Chapter 31 : Looks Like Rain
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Ma trésor (French) – my treasure
Also, just to be clear, there is a "betrothal scene" in this chapter, but hopefully after some edits on my part, you will understand that this is not a forced marriage, but rather a potential marriage that the character accepts, but does not like. Thank you HPFF staff for pointing this out (and not to pander too much, but they are awesome and have been very nice when telling me my chapters have been rejected, so please thank them for all they do, if you can!!).
Also, you are most definitely going to hate me after this chapter. Chapter image by me!
“But I'll still sing you love songs written in the letters of your name, and brave the storm to come, for it surely looks like rain.” – The Grateful Dead, 1972.
“Please, please, you have to tell me what happens next! Do they end up together? Well, do they?”
She inhaled, taking in the crisp spring air, and exhaled slowly with extreme delight; even the simple act of breathing was a wonderful experience for her these days.
She inhaled again, tuning out the excited chatter around her, and closed her eyes as she savored another breath, thought of Remus’ comforting embrace, and let herself … be.
“Bonjour!” her middle sister wisecracked as she waved her hand in front of her face. “Nanette is asking you a question about that Star Wars film. Have you been obliviated or something?”
Two Ravenclaw Chasers rocketed over the three girls and the Quidditch stadium atmosphere quickly penetrated Marianne Minot’s peaceful state of mind, sending her into a state of confusion. Random shouts of House pride rung in her ears; bright daylight overwhelmed her eyes. Nanette tugged on her right trouser leg once more and wobbled her lip emotionally while Gabrielle scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest.
“I only want to know if Leia and Han ever get together,” the youngest Minot whimpered.
“It’s obvious they don’t,” Gabrielle sassed, “because she would have told you if they did.”
“Enough,” Marianne finally intervened, fighting the urge to roll her eyes, “both of you.” After a deep breath, she bent down to her younger sister’s eye level and addressed her directly. “Nanette, the film ends just after the medal ceremony for the rebel forces, so we don’t know if Leia and Han ever become a couple – they may never be together, for all we know.”
“But I know they get together,” Nanette said quite seriously. “They have to.”
“Merlin, you’re such a romantic sometimes,” Gabrielle retorted as she pointed back at her older sister. “She told you a synopsis of a Muggle film she didn’t actually see and you think you can predict the rest of the plot?”
“Gabrielle,” Marianne warned.
“What?” the middle Minot answered smartly. “It’s true! You never saw Star Wars. You just heard about it from a friend.” She pointed to her younger sister. “So how can this little one – who, by the way, doesn’t truly understand what a ‘film’ is - see all the sexual tension just from your unbiased summary?”
“Here we go, everyone - the players are lining up on the pitch!” Frank Longbottom boomed throughout the stadium.
Since she was unable to give her sister a logical and well thought out answer, Marianne was very grateful that the start of the match had interrupted their conversation.
She hadn’t meant to add her own embellishments to the story, but her personal feelings must have come out during the retelling, she mused. The Seventh Year played with her hair absentmindedly. When Remus had first told her the plot of Star Wars, she couldn’t help but empathetically connect with Leia; even though she had never seen the film, Marianne agreed with Nanette whole heartedly, for she knew from personal experience that the galactic Princess couldn’t resist the daring rogue with nothing to lose. Despite being opposites, Leia and Han were simply meant for each other.
“And now for the formalities!” Frank announced.
The two teams fidgeted nervously on their respective sides as Madame Hooch facilitated the handshake between James and Walter Davies. When the captains took their positions, the Gryffindors started their House chant and immediately, the Ravenclaws around them burst into song. Even though she usually wasn’t a fan of Quidditch, Marianne felt her heart race with anticipation when the referee finally unlatched all of the magical balls with a wave of her wand.
And that’s when Murphy’s Law went into effect; everything that could go wrong, did.
“THE MATCH BEGINS! The quaffle is up for grabs – there goes Davies, but Potter’s might have it with that outstanding dive – MERLIN’S BEARD, MCKNIGHT’S CAUGHT THE SNITCH! I REPEAT, MCKNIGHT HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH!”
“I can’t believe it,” Marianne whispered in shock.
“She was sitting there and – and it happened to fly directly at her!” Nanette recounted excitedly.
