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Chapter 1 : What If?
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I took a deep breath and let myself glide down to the floor. Oh pretty Victoire, oh smart Victoire, oh sweet Victoire, oh thoughtful Victoire, oh Victoire, Victoire, Victoire! I mimicked bitterly. Ha. Ha. Ha. “Victoire” was none of those. I could not be "pretty" unless I spent the entire morning fixing my face and hair, I could not be "smart" unless I spent countless hours studying, I could not be sweet, I could not be thoughtful, unless I reminded myself that that was the right thing to do. My parents expected so much out of me. I had to be pretty for my mother, I had to be considerate for my father, I had collect good grades for both and I needed to be on the Quidditch team for my entire family.
And what if I had had enough of trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be? What if… what if I couldn't take the sleepless nights? What if I had had enough of playing a sport I never enjoyed playing? What if I didn't want to be pretty? What if I’d rather be a stupid, ugly, mean little girl? What about that? I grunted as I heard a noise, and promptly dried my face as best as I could manage. I really, really didn't want anyone to see I’d been crying. I quickly glanced at the mirror, it was no use, my eyes were red and puffy, my skin was white and my hands were still shaking as they did when I panicked. I let my hair fall over my face and tucked my neck in my robes, hand clutching the wand in my large pocket, I looked down and tried to make myself as little as I could to walk by whoever was entering the bathroom without them noticing me.
“Victoire, is that you?” I cursed under my breath as I recognized Cousin Molly’s high pitched voice. I sighed and looked up, already scared of her smile… I gasped in shock as I realized she looked as much of a wreck as I did, the slim smile I’d built upon my face slid down as I noticed this. She was shaking like a leaf, something had happened it was obvious, Molly may be a tiny little girl, blue eyes and high pitched voice included, but she was tough… I didn't remember ever seeing Molly cry, she may have been the younger one, but Molly had always been the one to cheer me up when I was sad… She was such a bright, caring, happy girl…
“What’s going on Molly?” I whispered, worried. My eyes widened with fear as I watched her eyes fill themselves with tears. She rushed toward me and wrapped her arms around me, causing me to first stand paralyzed with shock, then to soften up and wrap my own arms around her.
“It’s alright Molly, It’s alright sweetie; I’m here for you.” I felt her sob against my shoulder, I felt helpless; how does one mend another’s tears? I closed my eyes and tried to remember how Molly had done it… I tried and tried again, but I couldn't identify a pattern, it was as though she simply knew, instinctively, what to say or do…
So I did what I do best; I remained silent. I held her, patted her back and let her tears run freely until my shirt was soaked and her eyes were dry. I gave her a weak smile and dried her eyes with my sleeve.
“There, that’s a lot better now, isn't it?” I bit my lip, eyes still full of worry. “Do you want to talk about it sweetie?” my fingers twirled in her hair and quietly dismantled the knots.
“I… I think I just need to sleep it off, I don’t really want to get into it right now, I hope that’s okay” She seemed worried. I laughed and playfully punched the fourteen-year-olds shoulder.
“Don’t worry about it, you can talk when you’re ready, or not at all if you prefer, I’m here to help you, not worm your stories out of you.” I winked and spun her around, carefully, neatly braiding her thick read hair as I used to when we were younger.
She giggled a little through her tears as she muttered a heartfelt; “Thank you, Victoire… I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn't been here…” I pulled the green ribbon that held my hair together out and wrapped in Molly’s long, neat braid before making my way around her.
“Don’t mention it. You've done so much more for me.” I whispered.
“That’s what cousins are for, isn't it?” she laughed and I rolled my eyes.
“You annoying little girl!” but my smile was large. “C'mon Molly-devil, enough sobbing, it’s off to bed for the both of us.” I grabbed her hand and we waltzed out of the bathroom as though nothing had ever happened. “Don’t expect me to walk you all the way up that tower of yours though!” I warned her. Walking up the Ravenclaw tower was not for me, I was very content with my own warm little tower thankyouverymuch.
“I think I’m old enough to find my way” she winked as she skipped off, leaving me alone and confused.
Is one ever really old enough to find their way? Biting my lip, I let my feet carry me home, contemplating it. Where was I going with this life? Sometimes it felt as though this whole deal, school, friends, grades, laughs, wasn't it all absolutely useless? Why was the world the way it was? Why did the world have to be filled with mental breakdowns over pressure and crying Mollies and… why? None of it really made any sense if you thought it through… maybe it wasn't meant to make sense though.
