Chapter 28 : The Twenty-eighth.
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It was hard to believe Hogwarts was over. I mean, it was actually over. I couldn’t believe it had gone so fast. NEWTS just seemed to fly past me, even with the hours and hours of studying I Was doing. Then again, because I was only sitting three NEWTS, I had a lot less studying to do than most people. Which would have been good but unfortunately, nobody else was free to spend all my extra time with. Remus offered to keep me company a couple of times but after I’d told him that studying was more important six times, I gave up trying to convince him not to spend all of his available time with me. So for a good three days before every exam I spent in Ravenclaw tower, hiding so he wouldn’t come and find me to distract himself.
It wasn’t that bad in the tower. I’d forgotten how comfortable it was in the common room because I’d been spending so much time in the library. The fire was always warm but not too cosy and it was nearly always quiet enough to concentrate or read when I wanted. I was seriously going to miss the place once I’d left. I hadn’t really thought about leaving until Tom, Spencer and Charles bounded in after their Arithmancy exam talking about hosting a massive party in one of their houses or thinking of things to do during summer.
“I didn’t realise the end of term was so soon,” I said as they both sat down.
“Two weeks, Nyx. Two beautiful, work-free weeks. There’s absolutely nothing better than that. NEWTS are over, no more stressing about quidditch-”
We lost to Gryffindor before the exams, but it was close which was definitely a good thing because nobody thought we even stood a chance. I would have liked to play obviously but I was banned and for a very good reason too. So I didn’t moan, I didn’t beg Flitwick to take me back and I wasn’t even jealous of Maia who got to play. Okay, so I was a little jealous but only a little.
“- and definitely no more listening to Professor Binns, I can’t believe I ever took that class in the first place,” Tom finished, stretching out on the sofa to convey just how relaxed he was planning on being for the next two weeks.
“So is that all the exams over then?” I asked, I’d sort of been living in my own world after my exams had ended. I had absolutely no idea what was going on outside my own head.
“I think so,” Spencer said, “at least I don’t have any left.”
“Me either,” said Tom.
“Want to go play quidditch then?” Spencer asked.
“Yeah, sure. I mean, I think I’m only banned from officially playing.”
“If not,” Tom said, “I’m using your broom. I need a new one.”
“Ha, you wish. I’m totally allowed to play and if no one asks, no one will know.”
We made our way to the pitch, brooms in tow, in the gentle heat that signaled the start of summer and the end of our school year. It was nice being able to forget about everything and actually ride a broom again. Mine had been gathering dust in the broom cupboard and I felt like I was misusing it by leaving it in there. We didn’t have enough players for a proper game considering it was just the three of us but
I had a feeling that James would be along shortly to join in, I don’t think anything even remotely quidditch related could happen at Hogwarts while he was around without him being directly involved.
Sure enough, barely ten minutes after we’d gotten the quidditch balls from the changing rooms, four figures could be seen walking down the the pitch with their own broomsticks and five minutes after that, one solitary figure descending upon us with yet another broomstick.
Remus, James, Sirius, Peter and Maia must have all heard about our quidditch plans somehow and decided to join us. Now we had enough for a decent enough game, two chasers a beater and a seeker on each team. It was Maia with me and the guys against the Marauders.
“I reckon we should treat this as a rematch of Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw,” Tom said.
“Well of course you do,” Sirius said, “Ravenclaw lost the first one.”
“Scared we might win?” I asked.
“Probably,” James said, “Peter and Remus are both terrible at quidditch and Sirius isn’t even on the team! In fact it’s pretty much the Ravenclaw quidditch team against me and a bunch of useless morons.”
“Cheers, mate,” Sirius said in a sulk.
“Yeah,” Remus said, “I’ve never actually tried out for quidditch, for all you know I could be amazing.”
“Are you?” I asked with raised eyebrows.
“No,” Remus said, I laughed, “but I could have been!”
