Chapter 45 : Snap!
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I was sitting with Dom and Harper, huddled under our umbrella’s, watching the game. It had been going on for hours and hours and no one seemed any closer to winning. Both teams would fall behind by 20 or so points and then catch back up. Back and forth, back and forth.
I tried my best to watch James, but in this weather it was getting harder and harder to tell individual players apart. I hadn’t seen him since the game started again. Suddenly, a scream tore through the air and everyone shot up out of their seats, looking around frantically. My heart froze and I searched for James.
Dom gripped my arm, her fingers digging in and she screamed in horror. Everyone watched as a body fell from the sky, spinning. It was only after I saw Al on his broom, shooting for the ground that I knew who was falling. I screamed. Al wasn’t going to catch him in time. Freddy was shooting for the ground too and was slightly closer.
Everyone in the stadium watched as he made a mad grab for James, catching him but getting dragged down at a speed that wouldn’t make for a safe landing. The world slowed around me. I blinked slowly, looking around, seeing hundreds of panicked faces.
My eyes settled on a lone figure in green in a sea of red, a slim girl with her wand held out and a face set in a look of determination. I turned around and watched as James slowed, as if he was being cushioned by something invisible.
He would be safe, I thought, moving to sit on a bench. My eyes followed his progression towards the ground, my heart seizing in panic as he started dropping faster towards the ground. I looked towards the girl, knowing that she had done the spell work that had kept James safe.
She wasn’t standing anymore, having been shoved aside by a fight that broke out in the stands. Idiots! I shot up out of my seat, and pounded towards the stairs
I found a door and shot out onto the field, running as fast as I could towards the center. People shouted at me, but I barreled on ahead. I started to see shapes through the rain. There were people standing around, and people screaming. Lily was shrieking, sitting next to two very still bodies. Oh God, I thought. Oh God, no. They’re ok. They have to be ok I thought to myself. No. No. No. James.
I ran past the rest of the team, and kneeled next to James. Professor Moll was bent over him, and I saw her fingers on his throat. The world disappeared around me. My fingers found his wrist and I felt for a pulse. It was there and wave of relief crashed over me.
Lily was bent over her brother, crying. I looked to the side, keeping my fingers on James’s pulse and noticed that Freddy was sitting up. Oh Thank God. He looked completely out of it, and his arm was bent at a weird angle. He looked up and caught my eye, looking scared. I had never seen him scared, ever.
“What the hell happened?!?” I asked, my voice wavering as I tried to fight back the panic and the tears.
“Avery knocked him off his broom.”
“WHAT?!?” Lily shrieked, eyes searching frantically for Avery. The Slytherin team had been grounded after James and Freddy's fall.
“Mr. Potter, we don’t know what happened.” Professor Moll said, turning his attention to Freddy. "You seem to have a broken arm. We'll have to get you up to Madame Sage. After an incident many years ago, on this very field, we're no longer meant to treat students.
“I SAW IT!” Al roared, throwing his broom to the ground. “I was there, and I know WHAT I SAW! AVERY KNOCKED HIM OUT!”
“Mr. Potter, calm down please. We will all head to the Headmasters Office after we get Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter to the Hospital Wing.” More people were rushing onto the field. I looked down at James. He was pale as ice, and still unmoving. I bent my head to his chest and grabbed his uniform. Someone wrapped their arm around me, and I shrugged it off, trying and failing to hold back the tears.
“Charlotte, they need to move him.” I looked up and saw Al sitting next to me. He grabbed my hand and pulled gently. “He’ll be ok. Charlotte, he will be ok.” He sounded as if he was trying to convince himself, the sheer panic still evident.
James was placed on a stretcher and it floated up to the school, followed by about half the staff and almost everyone on the team. Lily stayed behind, looking furious and very scary for a 13 year old. I turned to follow James up to the school and heard a laugh.
My head whipped around and I saw Avery Nott and his cronies leaning against their brooms laughing. They looked pleased with themselves and when Avery saw me looking at him, he blew me a kiss.
That did it. The fury in me broke open and my vision went red. Lily screamed next to me, and we lunged at the same time. I felt someone attempt to grab me, and heard that someone was successful in grabbing Lily.
“LET GO OF ME WILL! I SWEAR TO MERLIN, I WILL HURT HIM. HE ALMOST KILLED MY BROTHER. GET OVER HERE, YOU BASTARD. NOTT!!!!”
