Chapter 24 : born to die
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Feet don’t fail me now
Take me to the finish line
Oh my heart it breaks every step that I take
Born to Die -- Lana del Rey
It’s Wednesday evening and Rainne still finds herself in the Hospital Wing.
Her friends have all paid her visits, but right now, she finds herself alone, thinking about her interaction earlier today with Remus.
She, along with Pomfrey, decided to tell everyone she had acute appendicitis.
Everyone believed it.
Rainne doesn’t know if she is relieved or disappointed. A small part of her wishes they would notice what’s really going on. Anxiety, however, doesn’t have a problem convincing her that’s a stupid thing to wish.
Like you’re not fucked up enough, you want to add that on to what they know about you? Merlin, it’s like you want to be alone.
Ben stopped by and brought her flowers.
Lily brought her homework so she wouldn’t fall behind.
James, Carmen, and Marlene stopped by to fill her in on all the gossip.
All of this is fine with Rainne. It’s what Remus did while at his visit that surprised her.
He walked in, rucksack still over one shoulder, and sat down beside her bed without a word. Rainne was working on an essay, and stopped mid word to stare at him as he opened a book and began to read.
After a few moments, he looked up to meet her gaze.
“Yes?” he asked, eyebrows raised.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
He looked at her strangely, “I figured you’d like some company,” she stared at him, letting his words linger in the air. He sighed, “I guess it’s not my company you want.”
He put his book away and stood up to leave.
“Why would you even visit me?” Rainne asked, “You act like you care about what happens to me… You don’t have to pretend you know me. Just leave me alone.”
Remus sighed a second time.
“I know you loathe me, Rainne. It’s no secret. But I care about Ben, and he cares about you,” he was almost at the door, when he turned around, determined, “I know you don’t eat, Rainne. And I know it’s because you think you’re too fat, or whatever, -which you’re not, by the way,” at this, Rainne frowned, and Remus rolled his eyes, “Just know that we’re not that different, you and I. I know you must hate yourself in order to make your body go through that. And I know what it’s like to despise yourself like that -to the very core of your being,” his fists were clenched, his words deliberate. Rainne found herself bewildered at his unusual state, “I know what it is to wish that you were never born, or that that one thing had never happened. I go through that shit every fucking day.”
Remus was panting, staring at Rainne.
Rainne clenched her teeth, “And why the hell would you hate yourself?” she was offended at his act. It’s one thing to sympathise, it’s very different to pretend he knows how she feels, “Prefect Remus Lupin, with top marks. Marauder Remus Lupin, with three best friends. What could be so wrong in your life that you would feel that way?”
She realised she was shouting at him, and was glad Pomfrey was out of the office.
Remus stared at her, debating. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, taking in a deep breath.
Rainne looked at him strangely, one eyebrow arched, as he dropped his rucksack on the floor and sat back down.
“Just trust me, Rainne,” he said calmly, “I have a very good reason.”
“I’m supposed to believe that? A ‘very good reason’?” Rainne felt her blood boil, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Save it, Lupin. I’m sorry you didn’t get an O on every essay you ever wrote, your life must be really difficult.”
“And I best it must be terrible to have read every book in the library, truly, I feel so sorry for you.”
“I couldn’t even imagining having a big family that made me visit them during the holidays, how tragic that must be.”
Remus couldn’t hold it any longer.
“Will you just shut up?” he said, surprised at his anger, “I’m a werewolf, for fuck’s sake.”
Rainne’s eyes widened.
He regained his composure before responding, “Does it make sense now? Yes, I’m a werewolf,” he explained, “Those visits every month to visit my ill mother? Yeah, no such thing. My mother is in perfect health.”
“I- I’m sorry, Remus,” Rainne wanted to punch herself, “I didn’t know.”
Remus laughed, “It’s okay. Do you understand now? I know how you feel, Rainne. And I know how much it sucks to feel that way.”
Rainne nodded, apologising for everything she had said. He shrugged it off, asking her how she was doing.
Now, Rainne goes over the scene in her mind, still stunned by his confession. How could she not have noticed?
Really, I mean, it was right there.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
And you think your life is hard. Imagine transforming once a month. You are such a drama queen.
Rainne wants to cry. There are people with real problems, and all she can do is complain about her own life. How selfish can someone get?
