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Chapter 5 : Love makes one solitary.
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‘Helena, I am here. Can you hear me? It is I, Eleanor. Your love.’
Your soft words are like the voice of paradise speaking directly to me. I do not believe I have heard anything so sweet, so pure, so charming as this before.
‘Yes, I hear you, Eleanor. Mon cśur.’ The French wisps out of my mouth as I whisper back into the world. I can see a faint outline of you now. The blonde curls rimming your face like a crown resting upon your head. Nothing is defined, nothing is fixed, all is subjective to my sight, but I know you are still there.
‘Helena, get better. Get well again. I want you to be well again. I have so much to tell you. So much.’
I pull my head down into a nod before drifting off again. The art of getting well requires much work. So much, I cannot even think of you for too long.
‘I am glad to see you are feeling better,’ Aunt Helga says later. ‘Your temperature is much decreased and your cheeks are rosy once again. It is a joy to see this recovery, as I was most worried. I have been praying day and night that you would recover and be strong and well again. God must have heard these prayers and honoured them. He is a good man.’
‘Yes, he is and thank you, Aunt Helga. It means a lot that my name blessed your prayers for I know it doesn’t appear in many.’
‘Helena, I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Did you not see how carefully and tenderly Godric's eldest, Eleanor, cared for you? She was most upset when you were taken ill, almost inconsolable. She was by your bedside night and day, through dawn till dusk. It was only at her mother’s insistence that she took to her own bed just now, otherwise I do believe she would still be here.’
‘She was here for so long?’ I dare to ask.
‘Yes, but you know well how determined Sybil Gryffindor can be, so her daughter was all but thrown into bed. Sybil does not believe loitering around the Hospital Wing was a respectable thing for a girl of such high standing to be doing and had been telling her so every day. It was only after a week that Eleanor finally listened to her.’
Aunt Helga lets out a light chuckle before placing her hand against my face. The touch is so cool, so divine. It is almost as if peace is entering me.
‘Where is Mother? Has she not been to see me?’ I finally manage to whisper.
Aunt Helga sighs. Mother never seems to satisfy Aunt Helga even though they are meant to be bosom friends. All of their friendship is seemingly lost to the wind. All is different between them now. Perhaps my birth is what caused it, as I have never known them to be on particularly amicable terms.
‘She has been drifting in and out of the room, naturally,’ Aunt Helga says slowly, almost hesitantly. ‘She also receives the evening report at dinner, but I believe she has been too busy entertaining to come more often. I am certain she would have visited you more often if she had been able to.’
Thud, thud, thud goes my heart as it drops from my chest to the bottomless pits of earth. I often wonder if Mother loves me, and it is at times like this that I question her love the most. I wonder if she cares about me, wishes me well or whether she wishes that I would simply stay quiet, stay good, stay out of sight. I even wonder whether she wishes she even had me when I hear things such as this or whether she wishes that I died along with my father.
My father. The omnipresent figure lurking in the background of my life. I often think of him when I have these wonderings about Mother. Perhaps he would have made her nicer, kinder, warmer. Perhaps then we could have been a happy little family of three, him, Mother and me. Perhaps is a peculiar word though. When I use perhaps it feels as if everything lacks so much certainty that the use of that singular word gives me a few more fibres of hope to cling onto.
There is no point hoping for anything to do with Father though. He is firmly locked away in the life beyond ours, never to return, only to be joined. I am not even sure to what hand he died. Knowledge about him is only sparingly given away by her, as Mother believes that is best.
After a brief pause, I dare to ask Aunt Helga, ‘How did Father die?’
She fixes her eyes on me and sighs.
'Helena, you are weak, ill, resting. Now is not the best time to discuss matters such as these. Ask again another time.’
‘Please, Aunt Helga. I have never been told, but I should know as he was my father. He is found in my flesh and bone. Besides, death is the most natural thing in the world so to be denied knowledge of it could almost be considered as unnatural. Please, do tell me.’
Aunt Helga sighs again before leaning in close, her curly hair scratching at my face. ‘You must promise not to breathe a word of what I say to your mother or tell anyone about this as I fear she would not like it at all.’
‘Your father’s death is a mystery to us all. None of us know how exactly he died. You were a few months old at the most when his body showed up. He had been travelling, preaching to people further afield, so your mother hadn’t worried too much when he didn’t immediately return as that was quite normal for him. She only began to worry after he failed to show for your baptism. Knowing what a holy man he was, she began to search for him and a few weeks later they found him.
‘There were no markings on his body, it was bare as a new child entering the world, but we knew, we had a feeling who had done it. Salazar Slytherin had always despised your mother for the choice of her husband, a Muggleborn man. He thought they were vermin, a species beneath us and needed to be removed from the world. It was worse with your father, as he had chosen a Muggle profession, so the hatred Salazar had for him was even thicker. His threats and thoughts towards your father turned even more ferocious after he left Hogwarts. There were a few incidents too, nothing confirmed, but enough to raise suspicion. Salazar was always a cunning fellow like that, never out rightly accused of anything, but a suspected culprit many a time, so we shall never truly know if he did it or not, but we can presume so…’
Thud, thud, thud and my heart continues to fall. I cannot think or feel a thing. I cannot. I cannot. I cannot. It is too raw, too awful, too horrible for anything.
‘Thank you, Aunt Helga. Thank you for telling me.’
‘But remember, my dear, not a word to anyone. I do not want to imagine what your mother might do if she found out that you knew.’
‘Not a word, Aunt Helga. Not a word at all.’
