Chapter 22 : No Means Yes
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“Albus, I need to see her. I can’t take this all anymore!” I whisper loudly.
I miss Charlotte, but don’t take that the wrong way. I won’t force her out of her happy relationship to be with me. I’m not worth all that trouble.
Albus rolls his eyes at me, “Calm yourself, Galatian.”
I left the Galatian manor for the Burrow. I wasn’t lying to my parents, per say, Scorpius is here. They just don’t know that I’m in close proximity to Ellie. Not that it matters anymore now that I’ve been disowned, but I wasn’t about to miss Ellie’s Christmas tradition of eating too many candy canes and complaining the rest of the day. It doesn’t seem like much, but I would miss it if I wasn’t here.
Just as I’m about to respond to Albus’ very rude comment, James comes crashing into Albus’ room. His eyes are puffy, his shirt is wrinkled and torn, and he’s grinning like a madman.
“Hullo boys,” he beams and sits on the ground in front of us.
Albus stares at him, his eyes widening in fear, “James...what’s going on?”
James pouts at him, “I just wanted to visit my favourite brother!”
“Albus is your only brother,” I comment.
They both ignore me, and James crawls on top of Albus’ bed.
“James, get out!” Albus yells, pulling at James robes.
James smacks his hands away and screams in reply, “Ow! Bugger off Albus! You’re being mean!”
Rose and Scorpius come into the room, probably hearing the commotion, “What’s going on?” Rose asks before seeing James.
James sits up at the sound of her voice and asks her, “Rosie! Rosie, do you want a hug?”
Albus freezes momentarily before walking away and standing next to me.
Rose frowns at James, “What? Why?” she responds.
“Just answer the question with a yes or a no,” he pouts at her.
“Er, no, I don’t really want a hug.”
James leaps forward and encompasses her in a hug, “There you go.”
When he lets her go, he points at her, “I knew you wanted a hug.”
“I didn’t,” she hisses, embarrassed.
Scorpius walks forward and pulls her out of James’ sight, but James doesn’t notice, he’s turned back to Albus and me.
“Gentlemen, I want to give you a lesson on the etymology of the word ‘no’,” he mock salutes before laying back on the bed.
“James, what’s going on?” Albus panics.
James ignores him, “Well, it is the third shortest word in the English language after ‘I’ and ‘a’, but it is the most harsh! In my recent studies, I have discovered the most obvious definition of the word ‘no’.”
Scorpius speaks up, “What are you going on about?”
James shrugs, “No means yes, and yes means no.”
We all fall silent and wait for him to explain himself. When he doesn’t, I speak up, “Care to explain yourself, Potter?”
He sits up and frowns, “Think about it! No is so simple to say. It’s short and piercing like a dagger. It takes little to no effort to vocalize. On another note, yes is the most beautiful word that has ever come from a man’s mouth. It’s like a euphoric melody that sings into everyone’s soul.”
He jumps off the bed and dances over to the window, pointing to the dark night, “Do you see that? It’s a bird! It’s singing a lovely song. I bet he’s repeating the word ‘yes’ over and over again in his bird language.”
Lily walks into the room, followed by Ellie,“Hey Albus can we borrow a-” she cuts herself off, “What is James doing?”
James, who was dancing by the window turns abruptly and shouts, “Lilykins! You’re just in time! I’m teaching these blokes how to recognize a girl’s intentions,” he giggles, walking over to her and pulling a piece of string from his pocket, “Do you want this flower?” he asks her.
Lily looks at the string and wrinkles her nose, “No, it’s not even a flower!”
James beams and puts it in her hands, “I’m so glad that you want it!”
“But I don’t,” Lily says, confused.
James frowns, “You said ‘no’.”
“Yeah, as in ‘no’ I don’t want it.”
“Yay! Take good care of it. Make sure to trim the petals tomorrow, you know how fast those fall off,” James laughs and walks away.
