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Chapter 12 : Learning to walk is as hard as wearing big-boy pants at only a few months old
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Gabriel King and Freddy Weasley.
Taking it to an entirely new level, the wind decided to battle against the rain. For hours it was only a fight, a mild argument between the two. It wasn’t until classes finished for the day and dinner had passed that they decided to start a war.
Pellets of rain collided with the brick of the castle, making the loud inside seem quiet. It sounded like bullets, cannons. It was a weapon - a weapon of the unbeatable kind.
A howling gale sped around the castle, taking loose leaves and branches from the forest in its wake. The wind could have sounded like a monster; no one really knows just quite what is in the forest, with the exception of the oaf Hagrid. Oh Circe, what I would give to shave off his beard.
Give it up for January weather. It’s the first day back, and we are graced with only the finest from Mother Nature; a storm. I waited for the lightening to hit. If it hits the Astronomy Tower just right, it echoes right through to the dungeons below. It’s loud enough to wake the castle but quiet enough to only disturb Hogsmeade from its nightly antics.
I stood at the top of the stairs and looked out of the dusty window. I couldn’t reach it with my hand, not if I went on my tippy toes and reached up with all of my might. But you didn’t need to be tall to see the dust. Charisma had once told me that it was Ghost residue, when they come through the windows they leave behind a little of themselves. We were in forth year, back then, she was wack.
I turned to my left, away from the storming window – the weather that I actually appreciated, and came face to face with a painting. If anything, it seemed to have shuffled closer to me along the wall.
“Good evening St Barnabas.” I greeted.
He nodded eagerly and smiled. “Miss Pruitt, how are you this fine evening?”
“As well as a person could be,” I admitted truthfully. “And you?”
Barny the Barmy. A part of me adore the guy, another egged me on to rip up his tapestry with whatever I could get my hands on, the sharper the better.
St Barnabas shook his head. “Not too good, I’m afraid. Christmas was an absolute travesty; the Bloody Baron decided to move some of the paintings around while they slept. It took the boarding Professors all of Christmas day to return them to their normal places.” I resisted the urge to snort. “And now it’s a storm, the wall to my tapestry seems to be a prime spot for thunder; the trolls are out of control!”
Still resisting the urge to speak and incredibly irresponsible and unorthodox response, I folded my arms across my chest. “Hence you shaking up with Lil’ Bo Peep?”
“Wha-“ his head turned to a light blue oiled girl, pink frills on a large blue petticoat-ed dress. Her arms were crossed and her stick held defensively. She swung it to protect her sheep from the man, almost taking out an eye in the process. “Oh lord. This isn’t going to end well.”
Obviously recalling their last disastrous encounter which ended with his frumpy trolls trampling through the delightful painting of the country and consequently squashing three of Peep’s sheep, Barny was rather scared - rightfully so in my overestimated opinion.
“Barny,” I asked snappily. “Where are your trolls?”
He looked between me and the stick wielding woman. “Errm, I set them on Sir Cadogan.”
“Sir Cadogan,” he repeated. “That schmuck said that I couldn’t handle my own trolls; them obeying my orders had better show him.”
If anything, he seemed rather pleased with himself.
“Is that why there is one on the forth floor?” Asked a recognizable voice from behind. “It’s in the tapestry with the picture of that blonde broad.”
“You mean Helga Hufflepuff?” I asked, turning to the blonde I had seen only the day before. But this wasn’t the same boy. He wasn’t in the condition that I left him. “Oh my Merlin, Gabe!”
His wide blue eyes were not of their usual brightness, with his right eye abnormally bruised. His high cheekbones seemed suddenly a little uneven, the affected being bigger than the left. It had swollen.
The skin around the eye was blackening, a streak of yellowing blue between the lid of his eye and his light brow.
He bit down on his lip. “Don’t freak.”
I simply held my jaw open.
“Goodnight all.” St Barnabas fare welled, seemingly unaffected by Gabe’s arrival.
Gabriel brushed a fallen lock of hair from his eyes. “DP, are you alright?”
“Me?” I echoed, no louder than a hissed breath. “Gabe, you’re eye, is black.”
