Chapter 8 : Not So Invincible After All
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Disclaimer: Any and everything you recognise is from JK Rowling's awesome mind. Things that you don't... well it's from mine. :)
EDIT: REVISED CHAPTER
---Chapter 8 – Not So Invincible After All---
“W-why would she be…”
I couldn’t finish my question, my heart had lodged itself in my oesophagus and I couldn’t physically breathe anymore. I could feel myself slowly beginning to hyperventilate and my fingers gripped on the end of the table tightly for support.
Why is this happening to me? Why is she bloody doing this to me again?
After all these years and now she’s sending letters… to Oliver? Of all the flipping people in the world as well… Oh my God, I can’t breathe
“Mate, I think she’s about to faint!” Fred cried out, just as my vision became cloudy and the blackness slowly engulfed me.
“She went on ONE BLOODY DATE with you and now she’s in the Hospital Wing and you’re telling me it’s NOT YOUR FAULT?” someone was yelling very loudly in my ear.
My head hurt too much already to be able to withstand this kind of exposure to loud noises. I wanted everyone to leave… I couldn’t deal with people right now.
Merlin, I couldn’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror, to see the state that I was in. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and never come back out.
I kept my eyes closed in the hopes that they would get bored and leave soon but my friends apparently are deciding to be extremely caring today. Of all the bloody times in the world for them to care about me… Merlin, someone save me.
I felt a hand enclose around my own. It was rough and calloused, and gave me a slight squeeze.
“I know you’re awake,” he whispered into my ear, loud enough for me to hear but soft enough to remain unheard above the noise. “I’ll get them to leave.”
And like that, his hand was gone and a few minutes passed by where I thought he had left me alone but then a door slammed open.
“You kids can’t be here!” Madam Pomfrey exclaimed. “Get out! Get out, she needs her rest!”
“But ma’am, I’m her best friend!” Miranda protested.
“I don’t care, she needs her rest and you lot are just way too loud!” Madam Pomfrey informed them.
I heard scuttling and soon the room became quiet with only Madam Pomfrey's mumbling to let me know that she was still there.
I wonder where Oliver went…
I instantly opened my eyes and the look in his made my heart stop for a fraction of a second.
What was in that letter? Why did he have to look so sodding miserable!
Merlin, Oliver, how much I wish you would just tell me you was joking!
“I don’t know if I can bear to know what was in that letter,” I mumbled silently.
The truth was I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to handle it. She had ripped open my heart once and I know she could do it again. Good lord, I don’t think I could handle even seeing her small and precise handwriting. The familiarity of her, the scent of her parchment, it would all bring back the memories I had fought so long and hard to forget.
I couldn’t do it.
I just couldn’t… my heart has been through enough. Even now, it felt heavy against my ribcage as if it was about to crack at the slightest touch. I didn’t want to hurt anymore…
A tear rolled down my face. Silent and unassuming but within that tear laid every pain and insecurity I ever had about my mother. About me.
“Keegan,” Oliver said softly. “You don’t have to read it. I won’t reply, we can ignore it and she can be gone from your life.”
I sighed, wiping away any remaining tears. “But I’d regret it, won’t I?”
“Possibly,” Oliver answered truthfully.
“Can you… can you read it to me?” I asked.
I didn’t even recognise my own voice, it was weak and raspy, and fragile. I hated who she made me become. This inferior person… I wasn’t weak. Merlin, I wasn’t weak… I won’t let myself be. I’m not eleven anymore!
“Read it, please,” I demanded this time, trying to muster up all the strength I had left in me.
Oliver nodded wordlessly and pulled out a piece of parchment from his pocket. It was a beige colour and I could smell her perfume from where I was sitting. The shocking jasmine aroma filled my nostrils, burning it as if it was a poisonous gas.
“Okay,” Oliver said, clearing his throat.
I know what you must think of me and I’m truly sorry for how you may feel, but I have my reasons for leaving them. I don’t want to get you involved in our family affairs in any way but I need to know if they’re all right.
You don’t understand how much I think about them everyday since I left but I couldn’t go back. Not when they were still at such a young age. But now little Keegan is going to be turning eighteen and Edan will be seventeen, and I need to know if you think they’d meet with me so I can explain myself.
I really miss my children, Oliver. You must know that. I hope you understand, but I’d also understand if you don’t and they don’t.
You must be quite the man now, Oliver. I remember how protective you used to be over Keegan, and Edan as well. Please just tell me you’re taking care of them for me. At least that would put my heart at ease.
Sincerely, Meredith Butler.”
She… she retook her maiden name.
She truly is far and gone from being apart of this family. She was no longer a Riddell.
