Chapter 18 : chapter.eighteen – Gone.
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After flying around the pitch about ten times in anger, I realized that – shit, it was cold out – and tried landing as gracefully as I could. Fortunately, I landed pretty well. Unfortunately, that was about when my frozen limbs stopped working and made me collapse into a shaking ball in the middle of the Quidditch Pitch.
I’m so pathetic, I put that weird Hufflepuff to shame. And that’s saying a lot, because he spends his days talking to a pair of moldy socks in the back corner of the classroom. Once I swear I saw him snogging the socks. It was deeply disturbing.
“L-l-l-look R-rose –”
“How could you be so stupid? I get that you’re trying to do well for Quidditch, but honestly –”
“Rose,” Scorpius said quietly, “mind getting her another blanket? She’s shivering a lot.”
Rose gave me one last angry look and ran to the girls’ staircase, taking them three at a time.
I cringed away from Scorpius’ eyes as he continued rubbing my arms, using his body heat to warm me up as much as possible. Burly was sitting right next to him, using his hands to put some feeling back in my legs. I watched as his palms chafed against them faster and faster. It was actually sort of mesmerizing.
“Why’d you go flying dressed like that, Ree?” Blondie asked, shooting another heating spell at me.
“I d-d-don’t kno-o-w,” I chattered out, “I was m-m-mad.”
“That’s a stupid excuse,” Blue Eyes informed me as he handed potions ingredients to Al, who was making me a Pepper-Up Potion and wearing an imperceptible expression. I think I saw flashes of anger on his face, but they were quickly covered up.
“Y-you know t-t-those moments w-w-when you’re s-so p-p-pissed, you j-just have to d-d-do something?” I asked.
No one responded.
“W-well, that’s w-what I f-felt like. I was r-r-really just…n-not thinking. S-s-s-sorry.”
“It’s all my fault,” Emma said miserably from next to Blondie. She seemed to be trying to make the fire overtake the world, with the amount of spells she shot at it.
“’Snot y-y-your f-fault I’m psycho w-w-when I’m m-mad,” I told her regretfully. She’d been a frantic mess when she found me on the pitch, shivering and turning an unhealthy shade of blue.
Have I forgotten to mention that I’m pathetic?
“Here,” Al said softly, kneeling in front of me and holding out a mug of steaming potion. I sent him a grateful look and tried detangling my arm from the blanket so I could reach out – but he’d already touched the mug to my lips and was starting to trickle some of the liquid in my mouth. I’m sure my eyes were surprised beyond words, but I titled my head back obediently, taking long sips.
I coughed slightly as the potion burned its way down my throat and throughout my body. Within seconds, I was warm down to my toes.
I sighed happily. “You’re brilliant, Al.”
“Better?” he asked, a small smile quirking his mouth.
I nodded. “Loads.”
“No more Quidditch in the winter without four layers of clothing on,” he said sternly, standing up and walking back over to his cauldron so he could clear up.
“Aye aye, captain.” I saluted mockingly.
Rose appeared back in the Common Room, carrying her huge duvet. She staggered over to me and Scorpius and dumped it on us unceremoniously.
“Merlin, that thing is heavy,” she panted as I let out a strangled yelp and started pawing at it. Scorpius cursed angrily and pulled it off from over our heads. His hair was standing up in eight different directions, which told me that mine was probably worse.
However, he looked like he’d just walked off of a magazine photoshoot, whereas I looked like an overgrown troll.
“Oi, d’you want her to be hypothermic and suffocated?” he asked Rose.
She rolled her eyes. “Better than hypothermic and idiotic. Then at least I don’t have to deal with her.”
I pouted at her and she grinned.
“You’re not blue anymore,” she remarked.
“Oh, witty and observant. No wonder you’re the smartest witch in the school.”
“Scorpius, your cousin’s being mean to me!” Rose whined theatrically, plopping down next to him and putting her head on his shoulder so she could pout at him.
“Scorpius, your girlfriend’s making fun of me!” I said, poking him on the arm like I used to when we were little.
“Play nice, ladies. There’s enough of me to go around,” He drawled, rolling his eyes.
We both smacked him.