“Now that’s not very nice,” he cooed. “The other eye is jealous. Besides, the best medicine is to not mention it, you don’t have to point I out every ti-“
“Gabe, for Merlins sake, what happened?”
He sighed. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t concern you.”
I raised a brow. “Gabriel, I can make your other one match.”
“Oh bloody hell,” he sighed. “Just because I know that you will actually hit me, and it will hurt more than this one I received, I will tell you. I got in to a fight. But, before you get yourself all sick with worry – don’t deny it, love, I know that you will – you should see the other guy.”
“Why?” I asked crossly. “What does he look like?”
“Oh he’s fine,” he answered quickly, a teasing flash in his irises. “There isn’t a spot on him. I didn’t hit him – that’s what I meant, you should see the other guy. I am a pathetic excuse for a man against a Quidditch Player.”
“Then you should have taken up Quidditch.”
I waved the subject airily away with my hand. “Point taken.” It was a second before I realized quite just what he had said. My hands shot to my hips in a pose that I hadn’t accumulated in quite a white, my hip popped out to the side and with a simply puff I blew my hair from my eyes. “Your attacker is a Quidditch Player?”
“Oh, Dix, I wouldn’t call him an attacker.”
I raised a brow irately. “Gabe, have you seen your face?”
“It’s not that bad – shockingly, I’ve actually had worse.” He walked to stand next to me. “It was one punch to the eye-area … and also a leg lock hex, but that was only because I performed a bogey bat hex on the guy.”
“Why are you defending him?” I asked utterly perplexed.
He shrugged. “Because he was doing it for a good reason.”
“You did something with his girlfriend didn’t you?”
Gabe shook his head, his blonde hair shaking with it – it needed a cut. “Nope. He was just a rather disgruntled Quidditch Player.”
I sighed and folded my arms across my chest, letting Gabriel wrap his arms around me like Nick used to. He rested his chin upon my messy haired head.
“Why do you always play with the big kids?” I questioned still a little bewildered.
He shrugged once more. “It’s more fun that way – play in the big leagues.”
“That’s like wearing big-boy-pants at only a few months old.”
“I did that too.”
I simply let out a long breath and stepped back from the boy infront of me. I poked his bruise and he flinched away. “Sorry!”
“Merlin, DP.” He cussed. “I may be a big boy, but I’m no Quidditch player that you’re so used to hanging out with.”
“And what does that translate to?”
“Massive wuss.” He said, as if speaking to a toddler. “Just please don’t poke it again.” I snorted at the possible innuendo that he had created. “Grow up.”
I winked. “Never.”
“You’ll be like Peter Pan.”
“That forth year guy?”
If anything, Gabe’s swollen eye got bigger. “No, Peter Pan, the story – please tell me that you have heard of it.” I shook my head. “We need to get you to a library.”
“No!” I swore, stamping my foot as I stood my ground. He would never take me alive! “No! Not the library, anything but that. I will get Freddy on you!”
“That’s right; you two are together now aren’t you.” I nodded as an answer. “Just be careful, DP.”
“Good, because I don’t want to have to give him the speech on how to take care of you.”
“Because you’ve done such a good job of it.”
He nodded. “Actually, dear, I believe that I have.”
A smack to the shoulder did the trick. He deserved a lot more; however the mystery bruiser seemed to have dealt with the damage for me. I considered thanking him.
“Gabe,” I began, he looked at me as we began to descend the stairs. A bolt of lightening flashed outside the windows. “Who hit you?”
Ahh,” he replied. “I wondered when this question would come.”
I screwed up my face. “Don’t go all cryptic on me, boy. Just tell me who hit you?”
“Are you going to hit them?”
“Oh,” he pondered. “Well, I’m still not telling you.”
I reached out for his bicep muscle, strangely toned for someone who dislikes sport and twisted the skin that I could grab. He almost yelped. “Tell me?!”
“Dixie! I am not going to tell you,” He mused.
I shook my head. “You’ll give in.”
“Not likely,” he replied. “I’m going to be careful; I’m not going to slip up.”
“You will,” I insisted. “You always do.”
And then I’m going to hurt them. You don’t mess with my circle of care.
As it turns out, I was right. Gabe was going to slip up. He slipped up big.
