So very sorry for taking so long to update. I’ve got about two more chapters left in this story and I’m excited to finish it. I’ll get around to answering reviews soon. Chapter 19 is almost finished. I know this is a short chapter. BUT THIS ISN’T OVER YET.
In case anyone cared, I just turned the big 1-8. Exciting, huh?
Title and Summary song:
“Baby, You Wouldn't Last a Minute on the Creek” by: Chiodos
Turn around and head in different directions,
It’s like we never knew each other at all.
We said what we feel, then we stop ourselves,
And just walk away, never looking back.
I stepped off of the Hogwarts Express and onto the familiar platform known as Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. In the seven years I’d been departing and arriving at this very location, it had never changed a bit. Families crowded the platform with large smiles on their faces while younger siblings craned their little necks for a glance at their older brother or sister, trying to be the first to spot them.
Steam billowed from the tall stack of the scarlet train and the sound of the squealing brakes still hung in the air. The inside of the train had been noisy as kids chattered about seeing their families and their vacation plans. It seemed that as the door to the outside world opened, the noise only multiplied. Mothers called their child’s name, waving their hands to gain attention, doors flew open from the train, kids laughed, cried and hugged while owls screeched impatiently at the commotion.
Severus exited the train after myself, pursing his lips as he silently scanned the crowd for his mother. She never made a fuss like the other mothers, and waited in the back, wearing a stern expression not unlike her son’s. Mrs. Snape was easily recognizable.
“There’s my mother.” Severus stated, though it was unnecessary. He had watched my eyes carefully inspect the crowd and land on his mother.
We stood awkwardly, unsure of how to say goodbye. Was it goodbye? If Severus planned on going through with his Voldemort decision, it probably was goodbye. I was staying in France, for all I knew, untied to the magical world of England as I had been for seventeen years.
“Goodbye Capella.” Severus said, in his usual, clipped baritone. However, I couldn’t summon up any kind of sharp remark. I stood there, letting the defeat drag me under the surface. Somehow, I knew in my heart that this was my last encounter with Severus Snape.
“I...” I was at a loss for words as my eyes darted everywhere but his. Of course I was avoiding his eyes; I was still proud and couldn’t let him see how much I was letting this affect me.
“Capella.” Automatically, I responded to the sound of my name. I looked up, finally meeting his eyes. I felt the tears stinging the corners of my eyes as he grew blurry through the oncoming flood. When I brought up a hand to roughly push aside the collecting liquid, I saw that same desperate expression on his face that I had just a night ago.
I was still at a loss for words as I heard my name being called by another voice, a new one. Severus heard this too and I saw the old, granite face that I had become accustomed to settle back on his features. He gave me one last curt nod and then turned around and walked away.
It was too much to process; here was the last time I was ever going to see Severus again and he just walks away? And more importantly, I was too much of a dumbass to form a coherent goodbye. I stood, stunned, all by myself on the platform as families continued to bustle around me.
Until I was hit with the force of a thousand large bison.
“What the fu-?!”
“Cappy, you idiot!”
“Didn’t you hear me screaming at you for the last ten minutes?”
If I had been in shock beforehand, it was nothing compared to now. There stood Lucida in front of me, who I had not seen for nearly nine months, and she was pregnant. Not that I didn’t already know this, but the word pregnant doesn’t really hold any meaning until you actually see them.
“You’re as big as a whale.” Was the first thing I blurted out after she released me from her bone-crushing hug. I couldn’t remember a time when I had ever been hugged in such a fashion, even by Lucida. As I regained the ability to take oxygen into my lungs, I was left with kind of a funny feeling. It was tingly and sort of warm and affectionate.
As I stood on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, I realized that it was the first time that I had ever felt welcomed home.
Lucida’s annoyed sigh brought my back to reality.
“Thanks a lot, sis.” She huffed, crossing her arms over her engorged stomach.
“You better make sure you’re not having twins...or triplets.” I said, unable to look away from her huge belly. I couldn’t actually believe how big she actually was; Lucida had always been super slender, while my curves made up for her lack of them. It was kind of satisfying to see that she had, for once, gained weight. Usually that was my expertise.
“Mon Dieu, she iz enuff to handle!”
