Chapter 4 : Always Angry.
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Updates will be coming regularly! :) And a thank you to everyone who follows this story and to everyone who nominated The Seer for The Dobbys! That meant so much to me. If you enjoy a good mystery, you should go check out my other story, Prime Suspects, though! It's this year's Best Mystery winner! And if any of you read, nominated, or voted for that one as well, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! It means the world to me.
Everyone single one of you is so amazing! You inspire me all the time! Thank you! Okay, I'll stop ranting now! Enjoy! :)
Parker Namken continued to patiently lean against the wall outside a small coffee shop. He let his long hair hang into his eyes as he stared at one door in particular to a flat across the street. He had been patient, waiting outside the coffee shop for a good hour now, but he didn't mind the wait, for it would all be worth it in the end. He had to be careful, though. While he was thought dead and three years older as well, he was still cautious.
Instead of Parker Namken, he was Nolan Paxton now. Knowing he would have to enter the world, he fashioned himself a new name. He had taken a good two years since that day at Azkaban to prepare himself to assimilate into the world. He had taken the time to let his physical features mature to the point that even his closest friends wouldn't be able to tell that he was Parker Namken. He had grown in height, spent day after day exercising to build up his strength, and he had grown out his hair to hide his facial features even more. While he was taller, broader, and sporting a new hairstyle, he was still prudent to observe those around him to be sure they wouldn't recognize him.
After those two years of developing a different appearance, he had slowly entered the world once again.
He redundantly tapped his index finger against his thigh, biting his lower lip as he waited. He had scanned the customers at the small coffee shop already, and he had begun to guess who the lucky girl was. Was it the blonde sitting with a man by across from her, reading a muggle newspaper? No, that didn't make sense. It couldn't be. Was it the other blonde who gingerly sipped at her latte while reading a book? Was it the brunette with a pixie cut and framed glasses who was scribbling away in a notebook? Or was it the girl with sleek, midnight hair who sat alone and nervously tapping her foot?
As Parker looked more closely, he knew who it was. Of course it was the girl with the deep black curls with the nervous tick. With the girl in sight, he resumed scanning the streets? Where was the other one? The one who would verify his plan. He waited a few more minutes, and then he saw him. The man who ruined everything three years ago. He hadn't seen him since that day at Azkaban. Parker didn't know what he had expected, but it wasn't this. He thought he would appear more changed than he did, just like Parker had changed.
Then again, James Potter appeared very different from that day at Azkaban. Potter was taller, and his hair was longer. He had grown more broad and defined in muscle, his jaw was set with maturity, and his eyes held wisdom and exhaustion. Parker didn't like the way the sight of Potter made him feel. However, in his eyes he could feel all of Potter's troubles; there was so much more going on in James Potter's life than he let anyone on about. Despite this, he walked with pride, like everything was fine and dandy. Parker hated that even more. Who did he think he was?
The kid of Harry fucking Potter, that's who, Parker's thoughts snarled, and he couldn't resist a snort.
Parker watched James Potter approach the coffee shop. He scanned the people sitting out front of the place, for the weather was beautiful, and Potter spotted the same girl Parker had. The girl with the deep black hair with anxiety etched across her face.
He watched James put on a smile; he seemed to know she was exactly who he was looking for as well. He approached her quite comfortably and extended his hand. Parker watched her uneasily shake his hand in return, and it all unfolded from there. Potter sat down across from her, and they entered whatever conversation needed to be held. Parker could guess, though. He had done his fair share of snooping. He knew who the girl with the midnight hair was. She was Clancy O'Dell, James Potter's newest client and without a doubt his most powerful one. She had seized during her first prophecy two days ago. She was exactly what he needed.
Knowing for certain who his target was, he was able to settle on a bench across the street. Knowing their meeting would take quite some time, he glanced to them only every now and again. As their meeting went on, Clancy O'Dell seemed to tap her foot less. Her anxiety subsided and she relaxed. Finally Parker could see them giving their parting goodbyes, and he watched James Potter walk away from Clancy O'Dell.
