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Chapter 14 : James's Last Stand Pt. II
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A. I don't own Harry Potter.
B. MAJOR CHAPTER-> You lot are going to hate someone at the end!
C. Listen to Last Kiss by Taylor Swift, but the cover by Boyce Avenue and Megan and Liz. It kind of fits this chapter.
D. That 'tis all. More at end. Enjoy, and review! :)
“Are you lot ready to go?” Mum asked, looking at me. I rolled his eyes. I. Am. Fine. (I think)
“I’m fine, Mum,” I replied, but I didn’t know for sure. Mum or Dad still hadn’t told me what the healer told them . . . Why hadn’t they?
“Just owl us if anything happens,” Dad said, and I felt my anger flare. I wasn’t a fragile little glass doll; I’m sick of them trying to treat me like I’m one. I had a retort rolling of my tongue, but I managed to stop myself.
Funny how life works, isn’t it? I manage to get grounded every holiday for fighting with Dad, and I couldn’t care less, but suddenly I’m dying and he’s being all nice, and I can’t even retort to him without feeling guilty.
“Be careful; all of you,” Mum said, embracing each one of us. When she got to me, I was tempted to refuse. But somehow I couldn’t. “I love you,” she whispered, ruffling my hair. I grunted, as we had returned to the “let’s all treat James like a toddler” idea.
“Albus, can your mother and I talk to you for a minute before you go?” Dad asked, and I shot Al a look: tell. me. everything. He nodded, to us both, and Dad raised an eyebrow. I watched them go, letting my thoughts take over. It went something like this:
Quidditch, Quidditch, Hufflepuffs, yellow, win, win, Quidditch, Quidditch, Albus, Slytherin, stupid snakes, we beat the snakes, must beat Hufflepuff, beaters, Charlie, Charlie hates me, Charlie fancies Albus, Albus is your brother, you fancy Charlie, I DO NOT FANCY CHARLIE, Yes you do, no I don’t, ooh- what was that . . . what was I thinking about?
Finally, they returned, Albus and Dad looking disgruntled, Mum annoyed. Lily made a sarcastic comment, I mentioned Quidditch practice, Charlie argued, (but she smiled!), and we left.
“Hey, where were you a few days ago?” Just. My. Luck. I had Potions first period. Again. Two days before the match. (and it was getting worse)
“No where,” I dismissed, but Ellie just raised an eyebrow.
“You seriously expect me to believe that?” she asked, skeptical.
“No, but I expect you to accept it without asking me annoying questions,” I retorted.
“Someone’s touchy,” Ellie remarked moodily, before smiling and starting to bounce up and down on her stool. “Can’t you just tell me?” she begged.
“No,” I responded.
“Pweety pwease?” she tried again, widening her abnormally large eyes.
“Only if you tell me what’s going on,” I bargained, and Ellie’s eyes hardened. I then noticed something. “Since when do you were glasses?”
“Don’t you remember first year?” she asked, ignoring my first statement. I, however, didn’t think I even knew Ellie Finnegan existed first year. “We got put at the same Charms table after I hexed the stupid Hufflepuff and you singed all of Fred’s hair off?” I sat next to a weird, random, Slytherin with giant glasses that year. Wait a minute . . .
“That was you?” I exclaimed. Ellie put on a thoughtful face, before dropping the act.
“No dip, Sherlock.”
“Isn’t it supposed to be-” I started, but Ellie cut me off.
“I know that!” she responded.
“Then why didn’t you say it?” I asked. Normally Ellie swore like a Muggle sailor.
“Why don’t you tell me where you were a few days ago?” Ellie shot back.
“Aw, come on! Please?”
“With a fairy wing on top?”
“Well, when you put it like that . . . no.”
“But it’s a shiny fairy wing!”
“AH-HA!” she exclaimed, while I swore.
“Ms. Finnegan and Mr. Potter, please return to your potion,” Zabini commented, and Ellie blushed. She worked in silence, periodically stopping to scratch something out in the directions and change it, frowning. After fifteen minutes she turned to me.
“There, it’s done.” But there was something cold in her voice.
“Fine,” I responded touchily. Ellie sighed, before re-plaiting her hair.
“Seriously, why won’t you tell me?” she asked, and I could tell she was serious.
“Because it’s personal. And I don’t know if you noticed, we’re not exactly friends,” I responded, motioning at her arm. Where I had seen . . . it.