I stalked up to Avery, wand held out in front of me. There were no teachers around to stop me, they had all followed James and Freddy up to the school, or were trying to keep the other students calm. No one was paying attention. Avery licked his lips when he saw me and humped his hips, and looked at me in a lavicious manner. I wanted to hurt him, a feeling I had never ever had before. Al was yelling my name from far away.
“Hello darling.” He growled.
“Fuck off Avery.”
“Ooh hoo- I didn’t know you had some fire in you, Ravenclaw girl. I like that in a girl.”
“My name is Charlotte!" I shouted. "And that was my boyfriend you almost killed!”
“Just wanted to get him out of the way. You'd never be with me otherwise.”
“I'd never be with you ever. EVER!" I growled, feeling the fury charging through my veins like soliders charging the opposing army. "You’re despicable Avery.”
“Why don’t you come say that a little closer.” He wagged his tongue at me and mimed a kiss. My eyes narrowed into slits and I held my wand out, walking until it touched his chest. “I’ve got a better wand for you sweetheart and it's a lot bigger than that." The Slytherin team laughed behind him.
“You can go to hell.” Before he could react, I muttered multiple spells under my breath, hexing him with everything I had. I'd never done this before. He had boils, was growing fur, sprouting beaver teeth, puffing up, turning green. He fell the ground, his friends looking angry and panicked, wondering what to do. “Next time, you pretentious asshole, try not to fuck with one of the smartest people in school. Stay the fuck away from me, and you sure as hell better stay away from my friends and James.”
I turned on my heel, and stalked back towards Al, Lily and Will, who was still restraining Lily. It should not have been that difficult for a six foot two inch man to restrain a five foot five inch tiny girl, but then again, Lily Potter wasn’t a normal girl. Al looked at me, eyes wide, but he looked impressed.
“I’m going to check on James. If he even moves, feel free to tie him up with vines. He belongs in the fucking ground.” So anger, this was an interesting feeling. I had never been someone to get overtaken by anger. I always felt it in brief flashes, shoved it away, and moved on. Of course, until now, I’d never had a really good reason to be this angry. I snapped. Clear and total snapage going on.
“WILL! PUT ME DOWN.” I heard a thud, and then Lily ran up next to me, after I heard her yell. I turned my head before she caught up to me, and I saw a flash of purple light aimed towards Avery. He grunted loudly in fresh pain, and I smirked. Huh, wonder what spell that was. Whatever it was, Avery deserved it.
“That was quite impressive Charlotte.” She linked her arm through mine and grinned at me, though I still saw the anger bubbling beneath the surface.
“I think I’ve been hanging around all of you for too long. The Weasley temper is rubbing off on me.”
“James would be proud.” I turned to look at her, still too livid to smile. She grabbed my hand and we walked quickly up to the Hospital Wing. Everyone was crowded outside. Dom barreled into me when she saw me, Harper right behind her.
“Someone said that Avery knocked James off his broom. Is that true?”
“Yes.” I said, my hands clenching at my sides.
“I’m going to go find him and destroy him.” Dom said, her hand flying to her back pocket to whip out her wand.
“Oh, don’t worry. Charlotte already did.” Lily announced, her hands behind her back. She was proud of me, but I couldn’t focus on anything but getting to James. The world disappeared again, and I stared at the door, pacing back and forth.
Madam Sage opened the door, closing it quietly behind her.
“I cannot have this many people standing around outside. Only two people can come in, as both boys need their rest. Everyone else must leave. Mr. Potter is mumbling for a Lottie, so if that’s a familiar name, I suggest someone goes and gets them.”
“I’m Lottie. Charlotte. I’m his girlfriend. Is he ok?” Suddenly, the idea of a bad answer hit me and I stumbled a bit.
“He will be fine, with a lot of rest. Come dear, you look like you need a Calming Potion. Again.” She smiled warmly at me.
She held her hand out for me, and I walked towards her. She wrapped both hands around mine and patted them gently. “He will be ok dearie.” Madame Sage turned to the crowd, and reminded them that only one more person was allowed inside. There was much arguing. “Well, when you decide, knock on the door.”
My eyes landed on James immediately, noticing with relief that he was breathing. I fell into the chair next to his bed, and laced my fingers into his open hand. There was no reaction.