Her thoughts are quickly interrupted.
“Miss Pemberton?” says Pomfrey as she walks into view, “Seeing as your condition is stable, I am deeming you free to go. But remember, you are to rest tomorrow as well. Don’t return to class until Friday.”
Rainne nods as she stands, happy to be out of the bed. It must smell awful, she thinks.
“You’re just in time for dinner,” continues Pomfrey, “You may change and then join your friends at the Great Hall. And remember, Miss Pemberton, eat a full meal. I know it can be difficult, but you are still recuperating from all of the blood loss.”
Rainne flinches at the nurse’s words. She knows she’ll need to force herself to eat.
If there is one thing she now knows for certain, it is that she does not, in fact, want to die.
Seven of the eight gryffindor sixth years sit at their table in the Great Hall. They have arrived a little early, and their impatience for dinner makes them rowdier than usual. The Marauders seem to be planning their next big prank, whispering and looking around suspiciously, while the girls watch Marlene draw a portrait of Carmen.
“Now I’m almost- ,” says Marlene before Carmen impatiently snatches the parchment out of her hands, “Oi! I haven’t finished it yet!”
“But I want to…” Carmen looks at it, “Okay, this is definitely not a drawing of me,” she says, her certain eye roll expected by the entire group. The Marauders take a break from their scheming to enjoy the scene.
Carmen holds up a crude drawing of a rotisserie chicken, causing everyone to laugh.
“I told you I couldn’t draw!” says Marlene before meeting Carmen’s glare, “I’m sorry, I’m just so hungry!”
James grabs the drawing and holds it up to Carmen’s face, “I can see the resemblance,” he says, turning it sideways several times, “The curve of the chicken breasts can easily be seen in your cheek bones.”
Carmen rolls her eyes once more, snatching it out of his hands.
“Whatever,” but she then joins in on the laughter. They all wipe tears from their eyes, continuing to compare Carmen to the likes of poultry
“Yes, well I think her lips look just like- ,” Lily stops mid sentence and jumps out of her seat, “Rainne!” she cries, running towards her friend, “You’re out!”
Rainne smiles sheepishly, following Lily and sitting beside her.
Ben gets up to sit on her other side, putting his arm around her and squeezing her tightly.
“How are you feeling?” he asks, focusing on her and her alone.
She is intimidated by his strong gaze, mustering out a small, “Fine,” before looking away.
“Good,” says Ben, grinning, “I know you must be starving, when my cousin had appendicitis they hardly let him eat while he was at St. Mungo’s.”
Rainne nods quietly, avoiding Remus’s knowing gaze.
“So do you have a really bad scar?” asks Lily.
“Scar?” says James, confused, “Why would she have a scar?”
“You know, from the surgery,” says Lily.
“Surgery?” says James.
“It’s a muggle thing. We learned about it in Muggle Studies,” clarifies Sirius, “We don’t cut people up,” he continues, turning to Lily, “Pomfrey probably just gave her a bunch of potions and spells and stuff.”
Rainne nods quickly, “Yes, that’s it,” she says, “So many potions and spells.”
Sirius wants to shake her, yell at her, ask her what the hell she was thinking.
Instead, he says, “Reckon the potions tasted awful.”
She nods, oblivious to his thoughts.
Knowing the truth is driving him crazy.
“Ah, dinner!” exclaims James, watching the feast magically appear before him. He immediately piles his plate up with everything in reach, soon joined by the rest of the Marauders.
Lily looks at them, disgusted, “Your cholesterol must be sky high,” she says.
“Cholesterol?” James asks with a full mouth, letting some chicken fall out of his mouth.
Lily rolls her eyes, mindfully chewing her own food. James turns to his friends, “What?” he says, the same food still in his mouth.
Ben grimaces, “Chew your food, mate,” he says after swallowing his own food.
Rainne chuckles, drawing Remus’s attention. He looks at her empty plate, eyebrows raised.
She sighs, reaching for the salad.
You’re seriously going to eat? Do you know how fattening healing potions can be?
She wants to scream, to screech like an eagle, to tell her mind to shut up.
Slowly, she chews on her food, glad to see Remus smile at her progress.
“Look, it’s the evening post!” says Marlene, “Why is there so much?” she adds.
