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Chapter 22 : The one with feelings, interrogation and cousinly talk
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After the whole 'whoops I almost kissed Al' incident, I was on eggshells. A few days later we went to breakfast as usual, but the atmosphere was slightly awkward, mostly because of me.
"Hey, you alright?" Em asked curiously, sat across from me. I dropped my fork and nodded.
"What? Yeah of course, I'm fabulous! Why wouldn't I be? Its not like I did something stupid, no of course not" I squeaked, before taking a large gulp of pumpkin juice for something to do, ignoring Em's worried look and Al's coughing.
Playing it cool, that's how I rolled.
"Bloody hell Vida, anyone would think you killed someone" James said, joining us at the table, accompanied by Nikita and Fred. I grimaced. Al made a quiet excuse to leave and vanished, abandoning me in an interrogation. Well, I guess I did almost kiss him; he had every right to dump me in this even though he knew I'd cave.
"Kill? I haven't killed anyone! Why are you all so nosy?"
"You're acting like a mad woman" Fred said.
"You're a mad woman!"
The group exchanged glances, whilst I cursed myself. I had to get out, fast.
"Vida what in Merlin's baggy underwear is wrong with you?" Fred asked, laughing.
"Tell me, or I'll set your hair on fire" Nikita warned.
"NOOOOOOOOO! Not my hair you merciless fiend!" I cried.
"Well then, tell all. We'll hunt you down if you don't" James said gleefully, and Fred and Nikita nodded. Okay Vida, its time to get going before you say something stupid.
"Oops, I left Jinjin on the Astronomy tower, gotta go before he calls childline!" I cried, and made a run for it. Aaaaand there it is. Why would I even go to the astronomy tower? Why on earth could Jinjin know the number for childline? I'm a mess.
"Oi, come back!" Fred yelled, but I kept running, almost falling over some second year who'd stopped in the middle of the hall to tie his shoe (why, second year, why?), hearing James' war cry and the sound of three people getting up to follow. I think I may already have a stich, but that could also be my nomad side screaming me on. 'Get out, this isn't the air bender way! Go go go!'. The nomad side of me was very pushy. It didn't let me do anything.
I ran into DADA and slammed the door five minutes after the bell rang, out of breath and leaning on the door as if James and Fred were going to come and kick it down to find me. I'd air bended up several flights of stairs to escape the terrifying trio that wanted answers from me, and had to run to DADA before they caught up.
"Nice of you to join us" Professor Potter said in amusement, and I grinned sheepishly, squeeing my stomach in an attempt to get rid of the stitch.
"Sorry sir.....being-chased, your son- is fast" I puffed. He chuckled.
"Alright, sit down, I'll question James later. Al will bring you up to speed" He said, and I glanced over at my usual seat next to his. He was looking at me quizically, and I blushed. I couldn't stop thinking about the bison ride, how he closed his eyes and didn't even push me away and-
"Vida? Why are you looking at me like that?" Al asked quietly, and I squeaked.
"No reason!" I said, and sat in my seat, wishing I could stop embarassing myself. Why couldn't I just forget about the fact I almost kissed him? I bet other air benders are better at forgetting than I am.
"Are you okay? You look like you ran around the whole castle" Al said, and I nodded, still failing to steady my breathing. No wonder James was contemplating making us run laps for Quidditch practice; I may be good at flying and air bending, but I don't do long distance.
"I'm terrific. How are you on this fine morning?"
"I'm fine. Do you want my notes?" He asked.
"You have notes? You never have notes" I said suspiciously. Al never takes notes for DADA; its one of his best subjects. He adjusted his glasses almost nervously (at which point I smiled at how adorable that was) and smiled a little.
"Yeah, but you always do, and I know how you don't like missing stuff"
"That's- really nice of you. Thanks Al" I said, taking the notes he slid across the table to me. He'd written me notes- that's love dude.
"No problem. Please don't be late ever again though, I hate note taking" He said, and I laughed quietly.