It was then that I saw the tall, sandy-haired man standing behind her. He had to be Marcel Badeaux, with his extremely thick French accent that flowed like water. It was easy to see why Luce was attracted to him. He was tall, slim yet toned in that way that men are without ever having done any exercise. His skin was bronzed, probably from living and working on the beaches of Nice all his life. There was a light peppering of a beard on his cheeks and chin that matched the light shaggy hair that he frequently pushed out of his eyes. However, his striking pale blues eyes stuck out from the rest of his visage. They were soft, gentle eyes that let me know that Lucida was in good hands.
“I am Marcel.” He introduced himself, extending out his hand for me to shake. His smile was brilliant, momentarily catching me off guard. As soon as my hand touched his, he scooped me up in a tight hug. When he put me down, I felt a heat in my cheeks, still totally unaware of what had just happened.
“Lucida told me zat you would deetest a hug, but I had to.” He explained, grinning. His English was impeccable, making me feel rather unaccomplished as a strictly monolingual. I could hear Lucida giggling from beside me. The anomaly of having a total stranger hug me still had me glued to the spot, “Plus, I was most anxious to meet Lucida’s favorite person.” He winked and Lucida laughed even harder.
“Look at her blush!” I scowled at her, pointing a threatening finger.
“Don’t make me hit a pregnant woman!” She began to snort as she succumbed to fits of laughter.
I turned to Marcel, a skeptical look on my face.
“And you fell for that?” I said, pointing to the form of my older sister in a fit of uncontrollable giggles. He smiled even wider.
“How could I not?”
“Oh,” Lucida said, gaining control of herself. She grabbed my shoulder as she steadied herself and Marcel wrapped a protective arm around her waist. She wiped the tears of her laughter from her eyes and grinned at me, “let’s go home.”
I found my trunk and began to follow Lucida as she lead the way back to the Muggle world. I couldn’t help but smile at Marcel as he ogled at all the new wonders of a Wizarding world; as a Muggle, it must have been overwhelming for him. But he took the new experience in stride, relishing the fact that he was one of few of his kind to be a part of such a world. However, I couldn’t help but laugh at what his face must have looked like when Lucida spilled our secret. That would have been priceless.
I fell behind momentarily as the wheel of my trunk caught on a crack in the pavement, Lucida and Marcel went ahead of me, not realizing my delay. I struggled to regain my bearings when another hand came to my rescue, helping me pull my trunk free.
“Thanks...” I trailed off as I looked over to my rescuer, someone who had I had not spoken to for some months.
“You’re welcome, cousin.” He said easily, showing no signs of any of the discomfort I was feeling. We hadn’t spoken since the time I had slapped him. Though I didn’t disagree that he totally deserved it, I still felt a little remorse. I stared at the ground, feeling utterly stupid. He had warned me against Julien and I had not heeded his advice.
Regulus and I remained standing for a few moments. Lucida’s voice calling my name broke the silence and I looked up to see Regulus staring at me.
“Best of luck to you, cousin.” He said, nodding. Regulus then walked away, allowing me only a few seconds to whisper my final words to him,
Though it was only a whisper, I saw him falter in his departure, and I knew that he had heard me.
As I stood there in silence, watching Regulus’ retreating form, the Devil himself appeared. Julien, with an always-perfect Marlow Starling on his arm, brushed past us with the rest of his posse. The group was laughing at something terribly witty that Julien had said and he was strutting like he owned the place. He caught my eye and gave me a vulgar wink, which made me fight the urge to punch him and vomit at the same time. He kept walking until he was just a blurry figure in the distance. I was happy to know that that was the last time I would ever see Julien de Pontius.
I took great comfort in momentarily picturing Julien as a balding forty-something, returning to this platform with his overbearing wife and bratty kids as he sent them off to school. I knew that he would reminisce about his former days as a ladies man and the most popular Slytherin to ever walk the Earth. I believed that while he watched the train depart with his snobby kids that he would look back and think about me and how I was the one girl he was never able to break.
Because for all it was worth, Julien had been an important lesson learned. I would never forgive him or look back and regret not staying with him. No, if anything Julien had been a testament to how strong I was. After enduring years under Porrima’s rule and years without actual friends, I found that Julien had only been a hiccup in the course of my life. I hated his guts for it, but I knew that I was the better person.
Maybe, I thought as his trademark laugh faded back into the chaos, he hadn’t really been such a big deal. Yes, I was still bitter over the fact that he had almost raped me, but the point was that he hadn’t. He had been the first boy I ever fell in love with and the first to break my heart. Today, I still stood strong with my head held high, ready to live another day. And that was the point of it all.
And now, it was finally my turn to walk away.
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