Throughout my exams, I wished they were over. Now that they are over, I wish I was waiting to sit more. Just because it would mean staying a little longer. I'm not usually so sentimental; I accepted in first year that I would eventually leave, just like I left primary school and daycare and my life in France for one in England. But that was before I met Lucy, Jack, Simon and Declan and made real friends in school - I had one friend in Essex and he moved to California when we were ten. Then I met Louis and the rest of the family, I met Luka and Kyle...
Tomorrow is our graduation. Tomorrow we'll leave Hogwarts for good, spend a summer together and move on to other things, to other countries in Louis' case.
Who knows how much time will pass between days when we see each other after that.
I run my fingers over my outfit for tomorrow, just a plain white shirt and my good jeans, and move to the side of my bed, letting myself fall down backwards. Tomorrow is a big, exciting day, I know that, but it's change. Change is not always a good thing.
But I know I'll cope. I still have university with Kyle and Lucy keeps going on about how she worked too hard to get us all together to let us walk away now. I like her optimism.
And then there's Louis; I know he's here to stay. He's too stubborn to leave now that he's with me. Besides, Paris is not that far away when you think of our different means of transportation and if Dad could handle a long distance relationship, I definitely can.
"Whatcha thinking about?" Lucy's voice suddenly enters the room. She taps my leg and I move over, closer to my pillow. The bed dips and her hand brushes over mine when she lies next to me. It dips a little again and I know it's Jack lying by her other side because of the kiss I hear them share. "My boys," she murmurs.
I chuckle. "This time last year, it was 'my boy... and Jackson'."
"It was time for a change," Lucy replies. "So, whatcha thinking about?"
"Tomorrow," I answer her softly. I wave my hand to my right, gesturing to my outfit. "This is it."
Lucy takes my hand and holds on across her stomach, then I quickly find my hand in Jack's with Lucy's covering both. I'll just pretend I don't find it a little weird. "It's the end of school, not the end of the world. Aren't you excited to write music?"
"I am," I say honestly.
"At least you, Kyle and Louis are definitely going; Jack and Luka have to wait for acceptance letters and stuff, though Luka is absolutely positive he will be," she adds, sounding like she believes him. I do. "He will definitely be a Healer, just like Jack here will definitely be an Auror."
"And you'll get your internship," I finish. "Though why you want to work with your dad, I'll never know. Your dad and politics, for that matter."
"It's interesting and I like it," she defends.
"Lucy Weasley, working for the Minister for Magic," Jack announces with faked deep voice. "Soon she'll be running the country. Can you imagine?"
"Better me than Key," she points out smugly.
Ouch. Okay, maybe that's true, I'd be terrible, but still, that's not very nice. I knock my elbow into her side, she just does it back. It becomes a game, more like a war, until she gives up and just tickles me until I finally crack and have to laugh, which I haven't done all day.
"How come you're not wearing your glasses?" Jack asks once we start to calm down.
Still smiling, I point to my outfit again and shake my head. "I didn't want to see my outfit, whether it'd be an illusion or not. Silly, I know, but I just didn't want to think about tomorrow."
"It must be weird to have that choice now," Jack muses.
I shrug my shoulders. I don't really think of it as a choice; the illusion was created because being unable to accept my life as it was made me pretty miserable, but now that my talk with Louis in the RoR has started to help me to accept my life, it's not my scapegoat anymore. I don't put on my glasses to pretend I can see, I put them on to learn - whether that's to read or to be able to go to school and write music or something as small as riding a bike, which I haven't yet done.
The only things I want to see are my family, my friends and Louis, but if I didn't, I'd still know everything I need to know about them.
And I have a pretty awesome imagination.
"Not really," is all I say to answer him. To change the subject, I open my hand a little, enough for Lucy's fingers to fall through the gap, and I squeeze gently. "You know I love you guys, right?"
"We know," Jack starts.
"We love you, too," Lucy finishes.
I believe them.
Graduation day is a blur of people and colors and general craziness. I squeeze past some, trying not to get in their way, and just push past others when they completely ignore my 'excuse me'. Ignorance, that's what's wrong with the world. I mean, how can they not see me?!
I eventually make my way to the front of the Great Hall, though, finding Jack easily enough now that the crowds are a little thinner. He's alone, which is a little weird because I distinctly remember him move to this place with Simon, Declan and Lucy when my parents found me, and he's messing with his special Hogwarts cloak. Personally, I wouldn't have minded graduating in my normal Hogwarts cloak or no cloak at all, just the clothes I picked out, but each student gets a cloak in their House colors. Like we don't already know where we slept for seven years.