I don’t know why that was what I focused on but that small thing was what broke my heart for the second time… I guess I never gave up the naïve and childish hope that she would come back to us…
Oliver took my hand in his. “Are you okay?” he asked.
I looked at him and for the first time, I saw my Oliver again. The one I used to play Quidditch with in the summertime and I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I threw my arms around his neck and cried. The release of all that stress and pain felt wonderful. It had been years since I’ve last cried, and I’ve forgotten how liberating the act can be.
Oliver wrapped his arms around me and allowed me to cry into his shoulder, my tears drenching his shirt straight through. He didn’t seem to mind though as he only pulled me closer to him, his hand stroking my hair soothingly. I could smell the mixture of fresh-cut grass and the musk of his cologne. He smelled like Scotland. I’m not entirely sure how a person could smell like a country but there was something distinctive yet homely about his smell.
“Should I reply?” Oliver asked, pulling away to look at me. His dark eyes were indistinguishable; they were familiar yet I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. I wondered if he felt pity for me… because I wouldn’t want that.
“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I need to talk to Edan first. We need to decide as a family what to do.”
“Okay, love, whatever you want,” he smiled back at me. “Anyway, I should go before your friends come back.”
“Okay,” I mumbled. Oliver got up from his chair by my bed and began to head towards the door. “Hey, Oliver?”
“Thank you,” I smiled at him genuinely.
He returned my smile and wordlessly left the Hospital Wing, leaving me alone to my thoughts.
I didn’t want him to leave but I needed to mull over what my mother said.
What possible reason could she have for leaving an eleven-year-old daughter and a ten-year-old son?
And what possible reason could she have for coming back?
I’m worried about Keegan.
Ever since that Hogsmeade trip, she’s been so recluse and quiet—completely unlike her. She seemed almost… breakable. I have never seen her like this before. Keegan, out of all of us, has always been the strongest one, the one we thought was impervious to harm. To see the girl so far from who she used to be really bothered me.
The only time where I would catch a glimmer of the old Keegan was during Quidditch practice. She was still fierce, strong, and demanding, but when she wasn’t ordering us around, her mind was elsewhere. More than once, I have caught her staring off into the distance as if waiting for something to come.
The worst part of it all was her renewed friendship with Oliver Wood. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely glad that the two have stopped fighting and that Keegan doesn’t come back to the dorm every night mumbling about how she wanted to castrate the boy, but it hurt a little that he knew something I didn’t.
Although, if he was back in her life… and she was depressed… it had to be something to do with her family. I knew Oliver was practically an honorary member of the Riddell household and vice versa with Keegan and the Woods. I just don’t know what it could be! And Merlin, it was driving me absolutely up the wall!
“Love, you do realise you’re reading that book upside down, right?” Elbie said, coming to sit next to me. He put an arm around my shoulders and squeezed me into his side. I instinctively nuzzled my head into his neck.
“I’m worried about Keegan,” I told him.
“I know, we all are.”
“But I’m her best friend! I don’t understand why she’s not telling me anything,” I complained. I know I was being selfish, but it hurt!
“She will when she’s ready,” Elbie replied wisely. “You know what Keegan’s like, she hates being vulnerable and I guess whatever’s on her mind must really be making her feel like that.”
I sighed. “I know, I know… I miss old Keegan, that’s all.”
“We all do,” Elbie smiled down at me, as he moved into lay a swift kiss onto my waiting lips. Not many people know this, but Elbie was one of the most sensible people I’ve ever known. And the most caring person too.
“Oliver knows,” I pouted.
Argh!! I know! I just can’t let it go. I was extremely annoying that way.
“Yeah, that’s weird, isn’t it?” Elbie pondered this. “I’ve never seen the two talk even amicably once, and now he seems to always be around her. Not that she notices.”
“What do you mean?”
“He’s always watching her, noting her mood as if he’s ready to catch her if she suddenly starts to break down but she’s so far off the reservation that she hardly notices him, or anyone else for that matter,” Elbie explained.
“I reckon he fancies her!” I exclaimed excitedly. About bloody time as well…
“Nah, I think he just cares a great deal about her,” Elbie said, totally crushing my dream of getting the two together.
“And why, pray tell, do you say that?” I arched an eyebrow at him challengingly.
He chuckled and kissed my temple. “Because, my nosy little girlfriend, he doesn’t look at her in that way… anyone can see that he is super protective of the girl and that he’d do anything for her but I think it’s out of loyalty to their childhood friendship than anything romantic.”
“I seriously hate you right now!” I growled. “They have so much bloody chemistry! How could they not fancy each other?”
“Hey! I’m not saying they won’t!” Elbie laughed, putting up his hands defensively. “I’m just saying they don’t right now.”
“Merlin, people these days, so bloody clueless!”
