I shoved my hands deep inside my pockets and kept my head down. I don’t really know where I was going, I was just walking. Trying to clear my head.
I guess that was hard, because the rain was pouring down so much I could barely see, let alone clear my head.
I’d given up trying to find a shelter to sit under, to not get wet. I could also probably do a spell that would keep me dry until I got to the shop but I couldn’t risk being seen by Muggles before I got to the apparition spot.
I couldn’t believe Charla and Sisi were gone, I could barely get my head round the fact there was no more Hogwarts, and that I was a working man. I mean really, my dad had practically handed me the keys to the shop and said it’s yours now, I’m retired.
Only he did actually add that he’d help me with the inventing stuff until he was old and feeble. I don’t think dad will ever get old and feeble, he’s too weird for that.
‘Hey!’ I turned to see where the voice was intruding from, ‘shouldn’t you be somewhere dry?’ I saw Holly run to catch up with me, her damp hair sticking to her face.
‘What are you doing out here?’ I asked, raising my eyebrows.
‘Could ask you the same thing,’ she giggled, wiping rain from her eyes.
‘Looking for the will to live,’ I muttered. She slipped her hand into mine.
‘Guess we’re on the same page then!’
And it’s simply irrational weather,
Can’t even hear myself think,
Constantly bailing out water,
But I still feel like I’m going to sink.
‘I’m here dad!’ I called, shaking water out of my hair like a wet dog. It was probably quite late but I didn’t care.
‘Hey Freddie,’ my dad peered out from the back and called me over to help out with some boxes. I hated carrying boxes, gave me time to think. Except I couldn’t think, there was so much I needed to think through, so much I should have done.
For one, I should have chased Sisi so she didn’t leave. Only I didn’t think of that in time. So now she was gone.
I felt sort of empty, without her and Char, bossing me around, telling me what to do. James was so busy missing Charla that he was terrible company, and Dom was so busy trying to fix James up so he wasn’t so moody that she didn’t have time for me either.
I pulled a letter out of my pocket. It shouldn’t have been in my pocket. It should be half way to wherever Sisi was right now begging her to come home, but I never had the guts to send it.
‘You’re fighting a losing battle Fred,’ My dad tousled my hair and handed me another box. He knew what it was like to lose someone. He lost his other half, just like I did.
Cos I’m under the weather, just like the world,
So sorry for being so bold,
When I turn out the light, you’re out of sight,
Although I know that I’m not alone, feels like home.
Feels like home!
‘Fredster!’ Holly chided, covering my eyes with her hands.
‘Holly!’ I crooned back, spinning her around. We had arranged to meet up, because neither of us had anything better to do.
‘How are you?’ Holly asked gently, placing a hand on my arm.
‘Good, I guess!’ I shrugged. I wasn’t really fine, and Holly knew that, but it was the response I gave every time anyway.
‘So what are you cooking,’ she chirped, following her nose through to the kitchen.
‘It’s a surprise!’ I joked, pushing her gently, ‘you’re not supposed to look.’
I liked spending time with Holly. She made me forget about Roisia for a few minutes, and then I wasn’t so scared about the future. I also knew Holly was always happy to be around me, she wasn’t miserable like the rest of my world seemed to be.
‘Eep!,’ Holly cried, as the bulb blew in the kitchen, leaving us trapped in the dark.
I suppose it was sort of a cliché moment, but I reached out and found her hand, squeezing it comfortingly.
She squeezed back, and I knew it would all work out alright.
You say you feel like a natural person,
You haven’t got nothing to hide,
So why do you feel imperfection,
Cut like a sword in your side.
I saw James very occasionally, when he wasn’t being moody and I wasn’t busy at the shop. Both of those were very rare occasions, but sometimes we babysat Dominique’s daughter Izzy together. She was a sweet baby, she really was.
‘I am normal!’ James argued for the fifth time or so, kicking back in his seat.
‘James if you were normal you wouldn’t be pining over Charla, it’s been two and a half years. I know you still love her.’
James replied swiftly, ‘I have nothing to hide, I know I still love her, it doesn’t mean I won’t stop loving her, just give me time.’
‘You should go on a date with someone!’ I suggested.
‘When you get over Sisi, we’ll go on a double date,’ he laughed jokingly, cradling Isabelle in his arms. He was always so worried he would drop her, even now I could see him checking his arms over to make sure there was no way the baby would slip.
‘What’s wrong James, I miss the old you!’ I sighed. I guess I knew the answer already though. James hated that Charla had left. He’d promised to love her forever, but he’d obviously done something wrong because she had gone. Without a trace. I knew he didn’t want to date anyone in case it was because he really wasn’t as perfect as anyone thought he would be.
‘It just hurts to be without her, to not have her telling me what to do and all that...’ then he wrinkled his nose, ‘let’s cut the girl talk, it’s so girly!’
Cos you’re under the weather, just like the world,
I need somebody to hold,
When I turn out the light, you’re out of sight.
‘He’ll get over it,’ Holly laughed.