I stop next to him and pick his piece of paper up off the floor before it gets stood on. I scold him for almost ruining it before his mum has even seen it, but he just shrugs in response and goes back to trying to stop his cloak from strangling him. I leave him be until he's ready to accept that he's stuck with an uncomfortable cloak until he can take it off, looking at his paper instead. Well, I call them pieces of paper; they're more like certificates, they still just tell you that you've graduated. Which you already know. But it's nice to have physical proof, considering that I thought neither of us would graduate. I probably wouldn't have if I didn't have people to make my potions for me.
Though, they probably wouldn't have counted Potions.
Or they shouldn't, at least.
What? It's not like I need it.
Finally, I hear Jack groan and he officially gives up, proclaims it to everyone close enough to hear him.
"Where's Lucy?" I ask.
"Talking to my parents," he answers. "I decided to stay out of the way."
"Oh, okay - wait, your parents?" I backtrack. He nods. "Why?"
"She said she was introducing herself, like they don't know her already," Jack frowns. Then he shrugs. "I suppose it's a little different to tell them that she's my girlfriend than it is being a friend, but I still don't really get why she wants to. What did your parents want? Where they surprised?"
"For your information, they congratulated me on graduating, said they never doubted it," I defend. But when he looks at me, clearly thinking I'm lying, I change my words slightly. "Mum said that, Dad may have said he was surprised. But he was laughing until Mum hit him, so he could have been joking. You don't know!"
"Of course he was joking; you're blind, you're not dumb," Jack laughs, patting my shoulder in what I hope is reassurance.
Of course, Dad was joking.
"Hey, isn't that your grandparents' neighbor?" Jack asks suddenly, pointing to the only guy I've seen who is completely casual. His light brown hair his spiked up, he looks out of place in his leather jacket and he seems to be looking for someone. But wouldn't I be the only one my grandparents' neighbor would know? And it can't be me; he teased me too much to like me, except when I was visiting just after I turned sixteen and he started flirting with me - he's the guy who unknowingly helped me realize I was both gay and uninterested in him. "Yeah, that's definitely him. I'd remember that egotistical git anywhere. It's definitely Ellis. Molyneux, isn't it, Key? Ellis Molyneux."
I barely nod my head, eyes wide. I knew I recognized the name. I'm both incredibly angry, more than I think I've ever been, and fearful. I'd give anything to beat the crap out of him for coming here, except I'm not strong enough, and I cannot have anyone else see him. Because he knows one other person here and he's looking for him.
He's looking for Louis.
"Key, are you okay?"
I break away from my shock, enough to focus on Jack a little. "Where's Louis?"
Jack points behind us, "He's with his parents, Percy and Audrey. What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I lie, not sure if I should tell him about Ellis. It's Louis' business and I promised; he may have told me, but he doesn't want anyone else knowing and interfering with his personal life. It still brings bad memories. "I just need you to go to him, get Lucy, and don't leave him alone, not until I get there."
"Where are you going?" he asks suspiciously. He knows that I'm not telling him something.
"To see what Ellis wants," I tell him honestly. He is my old neighbor, after all, and Jack doesn't know that he knows Louis; he won't assume that Ellis is here for anyone else. I ask for one more favor, "Would you not tell Louis that I'm talking to him? Don't even mention his name, Jack. Louis knows how I feel about Ellis; I don't want this day to be spoiled because Louis hit him or for Louis to feel insecure and jealous. I mean, you've seen how he is."
I wait for Jack to answer, mentally crossing my fingers that he takes my word for it, even if he doesn't fully believe it. I've never lied to him before or even given him a reason to think I would, so I hate that I'm not telling him the truth. But it's not his business to know. Besides, he'd probably punch Ellis, too. I can't let that happen. I won't let him get into any trouble.
"Okay," Jack says at last. He just walks away.
I watch him go to Lucy, wait for them to get to Louis, then move towards Ellis. He's been watching, I notice. He smiles and winks at me, then his eyes move to Louis. For a horrifying second, I think he's going to walk over, but he doesn't and I let out the breath I wasn't even aware I was holding. Instead, Ellis walks backwards, towards the doors. I follow quickly, finding him waiting by the stairs.
"I had the most interesting morning, Ciaran," he starts, his accent barely noticeable for someone who's rarely left France. But I remember that he's been practicing since he was three and learning English in school. My grandma would talk about him sometimes, pass on information she got from Ellis' mum. "I was just leaving the house when I noticed your grandmother needed a hand with her packages. Your grandfather's robes had just come."
