Chapter 24 : Home not Home
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“Hey Mum!” Teddy said, engulfing our mother in a large hug. Teddy was very obviously larger than our mum. Mum was only a few inches taller than me and probably a size or two smaller as well. I honestly don’t know how she did it. She ate like Teddy did.
“Hello loves! Oh I’ve missed you!” She said in her high pitched, cheery voice. It made my head ache. I loved Mum and all, but she was chipper at all the wrong times, honestly. She turned to me, her bright green eyes meeting mine. Immediately her smile widened as she stepped forward and wrapped her slim arms around me.
“Hello Mum,” I mumbled into her slick brown hair. She stepped back, her arms still on my arms as she looked me up and down.
”We need to stuff some food into you. You’re looking too thin,” She said, patting my cheek affectionately. Teddy snorted and elbowed me playfully. He was trying and that was all that mattered, I suppose. Christmas Break was going to be about my family. I wasn’t going to dwell.
“Lenny skinny? That’s a joke, right? Have you seen this girl eat?” Teddy asked, taking a hold of my trunk and dragging it behind him with his own. My stomach immediately turned at the sound of food. I hadn’t eaten at all today. I hadn’t been able to. I didn’t sleep the night before after my conversation with… you-know-who (no, I’m not talking about Voldemort). Everything seemed off balance. I barely would allow myself to think about it. If I did, my eyes began to water. I hated that feeling of being so weak and vulnerable.
I was Lenny Crowley. Nowhere in there did I see “weak” or “pathetic”.
“You two are going to love Becca. She’s really looking forward to meeting the two of you!” Mum said, wrapping her arm over my shoulders. I had no clue who Becca was and I was sure I wouldn’t like her. Mum was a Hufflepuff back in school, which meant so were her friends. I didn’t get along well with Hufflepuffs. I didn’t get along well with anyone, for that matter.
“I’m sure we will love her,” Teddy said with a false smile, shooting me a look that said otherwise.
I felt like I had pounds and pounds of floo powder up my nose. I could barely breathe. I lay on this stranger’s floor, my eyes shut tight, and coughing violently. I hate flooing. It has to be one of the worst ways to get around the wizarding world. Whomever invented it should probably be stoned to death or something along those lines. They must get a sick pleasure from watching people like me suffer.
“Len, you okay?” I heard Teddy ask. I peeked my eyes open to see Teddy standing over me.
“I’m fine,” I grumbled, getting to my feet and shoving his extended hand aside.
The living room was quite cozy. It was small, but held large plush furniture and even a few muggle artifacts. It looked like I had walked into one of those classical movies where I’d be asked if I wanted some tea, only to find out that all the tea was already gone. You’ve never seen that type of movie? Oh, maybe it is just me.
“You must be Lenny!” A woman with dark blonde hair and bright blue eyes said to me, coming forward and wrapping her arms around me without a second thought. This is why I hate Hufflepuffs.
“You must be Becca,” I told her as she released me. Her and Mum were just about the same size. I wouldn’t be surprised if they shared clothes.
“I’ve heard so much about you two,” Becca said, grinning at us both. “Not only from your mother, but from my son as well. I believe you two know him?”
I glanced at Teddy in confusion. To my best knowledge, I didn’t even know Becca was married, let alone had a son. I stared at her, studying her features. I recognized the hair from somewhere, but I couldn’t place a finger on it. Her round face seemed all too familiar as well. I just couldn’t seem to place a direct finger on who her son could possibly be.
“Remus?” Teddy asked. No, that couldn’t be right.
“Teddy? Lenny? What are you two doing here?” Remus’s voice asked. I turned to see Remus having just come out of the fireplace, a confused look on his face. Sure enough, same hair as Becca and the same face.
“I could ask you the same thing,” I retorted, feeling my stomach twist into a knot. Remus was connected to “you-know-who”. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to have to think about him this break.
“I live here.” Remus said, giving me the common ‘loopy Lenny’ look. At least I’d feel a little bit more at home with that look.