“Yeah, if you were me,” James said, “whatever, I still think I could take you four single-handedly even with these three pulling me down. Let’s do it. Reigning Hogwarts quidditch champ against you four.”
“Good thing Lily isn’t here,” Remus smirked, “she’d have probably hit you for that delightfully self-deprecating statement.”
“What are you talking about? That was self-deprecating. I don’t think I give myself enough credit to be honest.”
I think James was joking, if he wasn’t then I would have been pretty surprised. We split up into our teams but not before I’d promised to rip Remus to shreds because we were both playing seeker. Spencer was the beater for our team and Peter for the Gryffindors. I wasn’t sure who would make a better chasing team, Maia and Tom who were pretty bloody good or James and Sirius who were in sync just about all of the time.
“Hey, Nyx,” Maia said to me just as we were about to kick off, “there was a letter in our dorm for you so I brought it out for you.”
Sure enough, Maia extracted a piece of parchment from her pocket and gave me it. It was my parents handwriting on the front and by that I mean my dad’s writing. My dad always wrote my letters and signed them ‘your parents’. I didn’t bother opening it. Whatever it was, it could wait.
We kicked off the ground and all got into our starting positions, James took his wand and opened the box of quidditch balls, levitating the quaffle up and releasing the two bludgers. Once they’d gone up, he released the snitch and threw the quaffle unnaturally high in the air and the games began.
I’d never actually played the position of seeker before so I probably wasn’t going to be very good. Although as sure as I was of this, I was also pretty confident that I’d be better at it than Remus was.
As soon as everyone started moving, I knew the game had started. I think my reaction times had slowed in the amount of time I hadn’t been playing quidditch, not the best thing to realise when you’re playing the position that needs reaction times the most.
To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to be doing. Looking for the snitch, obviously. But I couldn’t see it at that point and I was seriously wondering wether or not I should just hover on the spot and scan the pitch with my eyes or fly around the pitch hoping to catch a glimpse. Being a seeker wasn’t nearly as much fun as beating.
I decided to fly around the pitch, purposely bumping into Remus several times and claiming they were accidents. It was a lot of fun to be honest, not having anything to do. Everyone else that was playing seemed to have their game faces on, except Peter, he looked as though he wasn’t entirely sure about what he was supposed to be doing and I didn’t blame him. Quidditch was pretty freaking complicated.
“I’m going to catch the snitch before you,” I told Remus as I flew past him.
“That’s what you think,” Remus said, flying beside me.
“Yep, because it’s true. I mean I was on the quidditch team.”
“As a beater and I’m really good at noticing things.”
“In books. Let’s face it Remus, I’m just excellent at flying.”
“That’s true, but I’m not half bad.”
“I’ll agree with you there, you’re a lot better than I thought you were going to be.”
“Thanks for that wonderfully back-handed compliment, sweetheart,” Remus said with a slightly sarcastic smirk on his face.
“No problem, sweetheart,” I said with an equal amount of sarcasm. We’d privately agreed not to have nick-names for each other on the ground that they were either insanely cheesy or annoyingly creepy.
Remus looked as though he was just about to reply when he shot off to the left. He’d seen the snitch.
I flew after him but he’d managed to get a good head start thanks to my slowing reflexes and general shock that he had been the first to notice the snitch even though I played quidditch. My broom was faster though, that would be my hope in catching up with him.
I couldn’t even see the snitch, I was blindly following Remus in the hope he wasn’t faking it. I was catching him up though, quickly. But even if I managed to get past him, not being able to see the snitch would make the whole effort completely void.
A glimmer of gold caught my attention, darting about the place like nothing on earth. It was fast, faster than I thought it was. Darn. I was going to have to up my game if I really wanted to win this. I had no idea how the chasers or the beaters were doing but I hoped we were winning.
Remus and I were neck and neck, racing towards the snitch, as we got closer, I began to stretch out my arm to try and grab it before Remus could but it was very windy and the snitch seemed to be blowing about the place. Either that or it was purposefully being annoying, which could easily have been the case. Ever since I was little I had been convinced that snitches had minds of their own.
