Chapter 13 : The Whittler's Son
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A week has passed since I’ve last spoken to James. The whole of the school’s population is seated in the stands of the Quidditch field, and I’m sitting next to Charlotte who’s supporting the Gryffindor team today. The new moon begins next week, and I can feel the wolf weakening.
I scan the crowds and see a very worn out looking James sitting next to Albus, talking to him and rubbing his eyes. Next to James is the blonde Ravenclaw girl, Rachelle Porters, that he had stood up this past weekend at Hogsmeade. He made a show of asking her out again, days later, by standing on top of the Ravenclaw table in the Great Hall, and belting out his apology in front of the whole school. They’re on their substitute date now, but Hogwarts students still can’t stop talking about the whole thing, saying things like, “Can you believe that James is going out with someone other than Elizabeth Galatian?” or, “Wow, did you see James kiss Rachelle?” Suffice to say that I haven’t been having the best week.
The Slytherin and Gryffindor captain shake hands and the teams kick off the ground. I catch the eye of Rose cuddling in Daniel’s arms in the seats a few rows up from mine, and think back to that last Saturday afternoon. . .
Rose and her fellow fifth year Gryffindor, Daniel Thomas, fall out of the cupboard.
She glares up at the perpetrator who opened the door and pales when she sees Scorpius. His eyes widen, “Er, sorry,” he manages to stutter at her.
My heart goes out to him as Rose shakily gets off the ground, Daniel following in her actions, “It’s fine,” she responds, looking him straight in the eyes before leaving, pulling Daniel behind her.
Scorpius stares at the ground for a moment longer before shaking himself and beaming at me, “Ellie, you like James!”
My mouth falls open, “Er, Scorpius-”
“We’ve got to stop that date from happening in Hogsmeade this afternoon,” he nods his head in determination, effectively stopping the words from coming out of my mouth. He looks up from the ground and grabs my arm, “Come on, Galatian. You shouldn’t keep the kid waiting so long, you’ll end up losing him.”
We left for Hogsmeade and found Charlotte and Anthony with a distraught girl, but no sign of James. Scorpius took this as a good sign and dragged me around the town to do some shopping. We didn’t see James or Albus again until the next morning...
Charlotte, Anthony, and I are eating breakfast at the Gryffindor table when I see messy, raven colored hair from the corner of my eye. I look up to see an unsmiling James jog into the Great Hall. He pauses there before running and hopping on top the Ravenclaw table. He walks across the students' meals before reaching his destination in front of Rachelle Porters
“J-James?” she stutters at him, eyes wide.
He smiles, causing me to shiver. This is the first time I’ve seen him smile, and he isn’t smiling at me, “Rachelle, I’m so sorry,” he winks before kneeling down on the table and yelling, “WILL YOU, RACHELLE PORTERS, ACCOMPANY ME TO THE QUIDDITCH GAME NEXT SATURDAY?” They have the attention of the whole school.
Rachelle smiles, “Of course I will, James.”
James stiffens in shock before beaming and grabbing her face, “Thank you,” he says right before kissing her.
“Ellie?” Charlotte’s voice breaks me from my thoughts and I look over to her.
I attempt a smile, “Sorry Char, I’m just nervous for Leo. We’ve been practicing his keeper skills all summer.”
She smiles, “Don’t worry, he’s doing really well.”
I turn and watch my little brother next to the goal posts. He easily blocks the quaffle thrown by Anthony, causing the Slytherin crowd to cheer in delight, “Looks like Anthony hasn’t fallen off of his broom, just yet,” I tease Charlotte.
She blushes, “Er yeah, but you never know, the game’s just started.”
I fake shock, “Charlotte Hastings wants her boyfriend to fall off of his broomstick!” I exclaim, causing the two Gryffindor fifth years in front of us to glare at me.
Charlotte’s eyes widen and she puts her hands over my mouth, “Shut it, Ellie. He’s not my boyfriend!” she hisses.
I pull her hands off my mouth, rolling my eyes at the familiar action, and wink, “You two are just adorable. The way he looks at you just makes my heart flutter, Char,” I smile.
Just as she’s about to respond, the announcer’s voice fills the stadium, “Scott Thompson has just caught the snitch! Gryffindor wins!”