“Speaking of clueless people, here comes Seamus,” Elbie whispered, waving to the other boy who had just walked into the common room. “HEY MATE!”
“Oh hi guys,” Seamus smiled, coming over to take a seat across from us. “How are you? How’s Keegan?”
And Lucy… I bet that’s what he wanted to ask.
“We’re fine, Keegan is… well the same,” I told him. And Lucy is a dolt, as always, I wanted to add.
“Awe right, poor girl,” Seamus sighed. “She’ll bounce back sooner or later.”
Always the optimist, our Seamus.
“How are you, lad?” Elbie asked.
Seamus shifted uncomfortably in his seat as if under interrogation but then quickly regained his composure and grinned at us. “Perfect, fine… Just been to the library and I’m well ahead of my classes.”
“You finished the History of Magic essay?” Elbie exclaimed in amazement.
“Yup!” Seamus answered proudly.
And that’s when I tuned out of their conversation. I may be a Ravenclaw and love being smart but I wasn’t like the rest of them. I didn’t enjoy talking about work once classes were out. That was boring! Who wanted to listen to that?
I quickly slipped from under Elbie’s arm and fled to the girl’s dormitory, hoping for some peace and quiet. I wasn’t expecting to see Keegan sitting by the windowsill, staring despondently into the distance. Lately, the girl has been spending the majority of her time in the library or wandering around the grounds on her own.
I’d know. I’ve been watching her so her presence right now, in our dormitory, was like a breath of fresh air to me.
And I was not following her in a creepy way. In a concerned best friend sort of way…
“Keegs, you alright?”
Keegan looked up at me, her hazel eyes taking a few seconds too long to focus. She smiled feebly, “Yeah. Lovely…”
Ugh! I couldn’t stand it anymore!
I walked over to her, grabbed her by the shoulder and promptly shook her till Keegan’s hair flopped out of her hair tie.
“Look! You either tell me what’s been bugging you or you’re going to snap out of this stupidly depressing mood right now!” I shouted at her.
Keegan stared back at me, her eyes wide. It reminded me of a startled child; so lost and innocent. I sighed, quickly pulling my best mate into a hug.
Keegan has always been the tough one that I forget sometimes she hurt too.
“Oh, sweetie, please talk to me,” I murmured into her hair, as I rocked her back and forth. “I know you don’t have to but I hate seeing you like this. We all do. Penny’s going mad with worry and Lucy’s more of a handful than usual.”
Keegan chuckled softly. “I’m sorry, I guess I’ve been a bit off lately.”
“Ever since the Hogsmeade trip this past weekend,” I specified for her.
She pulled back and sighed, raking a hand through her dark hair. She stared at me for a few seconds before turning her gaze back out into the distance. I thought she was going to ignore my question but then a tear rolled down her face and she let out a heavy breath.
“My mum wrote a letter to Oliver,” she said, her voice so soft I wasn’t even sure I heard her right. “She… she wants to see me, me and Edan. She wants to explain why she left us.”
Oh Merlin. No wonder Oliver’s been following her like a lovesick puppy. Keegan’s mum was an extremely sore subject for her.
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry,” I said, not knowing what else to say. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m not sure,” she responded. “I told Edan and he flat out refused to see her, but I… I feel like I owe it to myself to know why she left.”
“It might hurt you more.”
“I know, Oliver said the same thing,” Keegan shook her head sadly. “But maybe I need closure, you know?”
“If this is what you want to do, I’ll support you all the way through,” I told her. It was the best that I could do as her friend anyways.
Keegan smiled and hugged me tightly. “Thank you, Miranda. Sorry about being such a mood-kill lately.”
I chuckled, “No more than usual, hun.”
Keegan playfully punched me in the shoulder whilst narrowing her eyes at me, and that’s when I knew things were going to be fine.
Keegan was back!
And Merlin, was I happy to get my partner-in-crime back! I can only handle so many mopey people and Lucy’s now natural disposition was hard enough.
“GET YOUR ARSE IN THE AIR NOW, NICHOLSON!” I bellowed, my throat straining from the sudden excessive use. I haven’t really yelled at anyone in the past few days and it felt so damn good to be doing it.
I had let the letter from my mum affect me so badly that I had completely neglected my duty as the maniacal captain that I loved being. I was not going to let my mother, a woman I haven’t seen in six and a half years, take my spirit away from me!
“I LIKED YOU BETTER WHEN YOU WERE DEPRESSED,” Adam yelled back, flying away from me.
“YOU TAKE THAT BACK OR I’M GOING TO HIT YOU WITH MY BROOM TILL YOU CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER YOUR OWN BLOODY NAME!
There was a loud raucous laughter and suddenly, I was being scooped up into the air and whirled around.