“Charlotte... he will be out for a while. There’s a lot of healing that needs to happen. He shattered a few bones, has numerous cuts and bruises and he has quite the large gash on his head. But please don’t you worry those will heal quickly. Dearie, look at me.”
I swiveled my head slowly, thinking that she had some of the kindest eyes I had ever seen. “Take this please. You look like you need it.” I took a gulp and tasted lavender. I could feel the potion working its magic, feeling a light airy cloud of peace weaving into my veins. This must have been the same potion that she'd given me last time I was here. The anger dissipated and I leaned back in the chair. I fell asleep, but only for a few hours. The creaking of a bed woke me up, and I looked around.
The hospital wing was dark, lit only by a few flickering candles. James was still sound asleep and every muscle in my body ached from sitting in the chair for so long without moving. I stood up, raised my arms above my head and stretched.
Behind me I heard a bed creak again, and I looked for the source of the noise.
“Hope I didn’t wake you.” Freddy was finally sitting up, wincing a bit as he moved, but he smiled at me all the same.
“You didn’t. How are you feeling?” I walked over to his bed, and sat down on the end. Freddy looked like he was trying to put on a brave face, but I could tell he was hurting a bit. Even potions took time. At least we had spells to fix broken bones, otherwise both Freddy and James would be in for a world of hurt.
“Been better. James is…”
“He’s going to be ok.” Freddy let out a big sigh and tipped his head back onto the bed frame.
“What the hell happened?” He asked me, running his fingers through his hair.
“Al said Avery Nott hit James with his bat. Hard enough that it knocked James off his broom.” I shuddered at the memory, my voice tight with worry.
“I’ve never been that scared before.” I gripped his hand, remembering how scared I had been and smiled what I hoped was a comforting smile at Freddy.
“You probably saved his life Freddy. If you hadn’t caught him…” A shudder ran down my spine, it was a thought I had been trying to stay away from. I needed to track down the girl in green that I was convinced had helped save both of them from much more serious injuries.
“I don’t even want to think about that. I’m going to murder Avery.”
“I already took care of Avery.” There was that anger again, it was still a strange emotion. I had never hated another human being before, not really. Avery Nott was now my least favorite person in my universe.
“Wait… you what?!?”
“I walked up to him as you and James were being carried up here and I hexed him with a few different spells. He doesn’t look human right now.”
“You… you did that.” He stared at me in disbelief. “but you’re… you. You’re nice!”
“I snapped. It happens.” I shrugged, and looked at him, a small smile gracing my face.
“Apparently.” He said with a grin, looking at me with pride.
“I’m really glad you’re ok Freddy.”
“Me too.” He chuckled and then looked back at James. “He’s really going to be ok?”
“That’s what Madame Sage says, and I’m inclined to believe her.” A knock sounded at the door, and Freddy and I turned our heads. Lily peeked her head in, and I waved her over. She looked small, and scared, but walked to Freddy’s bed and plopped down. He ruffled her hair.
“You’re up late Lils.”
“You’re ok?” She was looking at James, but her question was directed at her cousin.
“I am ok.” Lily breathed a sigh of relief
“Charlotte, there’s someone outside for you.”
“That girl from Slytherin that James befriended... or something... recently.”
“Arabella? Oh uh… ok. I’ll be back then.” I stood up and walked towards the large doors, looking over my shoulder at James. Moonlight flooded into the room, surrounding him in a silver light. It was a huge relief to watch the gentle rise and fall of his chest.
I pushed the door open as quietly as I could. The castle was actually really nice in the middle of the night. It was blissfully quiet and cool, lit by a gentle combination of moonlight and candlelight.
Leaning against one of the pillars was a slim girl with long blonde hair, pulled back by a thick silver headband. She was biting her nails and had one leg bent back and resting on the pillar. She was looking intently at the floor, her muscles tense.
She looked up at me, and something in her gaze made me wonder if she was ok.
“How is he? Is he ok?”
“Are you asking about James?”
“I tried… to stop his fall. But I got knocked down and couldn’t get the spell to happen again. Is he ok?” She looked so worried, biting down hard on her lip. I thought it was going to bleed. She wrapped her arms around herself, and it looked as if she was trying to hold herself together. She needed a hug.
