She ran. The dark, twisty passage way seemed to go on forever. Seeing the familiar trap door was a huge relief to Charlotte.
She pushed it away and climbed into the Honeydukes cellar. Thankfully, the shop didn’t close for another hour so she wasn’t trapped in there till morning.
Sneaking out of the store wasn’t very difficult. Honeydukes was always crowded from opening till closing every day. Charlotte only resisted the urge to grab some fudge on the way out by reminding herself to stay on task.
Charlotte had a plan set: she would go to one of the more secluded streets and travel home by the Knight Bus.
Halfway down the road she looked over her shoulder on a whim. She knew it would make her look guilty if she kept doing this, but she had a feeling that something was wrong.
She caught sight of Teddy Lupin standing outside the Three Broomsticks. Her rotten luck surprised even her sometimes; of course her professor would choose this night to have a drink in the village.
However, he didn’t enter the pub. Instead he crossed over to Honeydukes and went inside. She thought that was odd, but she wasn’t going to hang around and find out what he was up to.
She turned the corner and walked further down the dimly lit street. At the end of the road she stuck out her wand arm
The Knight Bus appeared right in front of her and a young man jumped off the platform.
“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. My name is Michael Prang and I will be your conductor this evening.” He read all of this off a note card he was holding and when he was done he looked down at Charlotte.
“Hello beautiful,” he said with his eyebrows raised, “Are you a Hogwarts student?”
“Yes.” It didn’t occur to Charlotte to lie.
“Well then why aren’t you in school?”
“Does it matter?” She hedged, she hadn’t expected this.
“Do you have permission to leave school grounds?”
“Does it matter?”
He was about to answer when a voice called out to her, “Charlotte!” Teddy yelled, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Quick!” Charlotte said to Michael, “Let me on.” She shoved by him and rushed to the other end of the bus.
She saw Teddy and Michael talking outside the bus and then was shocked at what she saw. They did that bro hug thing that all guys do, apparently they knew each other.
She recognized defeat when she saw it. Teddy would force her to go back to Hogwarts and she might never see her Granny again. She wouldn’t make it easy though; Charlotte burrowed into her armchair and put on her stubborn face.
Teddy got onto the bus followed by Michael and headed over to her. He surprised her by sitting down across from her.
“I’m going home,” Charlotte said firmly.
Teddy looked at her for a few long moments and then turned to Michael and told him Charlotte’s address.
Charlotte was puzzled. “I’ll go with you,” Teddy said.
“Because I think you deserve to see her,” he said, “I’d have done the same thing if I were you. I’m not promising that you won’t get in trouble for running away, but we can deal with that later.”
“Thank you,” she breathed out. She watched Teddy shift his features like he’d done a million times before. Then instead of her professor sitting in front of her, there was an adult man with grey hair and wrinkles.
She looked at him questionably.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for your teacher to help you sneak out of school now would it?” He said simply. Then he leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
Charlotte tried to do the same, but she couldn’t rest. Not knowing that she would see her Granny soon.
Then there was a shout from the front of the train, “Hold on tight!” And the bus lurched forward so fast that Charlotte toppled out of her seat and saw the floor quickly approaching.
An arm reached out and caught her wrist. Teddy yanked her back up to a standing position.
“Thanks,” she said sheepishly and returned to her seat. She kept a strong grip on the arms of her chair from then on.
It had been probably ten minutes when Michael sauntered over and plopped himself down in the chair right next to Charlotte.
“Enjoying the ride?” He said in a low voice that made her a little uncomfortable.
“Yes, thank you.” Charlotte was confused; he was probably five to six years older than her.
“Do you want a tour of the bus?” he asked, “I’m sure you don’t want to be stuck with ol’ Teddy for the whole ride do you?”
“She’s fine where she is,” Teddy said in a firm voice. He gave Charlotte a little start; she had really thought he was asleep.
Apparently so had Michael, “whatever you say man,” then he looked to Charlotte and leaned a little closer to her, “Think about it.” He said in a husky voice.
Teddy had his wand out.