It turned out that James, Fred and Nikita were the nosiest buggers on the planet, and at break time they all cornered me and Fred threatened to use truth potion if I didn't 'confess to my crimes'. They had also recruited Emma and Hugo, who were the ones who sold me to them (traitors! There is no one I can trust in this world!).
So, I am currently locked in a classroom with my captors, trying very hard to apparate to Italy. As you can probably guess, it isn't working.
"So" Nikita began in a military fashion, pacing in front of me menacingly. James and Fred were stood behind her like guards, whilst Emma and Hugo lounged on a table, all tangled limbs and such. I raised an eyebrow at Em, who just shrugged. She seemed very relaxed, which was odd as she was the least hug friendly person in my family. Funny how things change. I gulped and turned my attention back to my older cousin, who seemed to be enjoying scaring me half to death.
"So...nice weather out, isn't it?" I asked timidly.
"No talking unless answering a direct question" James barked, and Nikita rolled her eyes.
"Shut up James. Anyway. Why are you so on edge, Vida?" She asked.
"Well, I am locked in a classroom with you" I pointed out.
"Not what I meant. Something happened on Sunday. I wanna know what it is"
"Why?" I asked.
"Because we are nosy gits and seventh year is so boring!" Fred cried.
Fair point. Seventh year doesn't look like fun at all.
"I have no idea what you're talking about" I said, and Em chuckled in a way that made me want to glue her mouth shut. Whatever she was about to say, she was going to ruin my life. Well, ruin it more than I was doing myself.
"So, nothing happened on that romantic flight that you and one Albus Potter went on?"
Aang kill me now.
"You what?! Tell me everything!" Nikita cried, and I sent the dirtiest possible look at Emma. She simply grinned and accepted Hugo's high five.
"Nothing happened!" I said quickly, backing myself up as Nikita surged forward, James and Fred following.
"Now I don't believe that for one second" Fred said with a grin.
"You wouldn't be so flustered if nothing happened" James agreed. An uneasy wind blew through the room. I felt cornered, my nomad side getting restless.
Nomad air benders didn't like to be tied down; they embodied freedom and such. Feelings could be meditated away, ignored or not even felt. The moment that ability was compromised we panicked. The thought of falling in love was a terrifying thing, because one person had the power to ground us, make us feel every emotion. That is why I did not date. I could not. No one ever made me feel.
I felt a lot of things right now.
"Vida? Did you hear me?" Nikita asked, still laughing in triumph at the new found information. I shook my head.
"She said; did you use tongue?" Fred asked. I squeaked and Nikita smacked Fred.
"No I did not I- hey, are you alright?" She asked, finally stopping and seeing my panicked state. I never felt fear quite like this. It wasn't that I was never scared; I was scared a lot. But this kind of scared was something new, the kind that grandpa had told me about. I was even more scared because I knew what this scared meant.
"Oi Vida, did you make a love heart in the sky out of the clouds?" James joked.
"Oh oh, was it a magic carpet ride?" Fred added.
"Shut up" I said weakly.
"Come on Vida they're only teasing" Hugo piped up "Relax a little"
I sat myself on a desk and pulled my knees to my chest, not looking at any of them and trying to control my racing heartbeat. I should not be so afraid or embarrassed or whatever I was. I should be fine. Why was I not fine?
"Vida?" Em asked, getting up from her table and walking over, giving the boys a look to silence them. I think she knew how I felt; she sometimes felt fear like this too, right before her eyes glowed white. She smiled reassuringly.
"Its alright nomad. I get it. Leave her alone guys" She said, and James and Fred pouted.
"We were only having a little fun" Fred said. Nikita chuckled.
"Do as she says, or you'll lose your manhood" Nikita warned.
"She's definitely your cousin" Fred muttered. Emma patted my shoulder reassuringly.
"Don't worry Vida, we'll talk about it later; without these idiots around"
"Can we not talk about it at all?" I asked, ignoring James and Fred's very offended expressions and Hugo's fake crying.
"Hey, what about me?" Nikita asked.
"Eh, you can come to" Em said, and I sighed.
"I hate all of you"
"Love you too Vida" James said.
