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Chapter 11 : The Princess and the Death Eater
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Chapter image by the wonderful empyreal.@tda
Everything becomes confusing when Ellie’s not around.
I gaze up at the big doors that open up to the Great Hall for the umpteenth time, a habit I’ve developed whenever Ellie leaves school to visit family or she’s just sick in the hospital wing. The latter is what really puts me on edge, Madam Pomfrey never let’s me visit her. She always pushes me out, rattling on about how Ellie needs to rest after she returns from the bathroom. Funny thing is: I’ve never seen Ellie in the hospital wing before, exempting our first day back.
Our family owl, Hunt, swoops down and lands on my eggs. There goes my breakfast.
To avoid more scarring on my knuckles, I grab the thick letter and give Hunt treats before reading it. He flies off for the owlery. Stupid bird.
Your father and I are doing well. We’re at the height of quidditch season, so practices are becoming more frequent, but don’t worry about your father, Grandma Weasley has been suffocating him while I’m off practicing.
Your father has been working with Minister of Magic - Shacklebolt - to pass some more laws regarding broom flying in city areas and proper enforcement of the skies. Nothing too exhilarating, but your father does complain about the Lupin Acts and how they are not being enforced entirely to his liking. Basic political stuff, Jimmy, not to worry, it will be worked out.
Teddy has been accepted on the staff for the Daily Prophet, he’s very excited to start publishing news articles, but so far, he’s been getting his editor and fellow writers coffee every morning. He’ll join their ranks soon enough, he’s a very talented writer.
Your Uncle Charlie wants me to remind you to send in your application for working with dragons over the summer as soon as possible. His exact words were, “Tell Jim-boy to owl my boss before he has to wait for other trainers to be scorched before getting the job.” I urge you to think about working with your father in the ministry, like you voiced a week ago. Your father had to face a dragon, that’s about enough terror regarding dragons and people close to me that I can stand in this lifetime.
Victoire wants to borrow your red shirt. Owl her about that.
Aunt Hermione wants to know if you’d like help studying for the N.E.W.T.S., she doesn’t want you to go in unprepared. I’d take her up on that, you know how brilliant she is.
Ron keeps nudging me to write to you about a chess game for the winter break, it’s stupid really, but he wants a rematch. Your uncle’s ego was hurt, I’m eternally grateful for that.
Finally, remember to keep your head up and endure to the end. You’re a very talented wizard, James. Remember that your father and I will always love you.
Your father wanted to know whether you’d be interested in meeting up with him in Hogsmeade? Let him know when your next trip is scheduled.
I slip the letter into my bag to respond to later. Seventh year and I am to know, miraculously, what I want to do as a career. I chose classes this year that I enjoy, not anything that will particularly guide me to a career. Charlie nearly convinced me to train dragons, because, come on, dragons are cool. I’m still hesitant to join him in that career, mostly because my mother would have a nervous breakdown.
My dad sympathizes with me, although he’s never had this problem. His destiny was set up for him the moment his parents were murdered. Is it sad to say that I wish I had everything worked out for me when I was one?
I’m aiming more towards politics because I’m pretty good at persuading people to my point of view. Everyone except Ellie, of course. Maybe I just need a new approach with her? She laughs at my jokes, but she never accepts my offers to take her out. So, if she isn’t attracted to funny guys, I don’t have to be funny. I could be as serious as Albus if I wanted to be.
I practice scowling when Charlotte joins me at the Gryffindor table.
“What’s wrong with your face?” she asks me.
Ouch, “Nothing, just doing some facial exercises to work out these muscles,” I lie and cringe when she laughs. Dang it. I have to stop being funny.
“Er, I mean that my face is fine.”
She raises her eyebrow, “Okay, well, guess what? Anthony asked me out the other day.”
“Oh so you’re the hot girl he’s been going on about.”
She blushes, “That couldn’t have been me.”
I try not to smile at how embarrassed and surprised she looks, “You’re beautiful, Charlotte. I hope you know that,” I tell her sincerely, failing in keeping my smile down. Oh man, this whole “not smiling” is going to be challenging.
“Thanks James, you’re really an O.K. guy,” she responds.
I think about it, “What kinds of things do you find attractive in a man?”
“I don’t really know. Why?”
“Oh, I’m just conducting a survey for the Quibbler on how to ward of flirting ghouls.”
She laughs, “Where in that article would you talk about what Charlotte Parkings finds attractive in a guy?” It looks like my dad’s right, I’m a horrible liar.
“Stop laughing,” I groan.
She doesn’t stop. This is going to be harder than I originally thought.
Charlotte looks up, “Hey, there’s Rose. Rose! Come sit by us!” Charlotte calls at her.
Rose hurries over and sits by me, “Hey Rosie, how’s it going?” I ask her.
Rose looks over at me in surprise, “No ‘Rose Weasley’ jokes?”