“Arrogant prat,” Rose said affectionately.
“Yeah, but I’m your arrogant prat,” he smiled winningly.
I shot up. “Ew! Can’t you at least wait until I’m gone before you get all mushy?”
Burly and Blondie exchanged glances and nodded discreetly at each other. Then, at the same time, they grabbed each of Al’s arms and started frog-march/dragging him to their dormitory.
“Oi, what’re you freaks doing? I’m not going to go psycho, for Merlin’s sake –!” Al protested as they disappeared up the stairs.
Rose and Scorpius ignored everyone as they started kissing.
“EW!” I squealed louder. “MY EYES! MY POOR EYES! THEY BURN! AUGH!” I clapped my eyes over my face and staggered backwards. Someone caught me before I fell into the fire and led me towards a set of stairs as well.
“Honestly, you could pass for three,” Blue Eyes said in amusement as I continued to screw my eyes up. I plugged my ears as they started snogging more enthusiastically.
“Oi, don’t leave me here with them!” Emma yelped, jumping up and trailing after us.
It’s amazing how quickly Rose and Scorpius can clear a room. They should get a Guinness Record.
“Hello, beautiful. I knew you’d come back. They all do, you know.” The Sleazy One, upon seeing me enter the dorm, had scuttled over to me and was now being extremely creepy.
Blue Eyes rolled his eyes and muttered something that sounded vaguely like ‘fucking tosser’ before inching over so that Emma was nearly obscured behind him and putting his hand into his pocket.
I sighed. “Sleazy, go…be sleazy somewhere else, okay? I’m not in the mood for you right now.”
“That’s alright with me, darling. I’m free for whenever you’re in the mood. How about later tonight?” he winked at me and moved a little closer. Blue stayed where he was, but he was watching carefully.
“I have a better idea. How about never?” I asked brightly.
He made a face. “Ugh – never’s not going to work for me, sorry. But I’m free now.”
“I’d rather gouge my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon,” I informed him happily. “Now please get out of my way and leave me alone.”
Instead of walking away like I’d dearly hoped he would, he walked even closer so that he was all up in my face. I glared up at him – honestly, who the hell does this kid think he is?
“Listen, love,” he said in a low voice, “there’s no point in fighting it. I always get what I want. I want you – and trust me, I’ll find a way to get you. Keep that in mind.”
“Go jump off the Astronomy Tower,” I snarled, shoving him so that he would move away. He didn’t budge.
“I’d rather shag you senseless,” he grinned in a slow, lecherous way, and my stomach jolted with a sudden burst of nervous fear.
That was actually extremely terrifying. I think I’ll go hide in my dormitory for the rest of my life now. Cool.
Blue stepped in and shoved Sleazy away, telling him to go do something that was extremely obscene and I’d rather not repeat. Sleazy merely rolled his eyes, gave me one last wink and threatening look, then sauntered over to his bed and jumped in, using his wand to close the hangings firmly.
“He’s a tosser full of empty words, Ree. Honestly – don’t even worry about it,” Blue told me in a low, reassuring voice.
I smiled up at him. “I’m not worried.”
He grinned back, and turned around to glance at Emma, who was looking back and forth between us and the closed-off bed with a slightly anxious look on her face.
“Listen – it doesn’t bug you, does it, when we’re all protective of you?” Blue asked me, his eyes still on Emma’s anxious expression.
I shrugged slightly. “Not really. I’m strangely okay with it.”
“You think Emma noticed?” he murmured to me.
I rolled my eyes. “She was standing right there, so, yes, I think she might have noticed.”
He grinned and straightened out. “Great! Take care, then.”
“I’m going to shower now,” he informed me loudly. “In a shower. Without any clothing on. With water coming from the showerhead and cleaning my body. So I’ll be dripping wet. And naked.”
I gave him a weird look. “That’s brilliant, Blue.”
“I’ll be naked. And showering,” he reiterated, glancing at Emma edgily. She was inspecting the Quaffle hoops with a thoroughly detached look on her face.
“I’m very happy for you, love.” I gave him another weird look and shoved him towards the bathroom. “Now go take your naked shower.”