A feeling of pride washes through my body as the Gryffindor team touch ground and hug each other. My pride shifts to sympathy as I watch Leo touch ground. All of his blocking and hard work shot down the drain just because the seeker couldn’t find the snitch in time, and people wonder why I’m not a fan of Quidditch. He walks to the Slytherin locker room.
Charlotte stands abruptly next to me and runs towards the exit, “Where are you going?” I shout after her.
She ignores me, and I grudgingly chase after her. I follow her to the field, and it seems as though she’s headed towards the locker room area, but we’re met by Anthony, “Did you guys watch the game?” he asks us, eyes fixed on Charlotte.
“Er, yeah,” she replies, her own eyes fixed on the locker room.
Anthony beams and grabs her hand, “How about you come to the after party?”
I suddenly feel like a third wheel and turn away. My line of vision falls on Scorpius who’s still on the field, talking to Albus, who must have come down to the field after the game like Charlotte and me.
He’s taking the lose really well, which is surprising. He’s Scorpius Malfoy, the epitome of drama. It’s like he enjoys spending his life chasing after adventures, or anything to bring a good time. I leave Charlotte and Anthony and walk towards Scorpius.
He looks up and smiles at me, “Elizabeth Galatian, are you here to rub in your team’s victory?” he teases me.
“Of course,” I reply, rolling my eyes.
Albus watches us in amusement, “I think she’s here to question your sanity, Scorp. You should have been aiming those bludgers at Scott.”
Scorpius throws his hands in the air, “Woah, Allie-bear, I didn’t know that you were such a brilliant beater.”
“It’s all those practices you force me to attend. Something had to rub off on me,” he grumbles.
Scorpius laughs, “Well that’s a good thing. Your mother has been worried by your lack of interest in her profession.”
I watch the familiar bickering between these two friends and sigh in relief. He seems to be fine for a bloke that discovered the girl he fancies in a broom cupboard with another bloke.
Leo races over to us. His robes are changed and his hair is wet from a shower, “Malfoy, you bloody git!” he tackles Scorpius to the ground and the two wrestle.
I scream in surprise, but Albus actually laughs at them, “You better teach that kid a lesson, Leo. He wasn’t paying attention to the game at all!”
“Don’t I know it!” Leo yells, pulling Scorpius into a headlock and pulling his hair.
Scorpius flails under his grasp, “You barbarian!” he screams in pain.
“Hey Elles, are you ready to leave?” Charlotte comes up to our little group and stares at the two boys in pure confusion. Anthony trails after her, smiling like an idiot.
I look up from the violent scene and shrug, “I’m ready.”
Leo drops his hold on Scorpius and stands, pouting at me, “You promised to get ice cream with me, Ellie.”
I stare at my brother in pure confusion, “What? When?”
He rolls his eyes and pulls on his ear, our signal to one another of needing a favor. I’m generally the only one who uses the signal, so the action surprises me. When either of us sees the signal, we help the other. Leo came up with the idea after my mother yelled at me over ripping my robes during a transformation when I was ten years old.
“Oh, that’s right,” I quickly change my response, “I almost forgot, sorry Charlotte.”
Charlotte’s staring at me with real intent, almost as if she was begging for my help, “Er, you should come too,” I add when I see her face.
“Really? Well, if you insist,” she replies, winking at me.
Anthony’s eyes widen, “Wait, Charlotte, you said you would come celebrate with me.”
“I’m sorry, Anthony. Ellie really wants me to get ice cream with her,” Charlotte tells Anthony.
Leo watches this exchange in pure fascination, but I turn away. I’ve never liked it when couples fight. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
Albus and Scorpius are whispering to each other, “Hey you two,” I interrupt them, “do you want to get ice cream with us?”
Albus shrugs, “We can’t. Apparently we’ve got some big mission to do,” he replies sending glares at Scorpius.
Scorpius ignores him and nods his head in agreement.
“What mission?” I ask, narrowing my eyes.
“A top secret mission!” Scorpius announces, obviously very proud of himself.
I shake my head at him, “So it was your idea? Albus,” I turn to the miniature version of the frowning James, “you’re going along with Scorpius’ idea?”