“I thought we were,” she whispered, and though part of me felt bad for making her feel bad, I was too angry to care. She wouldn’t tell me her secrets, yet I was supposed to spill my soul to her, to tell her I was dying? Fat chance.
“Then why don’t you tell me why you’re getting thinner. Why you’re wearing glasses again. Why you look tired. Why you’re covering up your arms and legs. Why you look so freaking fake right now,” I retorted, before realizing how much that speech sounded like one of Lily’s teenage romance novels.
“How did you-” she snarled, eyes wide with fear.
“I notice things,” I dismissed.
“I’m not fake,” she denied, but I laughed bitterly.
“Do you remember a month ago? When you would prattle on about unicorns, then Quidditch, then mass murder like it was the most natural thing in the world? How you would randomly smile and giggle, just because of your thoughts?” Yeah. I was the epitome of teenage romance novel. But what I said was true, and I was furious with whoever stole the insane girl I knew, the one who forced me to smile, and replaced her with this person.
“That was acting like a silly little girl,” she said, coldly. “I’ve grown up.” Ellie paused, about to just get up and leave. She glanced at Maddy, who looked numb, before hissing. “And it’s not like you’re a saint either, James Potter.” (I edited out the profanities from that last part, just to tell you)
“Maybe not, but I’m not the one who’s shaking,” I commented. Then Ellie tried to punch me in the face, but I caught her fist in my hand. I pushed her away, anger seething from my every pore.
“Some friend,” I said in a low voice, and Ellie’s eyes softened. I didn’t care; she could fight whatever it was on her own. I was done putting up with her crap. She wouldn’t tell me a thing, yet she expected everything in return? That’s not right. And then she tries to punch me?
Ellie didn’t respond. “That’s what I thought.” Ellie just grabbed her bag before running out of the classroom, slamming the door behind her. I brought the potion up, nodding stiffly, my hands shaking with anger. I had realized something:
Ellie was just another Charlie: she thought she knew everything about me, but she didn’t know a damn thing.
“You may leave, Mr. Potter,” Professor Zabini said, staring at me with pity. Of course he would know I was dying! My Dad must have told all of the Professors; it was a miracle the entire bloody wizarding world didn’t know.
As I was leaving, someone materialized next to me.
“What the hell was that?” It was Maddy, and she was angry.
“What?” I asked innocently.
“You know damn well what. Do you even know what she’s-” Maddy started, but I was sick of it.
“No, because she never told me. Then she tried to punch me in the face,” I argued.
“She doesn’t need this right now,” Maddy said, eyes narrowing.
“You know what? Neither do I.” And then I walked away. I was furious. I was sick of people making me the bad guy, I was sick of people telling me I didn’t know, and I was sick of people keeping their bloody secrets, but letting you know they had them. That’s bloody torture for an ADHD kid like me!
Ah. At least I had Quidditch . . . after I saw Mister Thomas.
“Mr. Potter,” Mister Thomas greeted me. I shot him a look; I hated this condition of me and Dad’s agreement. “All you need to do is take the potion again, then you can be on your way.” There was a twinge of annoyance, but it was almost hidden behind the pity.
“The one that stops me from-” I started, before coughing. Mister Thomas swore, before jamming the vial in my hand.
“Take it, James,” he ordered, but I couldn’t respond, it hurt too much. I gritted my teeth against the tears threatening to form in my eyes; I wouldn’t cry because of a stupid cough. Even if it felt like a million kilos were pressing on my chest, with knives attached.
When I finally managed to calm my breathing enough to respond, I couldn’t look at him.
“Wh-why?” I wheezed. If the potion was trying to prolong my life, it as sure as hell wasn’t working.
“With most illnesses, coughing expels the pathogen, helping you to heal, but this is different. Each cough is meant to kill you,” he explained gravely. I nodded, before downing the potion. It tasted like dragon dung.
“Thanks,” I said, the potion already working. I turned to leave, but Mister Thomas replied:
“Wait here ‘till I’m sure it’s working,” he ordered. I just kept walking.
“I have practice,” I responded, and Mister Thomas chuckled, but didn’t try to stop me.
“Tell Skye to work on her dive. It’s getting a little sloppy,” was all he said. Now it was my turn to laugh.
“My thoughts exactly.” Then I left. It was time for Quidditch. Finally.