I walked quickly up to her and threw my arms around her, hearing her squeak in surprise. She stayed frozen and I pulled away, taking a large step back. She looked at me with wide eyes, the tiniest hint of a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“You saved him, you know that right?”
“I just… I knew the spell. The teachers were distracted and I just…”
“You saved him. Thank you.”
“He will be ok. Thanks to you, Arabella.”
“I… I’m glad he’s going to be ok. And it’s Belle… call me Belle.” She looked at me for a long moment, and in her eyes I saw the reflection of who I had been, who I might have become. It was one of the strangest feelings I had ever had and before I could even think about it she was gone. I watched as she turned the corner, whispering a thank you to the now empty corridor.
I leaned against a pillar, wrapping my arms around me and letting the events of the day wash over me. Tears leaked out of my eyes as I thought about what could have been. Once things calmed down, I decided that I would track down Belle and thank her properly.
The room was quiet as I went back inside. Lily was gone, which surprised me as I hadn’t seen her walk past me and there was only one direction she could have gone.
Freddy was snoring loudly in his bed, his arm thrown over his head and the covers lying on the floor. I chuckled quietly, and walked over, pulling the covers back over him. It was cold in the room, it wouldn’t do for him to survive the fall only to get pneumonia.
James too was still out cold. His hair was sticking in a thousand different directions and his mouth hung open slightly as he breathed in and out. As gently as I could, I crawled into bed next to him. The second Madame Sage saw me, I knew she would probably scream and kick me out.
My mind was whirling too much, making sleep impossible, even though I was exhausted. To calm myself, I turned my thoughts to other events this week, remembering the other morning, when I had gotten some good news. Which, really, was a rarity in my life.
James’s family was still going overboard celebrating that we were officially a couple again. I had tuned them out, but James was still irritated by it. He was watching them prance and sing over breakfast, his spoon frozen halfway to his mouth.
I was so busy watching him watching them that I didn’t immediately register the large black owl that landed in front of me. It hooted at me and I jumped, about falling off the bench. Receiving letters had never been a good thing in the past, and everyone stopped eating to look at me.
I tentatively reached out and grabbed the letter. The owl flew off with a hoot. James peeked over my shoulder, looking down the large, slanted scrawl that spelled out my name and location.
“It’s from my Dad.”
“Well, open it!” Lily interjected, leaning halfway across the table. James glared at her. “Oh shove it James, don’t act like you aren’t curious too.” James grunted, wrapping his arm around my waist. My fingers were shaking when I opened it. There were two pages and what looked like a picture.
My eyes skated across the page, a gasp escaping my lips. I turned to James with a huge smile on my face, relishing in the feeling of good news.
“I have a new baby brother! Look, here’s a picture.” I squealed, showing him a picture of a newborn with dark hair, sleeping. “Liam Charles Gray. 7 pounds 4 ounces. Born last night. Oh, he’s precious. I have a brother!” I looked up and saw Harper walking towards me, so I waved her over.
“Harp! We have a brother! Look!” She ran over and stood behind me, wrapping her arms around my shoulder.
"Should we go tell Ava?"
"I'll go show her. She kinda really hates you, and only sort of hates me." Harper grabbed the photo out of my fingers and stalked off towards the Slytherin table.
James laced his fingers through mine, leaning over to kiss my cheek. I smiled at him.
“Congratulations big sister.”
“Finally! A brother, I can’t wait to meet him. I wonder when that will be.” For a moment, I sat still, thinking about the newest addition to my family. After a moment, I pulled the second page over the first and started reading. This letter didn’t bring joy though.
My emotion shifted from joy to confusion. I bit my lip, feeling James’s fingers tightening around my hand. He leaned over to me and asked what was wrong, so I handed him the page, my brows knit in confusion.
I hope that you are pleased to have a brother. I am writing to ask if you would be free to see me over your Easter holiday. I would be happy to bring Liam with me, and meet anywhere you feel comfortable. There are many things I would like to talk about and a letter is not the place for it. I have things to apologize for and hope that you are not too angry at me and that you will agree to see me. I realize that I don’t say this often enough to you but I love you. Please let me know how you feel about this as soon as you can. This is just for me and you, I do not wish to involve your sisters.
“Charlotte? Do you know what this is about?” James leaned over, whispering in my ear.
“Not a clue.”
“Are you going to meet him?”