I don’t know wether he noticed my tactic or not but he stretched his arm out too. Annoyingly, because Remus was taller than I was, he also had much longer arms. I was pushing the broom forward as much as I could but I was starting to think it wouldn’t be enough. I stretched my arm out even further in the hope I would some how be able to cross the ever increasing distance between me and the snitch.
With one last push forward, Remus had caught the snitch and once he had, he stopped dead in the air. Which was insanely stupid of him because how was I supposed to know he was stopping? I wasn’t. So I crashed into the side of him but not without some hasty braking.
“Ow, Remus. Why’d you stop so suddenly? Give a girl some warning would you?” I said, rubbing my left shoulder which had oh so inconveniently been the part that took the damage. It wasn’t even painful, I was playing it up a little for some fun.
“Oh, sorry,” he said, practically laughing, “didn’t realise you were behind me.”
“Pfft. A likely story, I was tailing you for about seven minutes.”
Remus was smirking, he knew I was joking, damn. I should learn to lie more effectively. Then we both started laughing for no reason. I guess it was just giddiness because it was the end of school. Or we had both been hit in the head by bludgers and not noticed. We both touched back down to the ground as the others talked in the air and James celebrated his victory. Could this day get any better?
But it could get a whole lot worse apparently.
“Hey, Nyx,” Remus said, sobering immediately, “what’s wrong with your arm?”
“What?” It was only then that I noticed the wind had blown my sleeve halfway up my arm so that the red markings were visible up to ‘blood trait..’ they weren’t that bad anymore which was a very thin silver lining, but only if you were looking for one. “Oh that, it’s nothing really,” I said rolling my sleeve down hastily.
“That wasn’t nothing,” Remus said, he looked so serious and I could just tell he wasn’t going to let this drop. A couple more weeks and they would have been gone. But no, it would be my luck that my boyfriend notices them. “Nyx, why was blood traitor written on your arm?”
“It was just a silly prank. It’s honestly fine. I’d forgotten it was even there to be honest.”
“A prank by who?”
“No one important.” I was hoping he wouldn’t guess. I didn’t think he would I mean the quidditch match was months ago.
“When did it happen?”
Ah, that was a much harder question to avoid without lying. Damn.
“Just like a week ago, honestly it’s no big deal.” Yep, I chose to lie.
“Can’t you see that it is a big deal? We’re at war, Nyx. This isn’t a prank, it’s a personal attack.” Remus was taking this as seriously as I had expected him to, which was very seriously. I could see his hands clench into fists.
“I mean I’d hardly call it an attack would you?”
“Yes! I would call it an attack. Who did it?”
“Well, it’s nothing. This is just how things work in pure-blooded families. We slag each other off and laugh about it later.”
“I’ve never seen James strolling around with ‘blood traitor’ on his arm.”
“The Potters are different and you know it,” I said defensively. I was started to get a little bit tangled up in what I had already said. Lying to Remus was a lot harder than lying to other people. The others landed and started to walk over. “Look, Remus. I’ve sorted everything out. Just don’t tell the others okay?” I asked, raising my eyebrows and looking up at him through my eyelashes as if that would make a difference. Looking at him through my eyelashes usually worked when I felt like a good kiss.
“Fine,” he said reluctantly, “but this isn’t over Nyx, this isn’t something you can just let go.”
“I know, just let me deal with it.” He loosened up his hands and I knew it was over, for now.
I sighed. That was really the best I could hope for considering Remus was so darn protective. To be honest, I would have happily let him punch Rosier again but there was nothing to be gained from it and it would just make matters a whole lot worse.
“Thank you,” I said, hugging him, “I’m glad I can trust you.”
“Of course you can,” Remus said hugging me back, “I just wish you had told me after it happened, I would have done something about it.” I had a feeling this was going to come up again. A bad feeling.
“Aww, the two lovebirds are hugging. I’m surprised you didn’t punch him for beating you to the snitch, Nyx,” Sirius said laughing.