Overall, I thought practice went pretty bloody brilliantly. We would murder Hufflepuff. (but I couldn’t tell my team that) The team was happy to be flying together again, and just flying felt good. I only made Charlie run a little, but it was for her own good. If she didn’t learn not to try to kill herself, I’d have to start spraying her with water like Lily did to her cat when it was bad. I checked my watch; we only had fifteen minutes left. I sighed, before calling:
“Come on! Only fifteen more minutes; push through! Hufflepuff has a good team this year!” I heard a snort. It had come from Ellie, who was standing on the field. Oh Merlin. “Go to the locker rooms!” I called. “Wait for me; I want to talk strategy!” While the rest of the team left, I hurried over to her. Something must be wrong. Ellie could hold a grudge forever; she normally wouldn’t talk to me for a few days if I said something wrong, but after a fight like that, and for her to come hours after it . . .
“Hufflepuff have a good team? Really, James?” Ellie asked dryly.
“We need to practice. Why are you here, Ellie? Where’s Maddy?” I replied. I was still mad, and if she just came here to small-talk, after what happened, I wasn’t in the mood.
“It’s-It’s noth-nothing. S-s-sorry. I-I’ll go,” she stuttered, almost shaking. I swore; something was definitely wrong. And I wanted to murder who reduced Ellie Finnegan into a stuttering mess.
“What happened? Who do I need to hex?” I asked. Even if we were fighting, I couldn’t stand to see someone break. It’s almost worse than if you break, to see someone you know just crack under everything that’s going on with them.
“I-I need to tell you some-something. I-I-I wasn’t h-honest w-with you, b-before.” Ellie sounded terrified. I couldn’t stay mad at her when she was like this. (And she’s going to tell me)
“What’s wrong, Ellie?” I asked softly. Only Voldemort could be mean to someone this close to the edge.
“M-Maddy w-wanted me to t-tell you, but I-” But then she burst out into tears. Ellie never cried. Something was seriously wrong.
“What’s wrong?” I repeated, pulling her into a hug. It worked with Lily, so why not with Ellie?
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” That’s all she would say, along with ‘it’s all my fault’. I felt my anger start to rise again; she was shutting down, she was breaking, and there was nothing I could do. But then I looked down. Ellie had her sleeves rolled up, but I saw something. A long, thin, bright red line. I knew what it was.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?” I yelled. No matter what, if I had known that, I would have done something.
“It’s-it’s not what-what it looks like. I swear it! I swear, James!” Ellie pleaded. “I’m sorry.” I knew what she was going to do: run. It’s what I did, but I couldn’t let her leave without knowing what the hell had happened to her.
“WHO DID THIS TO YOU?” I was seeing red, my vision blurred with anger, but I was also scared. I was scared for her. The only other person I had been genuinely scared for was Charlie.
“THAT’S WHAT I WAS GOING TO TELL YOU! MADDY TOLD ME TO TELL YOU, BUT I KNEW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN! AND WHY WOULD I TRUST YOU; YOU’RE JUST MY MERLIN FORSAKEN POTIONS PARTNER? BUT SHE SAID TO TELL YOU!” It was over; Ellie had broken. I knew it, and she knew it, but she couldn’t stop it. “And oh Merlin . . . Maddy! Maddy and him, he has her! He has my best friend! He has you, James; there’s nothing left! Oh Merlin. Oh Merlin. Oh Merlin.” I did the only thing I could. I hugged her, and tried to comfort her.
“Sh, Ellie, sh. It’ll be all right, it’ll be all right.” I just hugged her while she tried to pull herself together, just trying to help her somehow. It took a while, but I didn’t care. After she calmed, she looked me square in eye, her face resolved.
“Let’s talk.” She was going to tell me, but somehow I felt I wouldn’t want to know.
“Thanks, James.” Ellie managed a weak smile, and I hugged her one more time, before responding.
“I didn’t really help,” I pointed out, but Ellie raised an eyebrow.
“You helped so much,” she said softly, starting to stand up. We currently were by the lake, just sitting in the snow.
“Don’t leave yet,” I said, not wanting to let her out of my sight after that, and, thankfully, she stayed. For a while we just sat, her lying face up at the quickly darkening sky.
“I used to come out here and make a million snow angels. I sent the pictures to my Dad, but then I got a Howler from Mum telling me to study,” she said, before laying in the snow.
