Chapter 8 : shelter
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Could I be, was I there?
It felt so crystal in the air
I still want to drown, whenever you leave
Please teach me gently, how to breathe
Shelter -- The Xx
Rainne sits alone in Dumbledore’s office Monday night.
It has been two days since she read the letter.
It has been two days since she kissed her best friend.
She pushes the thought of him out of her mind.
The headmaster walks in, gliding past her to sit behind his desk. He looks at her from behind his glasses, his blue eyes filled with empathy.
“Miss Pemberton,” he says, “I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I have arranged for a Portkey to take you to your home. I am giving you the rest of the week off. You may come back on Sunday at the latest. And owl will be at your home waiting for you. When you are ready to come back, you need just send me a letter and I will apparate to your home and bring you back.”
Rainne is overwhelmed with all of this information. She nods meekly.
“I think I’ll come back on Wednesday, sir. Wednesday night.”
She is surprised at the steadiness of her voice.
“Now that that is taken care of,” he says, “I would like to offer you my sincerest condolences. I understand you have had many losses recently. I want you to know that if you need anything you can come to me.”
She nods again. This feels rehearsed to her. Forced. She wants to go back to her bed and sleep forever.
“Anything else, sir?” He shakes his head.
“Remember,” he says as she leaves his office, “If you need anything...” the door shuts behind her.
Rainne just wants her life to be over. She wants to pull the blue tulle ribbon and lift the hot pink lid.
If she starts, she might never stop.
Ben and Sirius sit in the common room playing wizard’s chess.
“Check,” Sirius says. Ben moves a pawn, “No, you’re still in check,” Sirius says. Ben isn’t paying attention.
Sirius rolls his eyes and puts the pawn back, moving a knight between his queen and Ben’s king. The queen pummels the knight.
“Check,” he says again. Ben sighs. Sirius rolls his eyes again in defeat.
Just then, Rainne walks into the common room. Ben looks up, hoping she’ll look at him, say something to him, acknowledge him, anything! But she merely stares at the floor and walks up the stair to her room.
“Padfoot,” Ben says, “You have to go check on her. Make sure she’s okay.”
Sirius stares at him.
“How do you expect me to manage that?”
This time, Ben rolls his eyes.
“Oh, I don’t know, Padfoot.”
Sirius’s widen in understanding.
“Ohh... Right. Do I have to?” Ben nods, “Fine.”
Sirius walks up the boy’s stairs, coming back down in the form of a black dog, and following Rainne into her room.
Rainne sits on her bed in her empty dorm. She stares at the wall. For once, her mind is silent. It doesn’t what to say.
She thinks about lighting a cigarette when a black dog walks into the dorm, wagging its tail. Her head snaps and she looks over at it. She smiles.
“Hey, puppy,” she says, “Are you lost?”
The dog walks over to her and sits at her feet.
“Aren’t you just gorgeous,” she says, petting its head. Its eyes close with pleasure, its tail wagging.
“I used to have a dog just like you,” Rainne says, “His name was Tank.”
She pauses for a moment.
“He died in January, the day after I came back to school,” the dog’s tail hits the floor with a thud, remaining still. Tears fall silently down Rainne’s face while she stares at the same wall, her hand still on the dog, “Then my parents died in May. They were hit by a semi. Nobody knows this, but I was in the car with them. The cabin of the semi truck peeled off and the metal cut off their heads. I was laying down in the back so it missed me. Their heads fell on me.”
She is still staring at the wall, her hand slowly stroking the dog’s head. Suddenly, she looks at it.
“I’ve never told anyone that,” she says, blinking away her remaining tears, “It’s a good think you can’t talk,” her smile returns and she starts rubbing its head with both hands, speaking in a baby voice, “You won’t tell anyone will you? No you won’t! Oh, no you won’t!”
The dog jumps on her bed and begins licking her. She giggles and continues to pet him.
For a moment she thinks it’s Tank. She feels like it’s last October, and everyone she holds dear is still alive. She’ll be going home for Christmas to see her parents soon. Her grandmother will cook her best meals while Rainne plays chess with her grandpa.
In that moment, she feels pure joy.
Sirius walks up the stairs to his dorm, his tail limp.
Ben is waiting on his bed.
“What did she say?” Ben asks as Sirius returns to his human form.
“She kind of poured her heart out to me,” Ben’s eyes widen, “I guess she used to have a dog like me.”
“Don’t tell me what she said.”
“I just want her to trust me,” Ben says sadly. Sirius doesn’t know what to do. He has never seen Ben like this.
“Just one more day, man,” he says.
Rainne tosses and turns. She can’t sleep. Memories of everyone she misses run through her head. They mix together until they all feel like one strange memory.
She gives up on sleeping and gets up, stumbling down the stairs and into the common room. It’s empty. She sits on the couch and stares at the fire.
What would happen if she put her hand in?
Would anyone care if she, too, died?
She shakes her head. Now is not the time to think this way.
Her grandmother would be so disappointed in her.
Rainne starts to cry again, a daily ritual, it seems. She falls asleep on the couch, dreaming of the days that were.
author’s note: i know this chapter is short, but i just wanted to have one chapter that kind of revealed everything. i know it’s harsh, but rainne is really messed up and, well, this is why.
also, huge shoutout to oldnumberseven for reviewing every single one of my chapters. i know i said it like a million times but i really appreciate your feedback. you should all read her story, wide awake. it’s so good!
also, i’ve put up a playlist for this story. it’s on grooveshark. instructions to find it are on my page.
thanks for reading!
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