Michael backed away with his hands up, “only joking mate, only joking.” He said, but Charlotte was pretty sure he threw her a wink when he turned around.
Charlotte turned to say something to Teddy, but he was already back “asleep.”
The rest of the ride passed in silence until Michael called from the front that they had arrived. Charlotte jumped out of her seat and ran to the front, forgetting about Teddy entirely.
She bounced down the stairs and ran across the street to her house.
She was shocked to find out that the door was unlocked.
Even more surprised still, she found Harry and Ginny in the living room when she entered the house.
“What are you guys doing here?” She asked slowly and then got a better look at the two of them.
Ginny was crying silently in Harry’s arms. He looked grim too. “Charlotte,” he began to say, but she was already sprinting up the stairs to her Granny’s room.
Inside she found something she hadn’t expected.
Two healers were crouched over Granny’s nonmoving body.
Charlotte leaped forward and shouted, “What’s happening? Please. Tell me what’s wrong.”
When they didn’t answer she knocked aside the Healer closest to her Granny and took her wrinkled hand in her own.
“Granny,” she whispered, “I’m here Granny. Please.” She said again. She didn’t move. Her Granny wasn’t moving, until…her eyelids fluttered a little bit.
Then a little more.
Then they were open and fixed themselves on Charlotte.
“Sweet girl,” Granny said with the faintest smile. Then her eyes closed, the smile vanished, and her hand went limp.
“No,” Charlotte whispered, “No, no, no, no. Please. Please.” She looked at the Healers with wide eyes, “Please,” She said again.
They looked grave. “There’s nothing we can do for her.” One of them said.
“I’m so sorry, but it’s over,” The other said.
“No,” Charlotte said again. And then she lost control, “NO!” She screamed and started heavily sobbing. She let her head fall on Granny’s unmoving chest. “No,” she gasped out in between sobs.
She didn’t know how long she was there crying uncontrollably on her Granny’s chest. She just knew that she would never talk to her Granny again.
The only person who had been there for her, been there her entire life had just left her.
She felt the familiar shortness of breath and the awful sinking feeling in her stomach.
Everything went black.
It was almost a blessing.
When she woke up she was on the couch downstairs. Ginny was dabbing at her head with a wet cloth. Her eyes were still bloodshot.
It took her a second to remember what had happened. When she did her face crumpled again. The tears were soon pouring down her face. She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest, she hid her face in her hands.
Her tears dried up faster this time. Soon she just felt numb. She couldn’t believe that this had really happened. Maybe…she thought. Maybe it didn’t really happen. Maybe Granny was still upstairs. Alive. That must be it she thought. She must have fallen asleep on the Knight Bus and had an awful nightmare. Teddy must have helped her get inside.
She wiped her eyes and looked around the room.
Harry had Ginny back in his arms, Teddy was pacing near the front door, and the two healers were sitting in the armchairs near the window.
“That’s Granny’s seat,” She pointed out to one of the healers.
“I’m sorry,” He said hastily getting up, “I didn’t know.”
“No it’s okay,” She said laughing a little, “But you might want to move, if she comes down here I cant guarantee that she wont hex you.”
She caught Harry and Ginny exchanging worried looks. That was weird.
“Why did she go to bed so early?” Charlotte asked the healer, “She usually doesn’t tuck in until half past eleven.”
No one said anything.
“Did she skip her nap today?” Charlotte asked.
Still no one seemed able to answer her.
“Is something wrong?” She asked shrewdly. They were being so weird.
Ginny stepped away from Harry and knelt in front of Charlotte.
“Charlotte,” she said, “Granny just passed away, you were there. Do you remember?”
She did remember now. It hadn’t been a dream. “No,” She said, “Please.” Ginny couldn’t say anything else because she started crying again.
Charlotte looked around helplessly and ended up looking at Harry. She was begging him with her eyes.
“If putting you in an enchanted sleep was the best thing for you I would do it in a heartbeat,” He said coming closer, “But that will make it much harder for you when you wake up.”
Charlotte thought the enchanted sleep idea sounded pretty good.