Releasing a sigh of relief, her shoulders hunched over and she slid down into her chair, her posture quickly dissolving. Parker smirked and rose, quickly crossing the street. He adjusted his shirt, sucking in a deep breath. It had been ages since he had done this; he couldn't even remember the last time he had picked up a girl. He was probably rusty at it by now.
As he crossed the street, he watched Clancy O'Dell rise from her spot. No, that wasn't supposed to happen. He blanched. Was she leaving? She couldn't! Panicked, he crossed the street as fast as he could, but relief met him as he watched Clancy slip back into the coffee shop, most likely for a refill now.
He was able to relax as he slipped into the shop, entering the line behind Clancy. Seeing the woman he had been watching for hours now close up was something different. He could see her features better, like how a few strands of her hair were a deep chocolate. Biting his lip, he rocked back and forth on his heels and finally leaned into her ear.
"Coming for a refill, eh? I'm not much of a coffee person myself. What's good?" he asked casually.
At first Clancy appeared startled to be spoken to, but then she turned around with a smile. "Oh, this place is great. It's my favorite. Salted caramel mocha, my regular. Like tea?"
"Oh, love it," grinned Parker.
"Try their apricot chai tea. It's brilliant."
"Oh, sounds wonderful. I'll take your word. It must be great for a muggle coffee shop to attract someone like yourself."
Clancy blanched, her eyes growing wide, and she turned fully to face Parker this time. He knew this would catch her attention. She looked uneasy, but her lips began to tug up into a smirk. "How do you know?"
Parker grinned. "Any muggle would think that your wand in your back pocket is just an ordinary pen because your jacket is covering the rest of it. But I know different."
Clancy looked around her to where her wand was in her back pocket. She seemed impressed, but her eyebrows pulled up in questioning. "Have you been looking at my ass then?"
"Have not!" stated Parker with a smile in a joking fashion.
"That's a lie! Otherwise you wouldn't have noticed my wand," argued Clancy with a hint of laughter to her voice.
"All right, so I was looking. So hex me. How could I resist?" he teased. Clancy only folded her arms across her chest and shook her head in dismay, despite the wide smile on her face. Parker grinned; it was going easier than he had expected. He had to keep it up. "I'm Nolan, by the way. Nolan Paxton."
"Clancy O'Dell," she replied with the name Parker already knew. She offered him her hand without her empty coffee cup.
"So where did you go to school then, Clancy?" asked Parker as they moved up in the line.
"Beauxbatons," she replied in a breezy tone. This Parker hadn't known. He had never seen her at Hogwarts, so he should have assumed she attended Beauxbatons for schooling, but there wasn't the faintest trace of a French accent. He filed that away for later. "You?"
"Hogwarts," he answered as they approached the bar.
The barista behind the counter knew Clancy by name, and from that Parker could only assume how often Clancy came to this coffee shop. He took her cup and didn't even need to ask what to refill it with. Parker placed his order, the apricot chai tea Clancy recommended, and when the barista asked Clancy for the money for her refill, Parker stepped in. "Nah, I've got this," he said, pulling out the muggle money he had gotten exactly for this purpose.
"Thanks," she said with a smile over her shoulder.
Parker found himself actually giving a genuine smile. It had all been fake till now. She was just a pretty face he had to get close to; it was all part of the plan, but he found that flirting with her was easy. He didn't have to think about what he was saying, how she would respond, or what to do to make sure he kept in touch with her. He was sure it would work itself out, and thus his first true smile in a long time reached his lips.
He shook off the feeling. He had gone three years with nothing but cold, cruel hatred coursing through his veins. He didn't need happiness or fluff by any means; those emotions could potentially betray him. He couldn't have that. They couldn't get in his way. Not when he was so set on revenge.
He began to rock back and forth on his heels once again after they moved to the bar along the side, waiting for their drinks to be made. He stuffed his fists into his pockets, leaning against the bar. "So how'd you find a muggle coffee shop anyway?"
"Strange story," she merely answered.
Parker rolled his shoulders. "I like strange stories."