“Don’t be rude, Lenora,” Mother scolded. I pursed my lips, but didn’t say anything.
“Remus, why don’t you bring the two up to the guest room and get them settled in, yes?” Becca said, smiling at her son. Remus nodded, gesturing for Teddy and I to follow him. I managed to drag myself into following behind him.
The house was very modest. It was obviously a two story with three bedrooms. Everything was decorated with the taste of an 80 year old, but it somehow added to the charm. It reminded me of the way Remus dressed every day. He didn’t have first class clothing. He wore modest, second hand robes. Most of the décor was of old looking flowers. The curtains were thick mustard colored. So maybe it didn’t all have taste.
Remus led us up the stairs in silence. This meant that Sirius had told all of the Marauders about what had occurred between us. I didn’t blame him. He was embarrassed beyond belief. He probably thought big mouth Lenny was going to go off and tell the whole world. He probably wanted to beat me to the punch. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, but I think they got the just of it. Lily claimed to have found the letters in the morning when she got up, stacked in a neat pile outside of our dorm door. They were now in my trunk, a weight that I didn’t want there.
Remus pulled open the first door we came across once up the stairs. It was a simple room. Two twin beds, a small dresser and a vanity all organized neatly in the room. A window out looked the backyard. It was snowing lightly out. I wrapped my sweater tighter around me. I really do hate winter.
“How are you doing, Lenny?” Remus asked. I knew the hidden message in his words. I tried to force a grin on my face, but it probably looked like I was constipated.
“I’m fine, Remus,” I mumbled. Teddy threw his trunk at the bottom of the bed closest to the door. He flopped down on the bed, placing his arms behind his head.
“Thanks for letting us stay here, mate. Just don’t mention it to anyone,” Teddy said, a small smile given to Remus. Remus returned it, running a hand through his hair.
“’Course not. Won’t tell a soul,” he said. I nodded, moving into the room myself. I sat down lightly on the other bed, it squeaking under my weight.
“I’ll let you two get settled, then,” Remus said awkwardly, shutting the door behind him as he left. I sighed, the air in the room thick. I could tell Teddy wanted to say something. Anything that could fix what was so wrong with me.
“Look Len-“ He sighed, running a hand through his thick hair. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t stop you from being with someone that you really like. I can tell you like Sirius and he likes you. If you two want to be together….then you have my blessing.”
I felt a knot form in my throat. If this would’ve been a few days ago, then the blessing would have meant the world to me. After last night, nothing truly mattered. It didn’t matter that Teddy had punched Sirius in the face. I actually was very happy with my brother for that. I felt tears sting my eyes. I was glad Teddy wasn’t very observant. For a Ravenclaw, he could be pretty thick some times.
“It’s fine, Teddy. Don’t worry about it,” I said pathetically. He sat up, angling himself at me.
“No, it’s not fine. Lenny I’ve watched you change so much this year and it has scared me. You used to be my sister who I never had to worry about. Now you’re a woman and I realize that you don’t need my protection. You just need a brother and I’ve been lacking in that department.” Teddy switched beds, now sitting next to me. “You’re my twin sister, Lenny. Nothing can change that. Not some guy that I punch, not some girl that you don’t like, and definitely not some stupid Quidditch rivalry. I’m sorry about the last few months, Len. Forgive me?”
Teddy and I always had a special bond. We were more than just twin siblings. When I didn’t have someone by my side, I could always count on Teddy. Teddy was my confidant. Teddy was my best mate. Teddy was my Teddy. He saved me on countless occasions and always knew just what to say to make me smile. We were attached since birth and I don’t think the last few months could ever change that. I put my head on his shoulder.
“Of course I forgive you,” I mumbled. I could hear his smile as he wrapped his arm across my shoulders, pulling me closer to him. I grinned, finally feeling remotely calm.
“So tell me what Black did,” Teddy said. I felt the calmness seep away.