“I’ll be really naked! Did you know I have abs? I have really strong abs! In fact, they’re almost like rocks –”
“Blue, shut up and go shower.”
“But my abs –!”
He walked away dejectedly, still muttering in a morose sort of way about his abs as he slinked into the bathroom and pulled his shirt off. He made a goal in the hoop, which startled Emma into glancing over at him. So then he decided that he wasn’t quite ready for his naked shower and sauntered right back out so that he could clean up the shirts by the hoop. Apparently, cleanliness was very important to a growing boy, and he simply must tidy the shirts.
So then Emma turned around stared instead at a poster on the wall. Blue stopped cleaning and went back to take his naked shower.
This boy is seriously pathetic. Yet…somehow…oddly endearing.
“You are aware that shirts aren’t allowed in this room, right?” Sleazy’s voice said from behind me. I let out a shrill breath of exasperation.
“For god’s sake, just leave me alone!”
“But you have to take it off! Here, let me help you –”
He fell over backwards. I left him at it and picked my way over to one of the beds so I could plop down on it and wait for the boys to come back. It seemed as though Blondie and Burly had taken Al to Hugo’s room for some reason unknown to me, so the only three occupants in here were me, Emma, and Sleazy.
Oh, and Blue. But he was busy with his naked shower.
“HER EYES, HER EYES, MAKE THE STARS LOOK LIKE THEY’RE NOT SHINING! HER HAIR, HER HAIR, FALLS PERFECTLY WITHOUT HER TRYING! SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUUUUUL, AND I TELL HER EVERYYYDAAAAAAY!”
Apparently, he also thinks he’s capable of singing.
“WHEN I SEE YOUR FAAAAAAAACE –”
“Who’s hurt? Who’s dying? Is everything okay?” Blondie, Burly and Al burst into the room, looking around frantically for the source of the screeching.
“Blue’s singing in the shower,” I told them in a bored voice, not moving from my position on the bed and staring up at the ceiling above me.
“I told him not to do that!” Al said crossly, stomping over to the bathroom and swiftly kicking the door. “Oi! Idiot! Shut up!”
When Blue happily ignored him, Al pulled out his wand and performed a silencing spell on the door, grumbling angrily under his breath.
“Come on, give the kid a break. It wasn’t that bad,” I drawled, starting to absently play with a strand of my hair as I continued to inspect ceiling patterns. There was an oddly shaped, suspicious splotch on the ceiling a couple of feet away from me. It looked a little like Trelawney. Or maybe just a bug. There’s really not that much of a difference, frankly speaking.
“He makes Moaning Myrtle sound good,” Blondie said disbelievingly.
I peered at him through lowered eyes, wishing he would come closer to the bed so I wouldn’t give myself a headache trying to look at him in this way. “And you know this, how…?”
“Myrtle’s in love with Al. She enjoys serenading him,” Burly said gleefully. Emma let out an amused snort as she thumbed through a Quidditch magazine.
“Nice, Al,” she said, smirking up at him. He scowled at her, but she ignored him and went back to her magazine.
“She thinks I’m my dad,” Al explained morosely. “I mean, you’d think that she would realize the bloke’s supposed to be like, forty-something at this point, not still seventeen.”
“She’s a ghost; time makes no difference to her,” I said. “Plus, you do look extraordinarily like your father.”
“Fantastic,” he muttered.
“Al’s always had the shittiest luck,” Blondie realized. I rolled my eyes doubtfully at that one. The kid’s a genetic jackpot. “First it’s with the wonky name – honestly, Albus Severus. Does it get any worse? –”
“Scorpius Hyperion,” I suggested.
“ – and he’s got the weirdest ghost after him, too. You’d hope that he’s got actual girls after him, but…no. He got Myrtle.”
“Gosh Nicky, that means so much to me,” Al deadpanned.
Blondie patted him affably on the back, “No problem, buddy.”
“Al can’t even shower without having her pop out of the toilet and trying to join him. Remember when he ran out screaming?” Burly chuckled, shaking his head at a memory. Blondie burst out laughing.
