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Chapter 11 : Enclosed Spaces
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Did you know that having all the Weasley and Potter children in one house is roughly equivalent to exploding a bomb?
Well, it is.
The parents decided the best way to keep me sane was to get every single over fourteen in the safe house with me. I think it also had something to do with trying to keep them safe, but if it was just the first reason they were WRONG.
The house was full of craziness.
Well, it was full of Weasleys. I suppose that’s to be expected.
Fred and Rose were already fighting over the TV remote; James had borrowed Amata to send a letter to Chelsea, just to warn her and update her; Dom was ‘studying’ (devising another prank); Al was also writing two identical letters to give to Amata, but they were going to be delivered to Scorpius and Riley- it was another warning letter, I think- and I knew my poor little owl would be tired when she got back; Molly’s Siamese kitten, Pinstripes, was chasing a piece of string she was whipping around; Hugo was playing a very verbal game of chess with Lily and Lucy was dancing to some random music she was playing loudly, Roxanne occasionally jumping up and doing the Worm before sitting down again.
Oh, and then there was Vic and Teddy, who were supposed to be the supervising adults but were actually just cuddled up on the sofa looking very cutesy and loved-up.
I had moved over there very quickly, Ginny already having packed up all my stuff by the time Harry went to collect it. James had stayed at the Ministry with Harry to ‘help’ because he was of age but Lily and Al had followed me. They kept me calm, and held me while I cried and made sure I didn’t do anything stupid. Most of the time we stayed in the living room and discussed pointless things like Quidditch and House Cup and who was the fittest Raging Hippogriff (Al firmly stayed out of that conversation).
That was, until of course, James came and brought all the other Weasleys with him.
Such joy unto the world.
I could kill him.
I stayed downstairs as much as I could stand, even though it was a little painful. Usually I’d make a few snide suggestions to Dom, or irritate Vic. The problem was that I just couldn’t bring myself to do any of it. I couldn’t bring myself to care.
Every so often, I felt Lily’s eyes on me and I tried to join in with whatever was nearest, but she couldn’t be fooled and three days in, she cornered me before breakfast. She looked fluffy and festive; wearing a knitted red cardigan and green jeans with matching scarf and slippers, but her face was of determination when she put her arm in front of the door.
“Ellie, we need to talk.”
I looked at her.
“Okay, well, you need to talk and I need to listen.”
“I need to eat.”
“Yeah, but that isn’t going to fill that hollow in your chest that stops you sleeping. Ellie, we need to make this at least bearable for you.”
Keeping the appearance of happiness up for the others I had hoped would perhaps blur my new knowledge away for a small time, but at nights I had taken to slipping into Lily’s room and curling up in her bed. When I woke up from the nightmares, she’d hold me until I was okay and let me cry until I couldn’t any more.
She’s my best friend.
I sighed, opened the door and avoided her gaze. “None of this has ever been bearable.”
My attempt at nudging her arm away was met by unyielding strength.
“You aren’t going anywhere until you talk.”
I turned a filthy glare on her as I tried more force against her arm, but she held firm. “Where do you want me to begin, Lily? How about when my mother was marked for death since she was twenty years old? Or when my parents died? Maybe we could start when I was eleven and had to move in with my godparents- who I didn’t even know were my godparents until I read the wills- and contribute to the funerals of my parents? Or even better, let’s go back to when I started getting death threats!”
Her arm finally dropped.
“You don’t know anything. You have a family to worry about; I don’t.”
I stalked out, past Al who had clearly heard my rant and tried to pause me but I jerked out of his grasp. The stairs whipped by me and I jumped down on the sofa next to Rose, who was watching a documentary on the sex lives of giraffes.
After a few minutes of silence, she leaned towards me slightly.
“Is Fred still in here?” she whispered, a hint of a smirk on her lips.
I tried to be as subtle as possible as I twisted my head around, surveying the area down my nose slightly. He was nowhere to be seen, but Roxanne gave my suspiciously appraising gaze a raised eyebrow.
Facing the screen again, I shrugged. “Nope.”