Ellie asks out loud, “What’s going on?”
James’ cheerful demeanor falls and he sits back in the chair, “Rachelle broke up with me.”
If possible, the climate of the room went to a whole new level of awkward and pity.
Ellie looks as though she’s about to say something, but James perks up, “Oh! I forgot to tell you guys of my epiphany, do you want to hear it?”
He continues without a reply, “Yes means no and no means yes!” he repeats, giddy with his words.
Rose says, “You just-”
“You know what’s incredibly hilarious?! Rachelle said ‘yes’ when I asked her to be my girlfriend,” he interrupts.
Ellie moves out of the threshold and walks over to him, but he stands up and avoids her comfort, “The person who came up with ‘no’ must not have realized that so much damage can come from it, right? They probably thought it was a goblin in comparison to the giant that every other word is.”
It is becoming harder and harder to listen to his words. Albus is on the verge of tears, watching his brother interact in such a bizarre way.
“What that person didn’t know is that the goblin is secretly an assassin, while the giant is just a lowly middle class worker, providing for his family. The goblin is perverse and loves to torment, while the giant volunteers at the nearest soup kitchen-”
“What the hell are you going on about, James?” Albus snaps.
James actually starts to laugh, “You know what’s even more hilarious? How we all walk around, oblivious to the damage we cause to other people!”
“James,” Ellie whispers, tears rolling down her cheeks.
James stares at her in confusion, “Are you crying, Ellie?”
Her eyes widen, “N-N-No,” she says as she wipes the tears off her cheeks.
James laughs longer and harder at this, falling to the ground and clutching his stomach, “No?”
Ellie stiffens in shock, “Er, I mean...yes?”
He stops laughing and frowns at the floor for a moment, “There was another werewolf rebellion in Turkey yesterday. Apparently, Turkish wizard leaders fired the lot of them from government positions and now they’re out on the streets.”
Werewolves? Where did that come from? I look at Albus, but he’s succumbed to his tears. I’m not sure what to do, to be perfectly honest. I have only witnessed Albus cry twice before this. Once when he was homesick our second year (we befriended him shortly before this encounter) and then again when his mother got in a quidditch accident sometime our fourth year. Scorpius, however, I see cry every other day.
James continues his lecture, “They are told ‘no’ constantly, aren’t they? No, you can’t work here. No, you can’t go to school there. What kind of life is that, to be told ‘no’ over and over again?” his voice begins to soften, “They need someone to say ‘yes’, to accept them.”
I can’t help it, I start to laugh.
Ellie glares at me, and Lily actually starts to laugh, which throws Albus on his last nerve. He snaps out of his shock and points at James, “Dad will know what to do with you,” he mutters to himself before running out of the room.
James turns and glares at me, “What are you going on about, Galatian?”
“It’s just all so ironic,” I gasp.
James looks like he’s ready to punch me, so I put my hands up, “You’re right, of course. Someone needs to be there to make the werewolves happy.”
He nods and walks back to Albus’ bed, sitting and placing his head in his hands. Ellie watches him, eyes full of concern. I cough to get her attention before pulling on my ear and nodding my head at the exit.
She takes the hint and turns to the three left in the room, “Lily and I need help taking the presents down to the front room, you two should help us.”
Despite protests, Ellie is able to push Lily, Rose, and Scorpius out, leaving James and I alone in Albus’ room.
I take in a deep breath before turning him, “So you’re interested in werewolves, eh?”
“I suppose so,” he mutters into his hands.
I walk over and sit next to him on the bed, thinking of the correct way to articulate my thoughts, “Werewolves do get rejected a lot.”
James lifts his head up and looks at me, “That’s an understatement.”
I nod my head and bite the inside of my cheek, pondering my next question, “So...is there a particular reason that you have taken on the werewolf cause?”
“Remus Lupin,” he waves at me easily, getting up from the bed and crossing the room to stare out of the window again. This time, he is not dancing around in his madness.
