Chapter 6 : Avoidance
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“You do know that you’ve been asleep for almost fourteen hours,”
Louis opened his eyes blearily, his head felt heavy with sleep and he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not.
“Louis, you need to get up. You missed dinner last night and I’m not letting you miss breakfast this morning,” Horatio said, leaning over Louis so that they were almost nose to nose. Louis could feel Horatio’s minty breath on his face.
“Who brushes their teeth before having food?” Louis asked him sleepily as he rolled onto his back and gave a stretch.
“Who doesn’t brush their teeth before breakfast?” Horatio asked with a frown.
“Normal people,” Louis stated as he sat up and ran a hand through his hair, feeling that he had a severe case of bed hair going on. Maybe he should give into his grandmothers protesting and have it cut; he’ll have to ask her to do it when he went home for Easter.
Louis gave a yawn as he looked around the room, seeing that it was empty save for Horatio.
“What time is it?” Louis asked him.
“It’s nearly eight.” Horatio said as he looked down at his watch.
“In the morning?” Louis groaned before he could stop himself,
“Of course the morning, you idiot. We were just talking about breakfast. Seriously, how did you manage to get a girl pregnant with those kind of genius thoughts running through your head?“ Horatio stated, pulling Louis’s blanket away from him and pushing him slightly so he got out of bed.
“Stop shoving me, I know where the bathroom is,” Louis told him, stifling a yawn again. He didn’t understand how he still felt so tired even after having that amount of sleep. He grabbed for a few items of clothing before he shuffled slowly to the bathroom. “I can’t believe that you woke me up this early on a Saturday -“
After a wash and a change of clothes, Louis emerged from the bathroom ten minutes later, his hair was damp but still sticking up in weird angles like he had just towel dried it.
“Thank god that you’re out, you were taking forever,” Horatio stated with a smile. Louis gave him a roll of his eyes as he grabbed for his wand off of the side next to his bed and shoved his feet into some shoes.
“Shall we head off to breakfast?” Louis asked him as he opened the door of the dormitory and walked down to the common room.
A hush fell over the common room as they seemed to notice that Louis had walked down the stairs, Louis gave a sigh as he forgot about how people were reacting to him now that the whole Freya and the pregnancy had gone around the school. He took a step backwards as he began to bow his head so he didn’t have to look at them, wanting to go back up to the dormitory and stay up there, he could deal with the awkwardness around the boys he shared a room with. Horatio’s hands stopped him from retreating, they gripped his shoulders and steered him through the common room.
“Just ignore them all, Louis. They’ve obviously got nothing better to do with their time,” Horatio said loudly, Louis knew that he was glaring around the room. “Don’t let them stop you from getting on with your life.”
“Horatio, you can’t keep acting like this towards people,” Louis said as they left the common room and began walking down the corridor, heading for the Great Hall.
“Who cares? It’s not like we’re going to be seeing any of them outside of the castle after next year.” Horatio said with a shrug as he threw an arm around Louis.
“We’ve still got over a year left with them though; we can’t be making everything even more difficult for us.”
“You’re sticking up for them even though they are the ones, who at this moment in time, are trying to make your life difficult.” Horatio said with a small laugh of disbelief as he shook his head.
“I’m not sticking up for them; I’m just trying to survive being here.” Louis stated.
“And I’m trying to help you by defending you,” Horatio countered.
Louis gave him a small smile as they walked into the Great Hall, people’s heads began turning to look at Louis but he chose to ignore it. Their whispers were becoming louder as Louis passed them.
“It’s like they think that if you look them in the eye, then they’ll get pregnant as well,” Horatio stated, pulling a plate of bacon towards him, dishing some out onto Louis’s plate as well as his own. Louis grabbed for the eggs before doing the same.
Louis gave a small laugh at Horatio’s words and shook his head as he put the plate down and picked up his knife and fork.
“So what’s on the agenda today?” Horatio asked Louis, through a mouthful of bacon.
Louis gave a shrug. “Send more letters to Freya, hope for at least one to come to me from her and hide in the library attempting to write some essays.”
