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Chapter 8 : Chapter 8: Of Pillows and Dreams
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By the time everything was said and done, it was late afternoon and everyone was emotionally drained. Lianna resided in her room after darting out of the kitchen, while Brooke and Lucas orbed back to California with the Halliwell family so that they could reassure their worried parents. Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape left once more for Hogwarts to prepare for the upcoming school year while Mad-Eye left to relieve an Order member from their shift. Tonks and Kingsley left to go back to their day jobs as Aurors for the Ministry of Magic, leaving Mrs. Weasley to fuss over food once more. Everyone else in the kitchen sat in silence. Mrs. Weasley started to ready a late lunch for anyone who was hungry and for any Order members that would stop by. Ginny, not knowing what else to do, got up to assist her mother. Mr. Weasley and Bill struck up a whispered conversation with Sirius and an exhausted Remus Lupin, leaving the Golden Trio and the Weasley twins.
The five Hogwarts students stared at one another. Hermione started to fiddle with her hair, while Ron was swinging his head towards the kitchen door in an attempt to signal his friends that they should leave, but Harry just stared in confusion. Fred and George twiddled their thumbs and hummed a few tunes, not know what to do with themselves.
“Well, I am tired aren’t I Fred?” said George yawning with his arms stretched out.
“Huh? It’s barely 1 in the afternoon. We haven’t even done any—” Fred stifled a gasp and turned red. George had obviously stepped on his foot, hard.
“Oh yea. Me too. Funny how that happens eh? Uh— eh— We’re going to nap upstairs,” said Fred through the searing pain from his foot.
“Haha… yea, right, growing boys, you know,” said George with an awkward face.
“Bye,” they said together and Apparated out of the room with a loud CRACK to their room above.
The twin’s effort to be discreet went unnoticed as Mrs. Weasley barely turned away from the food she was preparing. Ginny, on the other hand, grinned at their effort, while Ron whispered, “Why didn’t they just leave?” to a giggling Harry and Hermione. So, Harry, Ron, and Hermione got up, excused themselves and headed for the room Harry and Ron shared. They entered the room, closed the door, and sat on the beds.
“That was incredibly uncomfortable,” said Hermione, rubbing the back of her neck as she situated herself onto Harry’s bed after disdainfully looking at Ron’s hazardous bed. For all Hermione knew, something could be living there.
“Weird though isn’t it?” said Ron inquisitively.
“What is Ron?” replied Hermione.
“Well this whole situation actually. I find it rather strange that although I remember the whole lot of them at Hogwarts last year, I barely remember Malfoy having a brother and I just… I find it strange that… Well, to be honest I think I’ve always had a connection to Brooke. Or at least now I assume it was Brooke. Of course there’s that whole thing last year, but even before our fourth year it’s like I’ve been looking for something, someone. I guess I found it in Brooke.”
Hermione glared a bit to Harry’s surprise, but her retort was even more surprising.
“Well then Ronald, if you think so highly of Brooke, why don’t you ask her to marry you?” snapped Hermione, showing a little bit of the green jealousy monster. Harry had to cover his mouth to prevent the other two from seeing his grin, while Ron looked completely taken aback.
“I didn’t mean… I don’t think of her romantically, Hermione,” said Ron as he placed his hand on hers, not realizing the sentimental gesture. Ron moved his hand immediately and turned a brilliant red, while Hermione was pure crimson from blushing. Harry just shook his head. “Uh… What I meant was that Brooke and I have a connection of sorts. It’s as if we were meant to know one another… NOT ROMANTICALLY—just a deep… friendship?”
Ron raised an eyebrow. He was confusing himself as he tried to explain more thoroughly, so he just put his head in his hands and gave up his attempt. He was still extremely red, but Hermione merely looked curious.
“I know how you feel, Ron,” said Harry, while Hermione continued to ponder what her best friends were saying. “I just can’t explain it…”
“I think you’re right, Ron. But don’t get too excited,” said Hermione as she saw Ron about to throw his fist in the air in triumph, so Ron retracted immediately. “It wasn’t a coincidence that we all… oh what’s the word for it?”