I’d been moaning to her for over an hour about how different James had become. I guess she knew it best because she lived with him now. Well, at least when she wasn’t gallivanting off round Britain.
‘I miss the old him, and the old us,’ I sighed, kicking a rock across the green where we were walking. ‘It’s been nearly three years Holly, things have got to start changing.’
‘Sometimes I think I should just go and find Char on one of my trips, and bring her home,’ she nodded solemnly. ‘I think it would be better if she knew what was going on this end of the line.’
‘Why don’t you?’ I asked, seeing the perfectness of the situation. Holly could just so happen to bump into Char and tell her James was falling apart, she was bound to come back.
‘Well,’ Holly explained, ‘put it this way, she left, she knew it would hurt James but she went anyway, it was her choice to go, and if she’s happy, if she’s fallen in love, we can’t just rip that away from her.’
Ah, and the reason I never chased her crops up again. I knew exactly what Holly had told me was true. Charla had chosen to leave, it was her choice, she had decided to leave and she probably had her own life now. As Holly said, we couldn’t take that from her.
Feels like home, feels like home,
Feels like home, although I know that I’m not alone,
Feels like home.
Yes it feels like home.
‘Hey mum,’ I yelled through the doorway of my parent’s house. I was bringing dad some boxes he’d asked for only to realise he wouldn’t be home.
‘Mum?’ I yelled, ‘Muuuum!’ no answer. ‘Mother?... ANGELINA!’
My mother appeared in the doorway, eyebrows raised and her wand flicking spells behind her, clearing up the living room. I knew she’d been visiting Isabelle and Ed this morning, she’d told me she would only be back around eleven, hopefully in time to pick Roxanne from the station at one.
‘Hello Fred,’ she greeted me, taking the box out of my hand and putting it on the counter with a sigh.
‘Hey mum,’ I wrapped my arms around her.
Yes, I admit, even I need a hug from my mummy sometimes.
‘All ok?’ she asked brightly, reaching up to ruffle my hair.
‘Yeah I suppose, how was the monster this morning?’
I probably shouldn’t call Dom’s daughter the monster, but she’d hit the terrible threes only a few weeks ago and broke everything she came into contact with. I had to say she was a handful. Ed on the other hand, was cool, partly because we had the same name and partly because he plays Quidditch.
‘Oh they were fine, all fine, Ed just needed a hand watching her while he caught up with some stuff.’ She paused, ‘listen Fred, would you mind picking up Roxanne today, I know she’d love that and I’m really busy this morning.’
‘Sure,’ I grinned, ‘no problem, I’ll see you later ok mum!’ I kissed her cheek, knowing I’d see her at the Burrow this afternoon.
‘And Freddie, if you see James tell him we’d love to see him this afternoon.’
I smiled again, though a little less enthusiastically. I hadn’t seen James in ages.
I doubted I would see him today.
Cos I’m under the weather, just like the world,
And I need somebody to hold.
When I turn out the light, you’re out of sight, although I know that I’m not alone.
Feels like home.
‘Dum, dum dum be bum,’ I hummed as I strolled casually down the walkway at Kings Cross. The Platform wasn’t too far away and I bet the train hadn’t even arrived yet, I’d give Roxy another fifteen minutes or so before I commenced the hunt-for-the-baby-sister. Although she wasn’t that much of a baby; she was a year younger than Lily, who graduated this year.
I’d seen James at the graduation, very briefly though, he only went to congratulate his sister, and Char’s sister Rory, and then had left again.
I wasn’t really thrilled to be back here. Exactly three years ago to date, I’d lost two of my best friends. You could probably say I lost two cousins too because they’d never been the same since. I wondered if James would come this afternoon, Nana was cooking lunch, but that hadn’t tempted him much in the past few years. He tended to mourn on this day. He lost the girl he loved...
I caught sight of a familiar head bobbing through the crowds, the cropped Ginger hair is what caught me. Dom was wearing a mini-skirt – very Dominique – and a tight top too. I was glad she still knew that we would help her look after Isabelle enough for her to have fun as a teenager.
‘Domi!’ I called, I hadn’t seen her in a while, it would be nice to see her again.
‘Fredster,’ she rounded on my and leaped into my arms, kissing my cheek. ‘I missed you,’ she declared, ‘and Isabelle misses you too!’
‘I know, I’ve been so busy at the shop, you wouldn’t believe it!’ I sighed, ‘but how have you been Dom, I can’t believe it’s been so long.’
‘I know,’ she whispered.
We crossed the short walk to the platform, I wanted to hurry past the place Char and Sisi had left us all that time ago, but something else caught my eyes.
Something that made me catch my breath.
My sincerest apologies that these past two chapters have taken a while, it is most inconvenient but don’t worry, it should all go smoothly from here. You can probably all now see where this is going, but if you can’t I’m going to leave you to keep guessing. Next up is the second last chapter, Charla’s own personal epilogue. I hope you enjoy!
I take no credit for the song, which is Under the Weather, by KT Tunstall. And JK Rowling created Harry Potter. I hope you enjoyed reading this story and please leave a review telling me what you think, they mean a lot and constructive criticism is useful!