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Chapter 16 : Jumble
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I wake up the next morning to birds singing outside my window. My eyes flutter open and I lean back on the pillow, just staring out the window, a slight smile dancing across my face.
This is one of those days where I can just imagine that dad is still with us. I can imagine getting up and going downstairs, finding James and Lily already eating, mum cooking more waffles, dad looking up from his newspaper when I enter the room, smiling and saying, “how’s my snake this morning?” I can imagine laughing in return, settling down at the table and grabbing a plate of my own, snickering to myself as James tries to shove five waffles in his mouth at once and gets hit over the head with mum’s spatula as she tells him to slow down. I can imagine Lily shaking her head in exasperation, telling us that she’s going to a friend’s house as she picks up her bag and leaves. I can imagine James stuffing the rest of his food into his mouth before proclaiming, “I’m off to Fred’s!” and then he follows after Lily. And then I can imagine that it would be just another peaceful morning in the house with mum and dad, eating breakfast, talking about school, their work, listening to old stories from their Hogwarts years. I can imagine smiling as mum and dad kiss every once and while. It would be just like every other morning at home.
I close my eyes, taking in a deep breath, that fuzzy warm feeling still not wearing off. I’m waiting for the image to shatter, for everything to fall to pieces, because that’s all I have left.
I sigh, running a hand through my hair. After a moment I manage to pull myself off my bed, and start downstairs with a sigh.
I sit down at the empty kitchen table, leaning my head back against it. The sun can’t warm me any longer.
All I can think about is how much everything has changed.
James is off at Quidditch practice now, and I know mum’s at work too. Lily must be at her friend’s house, leaving me all alone, just sitting here in the kitchen feeling useless and alone.
I wander around the kitchen idly, not entirely sure what to do, not entirely sure where I’m going with this. All I can do is wander aimlessly, trying to distract myself, trying not to think that in a week I’ll be heading back to Hogwarts.
He won’t be there to wave to the train as it pulls away like he’s done since first year, he won’t be there to smile at me and tell me to enjoy my last year as a Slytherin. He won’t be there to laugh at Uncle Ron’s stupid jokes, he won’t be there to sign autographs for the students (he does it every time, even though it annoys the hell out of him). He just won’t be there.
There’s nothing. I look at dad’s empty seat at the table but then stop, tears filling my eyes. Everything I do, everything that happens just brings back memories of him. I want him back. I want him here with me. I want him home.
I want everything to go back to normal. I want those peaceful mornings with my family back. I want to be able to smile with my family, to laugh.
But all I can do is sit here, waiting for the death eaters to make their next move.
All I can do is sit here and wait.
I sigh, sinking lower into my chair, wiping angrily at the tears that still prick my eyes. Bloody hell… I can’t even be strong when I’m alone…
A slight growl escapes me.
Then I give up, just leaning back in the chair limply, simply thinking, please. Please let him be alive. Please let him come back to us.
The Whispers on the Wind
– Leo Phoenix
The wind whispers secrets in my ear,
Soft and pleasing for me to hear.
The lost and untold are mine to steal,
All the wounds are mine to heal.
The sun’s rays shine through the trees,
The wind’s howling is more than a breeze.
All you know the wind knows too,
All your pain, I feel it with you.
The eagle soars up high,
All the mockingbirds fly.
On this beautiful day,
I see them from the grass where I lay.
The sun glows like fire,
The clouds go higher and higher.
The marigolds and lilies are in bloom,
With my eyes I consume.
Laughter echoes through the air,
Making me smile although I am unaware.
And still the wind whispers in my ear,
Begging for help, and showing its fear.
And I am cold,
My story’s untold.
I hold back my tears,
Let go of my fears.
I fly free,
My safety I flee.
But still when I listen I can hear,
Those whispers that are so near.
The whispers on the wind.
“His writing truly is quite beautiful, isn’t it?” Rose asks, pulling back from her place where she was peering over my shoulder.
I sigh, turning to look at her, setting the Daily Prophet back on the table. I glance back down at the poem and then up at her. “Yeah… It is…”
I force a smile as she sits down next to me, her brow furrowing. “Al…” she says as I shake my head and look the other way.
She touches my shoulder and asks softly, “What’s wrong?”
I glance up at her, my eyes narrowing and after a moment ask, “Well, what the hell isn’t wrong? Dad’s missing. We’re going back to Hogwarts in a week and nobody knows where he is.”
Rose sighs as I start again, the words coming out so quickly, like a river dam breaking open, and no matter what I do I can’t make it stop. “Something bad is going to happen to him soon. I have to find him. I don’t know where he is. Rose, what do I do? I want to find him. I need to find him. I can’t… Rose, I don’t know what to do. I mean, I don’t know where to look for him. I don’t know where they’d be keeping him, I don’t know what they’re doing to him, I don’t know…” And suddenly, it occurs to me that I do know.
