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Chapter 39 : The One In Which James and William Aren't Happy
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Anyways, I hope that you enjoy this one.
I couldn’t help but watch William during the lessons I shared with him. He wasn’t his usual self; his face seemed to be in a permanent glare, shooting dark looks at anyone that dared to look in his direction. I had been victim to a few when he was looking around the classroom, but his face lightened into an almost smile every time he realised, so I knew that it wasn’t anything to do with me as to why he seemed to be in such a bad mood. It possibly had something to do with the letter that he was attempting to burn at breakfast this morning before a teacher scolded him and forced him to put it out.
I wanted to ask James about it but I didn’t have a chance too, the teachers using the lessons to give us recaps on things we had learnt over the year in preparation for our end of year exams that were fast approaching. The Hufflepuff vs. Slytherin match had been days earlier, and thankfully Michelle had been too busy to do anything but throw dirt looks in my direction.
William’s mood seemed to worsen as the day went on, until he was snapping at anyone who talked to him, even James. James seemed to be in a mood by association, the look on his face souring in potions when William lost Gryffindor points before being sent out of potions. He disappeared when the lesson ended and James and I had spent our time trying to find him.
“I wish I had the map, this would have been a lot easier,” James said in annoyance, looking around the field. William wasn’t out here, he wasn’t anywhere we searched in the castle; he had done a good job at hiding.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“Albus has it, and the cloak,” James gave a huge sigh as he put his hands on his hips and looked around again. “Maybe I should find him first?”
Albus wasn’t on the field either and James gave a frustrated groan from next to me. “This is fucking stupid, how hard could it be to find two bloody people?”
I reached out for him, wrapping my arms around him to hug him. His arms tightened around me instantly.
“It’s alright, we’ll find them,” I attempted to soothe him as best as I could. “We’ll sort this out. Maybe Isabella has seen him?”
Everything felt better in James’ arms, the whole world seemed to melt away, and I hoped that it was helping him calm down a little. I hated that he seemed so down, I wasn’t sure if it was just to do with William or something else entirely.
“I’m sorry; I’m just stressed from William and the amount of pressure of this last Quidditch match. Jeremy really needs to cut back,” James told me, face buried into my hair, I rubbed my hands up and down his back in an attempt to soothe him. “I hate feeling like this, all moody and shit.”
James let go of me to turn and face whomever it was that had called his name. I noticed with an unpleasant jolt of my stomach that it was Barry; Elijah was standing behind him with a strange look across his face.
“What do you want?” James asked, slightly defensively and I grabbed hold of his hand, feeling on guard and tense at seeing them. They never officially apologised for the love potion incident at the beginning of the year, and I wasn’t even sure of what their real intentions had even been in using it. Probably just a quick laugh at James’ and mine expense.
“Are you sure that you’re not under a love potion still? Why else would you go for a Hufflepuff?” Barry laughed, Elijah chuckled next to him, and I felt anger at his words. Why couldn’t he just go away? I tried to tug James’ hand to move us out of the situation, but James wouldn’t move. I didn’t like the look on his face, the way that his jaw was clenching in anger.
“Do you want to try repeating that?” James seethed through gritted teeth, and he let go of my hand as his hands balled into fists.
“James –“ I said, trying to get his attention again to try and get him out of this situation.
“Oh, come on, James. We all want to know if the rumours about Hufflepuff girls are true,” Elijah stated joining in with Barry. He glanced at me and licked his lips, making some weird lewd gesture that Barry hooted boisterously at.
Before I could stop James, he rushed over to Barry and punched him in the face. I let out a scream of shock as Barry fell to the floor and Elijah began backing up, hands raised in defence as James took a threatening step towards them.
“You say one more word,” he threatened angrily, shoving Elijah as Barry groaned on the floor clutching hold of his nose. “You say one more fucking word about her and I will destroy you.”
“James! That’s enough!” Professor Longbottom was rushing over to us, wand at the ready in case he had to stop a fight from starting, but James had backed away at the sound of him. “What on earth – My office, now.”
“I’m sorry,” James said as he turned to look at me, taking a step towards me but Professor Longbottom had grabbed for his shoulder and was steering him back towards the castle. I could only stay where I was, James’ bag down by my feet as I looked at them in horror. “I’ll see you soon. I’ll come and find you.”
Barry threw me a look and I saw blood seeping through his fingers as he clutched at his nose. I was amazed at how powerful James’ punch must have been to bring on blood. Did he break Barry’s nose?
I picked up James’ backpack and looked around the field, wondering what I could do now. I was tempted to walk up to professor Longbottom’s office and wait for James to come out, but I didn’t know how long that would take. I didn’t know where Isabella or William were. Within the hour I had found William, he was sitting on a small set of stairs in the sixth floor. I breathed a sigh of relief and hitched James’ heavy bag back onto my shoulder as I headed slowly over to him, not sure what mood he would be in. William had his back to me, and seemed to be trying to piece back together torn up pieces of parchment. He tensed as though he knew that someone was watching him, but didn’t turn around, pieces of parchment still in his hands.
