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Chapter 14 : The Ghost of Gryffindor Tower
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Rose Weasley tossed and turned in bed. At one point she even punched the pillow, hoping perhaps that the duck feathers within it would send her the secrets of sleep. But no secrets came. Her eyes were wide open, no position was good enough for more than five minutes and her bones screamed for her to get up and let them move. She remembered her mother telling her of the Hogwarts she attended in her youth. She remembered the stories about how her father and Uncle Harry would sneak out of the common room and wander the corridors at night with the aid of the Marauders Map. She longed to do just that. Of course, there were no Death Eaters running the school back in her mother’s time. If she even attempted to leave the Common Room, she would surely be found by Jugson or Gibbon, or Merlin forbid, Blackwell himself since he seemed to spend more time at Hogwarts than at the Ministry of Magic. Torturing students must be a thousand times more fun than paper work, she imagined with disguist.
Why did she have to think of Scorpius Malfoy, she thought? Of course she couldn’t sleep...the memory of that night subconsciously played in her mind over and over and over again, scaring sleep away with the possibility that she should dream of him. Dream of the hands that held the Ravenclaw girl close...the same hands that used to hold her close. Dream of the full lips that danced with hers and the heart beats that seemed to intertwine. She longed for him, she really did long for him.
But thoughts of the Owlery made her frown. How many hours did she spend in there, crying after him after the incident in the Room of Requirement?
“Ughhh, Scorpius Malfoy, I hope you’re choking in your dreams!” she whispered kicking the blanket off her and making her way down to the Common Room, hoping that the burning chimney would make her ooze to sleep. Even if it was on the couch.
But Scorpius Malfoy was not sleeping. The Slytherin Common Room was empty save for himself and his un-obedient quill. He looked at his watch: four am, and internally groaned. So much for a fresh morning, he thought. After rubbing his eyes, he glanced down at the piece of parchment and the lone two words at the top.
He cringed at the word mother. How alien and inappropriate it seemed to him to call her that. He wished to take a chance and just address the letter to Astoria Blackwell or Mrs Blackwell, but he was sure Dominus would have something to say about that. “Do it for Quidditch...” he whispered to himself remembering Blackwell’s threat should he fail to write the letter.
Hogwarts is great. The Death Eaters are all kind to us in lessons and even reward us with sweets if we do well. Oh, did I mention that daddy Dominus paid me a visit? I was thrilled to see him and we had a very father-son conversation. Do pass him my love.
I guess that is what you would want to hear, is it not Astoria? For once in my life I want to be honest with you. I am scared. I am scared because of your husband…I don’t need to go into details, for you surely know what he did to me when you weren’t bothered to stand between us. Isn’t that enough of a reason why I never wrote to you? I wish I could just send you this. But I am scared of what he will do to me if I make you angry. Therefore, I will lie and tell you that I still love you…that I still care about you…
But let me tell you this: you lost me a long time ago, mother. Since the day that you didn’t stop Blackwell from using the Cruciatus on me, I only have one parent. And that is Draco Malfoy.
He sat back in his chair and let out a heavy sigh, trying to ignore the tears that were prickling in his eyes. He would not cry. He was nearly seventeen for fuck sake, he though. And besides, Malfoys never cried, or so his granddad would say. Scorpius felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted off his heart. How he wished he could just send Astoria that immature and anger filled letter. How he wished to say those things to his mother. Would she cry? Surely not, for she didn’t care enough about him to do so. He took the piece of parchment and started tearing it apart. No, she would hardly feel the arrows he threw at her through his words. She would merely read the letter, pass it to her husband and tell him to deal with her rebellious son. As fulfilling as it might feel to send her that letter, he would just buy himself more pain. Blackwell didn’t specify the way in which he would prevent Scorpius to play Quidditch. For all he knew, Dominus could blow up his legs. No...he certainly couldn’t take that risk.
