Chapter 8 : Like Magic
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September 20th, 3:48 P.M. –Stella and June’s flat
Rose Weasley seethes, the sound of the darts hitting the board following each word.
Since seeing each other at the party a few weeks ago, we’ve been talking a lot more often. So, when Scorpius did the latest thing to piss her off this afternoon, she arrived at my flat with a dart board and his picture in hand. He really does bring the violence out in that one.
"Rose, I know you’re angry, but this can’t possibly be healthy…" I say, shaking my head.
James, from his position on the couch, lets out a loud laugh. "Oh, you’re so right, June. It would be much healthier if she went and found Scorpius’ brother and gave him a snog to get the revenge out of her system."
I smack his arm, resulting in further laughter.
Rose actually looks brightened up the idea, but her face quickly settles back into a frown. "That wouldn’t work, he doesn’t have a brother."
Stella laughs along with James, "That’s too bad. I mean, it worked out so well for June. All she had to do was survive a song with you, James, to get Al to realize he should stop being a huge git!"
James also has been spending a lot more time around here, which can be nice, except for when he shows up straight out of quidditch practice smelling like an old gym sock. Like now, for example.
He looks at her in horror, "First of all, my brother couldn’t stop being a git even if he tired. Secondly, women don’t survive my snogs; their lives are significantly improved by them. My lips are more magical than a charms class. You’d probably jump at the chance to get a kiss from me."
Did I mention the extreme sexual tension happening between Stella and James? No? Well, there you go. They both pretend it’s not true, but they fight like an old married couple and I swear half the time they are seconds away from snogging each other’s brains out.
She looks at him with disgust (aka hidden sexual longing), "Ew, that’s a repulsive thought. I would literally rather have a play date with a dementor than snog you, especially with the way you smell right now. Haven’t you ever heard of a shower?"
"Oh, but I was just so excited to come see you and your delightful attitude that I didn’t want to waste any time by taking a shower!" he says with false sincerity, loving every second of pushing Stella’s buttons.
She’s about to retaliate when Rose interrupts, "ENOUGH ALREADY," she shouts. "I’m going through an emotional crisis, so could you just go deal with your sexual tension elsewhere?"
See, I’m not the only one who sees it.
Both of them blush and shut their mouths, allowing me to ask what I’ve been trying to ask for the last ten minutes. "So, Rose, what exactly did Scorpius do this time to make you feel the need to throw darts at his face?"
She sighs, thankfully done with the dart-throwing, and flops onto the couch. "Well, the other day I was getting cup of coffee with this guy, Ben. It was nothing really, just someone from work, but it was nice to be on a date with a decent guy after the whole ordeal with Scorp," she says with an eye roll. "Everything was going good, and we were having a lovely time, until none other than Scorpius himself walks into the coffee shop. The shop was small, so obviously he saw us right away. I expected he might look relieved that I’ve moved on and wouldn’t have to be a burden to him anymore, which would have been painful but at least would have made sense. But instead, he had to look all angry!"
I wait for her to continue, but she doesn’t say anything more. "Um… and why is that such a problem?" I ask tentatively.
She lets out an angry huff, "Because he’s not allowed to be mad!" she replies as if it’s the most obvious thing in the word. "He dumped me, remember? If I saw him with another girl then I’d be allowed to feel hurt and angry because I’m the dumpee, but as the dumper he has no right to be mad that I’m trying to move on with my life."
Stella and I give each other meaningful looks. Knowing full well that Scorpius still loves her, it makes sense to us why he’s acting that way, but we can’t say that to her. It’s not our place.
All I can do is offer a sympathetic hug and tell her I’m sorry he acted that way. Even James is affected by his cousin’s pain and gives her a hug as well.
She accepts the hugs and looks a bit happier, "Thanks guys. I just wish I understood why. He doesn’t want to be with me, and whenever I’m around him I start a fight. Therefore, I try to stay away and find someone new, but he doesn’t like that either. Maybe he simply doesn’t want me to be happy."
I want more than anything to just tell her that’s far from the truth, but I can’t, so I just offer another hug. Hugs make everything better, right?
