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Chapter 9 : The Day Everything Changed
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I don't own this stuff, unless you don't recognize it. :) (And a big THANK YOU to the mods and the amazing reduction from 6 day to 3 day wait!)
Stunning/beautiful/AMAZING pic of our two favorite protagonists by a muffin @ TDA!!!
“SNAP OUT OF IT!” I lifted my head from my desk. Oh, I was in Potions. I hadn’t realized that. Oops. . . what day was it? Never mind . . . I’ll just go back to sleep. (pretend to, that is)
“This isn’t helping anyone! You need to get your head out of your arse and do something if you really care about that girl!” Whoah. Ellie was pissed. I dropped my head down, not caring. “And you claim you don’t need therapy! Look at you!” This got my attention.
“You don’t know anything about that . . .” I snarled, my temper flaring.
“Really? Try me,” she replied quietly, and I started noticing things. She had circles that nearly matched mine, and she hadn’t been the same bubbly person lately. She kept on shooting worried glances at Maddy, who always looked terrified lately. In fact, Ellie had been nearly silent these past few weeks, and she looked thinner.
“Holy mother of Merlin . . .” I cursed, before banging my head into the table repeatedly. “What the hell is happening to you? The psycho Slytherin who threatens Hufflepuffs, the bubbly girl always smiling?” She managed a weak smile.
“I don’t know . . . but you’re probably the first person who’s noticed.” I noticed something else. Ellie always wore her sleeves up to her elbows during Potions.
“Why are your sleeves down?” I asked, and she paled.
“No reason . . .” Then she was silent. She silently brewed, and I tried to get her in a conversation, finding that I actually cared about something.
“Something’s wrong. What is it,” I demanded. I didn’t ask, I stated the obvious.
“Gryffindors aren’t supposed to see anything that isn’t right in front of their face-”
“Don’t switch the topic,” I said, my voice as cold as ice. She wouldn’t do that, would she? No, she’s Elyse Finnegan, the girl who always had a snappy retort to everything. She wouldn’t resort to that.
“Nothing’s wrong!” she protested, but I saw the fear in her eyes.
“You’re lying. Tell me.”
“I can’t!” Ellie pleaded, looking towards Maddy. Her blank eyes found her friends’ terror filled ones, and she walked over.
“What. The. Hell. Potter,” Maddy spat, glaring at me.
“Look at her, something’s wrong, and I’m not going to bloody let her sit there and-”
“-Because you’re so good at dealing with things, she should tell you, her stupid Potion’s partner, instead of her best friend.” I hadn’t thought about that. “Look, Potter, stay out of our business.” Her voice softened. “All you’ll do is get hurt,” she added quietly, before grabbing Ellie and dragging her out of the classroom.
“Something is wrong. . .” I confided to no one in particular. Surprisingly, Fred turned around.
“Just noticing that, eh, James?” He said coldy. “We have five hours to figure this out or Charlie dies. End of story. I’d say that’s a big problem.” Five hours? I was furious.
That’s it. It’s time to end this.
“Oh, Montague! Come out, come out, wherever you are!” I taunted madly, wandering the hallways. My vision was clouded with red; I had finally snapped. I laughed crazily. “Come on . . . or are you afraid of wittle Jamesie Potter?” I went around like this for a while, until I heard a voice from the shadows. It was cold and hollow.
“Looking for me, Potter?” It said, and Rhys Montague came out from behind the corner, holding two vials. “I have a little proposition for you. It involves that Charlotte girl, though I must say I should give my . . . . condolences.” I walked up to him and punched him in the nose. He wasn’t expecting it.
“Nice right hook, but you don’t want to break these vials. You might find you . . . need one.”
“You poisoned Charlie?” I asked, my breath gone.
