Chapter 14 : First Snow's and Apartments
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"I can't tell you how much I've been waiting for this." I whispered, the air biting my bare face. Aidan fumbled for my hand, rubbing the tips of my fingers as they poked out of my gloves.
"I'll never understand fingerless gloves."
"You'll never have to."
He chuckled. The air became just that bit colder, and something damp landed on the tip of my nose.
"It's begun." I growled ominously. We spread our arms out, leaning back to feel the snow pitter-patter across our faces.
"The white goes on and out into the night. And goes on and on into the night. And blows and blows into the night. And fades into the corners of the night."*
"You have a beautiful voice, Aidan." I whispered.
"The song's wrong."
"What do you mean?"
We paused, feeling the first snow of Hogwarts freeze our arms blue.
"The snow doesn't fade, even when it's night. It's like it's coating the world with an extra layer or two of light, not covering it all up."
I grinned, listening to it fall as it fell.
"ARE YOU READY TO FUCK SHIT UP?"
"DAMN RIGHT I'M READY!"
"What the hell, guys?"
Me and Rose froze in the middle of our room. Sal and Laura approached from behind me.
"Hi guys. Laura! You're looking great!" Rose stammered, blushing furiously before rushing over to her bed to double check her bag.
"Have you two seen the snow yet? It's beautiful. Me and Aidan were outside when it started."
"Why would you two be outside? It's freezing!" Sal asked, sitting down at the edge of her bed. I'd helped her pack last night so she could spend the morning helping Laura, who was now attending councelling.
"It's tradition. Usually we all go, but since mini me is pretty sensitive, it was just Kasy and Aidan this year."
"Awww. Cute. You two excited to be going back home?"
"Did you not see them when we came in?" Laura chimed in, glancing up from where she was checking her school books. Sal smiled at her, walking over to help.
"Ready?" I whispered to Rose. She smiled, rubbing her tiny bump nervously.
The train was warm, filled with the smells of chocolate, excitement, and smoke. The last one might have been mainly from our compartment.
"AAAH!" I screamed as another card exploded in my hands, covering me with a sixth layer of dust. Aidan burst into another fit of laughter. Rose coughed lightly from her seat above us, reading a book on pregnancy.
Squished into the compartment was me, Aidan, Rose (obviously), Scorpius, Sal, and Laura. Everyone but Rose was clustered on the messy floor, with small piles of dust and chocolate wrappers. I myself had a stash of pasties and sugar quills I was not ready to give up.
"I think we're arriving soon guys. You ready?"
Me and Aidan looked at each other. I smiled forcefully, my mind beginning to race and my stomach churn. It was like there was a hamster in there, running as fast as it could to make the wheel spin.
"Everything's going to be fine." He whispered while we got reseated, grabbing our bags from the overhead baggage rails. I squeezed his hand tightly, not really wanting to let go.
"Have a great Christmas! I'll owls yous!" He shouted, jumping on to the platform and rushing off to meet his family. Me and Rose stood side by side, hands touching, body's shaking.
"Promise me you won't leave me."
"Promise." Rose smiled at me, her face confused. "Though I don't see why you're the one saying that."
She nodded, spotting her parents. Scorpius reached us, tapping her shoulder.
"Ready?" He asked.
"Nope." She replied, giving me one last hug. "Have a good Christmas. And write as much as possible."
"I promise." I sniffed. Finally I was the last one waiting. The crowd was too thick, too tall. I couldn't see anyone.
I whirled around, spotting my Dad hurrying through the wall.
"I am so sorry. Am I really late? I tried to be speedy, but there was traffic, and issues, and I am so glad to see you! Welcome home, sweet pea!"
Tears trickled down my face as my Dad enveloped me into a big hug. This Christmas was going to be epic.
"Nice place." My fingers trickled along the granite bench in the middle of the small kitchen. There were three neon stools placed underneath, overlooking the clustered cupboards, sink and oven. The benches were covered with an array of utensils and equipment.
"Thanks. You're room is the second on the right. It's opposite the bathroom." Dad smiled when he came back in, having unloaded my bags into the room. I carried on gazing at the new apartment.
It was very Muggle-ish. You came through the door into the kitchen, which had an open archway into the living room, with a corridor directly on your left through it, branching off into 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a cupboard-y thing. The living room had a TV, an orange sofa, a cream(-ish) carpet, and the walls were already pasted with Quidditch posters.