6th year Hogwarts is rather hard. There are a lot of assignments to hand in, and even more Quidditch matches to get through. I apologise for not writing earlier—I got carried away with my school life, however, I will not let this happen again for I do not want to upset you. (He inwardly cringed at his lie.) I hope this letter finds you well and happy and I am looking forward to seeing you soon.
He placed the letter in an envelope, and then in his bag, making a mental note to send it first thing in the morning. He then lifelessly stood up from his chair and made his way to the boys’ dormitory, distracting himself from his inward anger by thinking of Rose and her fiery red hair, full lips and green eyes. Truth to be told...he had been thinking of Rose in excessive quantities lately. But it was only late at night that he allowed himself to be completely truthful as to why. He didn’t think of Rose because she annoyed him, nor did he think of her because he felt like arguing with someone. No, he thought of Rose because he wanted her back. But he wasn’t so sure he didn’t already lose her for good.
He fell asleep imagining the various ways Lysander Scamander could die.
Rose Weasley was lying on the Gryffindor common room couch with her eyes closed. She liked to pretend that the chimney fire that she felt playing on her face was a real person. She liked to think that this real person was male with blond hair and blue eyes and the gentlest hands she ever touched. She imagined him caressing her face, urging her to sleep, making the headache go away.
“You’re not Scorpius Malfoy...” she whispered slowly to the fire person of her imagination. “You’re better than him...but I don't love you...” she continued only half aware of what she was saying for sleep started to overcome her, numbing her senses and clearing her mind.
And soon she fell asleep, but only half so. She was still aware of her surroundings, still aware of the couch on which she was sleeping and still aware of the rather startling feeling of being watched. Her eyes popped open and she abruptly sat up. She wondered for how long she had been asleep, for the chimney fire was dimmed and the room seemed much colder and more unfamiliar. There was no one around, but Rose still felt the little hairs on her arms standing up alerted and she cursed herself for leaving her wand underneath her pillow.
She jumped from the couch as a book fell off the table onto the stone floor with a heavy thud. “Who’s there?” she couldn’t help asking.
“Rossseee...” The voice came like a long pain-struck whisper, making her hug the pillow she subconsciously took from the couch when standing up. It was definitely a male voice, she thought. And judging by the low temperature in the room, it was definitely a ghost. But, she thought with a start, it was definitely not a ghost that she knew. It was then that the chimney fire grew in size, making Rose fall back down on the couch. And it was only in that moment when she fell that she finally saw him disappearing through a wall before the room returned to its normal esprit.
“It can’t be...” she whispered shell-shocked and as white as a piece of muggle paper. Sleep abandoned Rose and in its place came paralytic shock. “It just can’t be...” she repeated and tried to make out whether the shock would direct her to happiness or more grief.
Draco Malfoy watched the chimney fire casting moving shadows on the wall. There was one shade that reminded him of Hogwarts. But maybe that was just his excessive use of Firewhiskey playing with his mind. He wondered if she would have said yes had he behaved differently back then. He could count the number of times he called her a mudblood on both hands. Then he wished to chop all of his fingers off. Maybe that way he could reduce the number to zero. Maybe that way she would say yes. Maybe that way she would truly forgive him for having been such an arsehole.
He pushed the thought out of his head and took another sip of the spirit, aiming for oblivion for the first time in a while. But the urge to get up and go to the dungeons still didn’t disappear. His legs were twitching with desire. The desire to hold her close and kiss her and make her say yes.
Why didn’t the alcohol work? Why didn’t it make him forget? It always worked when he wanted not to think of Astoria after a bloody fight...why didn’t it work with Hermione? He placed the glass on a nearby table and caught his head in his hands. It didn’t work because she was the oblivion he was looking for. She was the oblivion he needed when Voldemort and his Death Eaters became too much to bear. He knew it wouldn’t be long until he had to join them; he had to do it for the protection of his son. There was no way out of it. But without Hermione...he wasn’t so sure he would be able to last and be strong. If he didn’t have her...oh Merlin, he was in love. Truly and irrevocably in love. He knew that she loved him back. Why then, did she not say yes?