“I don’t know what to do,” She admitted.
“I know,” Harry said, “Trust me; I know.”
There were only two people that could possibly make her feel better right now: one who was hundreds of miles away and one whom she would never speak to again.
She could feel the panic attack coming on. She knew she only had a few seconds before she was out of control. “Promise me you won’t let them take me to Mungos,” She said looking at Teddy. He looked at her.
Why wasn’t he promising? She needed his promise. Keeping her breath even was getting to be impossible.
“Please,” She gasped out.
“Okay,” he said solemnly, “I won’t.”
And she couldn’t remember anything after that.
The next thing she was aware of was being in a white bed. St. Mungos?! She was going to kill Teddy! He had given her his word.
She looked around and realized that actually she wasn’t in Mungos; if she was correct she was in the hospital wing.
Yes, she was back at Hogwarts. How she got back…she had no clue. She sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes. Once again, everything came flooding back to her about her Granny, about everything.
Her thoughts were interrupted when the Matron and nurse Daisy Pomfrey came hurrying out of her office.
“You’re up!” She said with a huge smile. “How are you feeling?”
“Like crap,” Charlotte said truthfully, “But I’m myself.”
“That’s great to hear,” She said brightly, “Do you feel like you need a calming draught?”
“No,” Charlotte said firmly.
Madame Pomfrey let out a tinkling laugh. “I didn’t think so; as long as you can keep yourself calm on your own I don’t see the need to force you to take some.”
“Thank you,” said Charlotte genuinely. At that moment Harry Potter came through the hospital wing doors. He walked over to Charlotte and Madame Pomfrey.
“Hullo Daisy,” he said, “Charlotte, how are you doing?”
“Good,” He gave her a small smile and perched himself at the edge of the neighboring bed, “How’s Poppy?” He asked Daisy.
“Oh you know,” the nurse said, “Anyone else would have seen retirement as a chance to relax, but my dear sister is currently trying to discover the cure for a Muggle disease called cancer.”
Harry smiled, “Sounds like her.”
“Who are you guys talking about?” Charlotte asked curiously.
“My older sister was the Matron while Harry was at Hogwarts; she retired a few years ago.”
Harry gave Charlotte a kiss on the head and told her he had to get back to work, “Ginny sends her love.” He said as he left.
“What day is it?” Charlotte asked.
“Its Friday night honey around ten o’clock,” She said, “You left school after dinner yesterday and returned this morning. It’s been a rough day: you’ve been having minor panic attacks and restless sleep since you got here. It’s no wonder your brain seems to have blocked today’s memories from you.”
“I think I’m glad I don’t remember today,” Charlotte said, “I wish I could forget everything.”
Daisy didn’t seem to know what to say so instead she held Charlotte’s hand in both of hers.
It reminded Charlotte strongly of holding her Granny’s hand right before she died.
“Can I please sleep in my own bed tonight?” She asked, “I really do feel fine.”
“I don’t know,” she furrowed her eyebrows, “its past curfew.”
“Please,” Charlotte hedged with a forced smile. She would do anything to get out of the hospital wing.
“Well alright,” Madame Pomfrey said after a few minutes of deliberating, “I’ll walk you.”
“Thanks” Charlotte said in a fake cheery voice. She forced small talk with the nurse all the way to the tower; she didn’t want her changing her mind and force her to go back to the hospital wing.
At the portal they both said goodnight. Charlotte sighed as she climbed in; she was relieved to know that she would soon be tucking into her four poster bed.
“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” Talia screeched the moment Charlotte stepped into the common room. She looked around and saw that the room was empty except for Talia, Liam, Rose, and Al.
Talia looked like she was torn between being furious and relieved.
Liam looked like he was trying not to laugh at Talia’s outburst.
Rose looked like she was going to cry.
And Al was just looking at Charlotte.
She guessed she wasn’t going to be going to bed any time soon after all.
Author’s Note: So there it is… Granny’s dead. It made me really sad to write this chapter. I’d love to know what everyone is thinking! So please review. Also, I would still love some help on the whole banner thing if anyone is able!!
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