“Complement each other?” said Harry.
“Yes. Exactly, Harry. We all fit as if we were pieces of a puzzle—”
“Oh please don’t go on one of your rants, Hermione. We just wanted to know if you understood, not if you could—”
But Ron never finished his complaint as a furious Hermione hit him with a pillow square in the face. Harry laughed, resulting in a pillow in his own face, knocking his glasses askew. This time the pillow came from Ron, so Harry grabbed a pillow and attempted to throw it back at Ron, but two loud CRACKS redirected his aim hitting Hermione.
Fred and George stood at the door laughing, so the trio of fifth years grabbed pillows and flung them at the Weasley twins. But the twins Apparated to the other side of the room, with another pair of loud cracks avoiding the flurry of pillows. When the feather stuffing had cleared, everyone saw that the bedroom door was open with Ginny covered in feathers. And then in an instant, the room was covered in feathers, pillows, and best of all, laughter.
“HEY! NO WANDS!!” came the muffled cry of Ron to his elder brothers.
The twins were about to say a spell for biting pillows when Hermione and Ginny came out of nowhere taking their wands before the spell could be casted.
“Fair Game!” laughed Ginny with a mischievous smile. Behind her, Ron, Harry, and Hermione each wore their own mischievous grins to supplement the pillows in each of their hands. Fred and George laughed nervously looking at each other.
“Tuck and roll, Georgie. Tuck and roll,” said Fred, but before the twins could “tuck” or “roll,” they were pelted by numerous pillows and laughter erupted in the small room. Their fluffy war continued, while the rest of the world discretely readied themselves for a more sinister war.
Down the hall, Lianna heard bouts of laughter. At first it was just one laugh, but now the laughter had erupted threatening to drill holes through the door. Lianna, sitting at the windowsill, stood up and walked to the door.
“Harry!” shrieked Hermione through the door, but instead of hearing Hermione’s warm-hearted warning, Lianna heard another voice, a shrill, frightened one.
The voice was a woman’s, a mother’s, piercing, but distant— a mere memory.
Lianna closed her eyes, put her hand on the door and whispered a spell. The laughter abruptly stilled, leaving a simple silence. Lianna had casted a spell to block out the merriment down the hall, but as she opened her eyes the woman’s shriek continued to ring in her ears. Lianna shook her head, causing the memory to fade and disappear to the back of her mind where it had once rested, silenced but never forgotten.
Lianna went back to the windowsill and looked out at the ignorant Muggle world. She watched oblivious Muggles going about their daily lives despite the threat of an ongoing war in their midst. Lianna shook her head, numerous horrific memories threatening to reveal themselves once more. In an attempt to block out the memories, Lianna focused her attention on a Muggle family situated just outside her window.
The father, a middle-aged man with dark hair, was holding two cones of ice cream. Following close behind was a young boy, almost an exact replica of his father. The young boy was holding a bouquet of flowers much bigger than himself and lost his shoe while trying to keep pace with his father’s large strides. The father and son stopped in their tracks. The father took the bouquet and placed it on the ground, while the boy held on to the two cones of ice cream. The father tied his son’s shoelaces, playfully messed with the boy’s hair, grasped the bouquet, and the pair strolled on towards a park bench where another pair resided.
The other pair was a mother and her daughter. The mother’s blonde hair clashed with her daughter’s sleek dark hair, but their resemblance was unmistakable. The pair was laughing as the mother finished braiding the young girl’s hair. Then the little girl turned around and attempted to tickle her mother, but instead was forced to surrender as her mother got the upper hand. The girl giggled fiercely and then the two looked up to see the father and son approaching with gifts. The boy walked over to his sister and gave her one of the cones of ice cream, as she beamed happily in thanks. The father gave the bouquet to his wife but as she got up to give a thankful kiss, the man backed away. The mother stood confused. But then the man pulled out a large box of chocolates from his coat pocket whispering unheard words. The parents smiled and touched noses. They leaned in for a sweet kiss but the man glanced curiously at his son, who was struggling to climb onto the bench. The boy was using only one hand to lift himself onto the bench because the other was carefully preserving the sweet dessert, while his sister attempted to help with her own free hand. Seeing the struggle, the parents chuckled and with one swoop of his arm, the father had picked up his son and placed him next to his sister. The siblings ate their ice cream merrily, while the parents sat on either side of the bench: the mother next to the girl and the father beside his son. The mother set the chocolate box in between the siblings and the whole family ate joyfully.