The absence of an answer to that question made him angry and filled with grief. His hand searched for the glass of Firewisky only to knock it off the table and make it shatter to pieces on the stone floor. He felt like cursing, but his lips didn’t obey. So he just sat there, all power lost, and for the first time in many years, Draco Malfoy started crying.
She only took off her robe when the bath was filled. Throwing it on a nearby chair, she lowered herself into the mass of hot water, letting it caress her ice cold boy, soothing away the goose bumps and relaxing her muscles. She let out a heavy sigh and tried to clear her mind. She hated the dungeons in the autumn. The rain outside impregnated the walls with humidity, making the cold much harder to bear. It was like a wet, cold parasite that insisted on attaching itself to her body. How she missed the radiators of muggle London. She imagined Draco frowning at the thought of muggle radiators and half smiled to herself. But then her smile faded and she pushed him out of her mind.
Hermione ached. But it was not the kind of pain that she felt after turning Draco’s marriage proposal down. It wasn’t the kind of ache she felt for not being able to tell him how much she actually did love him. No...this was different. This pain was like a monster growing within her, each day more. Each day making it harder to cope. Each day affirming why it was impossible for her to marry Draco.
For despite the love she felt towards Draco, the love that she held for Ron was stronger. She could not say yes to Draco because she longed to be with her husband. Hermione poured more shower gel into the bath, allowing more foam to form and cover her like a warm blanket. She smiled at the memories that came flooding in. She gave birth to Hugo in the bathtub, three weeks before he was due. Ron always used to joke about Hugo getting bored easily. She remembered the shock that washed over his face when she called him in the bathroom. It was only natural for a husband to help his heavily pregnant wife in and out of a slippery bath. And yet, when Hermione called him to help her out, she was holding a small bundle of skin in her arms. The bundle of skin was not crying. His eyes were wide open as he looked at Hermione and listened to her talking soothingly to him. But when Ron approached, it was not his face that smiled down at her, but Draco’s. She slapped herself, and sat up in the bath. She couldn't do this...she thought.
Hermione abruptly pushed Draco out of her mind as monstrous guilt gradually filled her, the same way that water had earlier filled her bath. Hugo’s brown eyes stared at her, each day with growing pain, each day with growing hate. He was so young, so vulnerable. Or was he strong now? His thirst for knowledge pained her. Was she right to deprive him of his education? She laughed with bitterness at the thought of Hermione Granger of all people denying her son of books. How she longed to read to him, to introduce him to the world of knowledge she once so bitterly loved. How she dreamed that he could do something great with his life.
Of course, this was no longer valid. Or so she hated to admit. “Knowledge…” she said out loud, bitterly, as if each letter was a heavy weight that bore her down. She thought of knowledge as a live thing, as a being that betrayed her in the most hurtful way possible. As a young girl, she once believed that knowledge would grant her the key to some secret door of possibilities…possibilities that were not granted to someone who didn’t have such an intimate relationship with books. But then it all changed. Knowledge was no longer a possibility. The more you knew of the new regime, the more paranoid you became of the bold inability to escape. The clearer it became just how doomed you were. No…the enlightenment provided by knowledge was no longer something one sought to achieve. This is what Hermione repeated to herself each day. For despite the hurt it caused her, she forced herself to believe wholeheartedly that the only way her son could survive in such an abominable new world run by Death Eaters was through being kept ignorant. Maybe that way, he would start hating the world in which he lived. Maybe he would come to hate it so much that he would want to leave it once he was of age. She hoped that he would end up being so disillusioned with magic…or rather the absence of it, that he would seek life in the muggle world and live in hiding under a different name. Maybe that was the only way Hugo could find tiny sparks of the happiness that was so unfairly denied to him.