Clancy appraised him, his interest in her and if it was genuine. When she decided it was, she rolled her shoulders and nodded in approval. "All right then. I grew up here actually. In London, and I'm muggle born. So all the muggle customs, the shopping, the lifestyle; it's second nature to me. My mum and I used to swing by this place for her daily coffee before I grew into the taste of it. I would always get hot chocolate instead."
"But if you grew up in London - and a muggleborn at that - why did you go to Beauxbatons?"
That was when Clancy began to seem hesitant about sharing her past with Parker, but she eventually gave in to it. "My dad left us when I was young, and then my mum died a few years later. I went to go live with my grandmother in France. A few years later I was eleven and receiving my Beauxbatons letter. Since I graduated I've moved back to London; being here keeps my mum in my thoughts."
"Ahh," nodded Parker. "I'm really sorry to hear that. I know what it's like to lose a parent. My dad died a few years ago."
A chill went down his spine at the reminder of his father's death. He was painfully reminded as to why he was doing this, why he had been watching this woman in the first place, why he had to befriend her. Parker had done his fair share of looking into Potter's life. He knew he had broken up with Norah Longbottom not long ago; James Potter was lonely these days. This way he would be weaker, and what better way to the lonely Seer's heart than through someone just like him?
Parker Namken awoke from his sleep that night to Clancy's desperate moans. He was sticky with sweat, his long hair sticking to his neck and shoulders. The covers of his bed were wrapped around his middle, and he grunted in irritation when he felt Clancy's hand delicately slapping at his back.
"N-Nolan," moaned Clancy.
"Go back to sleep, Clancy," he grunted, unmoving. His words sounded slurred as he spoke into his pillow, drool leaving the corner of his mouth.
She didn't give up though. Her persistent hitting continued as she choked out. "N-Nolan...I think I'm about to...I think I'm - "
Her words came to an abrupt halt as Parker sat up, rubbing at his eyes. He looked to the woman beside him in his bed just as she began to convulse beside him. "Oh, shit," groaned Parker, and he quickly moved beside her. He took her thrashing hand as her body gave drastic jolts.
He had been with Clancy during multiple seizures; he knew what to do now. He simply waited by her side as he continued to hold her hand, and he watched her body convulse for a few minutes before they finally subsided. When she was finished, her shoulders were left with minor jerks every few seconds as she panted. She closed her eyes, trying to regain her breath, and Parker squeezed her hand. He picked her up and moved behind her, letting her bare back rest against his chest. He kissed her forehead as he positioned her in the crook of his arm.
"I've got you," he soothed as she tried not to cry. "There, there. It's all over. No prophecy this time at least, eh?"
"Y-Yeah," she finally managed, breathing evenly against Parker's chest.
Parker reached over to their nightstand where they kept a spare vial of Clancy's elixir for circumstances just like this, and Parker poured her a small glass. He held the glass to her lips and let her gingerly sip at the small amount until it was gone. Panting afterwards, she nodded her thanks and turned into his chest. Her hand played out across his stomach, and she placed a gentle kiss on his chest.
"Where would I be without you?" she sighed lovingly.
In James Potter's bed, Parker immediately thought with an inner sarcastic snort. Parker knew of Clancy's short relationship - if you could even call it that - with James Potter. He knew that she and Potter had slept together and it had been a heat of the moment kind of night, but Clancy and James shared something in common they would never share with anyone else. Parker could feel it when Clancy talked about him; he could sense her connection to him. It didn't take a genius to figure out that if Parker hadn't intentionally met Clancy when he did, then she would be more than just James Potter's client and someone he had slept with the one time. He shoved the thought aside and instead rubbed her arms and kissed her head once more. "Luckily you don't have to think about that, baby."
"Love you, Nolan," she sighed against him.
"You too, baby" he answered half-heartedly.
He didn't like to think about his feelings for Clancy too much. He didn't want to know if they were real or not. If they were real, they could compromise him and he could jeopardize everything? After three years, he wasn't about to risk that. So, whenever he would reply back to Clancy with his love, he preferred not to think about what was truly behind those words.