I open my mouth, demanding to know what he wants, but he just shushes me and continues his story.
"Being a gentleman, I immediately went to help her -" I roll my eyes; yeah, right. "- and she invites me inside, telling all about how her youngest grandson is graduating with his friends and his lovely boyfriend. 'You remember, Ciaran, don't you, Ellis?' 'Oh, yes, I do, Mrs. Delaney. So, who is his lovely boyfriend?' Oh, that's right; it's Louis Weasley!
"And that's when I finally realized that you are the problem again. You are getting in my way. Again," he snaps. "You're the reason Louis isn't returning my calls or answering my letters."
I step back like I've been punched in the face, then punch him in the face so he knows how it feels. I don't think it really hurts him, he doesn't even bleed, but it's enough for him to stagger back a bit.
"How dare you blame me for Louis not talking to you when you are the one who cheated on him and dumped him once summer was over," I yell. "You used him! It's not my fault he doesn't want to speak to you, it's yours! And what the fuck are you trying to contact him for, what could you possibly want from him?"
"Him," he says simply, straightening up. "I had a feeling he'd told you, given how quickly you got Jackson to keep him away. I assume they're keeping him away. And it is you who is keeping him from speaking to me. Louis loves me, he never would have stayed away for so long if he wasn't with someone else. He'd have spoken to me and we'd have gotten back together a long time ago."
"He thought that he loved you. Past tense," I remind him forcefully. "And he ignored you without help for over a year, I'll have you know. We didn't meet until half way through September and we didn't start going out until January of this year. Face it, Ellis. It's not me; he just hates you. He doesn't want you back, he's happy now."
"I want to talk to Louis," he spits.
"No. Leave him alone. I won't let you ruin everything now, when it's been almost two years since you last spoke. Why did you even bother coming here now?"
"Because he wouldn't talk to me. It's taken me two years to get to this point," Ellis says, glaring. "I have your grandmother to thank for being here today; she invited me. She obviously doesn't know about Louis and I. Or you and I," he adds with a smirk.
"There never was a 'you and I'," I'm happy to remind him. "You made me sick even then, especially now that I know that you were with Louis when you were at my party, flirting with me. Where was Louis that day, Ellis?" He looks away from me and I scoff. "Now that I see you, I thank God I made the right choice."
"Ah, yes, the glasses," he mutters. "She's so glad you met Louis; he gave her little boy a gift, made him so happy. She just knows you'll be happy for a long time, that you can make your relationship work even while Louis is in Paris. Because you won't be there... but I will. I'll be able to see him every day, console him when he misses you, make him see that he should be back with me. Louis is strong and stubborn, so I accept that it'll take me awhile, but I'll get there."
"You're such an asshole," I whisper, venom in my voice and a strong desire to punch him again.
"Maybe," he shrugs. "I consider myself a fighter; I won't stop till I get what I want." Ellis turns to the Great Hall. "I imagine he's still angry with me now, I don't want to ruin his graduation. I suppose I can wait for him for one more summer. Tell him that I said hello and that he looked amazing."
Ellis leaves then, smirking at me. "Maybe one day I'll tell him about us," he calls back just before he disappears.
I don't hold back the shudder that runs violently over my body. "There was never an us," I mutter.
I walk back through the masses of people, who have no idea what happened just outside, and find Louis in pretty much the same place I left him, with the people I left him with. This time my parents and grandparents have joined them as well, though. Louis doesn't seem to know anything, so I know my grandmother hasn't mentioned Ellis either. Maybe she thinks he just hasn't shown up.
"Hey, you," Louis says smiling. He wraps his arms around my waist from behind and allows me to lean into him. "Where did you go?"
"I went out for some fresh air," I mutter. "Too many people in here."
"Is that why you're shaking?" he asks concerned, rubbing his hands up and down my arms.
I nod, whisper, "Yeah."
"Don't worry, sweetheart," Mum says comfortingly. "The crowds will leave soon enough, then you'll be back in your dorm, preparing to come home tomorrow. You'll have all of summer to relax."
I agree with her, smiling softly so she thinks I'm okay, and I don't look Jack in the eye.
It seems it's not summer I have to worry about.
The rest of graduation day went by rather quickly. Soon enough, everyone left and we were in our common rooms, finishing our packing for when we left. We were all up at the same time for once, even me, early enough to make sure I actually got on the train, Lucy joked. I didn't appreciate it.
The train ride passed by, easily unnoticed with everyone talking and laughing and going on about the things they'll be doing during and after summer. I zoned everyone out when Kyle dragged Luka off - I didn't ask why - and I had no one to talk to about music school. I eventually fell asleep, my mind constantly pushing Elli's words to the back of my mind.