She’s right. The amount of owls swooping into the Great Hall almost equals that of the morning post. Most of them seem to carry the same powder blue envelopes, landing in front of many different students, including Remus.
Everyone watches him open the envelope.
“Well?” presses Carmen when he doesn’t read it aloud.
Remus, still confused by the letter, answers slowly, “It says… There’s going to be a counselor at Hogwarts. They’ve made an appointment for me.”
“How strange -a counselor!”
“What do you reckon they want?”
Rainne’s eyes widen in shock as she looks around the Great Hall, seeing similar conversations go on between dozens of friend groups. She remembers her second conversation with her head of house.
“Good morning, dear,” McGonnagall sat beside Rainne’s bed, failing to hide the pity in her eyes, “Like I said last night, we still have much to talk about.”
Rainne nodded, still groggy from her deep sleep. She hadn’t had nightmares for weeks now. She could not say she missed the fitful nights they brought with them.
“Now, I don’t want you to think this is because of you,” the professor began, “Certainly your… accident was a factor. However, Professor Dumbledore has been pondering over this for quite some time.”
“What is i-it?” asked Rainne quietly.
“The Headmaster has seen it fit to appoint a counselor. It seems many of our students are facing problems the staff isn’t equipped to handle. We want this school to be a safe place for everyone.”
She paused, expecting Rainne to say something.
When Rainne said nothing, she continued.
“Surprisingly, he got the idea from muggle schools, which seem to be having a lot of success with this idea.”
She paused once more.
“O-okay,” said Rainne awkwardly.
“You have an appointment with her Sunday morning at eleven o’clock,” McGonnagall finally said, “Her office will be held on the sixth floor, beside the portrait of Glanmore Peakes. Please be punctual as she will have other appointments as well.”
Rainne’s stomach dropped. She does not want to see another doctor.
“Considering your current state, you will have mandatory meetings with her until she sees fit.”
At this, Rainne wanted to wail. She wanted to sob a thousand rivers into existence and drown in every single one of them.
Sitting in the Great Hall, she still feels this way. She bites her lip, glancing around once more.
Who knew so many students needed counselling?
You may be fucked up, but don’t be so self centered. You’re not the only one with problems, mudblood.
Rainne sighs, something Ben immediately notices.
“What’s wrong, babe?”
“Er -my stomach is just bothering me,” she says, “I think I’m full.”
“It may hurt but you need to eat a bit more,” says Ben, “We don’t want you fainting again!”
Rainne looks at him, her face expressing true pain. Ben mistakes it for her fictitious appendicitis.
“Come on,” he coaxes, handing her her fork, “Just a few more bites. It’ll be fine, I promise.”
Rainne obliges, feeling giddy at the sight of his grin.
“Aw,” whispers Lily to Carmen, “They’re so cute.”
“I wish I had that,” sighs Marlene.
Carmen scoffs, “I’m happy with my suitors. Which reminds me,” she glances at her watch, “I’m late for my date with Sean!” she takes one last quick bite and dashes out of the Great Hall, calling her goodbyes over her shoulder.
The girls laugh, deciding to head up to the common room.
“Come on, we’ve still got those Arithmancy problems to finish,” says Marlene. Rainne stands up to join them, quickly followed by Ben and Remus.
Sirius and James look at each other.
“What? You’re already finished eating?” asks a shocked Sirius.
James continues to shovel all food in sight into his mouth, “They’re weak, Padfoot, forget them.”
“And so are you!” says Sirius, speeding up his pace, “I challenge you to an eat off!”
A glint of mischief shines in their eyes.
“You’re on!” yells James, following suit.
Lily, still within earshot, shakes her head.
“There is no way that is going to end well,” she laughs.
author’s note: yay! a long chapter! i’m really happy with this one. i do have to give credit to luciusobsessed. i definitely stole her counselor idea -but i’m really glad i saw it. i was going to bring in the old therapist, and there was no way that would end well! so what do you guys think? i’d love to hear from you. leave me a review with your predictions, ships, or overall thoughts!
also, i just posted an adorable fluffy one shot for a writing duo with MrsJaydeMalfoy. mine takes place first, so if you read it make sure to read hers after. the story is flufftastic and her piece is just so cute! it’s a lot different from this and i had so much fun writing it. please check them out :)
thanks for reading!
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