“Yes!” she hissed, leaping up and grabbing the remote, switching the channel on the tv as quickly as possible.
She saw my questioning frown.
“Long story short- Fred, arsehole, pissed me off, boredom, him leave.”
Reasonable. Very reasonable.
Rose whizzed through the channels at top speed, and settled on some cheesy chick flick that was the only thing on at ten in the morning.
The characters on the screen were terribly portrayed, and we ended up making snide comments about how fat her butt looked in a ridiculous, puffed up skirt that I’m sure would have made Audrey Hepburn look obese.
“Rose,” whined Hugo, suddenly standing over us. “I need your help.”
“What’s up?” she asked, turning her attention away from the criminally disgusting blouse the girl was now sporting.
“Wanna help us tear apart this girl’s self confidence?” I suggested helpfully.
Rose sighed. “We’re going to be here until the eighth of January, Hugo. You’re just going to have to get used to finding something to do.”
He pouted. “But I’m bored...”
“So go make some fun.”
“But the only girl here who isn’t related to me is Ellie-“
I’m pretty sure Rose choked on her own spit. “WHAT?! That’s not fun, that’s being a whore! Go play with Lucy, you little twerp, and if I catch you snogging anyone at school I will give you detention until the end of your seventh year!”
She threw a pillow at him for good measure.
He trotted away, a little frightened by the outburst, and up the stairs.
Rose turned to me.
“Why the hell does he think that he can say something like that to his own sister?”
I shrugged. “He has always been socially awkward.”
“Socially awkward people sell axes to eleven year olds because they can’t say no- Hugo is beyond selling axes, in fact, he’s handing a psychopath a shotgun that is fully loaded and he’s made sure they have spare bullets just in case there are more kids at the school that the psycho wants to shoot than he originally thought!”
This was an awful lot to take in the five seconds it was said in, but after a minute I nodded fairly. It was an accurate assessment.
“Kinda feel sorry for him. He doesn’t even know he’s doing anything wrong,” I yawned, vaguely watching the overdone PDA on the screen.
“I don’t. I want to kill him.”
“Is Azkaban worth it, though?”
“If I got to rip his balls off first, then probably.”
My first babysitting job of the stay was to ensure James didn’t destroy the house in an attempt to make brownies.
He was allowed to bake once, and let’s just say the aftermath involved seven Memory Charms, a ruptured spleen and the promise of never making soufflé again.
It was not a good day in the Potter household.
James liked to cook, but bless him, he wasn’t very good at it.
“First, James, where’s your recipe?”
“Hmm... I left it up upstairs, but I’m pretty sure I can remember it-“
“Go get it.”
He dragged his feet the whole way there and back, but I would downright refuse to stay in the kitchen if he tried to make the damn thing without it.
I left him to it mostly, supervising and slapping his hand when he licked the spoon and silly things like that. The worrying moment came when he turned to the microwave, roughly breaking up chocolate and humming vaguely when he put the bowl in. This in itself was fine, but he brought it out after the first thirty seconds, stirred it, and left the spoon in.
A METAL spoon.
I am so glad that I can claim to have no shared DNA with him... unlike Lily.
“What are you doing?” I said quickly, slapping his hand away from the buttons and yanking the door open, pulling the spoon out. “Kitchen lesson number four: metal and microwaves are as explosive as a hormonal Lily.”
“Got it,” he grinned, sending the microwave on its merry way, and turned to me.
“What?” I asked him, eyes narrowing. I knew that look- it was mischievous and cheeky and meant trouble. As much as Trouble can be fun, it’s like that pestering younger sibling that never leaves you alone that you’re sure you’ll end up strangling one day.
He just smirked.
“Whatever it is, no, James, I-“
I started to back away, but it was too late. As I dodged, he lunged and caught me around the waist, pulling my back against his chest. He chuckled in my ear as I squealed in shock, tightening his grip and picking me up.
“AH! James, put me down! JAMES!”
