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Chapter 8 : Numb
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I don't own anything. Enjoy, and review! (I respond to every one)
Totally squee worthy pic of Fred and Scorp by a muffin @ TDA!!!
“So . . . how do you feel?” I glared. Teddy really knew how to piss me off.
“Look, I know I’m not the best person . . . psychologically . . . right now, but I don’t need you bloody saying that every time we meet. It’s bad enough my Merlin-freakin’ Potions’ partner knows I see a therapist, and the fact I actually have to see one,” I retorted, and Teddy backed off.
“Okay. First off, don’t judge people, especially if it is who I think it is. I can tell you that. Second of all, this is just like a conversation, except I’m going to try to help you and you aren’t going to bite my head off. With any luck, we’ll have that nasty temper under control as well as your emotions in general. So . . . what happened today?” I nodded, and told him.
“-I’m really surprised, I guess. It won’t last too long, though; something’s going to explode in my face soon enough,” I finished, shrugging, leaving out the part where Al and I went snooping. It was true; this kind of luck for me was unheard of.
“That, my friend, is your first problem. You need to be more positive, James. Just because something good happens to you, it doesn’t mean something bad needs to take its place. It seems like you had a good day, so there’s not much I can do. But I am curious regarding this ‘friend’ of yours, whom you think is in need of psychological help. Who is this ‘she’?” He asked, still tipping back in his chair.
“Er . . . my Potions’ partner?” I asked, trying to skirt around the question.
“The one who McGonagall sent to fetch you?” He asked, and I nodded. “Who is she and why do you think she needs my help? I’m not even a freakin’ psychiatrist.”
“Well . . . her name is Ellie Finnegan. She’s a Slytherin, my year, and when I called her Frankie, which she normally just glares at, she lunged at me ‘cause her friend stole her wand. Then she screamed obscenities at a wall before kicking it,” I replied, still extremely confused.
“Ah . . . McGoogles warned me about her. I think she may be forced into this in a month or so, because the Ministry’s paying me to floo here once a week and talk to angsty teenagers a.k.a. you. I just wanted to be a bloody higher-up Auror, but I got this, too. Anyways, Zabini’s incredibly thick to pair the two of you together. He either wants the world to explode or he wants to kill two birds with one stone.”
“I don’t get it. She and her friend Maddy always get straight O’s. How’s that bad?” Teddy looked shocked.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Then I heard him mumble something about Zabini and ‘prick’.
“What’s wrong with Maddy? She seems normal.” I interrupt. “More normal than Elyse.”
“I can’t tell you more, James. I’ll be back next week, where something will have undoubtedly wrong, knowing you. I gotta go; Pippa and Andie are fighting again, and Remus is sick of it all. Vic will be going crazy, and when I get back they will either be in a time-out or exploding their bedroom. . . Kids, eh?”
“Bye, Teddy. Tell Tori ‘lo from me, and tell Remus I’m going to save him from your madness.” I loved Remus; he was a normal kid and the oldest at age five. Pippa and Andromeda always fought; Pippa being three and a ‘big kid’, and Andie being only two and an ‘immature child’.
“See ya, James.” And so my crazy godbrother left. I just stood there for a moment or two, before realizing I could go as well. It hadn’t been nearly as bad as I thought it would’ve been, but probably because it was Teddy and not some stranger. I headed back towards Gryffindor, to report to Rose for help with my Potions’ essay as well as to make sense of the whole deal with Montague.
When I finally made it there, (I took two wrong turns- it turns out I still don’t know my left from right) Lily, Albus, Austin, Fred, Scorpius, and Rose were all still in the common room. After Austin said a naughty word Laurel and Louis appeared. With them came Skye.
“What is this . . . an intervention?” I asked, as they all looked like they were attending a funeral.
“No. We were just thinking . . . and we all remembered what happened, and couldn’t figure out why we were so happy when we knew about . . . about Charlie.” The grin slipped off my face like stinksap. Rose looked at the point of tears again; Charlie was her best friend. She had saved my baby cousin at a time none other could, and I had forgotten that every time I yelled at her. I was just trying to stop her from doing dangerous things, but there was something more. Something had snapped; I took it out on the easiest person. Charlie. I sank into a chair.
“No. Bloody hell, no,” I muttered, wondering how I had taken everything out on one person. That’s cruel.
“He finally realized what he did to Charlie, did he?” Austin piped in, and I nodded. “Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but you need to suck it up.” My head snapped up.