“Maybe I should have,” I said with a small grin returning to my face.
“I reckon Nyx could take Remus in fight, easy,” James said.
“I reckon she probably could too,” Sirius laughed.
“Yes well, let’s not find out,” Remus said, chuckling, “I don’t fancy getting beaten up by my own girlfriend thank you very much.”
Maia and Tom came waltzing over grinning like cheshire cats. They looked like the perfect picture of happiness. It was nice hanging about with everyone, well just about everyone, for a change. It was warm, almost summer and we were all having a laugh. I couldn’t really have asked for a better end to the year or my time at Hogwarts. I’d always expected it to be some grand event but this was just right for me, it felt comfortable and I really enjoyed having comfortable. We all went to sit by the lake to cool down.
“So what did your parents say, Nyx?” Maia asked, taking Tom’s hand as we sat down.
“What?” I asked, completely confused.
“The letter I gave you earlier, what did it say?”
“Oh right! I totally forgot.”
I reached into my pockets and scrummaged around until I found the letter. What can I say, I have big pockets. I opened it pretty hastily, ripping it a little in the process. It was just the corner though so I was okay. It was still legible. I scanned it over pretty quickly, trying to take it in a read it as fast as I could.
“What?” I said at the end of it. I put the letter down and thought it through.
“You okay, Nyx?” Remus asked rubbing my shoulder, “was it something bad.” I have to say, I had a lot of respect for Remus just then, asking me instead of just picking up my letter.
“No,” I said, “at least I don’t think so. I think it’s good.”
“What do you mean?” He asked, it was his turn to be confused.
“My parents bought me a flat.”
“That’s great news, Nyx. What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know. I know I should be ecstatic but I’m just not.”
“That’s alright, it’s a big change.”
“I guess. It also says they’re not coming to see me off the train. They’re going on holiday for a month and I probably won’t see them till August.”
“They’re not coming to see you off?” Remus sounded more disappointed than I did, “but it’s your last year. Surely they want to see you.”
I think he found it hard to believe that my parents weren’t bothering to see me off. I didn’t mind. It had happened before and would probably continue to happen. That’s just they way they were.
“No, I doubt it to be honest.”
“But still, a flat! That’s great news, Nyx!” Maia said, clearly it was getting awkward so thankfully she changed the subject. Maia was always right on the ball.
“Yeah, it is,” I said, finally smiling at the thought of being independent.
“Where is it?” Sirius asked.
“That must have cost a bomb,” Tom said.
“Probably,” Spencer said, “so when’s the party?”
Everyone started grinning and we launched into a conversation about having a housewarming party as soon as we left school. I was looking forward to it immensely. I needed a good party. We were joined later by Peter and Isabelle who helped to plan this party I supposedly having in a month. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to leave.
I could have a brand new start.
A/N: Wow, I'm almost embarrassed typing this it's been so long since the last update (a whole month!) Sorry, I was struggling to find the time and inspiration to write. I hope you enjoyed the chapter despite its lateness.
And on another huge note, that's the final chapter folks! I've been writing this story since the end of March. I know, it's been almost a year since I started and it's the first novel I've written. SO I would like to thank everybody who has written a review, favourited the story or even stuck with it all the way to the end. Thank you. And now it's over, if you've read all these chapters and not said hello, give it a go! I love reading and responding to your reviews!
And if you're left thinking 'hey! wait! I still have bunch of questions! What was going on with that dementor? What did Nyx's mother do? Why does Nyx have scars on her back that she doesn't remember getting? What happens next?' Well, I'm not making any promises but I have planned out a sequel set outside the comforting grounds of Hogwarts. However, I'm not sure when or if I'll be able to write it. But I'll certainly try! It'll be called Melanosis if it does go up, so there's something to look out for in future. But if you are dying to know anything, just ask. I don't mind giving away a couple of secrets.
And with that over, I'll say thank you again to all of you who have read my story. Thanks. Alex