"Is this place permanent?" I asked, leaning against the bench. Dad turned slowly, smiling.
"Yeah. But there's something else which I'm hoping will also be a little more permanent."
"What? Is it a dog? Oh my God, are we getting a Crup? Are we?" I squealed. Dad shook his head.
"Since me and your mum split, I've been dating around a bit. Plenty of fish and all that. But I actually found someone. And I really want you to like them, because they're going to stay. I hope."
"Who?" I felt slightly timid as there was a loud pop behind me, and someone stumbled in from the living room.
"Hi! Sorry I'm late. It's always so hectic this time of year and...Kasy."
"Please. Call me Clarissa."
I stood, my jaw dropped, as my DADA teacher smiled at me, her teeth chewing at her lip nervously.
"I'm gonna...er...check out my...room...thing...yeah." I spluttered out, speed-walking from the room. Behind me my Dad laughed and whispered something to her. She giggled back.
"I think I just vomited a bit." I whispered to myself.
Dear Aidan and Rose,
I only have one piece of parchment left, so I'm just going to duplicate this and send it to the both of you.
My Dad's new place is nice. He finally got that orange sofa he's always wanted. I have a feeling that soon all I'm going to see in this place is the colour orange.
It's pretty cold here, and there's a lot of Muggles, and I'm a good few busrides away from Diagon Alley, but I think that's better for us. Just send me dates for when you want to meet up- I should be available whenever.
Also, it turns out my Dad got a girlfriend! She's very pretty, and very nice, and she's also our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
Have a nice Christmas, and reply ASAP!
So it turns out having your teacher as your Dad's new girlfriend isn't as embarrassing as it sounds. She set things totally straight the next morning over pancakes- there would be no niceness during classes, and if I ever called her Clarissa in front of other students, she would hex me into a coma.
Other than that, we're getting along fine, and Dad's really proud of me. To make things even better, there hasn't been a single word from mum or Rebecca.
I'm sort of in America right now. We went on a 'spontaneous holiday' and I'm stuck here until a few days before school. But we can meet up then, right?
On the whole Professor Harmony thing, all I can say is yikes, and SCORE! If I was straight, I would totally go for her.
Merry Christmas, and wish Rose luck for me.
"KASY!" Rose threw herself at me, her amazingly larger stomach bouncing against me.
"Hey Rosie. Everything good?" I asked hesitantly. Scorpius was already here somewhere, and I could see her Dad laughing in the background. Were they torturing him? Was she secretly asking me to run and get help? Was she in on it?
"Everything's great. Seriously. It's amazeballs." She grinned manically, pulling me inside. Ron, Hermione, Hugo and Scorpius were all sitting around the table, smiling. Yes. Smiling.
"It was so great for you guys to invite us." My Dad said from behind me. His arm was wrapped around Professor Har- I mean Clarissa's waist, while her hands were clutching a lemon meringue pie. Her homemade one had sort of exploded, so it was just a shop-bought one we bashed a bit to make it look more homely.
"No problem. It's a time for celebration, isn't it?" Ron smiled, beckoning us towards the empty seats. I tucked Rose back for a few seconds, doubt on my face.
"Did you drug your parents?" I whispered.
"No! No, don't worry. He was super pissed off when we told him. I told Mum first, so she could keep him calm."
"Good tactic." I interjected.
"But now he's fine, and they're freaking out about baby preparations. They actually won't let Scorpius out of their sights for more than 12 hours! It's incredibley annoying!" She said this all through gritted teeth with the same manical smile on her face. I began to rethink who was the drugged one in the Weasley-Granger house.
"Right, should we tuck in?" Ron asked when we'd seated. For the next hour it was small talk and chicken. Amazingly awkward stuff.
"Are you guys coming?"
My head snapped up at Hermione's question. I'd sort of zoned out the conversation, and was now seriously regretting it as my Dad turned to me with raised eyebrows. I glanced at Rose desparately.
"Are you coming to the Potters?" Rose repeated, her eyes full of warning. My head began shaking slowly.
"No. I'm...I'm tired. And I promised Aidan I'd call him."
"Aidan's in America, Kasy."
"Americans have phones too, Dad." I replied sharply. He sighed.
"I think it would be best if we-" Good Dad. Just say 'don't come along'. That's all that they need to hear. "-come along. It would be nice to see everyone again."
Rose's jaw dropped while Scorpius' face paled. I sat like a statue, not daring to move a muscle.