Norah drummed her fingers against the table at the cafe, impatiently awaiting the arrival of James. Biting her lip, she began to bounce her foot. She even hummed under her breath to give herself something to do, anything to divert her anger. After months of desperately hoping James would hear her out, of hoping they would have a mature conversation, she finally had it. They were finally about to sit down and have a mature conversation, and she was going to blow it if she didn't keep her cool.
She had tried to wait patiently; she had tried to be reasonable. Hell, she thought she had been all those things, and she had apologized profusely and repeatedly as well.
Then she slept with him again and James made it blatantly obvious that it was just a one-night stand. Now patience was the last thing on her mind. Anger was over-riding everything, and she knew it would be her downfall.
She knew she was angry; she was beyond angry. She was hurt as well and that made for a Norah Longbottom who had very poor discretion. She wasn't the only one who was fueled by anger these days. James seemed to thrive off of it. He might not even notice it himself, but Norah knew. She could tell. Anger is what gets James through the day now, and when they're both angry....
They would never come to an understanding.
This was why she chose the location of their meeting. Lunch at a cafe; it was the best decision, and she knew she had to make it if she was going to be the only one thinking rationally. When they were both angry, things could turn into a shouting match, but at least in public they would be constantly reminded of their surroundings and would, therefore, keep to hushed tones. This was what she hoped, at least.
Finally she saw him enter the cafe, briskly walking in, scanning the cafe, spotting Norah, and turning to make his way towards her. He kept his head low and tried to avoid eye contact as Norah sat up. She could tell he was embarrassed and regretting the way he had acted the morning after their night together, but it was shielded by something else to refuse to let his apologies through. Anger. Always anger these days.
She wanted to make a snide remark about being on time, but she took the high road and held her tongue.
Without a word, he slid into the chair across from Norah and looked to her in questioning after a minute's silence. "Well?"
"Well," sighed Norah. Oh, this would be painful. It was like they were both trying to give each other the silent treatment despite the conversation that had to be had. "Guess we're starting from scratch."
"Right," he nodded.
"Our issues," suggested Norah.
"My issues with you: you slept with Clancy O'Dell and then lied about it to me," Norah said in an empty voice.
James rolled his shoulders. "I needed someone, she needed someone. It was a great match at the time. My issue with you: you kissed that Kiernan guy while we were dating and on my birthday."
Norah flinched. "My issue: you ended our relationship before I could even offer an explanation. I was trying to end it, and I've apologized as much as I can. It was a mistake and I regret every second of it. I wish I could take it back."
"Nothing makes kissing another guy like that okay. My issue: I shouldn't have to even worry about my girlfriend’s trust when I'm going engagement ring shopping for her."
"My issue - you what?" Norah gasped, sitting back in her chair. "Y-You were going engagement ring shopping?"
James swallowed. Norah hadn't known that bit; she may have guessed it, thought the popping of the question was coming around the corner, but she had never known for sure. Then shit happened, and James hadn't intended for her to ever know. Now he had just opened his mouth. He blanched, biting his lip, only able to whisper out a single word. "Maybe..."
"James," she moaned painfully, "you were going to propose? I'm so sorry. I screwed everything up. I'm so sorry."
If only she hadn't kissed Kiernan. If only she hadn't kissed him, everything would still be great. She could be planning her wedding. She could be talking to James about wedding color schemes and seeing his bright smile instead of begging for forgiveness and seeing his angry expression. Why did she ever kiss Kiernan? Now she didn't even know, and it had cost her so much.
"Stop," he cut her off, not wanting to listen to her apologies. He could feel her guilt now, and he didn't want that. He didn't want to feel it or see her cries, so he stopped her. "Back on track."
Sniffing, she nodded. "M-My issue: you reacted so badly. It shouldn't have been blown this far out of proportion. Yet it has. We should be able to have this conversation like responsible adults. Your anger is getting to you. You're making poor decisions because of it."
Her tears began to fall, and when she saw James open his mouth to speak again, she cut him off. "My issue: how I made one mistake and it seems as if I'll be paying for it forever! My issue: how immature you are being about it, and if someone thinks they are ready to spend the rest of their life with someone, then they should be willing to listen to why they made a poor choice! My issue: I've told you I made a poor choice, and you and I both know you're making poor choices! Why can't you see we're both doing it and why can't we meet in the middle?! My issue: why can't we come to some sort of understanding?! My issue: I love you and want to be with you!"
