Chapter 17 : It's hard to make sense
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beautiful chapter image by heartfelt. @ tda!
We were only a week into the holidays, a day before Christmas and I was climbing the walls. Lola was off doing her own thing, leaving me to practically mould myself into my mattress, having barely moved from it since the ‘incident that never was’. I refused to acknowledge what had happened, seeing as he was doing the exact same thing. And it was working well, if you didn’t count the two times we had run in the opposite direction after bumping into each other in the common room and the one time we had practically danced in the common room, trying to escape each other as quickly as possible.
As you could see, we were being mature, sensible adults about the whole entire fiasco.
Knowing it was Christmas Eve and that it was late, I got up out of bed and went to find Lola, not bothering to get dressed, I was only in the company of Gryffindors, after all. Placing my foot on the last step of the staircase, I spotted Lola in the chair by the fire, looking pensive. She was upset, as I knew she would be. Sighing, I walked over to her, sitting on the arm of the chair.
“What’s up, Lo?”
She said nothing and instead handed me a letter, her name etched on the envelope in delicate script.
In green ink
I unfolded the letter and was surprised to see the fancy writing of my sister on the parchment. Skimming through the words, it didn’t take long to figure out why she had written to Lola. She wanted Lola back on their side.
Traitor, whore, liar, coward, deserter of the cause.
They were only some of the words used to describe me. They were the least vicious of the lot.. I rubbed a hand over my face before I threw the letter onto the burning logs, watching it alight and disintegrate into little pieces of ash. Turning my attention to Lola, I placed my arm around her shoulder and stooped to rest my chin on her head.
“It’s up to you what you want to do. I won’t stop you,” I lifted up and made her look at me, a finger under chin. “I won’t hate you.”
The tears were swimming in her eyes and she flung her arms around my neck. I slid off the arm and onto the chair, lifting her so she was on my lap. I cradled her as she cried and I couldn’t help but cry myself.
I hadn’t thought about Lola’s feelings in all of what had happen. She had sworn her allegiance to me and after that, I had not given her a second thought in terms of how she was coping. She was young, she was the baby. She missed her family, she missed us being together. It was only now that I realised that.
I had been selfish.
“Shhhhh, you don’t have to decide now but when you do, you need to tell me and then we can go from there.” I felt her shake her head and she pulled back to look at me.
“I’m staying with you, I want to fight with you. Flavia can go and throw herself off a broom, for all I care.”
I laughed at her determined face and I gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I love you, little sister.”
“Love you too.”
We sat there for most of the night, until I felt her breathing even out, indicating she was asleep. I gently moved her onto the sofa and covered her with a blanket. I would have put her upstairs but it was Christmas Eve and we needed to be together.
In all my worrying about Lola, I had forgotten about Remus and the ‘incident that never was’ and it was only when I caught his eyes in the corner of the room that I sighed deeply. I felt uncomfortable but I wasn’t moving, I was going to stay for Lola because we were family and we always spent Christmas Eve together. Remus could move all he wanted but I was not going anywhere.
I saw him move out of the corner of my eye as I gazed into the fire, determined not to look anywhere else.
His voice was soft and quiet. It almost sounded…defeated. Had he finally realised that he was being an idiot? Or was that wishful thinking on my part? I suitably ignored him and kept my eyes fixed on the flames that were flickering dangerously high.
“Gisela, look I-“ He trailed off and the temptation to look at him was filling my body until I finally gave in and diverted my eyes to the boy stood in front of me. “I’m sorry.”
I stared at him for a while, secretly relishing the fact that I was making him uncomfortable before I finally opened my mouth. “Sorry for what?”
I wasn’t going to make it easy for him, he should have known that. Judging by the look on his face, one which resembled annoyance and pleading, he did know it. He was just hoping I would.
“For everything,” His answer was vague and not satisfying in the slightest.
“That’s not an apology. An apology is where you recognise you have done something wrong or said something wrong and admit them openly and speak them out loud.”
“Fine,” He huffed slightly, like a child who hadn’t gotten their own way and sat down on the opposite chair. “I’m sorry for the other night, for running off without an explanation, for ignoring you this past week, for making you feel awkward.”
“Better,” I looked to the fire before looking back at him to ask my next question. “But what is it you are truly sorry for? Running away? Or kissing me? That’s the one thing I want to know.”