“That was a very traumatizing experience!” Al said loudly. “For Merlin’s sake, I was twelve…”
Nope, don’t even want to hear the fully story.
Burly and Blondie continued to chuckle in glee with their memories, and Al, a wry smile at his mouth, shook his head at them as he pulled his shirt over his head and made a goal without even bothering to look over at the hoops. My mouth ran dry as the muscles on his stomach and arms rippled with the motion. Damn.
I was completely lost in my own world, watching him without thinking about how this must look to someone else as he reached over and hit his friends, then got into a little tussle with them. I bit my lip, then realized that I was perving on Al Potter and quickly closed my eyes.
Fuck, why is he so hot?
“Ouch! Bloody fucking hell, Al –”
“Get off! Psycho! Myrtle, get your lover off me! Myrtle! Myrtle –”
I picked my head up to see a very angry looking Burly making rude hand gestures at Al, who looked supremely unfazed. “If you call for her, she will come,” he told Burly gravely.
Burly rolled his eyes and made a motion to indicate that it was his intention to achieve just that.
“Well, guess I’ll have to leave you like that for a little bit, in that case,” Al said, shrugging in a ‘what-can-you-do’ sort of way. Burly looked at Blondie for help. Blondie gave him an innocent look and shot his shirt through the hoop.
“That’s not very manly,” I informed him. He shot me the bird.
Chase Residence, Date of Hogwarts Acceptance Letter
Look – this thing about me is that I’ve always been a bit special. A bit…different, if you will. I make weird things happen. Sometimes when I want something really badly, or I’m feeling something really strongly, strange things will happen and people will insist it’s just a trick of the eye, but I KNOW that it’s me.
I know it is.
I don’t know why – but when something like that happens, something inside me glows and I just know it.
And I get so excited, because I know that I’m special and I can do magic, because, really, how else is any of that supposed to happen? Scorpius makes weird things happen, too. And he’s magic. Both of his parents are magic. Mine aren’t, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be.
I’m magic. I know I am.
So when we were eating breakfast one morning and an owl swooped into our kitchen as though it did things like this on a daily basis, everything made sense.
Well…only to me. Mum flipped out a bit and Dad started muttering something I probably wasn’t supposed to hear, and Aphrodite sort of just sat there with her eyes wider and with something akin to intelligence filtering slowly through them.
In fact, in the middle of the whole kerfuffle, the only three that were really even remotely normal were me, Aphrodite, and the owl, who was holding his leg out to me in a decidedly important manner.
I remember my fingers shaking like mad when I took off the envelope, and I remember jumping when the bird suddenly lifted off and swooped out of the window.
I remember the quiet, the sudden heaviness of the room, because we all knew what was going on and no one really wanted to admit it first.
I remember how hard it was to gulp, to open my mouth and rasp out some words –
And that was that. I didn’t need to open it to see the letter, I knew it and mum knew it and dad knew it and Aphrodite knew it and I just had to go, because that was the only place I could be me and that’s it, I’m going.
And then, suddenly, it was all shattering down. My eyes flew up to my mum’s defiant expression, disbelief etched over my face.
“Of course I’m going,” I said in a slightly more forceful manner. She knew that, didn’t she? That I didn’t have a choice, really, it was something that I just knew I had to do, I had to go to Hogwarts like I had to breathe air because Hogwarts meant that I could be a witch and being a witch meant that I could be me because I am Ariadne Chase and I’m a witch and I’m GOING.
It was all very adamant in my head. Decided. I’mGoingI’mGoingI’mGoing.
I’m a witch and that’s me and ohmygod, I’m a part of this magic and I’m going of course I’m going.
It was like an elated sort of nervousness and a soaring sort of bittersweet freedom and a huge paradox of I’m going’s and hoping that they’d understand that I couldn’t stop being who I am.
“You are not going to that madhouse.” Mum’s words were final too. NotGoingNotGoingNotGoing.
“But I have to go!” I cried.
“You don’t have to do anything,” Mum bit out.
“Mum, I’m magic and I’m going to the magic school,” I said in a low voice, wishing that it wasn’t wavering that way and I could force myself to be stronger.
“You are not magic,” she’d said harshly, “you are normal, and you are my daughter, and you are not a freak-show like the rest of them.”