I froze as the thought crossed my mind. What about that? What if it wasn't meant to make sense? What if one simply flies through life, what if one simply flies through life to die and then what? What about the ghosts? Wasn't it depressing? To know that you’re trapped in a lifeless body, to know you’re tied to a castle, to be enable to touch, to taste? Or were ghosts able to feel and smell and taste? Could they feel the coldness of their own bodies? Could they feel the warmth of others? Could they? Maybe the answers were elsewhere. Was it about the land? Was it about taking it all in?
I stopped for a moment and looked around, realizing I hadn't stopped to take in the environment in a long time, as though, past first year, you can’t let yourself melt in awe and wonder… as though, past first year, you could detail the scenery anymore. I took a moment to take in all the details. The brightly lit halls, walls covered in golden tapestry, swirls, small details only recognizable after close inspection, the light fell softly upon the walls, glowed through the ever chatting paintings, an old woman dressed in a fine purple gown, mischievously gossiping with her neighbor, a very graceful looking young lady in white. Turning around, a knight in shining armor spoke of adventures centuries old as his long nosed companion seemed lost in admiration of the young demoiselle across the hall. It was a brand new Hogwarts, a second breath the castle took upon closer observation. What was the castle like when the students and teachers were gone? Did the ghosts small talk with the paintings? And what in the world could they talk about for so long if they remained stuck in the castle, no longer able to bring new into their lives? Unless, unless, I gave a second glance at the man with the long nose, still sighing in contemplation of the gossiping lady, before swiftly walking away.
Maybe they weren't so stuck in time after all. Maybe they could move on and change and feel… if they could still move and talk why couldn't they? Maybe it was wrong to assume they couldn't have as much turmoil as live, flesh and bone humans.
I sighed. Why was I asking so many questions? Why did I even care? Shouldn't I simply live? Why must I question everything, to the point of questioning my questions? Perhaps it wasn't healthy to second guess everything, perhaps it was better to simply let it flow. Perhaps it was better to simply live and let what might happen, happen… and yet, and yet… I couldn't keep myself from second guessing everything. I couldn't keep myself from thinking and over thinking every little thing. Maybe I need to stop doing that if I wish to someday figure it out… and maybe it’s part of the answer. Who knows?
I shook my head and walked the last few steps down the hallway, pausing in amusement as I noticed the staircases changing to make my route an even longer one. This castle, I swear… I laughed a little and embarked on the journey up the Gryffindor tower. As my feet childishly skipped a step up the stairs, I caught myself smiling. All the earlier drama seemed far away in this moment. I might have been sad and confused. Something bad might have happened to Molly… but we’d been there for each other, hadn't we? That was good. Maybe that’s what it was about. The little shinning stars amidst the sea of black. The night sky… no one ever noticed the darkness, did they? In the end, what remains engraved in our memories is always the shining stars, and sometimes, sometimes we can’t see all those shining stars because so many of them are so far, so incredibly far away… but they’re there aren't they? All those countless stars shinning right through us…
I hummed a tune as I skipped up the stairs, giggling, practically dancing up the tower. I hadn't noticed the time flying by; the lights started dimming without my noticing it, until suddenly I noticed how dark it was and realized I was already past curfew. I ran the last few steps to the Gryffindor common room, scared of prefects, I half whispered, half shouted the password at the fat lady, who, not without a lot of grumbling and muttering, swung open, letting me slide swiftly in the common room. I smiled as I walked in, students chattering, a group of first years sitting on the thick red carpet playing what seemed to be a chess tournament of some sort, a particularly tall third year boy desperately attempting to concentrate on his homework, two fifth year sweethearts cuddling in a chair, the girl half asleep on the boy’s knees, yes, this was home, it always had been. I let my feet carry me to an armchair where I let myself drop.
“Out late are we now Miss Weasley?” I rolled my eyes as I recognized the sassy little voice.
“What about it… Lupin?” I sang, turning my chair around to face him. It appeared as though he’d matched his hair with mine, how very touching.
“I could put you in detention for that you know, my best friend’s head boy” he childishly pulled his tongue out at me. I tried to glare at the smug looking blonde Teddy, but my smile was obvious.
“Don’t count on it love, as if I’d take your side in anything.” We both spun around to greet the dark haired, blue eyed head boy that was Jonathan Thomson. I waved happily at Teddy’s friend, to which he replied with a very low bow, which made me chuckle. Teddy appeared heart-broken, but he quickly shrugged it off and turned to me.
“So, will you tell me what in the world you were up to, Miss Tori?” Teddy sat on the chair's manchette and stared. I bit my thumb and toyed with a strand of hair and as I answered.
“Just went to grab myself a piece of cake by the kitchens.” I smiled to cover up my lie and neither of the two boys seemed to notice it.
“Why, why, Milady has quite a strong appetite it seems! And she did not even dare to bring anything for the Head Boy? That is quite disappointing, indeed.” ranted Jonathan, crossing his arms and shaking his head in disappointment and disbelief.