I jumped into everything. From the ball, to the letters, to him admitting he loved me, to the snogging, and then to the disappointment of a lifetime. It wasn’t so much that I had been hurt by what he said, it was the fact that I had set myself up so high. I was disappointed in myself. Black was Black. He would always get the girl. He had me. I was wrapped around his finger. I had let myself get that way. After years of watching him do it to girls, I had turned into one of them.
I was just as pathetic as Kathy Mae, the Hufflepuff bimbo who thought he never really broke up with her.
I wiped my eyes, unaware that I had been crying. Teddy had stayed silent the whole story, not saying a word. It was then that I realized his whole body had become stiff. I glanced up and he was glaring at the door as though he would Avada it. His fists were clenched so tight that his knuckles were white.
“Teddy?” I questioned weakly. He closed his eyes, shaking his head.
“I should kill him, Len. I really should.” He growled. My eyes widened at his words. “But I won’t. For you.”
I looked up at him and smiled. My Teddy was back.
There was a soft knock on the door. We both looked up as Mum peeked her head around the corner. She smiled at both of us, oblivious to the conversation we had just had. She walked in a bit, shutting the door behind her. She sat down opposite the two of us, staring down into her hands. You knew something was wrong when Mum didn’t have a large grin on her face.
“Children… we are going to go see your father. In Azkaban.” She said, finally looking up at us. Neither of us responded. This was… shocking to say the least.
I felt as though all life was being sucked out of me at this very minute. I felt dry, disgusting. I felt like my soul was floating above me while the rest of my body was moving forward. It was cold, even colder than it was outside. I didn’t like this one bit. It was dark and wet. The only light was a torch every ten kilometers. This wasn’t even where they kept the prisoners; this was where they allowed us to visit our father.
There were other prisoners around us, talking in soft tones to their loved ones. I shuffled nervously on the stone bench that had been available for us to all squeeze on to. Mum was to my right and Teddy was to my left. I think they did this on purpose so that I wouldn’t run. Like that would stop me.
Teddy placed his hand on my knee, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Mum was holding her breath next to me. The air in the room suddenly thickened. The door at the far end of the room opened and slowly my father walked through, followed by a dementor. At least I thought it was my father. His eyes nearly drooped to the floor. His hair was messier and greasier than I remembered. His stubble had grown into a full blown beard. He looked as though he hadn’t eaten since he came here. The uniform they gave him seemed to have countless blood stains on them. I hoped they weren’t all from him.
He looked up, scanning the room. Teddy gasped at the sight of him. Mum cast her eyes down. Me, I stared straight at him. His eyes locked with mine. The eyes I had gotten from him. He studied my face, his own too hard to read. Then as he reached the table, I saw a tear slide down his cheek. The chains on his hands prevented him from doing so, but I knew he would have reached over and stroked my face.
“I am so sorry,” He whispered to me, sitting down across from us. Mum cleared her throat, but Father didn’t look her way.
“You should be. You should be ashamed,” I hissed at him. He looked taken back, but he had expected it. Teddy stared at me in disbelief.
“Lenora Crowley-“ my mother started to scold but Father cut her off with a ice cold glare. At least I knew where I got my cruel side from.
“Don’t you look at her that way!” I growled. His eyes turned straight back towards me. He didn’t have a right to give Mum that look. He didn’t have a right to look at her. While she may have cheated, he committed the worst crime of leaving us. He killed someone. I would never understand the kind of person who could do that. I may never understand why my mother cheated, but leaving is inexcusable.
“Children…” Father said, looking between Teddy and myself. “I did it out of love. My love for the two of you. My love for your mother.”
He was pleading with us. Trying to get us to see his side. I didn’t want to have to see his side. I barely saw Mum’s. I stared at him, my face impassive. Teddy stared down into his lap. It was obvious from the beginning that Teddy had sided with Mum in all of this. I was Father’s last strand of hope. He looked at me, his eyes pleading with my own.
