Chapter 23 : Icy Pits
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Beautiful CI by moonlace@TDA
It’s time to return to school. Actually, it’s time to return to drama. School work has never been a hassle for me, but I’ve never had my love life gone this out of control before. I dated my first boyfriend way back before I met Ellie...or her little brother. He was sweet, but it just didn’t work out. We fell apart like any other relationship gone sour. Nothing dramatic...just an ending.
My dad lifts my trunk and puts it on a trolley offered at King’s Cross station. I catch his eye and he winks at me, his scared face twisting in the effort. He is a war veteran that met face to face with the ex Death Eater: Fenrir Greyback.
“Char,” he sighs, walking over to me and encompassing me in a hug, “I want you to get to that castle and raise hell, okay?”
He’s worried about me, I can see that.
“Just try not to raise too much hell. You are head girl after all, eh bud?” he laughs when he lets me go, ruffling my hair and grabbing my trolley.
I trail behind him, feeling comfort as I listen to him whistle to himself. He looks behind himself to me ever so often.
When we reach the platform barrier, he pauses and pulls me to his side.
We stand in silence, staring in silence at the column that divides this world from the next. Eric, my dad, doesn’t like going on the platform. He gave up the wizarding world after meeting my late mother, a muggle.
He looks down at me with his kind, grey eyes. Part of me wishes that I would have inherited those eyes, but I’m glad I got my mother’s blue eyes. She said that she would always be with me, and I see her watching over me when I catch my reflection.
“Hey Charlotte, whatever has got you down, I want you to remember that you’re a Hufflepuff. Nothing messes with badgers.”
“What?” I finally speak, my voice cracking from lack of use.
“Is it a Ravenclaw? Badgers eat ravens for breakfast! Is it a Slytherin? Badgers use snakeskin as carpeting for their luxurious burrows!! Is it a Gryffindor?” he pauses here, his finger tapping his chin in contemplation, “Well, I was a Gryffindor, and you always seem to get the best of me. Any of those other lions don’t stand a chance,” he winks.
I smile up at him before kissing his scarred cheek, “I love you Daddy, are you going onto the platform?”
This is a normal ritual. He will politely decline with an excuse, and then watch me pass through.
“Nah, not this time kiddo. I’ve got to go give your uncle a call.”
“What does Jack want this time?” I joke lightly to make him feel comfortable with his usual decision.
He scratches the back of his neck, chuckling, “He’s got the impression that I should learn how to work muggle technology. I’ve got that contraption he sent through the post.”
“A computer?” I respond. I helped Jack send him that while I was in America on holiday.
He shrugs, “Whatever name they give the death trap is fine by me,” he kisses my forehead and points his finger at the barrier, “Time to go and face the magic. Be sure to write me, kid.”
I nod and push my trolley at the wall, cringing as I take it at a run. A light tug pulls at my stomach as I pass through, and I am faced with a large, happy crowd on the other end. A complete turn from the business feel in the muggle world.
A large red haired group is at one end of the platform, so I turn my trolley and quickly walk towards them. An extremely pale Ellie catches sight of me and races to meet me.
“Charlotte! How was your holiday?” she beams after we hug and squeal at each other.
“Brilliant, I really needed that break,” I laugh, ignoring the boy in the group next to us, burning a hole at the side of my face.
“Excellent,” she sighs, her eyes drooping slightly. Geez, she looks ill again. What is wrong with this girl’s immune system?
Lily jogs over and smiles at me. Ellie’s whole figure seems to relax next to her. Strange, she usually only does that when Leo is around her.
“Hey Charlotte, get any interesting presents?” Lily asks, taking Ellie’s hand in her own.
I eye this interaction and keep myself from grimacing, “Er, yeah. Anthony got me a quill that writes poetry and draws pictures of flowers and hearts.”
Lily’s eyes widen, “Wow, how adorable! My ex just gave me a pair of mittens last Christmas,” she rolls her eyes, but smiles at the memory.
“Hey, you said you liked those!” Leo protests, creeping into our small circle.
Geez, could this bloke get any more fit? He’s grown considerably over the break. I wish that some deformity would take over his face, just so my life could become easier to handle.
He turns to me and winks, “It looks like you can finally write me those love poems you’ve been dying to start.”