A silence fills the room and I hope for someone to break it. It’s at that exact moment that Roxanne Weasley apparates into my living room.
Right on top of the coffee table.
I guess they say ‘be careful what you wish for’ for a reason.
"Oh, bullocks! Sorry about the table," she says looking at the mess with a frown, her curly hair sticking out in crazy directions. "I was just in such a hurry to get here! You two gotta come quickly, Uncle Ron is at St. Mungos and he says she has woken up!"
James and Rose jump out of their seats. "Really? That’s wonderful!" James says, a huge smile crossing his face.
"Yeah, I know! Both your dads want you both to get there as soon as possible. Now, I’ve got to go tell the others, but I’ll see you at the hospital. Oh, and really sorry about the table!" she says as a parting thought before apparating out of the room.
The pair of them talk excitedly as they get ready to leave. I know I really shouldn’t pry, but I can’t help myself.
"Okay guys, I keep hearing all these references to the hospital, and I remember you were there, James, for some reason when I hurt my arm. So far I’ve been trying to mind my own business, but this is just too much, I have to ask. Please, for my sanity, tell me what’s going on."
Rose’s jaw drops slightly and James’ eyes widen in shock.
"Wait… Al never told you about any of this?" Rose utters in disbelief.
James shakes his head angrily, "Typical Albus, he’s such a little prat! Well, that explains why you were so confused about why we didn’t talk anymore…" he trails off, sighing in frustration. "I wish I could tell you myself, but I don’t have time, and I think it’s better if you hear it from him."
James apparates on the spot, obviously too annoyed at the moment to say goodbye. Rose just gives me a sad look and squeezes my hand. "He’s right; you really should go talk to Albus about this."
She says goodbye and leaves also, heading to whatever is going on at St. Mungos.
Shocked by what has just occurred, I silently start to clean up the crushed table. Stella, unsure of what to say, joins me. With the help of magic, it takes only a moment to have everything back to how it was pre-crash landing.
My mind is busy reeling, thinking of all these worst case scenarios about what’s going on. Stella pulls me out of my zoned-out state and asks me what I’m going to do.
"Well, there’s really only one thing I can do," I say matter-of-factly.
"And that is…?"
"Go talk to Albus."
September 20th, 5:01 P.M. - Albus’ flat
I knock on his- wait, correction- I bang on the door, having no patience to wait for him to hear a polite knock. I can tell someone is shuffling around behind the door, and it swings open just as my hand is about to hit the wood once more.
"Whoa, June, where’s the fire?" he asks with an easy smile.
I push past him and walk straight in without saying a word, wiping the smile right off his face. It’s just now dawning on him the something is wrong, and his expression changes to one of concern.
"Okay, now you’re freaking me out a little. What’s wrong?"
I cross my arms across my chest and stare him straight in the eye, "I want answers, and I want them now."
He appears perplexed as he tilts his head to the side, "June, I don’t know what in the world you are referring to here."
I sigh in frustration, "Your cousin, Roxanne Weasley, crashed into my coffee table not too long ago going off about someone waking up at the hospital. Ring any bells?" I ask sarcastically. "Because I have a funny feeling it might, and I just know that whatever this thing is that has happened, it’s major. Maybe if you let me in on the big secret, I’ll understand what’s been going on in that crazy Potter brain of yours this whole time. At the very least it, I hear it will shed some light on why your brother seems to hate you!"
For a moment, a painful look crosses his face, but is quickly replaced by a blank expression. All he manages to say is, "Oh."
I wait for him to say something, but he remains silent.
Fine, if he won’t do the talking, then I will.
"You can keep silent, I don’t care. But you should know, Albus Severus Potter, that this whole ‘starting slow as friends’ thing will be over," I say, bitter anger starting to replace my sarcasm as tears blur my vision. "We both knew it was bullshit anyway. I just missed you so much that I was willing to swallow all that had happened just to have you back in my life. I thought the rest of it didn’t matter as long as you still loved me, but it does, Al. It really does."