Lianna watched the little family until the box of chocolates and the ice cream dissolved into their bellies. Then the family got up. The children stood on the bench and the parents stepped in front of them. Lianna was surprised to see that when the family had turned around, the little girl was in her father’s arms, while also carrying the bouquet of flowers, and the boy was in his mother’s arms twirling her hair in his fingers. It turns out the boy wasn’t really playing with his mother’s hair, instead he was trying to place a flower behind her ear. The family started to walk away and the last thing that Lianna saw was a sweet kiss between the parents.
Lianna smiled a sad smile. A tear escaped her eyes as she walked over to the cabinet, pulling out a small photo. The photo was quite old and did not move, compared to the many photos in the Wizard World. Lianna caressed the small photo with her thumb. She whispered a spell and the people in the photo began to move, parents laughing and carrying two babies. It was a picture of a new family full of joy, laughter, and most especially love. Lianna sat on the bed and held the small photo to her heart as various tears fell from her soft brown eyes. She sighed a deep sad sigh as she placed her head on the pillow…
“He needs you,” said a distant familiar voice.
Lianna opened her eyes to a foggy hilltop. She looked around apprehensively for the source of the voice.
“Who’s there?” she said in a panic.
“Do you really have to ask?” said the voice, “Love.”
Lianna turned around to see Chris Halliwell walking towards her out of the fog. Lianna stared at the young man she gave her whole heart to, the same young man that she knew to be dead.
“Chris…” she whispered softly.
“Don’t say it any louder, Love. I can totally hear you,” joked Chris.
“But—I—Chris—What is going on?” Lianna was shaking her head, trying to comprehend how she was seeing her dead boyfriend, let alone talking to him.
“Don’t freak out! You are not crazy—at least not yet.” Chris winked at Lianna, who returned his wink with a stern look. “I miss that annoyed look of yours... I miss a lot of things.”
Chris moved a stray hair away from Lianna’s face. “You’re dreaming, Love.”
Lianna turned away. She had been avoiding dreaming of her dead boyfriend for months resulting in little or no sleep, yet here she was at the top of a hill that her group of friends claimed as their own and talking to her dead boyfriend. I don’t even remember falling asleep, she thought.
“Don’t be scared, Love. I got you. You needed help. A sign of sorts. Something to help you make a decision about everything. But I have to say that I’m disappointed, Lia. You haven’t been reading the signs very well because your mind needed to conjure up your dead boyfriend so that you could finally understand what needs to be done.”
“Don’t. I don’t need your help. I know what I have to d—” said Lianna.
“Then why are we here? Love, you’re hiding. You’ve been hiding since I died,” said Chris gently.
“No, I am not! This destiny or… or… whatever this is— it’s not set in stone! It’s—”
“He needs you. He still needs you, Lia—”
“Who? Dumbledore? He can fend for his damn self so don’t be Dumbledore’s little advocate—”
“Not Dumbledore, Lia. Your brother.”
Lianna bit her lip and swung around to face Chris, only to turn away from him again. She felt a hand on her shoulder, but the touch was barely physical, almost like a faint touch of the wind.
“He still needs you. He needs your help,” continued Chris.
“Chris, HE doesn’t know I exist! I’ve watched over him for years, protected him, but I still can’t reveal myself. I can’t tell him everything I’ve held onto for 14 years, let alone be his sister! No, he doesn’t need me. He’s safer without me.” Lianna’s voice cracked and she tried to walk away.
“What about Harry?” said Lianna still walking.
“He needs you,” said Chris almost forcefully. Lianna closed her eyes and froze.