Ellie momentarily opens her eyes and slams her fist into Leo’s shoulder, “Shut it, you demon. Go drool over Scorpius and leave us ladies to talk.”
“Drool?! I do not drool over that git,” he pouts at her, “If anything, he drools over me!”
Lily waves her hand at him, ignoring him altogether.
“Bromance,” Ellie explains and pushes him away from us.
Leo grumbles as he walks away. In the distance I watch as him and Scorpius greet each other with very “manly” hugs. Their relationship is the very epitome of the word “bromance.”
“Hey Charlotte, are you okay?” Lily asks me, her eyes full of concern.
No, I’m not okay. The answer is very simple, but I can’t bring myself to say. Perhaps it is because I hardly know this girl. More likely I’m just unwilling to explain it all. I’m just...not happy.
“I’m fine,” I sigh and look away from her. My eyes fall on Leo again. He and Scorpius are laughing over something.
“Well...if you want to talk about it, I’m here,” Lily replies.
Ellie adds, “I’m here too, Char.”
“Thanks guys, I’m going to find us a compartment,” I respond, dragging my trolley towards the train.
Lily chases after me, leaving Ellie to droop on one of the Weasley children, “Hey Charlotte,” she says, grabbing my arm to stop me from boarding the train,” I just wanted to remind you that I have dated Leo. I can help in ways that no one else can, okay?”
“What is your deal?” I finally snap at her.
She looks taken aback, “What?”
“You just came from nowhere! Seriously, you swooped in from the abyss, enchanted Ellie with your charismatic charms, and now you’re trying to bring me in, claiming to understand me.”
She stares at me.
I continue with my rant, becoming more aggressive with every word, “Do you think that you really understand the worry and regret I feel every night? I stay up, thinking about every decision that I’ve ever made, regretting some and just cringing at everything else. I haven’t slept properly in months!”
“Do you think that you understand the stress and anxiety that comes when your own father refuses to talk about his fear of magic? Oh, I know, you think that my life comes down to my unrequited desires for a boy a year younger than myself. Go back to Ellie and try to fix her, will you? I’m finished with this dung,” I conclude and aboard the train.
I hear her calling after me, again. Seriously, this girl will not relent, will she?
“How dare you!” she hisses when I finally turn to respond to her calls. We’re in an empty compartment.
I stare at her, waiting for her to continue.
“We all have freaking problems, Charlotte. All of us. There is not a grown person on this bloody planet that doesn’t have a problem! God, get your freaking head out of your arse before you take your anger out on me. I’m trying to help because I like you, okay? Ellie obviously sees something in you that makes her respect you and I want to find that too. Apparently I haven’t been looking hard enough.”
I’m stunned. Unable to speak, I continue to stare at her.
“Oh and by the way, I’m not trying to ‘fix’ Ellie. Ellie doesn’t need fixing. You, however, require one talented mechanic. One who is blind, deaf, and mute,” she finishes and storms out.
Tears threaten to spill from my eyes. I grab my hair and pull. The pain throws me back into my rage, and I kick the seat next to me. Toe throbbing, I curl up on the ground and cry. I just want everything to make sense again.
“Where’s Charlotte?” I ask Lily after I leave Scorpius. He got distracted by Rose, that poor, lovesick bloke.
She’s obviously upset. I know that look all too well. In fact, she’s beyond upset, she’s fuming.
“She’s off in some part of the world where everything is out to get her, and the only way she can deal with it all is by attacking a fourth year student who’s trying to help,” she grunts.
Woah. I’m guessing some huge disagreement came up while Scorpius and I were arm wrestling. Sometimes I’m just confused by girl interactions. One minute they’re joking over Christmas gifts, the next they’re clawing at each other’s throats. I’m going to get whiplash.
“Er, right,” I respond, awkwardly.
Ellie giggles from Freddie Weasley’s shoulder. She is obviously too exhausted to be standing out here on the platform. I nod at Fred, and pull her to me to rest on.
“So...on a scale of one to ten, ten being the flames of hell. Where do I stand on chatting with Charlotte?” I ask Lily.
“The icy pits of hell reserved for complete arseholes,” Lily responds in a blink of an eye.