“That idiot Montague boy? Never!” It was his turn to laugh. (quite crazily, I might add) “No, I am merely controlling him.” His face contorted in pain, whoever he was. “I DIDN’T MEAN TO! I SWEAR I DIDN’T! PLEASE DON’T HURT HER! DON’T HURT MY SISTER!” Then it was gone. “Anyways, you need one of these vials, but I need something from you first.”
“What?” I spat, knowing this was Charlie’s last chance.
“Well, this is a rather long story. . . have a seat, Potter.”
“I’ll do anything, just give me the damn bottle.” I wasn’t lying. I would do anything. I needed to make it up to her.
“Anything?” He asked, and I nodded.
The plan is succeeding, my lord.
He played right into our hands.
“How do I know you’re serious?”
“Sirius is my middle name.”
“Do we have a deal?” I spat at him before downing the potion.
For Charlie, James. For Charlie.
“James! What did you do?” Al’s furious voice inquired oh-so-politely. I had heard that voice a lot lately.
I entered the common room, my face blank. I knew that this was the beginning of the end. Everything would change tonight. Everything.
“I got it. I got the antidote,” I announced, holding up the tiny glass bottle. No one moved. Finally, Albus spoke.
“How?” He was still furious.
“It doesn’t matter,” I deflected. The numbness had disappeared, because of the new circumstances.
“Are you sure it’s right?”
“Who gave it to you?”
“Where the bloody hell have you been the past month?”
“SHUT IT! How much time do we have?” I asked, and they all fell silent.
I ran out of the common room, and barrelled into Uncle Neville’s office. I didn’t stop, even after he started yelling, but ran straight into the fire, having thrown floo powder in before.
“ST. MUNGO’S!” I didn’t look back.
I raced up the stairs, not being able to wait for the elevator. I ran into Charlie’s room, ignored the Healers, (even body-checking one of them) and jabbed the syringe into her leg. Once it was done, I collapsed into the wall. I started swearing, the adrenaline having faded. I realized everything that I had done, the sacrifice I had just made.
“James!” I looked up. My dad was there, along with Uncle Neville. “What the hell?” I didn’t say anything, but I heard a rustling. I looked up; Charlie was stirring a bit.
“What?” Uncle Neville started, but the healers cut him off.
“It seems Mr. Potter has somehow acquired the antidote.” I stayed mute.
“James? What did you do?” My dad asked softly, and my eyes bore into his. I knew they were blank, just like they had been all month.
“Teddy wasn’t lying. . .” Uncle Neville muttered to him. I ignored them; I could feel it starting. I ran from the room. I sprinted until I was on the roof. Only then did I stop suppressing the coughs.
“James?” I looked up. It was Albus. I hadn’t spoken to the kid in weeks. I felt horrible for ignoring him. “I know you did something stupid.” His voice was shaking, and I calmed myself. In truth, I felt like crying. “But I want to thank you. Healer Robinson says Charlie’ll wake up soon. You should be there.” I shook my head.
“She hates me, remember?” I said bitterly.
“I don’t know. I know you did something big for her; there was no way any of us could have gotten that potion. I want to thank you because you saved her life. Twice.” I sighed. The poor kid was at the point of tears. I couldn’t keep him from Charlie.
“Al, go. She needs you, she doesn’t need me. Actually, no one does. The team doesn’t need me, you and Lily don’t need me, even bloody Ellie Finnegan doesn’t need me! Charlie doesn’t need me,” I said the last part so quiet I was surprised he heard it.
“You’re wrong, James. We need you, and it hurts to see you like this. At least before you . .. you were there. Now, I don’t know what the hell is happening to you, no one does. Teddy’s freaking out, James.” Even I could see through the lies, no matter how fiercely and seemingly sincerely they were told.
“Just go, Al. Char needs you.” Al hesitated, his green eyes filled with worry, but he left after a glance. I sighed. I was alone. I knew I needed to think, but I didn’t have the chance. I was out like a light.
I was finally sleeping, but the dreams still came. They always did.
“James!” I immediately sat up. Where was I?
Oh, right. I was on the roof of St. Mungo’s.
