangerous, she cared about them both.
Lily’s right, she mused, staring vacantly at her passage she was to translate. I have boy issues.
She tried to turn her attention back to the work at hand, but the smallest thing reminded her of Sirius or Damon, like the way the black ink pooled in her pot reminded her of Sirius’s dark hair. The way her Y’s looped seemed so similar to Damon’s. Even as she turned her attention to the window and the bright blue sky, she couldn’t help but think of walking hand in hand with Damon, or flying with Sirius.
With a heavy groan, she let her quill drop to the table. There was absolutely no way she was going to get any work done when her mind was so focused on everything else. It wasn’t like her to become distracted with anything let alone boys. Cordelia or Vera were known for being scatterbrained where boys were concerned, but not her. She had always had a clear mind where it came to the opposite sex. She had always known that Damon was an enemy and Sirius was a friend. When had the lines become so blurred, she wondered.
Forcing herself to work regardless of the fact that she didn’t want to, Elsa managed to finish the first of her two translations and was about to start on the second when familiar hands landed on her shoulders. With a startled gasp, she looked up behind her to find Damon standing there with a coy grin on his thin lips.
“Can I steal you away for a bit?” He asked, more towards Remus and Lily than to her.
“Go ahead,” Lily said, though Elsa could tell she wasn’t impressed.
Nodding simply Elsa collected her things and stood up. She looped her arm in his and allowed him to lead her out of the library. No matter how many times she told herself she wasn’t going to fall for him, that he was a scoundrel, she found herself enjoying his company. Being with Damon felt natural and right regardless that her brain screamed otherwise.
They walked through the school without saying a word, and as he led her out onto the grounds, she began to wonder what his plan was. Were they going for a walk only minutes before lunch? Was this some sort of coy idea to get her to admit she had feelings for him? Whatever it was, for the first time since she had agreed to let him try and win her over, she didn’t care what his motives were. She wanted to enjoy his company.
The wind blew coldly rustling the dying grass beneath their feet. Autumn had fallen around the school in hues of gold, copper and red making the Forbidden Forest look all the more vibrant and inviting. It felt as though one minute it had been summer and the next the trees were losing their leaves and the ground was browning.
“Where are we going?” Elsa asked when she could no longer take the silence.
“You’ll see,” he answered.
He led her past the greenhouses where students were packing up to head for lunch; past the glassy lake, around the back of the school to a tree that still had most of its leaves. Lying on the grass was a blanket with a small picnic basket. A smile crept over her lips as she took a seat on the ground. Damon sat next to her and began unpacking their lunch.
“I hope you don’t mind the surprise,” he said.
“Of course I don’t mind!” Elsa said happily.
They sat in comfortable silence eating their lunch. No one had ever taken the time to plan a romantic lunch for her before, and for the first time in her life, Elsa found that she was happy when she was with Damon. It may have taken five years for her to give him a chance, and it may have taken a fight with Sirius to push her in the right direction; and she was pretty loathed to admit it, but she found herself liking the boy she swore she would never have feelings for.
Even when their plates were empty, and a chill had set in, they sat side by side staring out into the open yard. Neither of them wanting to break the silence with unnecessary words; it had been one of the few times where there wasn’t anything that needed to be said. The silence, though heavy as it was, brought with it the knowledge that the two knew each other well enough to know when things needed to be said and when nothing was required.
Only after the cold had become unbearable, did they move. Damon stood, offered his hand to Elsa and waited. At first she sat there wondering what to do. Normally she wasn’t one to accept any help from anyone; normally she refused any common courtesy. Though, she knew the gesture was one of kindness and nothing more. He was only offering because he wanted to, not because he had to. Placing her hand in his, Damon pulled her to her feet and smiled.
Packing everything away in the picnic basket, they walked towards the school without saying much at all. With a stop off at the kitchen to return the borrowed dishes, the young couple made their way through the school to the Ravenclaw dormitories. Damon placed a gentle kiss on her cheek and turned to leave.
“Wait,” Elsa said grabbing his hand in hers. “Thank you,” she added a second later.
“You’re welcome,” he replied before she disappeared into the common room.
Her earlier confusion over boys long forgotten, and her thoughts now on Damon, she plunked herself down on the couch next to her friends and listened to them chat. Ignoring their questioning looks, she watched the flames in the hearth dance.
“Earth to Elsa,” Vera said, snapping her fingers in front of Elsa’s face, “wanna tell us what’s up?”
“You look like you’ve just been kissed,” Cordelia teased before she clapped her hands over her mouth, “you have haven’t you!?”
“No, I haven’t,” Elsa replied with a laugh, but couldn’t help picturing herself kissing Damon all the same.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized kissing him wouldn’t be so bad. He did seem to genuinely care about her; he had even gone out of his way to surprise her. There was no way that was all for show. She knew he liked her, that he had always liked her. As she sat there she tried to remember the reasons why she had hated him so much in the first place. He was nothing like she had always thought him to be.
“Then are you going to tell us what’s going on?” Vera begged. “Please?”
“Damon surprised me to a romantic lunch by the lake, that’s all,” Elsa said with a huff and a wave of her hand.
“That’s all?” they exclaimed together.
“Elsa, this is monumental!” Cordie said, “You’ve never wanted to have anything to do with him, and now you look like a love struck puppy!”
“Oh god! Do I really?” Elsa groaned, putting her head in her hands.
Her friends laughed at her while she sat there wondering just how bad off she was. While her friends would have easily told her she was in love, she didn’t believe in love developing that quickly. She could admit to liking him, to having feelings for him that weren’t there before. Though she knew the feelings could lead to love, she was never going to admit that to anyone but herself. Couldn’t her friends be content with her and Damon not fighting anymore?
Standing up, her mood officially ruined by her friends’ constant questions, Elsa locked herself in her room. Throwing herself on her bed, she found that even when she was left alone she couldn’t help but wonder if this was how things were meant to play out. Was she meant to fall in love with him? Did the Fates have some other plan for them? Did she really think she was ready for a steady relationship with a boy she had known her whole life, a boy who was best friends with her psychotic brother?
“Elsa?” Cordelia whispered from the doorway of their room. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” she lied and buried her head under her pillow.
“You’re a poor liar,” her friend laughed and sat down on the bed. “Spill it.”
“Do you really think I look like a love sick puppy?” She asked suddenly.
“Well, a little,” Cordie said. “But that’s not a bad thing. Does he make you happy?”
“That’s hard to say, you know that. Half the time I’m ready to throttle him, and then he goes and does something like this and I wonder if I’m being too hard on him.”
“Sometimes I think you are. The Averys are an upstanding family, Elsa. Sure they have their ties with You-Know-Who, but who doesn’t? Your family does. Everyone knows that the Blacks support him. But they aren’t bad people.”
“I never said they were.”
“Then why hate him for this long? It can’t be because he’s friends with Dominic.”
“Cordie, you know as well as I do that Dominic is crazy, but I still don’t get why they are friends. Damon is nothing like Dominic. He’s different.”
“So you do like him!”
The girls laughed and Elsa realized that her friend was really only trying to help her feel better. They had been friends for far too long for the other to ignore sudden mood changes. It never mattered how bad things got, they were always there for each other, whether it was a letter sent by owl or a trip to Diagon Alley, to spending the weekend at each other’s house, the girls never allowed personal problems to fester and grow.
“Don’t let your head stop you from having a relationship,” Cordelia said softly. “You deserve to be happy.”
“I have you to push my head in the right direction,” Elsa said with a laugh, “or at least, nag me until I relent.”
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