It’s been right under my nose all along. Of course. It makes perfect sense. It’s their own little taunt, as if they’re saying, he was here the whole time. You’re a fool not to have realized it sooner.
I sit upright all of a sudden, gasping, choking. Rose pulls back and asks hesitantly, “What do you mean, ‘where they’re keeping him’? Al?”
I turn to her, unable to stop a huge (probably pretty creepy looking) smile from flashing across my face.
“That’s it,” I breathe. That’s it. Of course. It’s just a sick joke, and I can imagine them laughing at my stupidity.
But it doesn’t matter. I know where he is. I know it. Now all I have to do is…
“Albus?” Rose asks, worry seeping into her voice. I grip her arm, staring at her, hardly daring to breathe lest this all turn out to be a mistake.
“Rose…” I gasp, biting my lip. “That’s it. He’s been there all along.”
“Albus, what are you talking about?” She demands, her blue eyes going wide as she watches my strange behavior.
“Thank you,” I say, that strange smile lighting my face again. “You don’t know how much you’ve done…”
“Albus, you’re scaring me.”
“I have to… I have to…” I’m so breathless that I’m unable to finish the sentence and just end up drawing in deep, excited sounding breaths.
“You have to what?” Rose squeaks, watching me through her hair, which has somehow managed to fall in her face, leaving her eyes in the shadow, making them look darker, like the night sky.
I turn to look at her again. “I have to find Scorpius.”
Rose blinks, pushing her hair quickly out of her face to stare at me. “What? Why?” Her nose wrinkles as she tries to figure out what’s going on with me, trying to figure out my quick mood swing, trying to figure out why I’m suddenly acting so strangely.
I begin to laugh breathlessly, unable to hold it back any longer.
I know where he is.
Everything’s going to be okay.
I just have to get to him in time. I need to talk to Scorpius.
Scorpius. He always knows what to do. He’s the rational one, the one with all the plans, the one who’s always there to smile and fix things time and time again, even if I can’t do the same for him.
I turn quickly to leave the table but then turn back to Rose and wrap my arms around her in a flying, fleeting hug. “You’re brilliant,” I whisper in her ear. “Have I ever told you that?”
And then I race from the room, unable to calm down, unable to control myself. It may only be ten in the morning, but I don’t care.
I’m going to find my dad. And I’m going to do it now.
“Scorpius!” I yell as I practically fall out of the fireplace into the long, twisting halls of Malfoy manor. His head pops around the corner, but when he sees me a slightly alarmed, slightly concerned look crosses his face. He’s probably worrying about my mental health again (I swear he’s done that before) and truly I can’t blame him, but I don’t care. None of it matters.
“Um… Al, what the hell are you doing here?”
I rush up to him and grasp his arm, still completely breathless and probably all around ridiculous, but I don’t care.
I don’t care.
It doesn’t matter.
All I want to do is find dad. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Scorpius gives me an odd look, his silver eyes shooting me a message that reads, answer my question now before I decide that something is seriously wrong with you.
“I know,” is all I’m able to get out before a hysterical, breathless laugh bubbling out from my lips.
Scorpius leans away slightly, his eyes narrowing, and he makes a face that looks like he smelled something strange. “Albus…” His voice takes on a threatening tone, and finally I manage to calm myself down a little bit.
I take in another quick, deep breath and say, “I know where my dad is, Scorpius. I know how to find him!”
Scorpius’s eyes widen, and I know that he most definitely wasn’t expecting that to come out of my mouth. I’m practically giddy now, and even I know that I sound slightly insane and hysterical at the same time.
If I were with anyone with Scorpius right now they would probably be trying to lock me up in a padded room.
But Scorpius wouldn’t do that.
Actually, at the moment he seems to have frozen in shock. I pull back, biting my lip and snap my fingers in front of his face, and when that doesn’t work I resort to clapping, which really doesn’t work either.
“Er… Scorpius?” I ask after a moment. I remember that night a few weeks ago in my mum’s old bedroom at the burrow when he laughed about me stuttering over his name and add, “Scorp?” I tilt my head.
That actually doesn’t sound too bad, now that I think about it. I wave a hand in front of his face and he blinks slowly, and then seems to come back to life, sputtering, “What… What do you mean, Al?”
I let out a frustrated breath, meeting his eyes. “I. Know. How. To. Find. My. Dad,” I say slowly and clearly, even though he probably understood me in the first place.
Scorpius glowers slightly and then says, “I know that. What I’m asking is why are you here?”
I pull back slightly, blinking at him. What? Now I’m confused. “I… We have to go find him, Scorpius. We have to help him.”
He shakes his head slowly, leaving me staring at him in sadness. “You’re not going to help me?” I whisper pathetically, biting my lip.