And , Hermione thought, when Hugo would leave the wizardry world for good, there would be nothing to hold him back and string him to a past which he could not forget. And she included herself in such a statement. Yet…despite the fact that Hermione repeated this to herself each day, twinges of monstrous guild still grabbed her from behind and stabbed her back, causing agonizing pain. Was she right to distance herself thus from her son now of all times? Was she right to assume that Hugo will eventually give up the world for which he was created? Had he been allowed to go to Hogwarts, he would have certainly been a Gryffindor. Would a Gryffindor give up his life to live like a muggle for his own safety? She distanced herself from him precisely so that when he would decide to live in the muggle world, he wouldn’t feel sorry to leave her behind. He would be glad to leave. He would hate the life that she created for him, but he would be safe. Yet doubt filled her once again. In distancing herself from him, had she failed to see his true nature? Had she failed to know her own son? Surely he would never forgive her if he chose to stay. How she needed her mother’s advice. Should a mother vouch for her child’s happiness of safety in a world where the two were no longer compatible? Was ignorance the right road to safety? And really, was Hugo even that ignorant? She caught him on numerous occasions going through Draco’s books. He surely did inherit her thirst for knowledge. And this made it a thousand times harder for her to keep him ignorant. It also made it a thousand times more painful for her to distance herself from him. To torture them both for safety. Was that really as justifiable as it first seemed to her?
And then there was Rose. Her little girl sent to a Hogwarts that she no longer knew. How grim she became every time she came home for the holidays…how depressed she was whenever she had to go back to a Death Eater dominated place. How she wished she could keep them both home. But attempting to withdraw Rose out of Hogwarts would have been like attempting to withdraw a chick from a pit of serpents. Surely the Death Eaters would inquire as to why Rose Welloby was withdrawn from Hogwarts; and if no proper reason would be found, then all of them would be doomed. No, Rose’s situation was different and far more complicated. While ignorance was the easy way out for Hugo, Rose had to strive for the exact opposite. She needed the weapon of knowledge higher than that of the Death Eater brains, in order to find a way out. Hermione just hoped her little girl was strong enough to try and break thorough while remaining as low profile as possible.
And yet, Hermione couldn’t help feeling as if she failed them both in trying to keep them safe. She couldn’t help thinking that the actions on which she embarked for both Hugo and Rose were so very, very wrong. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying, in vain, to clear her head and find a reasonable course of action. But as soon as her eyes were closed, the accusing glares of Hugo and Rose burned her. The pained look on Draco’s face sliced her in half. And when the pain of what she saw as her failure was more than she could handle, an extended hand appeared in the distance. For a moment, she was overwhelmed by the strong desire to take this hand and let it lead her somewhere far away. But she couldn’t do that just yet. Things were not right…things were messy and things had to be set right.
She jerked upright in the bath. The water was no longer hot...it was just warm and warm wasn’t good enough. She started shivering so she quickly got out of the bath, cast a drying charm over herself and made her way to her dormitory, where she collapsed on the bed, exhausted. Before she fell asleep, she said: “I won’t be too long, Ronnie.”
Hugo was no longer so sure that his plan would work out. Last time he had been lucky, he thought as he made his way through thorn embedded bushes and fallen rose petals. Last time both Draco Malfoy and his mother believed he needed some time by himself after the fight they had had. So it was only natural that they didn’t inquire of his whereabouts.
He stopped for a moment, pondering on whether he should continue in his adventure or whether he should abort. He looked at the high fence that contoured the Manor several kilometres away from it. He could still give up now and return to the dungeons like an obedient child.
A mischievous smile crossed his face. No…he wouldn’t return. Why should he? Surely, after everything that had been denied to him he could take a few hours of freedom without having to explain himself. A few hours of freedom as far away from the Manor as he could afford. In the wizardry little town of Wiltshire.
Throwing his backpack upon his shoulder, he started climbing the fence and within minutes he was out in the open. Out of the thorn contoured grounds of the Malfoy estate. Or so he hoped.