I nod my head, trying to keep from laughing. Seriously, there was a reason why I dated Lily. She is one firecracker with a tongue that could lash Voldemort.
Ellie pokes my chest, “Leo, how about you go talk to her?”
“Well...I don’t want to get frostbite.”
“Don’t be an imbecile, just go. Nobody deserves to be alone in their misery,” Ellie sighs, stealing glances with Lily.
Ever since Ellie found out about Lily knowing about her lycanthropy, the two have become inseparable. Like sisters, really. Even I’ve become more comfortable around Lily. I knew that she’d have some place in my life. I made the mistake to think that she’d be the romantic aspect of it. Now I know she’s always meant to be my sister.
I nod my head and catch sight of James talking with Anthony animatedly about something. Probably about werewolves. The poor bloke has spent his whole holiday wrapped up in his research. He’s almost as obsessed with them as he is with Ellie, ironically enough.
“Oi, James!” I call to him.
He turns around and raises his eyebrows at me, “Yeah?”
I push Ellie to him, and he catches her, startled, “Er...thanks?”
“Just look over her, will you? She’s going to fall over,” I explain. He’s the only one I truly trust with Ellie. No offense to Freddie, but he hasn’t been pining over my sister for years.
James nods and carefully moves a protesting Ellie so that she’s lying against his shoulder while he holds her in one arm. She’s too tired to really protest, plus I’m sure she’s in heaven right now.
I leave and board the train. It’s not hard finding Charlotte. I just followed the sounds of a weeping girl. She’s on the ground, crying into her knees as she hugs onto her legs.
She looks up at my entrance, “Leo?”
I slide next to her, “So...Lily has just banished you to the icy pits of hell. Welcome to the club.”
“Oh it’s just a small gathering of people who have been banished there, me included.”
She sniffs and wipes her tears from her eyes, “When were you banished?” she asks.
“The real question you should be asking is when I haven’t been banished there,” I groan playfully.
Finally, I get a smile out of her.
“Care explaining why you were banished?” I ask.
Charlotte shakes her head, her messed up hair flies around her in the process.
“Hmmm, okay,” I respond, “I will have to coax it out of you, somehow.”
“You could tell me why she banished you,” Charlotte suggests.
I laugh, “Oh dear Charlotte, I am the ex-boyfriend. That is all the reason you need.”
She rolls her eyes, “Come on, I’m still on good terms with my ex, some massive thing happened between you and Lily.”
My body chills at the mention of an ex. I didn’t know that Charlotte has a dating history. Well, besides Burke. Stupid Anthony Burke.
“Er, yeah. So you’re asking for a break-up story?” I sigh.
She nods her head.
I cringe internally, “Okay, but I will only tell it once.”
She stares and waits patiently as I gather my thoughts.
“Once upon a time there was this very outgoing girl with a fiery attitude. She attracted her older brother’s best friend, and for some weird reason, she agreed to go on a date with said boy. The two went on this date and had a marvelous time. A second date soon was planned and carried through, and the two quickly formed a relationship.
“This relationship put strains on these two that no one could have predicted. The girl turned into someone foreign, critiquing everything the boy did and creating arguments out of thin air. The more time the two spent together, the more miserable they made each other. It’s an unexplained phenomenon that still keeps Albus up at night.
“Finally, the boy released stress in the only way he knew how: by fooling around with other girls. It’s sad, because he truly cared for his girlfriend, but he was too childish to realize that ending things with her could be the better option.
“Word got out about his actions, as it always does, yet, the two stayed together. The final straw came in the form of an argument over the boy’s sister. The girl had criticized the sister openly with a few offensive sentences, and the boy was plunged into confusion and hurt. He happened across the Hufflepuff girl during this time who, instead of rejecting and accepting his advances, questioned his motives.
“This concept blew his world apart. What is his clear reason for this boy’s actions? The only answer he could come up with is that he was feeling unloved. The boy left this girl to confront his girlfriend, and she, too, felt the same way. The question was asked: why are they together? The answer came in the form of a break-up,” I end my story with a shrug.
“Hold on,” Charlotte responds, “why would she banish you to the icy parts of hell if your break-up was so simple.”
I scoff at her, “No break-up is simple, Charlotte.”
“Well, you just said that you discussed it and finished it in a quick motion.”