He said nothing, still laughing as he dumped me on the sofa, pinning me down by straddling my waist and clutching my hands above my head. I kicked up, giggling at his teasing and he suddenly flipped both of my hands into his. I felt very small briefly, almost like a child, until I realised what he was going to do.
“Don’t. You. Dare,” I said lowly, watching his teasing hand lower to my waist. “Seriously, I won’t- AHH NO STOP IT!”
I squirmed and writhed under him, but there was nothing I could do as he tickled me mercilessly- what was it with these stupid Potter boys and tickling me?- and I ended up barely able to breathe, screaming and laughing like I hadn’t done in a long time.
When I started to feel a little faint, he removed his hand and gave me a moment to relax.
“Having fun?” he grinned.
“I hate you,” I said, the loathing somewhat masked by my desperate gasps.
“James, what- JAMES!”
Al had walked down the stairs, clearly investigating the noise, and I burst out into another round of giggles at his shocked face.
James was still straddling me, but he didn’t make an apology or move.
“Just cheering our lovely Ellie-Belly up,” he sang, making me wriggle when he lightly traced his fingers over my neck and made me hazy again.
Al seemed unsteady and uncertain. “Erm... aren’t you dating Chelsea?”
At that, James snorted. “Yeah, but I never do this to her-“ I shrieked as he attacked my stomach again “-because she can dump me, but I’m Ellie’s brother. She can never dump me!”
“I’ll do my best!” I yelled, trying to wrench my hands free.
Bloody Potter bloody strong bloody hell.
“You love me really!” he insisted, still tickling.
“AL! HELP ME, YOU ARSE!” I eventually yelled.
In seconds, Al was over and wrestling his brother away. James dived at him for the chance at a real fight (not a ‘stop-Ellie-breathing-until-you’re-bored’ attack), and I lay, finally relaxed, staring at the ceiling and panting desperately.
They were groaning and smiling and making empty promises with each other, arguing in their adorable brotherly way.
“Now now, boys, it’s bros before hoes,” Teddy said, laughing at the door of the game room. “Stop fighting over Ellie, it’ll inflate her ego.”
“I don’t have an ego!” I interjected indignantly, sitting up suddenly before lurching in pain. “Bollocks!”
Teddy’s eyes became concerned, hurrying to my side.
“Are you okay?”
“Cramp,” I muttered, trying to hold a muscle underneath my ribcage and flopping back down again. It was seizing up terribly. “Should go away soon.”
The boys hadn’t noticed, but I didn’t mind as I tried to concentrate on breathing.
Teddy pulled out his wand, gesturing for me to move my hands away. He casted it lightly over my ribs, before tapping twice, and the pain vanished. I still felt tense and uncomfortable, but it didn’t hurt.
He smiled, gently helping me sit up. “Auror training was a bitch- I got a lot of stitches and cramp, so I made sure I knew how to help. Keep moving it, but it should naturally go away in a few minutes anyway.”
James rolled (or he was pushed) onto my feet, so I mercilessly kicked him away. Teddy chuckled, but lost the smile in place of a sombre, compassionate expression.
“I haven’t really had chance to ask you, Ellie- are you okay?”
I nodded, keeping my eyes trained on the rolling boys. “Uh huh, I’m fine. You know, taking it as it comes now.”
His voice was far too disbelieving for my liking.
“Do you want me to be upset?”
“No! Of course not, it’s just...”
James had broken free, grabbed the eggs for the brownies and smashed them in Al’s hair. It had become a full-blown war.
His whole body shift to look at me.
“Look, I don’t know what you think we know, but we all hear you screaming at night.”
Flinching, I felt my stomach clench up even tighter and my breath felt shaky.
A hand rested lightly on my arm.
I tried to focus on how much I wanted to kiss away all the sugar on the tip of Al’s nose.
“That’s not healthy, you know. Bottling it all up inside until the one time you can’t defend yourself from your own emotions comes back to haunt you. You’ll lose your mind, Ellie, you won’t be the same.”
“Do you really think I can be the same?” I countered sceptically.