We sat in the kitchens, not long after my run in with St Barnabas. The thunder still rattled the castle, the rain still sounded like bullets – even more so when we were underneath the castle.
I stirred my tea with a harsh swirl of the cup, a contrast to the delicate spoon that Gabe twisted between his fingers. I had teased him greatly on his manly-hood. I mentioned everything from his choice of tea to the reality that he should be sat with a stake on his eye.
He refused to get it healed by the school Healer, Madame Brandon. He wanted the girls to see his battle wound.
It took him no more than half an hour to slip up, for the words to tumble from his mouth. Inside, I knew it. I knew that I knew it. I just didn’t want to even think it.
I suddenly felt no love for ‘That stupid Gryffindor that punched me in the face’ – the heartfelt words of the one and only Gabriel King. It was at that moment that he smacked his hand to his mouth and looked around shamefully.
Within seven minutes I had sped to the other side of the castle, knocking over too many small children to count as they got in my way. It felt good to be back.
Storming up to the first floor of the castle, I made it to the back doors – near the Quidditch Pitch. The thunder rumbled around me. It seemed appropriate for my mood.
He promised me he wouldn’t do this.
It was a storm. Good practice, James would say. At the beginning of this year, he decided that the bad weather would be a good training exercise. I personally thought that he was giving sacrifices to Mother Nature, and possibly himself a heart attack. He simply considered it a blessing to be given the storm.
I spared a glance out of the window. It had just surpassed the stage of complete and utter hopelessness. By the rules of the school, the team would have to have had return in about twenty minutes ago – but since when did James ever abide by the rules.
I discovered, that this once. He happened to.
My speed walking had lost Gabe about four minutes ago. He followed me in a rut, jumping over the children that I pushed. I was the beast and he was my minion. Too fairytale-dramatic? Probably. True? Fortunately.
I approached the boys changing rooms with my finger ready to prod. My cynical outlook on life was returning, and my boyfriend was about to experience a bloody death!
Turning the large iron knob nails in to the wood, I pushed the door open without so much as a ‘hello?!’ The pondered it on the way here, the worst that I could see it Drew in his tidey-widies. I was suddenly fortunate that our Quidditch Team, with the exception of one, was made up of our Seventh Year friends. I still think that James rigged it.
I made no shouting noise.
No screech nor yell.
And that could be what surprised Freddy the most as I approached him.
He stood infront of his locker, pulling a white shirt from it and pulling it over his torso. For once, I didn’t care what it looked like. He looked at me, a deer caught in headlights. But his expression wasn’t one of guilt; it was amusement – then concern upon noticing my expression.
“Dixie, love.” He asked. “What’s wrong?”
Kyle and Drew were no where in sight, but the showers were running and two blokes were singing. I put two and two together. I sent a quick prayer to Merlin that it would only be James, one witness for when I kill Fred.
The said boy sat on the benches that were placed down the middle of the room, his elbows rested on his knees. Fully clothed.
I raised a brow. “You promised me.”
“Oh Circe,” he swore. “What have I done now?” he rested back, leaning his shoulder blades on the lockers.
“You said that you wouldn’t hurt Gabe.”
“And I haven’t.” He stated, a little defensively. “It pains me to say it. But I haven’t laid a hand on the bugger.”
“Then why is he sporting a black eye?” I pressed.
If anything, Freddy laughed. With a knowing look to James - who didn’t smile, he didn’t even look up – he turned back to me. “Maybe because he’s a tosser?” He tried. “Someone beat me to it?”
“That’s my friend you’re talking about,” I rounded. “I don’t stand for it when people talk like that about you, so I’m not going to let it slide when you talk like that about anyone else.”
“And because it’s Gabe?” James questioned, finally looking up from the floor.
I narrowed my eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Oh sweet Merlin, Dixie.” James muttered, standing up from the bench as if it were a hardship. “You have no limits when it comes to the three of us, me, Gabe and especially Freddy – if anyone said a bad word you would pin them to the floor and damn them to hell.”
“Yes I would,” I said. “You guys mean the world to me. I would destroy anyone that tried to say otherwise.”
He nodded. “Well, we would do the same.”
“I don’t, I don’t understand.”