“No!” Scorpius reaches out and grabs my arm as I turn to go. “What I meant was… We can’t just go charging in there without a plan, Al. We… We need to think of something first. We can’t…”
I back up into the wall behind me and sink to the floor. “What do you mean?” I ask sadly. “Scorpius, he’s running out of time. And now that I know where he is I can’t just sit there and waste more time. I have to do something. Fast.”
“Okay,” he agrees, placating me quickly. “Okay, okay. Just… Just… Give me a day or two to think of a plan. Then we’ll go find him. I swear to Merlin, Al, I won’t let you do this alone. I just… I can’t go in there without a plan, or else I’ll panic. Please. Give me one day and then I swear, I swear, we’ll go after your dad.”
I bite my lip. “Promise?” I breathe.
Those wide, honest silver eyes of his meet mine. “I promise,” he whispers back, nodding slightly.
I sigh, leaning my head back against the wall. For a moment, I think of dad, I think about how he could be back soon, how he could be there in time to wave us off to Hogwarts.
But then all I can think about is the wasted day in between.
What if he dies while I just sit here and wait? What if it’s all my fault for not going after him straight away?
Scorpius seems to sense what I’m thinking and settles on the floor next to me, sighing lightly.
“Whatever happens,” he tells me softly, “none of it will be your fault. He wouldn’t want you to blame anything on yourself, Al.” I glance up at him, worry in my eyes and he says, “Don’t even think about it. Just relax. In two days everything will be back to normal.”
He sounds a little sad at this, which causes me to glance up at him. I feel my eyes narrow as I ask, “Is… Is something wrong, Scorpius?”
He looks up at me, biting his lip, those wide, child-like silver eyes of his watching me carefully, but I can still catch the tears filling in them. He turns away and in a slightly choked voice replies, “No.”
I blink at him and inform him rather rudely, “Liar.” He doesn’t move so I scoot around him so that he’s facing me. He turns his head away again.
“Scorpius,” I say forcefully. He looks up at me quickly and I say, “Look… You can tell me. Whatever it is, I promise I won’t judge you. It’ll be okay.”
A slight, sad laugh escapes him and he says, “It’s just…” He looks at me again and asks, “Will you still talk to me after?”
I blink at him in surprise, my mouth falling open slightly and say, “What kind of dumb question is that? Of course I will, you git!”
He bites his lip and says, “I mean… You’ll have your family back and your life will be the way it was before. I don’t want to… I don’t want to mess that up.”
I roll my eyes at him, glaring slightly. “You’re the stupidest person sometimes, you know that, right?” I sigh and say, “Scorpius, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I won’t ditch you if you won’t ditch me.” I let out a chuckle and add, “Besides, who else is going to try and get you and Rose to see any sense?”
Scorpius looks up at me, his eyes softening and he asks, “Really?”
“Yeah, you idiot,” I mutter, bumping his shoulder with mine. I stand up with a slight cough and say, “Tomorrow?” hopefully, biting my lip.
He nods, and agrees softly, “Tomorrow.”
I turn and make my way back to the fireplace. As I step inside to floo back home I hear his voice call after me, “We’ll find him, Al! I swear!”
And as I enter my own home again I know that he’s right.
We’re going to find my dad.
I’ll do whatever it takes.
I don’t care what happens in the end, as long as I get dad back.
I smile slightly, sinking onto the couch. This is it.
I’m going to find dad.
A/N: Chapter sixteen! Ohmygosh, we’re really only four chapters away from the end, aren’t we? I can’t believe it.
And for all of you wondering, yes. There will be a sequel. I’ll have to come up with a title and all, but the general idea is there. Al and Scorpius will live on! But of course this means some things have changed a little bit in the last chapters of the story. I suppose I’ll be the only to actually know, though. ;)
You’re all waiting for the preview for chapter seventeen aren’t you? (Which contains Scorpius, Al, James, Rose, Teddy, Louis, Hugo, Lily, a teensy bit of Roxanne, and some trampled flowers, oh, and something odd.) Anyways, here you are:
Rose watches me carefully and I can see the gears working in her brain. She knows that it has to do with dad, doesn’t she? She worked most of it out when she saw that article in my book. She’s not a bloody Ravenclaw for nothing.
Teddy sits down next to me as I sink onto the ground and asks, “What’s wrong, mate?” I blink slightly, but then shake my head, dropping it into my hands.
A slight sigh escapes me, but I don’t look up. I can feel James sit down next to me. After a moment, his hand hovers over my shoulder, and then he wraps his arm around me and hugs me to his side. I glance at him though my hands to see him smiling slightly at me.
“You know,” he whispers so softly in my ear that I can barely hear him, “A wise person once told me that everything will work out in the end.” He winks slightly, and I know he’s referring to what I said to him a few weeks ago.
I chuckle lightly, and he gives me a lopsided grin.
I’ll get chapter seventeen up as soon as possible. :) Please review, yada, yada, you know the drill so shoot.
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