“He finally has someone who understands him, to help him in his own treacherous journey and you’re just going to walk away when he needs you most?” Chris’ voice was angry now, as Lianna started to walk again. “YOU don’t run. YOU don’t hide. You have always been the stronghold of the group! Leading us when we needed to be lead, protecting others when they weren’t yours to protect! You always adapted to the situation at hand, always done what was needed or asked of you and more. Since when have you ever been so selfish?!”
Lianna whirled around to face Chris, vicious tears falling from her once soft brown eyes.
“I deserve to be selfish after everything that has happened in my life! I have fought for everyone else, it’s my turn to fight for me! I. Deserve. To. Be… FREE!” she yelled.
“And you think you’ll be free if you hide? If you run? I know you, Lia! You will drive yourself crazy if you run away from this because you will be worried sick about everyone else. That’s what I love about you. You always come back stronger! You’ve never been able to pull yourself from those in need especially if you love them! That’s why you chose to be a Guardian, remember? Always the first to make any sacrifice for any charge and always the first to help. You were always the one on the front line, ready to be the first to strike or to take the hit. You… you were always willing.”
“I’ve changed…you’re dead. You don’t get to dictate my life like the way everyone else has been doing for 15 years! I’ve never had a choice. I’ve always made it my own way somehow but it was always someone else’s decision first! For once I want to choose my fate and be able to save those I love!”
“We both know that you would have chosen the same path you’re on. I know you better than you know yourself, Love. You were my charge, my very special charge.” Lianna choked on her tears as she heard this. Tears also fell from Chris’ warm green eyes as he continued, “I’m so sorry I abandoned you. I’m sorry you feel so much agony, but trust me, baby, I would have never left you if I thought you couldn’t handle this on your own. None of us would have if we didn’t believe in your strength… in all of your strengths. I’m sorry we decided for you, but we didn’t leave you all alone. You have Brooke, Lucas, even Jake and trust me you will need him, all of them including your new charges. With them you can topple any hardships.” Chris paused to wipe away his tears and he touched her face with that distant touch. “And the best part is, I’m still with you, Love.”
“No,” hiccupped Lianna as more tears fell, “You don’t get a say in my decisions anymore. You’re dead.”
“Lia, just listen to me!”
“NO!” Lianna stomped away again. She was angry and frustrated. She didn’t know where she was going, but she just kept going, although she didn’t seem to be getting far. Chris still stood in the same place watching her.
“You can’t run from it, Lia. Whether you like it or not, it will hang over you until you give in because you know that this is exactly where you should be. You’re stubborn. I know that, but you have never been selfish,” said Chris calmly.
Now Lianna started to run, more frustrated than ever. She was finally able to gain some distance that when she turned to look, Chris was nowhere to be seen, yet his voice was just as clear as if she was right next to him.
“He needs you, Lia. Your brother needs you. Harry needs you. They all still need you!”
Lianna spun around, finding herself face to face with Chris as if he had been following her this whole time. Her eyes were burning with anger and she was panting.
“I don’t care what they need. I need freedom. I need space. I need to get away,” angry tears flowed freely down her face, “I need you… I—I can’t do this… any of this without you…”
Lianna collapsed onto the ground and cried like she hadn’t cried in front of anyone else. After her parents’ death she sobbed not fully comprehending why they wouldn’t wake, but each loss after that she shed less tears; at her best friends’ recent funerals she shed none at all. She had slowly broken, her spirit, her hope shattered into millions of fragmented pieces. She had perfected the art of hiding her emotions, yet here she was sobbing in front of an image in a dream. She sobbed for what seemed like hours until Chris gently lifted her chin. Chris smiled and touched her face. This time, his touch felt so real, as if she was being held by him once more. Lianna gazed into the vibrant green eyes she fell in love with, the same emerald tint that once belonged to her mother.
“I’m right here, Love. I’ve never left your side and I will never leave you, but you have to go on. You have pieces of me that I can only get back when we truly meet again. But for now, you have something to do.”
“Open your hand.”