I found Al at lunch, sitting with him and smiling in greeting. He smiled back easily, obviously better at hiding his inner terror than I was. Although, he had managed to act normal for all this time knowing that we had kissed, whereas it only took me a few days to lose it. You can tell who was the sane on in this friendship.
It was weird though, that since Sunday, he actually seemed happier. He must enjoy watching me slowly lose my mind because of feelings and not knowing what on earth I was doing.
"Why are you so chipper?" I asked curiously, watching as once again I caught him smiling. Smiling. As in showing joy. He can't do that!
"No reason. Why do you look like someone just smacked you over the head with a broomstick?" He replied with a cheeky grin, and I scowled.
"Rude. I'll have you know that now my wrist is all fixed up I have to write. Actual words"
"Vida, your wrist has been fixed for days. Is it- is it because of the whole-
"Don't" I warned, and he laughed.
"Come on Vida, you're acting as if you've stabbed me"
"I might as well have!" I cried. He raised an eyebrow.
"I'd rather you didn't. You're really worked up about it aren't you?" He asked.
"I just am! Why aren't you?" I accused. Why was he so relaxed, so cheerful whilst I slowly angsted myself into oblivion? What was it with him?
"A number of reasons. Apparently, air benders seemed to get more riled up about this stuff than non-benders"
Damn right they do.
"You know what happens when i let emotion take over" I said. He smiled.
"Yeah, I do. I bet the trophy room still remembers too. But still, just relax, okay? Just-forget it ever happened"
I tried following Al's advice, I really did. I tried so hard not to picture the scene, but I couldn't help it; random flashes of the forest, all greens and muddy browns would float around in my thoughts, Fluffy sat under a tree as Al and I rolled away from another. Me leaning down, Al's green eyes, ever closer-
I wasn't good at forgetting it ever happened.
"Okay, talk time" Em announced, two days later, pulling me out of our dorm and into the empty common room, where Nikita was waiting in her matching pyjamas. I groaned, resisting fiercely.
"I don't wanna talk!" I hissed, keeping my voice down as the rest of the house was asleep and they were all right moody sods if they were woken.
"Too bad, you can't wiggle out of it. We can't let you go on having a nomad breakdown. As your cousins we have to intervene" Nikita said, settling in the armchair and smiling as Emma forced me to sit down on the couch.
"Guys I'm fine, really" I insisted, hoping to just return to my lovely warm bed, where Jinjin was curled up and probably wondering where I was.
"No you're not. We grew up with you Vida, we share an air bending grandpa. We know when you're not okay. That, the other day; you were terrified" Nikita said.
I had expected my cousins to laugh at me for being pathetic; for being scared at the thought of romantic feelings (though they didn't know I had those yet- wait, did I just say I have those? What were they, an illness? Silly Vida), but they didn't laugh. Nikita and Emma looked sincere, the way I was when Em was struggling with her Avatar problems; they were treating this as if it was the same.
"Vida, Grandpa told us about being an air nomad" Em said quietly, brushing her hair out of her bright blue eyes "Just like he told you about the ins and outs of being the avatar- so that we can help you like you help me"
"You're comparing this to being the avatar?" I asked in disbelief.
"Hey, love is just as terrifying as anything else" Nikita said, and Emma nodded "Don't be ashamed of being scared"
"Who said anything about love?" I asked, and my cousins chuckled.
"Fine, fancying someone is terrifying" Nikita corrected. I sighed.
"I don't know whether I do or don't at the moment. Everything is confusing, and intense, and- I've never felt this before"
"Hey love, don't you worry; its hard, okay? Nomads have a harder time than anyone with this sort of thing but Vida, you really do fancy him"
"What? You do!" She said, and Emma laughed. I threw a couch cushion at her and it hit her in the face, silencing her. I smirked smugly as she scowled.
"What she's trying to say is that we're here for you to talk you through it, since you have no idea what you're doing. Plus, I'm pretty sure Al is in love with you anyway-
"How do you know?" I interrupted, and Nikita let out a very unnatractive snort.