I didn't wake up until the train stopped and I was woken up. We got off the train, said good bye and went our separate ways; a normal first day home.
After a couple of days away from my friends and my mum's deliciously home-cooked meals again, I find my way back to my room to get changed. Mum made a light lunch because Lucy has invited me to her grandparents' house for dinner, it's sort of a graduation party for us, she said, and my parents are coming, too. After me, my mum is waiting for a call from my grandmother and my dad is too nosy to leave her alone.
I only change my t-shirt to a black shirt and head back downstairs; I love the Burrow and Molly works herself to the bone to make everyone welcome and happy, but they're a nice, casual family, not a five star hotel.
Mum and Dad are sitting in the living room, joining me with the casual look, talking about Ministry stuff that I don't care to know. I go straight to the fireplace, activating the floo to let whoever answers it - Lily, it turns out - know that I'm coming, then step through.
Lily is waiting for me on the other side, an apologetic look on her face, and turns to her grandmother.
"I was told not to leave you alone," she whispers.
"Hello, Ciaran, sweetheart," Mrs. Weasley says, hugging me. Given that I barely know her, this is unnerving. She pulls me back, looking at me disapprovingly. "Hungry?"
"I just ate," I promise. "I have a high metabolism."
"He eats nothing but cakes and beef and bacon, Grandma. It's not fair," Lily whines.
I chuckle and tap Lily's shoulder, leaving them to discuss the fact that I'm too skinny, and go and find Louis or Lucy or anyone who doesn't want to talk about me. In which case, I should go find James; Louis and Lucy always talk about me.
I don't find any of them, though. Not even Dom.
I find Roxy.
I turn around, try to get out of the kitchen as soon as possible, but she sees me and comes up behind me. "Hey, Ciaran."
"Roxy," I answer in greeting, turning around slowly. She's staring at me in a way that would make me uncomfortable whether I was straight or gay, though I bet other guys would love it. Instead, I take a step back. "How are you doing?"
"I'm okay," she murmurs, moving in closer to run her finger down my shirt. "Could be better."
I grab her hand before she gets anywhere near my waist. "Roxanne, please stop. I'm with -"
"With Louis, I've heard," she interrupts, still giving me that same look. It feels slightly predatory, that's the only way to describe it; it's like I'm hers, in her head. "You can't blame a girl for trying."
"We'll see," a slightly familiar voice says from behind me. Maybe I met her at the New Years party after midnight. I was pretty drunk after then, I could have met anyone and I wouldn't know. "You should go before Louis sees you."
I don't turn around to see the voice, I focus on Roxanne's scowl, but she eventually does as she's told and leaves. The voice quickly becomes a person, with long, blond and the same blue eyes as Louis.
"Victoire," I realize. "Hello."
"Hey," she says with a smile, sitting on top of the kitchen table. "Don't mind Roxy. She hates to lose, especially to family, but she'd never go further than what she did just now. She'd never do that to Louis."
"I don't doubt that," I promise. "She just scares me a little."
"She's very forward, it's a little intimidating," Victoire laughs. "She really didn't expect you to be gay."
"Lucy was supposed to tell her everything during the summer, but missed out that detail because she didn't know if I wanted people to know," I admit, remembering what we talked about right at the beginning of school. God, it seems like forever now. "She forced me to do it myself and everyone knows I don't play fair."
"The riddle," Victoire says. "James told me."
"James told you what?" said another strangely familiar voice.
"About the riddle Ciaran gave Roxy to tell her he was gay," she answers him. "Ciaran, you remember Teddy Lupin? My fiancé."
"Hey," I say, holding out a hand, which he takes with a grin.
"So, how did you get Louis to open up and be his old self again?" he asks.
I shrug. "The usual; scream, hurt, threaten. It's a regular day for me," I joke.
Ted and Victoire share a look. "I like him, even if he is Logan Burns' godson," he says. "How can you stand him?"
"I threaten him, too."
Ted laughs out loud, I don't think he realizes that his hair has turned a dark shade of blue as he does. "Now I really like him. I'm going to see when Harry's coming, I'll see you in a bit."
He kisses her on the cheek, says good bye to me and walks off. His hair is still blue. I turn to Victoire, who's shaking her head, and gesture to my own hair. "Do he know -"
"I have no idea," she chuckles. "It changes each time he sneezes, too. Once his hair was like a rainbow. Every time he knows someone is lying, he makes his nose grow."