Lianna opened her hand and Chris placed his hand over it. Chris looked directly into her puffy, tear-stained eyes and beamed, making Lianna smile fully for the first time since the tragedy of Magic School a couple months ago. A gold light radiated between their hands. Chris removed his hand from Lianna’s, revealing a small, but elegant crystal angel charm hanging on a thin silver chain.
“An angel,” whispered Lianna.
“A guardian angel,” smiled Chris. “Wear this. It’s another piece of me that I’m leaving with you for your journey. I expect that back when we see each other again. Remember? You gave me a similar charm when were just kids.”
Lianna looked up. She had forgotten all about her mother’s charm, her mother’s angel. She had given him the angel when she found him crying in the playground because his parents were fighting. They became friends after that, bickering friends, but friends nonetheless. Lianna saw that Chris was wearing her mother’s angel charm on his neck.
“I have my angel and now you have yours. When we see each other again we’ll switch. Just say ‘Yes.’”
As everyone filed out of Ron and Harry’s now feather-filled room to start cleaning the other filthy rooms of Grimmauld Place at Mrs. Weasley’s orders, Harry stopped at the threshold. Harry thought he had seen a shadow of a person down the hallway, near the Guardians’ room through the corner of his eye. Harry looked more closely at the other trio’s door and saw that it was slightly ajar.
Hmm… maybe Lupin checked in on Lia, thought Harry.
Harry was about to follow the rest of the Hogwarts students to an upstairs den as Mrs. Weasley commanded, but Harry turned to look at the door again and for a split second, he thought he saw a glimpse of a hand?
Harry was dumbfounded and removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. After making sure his already tainted vision was as clear as day, Harry headed towards the door while everyone else had already reached the upstairs den. Harry could hear the various protests from the Weasley siblings as he reached the doorway. Harry peeked in cautiously.
Lianna was lying on a huge bed, sleeping. She looked like she had been crying. Harry felt a strange pull to wipe away her tears, so he opened the door a little more and slipped inside. When Harry was inside he looked around the room, spotting various Black family heirlooms, a slightly open window, and a couple of pictures on the dresser mirror. There was a picture of a group of students in black robes, white collared blouses with a black tie and black bottoms. The group of students were laughing jovially and talking to each other. The next photo was of the same group but in this photo they were all clad in bathing suits and were settled at the beach. The first picture had the group in an almost prom-like stance with each person paired off, while the other photo had some girls on some of the boys’ backs or messing around in the sand. Harry was leaning in to look at the photos better when he felt a gush of wind. Harry whirled around to see that the window was now open fully and at the corner of his eye he could see a bright light appear in one of Lianna’s outstretched hand. Harry looked closer to see that a guardian angel necklace had appeared in Lianna’s open hand, a necklace that he was sure was not there mere seconds ago. Harry glanced at Lianna’s other hand, which was placed near her heart, and barely even noticed the small corner of the photo of the new family. Lianna had not moved since Harry had entered so how could the necklace been placed in the palm of Lianna’s outstretched hand?
“Chris…” whispered Lianna in her sleep as tears fell from her slumbering eyes.
Harry was bewildered. What just happened? he thought. A slight movement of the floorboards made Harry turn around and to his surprise found that the window was now shut.
“Harry?” called Hermione from somewhere upstairs.
Harry, still baffled, quickly slipped out of the room and gently closed the door, leaving Lianna in her deep slumber. But just as Harry closed the door a person appeared, almost like a ghost but very real indeed. The person looked at the sleeping young lady, saw the angel in her hand, whispered a spell and then looked at Lianna once more.
Deep blue eyes gazed at the young girl until the guardian angel glowed. Three words engraved themselves on the lily petals the angel sat on. Then, as quietly and as mysteriously as the person appeared, the blue-eyed individual disappeared.
The inscription read, “I’m here, Love.”
First off, I AM SOOOO SORRY IT HAS TAKEN ME SUCH A LONG TIME TO UPDATE!!! Life has finally settled a little bit but still busy =/ I'm trying to update at least 2 more chapters soon and I'm hoping to keep a steady flow of updates but we'll see
Secondly, THANK YOU FOR READING!!!
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