“Judging by his wealth, I wouldn’t be surprised if he owned the whole of bloody Wiltshire…” he mumbled to himself as he started heading towards the small forest through which he had to traverse in order to find the path towards town.
It felt exhilarating…it felt liberating; with each step he took away from the manor a new air of dangerous freedom went through him and soothed his pain of being held like a prisoner. For once in his life, he didn’t dread returning to the manor; not when he knew that he could always make his illicit trips into town. And now he had another similar incentive—the possibility of a real, yet peculiar friend down in the dungeons.
Hugo had been into the little town of Wiltshire only once before. It had been right after an argument he had with Hermione regarding his unfair inability to go to Hogwarts. After shouting in her face that he hated her and after slamming the door shut on his way out, he ran into Draco who had heard the shouting and pain-struck accusations from his study. He placed a firm hand on the boy’s shoulder and led him into a small drawing area. He said nothing on the way there, but his hand softened on Hugo’s shoulder when he heard a few sniffs coming from the boy. Once inside the room, he made him sit down on the sofa and offered him a handkerchief, which Hugo refused.
“I’m not crying!” he protested, and for the boy’s comfort, Draco pretended to look away as Hugo quickly wiped away a tear. “I just have a cold…” he mumbled.
“Hugo,” started Draco in a deep voice, “I understand why you are upset, but there are things you may not understand right now. Perhaps when you’re older…”
“Oh, please stop pretending that you care…”
“Do not speak to me in this voice, young man!” snapped Draco at the boy, but Hugo’s angry stare did not cease. His eyebrows furrowed and he looked at Mr Malfoy as if he were his worst enemy.
“I will talk to you however the hell I want!” he snapped, standing up, wishing he were taller. Draco’s intimidating posture and cold eyes thrust upon his calm but deadly expression did not make him feel better either. And then a wave of warmth went across Draco’s eyes. When he spoke he did not shout.
“Hugo, you are paining your mother a great deal speaking to her like this. It’s for your own safety that you are not at Hogwarts. She loves you so much…”
“Great way of showing it, don’t you think?” he asked, but the fury that he previously felt was reduced by great amounts. He sat back down on the sofa and looked at his hands feeling guiltier than ever. He knew that Hermione loved him…but the anger that enveloped him these days made his overlook such emotions. He hated her for wanting his safety, he hated her for loving him enough to keep him at the manor. Sometimes he wished that she could love him less so that he could have more dangerous freedom. He felt so overwhelmed by his feelings in that room with Draco, that for the second time that day he couldn’t stop the tears from falling. Before he knew it, the fourteen year old was quietly crying, the tears falling on the hands from which he didn’t dare look away. He only looked up when Draco placed two fingers under his chin and lifted his head. The ice cold eyes softened when they saw the red rimmed brown ones.
“Look,” he started softly, but the boy looked away. He didn’t like that soft voice coming from Draco Malfoy. It seemed fatherly. It seemed caring. And it was long ago that Hugo accepted the fact that he no longer had a father. To have Draco speak to him in such a manner, made the boy almost like him…almost look up to him like a father figure. No…that wasn’t possible. He stood up abruptly yet again, and moved away from Draco. The latter gave him a slightly questioning glare.
“You’re not him…” he said barely above a whisper, heading for the door. Draco’s questioning glare turned into a knowing look. It wasn’t that hard to guess what was going through the boy’s soul.
“Hugo…” he started again with the intention of telling the child that he would never try to replace his father, but that he would be there for moral support should Hugo need it.
“YOU’RE NOT MY FATHER!” he shouted defensively and ran out of the room. And he kept on running until he was out of the manor and until he reached the main fence. And without thinking, he climbed it until he was out of the Malfoy estate. He only stopped running when he reached a lonely road. He had been so blinded by the rage and the contrasting feelings within him that he barely acknowledged traversing the small forest that he always saw when looking out of the western windows of the manor.