I take a deep breath and soften my voice, trying my hardest to mask the hurt I know he can hear anyway, "Ever since the day we broke up, I feel like there’s something about you that’s changed. I tried to ignore it, or tell myself I was imagining it, but now I know it’s true. So, either you tell me everything, and I mean everything, or there can never be a chance for us. I don’t want to left in the dark anymore."
I finish my little monologue and allow him a moment to soak it in. His expression doesn’t change, and if I wait a minute longer looking at that blank stare I’ll probably start crying, and we all know how well that went last time.
He takes his sweet time to finally say something, "I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you."
I shoot him an angry glare, "Then I guess I’m done here."
He reaches his arm out, but then lets it fall. "Come on, June, don’t be like this."
"No, Albus, I will be like this if I damn well please. You hurt me, Al," I say, saying each word with a sharp edge. "I understand that at the time you thought I cheated on you, but now that’s cleared up and you’re still hurting me by keeping secrets. I’ve trusted you with everything, so excuse me for thinking that I should get a little trust back in return."
I turn away from him and head toward the door, but I take barely more than a step before his voice stops me.
"It’s my mum," he whispers, his voice filled with a desperate sadness.
I whip back around, completely caught off guard. I’m not sure what I expected him to say, but I wasn’t expecting that.
"The day we had our fight, I had just gotten a letter from my dad. Earlier that day, a man had been brought in for questioning at the Auror’s office. While the Auror in charge of him went to go get the case file, he managed to knock out the trainee guarding the door and knick his wand. He made a run for it, and the guy started shooting off spells left and right. Basically, there was a spell casting frenzy, both from him and the people trying to stop him."
He stops for a moment, and I’m afraid he won’t say anymore, but he continues on.
"Unfortunately, my mum had been visiting my dad’s office that day. She was getting ready to leave just as the madness was starting, taking the full force of two curses as she stepped out of his office. One was a stunning spell and the other was an unknown spell the guy must have made himself, because no one had any idea what it was. The unknown curse combined with the strong stunning spell put her in a comatose like state, and the healers were unsure of how to reverse it. That is, until today, apparently," he adds as an afterthought.
"Oh, Albus," I whisper, "Why didn’t you tell me?"
He runs his hand through his hair, "I was on my way to find you that night, to show you the letter, or ask what I should do, I don’t know," he throws his hands up in the air in frustration. "But then I saw Corey all over you and I just snapped. My head was a mess and I couldn’t process everything that was happening. So, I went back to my room and basically ripped it apart. I was extremely angry, and filled with self-pity."
I reach out to comfort him but he holds up his hand, "No, wait. Let me finish, June. You have to know I’m fully aware that I was acting like a total prat!" he says vigorously, getting quite worked up.
"I didn’t even consider how hard things must have been for my dad. I just thought about myself, and how unfair it was that I had a hurt mum and a cheating girlfriend. The next day when I saw you guys, well you know what happened; I went off the deep end! I was awful to you, because that’s what we did, we lived to push each other’s buttons. I thought if I could make someone else feel worse than I did, then I’d somehow feel better. Stupid, I know, and I took it way too far, saying horrible things I didn’t mean. I will always regret what I said that day."
Now I’m the one who needs a moment to let everything soak in, for my mind to process everything. My silence drags on, so he continues to speak.
"Eventually, I cooled down and Corey explained the whole situation to me; how you were just comforting him about Emily. I knew he was crazy about her and that he would never be with another girl, especially not his mate’s girlfriend. And I knew that it was stupid of me to not trust you. However, at the time my judgment was so clouded by anger and pain that I couldn’t see that. Right after hearing all this, I wanted to find you, to at the very least apologize for what I had done, but I knew I didn’t deserve your forgiveness even if I managed to get it."
I try to stay mad at him, I really do, but I can’t begrudge him for it. I understand how pain can encompass you, causing you to do things you wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise. Besides, while the words he said did hurt me, it was more the fact that deep inside, a part of me has always thought those things were true. I hated him for bringing to light my fears, but I can’t blame him for my demons; they are my problem, not his.