Trying to act as if he hadn't just heard the first part of her rant, he furrowed his brow. "Issue? You love me and want to be with me, that's an issue?"
"Yes!" she blurted out painfully, trying not to shout to gain the attention of the others in the cafe. "It's an issue when we have all this other shit! It's an issue because it means we have to deal with all of this! That I'm choosing to deal with all of this! Because if I didn't love you and want to be with you, I'd be turning my back on someone as immature, irresponsible, irrational, and anger-driven as you!"
"I am not angry," seethed James, a lie, leaning forward with a menacing stare, hardly assuaged by her words.
"Then why did you react the way you did?!" Norah demanded to know.
James took a moment, and finally he hissed to her. "Because - I - am - angry."
Norah closed her mouth and listened intently. Satisfaction didn't quite feel like she thought it would in this instance. It was different. Instead of wanting to gloat, all she wanted to do was reach out to touch the man she loved and help him however she could.
"Because I'm always angry, Norah," he growled through the tears that formed in his eyes. "Because I'm angry all the time. Because I don't know how to not be angry anymore. Because I don't know what's happening to me. I don't know what's right or wrong anymore because all of my actions are done in anger. So I just do the first thing that comes to mind before I can think it through. Before I do something worse."
"Then let me help you," she whispered lovingly to him.
"I can't be helped, Norah," hissed James. "I'm not a problem that you can just fix."
"Would you listen to yourself?" interjected Norah. "You were always so kind! So thoughtful of others. Sure, you'd refuse help sometimes, but you were rational! Your anger is getting to you; sure, I made the first mistake in our relationship, but you've already jeopardized your relationship with me because of your anger. What will you ruin next? Your relationship with Al?"
"Don't you say that! You know I would never harm Al!" breathed James. He hated the mention of his brother in any negative context. James had lived with his guilt for the way he had treated his brother while he was Imperiurised, for having given up on him. He would never forgive himself for giving up on his brother while Albus was facing the darkest time of his life. Now Albus was permanently damaged because of it; he was still living at home with their parents and seeing a shrink once a week to convince him that he wasn't a murderer. Albus was messed up in the head, and everyone had made sacrifices for him because of it. "I have done so much for him."
"I know you have, Jamie!" Norah cried out. "And you did so much for me as well. Now look at where we are. You're going to lose me for good if you don't get rid of that anger."
James opened his mouth to lash out one more time, but he held his tongue. He fell back in his chair, appearing defeated and exhausted. He shook his head in self-loathing, pulling at his long hair. His defensive tone diminished to that of worry and fear. "I don't know how to get rid of it, Nore."
"Find a better outlet," she whispered kindly. Unsure, she reached out and pulled one of his hands away from his head. She placed it on the table between them and entwined their fingers, squeezing and massaging his large hand into her own. This was where she was supposed to be; this was her place. She once again felt back in her element with James calmed, his hand in hers, and his mind willing to listen. This was when she worked best. She was always quiet, rarely yelling, always trying to be rational and understanding, to help others despite the blow she may take herself. With James calm and listening, she could do that. If they just worked on his anger, they could forget all their problems and move on. All she had to do was divert any and all of her other emotions that may stand in the way.
"What outlet, Norah?" James desperately asked. He squeezed her hand and pulled it to his lips, kissing it. When her skin touched his lips, he wanted to melt. This was where he was supposed to be. Why was he being so unreasonable?
"I'm sorry, Norah," he found himself apologizing for the first time in a long time. "I'm sorry for the way I've been. I just...I can't seem to help it anymore. I've changed. I don't know how – or when - but I have, and it's eating at me. It kills me and it...it makes me so mad. I don't know what to do. I'm...always angry."
"It's okay," she whispered. Her other hand reached out and stroked his cheek. How could she not comfort him when he looked so lost and desperate. "We will get through this."
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