“Hold on a second,” Gabrielle said as she adjusted her glasses. “If we scored 150 points before the Gryffindors could even touch the Quaffle, that means we’ve surpassed them in the overall totals …” The girl uncharacteristically whooped for joy. “WE WON THE CUP! WE WON THE CUP!”
The rest of the Ravenclaws in attendance quickly came to the same conclusion and all hell broke loose; the three Minot sisters were separated as the crowd churned chaotically. Marianne’s eyes frantically scanned the students around her, and when she failed to find her younger siblings, yelped with fear.
As most of the Ravenclaws poured onto the pitch to celebrate, the crowd began to thin, but the three sisters still remained scattered and unattached. Marianne quickly moved to the top rows to get a better view, and in the middle of all the pandemonium, unknowingly merged into the neighboring Slytherin section. After hiking up her black maxi dress, the heiress climbed the last couple steps and landed directly next to Rabastan Lestrange as he finished his cigarette.
“Bonjour, Mademoiselle,” he purred salaciously just after exhaling a stream of smoke. “Here to engage me in conversation?”
“No, Lestrange,” she growled as she stood up on her toes, “I’m trying to find my sisters.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry about them,” he said, his lips curling into a colossal smirk. “Come, come, sit with me for a while – we should get to know each other.”
The ominous words added to her previous shock.
“What do you mean,” she said in disbelief.
“Have your parents really not told you?” he scoffed.
When she failed to answer, he laughed incredulously. Before he could finish his train of thought, black spots quickly appeared her field of view and suddenly, Marianne couldn’t breathe. Thoughts of Remus whirled around in her head as she prepared herself for whatever he was going to say.
“They have given me permission to start courting you,” the Frenchman explained. “I hope to marry you – although, I would never want to force you into anything, ma trésor. I am a man of tradition, and therefore, will woo you with the proper decorum and respect. You needn’t lift a finger – I will take care of the all the date plans, locations, and expenses.”
Rabastan grinned once more.
“But I will tell you that I am persistent. I like the chase.”
“So we aren’t betrothed,” Marianne clarified, just about a whisper.
“No,” he smirked, “not yet, at least. It’s all up to you … but I will say that purebloods always love a summer wedding.”
His foreboding phrase hung in the air as he took another drag from his cigarette. She immediately thought of Remus again - internally shaking with immense fear for his safety - but ultimately knew that if Rabastan was going to be on his best behavior, he would do anything she told him to do. She had no idea what her answer would be, but she did know that she had to distract the pureblood enough to keep him from finding out about her secret relationship. And so, in order to cope with her harsh reality, Marianne reverted back to her high society defense mechanisms and jutted her chin in the air.
“Impress me, then,” she said through her teeth.
Lily Evans bit her lower lip for the fourth time and finally drew blood. Nervous energy tingled up her spine; she felt short of breath. She grimaced as she wiped her mouth with her jumper sleeve and next to her, Remus ruffled his hair dejectedly as Peter kept looking over at Aeryn, who seemed to be in a daze. Several other Gryffindor Quidditch faithfuls waited with them in solidarity.
“Do you think it’s time to find them, then?” Peter finally squeaked as he grasped his girlfriend’s hand. “Most people have left the stadium.”
“They always meet us in the Gryffindor stands after a match,” Remus answered with a sigh. “They’ll come out eventually.”
As the pudgy Marauder huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, Lily started to pick at her nails. Although she remained silent, she whole-heartedly agreed with Peter. She wanted to see James, wrap her arms around his large shoulders, and give him a loving kiss. She hated knowing that he was hurting without her support.
“I still can’t believe it,” Alice Cooper began after minute or so.
“I think that was honestly the shortest match in Hogwarts history,” Peter said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the shortest in all of history,” Remus mumbled.
“I’m glad I’m graduating this year,” Frank said with an aloof smile, “because I don’t think Dumbledore would have let me announce another match after I let out that long string of obscenities over the loudspeaker.”
A Fourth Year next to them giggled softly as he recounted some of Frank’s expletives under his breath and Lily threw him an icy glare in response. The boy cowered in fear, quickly gathered his things, and sulked out of the stadium towards the Castle. After seeing the Head Girl’s angry wrath, others followed.