Hugo didn’t want to return. He didn’t know where the road would take him, but his legs compelled him to walk ahead. He stopped only when a small village came into view. The excitement in his heart grew at the prospect of freedom and interaction with humans who did not know his whole background…humans who might just treat him normally. People and places that may just make him forget Draco’s father-like behaviour and Hermione’s hurt eyes when he told her he hated her.
His mood lightened as he walked past every shop window and every stall of vegetables and various magical objects for sale. He stopped outside a closed broom shop and started at the wooden flying objects for what seemed like an eternity, daydreaming of the wizards he had read about in books when he was younger. He missed the games he used to play with Scorpius and Rose whenever they came from Hogwarts. He loved the liberating feeling of being in the air and of being able to control the broom, make it go in the direction in which he wanted…he wished he could control his life like that.
“You do know that one in three wizards in the middle ages died from broom games, don’t you?”
Hugo turned around startled, searching for the voice that was undoubtedly directed at him. And that was the first time he saw her. She seemed to be a girl of thirteen, wearing a pointy black witch’s hat with a falcon feather that was far too big for her head. She stood behind a stall selling various dried and non-dried plants. She offered him a small smile and at once, Hugo was captivated by the dark, almost black eyes, coated by long eyelashes that contrasted her very pale skin. From beneath her oversized witch’s hat, a long, black plait rested on the left side of her body. Hugo was compelled to approach her and as he did, the smell of dried dittany enveloped him.
“You don’t like flying?” he asked, and the girl’s smile widened.
“Why would I fly when I have two very capable legs for walking?” she replied and started arranging what some peculiar looking dried leaves with orange margins on the stall.
“The amount of time it would take you to get somewhere would be greatly reduced,” said Hugo slightly preplexed at the girl’s first response.
“I’m in no hurry to get anywhere…” she said seriously as her smile disappeared as she turned her back on him and started taking out some dried herbs from a small leather bag. Hugo at once felt as if he unconsciously insulted or upset her. Aiming to set the situation right, he said: “Well, I suppose flying isn’t for everyone. At least you can apparate when you are of age.” But when the girl turned to face him, her eyes appeared even grimmer.
Even more confused than he was before, Hugo extended his hand and said: “I’m Hugo.”
A flicker of smile appeared back on the girl’s face. “Hugo what?”
“Just Hugo,” he said and looked away. He hated to give others his name as Harry Welloby. He felt stupid and crazy to tell this stranger his first name…but he felt a sort of freedom at revealing himself thus. However, he could not take the risk of revealing the name of Weasley as well. She gave him a small smile and extended her hand to him, saying: “I’m Dawn Morgan. So what do the Potions masters of Hogwarts require of you this year?” she asked and this time it was Hugo’s face that turned grim.
“I’m not here for provisions,” he said darkly. Dawn raised a dark eyebrow at him.
“I suppose you already bought your stuff from Diagon’s Alley. But you do know that the Potions Emporium there gets much of its stuff from around here. Next year, you might as well buy potions ingredients from here…they are much cheaper and come in greater quantities,” she said, but her voice trailed off as she saw Hugo’s eyes saddening.
“Yeah, next time I will,” he said, imagining for a few moments what his life would have been like had his lie been true. “What house are you in?” he asked. He had read a lot about Hogwarts and the sorting ceremony…and given the girl’s slightly peculiar character and assumed knowledge of potions ingredients he would have placed her in Ravenclaw. But Dawn looked down at her pale hands as she said in a small voice: “I’m not a Hogwarts student.”
“Oh,” was all the Hugo managed to say. “May I ask why?” he asked.
“You may not,” she said and an attempt at an evil smile appeared on her face.
“Sorry,” said Hugo, unsure of how he was supposed to react. Human interaction was not his strong point.
“So are you going to buy anything?” she asked after a few moments of awkward silence.
“I don’t have any money with me,” he said lamely.