“Who’s there?” I asked shakily, still terrified from the nightmare. I had learned so much today, sacrificed so much, and even those seven hours of sleep weren’t enough. But I suppose five years can’t be caught up in a day. In the end, though, I knew my sacrifice was worth it. They need Charlie. They don’t need me, not really.
“What are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to be at work . . . or at home?” I asked him. He had a family, a job. Why wasn’t he with them? He could never know which day would be his last!
“James, it’s nine o’clock in the morning. Charlie’s up; she wants to see you, but-”
“You’re lying.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.
“No, I’m not,” Teddy assured me, as if he was speaking to one of his children.
“Don’t pull that-” I started, turning away, but he cut me off.
“JUST LISTEN, JAMES!” He bellowed, his hair turning a fierce red in his rage. Teddy took a calming breath. “Look, as soon as she woke up, she wanted answers. We did the best we could. She knows you saved her, and she wants to talk to you. And, frankly, we’re all worried to point of tearing our hair out, James! You hardly eat, you rarely say more than a one word answer, and even though you think the charms are hiding it, we can see the circles. This isn’t healthy! Everyone down there is falling apart because Charlie is. You want to know why she’s having a bloody meltdown? You. So stop bloody isolating yourself and get down there. You’ve been up here for twelve hours!”
I couldn’t help thinking that’s where he was wrong. I can’t go down there; if I look at them, the people who love and care about Charlie, look at me for the answers she needs, I don’t know if I can stop them from pouring out. And I can’t tell them.
I can’t do that to her.
I know Charlie; she’d never have let me do something like I did. I would do anything to save her, though, because as much as she loves taking risks that scare the magic out of me, they need her. All of them: Rose, Austin, Scorpius, even Lily and Al. Especially Al. He couldn’t do anything without Charlie. Albus would never forgive himself; he would never let go.
He could move on without me. That’s why I wouldn’t tell him. He could move on without me, his own brother, because he would understand why I had sacrificed what I did. For him. If Charlie just died, he would never be able to forgive himself for not saving her. I wouldn’t, either.
I knew, as soon as I made the deal, why I had done it. Everyone needs Charlie. No one needs me. It’s the simple truth; Al can carry on the Potter name, Laurel can be Quidditch Captain, and someone else can be the village idiot. I’m expendable. She’s not. She’s the glue that holds the entire team together, and she’s also the glue that holds Rose, Al, and Scorpius together. Charlie’s the one who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want. She’s clever, and has a hope of succeeding in life. (Unlike yours truly)
So I just sat there, not responding to another word Teddy throws at me. I retreated into my shell, doubts and fears swirling around my brain. Charlie would never know I didn’t hate her, or what I actually felt. It wouldn’t have mattered anyways, it’ll be her and Al. It’ll always be her and Al.
Eventually Teddy gave up, saying something about my dad and how thick I am. I don’t deny it; only an imbecile would do what I just did. I don’t care; it was worth it. Charlie was always worth it.
After he leaves, It’s just me and the sun and Muggle London below for a while, but I found it oddly calming. I just sat there; for once I was still. Sure, I would cough, but other than that I just let myself think. To be honest . . . I was scared. I was scared of what the week would bring, especially of what would happen when they finally figured it out. I would have sat up there forever, had it not been for my favorite Seventh Year on the team. (Hint: there is only one)
“You’re going down there.” My head snapped up to find Laurel Hales staring down at me.
“Hello to you, too,” I replied hollowly.
“I don’t care what idiotic things you’ve done- Charlie is seriously freaking out. She’s confused and scared, and not to mention in a lot of pain. This, whatever it is, isn’t helping her. So you’re going down there,” Laurel ranted. She never was one for sugar-coating things. I released a chuckle, but even that sounded hollow.
“You always had a way with words, Laurel Hales,” I admitted, still not moving.
“Well . . . did you hear anything of what I just said? Because you’re still sitting there . . .” she replied sharply.