“Lily,” Alice knowingly said in her ear, “calm down. James is going to be fine.”
She ignored her best friend’s soothing words and focused on chewing her bottom lip again.
“Sirius!” Peter and Remus yelled at the same time when they saw their partner in crime suddenly emerge from the tunnel below the Gryffindor stands. The Beater continued to shuffle his feet and hang his head somberly. He remained silent, even after his two friends climbed down onto the pitch and gave him hugs of solidarity, and Lily’s heart rate spiked with anticipation.
James, however, was nowhere to be seen.
“Where’s Prongs?” Peter asked, voicing her inner thoughts.
“Marauder Rule #5, mates,” Sirius grimaced as he slapped his friend on the shoulder. “It’s best we clear off.”
As Remus and Peter collectively swallowed, Lily felt small tremors buzz inside her stomach. She raced towards the front of the Gryffindor section and gripped onto the railing, completely ignoring Aeryn, who was still in a discombobulated state.
“And what rule is that?” she called down to the three boys.
“Evans,” Sirius muttered softly, but due to her insane amount of worry, she heard him loud and clear, “I don’t think you want to see him right now.”
“Why not?” she barked.
“Because Prongs is in a mood,” Remus replied, pinching the bridge of his nose, “and he’s not going to take kindly to visitors. Please listen to us – he’s upset and needs space. Give it to him.”
“He’ll tell you everything in a few weeks,” Peter said, trying his best to be helpful, “because that’s when the terms ends … But honestly? I think he’s only going to need a couple hours to cool off. Then he’ll come find you.”
Lily frowned stubbornly, quickly removed her platforms, and threw them down onto the pitch; she tried her best to be graceful as she jumped onto the grass, but let out a headstrong growl when she almost rolled her ankle. The Head Girl finally retrieved her shoes and persistently joined the other Marauders.
“Sirius,” she panted softly, “he needs me.”
“Evans,” he warned again, “I’m telling you, don’t.”
Lily promptly ignored his advice and turned on her heel, desperate to see James. She paused slightly before pushing the door open, but entered the Gryffindor male changing room nonetheless, and the sight before her caused her to gasp slightly. Her boyfriend had thrown all the Quidditch storage cupboards open and hurled their contents all around the room; the place was an absolute mess. As Lily slowly shut the door behind her, James sat with his head in his hands and muttered unintelligible thoughts to himself.
“James,” Lily tested, “it’s me.”
The Quidditch captain threw her a slowly burning glower and clenched and unclenched his hands.
“Leave me alone,” he finally answered.
“Oh, James,” she responded empathetically as she quickly sat down on the wooden bench next to him, “I know you’re hurting – I know you’ve been strategizing for this match for ages, but you don’t have to go through this alone. You can be completely honest with me.”
Her soothing words backfired, triggering James’ beast within, and Lily finally saw the behavior that Sirius had warned her about.
“Honest?” he roared as he leapt to his feet. “You want me to be honest, when you’re sitting there with a dirty little secret?”
“What are you talking about?” she responded slowly, mimicking his movements.
“I saw you with Snivellus,” James said through his teeth, “at the Slug Club party. Don’t think I didn’t notice when he cornered you – and threatened you, the bloody bastard. I waited for you to say something and you chose not to tell me about it. Why, Lily?”
She stepped backwards, completely taken by surprise. Why was he attacking her? Why wasn’t he crying in her arms and thanking her for being there with him, like he did on his birthday?
“How’s that being completely honest, dear?” he finished, his words starting to bite.
“James,” she began, “I’m sorry, I -”
“Didn’t think it was something worth mentioning?”
“James, it was just a conversation, I even -”
“If you want this relationship to be honest,” her boyfriend interrupted again, “then you can’t keep things from me – especially things about that poor excuse for a human being.”
But before she could tell James the truth - that she had confronted her demons and professed her unending devotion to him – she saw the large tears in his eyes. Her lips moved, but no sounds came out; his raw emotion rendered her speechless. James quickly huffed with unforgiveness and stormed out of the room, leaving Lily alone and in a complete and utter daze.
Hours later, the Gryffindor common room was still. No celebration, no chatter.