Tears filled my eyes. “But mum, can’t you see? I am a freak show, and if I don’t go, then I’ll be a freak show of unrestrained power by myself, locked up. I need to go.”
She didn’t understand how desperately she needed to know that.
Suddenly, everything just exploded a bit. “NO!” Mum screamed, standing up so that her chair fell back with a resounding crash. She slammed her fists into the table and the sound was just so loud and too much and…I couldn’t breathe. She had to understand. I couldn’t stay here, I just couldn’t.
“Mum, I don’t belong here,” I pleaded, standing up as well. “Please, you have to realize it. I’m not normal like the rest of you, I’m different and I have to go. I need to be a part of my world, mum. I’m not a part of your world, it’s not the same.”
“YOU. ARE. MY. DAUGHTER!” Mum had screeched, the sound starting to ache against my ears. “YOU ARE A PART OF MY WORLD AND YOU ARE STAYING HERE AND THAT IS FINAL!”
“Why can’t I be a part of both worlds?” I’d shouted back, demanding. “My world and your world, mum! I can have both, I’m still your daughter no matter if I’m Magic or Muggle –”
“You can’t have both,” Mum spat bitterly. “You can never have both. It’s never worked that way.”
“If this is about Auntie Astoria, mum, you know that she’s tried to talk to you and you’re the one who refuses to –”
“Don’t!” Mum had screamed again, cutting me off. Tears were streaming down her pretty face and I realized that I was crying too. I had to go. I had to. I just had to.
“Mum, I’ll make sure I have both. I need to go, mum, I need it more than I need water or air because it’s who I am and it’s who I need to be. It’s a part of me, and I can’t ignore it – I’m going, I have to.”
“You’re not going,” the words were a deadly whisper, “you are not going because you’re not turning into a freak-show and I’m not losing someone else to that insanity.”
“It’s not insanity,” I’d shot back. “It’s wonderful and adventurous and it’s the most incredible thing that could ever happen to a person. And you can’t realize it because you’re too afraid to look past something that’s different to see the real beauty of being unique.”
There was a silence.
“You’re not going.”
The words were low and sharp.
Mine were loud and defiant.
“Ariadne Chase, you are not going and that is final. End of discussion.” She picked up her chair and sat down primly on it, glaring straight ahead with her hands interlocked. But I didn’t sit – I remained standing because there was no way that this was over.
“I’m going, and that is final,” I said adamantly. “I refuse to stay locked up in a place where I can’t even be me. I’m going to Hogwarts, and I’m going to be a witch, mum, and one day maybe I’ll marry another wizard and we’ll have kids and you know what? You’ll still be their grandma regardless because you’re still going to be my mum no matter what I am.”
“You are not going to a place to learn how to be an anomaly, Ariadne, and I said that was final. Now sit down and eat your breakfast.”
There was a trembling sort of silence.
Mom’s head snapped up – no one defied orders like that, not even me when I was being particularly stupid.
“You heard me, I said no. I’m going, and that’s final, and there’s nothing you can do to change my decision.”
Another trembling, wavering silence.
“You sit down right now, young lady, and –”
“I refuse, you can’t make me!”
“I’m your mother. I can make you do whatever I’d like! So sit down and quit arguing with me because I made my decision!”
“Well I don’t agree with your decision! I said I was going, and I get to decide, and I’m going. So stop trying to force me into anything else –”
“ARIADNE MEGARA CHASE!”
“NO, MUM!” I screamed loudly, completely ignoring that whenever mum pulled out The Full Name she meant real business.
“NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME, ARIADNE –”
“I WILL NOT LISTEN TO YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE BEING STUPID AND IMMATURE!” my voice trumped hers, and she fell silent and everyone was in a state of silent shock except for me, because I was nothing but furious.
“You’ve always been jealous, mum! Jealous of your beautiful younger sister who got to be special and magical and you were nothing but ordinary – and so you know what you’ve done? You’ve tried centering your whole life around being nothing but ordinary. I don’t fit into that picture, mum, because I am far from ordinary! And you know it, and you still refuse to let me go, because you’re still jealous and you’re trying to keep me away from the magic that you couldn’t have! And it’s not fair that you’re jealous of your own daughter –”
I fell silent – I knew when I’d pushed it much, much too far.