Within a week I have returned to you, to normality, and our nightly meetings commence again. They serve as a distraction from the horror of my father’s death. Though my lips have stayed silent about it to you, as I must honour Aunt Helga’s promise. We meet by the edge of the forest and as we walk together I sense your excitement with the way you wring your arms back and forth.
‘Run with me, Helena. Run!’ you finally cry out, gripping hold of my hand and spinning me through the night air.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, I go. My legs bind and buckle under the pressure but do not fail me. It was not an illness of the physical sort that confined me to bed for those torturous days, it was a malady of the mind according to the matron. Her mutterings to Aunt Helga were badly concealed so I do not consider it as eavesdropping.
‘She is all out of sorts,’ the matron had said. ‘Too much blood is causing her to have delusions. It is what Hippocrates said himself. I would bleed her but Mistress Rowena forbids the practice even though it would elevate Mistress Helena’s spirits greatly. There is nothing else which can be done, so we must wait for the visions to calm.’
‘Yes, Mistress Rowena is of the opinion it is an illness of the mind too,’ Aunt Helga had replied. ‘Leave her be for now, it might be for the best.’
I wonder if others believe I had an illness of the mind. I wonder if you do. I wonder what you would do if you found out my mind is a deluded one. Would you let go of my hand and leave me to whirl alone through the night’s air? Would you cry out witch in front of Muggles and have me burnt at a stake? Or would you love me and my delusion?
Our dance through the air comes to a stop and you collapse onto the ground in a ball of laughter, and I follow you down in a more sombre fashion.
‘Oh Helena, how you have missed so much whilst you were taken ill! Why your very own betrothed has turned up and the whole school is in a ruckus, a chaos, because of him. He has most positively turned us all upside down, your Edmund… He is ever so witty and charming, I almost feel quite jealous of you...’
My heart begins to palpate. My fingers lock around the curls in your hair.
‘He could almost be considered handsome too, Helena. He has a rather strange jawline but that can be forgiven as the rest of his face more than makes up for it. He even seems to get on your mother which is no easy thing…’
All is black in my eyes. All is gone in my eyes. All is nothing in my eyes. I see what is happening. I see what my betrothed has begun to do. He has begun to steal you, my Eleanor, away from me. I see he wants you for himself. He wants to turn you to the path of sin. I see it. I see it is coming.
‘No, I shan’t allow it.’
‘Allow what, Helena? Allow what?’
‘Allow you to be drawn into his treacherous traps! I have been having bad omens about this man, and your words confirm them as facts. He is determined to ruin us, tear us apart. He is to be our ruin, Eleanor. He truly is.’
‘What do you mean? How on earth is he to be our ruin? I merely meant to say that he had been entertaining us greatly with his joking and laughter. That was all, not that he meant to steal me from you. I would never allow that to occur, Helena, my heart beats for you alone. Believe me on that and no other whispered words. I am yours and you are mine.’
Words. Words. Words. So many of them that as they stream before I find it hard to select the right one, the exact one. Each one has so many different meanings, interpretations, one never really knows if it is meant to be jabbing, jibing or joking. It seems as if you are lying, spilling out words with reckless abandon. I can trust no one. Liar is imprinted onto everyone’s face. Yours, Mother’s, maybe even Aunt Helga’s. You have concealed things from me at least once so how could I ever trust any of you?
‘Do not blank me out, Helena, answer me. See what toils I go through for your love? You always speak of God, of a higher meaning, of burning with the Devil for being with me. It is as if you are shamed by my presence, cannot really glory in it as you cannot take glory in your own. You do not love yourself, Helena. You are consumed with poison and hatred and wicked thoughts. You are not capable of loving, I believe. You only think and act on hatred, nothing else.’
Stab, stab, stab go her words at my heart, and my blood begins to spill out in a sickly flow of red and pool into a puddle of my despair. Why does Eleanor insist burdening our love with all of these trials and tribulations, why does she not accept it for what it is, why can she not do that? Why, why, why? Why am I always told I am at fault? I am not. I am certain of it.
‘I love you and I always will, but I cannot tolerate this interference with us,’ I say slowly. ‘I want to be with you for forever and ever until the world burns down to fire and we are in God’s paradise, his home, but it cannot happen if you are like this. If you do not heed caution in regards to Edmund I do not know what I shall do.’
You hiss at me, the sound slithering round and round me, as if it’s a snake curling round my neck and constricting my breath, my air, forever and ever. Finally, I will turn to a mottled blue and die a slow and painful death at the tightening of your voice and feeling. I will be dead at your hand, betrayed by a former lover.
‘Helena, I cannot deal with you when you are in this sort of state. Perhaps others are right about what they say about you, that you possess no sense of normality. That you live in a world which is guided by your own morals and nothing else. I love you, but not like this, not when you wander in this warped reality. I have to go, Helena.’
So my heart crumbles down into a thousand shards and shatters and will be forever lost in the world, forever broken, forever unfixable. I will never be able to unite my soul, my heart, my feeling after what you did to me. I will never be complete again after what you said. I am gone and the fault for that lies with you.
I love you, Eleanor, you are my sun, my earth, my moon, and yet you treat me as if I am mere bit of stardust floating around and around, easily replaceable. You treat me as if I should constantly be awe in awe of your presence, that I am beneath you. But Eleanor, I will always be here, I will always be waiting.
Waiting just for you.
A/N: The quote at the beginning of the chapter and the chapter come from page 27 of Mrs Dalloway (Google Books Edition) by Virginia Woolf ♥
So whoo, finally another chapter, it's the Easter holidays for me right now, so hopefully I'll get another chapter up during the holidays. Secrets were revealed about Helena's father and a rift with Eleanor which was most probably Helena's fault, so what did you think? Thanks for reading and if you had time I would love a review! ♥
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