“Wow, we really do live a crazy life,” Horatio stated, swallowing his food and cutting up his egg.
“No one’s making you join me.”
“As if I have other friends,” Horatio said with a scoff, “of course I’ll be with you all day.”
“I wonder why you don’t have any friends?” Louis asked him jokingly.
Horatio gave a shrug, “I have such an upbeat and loving personality, I don’t see it either.”
“Finally, the post is here,” Louis said after swallowing a mouthful of his breakfast and looking up to the ceiling to see the morning post being delivered by hundreds of owls. Louis remembered when he and Horatio was in their first year and had first seen the post being delivered; Horatio had dived under a table and yelled about that many owls flying above couldn’t be good, as one of them was bound to drop something other than post and parcels. It took Horatio a few months to trust the owls flying overhead and not hiding in his robes before he didn’t let it bother him, apparently Professor Hedge the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and Head of Hufflepuff had told Horatio that there were charms all around the castle to make sure that no ‘accidents’ like that happened.
Louis looked up expectantly, before letting out a small groan as he saw his family owl Peck flying towards him. He was named Peck because he had apparently tried to peck Louis’s fathers face when they were at the Owl emporium and Louis’s father had taken to the bird instantly, something that Louis never quite understood.
The owl landed in front of Louis and held out a leg to him, Louis tried to hide his disappointment as he took what appeared to be three letters from Peck. He placed the letters down before stroking Pecks dark brown feathers, Peck tilted its head at Louis in what appeared to be a questioning way before it hopped over to his glass of water, drinking some of it. Peck gave a hoot before flying away from the table and back out of the window.
Louis looked down at the three letters and recognised his fathers, Dom’s and Victoires writing on them, he stuffed them into his pocket as he looked up at the ceiling again, seeing the last of the owls beginning to leave after dropping off their letters and parcels.
He gave a sigh as he leant his head on his hands, he really hoped that Freya was okay, he hated not knowing.
“Are you going to open those letters you got at breakfast?” Horatio asked Louis as he leant back in his chair.
They had come straight to the library after breakfast, taking a small detour to their dormitory so Louis could brush his teeth and they could grab their school bags. Horatio was currently looking around the room as Louis was staring down at the book on the table in front of him, not making sense of the words that were in front of him. How much had he not been paying attention in class?
“No, I need to hear from Freya. I can deal with their disappointment later,” Louis said distractedly, still trying to make sense of the sentence he was reading in his Charms book. When had they begun turning vinegar into wine? He would have remembered that lesson.
“You can’t keep ignoring them forever, or any of your family for that matter. They’re everywhere you know.” Horatio stated as he placed his chair back down onto the floor and leant his elbow on the table.
“It’s not my fault I have a big family, you know.” Louis stated, mouthing the sentence over and over again as though trying to get it to make sense to him, he was slowly getting it, he thought.
“Speaking of family members, one of the Weasley twins is coming over here,” Horatio stated to Louis, who didn’t look up from the book.
“Which one?” he asked him, closing his eyes as he realised that he didn’t want to deal with any of his family members at the moment, especially the ones he had been avoiding at school.
“Which one dyed their hair brown?” Horatio asked him quietly.
“Lucy,” Louis answered immediately, Lucy had dyed her hair so that people wouldn’t confuse her with her identical twin Molly, it was scary how much alike the two looked, Louis’s dad, Uncles and Aunt commented a lot on how much his Uncle George and Fred looked alike, so it ran in the family. They would reminisce a lot about the good old days, until Uncle George began getting a sad look in his eyes, which the rest of them developed as well and talks of his amazing Uncle Fred ceased.
“Then Molly is coming over,” Horatio stated, “Hello, Molly. How are you this fine morning?”
“I’m fine, thank you, Horatio. Do you two mind if I sat with you? Lucy’s gone off with Roxanne somewhere and I couldn’t be bothered to find them.”
“Of course, we’d love to have such a beautiful lady at our table. Won’t we, Louis?”
“She’s my cousin, Horatio,” Louis stated obviously with a shake of his head as he leant away from the book and looked up at his cousin, who had taken a seat and was getting her books out of her school bag.