This was one of those times. I waited in terrified anticipation of what was going to come next, tears silently dripping down my cheeks.
“You can pick,” Mum said in a delicately cruel voice, her eyes cold as she looked up at me. “You can either go to that place to learn how to become an abnormality, or you can stay here with your family, and we will just forget that this ever happened.”
My heart felt like it had suddenly dropped straight to my toes, and my stomach soon followed.
“Daphne,” Dad said quietly, like the wonderfully intervening person that he was, “you should probably calm down. She’s only eleven, love, she’s not Astoria –”
“She reminds me so much of dear Astoria,” Mum spat bitterly. I flinched – I loved Auntie Astoria, but mum hated her.
“Let’s all talk this through –” he said in a calming voice.
“There is nothing to talk through, Richard!” Mum said coldly. “I asked Ariadne to make a decision, and I am waiting for her to tell us what she has decided to do.”
Dad sighed, then turned to me. “Sweetheart, you know you’re just being a bit irrational about this magic school –”
My eyes flew over to him. “Don’t you dare take her side again, Daddy. This isn’t irrational, it’s the most important thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life.”
He fell silent, his eyes wide as he looked at me. “Princess, you can’t –”
“Of course I’m going,” I snarled, glaring at the two of them, “how could you even try to take that away from me?”
Another silence. I wondered what she was going to say –
“Go, then.” Her voice was the coldest, most brittle, harshest tone I had ever heard. “Get out. Go to your magic world.”
My mom fell slightly open. “Mum –”
“I said GET OUT! If you want to go, then you can go, but you are not going as any daughter of mine.”
Aphrodite let out a choked noise that I still can’t comprehend fully and shot out of her chair. The door opened and slammed shut behind her. But I was frozen…what, how…? My own mother couldn’t be…could actually be…
“Mum?” I said in a tiny voice.
“You chose, didn’t you?” Mum spat, “you chose your magic, just like she did. So go. Go on, get out. Go be magic. I don’t want anything to do with magic in my life.”
“But mum, I’m magic. Your own daughter.”
She shot me a glare that was so full of hatred and contempt that I didn’t know what came over me, but all I could think was GoGoGo, and I had turned around to dash up the stairs with my chair fallen flat on the floor. And I was crying and ripping clothes off of hangers and books out of shelves and it was all a mess and a blur of colors and wetness and sadness and ohgodwhatwillido?
I remember Dad thundering up the stairs after me at one point, trying to get me to stop, to think, to reject the school and stay at home but all I could do was scream because how could they not understand that they were asking me to give up something that made me who I am?
I’d known, from the beginning, that I was something powerful and special in a different way. It was a part of what made Ariadne Megara Chase. And to give that up would be akin to dying, to becoming nothing more than a million shards of shattered irrelevance.
And I was too young for this, but I knew who I was, and I had to keep the pieces together so I could be me. And so I stuffed the last of my clothing into my suitcase and lugged it down the stairs and out the door and I was finally gone, out.
And what hurt the most was that dad stopped at the top of the stairs and mum sat in the kitchen and Aphrodite was somewhere else and no one even tried to stop me and tell me that they would love me no matter what I was.
And hours later, when I appeared at Malfoy Manor in a state of complete distraught – wet, shivering, crying – Scorpius opened the door, took one look at my face and the letter somehow still clutched tightly in my hand like a lifeline, and pulled me immediately into a hug. Uncle Drake took my suitcase and Auntie Astoria pulled us all into the house and they just hugged me and loved me and they didn’t even ask me a single word.
They just understood.
that was depressing.
err...the song from earlier in this chapter is "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars, and it does not belong to me. it belongs to Bruno Mars. Bruno Mars also does not belong to me. he belongs to Bruno Mars.
though owning BM would be pretty damn awesome. i'd just get him to sing me songs and make me feel special all day <3
please review! i know this chapter was a bit of a departure from the lighthearted fun, but let me know what you thought!
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