I’ve heard of Remus Lupin before, but only in passing when I hear about war heroes. I believe the Lupin Acts were named after him. I clear my throat before asking, “What about Remus Lupin?”
“I’ve never met him personally, but my father always talks about him when we talk about revising the Ministry of Magic. He was a brilliant man, but his lycanthropy kept him from a lot in his lifetime,” James says to me, still staring out the window.
“Like what?” I ask, honestly curious.
James shrugs and looks back at me, “You know, the usual. Proper relations, careers, love...” his voice trails off.
“Love?” I respond, keeping myself from rolling my eyes.
“It worked out in the end, but he...tended to stay away from girls, believing himself to be a monster, or so that’s what my dad says,” he walks back to me on Albus’ bed and lays down, casually looking at the ceiling.
Ellie has this problem. I frown at that thought and ask, “It worked out in the end?”
“Yeah, it took some serious convincing, but he finally caved into another Order member’s advancements,” he says, closing his eyes.
“Who was she?”
“Nymphadora Tonks, the coolest Hufflepuff in existence,” James laughs, “Unfortunately, I never got to meet her, but my mum absolutely adores her. You know, Teddy Lupin is their son.”
Teddy Lupin? The Teddy Lupin?! I’m about to melt right on the spot, “Er, Teddy Lupin the writer for The Daily Prophet?” I ask, trying to keep myself from freaking out too much.
James opens his eyes and looks over at me, “Yeah? You’ve read some of his stuff? He’s only just started publishing articles.”
“Are you kidding me? His article on the former Death Eaters taking refuge in South America was truly inspirational!” I nearly yank my hair out in irritation, “Teddy Lupin is the best writer to happen upon The Daily Prophet since Lee Jordan’s retirement,” I try explaining in a calmed voice, wavering somewhat as I grew more passionate about the topic.
He smiles at me, “Well, good. He’ll be happy to know that he’s got such a huge fan.”
I blush and clear my throat, “Right...well, how did Tonks convince Remus to give her a chance?”
James’ smile falls, “You know, werewolves are labeled as monsters. It’s funny what people do to things they can never really understand. Take witch hunts for example, you remember reading about those in class, right? Well, these muggles would label anything they didn’t understand as witchcraft, and drive whoever they believed to be the source of the witchcraft out of town...or worse,” he pauses and I nod my head for him to continue, “I don’t believe any of us can truly understand what a werewolf has to go through every month.”
I take a deep breath and close my eyes, “Case 4523: Berlin 1998, the wolf was ran over by a truck. Muggle driver safe, but wolf deceased. Register number 753, Scott Yale.”
I feel James stiffen in shock, but I don’t dare open my eyes. I continue, “Case 437: Romania 1215, wolf discovered pierced with arrows. No muggle witnesses, two squib witnesses. Register number 58, John Bates.”
I ignore him and say another, “Case 4525: London 1998, wolf killed by electric fence. No muggle witnesses, one wizard witness. Register number 522, Mason Pits.”
I feel the puke rising in my throat and open my eyes to see a worried James, “Are you alright? You’ve paled. What is all that, Leo?”
“When I was little, my parents took me to see the werewolf registration section of the ministry, because it was the only area that specialized with anything to do with werewolves,” I pause and take a deep breath before continuing, “The man showed me records of deaths of registered werewolves, and most all of them have to do with some sort of accident.”
“What do you reckon that means?” James asks me. I have his full attention.
I shrug, “Five out of ten werewolves get into accidents and die.”
He nods his head, obviously preoccupied with some thoughts he has, “What are the typical accidents?”
“Cliffs, trains, glass doors...” I tick them off my hands.
James’ dad comes into the room, effectively stopping our conversation. Albus is trailing after him.
“James? Albus nearly had me convinced that you’ve gone insane,” he says, walking over and observing his eldest son.