As the fire popped and crackled in front of her, Aeryn Miller felt lifeless and confused. Part of her was sorry that her House had lost the Cup, because she’d seen how badly James had wanted to win … but another part felt almost delighted that her best friend had caught the Snitch. The contradiction caused her to short circuit and she blinked aimlessly, her face etched in a vague, hollow expression, and panned away from the fireplace. A few students anxiously shuffled back and forth across the floorboards, but for the most part, everyone kept to themselves.
Aeryn finally snapped out of her daze and sunk into her plush red armchair. The blonde began to feel more like herself and took a quick look at her boyfriend, who continued to obnoxiously snore next to her, and decided that enough was enough. She’d done her House duty and mourned the Gryffindor loss, but now it was only right to congratulate Cora on her speedy victory.
“Peter,” she said softly, “Peter, wake up.”
The Marauder continued to wheeze noisily.
“Peter,” Aeryn said slightly louder as she placed a hand on his shoulder.
He snorted inelegantly, scurried slightly, and rolled over onto his other side.
She frowned, but after a few seconds, ultimately decided to stop pestering him; she knew from experience that Peter when entered REM sleep, he was impossible to wake up. The Seventh Year lazily rose to her feet, stretched her arms over her head, took a deep breath, and threw a guilty glance at her boyfriend just before making her way to Ravenclaw Tower.
Aeryn heard sounds of celebration long before she reached the correct floor. The exciting energy was infectious and she couldn’t help but smile when she finally reached the common room entrance. Screams of joy and jubilation leaked into the corridor; the Ravenclaws were clearly having a blast. However, Aeryn soon realized that in order to see her best friend, she had to get past the knocker, which was not an easy task.
“The more you take, the more you leave behind,” the bronze eagle asked ominously, “what are they?”
“Hair? Like, strands of hair? I leave those behind a lot.”
“Incorrect,” the eagle replied.
“Ugh,” the Gryffindor groaned, “this is why I could never be a Ravenclaw. Ok, let’s see -”
“Footsteps,” Kieran Montgomery suddenly answered behind her.
Aeryn looked back gratefully and returned his warm smile; even though the boy looked like a complete burnout, he did seem to have some wits about him. The eagle knocker nodded respectfully and slowly opened the large wooden door to reveal a scene of complete pandemonium.
The entire House was dancing, drinking, and getting down.
“After you, ” Kieran said with a playful bow. Aeryn couldn’t help but giggle shamelessly just before she entered enemy territory and blended into the crowd.
The Ravenclaws continued to passionately socialize with each other and Aeryn swerved around several people to find some breathing room. She squinted, trying to scan the entire common room for her best friend, and covered her mouth to quiet her surprised gasp when she spotted Cora dancing on top of one of the tables. She was still dressed in her uniform, but didn’t seem to care; she swung her hips back and forth to the funky beat and tipped her head back with glee.
Aeryn felt her heart quicken. She had subtly tried to avoid her best friend for the past couple of weeks, but their separation hadn’t diminished any of her newly found desire. If anything, it fueled it.
“AERYN!” Cora screamed when she finally noticed her.
She vaulted off the table and sprinted towards her. In one swift movement, she lifted Aeryn up, spun her around, and then plopped her back to her original position on the ground.
“Come on, hen,” the Scot grinned, her breath reeking of firewhiskey, “let’s get out of here. I need some air.”
Before Aeryn could get a word in, Cora grabbed her hand – sending familiar, but unwanted tingles down her spine – and snaked around several people to guide her towards the door. The two friends quickly poured into the Castle corridor, Cora giggling like a madwoman, and Aeryn gulped nervously when they reached one of the adjacent empty rooms. Her best friend burst inside, flung open the balcony door, and raced outside.
“Merlin’s pimply arse, that feels good,” the Ravenclaw slurred happily as she closed her eyes and spread her arms. “That room was way too humid.”
She should have interjected with a witty comment, but couldn’t say anything; Cora’s drunken demeanor easily brushed past her heterosexual defenses.
“Didn’t think we ‘Claws could get that blootered, did you?” she grinned. “I didn’t either, actually. Davies said he stockpiled before the match, just in case, and bloody hell, he got the top shelf stuff. Hold on – hold on, how did you get into the common room? You’ve never gotten past the knocker. Oh, I guess it doesn’t matter now.”