“It’s actually quite brilliant,” he replies to Scorpius’ delight.
I groan, “You two are going to get yourselves killed.”
“Yes they are,” Leo joins in, grabbing my arm, “we’ll plan their funeral later. Come on, I want ice cream.” Leo and Charlotte walk off the pitch towards the kitchens, dragging me behind them. I wave goodbye to Anthony who looks deflated. I watch him walk into the Gryffindor locker room to change his robes for the party in the Gryffindor tower.
The journey to the kitchens is a relatively fast one. Charlotte and Leo actually are quite friendly towards each other, I’ve never noticed this before. When we reach the kitchen, house elves race to us smiling their little faces and hugging Leo’s legs, “Master Leo, you’ve come back. Is it the full moon already?” one of them squeaks at his feet.
I stiffen, bile building in my throat as I watch Charlotte’s eyebrows shoot up in confusion. Leo pats the house elf’s head, “Nah, Vinny, you joker. I couldn’t wait that long. How about some ice cream for the beautiful ladies over here?”
The elves make themselves busy and we sit at a little wooden table near a pile of pots and pans, “Leo, do you come here often?” Charlotte asks.
He blushes and scratches the back of his neck, “Only when I can’t sleep,” he avoids my glares. So my parents were right, Leo does talk to house elves when I’m gone.
“You can’t sleep during a full moon?” she questions, obviously starting to connect some dots.
“What? Oh no, that’s not the case at all,” Leo lies smoothly, “the house elves and I call the times we meet ‘full moon’ after the first witch and wizard traditions of telling stories under the full moon.”
The tears that were previously stinging my eyes subside. Leo always knows what to say to protect me. He winks at me and I kick him under the table. That was too much of a close call.
“That’s adorable,” Charlotte muses, staring at Leo with a small smile.
He smiles and stares back at her, “It’s all right.”
I watch the two in confusion, suddenly feeling like a third wheel. I ponder this, but my thoughts are interrupted, “Master Leo, can I tell you a story while you eat your ice cream?” a small elf with big, brown eyes pulls on Leo’s robes. Her eyes remind me of James’ and I am immediately drawn to this elf. The rest of the elves put ice cream on the table in front of us and sit around us, staring at Leo.
He smiles at the small elf, “Sure Bippy, well, if that’s alright with you two,” he asks us.
“That would be delightful!” Charlotte coos at the elf.
I nod in agreement and watch as the the elf named Bippy scurries to a makeshift platform and pushes it to our side of the room. The other elves sit around the platform and wait as Bippy clears her throat, “It is a quick story. The family I used to serve was very fond of whittling. . .
This family of whittlers lived in a town nestled in the great hills of Scotland. Their magical wood-work charmed the muggle clan living there, and they were immediately taken in. This clan was very familiar with warfare, having just fought in the battle over Edinburgh, but the battle, as any battle does, took its toll on the population, and this clan was mourning many loses.
The whittlers’ son, Rory, was a simple child. The only distinguishing characteristic being that he was a wizard. Children all around the clan were attracted to this individual and he quickly gained their trust. Rory grew up learning of all sorts of secrets.
The shepherd's daughter lost a sheep at age ten, the alchemist’s son stole money at age fourteen, the clan leader’s daughter kissed a goat herder’s son, and so on. . .
Secrets seemed to seep through Rory’s house, whispers of unknown truths ravaged his soul. Rory grew mad with each word given to him in secrecy and as he matured, his madness became more pronounced.
It was always ironic that the boy who held secrets, held his own secret. Magic is not something easily accepted anywhere. Witch hunts constantly swept through the clan. Things that could not be explained easily were associated with the devil, and the people acknowledged with these incomprehensible things were immediately cast out of the village.
The final straw of Rory’s sanity came in the form of love. Something as innocent as a stolen kiss from the weaver’s daughter changed Rory.
They were to be married when another witch hunt cast more innocent souls out of the village, taking Rory’s fiance away from him. Her beauty was not understood and therefore cast out. His sanity went with her.
Every secret that was eating at him flooded out of him and into every house in the clan. Everyone soon discovered the whisperings of lost sheeps, stolen money, and brief affairs. They were all disregarded as rumours, but there is always some truth behind a lie.