"That sounds awesome," I murmur.
"Yeah, it's pretty cool," Victoire agrees. "He has a friend who's a metamorph, too. They're, like, the only two I've ever known. It's pretty rare meeting two at once, I think. Anyway, they're always making jokes like that."
"They sound close," I assume.
Victoire's eyes narrow a little, I barely notice. "Yeah, you could say that," she mutters. As quickly as her mood darkened, she's happy and smiling again. "I came here ahead of everyone else, but Louis should be here any minute. Have fun and happy graduation."
"Thanks," I smile, still a little confused.
As soon as she leaves, I find my way to the couch. I'm there less than a minute and I'm jumped on by Jack and prodded by Lucy, who went to get him before coming to see me. She spends almost ten minutes moaning about how long Jack took to get ready, which he counters with an explanation about how long his parents took talking to him about the Auror program. His explanation is overheard by Harry Potter, who must have just come, because I never saw him before.
"Nervous, Jack?" he asks.
"Can you tell me now?"
Harry shakes his head, grinning, and turns to me. "You're dad tells me you're studying music, Ciaran."
I nod. "You know my dad?"
"He's well known, not just in his department, but in the whole Ministry. He has a lot of friends, your dad, I'd like to think I'm one of them," Mr. Potter says. "Pain in the ass, though. He keeps taking my money."
I laugh suddenly, remembering the only reason Dad will ever do something like that. It's something he's been doing his whole life and he only got better when he snuck off to Vegas to help Logan with something. I have no idea about that part of the story, though.
"You shouldn't play poker with my dad, sir."
"I'm getting that," he agrees.
"You're playing poker?" a woman, with dark red hair and what I think might be a temper you shouldn't mess with. Ginny Potter, I gather.
"No," Mr. Potter shakes his head adamantly. "I'm losing at poker, which I've only played a handful of times when he's bored because not thinking about a case tends to help things come to me. It's the only reason I play."
"It's the only reason he hasn't quit yet," my dad corrects, suddenly leaning over the couch.
"Where's Mum?" I ask, tipping my head back to rest on the back of the couch.
"After a really long, boring talk, her mother dragged her away. I have no idea what for," he adds before I can ask. "I zoned out. I was only there so I knew what to say when I got here. I hear you invited Logan here yesterday, Harry," he says, changing the subject.
"What? Why would you do that?" George Weasley's voice cries.
"To see the look on your face," Harry calls back. It's common knowledge that they still kind of hate each other after an incident in the joke shop when Logan and Dad were teenagers. I think he made things explode or there was a lot of damage of some sort, at least. But he's adamant it wasn't his fault. "He said he was busy."
Busy. Yeah. It's a full moon tonight.
I wonder how Louis is doing.
"Hmm," is all Dad says.
Louis walks in just as his grandmother calls everyone out for dinner. Since there's so many people and too small a house, we're all eating outside. I suppose that with a family this big, they do this all of the time. I pull him back a little, asking if he's okay; he nods and he smiles and he looks sort of okay, but also a little wired. He won't be able to sleep tonight.
I come up with ways I can get to stay with him tonight.
It's not like he can turn.
Dinner is chatty, everyone is having their own conversations at once. Each separate conversion would probably be quiet, but together it's all very loud. If I concentrate really hard, I can hear the people closest to me. I know Roxanne and Molly are talking about me in general, Dad is telling Bill Weasley about what Louis said to Logan in his classroom and they both look at us every so often.
I don't like being the topic of peoples' conversations. It's weird.
After dinner, when the sun starts to set and people start to leave, Louis pulls me up and leads me outside into the garden. I'm allowed to stay, so Dad goes home without me. It's quiet outside, more peaceful than the house is. Louis takes me far away from the house, where we can't be seen or heard, and we lie down on the grass.
"This is where I brought you on New Years," he says softly. "We almost kissed here."
I lean forward and kiss him once. "Not almost anymore."
Louis rolls onto his side to kiss me again, allowing it to become more urgent, needed. It's his wolf traits, I know, but I don't care. I use the fact that he's too focused on kissing me as an advantage and move him onto his back, pinning him underneath me. I pull off his shirt, let him take off mine and reach for his pants. That's when he stops me.
Who knew he could learn self-control during a full moon?
"I love you," is all he says before continuing where we left off.
I trail a path of kisses down his chest, letting him fall back into the grass.
Everything else fades away.
A/N: Teddy making his nose grow when people lie is a reference to Pinocchio, a children's novel by Carlo Collodi.
Enchanted has a sort of bad guy... Look out for Ellis...
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think.