Chapter 6 : Every Time I Start to Panic
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Professor Flitwick had arranged for me to leave at five in the evening, so I begrudgingly told Fred I would see him around four. The hours preceding this were spent in my bed, curled up under the covers, attempting to sleep. Instead, I managed to pass the whole day alternating between fending off thoughts of my mum and urges to vomit.
Around half past three, I forced myself out of the dormitory and into the shower. The water felt like needles on my skin, and there were a few moments where I contemplated heading straight back to bed, but I felt obligated to see Fred. I'd ignored him all week, and I knew that if I ditched him now, I would lose my chance with him. I sighed, confused with my own feelings.
Once ready, I headed out of Ravenclaw tower, my feet dragging and my head down. I'd intended to meet Fred in the Great Hall, but he intercepted me in a corridor very near to the common room, and I assumed he'd been waiting for me.
"Change o' plans," he said, smiling brightly. His face fell quickly once he got a good look at me. "You look...terrible," he said slowly.
"Thanks," I said, wondering why I had bothered to come. I was in no mood to have fun.
"No, I'm sorry. What's wrong?" he said, regretting his choice of words.
"Noth-" I began but was abruptly cut off.
"Don't say nothing. You've looked worse every day this week, Callaghan."
"That's the path to a girl's heart," I said sarcastically. I really didn't mean to lash out, but I couldn't seem to bite my tongue.
He raised his eyebrows and dropped the subject. Who would've thought I was less mature than Fred Weasley?
"Follow me?" he asked hopefully. "I had plans, but I've changed them."
"Okay," I answered, "but I've only got an hour." A look of disappointment flashed momentarily across Fred's eyes before he smiled and took my hand, dragging me along the corridor. We ended up in the kitchens, where house elves busied themselves with copious amounts of the delicious food that I had always taken for granted.
For now, I forgot everything that I'd been stressing over as my stomach roared. I had barely eaten this week, and hadn't had a single bite all day. I put my hand to my stomach as it growled even louder, and Fred laughed at me.
"I thought you'd be hungry," he said.
"How'd you know?" I asked.
"Mel told me you hadn't come out of your dormitory all day. I don't know how someone could go that long without food." It was my turn to laugh now. Fred seemed satisfied with himself as he led me over to a table with two chairs. "I figured you wouldn't want to be around everybody. I mean, it's really no different than the food in the Great Hall, but at least there's no other people, right?"
I nodded, surprised at his intuition, and dug into the food that had been set before us. I kept on eating while Fred munched and talked away, making jokes and flirting. In returned, I laughed and nodded some more, only listening half the time. I was in my own head. I could feel an imaginary clock ticking down the seconds until I left. When I checked my own watch, I realized it was quarter to five. I'd need to leave now in order to meet Professor Flitwick at the Entrance Hall in fifteen minutes. I suddenly became exceedingly nervous, unsure if I possessed the strength to see my mother.
"Hey," I blurted out through a mouthful of pie, interrupting Fred in the middle of a story about a first year who had unknowingly sampled one of his and George's Puking Pastilles.
"Yes?" he said, curiously.
"Do you wanna come somewhere with me?"
"Well, sure. Where are we going?" Fred was clearly entertained by this.
"Um, you'll see. It's not anywhere fun, and you can't ever ask me any questions about it," I said completely serious. Though I could tell Fred was suppressing a smile, he gave me his sincerest, and slightly sarcastic, word that he would comply with my rules. As we left the kitchen, we thanked the elves, and I allowed Fred to take my hand once more.
We met Professor Flitwick just where he said he would be, and he explained that he would escort us to Hogsmeade, we would take a portkey from The Three Broomsticks, and we would take a portkey back when we were finished. He didn't say anything about Fred accompanying me, but Fred did receive a skeptical look, which I'm sure was well deserved.
The three of us walked in silence all the way to The Three Broomsticks. I'd never seen Fred so reserved, and I appreciated his respect for the situation, even if he had no clue what the situation was. When we arrived at the pub, Professor Flitwick opened the front door and said, "Will you be okay from here?"
"Yes," I replied. "Thank you so much, for everything, Professor."
"Of course, dear," Flitwick said fondly. "And I trust you'll behave, Mr. Weasley?" he added not so fondly.
Fred visibly forced himself to hold back whatever joke he was dying to make, and Flitwick turned around and began his walk back to Hogwarts. I looked at Fred and said, "We're going to St. Mungo's. Still no questions, though."
"You got it," Fred said, slapping me lightly on the back as we walked through the door.
We retrieved the designated portkey, which appeared to be a dirty old sweater, and just as I closed my eyes I felt the expected pull from behind my navel. There was no turning back.
A/N: I know it's short, and it's been forever. I've been so busy, I've contemplated becoming a drifter. Reviewww please.
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