The villagers became paranoid of each other. No one was willing to confess to the truth of a rumour told about himself or herself, but an unspoken understanding erupted. If a rumour being spread about you is true, could a rumour about your neighbor be true as well?
Rory watched as the chaos erupted in each of the corners of the clan, moving to the heart. Witch hunts spread like wildfire, faster and more violent, taking out nearly every house in the village. If you could accuse your neighbor of witchcraft, you were free from someone suspecting the rumour of you to be the truth.
The secrets that these children confessed to Rory became the seed of their destruction. Soon, Rory was left to himself-isolated and alone.
Bippy finishes with a small smile. It seems that these elves want their stories to be heard, and love an attentive audience; however, this story was unnerving and sent shivers down my spine.
Our ice cream melted, untouched. Leo pushes from the table and I watched as he hugs Bippy. Charlotte’s lip quivers, “Well. . .that was interesting,” she whispers to me.
I nod my head in agreement, getting up and making my way towards the exit, Leo and Charlotte following. Once we get out of the compacted room, I lean my head against the cool wall and take in breaths of air.
My life is one big ball of secrets. I would give anything to be able to tell everyone everything, but that can’t be true. If I wanted everyone to know everything, why do I guard the little things with such intent? I must be the creator of my own misery.
This revelation causes tears to fall from my face. I deserve to be miserable! I’m a monster for crying out loud. My own parents couldn’t care less of my welfare and they are the only ones who know everything. All of the truths about myself.
“Ellie, what’s going on?” Charlotte asks, gently caressing my back.
Leo laughs a sad, empty laugh, “It was just a story, Ellie.”
I sigh and wipe the tears off my face, “I know. I’m just being silly,” I say and look at him. His face says it all. It wasn’t just a story to either of us.
“Leo,” Charlotte frowns at him, “it obviously wasn’t just a story if she got all worked up about it. People don’t just cry for no reason.”
He shrugs, “You don’t really believe that. Loads of people cry for no reason. Sometimes you just need a good cry.”
“Oh? Loads of people cry for no reason?” she asks, her eyebrows raising.
Leo’s fists clench, “Yeah, I would even go so far as to say that everyone cries for no bloody good reason.”
They glare at each other and I cringe. I’m the cause of this argument, “Er, I’m fine now guys.”
Charlotte looks over at me in surprise, “Are you sure, Ellie? You know you can tell me what’s wrong,” she soothes, her brown eyes filling with compassion.
Leo snorts, “Yeah, go ahead and tell Hastings what’s wrong. She just loves listening to everyone else’s rubbish.”
Charlotte’s lip twitches, “Some people have more rubbish than others.”
Leo ignores her comment and continues, “Oh, and when she’s done listening to it all, she feigns sympathy. Everyone’s troubles are important, aren’t they Charlotte? Even Anthony’s? I bet you just love listening to his rubbish.”
My mouth falls open at his outburst, but Charlotte just sneers, “What if I do like listening to his rubbish? What’s it to you?”
This question catches him off guard, but he shakes it off, “Just let Ellie have a good cry. God knows she needs it right now.”
Charlotte looks like she’s about to say something, but I cut her off, “What’s that supposed to mean?” I ask him, dreading the worst. Did Scorpius slip up and tell Leo about James?
“You know,” he shrugs, “you just got over your time of the month.”
I sigh in relief as Charlotte blushes. Her interpretation of that statement is vastly different than its meaning, “What was that, exactly?” Charlotte, mortified, asks Leo.
Just then a crash echos in the halls, causing Charlotte to scream and clutch onto Leo in surprise while Leo and I pull our wands from our robes.
A very battered looking Scorpius runs to us and hides behind Leo. Following him is a very distraught looking James.
My heart flutters in surprise when I see him, but he doesn’t look at me. His eyes are trailing after Scorpius, “You imbecile!”
Leo rolls his eyes and puts his wand away, “Told you that we’d have to plan a funeral,” he says to me.
I’m leaving a longer author’s note for this longer chapter. I’m not sure if my readers actually read these. . .well, let me know if you do by answering a few questions for me :D
-Do you enjoy the house elf stories?
-Should I write more chapters this length or shorter/longer?
-Who’s your favorite character?
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