Oh man, I can’t tell my favorite jokes anymore. Don’t freak out, you’re doing it for Ellie, “Not really feeling up to it right now,” I tell Rose, rubbing my forehead.
Charlotte grins, “You ran out, didn’t you?” she challenges me.
“What? NEVER!” I retort, I just have to stop cracking awesome jokes, I add in my head.
“Whatever, We have a bigger problem,” Rose groans.
“What is it?” asks Charlotte.
Rose looks around before leaning in and whispering, “Lily has gone full psycho mode.”
“What?!” I hiss.
Lily is a crazy perfectionist. I really think she has some form of obsessive compulsive disorder, but, besides all that, she’s relatively stable in the sanity department.
“She’s been sleeping in, staring off into space, and, last night, I caught her biting her nails,” Rose whispers in a hurry.
“No!” I say. This is bad. This is really, really bad.
Whenever Lily is upset, she cleans. The worst I’ve seen her was after her cat, Henry, died. Every part of our house was clean, down to everyone’s shoe laces. I can’t stress to you how horribly terrifying it is to hear that your perfectionist sister is sleeping in or biting her nails.
Charlotte looks at me in confusion, “Lily wouldn’t be caught dead doing those things,” I give her a brief explanation.
“Where is she?” I whisper to Rose.
“She’s been spending all her time in the library.”
What?! No, this must be a nightmare. There’s no way this is happening. No no no no no no no no. . .
I get up from the table, “I’m. . .Lily. . .library. . .ya?” I stutter out.
“Sure James,” Rose pats my arm.
I nod and rush to the library.
Leo and I are on the grounds exchanging stories to pass time, he looks like a mess. Like, ran over by fifty hippogriffs kind of a mess.
“. . .and then he ran out of the room, screaming and flailing his arms like a lunatic. His Uncle Jerry chased after him and tackled him to the ground. He still can’t walk straight after that.” Leo cracks up.
“Are you serious?” I shout at him.
“Heck yes!” he claps me on the back, “Your turn.”
I think about it and smile, “Okay, it’s kind of sappy. Don’t tease.”
“Fine,” Leo agrees.
“Okay. . .I know this kid, his name is Dylan.”
Dylan’s parents had to go to a convention in Wales for a week, leaving the ten year old to be babysat by a an old friend of his father and his huge family.
The kid is an only child so he’s never experienced the dynamics of siblings/cousins before. When he arrived, he was intimidated by all the bickering, inside jokes, and incredible loyalty between the siblings, so he became too shy to talk to them.
One very pretty sibling, a girl about his age, decided to reach out and talk to this mute boy.
It took an hour or so before he warmed up to her and the two snuck off from the rest of the children to play in the yard.
She taught him how to braid flowers to make crowns, and he taught her how to skip rocks across the lake.
By the end of the day, they had their own sets of inside jokes and the two even bickered a little bit.
The girl’s father became very wary of their friendship, scared the boy would be a bad influence on his daughter because of his father’s old ways.
The next day, the girl’s father kept her busy doing chores and errands for him and Dylan was stuck with the rest of her siblings/cousins.
The other siblings/cousins, not so easy to reach out, ignored him until he became tired of it all and snuck to where the girl was doing laundry.
“Hey,” he said to her, “want to play chess?”
“Sure,” she replied with a twinkle in her eye.
They played chess while the girl did her chores and when she finished, they ran off to participate in an adventure.
“I’ll play Harry, and you can be Voldemort,” he told her as they picked up sticks from the ground to be their fake wands.
“Why do I have to be Voldemort?” she’d whine.
“You’re really good at his voice,” Dylan would persuade.
“It’s true. . .Okay. Potter, come to the forest so that you can die!” she said with a very low voice.
After they went on their adventure, they returned to the house and played with her siblings/cousins until bed time.
The rest of the week went by in a blur, when the girl did chores, Dylan would play with her siblings/cousins, or they’d play chess. When she finished, they ran off into the forest, or to the lake, to go on adventures.
The last night before the week was up, the girl snuck into Dylan’s room and woke him up.
“Dylan, come, we need to finish our adventure before you go away.”
“We’ve finished all the adventures, though,” he said.
She shook her head, “No, there are always more adventures.”
He snuck with her back out into the forest, eager to hear what kind of an adventure she had in mind.
“I’ll be the princess and you can save me from a death eater, okay?” she asked.
“Sounds good,” he replied.
She climbed up a tree and Dylan fought with his imaginary death eater.
The girl watched as the boy fought long and hard with his enemy, and when he finished, he fetched her out of the tree.
“Young fair maiden! You are safe! Get down!” he yelled up the tree.
“Not unless you promise me something.”
Dylan scratched his head, “Promise you what?”
“A princess always kisses her rescuer when he saves her: Promise me that you will accept my kiss?”