"One time, when I was around thirteen years old, I was staying at Stella’s for a bit during the summer," I begin to tell him, "We were talking in her room, not really doing anything, just talking about this or that. Everything was perfectly normal until she made an innocent comment about how her mum had been annoying her, and how she wished sometimes that she’d just disappear. Not an uncommon thing for kids, I’d heard people say stuff like it all the time, but for some reason that time was different. I became ridiculously angry. I thought, here she is with a kind mother who loves her and would never leave her, and she had the nerve to complain to me of all people; someone who would kill to have their own mother back with them."
Tears threaten to come, but I hold them back, continuing with the story.
"Needless to say, I threw a fit, filled with screaming and insults. I finished my rant and ended up on the floor crying. I expected her to be angry and to kick me out, which I deserved. Instead, she sat down with me and gave me a hug. She never got angry, and to this day, she never even asked why I flipped out. Stella didn’t know the exact history of my mum, but she respected that I needed this one time to work out some pent up pain."
I tell him this story in the hope that it will convince him that I truly do understand, that I’m not just placating him.
"It’s possible that you don’t deserve to be forgiven," I say, "but I sure didn’t that day at Stella’s either. She didn’t forgive me for her own sake, she did it for me. We forgive those we love because it’s what they need at that moment more than anything else."
"Would you really be willing to do that for me?" he asks with a hopeful look, my story seeming to prove to him my sincerity.
I take a deep breath, unsure of what to say. I guess I could always go with the truth, they say honesty is the best policy. "Truthfully? I think I would probably do anything for you."
He grins from ear to ear, "I don’t deserve you."
I give a small smile, pleased that the mood is starting to lighten. "No one really does, but what can I sa-AYYOWW" I yelp, because Albus has picked me up in a massive hug mid word, spinning me around.
"This is just so wonderful! Now that I have all that off my chest, I feel as light as a feather!" he says, happy as a clam.
This would be great, if it weren’t for the fact that he is crushing my ribcage. "Al, I need to breath!" I manage to get out after a few more spins.
"Oh, right, sorry about that. I suppose breathing is pretty important," he concedes with a loopy smile still on his face.
"Yeah, a bit," I say with a smile in return. "It’s rather nice on my part as well to have this all cleared up, but there’s still one thing I don’t understand."
He raises an eyebrow, "And what is that?"
"What about this whole scenario has caused James to hate you? I don’t see how your mother’s injury could make him angry at you…" I trail off, still trying to piece together how that came to be.
He sighs loudly, "Ah, yes, I understand why that may be confusing. You see, I haven’t exactly visited my mum yet," he says, stopping for a moment due to my shocked expression. "It’s not that I haven’t wanted to! I do, I just can never seem to make myself go through with it. The rest of my family has tried to be understanding, but James won’t have it, he’s beyond angry. I don’t blame him though, I’m sure I’d be the same way if it were the other way around."
I smack him on the side of the head, "Of course he should be!"
He winces, rubbing his injury, "Ouch, that hurt!"
"Good! Maybe it knocked some sense into you. You have to go see her, Al. She’s your mum!" I say, not feeling sorry in the least for hitting him.
He looks down at the ground, "You’re right, but I don’t know how I’m going to go in there and face her alone, especially now after all the time that’s passed."
He seems so much like a sad puppy that I actually do feel a little bad for smacking him. "Al, you don’t have to go alone."
I extend out my hand and he grabs it, lacing his fingers in mine. Knowing I’ll be with him, he tells me he thinks he’ll be able to handle seeing her.
It’s kind of funny how so much more seems possible when you’ve got someone who cares by your side. It’s almost like magic.
A/N: So we finally get some answers! What do you guys think? I worked on this chapter forever, and I'm still not thrilled with it, but I figured you readers have waited long enough, and I can always go back and edit it. I'd really love to hear some imput, so if you take a moment to feed my friend the review box, it be much appreciated. Oh, and the one year anniversery of NP just happend on May 22, so thank you all who have stuck with me, I hope you continue to enjoy the story.
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