“Lenny, you’ve got to believe me. I would never do anything to hurt you, baby girl. You’re my sunshine. When the dementors come close, I think of you. I think of the nargle hunting we would be doing in a few days if I wasn’t here. I think of the years we have spent baking cookies until two in the morning.” I feel the tears sting at my eyes as I see my father is not ashamed of the ones flowing from his.
“Stop. Just stop.” I choked out. I shook my head at him. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t go down memory lane when I knew that he wasn’t going to be able to create any more with me. They’d all just be something to tuck away in the back of my mind. It didn’t matter anymore. He didn’t matter anymore.
That was when a dementor floated behind me, nearly touching me. I gasped as a cold breeze swept through me. I felt all emotion float away from me. All emotion but the depression that had been prominent over the last few days was gone. My father leapt to his feet, shoving me into Teddy and away from the dementor. The dementor reacted on instinct and dashed straight for Father. So did the other dozen that were in the room.
They all surrounded him in a matter of seconds.
“No!” I screamed, leaping to my feet. I saw a dementor far too close to my father’s face. I jumped right over the table, colliding with my father and bringing him to the ground. People were screaming, dashing for the nearest exit. I heard Mum shouting something inaudible. Teddy was trying to get someone to help. I looked up and suddenly it was just me and Father, surrounded by the dozen or so dementors. I was reminded of Sirius’s rejection. I was reminded of the times my father came home drunk. I was mostly reminded of how lonely I was.
That’s why I got up and found my way through the dementors, leaving my father in the middle. They didn’t care about me, they cared about him. He was the prisoner. He was the murderer. He wasn’t the father that I grew up knowing. I was going to leave him the way he left me. His eyes met mine through the throng of dementors. I shook my head at him.
“You’re dead to me.” I told him. I turned and went straight for the exit. Teddy’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped. It wasn’t a Lenny move to do that. Mum stared at me in disbelief. I walked straight past both of them.
I lost the capability to be Lenny Crowley last night when the man I had fallen in love with told me we were a mistake.
I made it back to the Lupin home with tears streaming down my face. How stupid could Mother be to bring us there? Just because it was the holidays? She was thick. I wanted to scream and shout, but knowing this was not my home, I wouldn’t. Where were we supposed to go after Hogwarts ended? Mum surely wasn’t going to live here forever, was she? The Lupins weren’t going to be that generous to her.
I went to storm up the stairs when I saw Remus at the top. His eyes widened at the sight of the tears pouring from my eyes. He was frozen, unsure what to do. I climbed the stairs, still crying. Upon reaching Remus I wrapped my arms around him and sobbed into his knitted sweatshirt. I felt his body stiffen, but I didn’t care. I needed someone to comfort me. Even if it was Remus Lupin. Eventually he wrapped his arms around me and patted my back awkwardly.
“Shhh, it’s okay Lenny,” he mumbled into my hair.
“No, its not!” I sobbed harder. It wasn’t okay. I felt as though it would never be okay.
“Like Padfoot’s seconds, mate?” I heard a voice ask. I wiped at my eyes hastily and turned sharply to see James Potter standing in front of us, a large smirk on his face. Upon seeing my tears, his smirk immediately fell from his face.
“Prongs.” Remus said with a frustrated sigh. James’s face paled.
“Oh shit, I’m sorry Lenny.” James mumbled. I felt panic rising in my chest. If there was Potter, Black was short to follow. I felt the knot in my throat loosen and the tears threaten to fall again.
“Screw you both!” I hissed, rushing past them and into the guest room Teddy and I were sharing. I couldn’t handle this. I felt like everything was collapsing in on itself.
Everything was crumbling. Everything was falling. I was falling. I was at a loss as to what to do. Life was so much simplier when I was Loony Lenny, not L.C.
Author's Note: So I'm sorry about the wait? Does that make any sense? No probably not. Anyways, this was really just a filler chapter and a bigger insight on the Crowleys. You had to see it, honestly. She needed time away from Sirius. You'll see him in the next chapter, don't worry. Like this sad Lenny? Should we get her happy again? Favorite quote? Favorite scene? Let me know what you think and your ideas!
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