James glares at Albus and answers, “I don’t see what the commotion is all about. You are always saying how insane I am, I don’t suppose tonight is any different.”
Harry laughs, “I suppose you’re right, but it’s not everyday that Albus comes to me for help.”
“Dad?! That’s it? He literally danced at the window, watching nonexistent birds singing to him about ‘yes’ or something nutter like that,” Albus huffs at his father.
I watch the whole interaction with mild irritation. This family....I wish my own family was like this one. I could never see Harry and Ginny disowning any of their children. They all love each other so much.
Harry smiles at his youngest son, “You’ve seen your Uncle George do crazier things, Albus. Come along, we need to tell your mum that everything’s okay.”
I watch them leave before turning back to James, “It hurts now, but it’ll get better,” I say to him.
“Will it? Why does it hurt so much, I was not particularly fond of her,” he whispers in response.
I frown in sympathy, “I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that, James.”
He looks over at me, tears rolling down his eyes, “So you hurt when you and Lily broke it off?”
I nod my head, “Of course, it’s always difficult, being on that level of commitment with someone and then stepping down like nothing ever happened. It sounds cliche, but you did put them in your heart, and with them gone, you have a vacancy.”
He laughs an empty laugh, “I have a hole in my heart?”
“Yeah, but I don’t think it was created by Rachelle,” I shrug.
James eyebrows raise, “What are you saying, Galatian?”
“Look, James, Rachelle filled that hole, which was probably nice, but she could ever really heal it,” I say easily. Rachelle is to James what Lily was to me. A substitute, someone there to fill in for a person you truly desire.
He sighs, closing his eyes again, “I give up.”
“You’re giving up?” I ask, confused, “You can’t give up,” I add after a moment.
James’ eyes open a faint smile traces his features, “You’re right, I can’t give up,” he laughs at some memory of his and stares up at the ceiling, “no matter how much the fish fights against me.”
“What?” I ask him, completely confused.
He shakes his head, unwilling to explain, “It’s just something I talked to Ellie about the other day. Determination and what not.”
I’m about to comment on this when I remember a story mentioned earlier, “Hey James?”
“Hmm?” he replies, lazily.
“How did Tonks get Remus to give her a chance? You never finished that story.”
“Oh, right,” he leans up in his spot, “I don’t think one thing really convinced him. I think he decided to give himself a chance, and when he let her in, she taught him to love himself.”
I nod my head, going over his words, “Tonks is one impressive lady. I imagine it’s hard trying to convince someone to love his or herself.” I’m still trying to get Ellie to see how wonderful she is.
“That’s my favorite part of the story. You have to let others love you, so that you can learn to love yourself,” James summarizes, laying back down and closing his eyes.
I listen to him fall asleep as I really think of the implications of his story.
It hurt to see James like that, even the wolf seemed to cower away from the insane man. I didn’t realize that he cared so much about Rachelle that their break-up would cause him to fall this way. His thoughts were everywhere, but that last part about the constant rejection of werewolves really struck a chord with me. Well, maybe that’s due to the fact that my transformation is right after New Years. At least it’s not right during the Holiday break like it was last year.
Lily coughs next to me, handing me a letter. I quickly glance over it. It’s the list of things she wants to do before we return to Hogwarts. This list has plagued my stay here since the start of the Holiday. This is due to Lily’s absolute determination to get me to do everything from iceskating to degnoming her grandmother’s garden. To top all of that off, Albus and James have been forcing us to go Christmas tree hunting, snowball fighting, sledding, treasure hunting, etc. I’ve never been so worn out in my entire life.
Lily points to a particular item on the list, “Kiss James underneath the Mistletoe”.
“That’s strange,” I say, breaking the silence, “I didn’t know you fancied your brother.”
She punches my arm and rolls her eyes at me, “That’s disgusting, Ellie. I added that on the list for you.”
“That’s unfortunate,” I reply, folding her list and handing it back to her, “I thought you wanted to complete everything on this list.”