When I glanced at Teddy, I realised he was watching the boys chase each, covered in ingredients.
“I think that when James tickled you... you looked the same. You were laughing.”
“When were you-“
“Ellie, I’ve been watching you most of the time.”
That was news to me. I turned to him.
“It may seem creepy, but it’s more than your safety we’re talking about here. It’s the preservation of everything that is you- your happiness, your smile, your quiet sarcasm... we want the girl we love to stay... not be replaced by a sad and haunted one.”
“While that’s lovely, I can’t. I’m human. I learn things. This is part of that. I’ve learnt that trusting everything to be simple is wrong. I can’t. Mum died, sort of because it was her fault and not really and dad stayed by her side so it’s kind of his fault but then again, not really and this psychopath, after years of silence, has come back to get me. I don’t understand.”
“Well, Harry’s working on the understanding part. You have to work on the accepting.”
With that, he squeezed my shoulder, and left me to gather my thoughts and watch the boys, who had remembered that they were wizards and therefore had wands.
Lily and I were snuggled into her bed when we heard a great deal of yelling outside her door.
“TEDDY TEDDY TEDDY!”
We stirred, but Lily managed to lazily roll out of bed and open the door. I grumbled and pulled the sheets over my head.
“Who the fuck woke us up and when can I flatten them with my mattress, Ellie included?” I heard her ask sweetly.
“Scorpius and that lot wrote back- and he wants to come and stay if that’s okay!” I heard Al hurriedly explain, excitement alive at the thought of male company that wasn’t related to him.
I sunk lower when I remembered my pyjamas consisted of nothing more than a tank top and ridiculously short shorts.
“I’ll run it by Harry, and there may be quite a few tests to pass and checks to be done and stuff. Make sure he’s aware of that,” I heard Teddy tell him.
“I think he already is, his dad owled my dad yesterday and they’re sorting out details.”
“Okay, then I guess it’s out of my hands. I don’t mind so long as the kid doesn’t get himself in trouble.”
“Scorpius is nice, Teddy,” Lily yawned. “Fancies Rose like hell, though.”
Yawning, I peeked my nose over the top of the duvet, but they were all stood in the doorway so I pulled it up again.
“Aww, get up Ellie,” I heard Al coo.
“Yeah, Ellie,” Lily added. She was smirking, I knew it. “Stop being lazy.”
Al’s voice was a lot closer, and I held on much tighter. “Time to wake up.”
“I’m sleeping,” I whined. “Fuck off.”
“Lily’s language is rubbing off on you.”
“At least it’s not your appalling table manners.”
“I’m quite neat when I eat!”
Suddenly, I was cowering away from the light and cold as he yanked it away. I curled up in a tiny ball.
“Nooooo,” I said. “Meeeeean.”
He snorted. “You’ll get over it.”
After a few moments, I heard a slap and peeked through my eyelashes, where Al was nursing a rather pink cheek.
“What was that for?” he hissed.
“You know, Albus Severus,” she scolded, before shoving him out and slamming the door in his face. “Next time, Ellie, wear longer shorts.”
At breakfast, James and Roxanne were the only others downstairs, but were enjoying a debate on the best way to make eggs in the morning. I pretended to enjoy watching Rose write a frantic letter.
“What’s up?” I sighed.
“Urgh,” she huffed, “I told James-“
“Henderson- that I’d write to him. It’s nearly New Year’s and I still haven’t written. Bloody hell I’m a bad girlfriend,” she cussed, writing as viciously as she was speaking.
“Calm down,” I chuckled. “It’ll be fine.”
“No, it won’t. He’s already on edge about Scorpius, and I don’t want him to get mad at me.”
“Scorpius?” I asked curiously.
Ooh, plot twist.
She rolled her eyes, flicking at the end of her signature. “Yes, he thinks Scorpius fancies me and doesn’t like it.”
One point to James H: they are getting married, after all.
“In fairness to him, Scorpius does like you.”
Rose snorted. “I know.”