“It’s not that I don’t want to, Laurel! It’s just that I can’t!” I shouted, my temper finally bursting. I didn’t need this from her. I didn’t need it from Teddy, either. I didn’t need it from anyone. I. Am. Fine.
“Why not?” Laurel shot back.
“YOU DON’T KNOW! YOU DON’T KNOW A BLOODY THING ABOUT THIS! DO YOU KNOW WHAT-”
“I DON’T CARE!” She cut me off, her voice rising. “KNOWING YOU, IT WAS STUPID AND NOBLE AND BRAVE, BUT I DON’T CARE! I JUST KNOW THAT A GIRL IS IN PAIN IS LYING DOWN THERE, WAITING FOR YOU WHILE YOU HIDE LIKE A LITTLE GIRL!”
“SHUT IT, HALES! YOU HAVE NO IDEA-” I bellowed, my face inches from hers. Her eyes were practically on fire. (The sun made them look extra shiny as well)
“Really? Try me.” She paused, her eyes burning with fury. “I know more than you think, Potter. I know that you fancy her, but you have no clue what to do about it. I know that you have major issues, and you slept soundly for the first time in years tonight. I know that you and your father don’t get along. I know that you’ve been coughing, almost exactly like-” Hales listed all of this as if it was her grocery list.
“ENOUGH!” I yell, my hands ripping at my hair. I couldn’t hear it; everything I’d tried so hard to hide, discovered by a girl I barely even knew.
“I know you a lot better than you think, James.” Did she really need to put salt on the wound?
“It seems so.” My voice had returned to its hollow state.
“Just go down there. Talk to her. Let the Healers look at you. Prove to me the last bit’s wrong. Because if I know you, I know that you made some sort of deal . . . probably thinking that we need Charlie more, and you’re just an item that can easily be replaced. That’s where you’re wrong.” Then she just left, leaving my blood boiling with anger. I couldn’t just take that; I was a Gryffindor after all. Suddenly, I knew what I had to do.
I left my sanctuary, realizing for the first time that I had burned my skin from all my time up there. I almost laughed; sunburn was the least of my worries at the moment. I walked down to Charlie’s room, having memorized the number by heart.
Funny, isn’t it? I can memorize the room number of Charlotte Grace, but not my sister’s birthday.
Anyways, I walked to her room. I entered silently, but every single pair of eyes turned towards me. Albus, Lily, Rose, Austin, Laurel (who was smirking), Fred, Louis, Skye, Dad, and Charlie. I looked into her big brown eyes, wide with surprise. I did all I could to stop myself from saying everything that had happened. Instead, I ended up with this:
“I’m so sorry.”
Who is really mad at James right now? (I know I am) This is a REALLY important chapter, because it is yet another turning point of the story. The next chapter WILL be from Charlie's POV, but I really need your feedback.
I'm writing this story for fun; after it's done I'll post a serious fic. My goal of this story was to have fun twisting a cliche, and plus those love/hate things are really amusing. :) Plus, I really wanted to push James II away from the most common cliches. Sooo . . . this story is going to be ending in 5-10 chapters. BUT, eventually there WILL be a sequel, because I know how it's going to end, and you're going to hate me for it. (I promise)
So, to conclude this GINORMOUS note, I really need your reviews, guys. These chapters have been really hard to write, and so will the next few. Then I get to write my favorite type of writing. :)
Sooooo . . . Thanks for reading, and please review! To get you started, I have some questions:
Who do you like better; James . . . or Charlie?
If you were "team" any character, who would it be? (Yes, McGonagall and Teddy are valid choices)
Who do you think will end up together?
What do you think of James's behaviour?
How do you think Charlie will react?
Do you like the shiny new chappy images?
As always, if you want, write ELLIE for good, and MADDY for bad.
Thanks a million!
Edit as of 2.19.12: New chappie image. NEW chapter in queue. Look for it. :)
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