He didn’t answer immediately. He instead, turned his head so he was looking into the fire, much like I was. I could see the flames dancing in his eyes and I waited impatiently for answer. I didn’t know what answer I wanted to hear from his lips. Did I want to regret the kiss? Or did I want him to say that he wanted to kiss me and that he wouldn’t take it back? I was undecided, as was Remus himself, who still hadn’t answered my question.
“I don’t know,” He sighed and I bit my lip as he looked at me, his eyes showing the emotion he was feeling towards me but I couldn’t read any of them, they were too mixed up to be clear. “I wanted to kiss you, otherwise I wouldn’t have but then I think of the consequences and then I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
He looked at me intently and his gaze was so intense that I had to look away. I didn’t know how to reply to him because I didn’t know how I was feeling about his answer. I took the mention of consequences to be his werewolf problem which was completely justified. Of course he was going to worry about it, it was most likely what he thought about day in, day out. But even with that knowledge, I still didn’t know how I felt.
And I guess that said it all.
“Okay then, we’ll forget about it. Go back to being friends or whatever we were before the er-“ I paused, not wanting to say it but I knew I had to stop being a coward. “kiss. How does that sound?”
For a fleeting moment, I thought I saw a flash of sadness but it was gone as quickly as it came and he nodded, a small smile coming to his lips. “Great,”
I nodded. “Okay, friends it is. No need to mention it ever again.”
The silence settled between us and although at first it was uncomfortable, I could feel the awkwardness lift after a while and it was a relief. The conversation started quiet, no more than two word answers but soon enough we were back to our usual talk and I was relieved we were talking again.
We were now on the floor in front of the fire, my legs curled up underneath myself as we spoke animatedly about the antics that had gone on with the Marauders over the years. I felt accepted for a little while, feeling strangely happy that Remus was comfortable enough to share all the trouble the four boys had caused throughout Hogwarts.
“I can’t believe you did that to Filch! No wonder he hates you all. You’re probably the reason he hates everyone in this school.”
“He completely deserved it, he shouldn’t have come after us with a pitch fork, we’re not in the medieval times anymore,”
I laughed again, shaking my head. “You boys are nightmares, you were the one thing that got Slytherin’s on edge, we never knew what prank was heading our way when we entered the Great Hall.”
“And there was us thinking we couldn’t affect the Snakes, the bo-,” He stopped short once he realised what he had said and I watched with amusement as he attempted to dither out an apology. “I’m so sorry, I mean I can’t believe I said that. I didn’t think you were-, what I meant to say is that I don’t mea-. Shit, I didn’t mea-,”
Putting him out of his misery, I laughed and shook my head, “Remus, it’s fine. I know what you meant,”
He let out a sigh of relief, his face and neck tinged red and a flustered look in his eyes, “Thank Merlin because I don’t think of you as one of them anymore, I’d say you were one of us now,”
I snorted, “I wouldn’t go that far, I am no Gryffindor but thank you anyway.” I appreciated his words, even if he was close to calling me a Gryffindor. I guess I had truly made a friend here, something I wouldn’t have envisioned on the day when Dumbledore first walked me into the common room.
There was silence before I spoke again,
“I like you Remus, a lot,” I had paused for only a brief second but I could see him becoming red again and I sighed, “No, not like that, well a little like that but that’s not what I meant. Get your head out of the gutter, Lupin!” The use of his surname caught his attention once more and I gave him a small smile and carried on babbling, “What I mean to say is I like you, which is a big deal for me because I never thought I would make a friend here but I have and that’s you and I just want you to know that I’m happy that you’re my friend.”
I took a deep breath and watched his reaction. It was a long winded way to say he was my friend but I hoped he understood what it meant and what it meant for me to say to him, to admit it out loud.
“I’m happy that I’m your friend, too.” He smiled sincerely and I couldn’t help but smile back. Finally, things were looking up. I knew it would take a while and I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet but it was a start. The chiming of the clock brought me from my thoughts and I realised that it was now Christmas Day. Turning around, I gave Lola a kiss on the forehead before turning to Remus.
“Merry Christmas, Remus.” I sat still for a moment before leaning in to hug him. He tensed briefly but relaxed just a quick before pulling away.
“Merry Christmas Gisela,” We watched as presents magically appeared underneath the tree, one by one, all in red and gold paper with ribbons and bows atop of them. Smiling at the sight, I leant back against the sofa, careful of Lola and the last thing I remember seeing was a flash of dark green before I succumbed to sleep.
A/N - So, i really don't like this chapter, and it really is just a filler until i get some real action back into the story! Please read and review, it means a lot!
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