“I know Scorpius likes me. But here’s the difference between him and James- James asked me out, and Scorpius follows me around like a stalker. James talks to me like a human being, whilst Scorpius treats me like I’m a goddess.”
Frowning, I watched her fold up her letter. “I thought that’s what every girl dreams of, isn’t it? Being a princess and having a prince?”
She shook her head. “It’s all well and good until it’s put into practice- I want a guy I can have a conversation with, who is romantic, yes, but is my best friend too.”
“...and James is that guy?” I asked doubtfully.
“He’s closer than Scorpius, believe me.”
At that moment, Amata flew back in through the window, clutching two envelopes. Rose quickly stuffed her letter in and seal the envelope as James snatched them both up, throwing one aside and tearing open his.
“Chelsea has convinced her mum to put up a whole load of extra enchantments,” he said in relief, slumping in the seat next to me. I smiled gently at him. “They’ve called off a party they were going to have too, just in case... oh, she says hi,” he said, looking up at me, “and wants to know how you are.”
“Tell her I’m okay,” I said, stroking an amazingly awake Amata, who was perched on my shoulder.
“She still wants to come over and meet mum and dad properly.”
“Tell her no way in hell, because A) Harry is busy and B) she hasn’t met some of the Weasley’s for a reason.”
He smirked, and whipped out a quill and parchment. “Noted. Can you go and get Al? I think that’s Riley’s response.”
I momentarily paused. “Erm, sure...”
Dragging my feet, I reached the bottom of the stairs and hollered up; “AL! YOU’VE GOT A LETTER!” before leaping back into my chair, which made James give me a strange look.
I managed to drag out a grin.
Al cheerily snatched up the letter, but stopped as he turned it over.
“What?” Rose asked, watching him.
“Someone’s already opened this,” he said slowly, showing us the broken seal.
James and I looked at each other, then back at Al.
“It wasn’t us... I put it on the table and no one’s touched it since.”
Rose seemed to be much further ahead in the thought process than we were, because she looked frightened.
Al slid his hand in the envelope, and pulled out two pieces of parchment. It was obvious they were separate- one was thick and pale, whilst the other was brittle and yellowing. I snatched the second one off him.
I hastily unfolded it.
I know where you are. Don’t ever think I’m too stupid to figure it out.
Turning on my heel, I ignored Rose, Al and James’ demands to know what it said.
“Teddy?” I yelled, running up the stairs. “TEDDY?”
He ran out of his room, nearly knocking into me.
I shoved the letter at him.
“Everyone’s in danger,” I whispered, and he tightened up, shoulders tensing.
“Where is everyone?” he demanded.
“Some people are downstairs, but-“
“Get everyone in the living room, now.”
I nodded, and we split as I stumbled into Lily’s bedroom, grabbing her arm and dragging her without a word of explanation.
“What the fuck, Ellie?” she yelled as I managed to shove her at James, and Al and Rose were still there. I saved explaining, fortunately, by the arrival of Vic and Teddy. She had clearly only just shoved on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
He addressed us quickly. “James, I want you to search upstairs and send everyone down here. I’m going to check the kitchen and game room, and Vic, you need to organise them into sibling groups.”
James leapt up the stairs and Teddy disappeared through the door. Vic separated Rose as a whining Fred trailed downstairs.
“I know James looked stressed, but if this is anything less than a zombie apocalypse I am going back to bed.”
Al whacked him around the head.
Rose chuckled lightly.
Fred flipped them the finger.
“What the bloody hell is this all about?” Hugo grumbled, but Rose simply grabbed them. Rejoining us, Teddy dragged Molly and Lucy in who were still in their pyjamas, and muttering about basic human rights. Teddy sent Vic after James, and they both came down soon after with the rest of them, all whining and moaning.
Teddy pulled out a piece of glass, and began muttering to it urgently.
Every single one of us stared at him as though he was mad for several seconds.
“Teddy... are you okay?” James asked slowly.
“...seriously, you seem a bit psychotic. Are you on drugs?”
“He’s more of a prude than Rose is,” Fred laughed, “yeah right!”