"Great. Shall we get going, then?"
And so began the worst Christmas Eve ever.
"You made it!" Ginny squealed, greeting us all with a big hug. When she saw me, she paused. "Hi Kasy. Long time, no see." she said hesitantly. I smiled back at her.
"I've been busy. Christmas in Muggle-land is always an experience not to miss." She smiled gratefully, pulling me into a big hug.
Inside, it was the same as it had always been. Weasleys absolutely everywhere. The sky above me was clustered with red and black hair, overwhelming my vision.
Luckily dinner began before anyone could pull me into a conversation. I sat next to Rose, the entire Clan cuddled up on the extended table in the backyard. Albus sat on the other side, just out of my line of vision.
"So. We have a few declarations before we eat. First of all, Little Miss Rose over there is pregnant! By Malfoy! And Ron didn't have a heart attack!" Ginny grinned at everyone, letting them congratulate the couple.
"Also, Jamie is back from Quidditch, and he's done an epic job. Everyone's been good at school, and other than Rose I don't think anyone else is knocked up this year, so let's eat!"
I ate my turkey quietly, nibbling at it as I was already pretty stuffed from Hermione's food earlier. Beside me, Rose talked about this mother relaxation thing she was thinking of attending. It was meant just for under 21-year-olds, so she wouldn't feel really underaged or anything.
"I think it's a great idea." I replied, taking a swig of the drink in front of me. It was sour and fizzed down my throat. I kept on drinking.
"So, Kasy, we haven't heard about you lately." Ron smiled at me from across the table, his booming (and slightly drunken) voice capturing the attention of most of the room. I saw Albus freeze up.
"I don't quite catch your drift." I said back, smiling forcefully.
"It's just, usually, we'd be hearing non-stop about you from Albus. And Ginny, actually. But it's been really quiet for a while. What's new with you?"
"Not much. Exams and stuff. I've been doing extra work on Alchemy." Everyone was so tense. I kept on talking, hoping he'd move on.
"And with you two? I can't figure out why there's so much space." He pointed to me and Albus. Usually I was sitting next to him. Usually we'd already be fighting, charming peas to attack each other's hair or something stupid like that.
Everyone at the table had shut up. Either they were willing for Ron to shut up, or hoping that I'd answer, because they didn't know and were just as curious.
"I'm sorry, but I have to go." I rushed out of the room, letting my chair clatter on to the floor behind me. Rose shouted after me, but didn't follow. My cheeks were hot with tears as I ran upstairs to the attic.
"Kasy? Hey, Wood. I know you're in here."
I sniffed pathetically, looking up from my hands. A tall boy with ruffled black hair smiled down at me.
"What do you want James?"
"I want to tell you that it gets better. And you still kick ass at Quidditch."
I laughed, letting him sit down beside me.
"Why does it have to be so confusing? I thought it would be easier, quicker. But it's like it's never going to end. And I really need it to end, Siri."
He leaned over, giving me a half-hug. "You're best friends with the weasleys. It's probably never going to be over. But it will get easier. It will be easier to forget, or forgive, or both if you want. I promise."
I looked at the pinky finger he offered me. I took it with my own.
"I missed you Siri. You and your womanizing selfishness. We could have used you around."
"I know. Missed you too, Kas. Do you know how depressing our house is without you? Even Lily's tattoo didn't change anything. That much, anyway."
"She got a tattoo?" I yelped.
"Yep. It's the Deathly Hallows on the back of her neck. It's actually pretty cool. Mum nearly freaked, but Dad was cool with it. He just said that if it gets infected or something, she's on her own."
"Good parenting skills there."
"I know." We sat in silence for a while longer, his arm still wrapped around me.
"You're crying again, aren't you Wood?"
"Yes." I snuffled back. "It's not like I want too. I just can't stop thinking."
"Dance with me."
"What?" I looked at him incredulously as he stood up, offering me his hand.
"Dance with me. Now."
Hesitantly I took it, letting him put his hands on my waist and rock me around in a slow circle. My hands stayed draped just below his shoulders, as I was too short to reach them properly.
"Merry Christmas Wood."
"Merry Christmas Siri."
So I know it's been a long time, and my story's a bit muddled (I swear I'll go back and edit once it's finished), and I know I've lost a lot of reader's due to my sudden 3 month hiatus, but could you review please? Just once tiny little word to tell me that you guys are still out there?
Thank you :)
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