“So naive,” Lily sighs next to me, “when will you realize that I always get my way?” she says, obviously teasing.
“Why don’t you have Rose kissing Scorpius on your bloody list?” I huff from my corner. Lily and I have been devising a plan for getting those two together since the start of Holiday.
“Because Rose’s dad would have a fit, and I really don’t want her mum and him having another fight about proper parental regulations,” Lily groans.
What I would give to have my parents care enough to restrict me from boys. Not that I let myself date, but still.
“Lily...I don’t think you understand the...complications about James and myself getting together,” I try to say, waving my hands in the process.
“Get over yourself.”
“Sorry?” I ask, completely taken off guard.
Lily’s eyes fill with sympathy, “He fancies you, you fancy him. You’ve got something that girls like me ache and cry over not having, Galatian, and here you are, moping about how dreadful your life is because it’s too complicated to get into a relationship with a bloke that actually fancies you back. Wake up and smell the idiocracy, Ellie, your life is more simple than you’re making it out to be.”
I try to defend myself, “Look, Lily, there are some things that just don’t work out. Nature has a way of buggering everything over.”
Lily looks like she’s about to say something, but she falls silent and whispers, “Ellie, you’re making my brother miserable, whether you intend to or not. He fancies you, a lot.”
I’m too shocked to respond. She continues in a raised voice, “Look, I’ve only seen James act that way once before, yeah? That was when Rose was keeping that secret about her boyfriend from him. It literally tore him apart from the inside, because he cares so much about the people he loves, Ellie. I hope you do realize that,” she pleads with me.
I nod my head. James is a very compassionate bloke, I could see him becoming upset over anything to do with those he loves. Just thinking about his reaction to Scorpius after his supposed “bet” is enough to show that.
“Lily,” I try again, “that’s why I can’t be with him.”
“Sorry?” she responds, obviously not expecting that response.
I take in a deep breath, “I...well, let’s just say that I do not deserve him.”
“That’s pathetic, Ellie. Come on, you never know until you give the bloke a shot, right? Even though it might end up all buggered up, I gave Leo a shot, right? It left me upset and heartbroken, but I wouldn’t take back that relationship because it taught me things about myself. Perhaps I’m not the most...rational thinking being on this planet, but I loved that boy. We’re different people now, but I look back and relive the times when we were happy.”
I shake my head and try to explain again, “Look, it’s not him that needs a shot, Lily. That doesn’t make sense, er...I would be willing to drop everything just for him to hold me,” the thought of his arms around me, like the first day of this school year makes the wolf growl inside of me, “but I just can’t do that to him. We’re not right for each other.”
I avoid Lily’s eyes and stare at the ground. It’s one thing to continue to think of these things in your mind, but another to voice them out loud. I’m completely heartbroken a second time, voicing them all to Lily and not just to Leo.
Lily grabs my chin and raises it so that I’m looking at her, “Hey Ellie, I need to tell you something.”
I wipe the forming tears from my eyes, “What is it?”
Her forehead crinkles in worry, “Iknowthatyou’reawerewolf,” she says, too quickly for me to understand.
She closes her eyes and sighs, “I know that you, er, are a...werewolf.”
A/N-So, if you are wondering where I got the inspiration for James’ crazed rambling (I know you weren’t, but I’m telling you anyways), I got it from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Kind of a mixture of Hamlet and Ophelia’s monologues, but obviously not as well written.
Oh, and a million thanks to Ines0803 for the wonderful idea of using the Remus/Tonks story.
So, questions for this chapter (I’m aware most of you guys don’t care, but it’s fun discussing this stuff with my lovely readers):
Did I weave Remus/Tonks story in properly?
Are you starting to like Lily?
Albus has a bit of a “can’t bear to see his siblings tumbling out of control” factor, eh?
Ask me questions, bug me with complaints, flood me with frustrations. All is welcome here :D (we’re nearing the end).
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