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed this side of you,” Seamus smiled at me.
I rolled my eyes, “And I’ve missed you smiling too!”
“Fair play, Captain Riddell,” he chuckled. “Shall I go strike a Bludger at our beloved Chaser?”
“No, no, I got this,” I winked at him, as I mounted my broom and kicked off into the air. The wind whipped my hair back from my face, and like it had so many weeks ago, eased away the heaviness inside of me. I could already feel the stress flowing out of my body.
It felt bloody good to fly.
I quickly rounded up Adam and Miranda but not before I managed to kick the end of Adam’s broomstick, sending him spinning erratically for a few seconds. He shot me a rather rude hand gesture in response.
“Right, thanks to Adam’s disrespect for me, we will be practicing the Figure Eight Loop,” I told them. “Each one of you will do it and try to shoot with your opposite hand.”
Miranda punched Adam in the shoulder and growled at him. “You prick, you know I hate these drills!”
“Ow! Sorry! I don’t like them either! They make me bloody nauseous!”
“Then try not to irritate me next time, yeah?” I smiled at Adam, who gave me yet another rude hand gesture.
One day, I was going to snap that finger off and we’ll see who’s laughing then!
“Now go!” I ordered, pointing my finger towards the hoops where Lizzie was flying absentmindedly around. “GET READY LIZZIE,” I called out to her to get her attention. She looked up and gave me a thumbs up before shooting a challenging look at Adam and Miranda.
Got to love Little Lizzie for her confidence.
Actually, got to love my team for never pestering me when I was… not quite me. I think it would have made it so much worse if everyone tried to ‘be there’ for me. I’m glad they knew me well enough to know that I’d much prefer to be left alone.
Truthfully in the past few days, Oliver was the only one that never left me alone but I appreciated his constant presence, even though I know he’s been stressing over the Gryffindor versus Slytherin match this Friday. I owe him a lot for being there and the funny thing about that is… I hated him for it. I hated that I didn’t hate him, but I actually do hate him for being so damn nice.
Did that make any sense?
Probably not. My head’s been jumbled up lately. Too many things were changing around me that I don’t think my brain has been able to keep up with it all.
“NO! Marcus, if you feint like that, you’re never going to trick the other Seeker!” I cried out, losing my train of thought as I watched Marcus wobble apprehensively just as he ‘feinted’ to the left.
“Bollocks, I just can’t keep it from wobbling!” he groaned, putting his head into his hands.
“You’re thinking too much about it, mate,” I informed him. “You’ve got to let the broom tell you what to do. Listen to it, don’t yank it back, just softly pull it back.”
“Easier said than done,” Marcus sighed. “I must be the worst Seeker in the world if I’m terrified of feints!”
“No, you’re not,” I laughed. “Everyone’s afraid of them but it’s all about trusting in yourself that you can do it.”
“Anyway, let’s call it a day,” I said to the boy.
I truly felt bad for him. He was a really good Seeker, a tad slow, but he definitely had the eye for it. He was just so insecure about his own abilities, which puts him at a disadvantage to the other Seekers. I mean Diggory and Malfoy were more than arrogant and Potter was confident enough in himself.
Oh well… he’ll get there. I hope.
“COME ON GUYS, LET’S PACK UP!”
Everyone quickly flew away with much more fervour towards the changing rooms, leaving Seamus and I to clear up the equipment as per usual.
Bloody gits, they all were!
But I secretly didn’t mind. Seamus and I always ended up talking about random nonsense, and I was usually in a good mood after. Considering the past few days I’ve had, I needed to be around my mates again. I’ve been avoiding them for far too long and I was missing the insanity of our conversations.
“So then while Snape was peering over their cauldron, the bloody thing exploded in his face!” Seamus laughed, his voice booming across the pitch. “His eyebrows were scorched off! You should’ve been there!”
Ha! Serves the jerk-face right!
From what I’ve heard, he’s been parading around making bets with various professors over the outcome of the Gryffindor versus Slytherin match. Apparently, their team was quite unbeatable this year.
Yeah bloody right, by unbeatable, he probably means dirty lying cheating scum.
I hope Oliver’s prepared for Friday. It was going to be tough especially with Flint out to get him…
A/N: Woooooooh! Chapter 8!! How exciting! I am seriously enjoying writing in different people's POV right now. Obviously Keegan will always remain the main person, but it's just fun to see what others think. Anyway! What do you think of Keegan's mum? How much more do you love/hate Miranda (hope you don't hate her!)? and awwwe Elbie's got a soft side when he's with her, doesn't he? Annnnnd WHERE IS LUCY?!?! Don't worry she'll be making a dramatic comeback soon. Anyways, would love to hear from you guys. Review please, it really encourages me to write!! xxx
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