“Sure, life may not be all freaking rainbows and butterflies right now for you, but you need to stop thinking this revolves around you. Because it doesn’t; this is about Charlie. So, get your head out of your arse and prove that you really care. Help her,” Austin said sharply. He always knew how to deflate my head.
“Okay . . . did Al fill you in?” I asked, but they all shook their heads. “That’s not good, because I’m bloody confused about what the hell happened during our little. . . excursion.”
“Did you just used excursion in normal conversation, James?” Al asked, looking astounded that I knew that word. Prick.
“Yes, but that’s besides the point. Charlie needs our help, and we’re here talking about the word excursion,” I shot back, and I heard a low whistle from Laurel.
“Damn, James, I’ve only seen you that serious during Quidditch.” Skye slapped Laurel lightly, a faint smile finding her face nonetheless.
“Or at Charlie, or . . .” Rose added weakly, before trailing off. I knew what she had left unsaid, as did Al. No one else knew, except for Charlie. She didn’t bloody count, though, seeing as though she was in a coma.
“Rose?” Albus asked, putting his arm around his cousin. “You all right?” Rose’s face reddened.
“No I’m not bloody all right! My best friend is in a coma, and she’s probably going to die! The person I nearly owe my life to, and there’s nothing I can bloody do besides try to help you and Al in your dimwitted schemes!” She screeched, before her voice started shaking. “I can’t lose her, too,” she whispered, as the tears started streaming down her face. Austin looked majorly pissed off.
“Great, more secrets,” he muttered, before stalking off. What a prick.
“You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, Wood,” I growled after him.
“Really? Because it seems to me that you lot are keeping secrets from us, ones that could save Charlie!”
“This isn’t about Charlie right now! We’re working on it, but Rose is right here and she’s falling apart because of it all! You don’t know what happened? Do you even know how she and Charlie became friends? If you know SO much about Charlie that you can tell us all how horrible we are, can you tell me that?” I exploded. He had no response for a few seconds, but ran his hands through his hair. Finally he looked at everyone. (but me)
“Look, I’m sorry I’ve been such a pillock. But Charlie’s like my little sister, and I don’t want anything to happen to her. So I’m sorry, especially to you, Rose,” he apologized, sitting back down. That was easy. (I love how spineless we Gryffindors are nowadays)
“I’ll tell you,” Rose said, her eyes as cold as ice. “I’m actually surprised that you didn’t put the pieces together all year. It was all over the papers.” Laurel took a deep breath, as if it had clicked.
“Third year for you lot . . . that was the year your dad went on that mission and-” Laurel started, her eyes for once betraying her compassion.
“Yeah,” Rose said simply, before burying her head into Scorpius’s shoulder, while Al surrounded her other side. But there was someone missing in the picture: Charlie.
“What happened?” Skye asked, her voice hardly heard. I bet she didn’t ask for this when she signed up to play Quidditich; a crazy, ADHD, insomniac Captain, a Beater in a coma, and the strategist reliving her past.
“My dad died on that mission. Actually, he died in St. Mungo’s, after being there an entire night. I remember how long that night was. After it all, I was really depressed; I wouldn’t eat and I wouldn’t sleep. None of the other girls in my dorm noticed. Except for Charlie. She figured it out and made me do something about it. . .” Then she burst out into tears. Scorpius held her while Albus rubbed her back.
“Being a Wotter really isn’t as easy as it looks, is it?” Lily said. Rose laughed weakly, and we all sat in silence until Rose calmed down.
“Sorry, you lot. What were we being filled in on?” Rose sniffled after she had regained control.
“Er. . . James and I were watching Montague and-” Albus explained the erratic encounter.
“That’s odd. What are we going to do about it? I know it was him, and this might prove it.”
“-But he said it was only phase one-”
“-What the hell, I -”
“OI!” Rose shouted after we all had exploded. “This doesn’t prove anything. We need a real spy, because the Slytherins know Al is a traitor. We need to know exactly what Rhys Montague is doing, and what spell he’s under. Scorpius, Laurel, Austin, Louis, and I will research all we can based on his behavior. Albus, Skye, Lily, and Fred will work on finding a reliable spy. James, go sleep, you look like you’re going to fall over.”
. . .
. . .
. . .
“Huh?” I asked, waking up from my daze. I was extremely tired, as I hadn’t slept in around four days.
“James-” she started, obviously beginning the whole “patronizing” thing.
“Fine, but on one condition. You have to do my Potions’ essay.” I smirked.
“On what world would Rose’s essay be comparable to yours?”
“Fine. Lily can do it.”