“Next time you should bring some,” she said simply and returned to arranging her plants.
“I will,” Hugo found himself saying. “It was nice meeting you, Dawn,” he said and gave her a small smile as he started making his way back. Dawn did not look up as he spoke to her…but once he was far enough away, she looked after him as a small smile appeared on her lips.
This time, however, Hugo did have money. One hand was in his pocket, playing with the sole Galleon he managed to sneak out of his mother’s dormitory, as, for the second time in his life, he walked towards the little town of Wiltshire that was slowly appearing before him. He had nothing of particular interest or need that he wanted to buy. But there was something about Dawn Morgan that made him want to see her again. He wondered why she didn’t go to Hogwarts…wondered whether she too was imprisoned by her own past. How he wished to tell her that he lied…but then she would definitely not want to speak to him, and he really did want a friend that was his age.
He had been so caught up in the memories of his first adventure in town, that he almost didn’t notice the thick fog that descended upon the road. He stopped in his tracks and for the first time since he left the manor, he started thinking properly. He could try and turn back to the house, however, trying to navigate through the small forest in such a fog, would surely get him lost. His only option, therefore, was to continue walking on the straight road towards the village and hope that by the time he had to return, the fog would have cleared. With this in mind he started walking again, not taking his eyes of the stones on the pathway. He was afraid he would lose his way if he looked ahead and tried to discern anything through such a heavy curtain of nature.
And yet, if Hugo wouldn’t have concentrated so much on his memories and on the stones on the road, he would have heard the approaching footsteps behind him. But he did not, and it was not long before a strong hand grabbed his shoulder and turned him around.
Hugo gasped at the slightly surprised and slightly irritated face of Lucius Malfoy which peered down at him. A half smile appeared on the man's face.
“Well, well, well…what do we have here?”
Every bit of Rose cringed at how wrong the particular moment she was experiencing felt. She tried to focus on what she was doing, hoping that a higher level of concentration would enable her to feel the sparks and moths she felt within her at the beginning. But kissing Lysander Scamander couldn’t feel more wrong than it felt right then. She subtly broke the kiss and looked at him. His eyelashes were not as big as Scorpius’s, she thought. But his eyes seemed warmer…a darker blue. A kinder heart.
“What is it?” he asked as he caressed her cheek.
“Nothing,” she lied, inwardly cringing. His smile widened as his face came closer to hers, his eyes closing and his lips preparing to kiss her once more.
“I didn’t see you at breakfast this morning?” she said rather fast, moving a little further away from him. His eyes abruptly opened and he raised his left eyebrow. “I overslept,” he said.
“Really?” she asked, this time raising her eyebrows. “Alice said she saw you and Lorcan arguing by Ravenclaw tower.”
“That was later,” he said, his face darkening and his voice becoming colder. Rose placed a hand over his, but when he looked at her, his eyes didn’t soften. “Are you and Alice stalking me?” he asked and stood up from the couch. The Gryffindor common room was empty save for the two of them,
“No!” said Rose, standing up as well. “It’s just something that she mentioned at breakfast….Lys, I’m just worried about you.”
“There’s nothing to be worried about,” he said defensively.
“I beg to differ. In a castle full of Death Eaters, I have the right to worry about my boyfriend when I don’t see him at breakfast,” said Rose in a clam voice. But she couldn’t ignore the sudden feeling that Lysander was hiding something from her.
“They only attack when you annoy them…if you give them no reason to be annoyed with you, then they won’t strike,” he said in a soft but still colder than normal voice.
“No, Lysander,” she said getting slightly angry, “they strike for pleasure, but this is not the point. Why were you arguing with Lorcan?”
Lysander turned his back on her, facing the chimney fire. A moment of silence followed. “Brothers sometimes argue,” he said. “It was nothing.” When he faced her, Rose knew that something was very wrong.
“You’re lying,” she said. She inwardly sighted at how easily she could read him. With Scorpius it was different. While Lysander was an open book, Scorpius was a highly protected grimoire.