“I might as well. He is my father… it’s just…do you think you could maybe be nearby in case things go horribly wrong?” I looked up at him, seeing different emotions in his eyes.
“I will be wherever you want me to be love.” He held my gaze and was about to speak when another owl landed in front of me. My face went through about ten emotions in three seconds, and I quickly pried this new letter off the owl’s foot. It was a large, heavy looking envelope. There was a realtor address in the corner. A mask of confusion flittered across my face.
“Didn’t your Mum say she was using part of your inheritance to buy you a flat? Maybe that’s what this is.” James had garnered a guess before I could even attempt to think what the letter could be.
“I had almost forgotten about that. She sent that letter before Christmas. When I didn’t hear anything, I assumed it wasn’t going to happen. I mean, let's be real, when have I ever had a reason to trust something my mother said.”
“So open it and find out?” He leaned over and watched as I opened the envelope. I tipped the envelope and felt the heavy weight of keys fall into my hands; two key rings with three rings each.
I put the keys down on the table and pulled out the thick sheaf of papers. I looked through them quickly, eyes popping wide when I saw the photos, which I quickly handed to James. While he was busy looking at the pictures, I began to read the details of the purchase and the specifics of my new flat. It also told me that the money had come soley from my mother, in a hand written note from the realtor. The flat was in my name though, which meant it was truly entirely mine.
It was huge! A two story modern flat, with lots of glass and toffee colored wood to match the brand new, top of the line appliances. A large deck, with a spiral staircase leading to a private rooftop garden.. it was stunning. And it was mine. All mine. Holy crap.
“James. I have a flat.” My voice was devoid of major emotions, as I was in shock. I expected a nice place, but nothing like this. My biggest guess would have been a nice and cozy one bedroom.
“It’s huge!” James sounded as shocked as I did.
“It says here it’s a 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath, two story flat that is large and airy, with state of the art appliances. I don’t even know… I… I… I own a flat.”
“Charlotte… this place looks incredibly expensive.” Smart boy, he was.
“It is… it’s worth 2.5 million pounds.” He had taken a sip of pumpkin juice and promptly spit it out, thereby drawing everyone’s attention.
“What’s that Charlie?” Dom asked, eyes glittering with excitement.
“I have a flat.” I had said that multiple times, but it still hadn’t sunk in.
“Oooh! Let me see!” Lily and Dom squealed at the same time and grabbed the photos out of James’s hand.
“HOLY SHIT!” They yelled at the same time, staring at me with their jaws around their ankles. “How much did this place cost?”
“Two and half million.” I looked at them, and laughed at their expressions.
“POUNDS? HOLY EFFING HIPPOGRIFF! Charlotte! I knew you had some money coming your way, but I didn’t know you had that much money coming your way.” Dom shouted at me, looking at me with wide eyes. She seemed to be wondering if I had known about this, which I didn’t.
“It wasn’t my money. My Mum bought it for me. I just have to sign these papers, send them back, and it’s all mine.” I looked at her, and she just sat staring ahead, her eyes closing and opening very slowly. “She said she was going to buy a flat with my money. Why did she change her mind?”
“Is there a letter or something?” Lily, calming down faster than Dom, asked me.
“No. Just a note from the realtor thanking me for my business and an apology about the delay. Apparently Mum had another, much smaller place picked out, but found this and decided to buy it for me. What is going on with my parents?”
“You have a huge flat now.” James said to me, and I turned to him with a large grin on my face.
“Yes I do! No more awkward family holidays, I have my own place. I know where I’m spending Easter break.” I wanted to break out in the middle of the Great Hall and dance. For once, I was getting brilliantly good news.
“So do I!” Six different people, including James, piped up. I laughed and put all the papers away, before standing up.
“I need to go sign these, and I don’t have a quill on me. So I will see you all later, after I mail these back.” I had kissed James and run straight to my room, signing the papers and sending Athena on her way to London within minutes.
The memory faded and I looked around again. It was still dark, and everyone was still asleep. Sleep… that would be a good thing.
The scent of lavender assailed my senses and I looked to my right, seeing the cup with the steaming potion inside. I sat up long enough to take a long drag, feeling light as a feather within moments.
Sleep took me quickly.
A/N- Keeping this short and sweet so I can get back to writing the next chapter. :) Which will be called Family Ties. For anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about Charlotte's mother, you might enjoy the next chapter. That's all I have to say about that.
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