“Deal-” Rose started, but Lily cut her off.
“HEY!” But I didn’t hear it, I was so bloody exhausted.
Right before I was about to attempt sleep, I saw a glance of myself in the mirror, and I honestly didn’t recognize myself. My hair was sticking up in fifty different directions, my eyes were dull and lifeless, complete with dark purple circles under them. Funny how my family noticed them now, and not five years ago, isn’t it? Truth is they couldn’t have; I’m very good at concealment charms.
Still, the person in the mirror scared me. He looked like someone who was on the edge, ready to jump off. No wonder they were treating me like a bloody time-bomb. I climbed into my four-poster, but as soon as I lay down I knew sleep wouldn’t come, not for a while, anyways. And then it would be for no more than three hours, but it would hold me for the next few days. So I just lay there, letting everything run through my head, as I tried to make sense of it all.
“They’re back, Lily,” Al said as soon as everyone else cleared out of the common room.
“The circles?” She asked, and he nodded. “I wish he wouldn’t keep everything bloody bottled up inside; it’s starting to eat him alive.”
“I haven’t seen them for a few years, but the one charm he’s really mastered is-” He started, running his hand through his hair.
“The concealment charm,” Lily finished for him. “Al?” She asked, suddenly changing the subject.
“Yeah, Lily?” Albus answered, knowing his little sister was about to have ‘a moment’. It was happening a lot lately for all of them.
“I’m scared. I’m scared for Charlotte, I’m scared for James, because he’s not telling us everything, and because he’s so . . . so . . .”
“I know, Lils. It’s scary as hell. But . . . James will have to tell us soon enough. He’ll be all right,” Albus reassured.
“How can you be so sure?”
“I just am, Lils.”
When I awoke, the clock next to me informed me that it was three o’clock. I’d fallen asleep at nine, but woke up at ten for an hour. So I’d had five hours asleep. That was good news. Immediately I felt a sense of irony; I couldn’t sleep, but Charlie most likely would never wake up.
Charlie. That girl spun my head around in circles. There’d been a time when I thought I’d . . . never mind. It doesn’t matter, seeing as though she hates my guts. Still. . . you can’t deny you care for her.
IT DOESN’T BLOODY MATTER! ODDS ARE SHE’LL BE DEAD BY THE TIME YOU FIGURE IT OUT!
To be honest, I really scare myself sometimes. So I let out a shaky breath trying to calm myself, finally realizing I had been holding it in. Knowing sleep wouldn’t come for a long while, I hastily cast the concealment charms and went up to the place only one other person knew about. (Three guesses who)
The roof of Gryffindor tower. There I could try to sort some things out.
It didn’t work.
I’m still bloody confused.
Oh, look, someone’s going the Quidditch pitch. I wonder if they’ll look like birds . . .
THAT’S MY TEAM!
And so is the life of me.
Day after day, the same thing happened. I’d spend my nights on the roof, I’d go to my classes, fail them, and go to therapy with Teddy. He could tell I wasn’t telling him something, and he constantly pressed the matter. I wouldn’t budge on it. He knew I was spiraling downward, that there was something constantly weighing me down. It would disable my ability to breathe, to focus, to eat, and to sleep. I was simply numb; I couldn’t even be angry anymore. Even Quidditch had lost its thrill. We had gotten nowhere with our snooping, as no one had a clue what to do. And Charlie was getting worse. In short . . .
I felt hollow.
It was as if all the feeling that I had let out after what happened to Charlie had been my last. I walked by in a daze, hardly eating, never sleeping. Albus, Rose, and Lily were always watching me, trying to judge what was happening. The thing is, nothing was. This is what my life had turned into:
Mornings: I picked at my breakfast.
Classes: My brain wandered. (I thought about Charlie)
Lunch: I picked at my lunch.
Classes: I didn’t say anything, and got Trolls on everything.
Dinner: I ate a piece of bread.
Quidditch: I let them do whatever the hell they bloody wanted.
Therapy: Didn’t do anything. I sat there, mute, while Teddy kept talking at me. (Charlie had invaded my thoughts)
Night: Rose tutored me. (none of it stuck) Albus got mad. (I ignored him)
Sleeping: Never. (I wandered the castle)
I didn’t feel. I was numb. Even Teddy couldn’t get through to me. No one could. I knew I was slipping off the edge, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to stop it. It wasn’t worth it. We couldn’t save Charlie. It was over.
Then one day something changed. It all changed. Everything I had ever known. Every. Last. Thing.
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