“I’m not lying. Even you said…Alice saw me arguing with Lorcan.”
“Lysander I know you! That face you have on right now, is not one that tells me it was nothing!” she said exasperated.
“Maybe you don’t know me as much as you think you do, then,” he said in an angry voice as he took a step towards her. “I’m going to go out of the common room for a while. When I come back, we will act normally towards each other.” With that he headed for the portrait door and within seconds, Rose was alone.
She couldn’t quite pin point what was wrong with Lysander. A part of her, urged her to go after him and confront him. But another part of her…the part that always alerted her of danger, told her to stay put as it replayed the calm and deadly voice Lysander Scamander had just used. It was almost as calm and deadly as one used by a Death Eater.
She groaned and collapsed on the sofa, placing her head in her hands. It had all been so nice and perfect at the beginning…her relationship with Lysander had been great. It was true that there wasn’t the magic chemistry she felt when she was with Scorpius, but Lysander could still make her smile…he could still swing her off her feet with a kiss. He could still hold her hand and tell what was wrong with her. She still liked him. But he had acted so strangely in the past few days. Whenever she saw Lorcan and Lysander together, there always seemed to be s a strain between them…untold words perhaps. And she also couldn’t help feeling that these strains were growing. “What is he hiding?” she thought out loud. Lysander had never previously hid anything from her, so naturally, Rose couldn’t help but feel that whatever caused such changes in him was not something that could be easily overlooked.
But her thoughts were soon interrupted. When she lifted her head from her hands, the chimney fire was greatly reduced and the room had become decidedly colder. The feeling of being watched came back and the little hairs on her arm stood up alerted. A strange feeling grabbed her stomach and her heart accelerated. She slowly stood up from the sofa and looked around the now dark common room.
“Who’s there?” she tried asking in a confident voice, but only a mere whisper came out. Nobody replied, but the room got even colder. Rose could see white vapours coming out of her mouth when she breathed. “What do you want?” she tried again, but it still came out as a whisper.
“Rose Weasley,” said a voice that Rose thought she knew. She looked around and finally did find what she had been looking for. There, in the far corner of the room, right by the stairs leading to the boy’s dormitory, a white misty ball of light was expanding. When she finally realized that the strange feeling within her stomach was not fear, Rose took a few more steps towards the murky, expanding substance. It was now an oval, and from that oval, two legs appeared, followed by two arms. Rose looked mesmerised as the mist metamorphosed into a ghostly body. The features upon the face became more prominent, the shape of the eyes accentuated and the lips started smiling warmly at her. And Rose felt the need to hold on to the sofa, just to make sure she would not collapse with shock.
For right there in front of her, smiling reassuringly, stood the ghost of Harry Potter.
A/N Hello there. I told you I wouldn't be too long with this chapter. I really hope you liked it! I know there is still a lot to be revealed, but maybe you found some answers to your questions in this one. So what did you think of the twist at the end? I'm sure many of you like the fact that one of your favourite characters entered the story again. I hope you do anyway. I also aimed to explain in a small part why Hermione acted the way she did towards Hugo and Draco. I know it is not enough, but there will be more, rest assured. I can't give it all away in one chapter.
I also hope you liked the Hugo scene and his little memory of Dawn Morgan. Where do you think that will go? I guess it remains to be seen.
Can I also take this opportunity to thank all of you who read and reviewed. I honestly love you guys. You make my day when you leave me feedback!!! Thank you so much once again. Also, let me just say now , that I will never abandon this story. If it happens that I don't post for an extended period of time (and I hope this will not happen again), it may be because I am facing a writer's block, or I have too much school work to do. But sooner or later I will post another chapter. Thank you for being so patient thus far. I know how frustrating it can be not to have the next chapter when there is a cliff hanger.
I will start to write chapter 15 as soon as possible and I shall do my best to post soon.
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