Freddy’s arms were suddenly folded, his back still against the lockers, but he had edged closer to me. James stood closer to Freddy, around the other bench, black hair falling in his eyes.
“You never do,” James stated. “You are blind to the things that actually matter, Dixie! Gabe was wrong to let things get so far-“
“You!” I accused. “You hurt Gabe?!”
“Yeah, I would do it again!”
I scoffed. “Oh, sorry master supervillan shall I get you a cape for the next time that you say that? Oh wait, do it again and this time dribble some blood from your mouth and rattle come chains.”
“Hang on,” Freddy intercepted. “You told James before you told me?”
“James saw me at Christmas,” I said, still not raising my voice. I considered this a win if it were based on only that factor. “He bullied it out of me. No to the subject change.”
“Yes to the subject change.” James turned to his best friend and cousin. “Nick owled me, told me to get her from her room. She was broken Freddy.”
“Gabe did that to her?”
The raven haired boy ansered for me. “Yeah, I’m not going to let her get hurt because of some stupid mistake.”
“Wait a secon-“
“How many eyes did you blacken?” Freddy questioned.
“Just the one.”
“I call dibs on the other!”
I caught the two by their shirts and pulled them still, as I let go, creases formed in the fabric. “Gabe didn’t do that to me, Freddy, you did!”
It was a moment before anyone in the room realized quite what I had just said. I smacked my hand to my mouth and gasped. I had never, not in a million years, ever meant to say that out loud. There would be more than one consequence.
Not only would I feel embarrassed, mortified even, I wouldn’t just be hurting myself. This was something that happened to be executed right infront of me. Fred’s glossy eyes turned from a warm chocolate colour to a darker brown, a hurt expression.
My sleeves were pulled down, thankfully covering my trembling hands. I reached forward to touch Freddy’s shoulder but he pulled away.
“Maybe I’ll just go.” James muttered quietly, gesturing towards the door.
My eyes didn’t tare away from Freddy’s for a moment. It seemed impossible that they could.
“You’re not forgiven, Potter,” I warned. “I’ll get you later.”
I don’t know if he left straight away, or whether he went to get the two lads from the shower block before he left, either way, he was gone and the singing had stopped. For a moment, as I stood in the silence of the Changing Rooms, I wished for the cheery rendition of ‘Mamma Mia’ to return.
The thunder that rolled had become another part of the scene before me. This time, its cry was for a different pain.
“Fred, I didn’t mean-“
“Yes you did,” he interrupted. It was a habit that I hoped he wasn’t adapting to. “Did I really do that? Did I really hurt you?”
I stifled retracting my sentence, lying to him and telling him that I was fine.
But he wouldn’t believe me.
He was my Freddy – he always has been.
And he could read me like a book.
I gave a jerky nod, so strained it was almost robotic, a small motion. “A little.”
I expected many reactions from Freddy, he could walk away, never look at me again. He could say sorry – a rare, but recently a reoccurring happening – he could blink and smile. But what he did meant so much more.
He reached forward, pulling himself away from the lockers and sighed, his lips pierced together tightly. Grabbing hold of my shoulders he pulled me tightly in to his embrace, resting his chin on to the top of my hair, soon after burying his face in to the mess of my knotty honey strands.
“I promise, to never hurt you again.”
And to me, that was one hundred times better than an apology.
AN; A little soppy, I admit! Please put down your rocks and pitch forks, Dixie and Fred will still fight until the cows come home (I love that saying) but they’re just taking some time out to be touchy and lovey-dovey and shit.
What did you think of this chapter?! :L Gabe is his eye-wound, James and his making of the eye-wound and Freddy and his not making of the eye-wound? (Hopefully that made sense to you). And Barny? I love Barny!
The next chapter will be the last of seven :’(. Sniff.
It seems so long ago that I started all of this and now to have it coming to an end.
Thank you to all those who have stuck by this so far. I couldn’t sit here and write out names; there would be too many to write.
This time I shall leave you with no preview, but simply this;
The next chapter will be set months in their future, where everyone has an ending or at least an ambiguous one for some.
All characters will have a future that I feel is right for them (if any of you would like to take a guess, I will have no objection :L).
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and the story so far! Thank you!
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