“Then I don’t mind having a beautiful lady at my table.” Horatio gave Molly a wide grin and a small wink for good measure. Molly gave him a polite smile back before she placed her bag on the floor next to her and looked at Louis intently.
“Do you know how hard you are to find?” Molly asked Louis, an eyebrow raised at him.
“Yeah, I’ve been...” Louis began with a small shrug.
“Hiding? Yeah, I would too if the whole school were talking about me,” Molly said, interrupting him, “Thanks for telling me and Lucy about all of this by the way, or Roxanne.”
“Sorry about that, but I wasn’t ready to tell anyone just yet.”
“We’re family Louis; I didn’t expect to find something like this out through rumours at the school.”
“I screwed up,” Louis admitted sadly, playing with the corner of the page in front of him, he had been curling it with his quill.
“If you had spoken to us, we could have been there for you, we could have helped you.”
Louis ran a hand slowly over his face as he dropped his quill and leant backwards, slouching slightly in his chair.
“Dom and Vic have written to me, Roxy and Lucy, asking us if we’ve talked to you. They say that you’ve not been responding to their letters.”
“I’ve been a bit busy dealing with everything, to even begin thinking about what to say to them,” Louis admitted, giving another non committal shrug, he was avoiding eye contact with his cousin, trying to look anywhere but at her. He hated feeling like he was letting everyone down; he didn’t want to have to see the disappointed in her eyes, to read the hurt and pity in his parents and sisters' letters.
“Louis, we all want to be here for you.” Molly said, reaching a hand across the table and holding onto her cousin’s hand, he finally looked up into her brown eyes and saw that she was concerned about him. “We’re family and we need to help each other out.”
Louis gave a nod as Molly gave his hand a small squeeze, before letting it go gently and sitting up straighter in her chair.
“How’s Freya doing?” Molly asked Louis, Louis shook his head as his head swam with thoughts of Freya again; he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong; did she not want him anymore? Did she change her mind about everything and not want to tell him? What if she never wanted to see him again because he had ruined her life so much?
“I have no idea, she isn’t replying to my letters,” Louis said, turning to look at Horatio, who was looking at him sadly and being abnormally quiet for him, he just seemed to be watching them both and Louis was thankful that he wasn’t butting in with his own comments.
“Have you thought that her letters are being blocked by her parents? Or that maybe she or her parents have contacted your house and that’s partly why your parents are sending so many letters?” Molly asked, Louis gave a small frown at her words, he hadn’t thought that maybe Freya would have contacted his house.
Louis reached into his pocket and pulled out the folded letters, crumpled slightly from being shoved into his pocket, he stared down at them and felt his stomach lurching slightly. What was he so afraid of?
“I’m just going to pop back to the dormitory to read these,” Louis told them, standing up quickly and walking away from Molly and Horatio, leaving all of his belongings behind him.
“Do you want me to come with you, mate?” Horatio called after him, but Louis run out of the room in response.
He all but ran to the dormitory in his eagerness to read the letters, which seemed to be getting heavier and heavier in his hands. They could hold so much information in them, what could Freya or her parents have written to Louis’s own parents that they couldn’t write to Louis himself?
All sorts of reasons ran through his head as he walked down the stairs, ignoring people’s comments and stares at him as each reason seemed to get worse and worse and he was beginning to feel dread fill him.
By the time he had reached the Hufflepuff common room, he was beginning to not want to open them, his stomach turning over unpleasantly as he took the stairs to the boys dormitory two at a time.
He entered the dormitory and walked over to his bed, placing the letters onto it as he stood next to his bed, staring down at them. With a shaking hand and a deep breath, he reached for one of the letters before he chickened out, he paced the room slightly as he tried to get the courage to open up the letters that could tell him why Freya wasn’t replying to him. He walked back over to the bed and this time grabbed the letter, taking a few deep and slow breaths, he turned it over and began to open it slowly.
Just as he was about to pull the parchment out of the envelope and tapping at the window brought his gaze up to it quickly, making him jump slightly. He stared open mouthed as the letter fell from his hands as he stared at the owl at the window, taping to get in.
It was Freya’s owl.
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