“Oddly, I remember that,” I said, remembering walking down this way to play Quidditch and finding snow angels literally everywhere.
“I just remember just being enthralled with the castle, and how it looked so beautiful no matter what the weather,” she said, her eyes a million miles away. I didn’t know how to respond to that, but luckily Ellie kept talking. “And I remember watching the older kids goofing off after exams, the couples talking and hanging onto each other’s words like the fate of the world depended on it, the water fights, the duels . . .” Ellie trailed off wistfully. She sounded so peaceful, but when I looked at her she was crying again. She was smiling, but crying. “It all seemed so simple then.”
“Now look at us,” I replied lightly, feeling oddly at peace myself. I don’t know how, with everything literally falling down around me. My family, my friends, my team, Ellie.
Ellie. I was so confused when it came to her . . . Almost as confused as I was with Charlie.
“So much has changed . . . remember when you were convinced Mister Thomas was a vampire in first year?” she asked, giggling softly. I hate to admit it, but I missed that laugh almost as much as I missed Charlie’s.
“Yeah . . . but then I told you, and you prattled on about the low probability that was actually true, and how you thought he’d make a much better doxie,” I commented, chuckling. Ellie sat up slowly, and I realised we were mere inches apart.
“We were so weird,” she breathed, and I laughed again. But this was a nervous one; why were we so close? I could smell her; it wasn’t strong, but I smelt pomegranate. What did Charlie smell like?
“Yeah,” I responded lamely.
“I meant what I said before, James; thank you so much. I could never repay you. I know I should have told someone else, but for some odd reason, the only person I felt I could trust besides Maddy was . . .” But then she stopped, her eyes meeting mine. They were so big and brown, almost exactly like Charlie’s, except lighter. And even though her cheeks were red and her lips were swollen, I couldn’t help but think she looked beautiful. Whatever guy she ended up with would be lucky.
“Me,” I finished, smiling.
“Yeah,” she said simply. Then she swore, before whispering, “Screw it.” Then she leaned in and kissed me. It was soft and tentative, but it tasted sweet behind the salt from the tears she cried minutes before. But I shut down; I liked Charlie, I finally knew that. But I was kissing Ellie. Now it was my turn to swear mentally.
I fancied Charlie Grace.
There, I said it.
Then why was I letting Ellie Finnegan kiss me?
By the time I realized this, Ellie had ended the kiss. It was only a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Ellie swore again, before grabbing her bag and running away.
Bloody hell. I just kissed Ellie Finnegan.
“She did what?”
In times of girl trouble, I always ran to my little sister. Mind you, it had taken a good three days for me to pluck up the courage to talk to her. Those days had been spent avoiding Ellie, but still watching her to make sure she was okay, and drilling my Quidditch team into the ground. Oh yeah, and I had to talk to Teddy, where he knew something was wrong, (because of Dad and his bloody tracking charm) but I think my lies convinced him.
“Yeah,” I said lamely.
“Don’t take this the wrong way . . . but did you like it?” she asked, fiddling with her hair.
“Like it?” I asked.
“Yeah. Did. You. Enjoy. It,” Lily spelt out.
“I don’t know. It was kind of wet-”
“Wet?” she asked, confused.
“Well, she was kind of crying before . . .” I said sarcastically.
“And you comforted her? Awwwww . . . that’s so sweet, James!” Lily started, positively bouncing up and down. “That’s, like, every girl’s dream! To have a guy to hold her while she cries, when to tell them it’ll be okay.”
Girls are crazy. They fantasized about crying on us?
“Anyways . . . did you like it?” she pressed, looking me in the eyes. We were in the common room, and I knew Charlie and Rose were staring at us, but I didn’t care. I was freaking out.
“I don’t bloody know! It’s Ellie Finnegan . .. she’s supposed to be the crazy girl I talk to in Potions! And I like . . .” but I managed to stop myself.
“Who?” Lily asked, before squealing again. For someone normally so dark and sarcastic, she was very peppy today. “Is it Charlie?” she whispered. I swore, but Lily just squealed again. “You like Charlie. I never thought this would happen! What are you going to do?” she gushed.
“Nothing,” I replied hollowly. Lily’s eyes widened, and she suddenly looked like she was going to cry. “And, no offense, Lils, but are you bipolar or something?”