"I'm pretty sure everyone in Hogwarts knows. The boy is in love with you, and I'm so glad you reciprocate because it would break my heart to see him cry"
Both Em and I looked at her as if she'd dropped from space.
"You're mental" I said.
"Look who's talking!" She replied.
"Anyway, this won't be too hard with us on your side. We're all doing big things this year. I'm planning to reveal bending, you're getting feelings, and Nikita has settled down rather than dating all the boys in her year" Em said.
"Oi! I haven't dated them all!" She cried. I giggled. My cousin was brave for dating boys so easily, I couldn't take such a thing lightly.
"I love how revealing bending doesn't seem as important to you as getting me to become a normal non-nomad" I said.
"It isn't; you're my cousin Vida, you always come first"
I stared at her for a moment, touched. We weren't the type of cousins to constantly admit our family love, so hearing phrases like that was very important.
"Aw, come here you two" Nikita said, diving onto the couch and pulling us into a hug with her unusually strong arms. As a beater, I should be the strong one, but no; Nikita was overpowering me easily.
"Get off, I need my windpipe" Emma complained and we laughed, Nikita letting us go and grinning.
"Aw Em I love you too" She said, and I laughed.
"So, how are you and James doing? Since this is a very feelings based meeting" I said, and Nikita smiled. Her dark brown eyes were shining and it made me happy to see her happy.
"Its great. He never pretends, he's truthful which is really rare these days with lads. Although the Potters seem to have great children in general. He's not scared of me or lets me run the show; we argue, and we get over it"
"Do you like arguing?" I asked curiously. She smirked.
"I like making up. A relationship without arguments is boring. I like James, because I can insult him as much as I want, but he knows that my feelings haven't changed. And he does the same" She explained, and I swear she was misty eyed.
"You're serious about him, huh?" Em asked.
"Would I show him bending if I wasn't? There's something about him, I'm not sure what it is...we just go together"
"Well that's sappy" Em commented.
"Well what about you and Hugo? There's been some development there that I haven't been told about" Nikita replied.
"That's because you're not in our year" Em told her breezily. I shrugged.
"I think Hugo likes her back. I mean, she drew girly pictures on him with permanent marker and he's still following her around" I reasoned.
"That's love" Nikita said, and Em laughed.
"Maybe not that far. But maybe...I think he might"
"Might?" I prompted.
"Like me. I mean, I get the feeling that he does" She said. I squealed.
"Can I be a bridesmaid?" I asked. Nikita tutted.
"That's my job, and I thought you don't like romance?" She asked.
"I like romance when its got nothing to do with me" I corrected. She just rolled her eyes. Whatever, I know what I'm about.
"So, do you think he'll ask you out?" I asked curiously. Em shrugged.
"I don't think so; Hugo is more of a 'let it happen' sort of guy. He held my hand the other day, gave no explantion for it whatsoever, and then simply vanished"
"Uh, maybe you should inquire about that" I suggested.
"Hugo is weirder than I thought" Nikita muttered, and Emma laughed.
"He's not that bad. He's very sweet you know. I don't think many people realise what a sappy git he is, but he really is. Plus he has very nice hair" She said, and I sighed, thinking about Al's hair. It was always so messy but in a good way. I don't know how he managed to pull it off.
"Al has nice hair" I said.
"You two are pathetic. If you aren't dating these boys by the end of the year I will set you both on fire" Nikita said.
"I'll avatar you into space" Em replied.
"And I'll- air bend you further into space" I said.
"There's no air in space" Em pointed out.
Damn, there's that plan foiled.
Hello! I can't believe I didn't leave a message at the end of the last chapter, I feel like a bad person for not greeting you! Bad Sam! Anyway, I think there is only one more chapter after this! There may probably be a sequel eventually if you want one, though I do all my writing mainly in the summer so it may take a while.
This is a kind of filler chapter that I'm not quite happy with, sorry about it in general. Please leave a review, its lovely to read and reply to them as I absolutely love hearing your thoughts and predictions. Next chapter is the Quidditch cup and Vida word vomiting, so I hope you'll be here to read it!
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