“Sure, the words may be short and sweet, but the emotions behind it all are harsh. No matter the type of relationship, pulling two people from that part of an emotion commitment will tear at something. Do you understand?” I try explaining.
“No,” she sighs, “I don’t really understand.”
We sit in silence for a moment or two before I turn to her, “So, what’s brought on your ‘Lily destruction?’”
Charlotte cringes and closes her eyes, “I’ve been unhappy lately.”
“Care to explain?” I ask lightly, but my body sinks with this revelation.
“I’ve been unhappy in general, but more recently Anthony brought up something that has made me miserable.”
I nod my head at her words, but continue my questioning, “What did ole’ Burke have to say?”
“He told me that he loves me.”
“Oh,” I respond, stupidly.
She cringes even more and clears her throat, “That’s not the worst part.”
She opens her eyes and looks at me with the most pathetic stare, “I told him that I love him back.”
I can feel the blood drain from my face.
There’s a deity out there that gets a kick out of my misery, because she continues, “I’m not finished, I broke up with him after I said that.”
Hello there, Hope. Are you here to fill me with your pleasantries?
“I told him that I loved him, and then I crushed him into an oblivion. I’m the worst person that has ever trodden on this planet. I deserve that spot in the icy pits of hell.”
Ah yes, I allow myself to be filled with the sweet joy of this revelation. Charlotte broke up with Anthony!
“He seems to be taking it all well,” I remark, trying to keep myself from cheering in my pure ecstasy.
“That’s the thing, we got back together.”
...and there goes my hope. Such a short lived feeling.
“That’s...great,” I feign happiness for her.
She looks up at me, and we stare at each other for a brief amount of time before a beaming Anthony waltzes into the compartment, James and Ellie following.
“Hey Charlotte, James and I were talking about how we should start a study group for finals soon. We hear that they’re bloody difficult, isn’t that right James?” Anthony booms.
James nods and sits in a seat, pulling Ellie down next to himself, “I reckon so. We should probably keep the seventh and fifth years from doing too many patrols these coming up months. You know, OWLs and NEWTs. I’m sure the sixth years will be okay with taking up the extra hours. We could throw in some kind of reward?”
Charlotte smoothes her hair and gets up off the ground. Sitting next to Anthony, she replies, “That all sounds lovely.”
I sigh and get up from the ground. I take my time dusting the dirt off my robes before turning to Ellie, “Hey Elles, we should find Lily.”
She leans off of James and musters strength to get up, “Alright, I’ll agree to that.”
“You’re leaving?” Charlotte asks Ellie.
I answer for her, “Yeah, you guys seem to have a lot to talk about.”
Ellie looks at Charlotte in apology, “I’m sorry, Char. I need to help Lily with some homework that she abandoned.”
“Herbology, wasn’t it?” I ask Ellie.
She nods in response.
“Interesting. Plants float on water, don’t they?” I ask another question.
Ellie’s eyebrows shoot up, “Er, I guess.”
“So they never plunge into the depths of the lake, they just float at the top?”
“Sure,” Ellie responds, watching me warily.
I nod my head and smile, “What a sad life.”
“I agree,” James says, staring at Ellie as we walk away.
I glance at Charlotte, she’s staring at the floor.
A/N-Sorry for the delay in updating. I know I left you guys at a cliffhanger in that last chapter, so I probably killed you with the wait. I dedicated this chapter to Chleo, because we haven’t heard much from them. I tried to explain Leo/Lily’s past relationship more. Happy times are on their way, no worries. Hey, just remember that Scorpius and Rose are on friendly terms :D
Fine, you may send your hate through the little gray box at the end of this page. I like criticisms, but I also love hearing the compliments. So, quick questions (you know the drill):
I feel as though I’ve given Lily all of the epic comebacks. Do you like her comebacks? Did you feel as though they were epic? Would you like to be banished into the icy pits of hell by Lily? I would. It’d be an honour to join that club.
Brief mention of Scorpius and Leo’s little “bromance” was perhaps my favourite part of this chapter. Did you like that part? Did you feel upset that Albus was missing?
What are your interpretations of the plant metaphor at the end? What do you think Leo was saying? What do you think James got out of it?
As always, thanks for reading!
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