As such the ridiculous conversation went on, we sat laughing and trying not to laugh and I’ll have to admit I was the worst at holding back laughter, while Jonathan was a fabulous act indeed; we all gave him a round of applause by the end of it. He was the first to go and get his “beauty sleep” as he put it however, and as, finally emptying the hot chocolate Jonathan had conjured for us three, I rose up from the flowery chair I’d been sitting on and was about to say goodnight to Teddy, sitting on the ground, hair back to its usual brown mess after I’d teased him about going blonde, when I noticed the serious look on his face. The awkward silence lasted until I turned away and broke it.
“What? Why are you staring at me like that?” I asked him, looking resolutely at my feet, letting my blonde hair cover my face.
“What really happened earlier?” he questioned me, soft. I rebuffed, unwilling to admit my lies.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I felt him wrap his arms around me and I shrunk away, uncomfortable, which caused him to let go.
“You think I can’t tell when you lie? When you've cried?” I bit my lip. Why must he ruin everything?
“Whatever.” I turned around and began walking towards my dormitory but he stopped me, grabbing my wrist.
“Come on Tori, tomorrow’s the week-end, let’s spend the day together, we could explore the castle grounds and pretend we’re fighting off the mean, mean dragons Charlie accidentally let off on us! We could try and finally understand chess, I mean, Molly’s really good and so is Jonathan I bet they could teach us losers how to play!” He chuckled as I squirmed, uncertain. “We could… swim in the black lake? Make art with leaves on the ground? What do you say blondie?” I looked up at the high ceiling and gave up, smiling.
“Fine then, I’ll spend the day with you, you are my favorite idiot.” I winked. He bowed and grabbed my hand, smiling proudly.
“Always glad to be of service, mademoiselle Victoire!” He made me spin and, laughing, I punched his shoulder lightly.
“Now go to bed Monseigneur Teddy!” I ordered, laughing as I walked up the stairs to my dormitory.
I opened the door as quietly as I could and quietly walked around my sleeping, sometimes snoring, roommates to let myself fall on my bed. Staring at the silk red and gold curtains surrounding my bedspread, I didn't feel so sleepy anymore. I sighed and thought back, remembered my day, that seemingly endless roller-coaster, my mood swung back and forth today, happiness, sadness, confusion, and carelessness, it all seemed a bit much for one single day… all seemed a bit much for one little lonely Victoire… I sighed. Pulling myself up, I reached for the framed picture on my bedside. A happy photograph of a long time ago and there we were, all the Weasley children, or at least, all the Weasley children of that time. There was Teddy, Molly and me, ten, seven and nine years old, the elders, waving brightly in the center… there was a bouncing baby Dominique, rosy cheeked and giggly in all of her two long years of age. Behind us was a laughing Audrey, holding inside her a tiny little being which would soon become a bouncing baby Lucy. And behind Audrey was The Burrow, ever a place of reunion, ever a place of smiles and happiness for all. And in front of this pretty picture, behind a camera, was my daddy, who’d insisted on getting a picture of all the children, was Uncle Percy who’d made Audrey stand in the picture because “This child counts too, you know!” there was aunt Ginny who’d baked cookies with Nana Molly, there was a happy bunch of redheaded fools. And I loved them, I always had. I couldn't dream up a better family if I tried… and yet…
Things weren't just a picture. There were still fights. There were still times I couldn't stand my parents and the pressure they put on my shoulders, there were still times were Dominique was a little pest, where little Louis threw tantrums, where I wished Teddy would just leave me alone, or where I had more than enough of Molly’s positivism. There were still times when it didn't work out. Because not everything always worked out, in fact, most of the time, nothing worked out at all. Most of the time, it was all a confusing whirlwind, all just a big blur.
There were times I wish I understood who I really was. And there were times I thought it didn't matter. I was me, I reacted like me, and thought like me and acted like me because even if you lie, it’s still you lying isn't it? Who could you be other than yourself because even if you act like someone else it’s still you on the inside acting like another. Like borrowing a shell for a moment… and yet… perhaps that was too easy to say. Perhaps one should not even be allowed to say that. I didn't know… I couldn't know… all I knew was that I really, really needed to figure out, because I couldn't take it anymore. I just couldn't deal with any of it anymore…
Drowsiness started to hit me, as slowly, ever slower and slower as though sleep was nagging me, I fell into a land of dreams and dreamed up the answers to all my questions. Dreamed up a meaning of life and a meaning of Victoire and a past a present, a future that was clear and simple and made sense…
Until I woke up and forgot my dreams.
A/N: Hey guys! Just wanted to say thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed ^_^
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