“No, I’m not, but why aren’t you going to do anything?” she whined. Just then, a memo flew into the common room, and landed in front of me. It was from Dad. I swore. “What’d you do?” Lily asked in a low voice.
“I dunno. Wait . . . it was probably that bloody tracking charm that detects when my emotions spike, which I’m pretty sure they just did, because, well-”
“Yeah. Now open it!” Lily egged, bouncing up and down. I hate fourteen-year-old girls, they’re so bloody eager.
What’s wrong? I got a goat-”
“Note,” Lily corrected lightly.
“note, from the charm that lead-”
“said, that you-” but I didn’t need to read the rest. I quickly scribbled on the back that it was nothing, and made Lily sign it so he didn’t think I was lying, before it disappeared.
“Now, where were we?” Lily asked.
“The fact that I-” I started, but Lily cut in.
“Like Charlie,” Lily finished, smirking. “And how you, being the moronic moron that you are, plan to do absolutely nothing at all about it.”
“Moronic moron?” I asked, but Lily just shrugged. Then it was time to explain. “Lily, I have less than a week; I’m not going to get involved with someone just to die.”
“I forgot,” she said softly, not meeting my eyes. “I thought it was just a normal day, and you were clueless. I forgot that you were dying. What kind of sister am I?” I moved to sit next to my little sister, who had her head in her hands. What was with all of these depressed females? I put my arm around her. In truth, Albus was better at this kind of stuff, but he wasn’t here. Something about a ‘friend having issues’.
“It’s okay, Lily. I forget sometimes,” I reassured her, and Rose sat from opposite us, Charlie with her.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, grabbing Lily’s hands.
“Nothing,” I answered quickly, but Rose rolled her eyes.
“Sure . . .” Charlie answered, but sat on the other side of Lily. Lily buried her head into my shoulder, and I saw Charlie stiffen. I shot her an apologetic look, before resting my head onto Lily’s. It always made her feel better.
“Don’t give up, James,” she whispered, before picking her head back up. There was no trace of tears, but I knew Lily wanted to. She was too strong to give into herself, Lily was.
“Charlie? Rose? Can you help me with Charms?” Lily asked suddenly, and the girls shared knowing looks. This was obviously some of their crazy code. The three left, leaving me more confused than ever. There was only one thing that could clear my head right now: flying.
I just flew for hours, trying to separate my thoughts from my feelings, (I failed), before exhaustion set in. Too tired to go back to Gryffindor Tower, and the need to be alone almost as big as my need for sleep, I stumbled into the changing rooms. The game was tomorrow; I could just sleep there tonight.
For once, sleep came easily, even though my throat and chest hurt more and more with each hour that passed.
When I woke, my eyes immediately traveled to my watch. It was 5:30 in the morning. The morning of the match. I knew the potion must have wore off, because there was a puddle of blood where my head was. I didn’t care; I was more tired than I was when I went to sleep, and each breath was a struggle. Then fear set in.
What was happening? Was I dying? Would I be able to play in the match?
My thoughts just kept going around in circles. I stood up, but found myself extremely dizzy. Then I started coughing. It was rough, violent, and hurt more than a thousand bludgers. I stumbled out onto the pitch, but found the sky was green and fuzzy. I was standing in pudding, and I was slowly sinking. Everything kept on blurring, and I kept coughing. I couldn’t stop, and finally my legs couldn’t support me anymore. I fell into the bright pink pudding, coughing chunks of bloody red into its smooth substance.
Everything was blurs, so bright it was disorienting. I didn’t know which way was up, or what my name was. I was in pain, and blinded by the bright colors.
When the black came, I was happy. It took the pain away.
A/N: Hello, lovely readers!
Yes, James and Ellie kissed. (cue to ZOMG! and SQUEEEEEEEEE)
Now that that's over with . . .
This was a MAJOR chapter. (look at the title-> you are going to HATE me)
On the whole Lily thing: isn't she the best? I know the whole crying-on thing is stereotypical, but every girl (even my bestie who's a GENIUS) has little air-head moments.
Also . . . . please don't hate Ellie. She doesn't deserve it. (And seeing that she shares my name, please don't hate all Ellie's)
AND . . . BIG NEWS: This story is going a lot farther than I thought . . . NOVEL LENGTH! (And no, I'm actually NOT almost done, you guys have inspired me :)
Now I'm off to study for English/do my History!
Oh yeah, and you guys should review. I really do take your thoughts into consideration. :)
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