Lily felt the need to hit him over the head again, much harder than Al had done.
“Bloody hell, Potter! What was that for?” he moaned, massaging his head and rubbing sleep out of his eyes.
“I can encourage Roxy to be less of a prude if you want me to,” she said sweetly.
He seemed alarmed at this, and didn’t answer. Lily and Rose high-fived.
Teddy was still talking to the glass, increasingly worked up and angry, when he yelped in achievement and quickly began to talk again. Our attention was, once again, turned back to this abnormal behaviour.
“Why are you engaged to him?” Lucy whispered.
“I don’t know,” Vic whispered back.
“Okay?” Teddy asked, at a normal volume. “Are you sure? Okay, well, I’ll just... Do you want to? To make sure? Yeah, here you go...”
Striding over with the purpose of a confident individual, he handed the glass to me.
I stared at it.
“Talk,” Teddy said encouragingly.
I stared at him, but took a deep breath regardless.
“Hello?” I tentatively asked it.
I jumped back in shock. That was Harry’s voice.
“How on earth...?” I said, studying the glass and seeing it was actually a shard of broken mirror, but it wasn’t my own eye blinking back at me; it was Lily and Al’s bright green ones.
“Magic,” he said playfully, but cleared his throat and it all became serious far too quickly. “Ellie, Teddy told me about the letter and what it said. I don’t know how you feel, but these letters only seem to creep up when you’re in a place the person can’t get to- it seems to be a way of scaring you out of the places safest to be in, so I think we should keep you where you are for as long as possible.”
I nodded slightly. I hadn’t considered it that way, but it made sense. “Yes, I think I should stay. But what about the others?”
“They need to be in the safest place, so they’re going where you are,” he assured me. “Are you alright with that arrangement?”
“It’s fine, yeah.”
“Okay, give me back to Teddy; I need to fill him in on a few things.”
I fulfilled this request immediately, and turned to Lily and told her why we were downstairs in the first place. I was interrupted by Teddy.
“After a security scare,” he began authoritatively, “we are going to have to enforce several new rules while we live here.”
Rose was outraged at ‘no letters’, as was James. Fred was pissed he couldn’t use the kitchen at all any more (Teddy had added ‘no fires’ purely for his benefit, he later told me, and with or without supervision he was bound to cause one) and Lucy was mad she would have to wear shorts under all her skirts to store her wand everywhere she went.
All in all, the rules were not taken well, but no one seemed to be against adhering to them.
I tucked the letter away, and everyone began to disperse. Teddy told Fred that he had everyone downstairs to do a headcount in case Harry wanted them to leave, and Al finally got around to reading his letter.
“According to Riley they had a lot of protection anyway, but his dad put up some extra stuff... blah de blah, stuff about school... oh, dammit. He wanted us to go to a party of his-“
“I’d tell you owl him and thank him for the invite, but because we’re under HOUSE ARREST,” Rose shouted across the room, and Teddy blatantly ignored her, “you can’t.”
“Better than being murdered,” Lily said cheerfully.
Laughing, I poked her. “That’s one way of looking at it.”
“That’s always the way of looking at it. If you’re wrong, then you can whinge about it.”
Says the girl who cursed me for stealing her notebook.
A/N The whole selling an axe thing isn’t mine... it belongs to danisnotonfire, who’s a YouTuber and he’s hilarious, but really stupid sometimes. Yes, he sold an axe to an eleven year old and got fired from his job. >.< he’s funny. Oh, and I’ve actually put a spoon in a microwave and nearly destroyed our kitchen. I am ‘fail’ incarnate. On the other hand, I’ve never received a death threat. Achievement unlocked! Yay!
And *cheesy Scooby Doo double take* WHHHAT?! Guys, I have eighteen people who’ve favourite-d this story! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?! And thank you so much, it’s so flattering when I haven’t looked at it in a while- I remember when it was just Hiana, Harry_Potter_345 and Nelle07! This is insanity! You’re all gorgeous, and thus I give you all epic cyber hugs. *hugs*
*GingerGenower apparates away*
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