As Cora continued to ramble aimlessly, Aeryn tried squash any and all inappropriate thoughts drifting around her head.
“Merlin, what a fucking match,” the Seeker swore. “We spent hours and hours preparing for the bloody thing, but it didn’t even matter! Shite, I don’t even know how it happened – the snitch went neeeeeruum! past me and I just reached out and caught it and - ”
Cora stopped punctuating her thoughts with absurd hand movements; she exuded delight and ecstasy with her every pant. Suddenly she reached out, grabbed the sides of Aeryn’s face, and pulled her into a passionate kiss. For one small second, Aeryn let herself enjoy the feeling of Cora’s lips against her own. However, it quickly faded and the Gryffindor jerked back immediately.
“Cora,” she began, but was soon cut off when her best friend kissed her again.
It took all of Aeryn’s strength to pull away for the second time.
“You’re plastered -”
“You’re drunk with victory, then -”
“Tell me you didn’t feel something in that cupboard,” Cora insisted forcefully as she looked her dead in the eyes. Their bickering skidded to a halt. “Tell me you didn’t feel anything.”
“I – I -”
Aeryn’s throat tightened as she quickly looked down at her promise ring, forcing her to consolidate all of her excuses into one short phrase.
As soon as the two words left her lips, Aeryn cowardly turned on her heel and sprinted away from the one person who truly made her feel loved.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Gemma Rawnsley groaned just before hurling her Defense textbook at the babbling brook across the room, “would you shut up already?”
The heavy book easily demolished the small fountain and silence eventually displaced the earlier nuisance. Gemma huffed and rolled over onto her back; she blinked several times, slowly noticing that one of the tapestries above her was starting to tear, and considered going back to sleep. Yet, instead of taking another 13-hour snooze, the Seer forced herself into a sitting position, scratched the back of her neck, and yawned loudly.
Due to her extended nap, Gemma was unaware of the day’s events and continued as if nothing in the world had changed. A cigarette from behind her ear fell into her lap, and although it was a bit old and squished, she decided to smoke it anyways. She lit the end and took a drag and soon, her stomach grumbled and signaled that it was time to make another trip down to the kitchens.
While deciding between Belgian waffles or crab cake Eggs Benedict, Gemma lazily shrugged a thin jumper over her naked torso. She failed to see that her rose trellis tattoo was completely dead and inanimate; it hadn’t been alive for weeks.
“Where are those stupid – ah, here they are,” the Hufflepuff confirmed when she found her birkenstocks. After shoving her feet into her worn down sandals, she rummaged around and found the patchwork wrap skirt she’d been looking for. After another yawn, Gemma checked her watch, noting that it was just past midnight, and wandered into the dark.
Suddenly, just after she started down a long passageway, a torch in front of her extinguished itself. And for the second time in her life, the Seer felt a strong, fearful sense of déjà vu.
“Shit,” Gemma whimpered. “Shit, shit, shit.”
She turned around with a snap! and sprinted in the other direction, hoping to outrun her future. But Gemma quickly found out that she was just postponing the inevitable, for when she rounded another corner, a hand reached out and pulled her into an unused office. She thought about screaming for help, yet, the abrupt location change didn’t scare her whatsoever. In fact, when her attacker hastily pushed her to the ground, forced a cup to her mouth, and pinched her nose to force her to drink a metallic potion, she almost felt relieved.
This moment was meant to happen, she reminded herself.
The ordeal was over as quickly as it began and Gemma gasped for air as the cloaked figure released her and muttered a soft Lumos! under their breath. The spell illuminated the small room and finally gave the girl a chance to see who had assaulted her.
“Hello, sweetie,” Luciana Rosier purred as she pushed back her hood. “Surprised to see me?”
Gemma tried to speak, but failed to produce any coherent sounds. A wave of nausea crashed over her and her stomach gurgled tensely; she wrapped her arms around her torso to try and combat the electric energy creeping her spine.
“Oi!” Luciana growled as she grabbed her shoulder and shook her violently. “Stay with me. I need you to be somewhat coherent for this!”
The Hufflepuff threw her an icy stare.
“Don’t give me that look,” the Slytherin scoffed.