“Despite the potential of catching the deathly cooties, the brave Dylan, your rescuer, promises to accept your offer of a kiss,” he calls up to her, climbing the tree.
He reaches her branch and the two sit in awkward silence.
“Do you want me to kiss you?”
He thought about it, “Yes.”
The girl reached forward and kissed his cheek. Dylan blushed a deep red.
After sitting there for another, long, awkward silence, Dylan looks at the girl.
“Will you promise me something?” he asks her.
“When we grow up, will you promise to be my wife?”
The girl widens her eyes, “Why?”
The boy shrugs, “I figure that, since I have so much fun with you, we would get along like our parents do. You’re the only girl I’ve ever really talked to.”
“I promise to be your wife, Dylan,” the girl’s eyes twinkled.
After a while, the two climb down the tree and race each other back to the house, each of them looking forward to when they grow up.
Leo and I remain silent after I finish the story.
Leo breaks the silence, “Hey, Scorp?”
“Hm?” I reply, lazily.
“Do the kids get married?” He looks over at me.
I shrug my shoulders and look away, “I doubt they even spoke after that summer.”
“Everyone’s in charge of their own lives, Scorp. If Dylan wants that girl, he should go get her.”
I sigh, “It’s not that simple, Leo.”
“Why not?” He sits up and glares down at me.
“Relationships are a two person deal, bud.”
“How does he know that girl doesn’t want to keep her promise anymore?”
I wave my hand, “Because time changes people.”
“No, time changes what the person look like, people change people.”
I sit up and glare back at him, “Well, these two kids changed, happy?”
“Not particularly,” his face saddens, and we fall silent again.
“Hey Leo?” I whisper, avoiding his eyes.
I clear my throat, “Dylan doesn’t deserve her anymore. He’s stopped fighting the death eaters in her life.”
Leo thinks about this for a minute, “I don’t think he’s really stopped. He’s just slacked off.”
I nod my head and look across at the grounds, the sun is setting, giving everything a golden look.
“You know what, Scorp? I think that Dylan should make sure to let the princess rescue him from his own death eaters too,” Leo says, looking very sincere.
I think about this and nod, “Maybe they can both fight, together,” I conclude.
I wake up and open my eyes. The curtains surrounding me are closed, but I can see the glow of the early morning sun, peeping through the fabric. It’s over, but I can still feel the wolf tugging inside of me, the moon is waning, but it is still enough light to pull at the animal. Something about waking up after three days in a hospital bed gives me strength, mostly irritation, to push the wolf down. I will be the stronger one.
I can hear Madam Pomfrey shuffling around the room, moving clinking glass objects, and sweeping the floor with the broom’s scratchy thistles. Sighing, I decide that I shouldn’t postpone it any longer and look down to inspect the damage on my body. The usual cuts and bruises, but nothing Madam Pomfrey can’t fix up. I smile and stare at the light streaming through the curtains. It’s so beautiful.
“I wonder how Charlotte and James are doing,” I think, startling myself. Do I really consider James as a friend? I think harder about it, “He has been reaching out to me, protecting me, smiling at me, and telling his silly jokes,” I smile when I think about his stupid humor, he really never takes anything too serious. It’s refreshing.
The curtains fling open to reveal Madam Pomfrey, “Oh good, you’re awake,” she nods her head and hands me the usual potions for the cuts, bruises, and replenishing strength. She watches me as I drink them, “Leo came in to check on you while you were sleeping,” she shakes her head, “he looked worse than you, but refused treatment.” She leaves me to get dressed.
I think of Leo as I pull my robes over my head, he is never well when I return from the transformation. Mother and Father have told me that he sneaks into our kitchen and talks to our house elves, but I never really asked him about it. There’s an unspoken compromise that he never asks me about my transformation, and I never ask him about his appearance when I return.
Once I finish putting, and tying on my shoes, I pass through the curtains and stare out the window at the sunlight touching grounds. My thoughts drift back to James. His laugh, his smile, oh, I really missed him.
“Maybe I could ask him on a-”, I stop myself from thinking anymore of the matter. I’m a pathetic being of a person. I can’t let myself even hope for something like James.
“It’s Lunch hour, Ellie, but you are excused from your classes for today,” Madam Pomfrey touches my arm. I look up at her wrinkled face and see the pity and love. I hug her and let the tears fall. Six, working on seven, years at Hogwarts has made me really appreciate the old nurse. She holds onto me and strokes my hair, shushing and saying words of comfort to my trembling body.
When I finish, I move out of her arms and try to smile at her, “Thanks for. . .” I let my apology trail off.
She waves it off and points at the door, “Go find that boy you call your brother, and make him sleep. Merlin knows how much he needs it.”
I nod and kiss her on the cheek before leaving to face a simpler world.
A/N- I hope I did Ellie’s return justice. Review and let me know which character is your favorite so far :) - Oh, and check out my author’s page to link to a forum where you can ask questions, etc.
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