Gemma promptly spit in her face.
“You little bitch!” Luciana screeched.
In a fit of anger, she pushed Gemma down into a chair. Once she let out her aggression, Luciana took a deep breath, lowered herself onto another vacant seat, and calmed herself before taunting her prey once more.
“Now, I believe an explanation is in order. Do you want to know what I just forced you to drink? Hmm?” The Seventh Year grinned as she pulled out a stack of notes from beneath of her cloak. “Tiberius Morrigan’s controversial potion #1.”
Gemma let out a gasp of shock as she felt the metallic taste in her mouth intensify. She almost threw up.
“I have an errand boy,” Luciana cackled. “He’s not that much help honestly - but one day, he finally told me something useful.
“He offhandedly mentioned that you and Black were taking a break because you were trying to understand your powers and he was being a git. Now the git part I dismissed immediately, because Black always did have a strange way of dealing with his … ‘excommunication’ … but you, you gave me pause. If I couldn’t rely on my informant to give me helpful clues – because Merlin, he’s an absolute twit - why not ask someone with the inner eye instead? So I started to investigate on my own and followed you as you went back and forth to the Restricted Section. Didn’t take long to find out what you were up to.
“It did, however, take awhile to brew an extremely potent batch of this, so you better not fuck up,” the snake said as she waved the papers in front of Gemma’s face. “According to his notes, you’re about to see the future of everything around you. It’ll be like lucid sleep walking - you can walk and talk, but you’re really not going to remember any of this.”
Gemma panted sharply; Luciana grinned.
“So all you have to do is focus on me,” she clarified as she grabbed Gemma’s chin, “and tell me everything you see. Tell me what I’m going to do to impress the Dark Lord. Tell me my destiny. And then I’ll let you go.”
Yet, Luciana made one tactical error. It was impossible for a Seer under the influence of Morrigan’s potion to make a prophecy about one singular person; the elixir forced the participant to take the strongest stimulant in account before making a major prediction.
And so, without warning, Gemma’s inhibitions vanished and her fear morphed into absolute elation as she went into a dream state. A large smile burst across her face as soon, her soft giggles grew into full on laughter when she compared her experience to that of a noodle cooking in boiling water.
“Wiggle, wiggle!” she snickered as the walls around her began to breathe. “I’m a noodle!”
“What the fuck -”
Gemma’s short attention span forced her to look past her attacker’s baffled expression and focus on the melting colors behind her. The Seer gasped loudly, her jaw dropping towards the floor with awe, and immediately leapt out of her chair towards the most magnetic thing in the room. She didn’t even feel Luciana’s attempt to pull her away from the stone wall and instead decided to put her body next the cold surface to try and physically melt into it.
Drool started to leak out of the side of her mouth and she laughed wildly. However, Gemma snapped to attention when the visions began and predicted the fate of the magical Castle.
An old book. A black ring. A serpent locket. A gold cup. A diamond diadem. A large snake. And a young boy. The images kept flashing in front of her.
“What is it,” Luciana said in a panic. “What is going on, what are you seeing?”
The Hufflepuff turned away from the wall and stared the Slytherin; she picked up her attacker’s nasty aura and paranoia flooded her senses. In one swift motion, Gemma quickly bolted past her and burst out into the hallway. Her years of running paid off, making her able to leave Luciana in the dust, and Gemma continued running until she reached the safest place in the Castle: Headmaster Dumbledore’s office.
Author’s note: Ok, breathe. That was a lot to handle, I know.
Just so you know, I’ve made the executive decision to not write a sequel to this story. Originally I had a lot of the major plot lines bleed into the second “book”, but in order to make me actually finish this thing, I decided to wrap everything up into one more round robin with the boys and then an epilogue. I wish wish wish that I could have the time to write another 37 chapter fic, but alas, I do not.
So, that being said, I’ve requested some reviews over at the forums to see how people are receiving things, but I would really appreciate your input. Who is your favorite character and why? What has been your favorite moment so far? Your least favorite? Please give me any and all feedback and I’ll try and incorporate it into the next 6 chapters. Future plot suggestions are off limits, though – it’s about to be a wild ride to the end, so you won’t have any problem being entertained XD
Big hugs to all of my readers, I love you so much! You keep me going!
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