“I know what you’re going to say, James. I know that I rip them all up or set fire to them, but there’s been more lately... and I can’t help but wonder why he’s so hell-bent on talking to me.”
I didn’t know what to say to him, knowing that the parchment he was trying to piece back together was the letter he was attempting to burn at breakfast this morning. William turned around and surprise crossed his face as he looked at me.
“I’m sorry, I can go if you –“ I began, but William shook his head.
“Where’s James?” he asked, glancing around for a sign of him.
“He’s in professor Longbottom’s office,” I told him, shuffling on the spot as I ran my hands up my arms. “He punched Barry in the face.”
William’s eyes widened and he gave a humourless laugh. “Fuck, James never loses his temper enough to punch someone. What did Barry say?”
“Him and Elijah were saying horrible things about Hufflepuff girls, and made out that I had given James love potion. He punched Barry before I could do anything to stop him.”
“You wouldn’t have been able to do anything to stop him anyway, he’s very protective of you,” William told me as I went and sat next to him on the stairs. I shrugged, ducking my head as I shifted James’ bag to the floor beside me. “I mean it, he really likes you.”
“I like him too,” I told William, glancing up at him and seeing that the angry look in his eyes had all but gone.
“He’s liked you for a very long time now. I think it all started back in our third or fourth year. I’m not sure what you had done but you were suddenly all her could talk about, but he didn’t have to guts to talk to you, he always got really shy around you.”
That didn’t sound like James, he was one of the most confident people I knew. I told William this and he gave a short laugh that lit up his eyes and made him shake his head.
“Not when it came to you, it’s why I had to threaten him into telling. I’m glad that you both got together, you make him happy.”
“Thank you,” I said softly. I knew that William didn’t have any problems with me and James being together, and around each other every day. However, I still worried that William was annoyed that I cut into any time he wanted to spend with James. It made me happy to know that William didn’t seem to mind. We sat in silence again, as William looked down at the parchment, I peered at it set out like pieces of a jigsaw that needed putting back together.
“I’m worried about you, James is too, he’s been on edge all day,” I admitted to William.
“I’m worried about me too,” William sounded so tired and defeated in that moment as he heaved a huge sigh. “I hate this, I hate that I crave that mans attention and love, hate that there’s still a small part of me that wishes he would treat me like a son.”
I didn’t know what to say, whether he would want me to give an opinion as he stared down at the torn and burnt pieces of parchment in front of him as though they would put themselves back together. I brought my knees up in front of me, wrapping my arms around them, and resting my head on the top of my knees. “Why don’t you use magic to put it back together?”
William was silent as though contemplating my answer, before slowly shaking his head, pushing one of the pieces onto another one with his finger. He looked so young and defenceless, the pain that this was causing him was easy to read in his eyes, and it tugged at my heart to see him so open with his emotions. I could see just how much this was hurting him but I didn’t know what I could do to make this better. I reached a hand out to grip his arm, hoping that this was a sign to him that I was here for anything that he might need.
“Because I’m not sure if I actually want to read it and find out it’s to tell me how much he hates me and how disappointed he is in me,” he finally answered my question. I couldn’t believe that someone could say something like that to their own child, how they could treat their own flesh and blood in such a horrific manner. I was thankful that my parents had unconditional love for me, knowing that there was nothing I could do to make them stop loving me. Looking at William I knew that some people weren’t as lucky as me.
“Normally I don’t give a shit,” William continued, hand moving to rest on top of mine and clutching hold of it. “I haven’t done for years when it’s come to that man. Duncan is my dad, and I don’t need anyone else. But, this is the fourth letter that he’s sent me this year. I can’t help but wonder why?”
“You shouldn’t feel guilty if you wanted to read it,” I told him softly head moving off my knee as he looked into my eyes. His eyes were glistening and I wanted to hug him and hurt the man that he should have been calling father. “You might regret it if you don’t read it.”
“I shouldn’t want anything to do with him.”
“He doesn’t deserve to know you,” I said, remembering the stories that I had been told. “It’s his loss if he can’t see how wonderful you are.”
William chuckled at that, giving a small sniff as he moved his hands to run through his blond hair, scrubbing at his head as he looked back down at the letter.
“I can help you put it back together if you want? Then if you want to read it, you can, if you want to destroy it again that’s fine too. It might make you feel a bit better if you tear it apart a second time.”
William nodded and I moved to sit on the stairs and help him put together the letter, I only caught a few words of it, trying my hardest to ignore what it said as it wasn’t my letter to read. I couldn’t help but worry about what it contained when I saw some of the words and part of me was hoping that William wouldn’t want to read it. Who knows what it would contain and how he would react to it.
Once we finished William picked it up and took a deep breath, before lifting it and letting his eyes skim over it. I bit my lip in worry as I twisted my hands in my lap, watching his face for any sign of what it contained. William didn’t get far before he began tearing it up.
“I don’t care what he has to say to me. I’m done.” William said, finality to his tone as he tore it back up again, making the pieces smaller this time before pushing it into a pile, and pointing his wand at it. It erupted into flames before going out just as quickly, leaving behind ash in its wake. William stamped on it a few times for good measure as I stood up.
“At least you got to tear it up again,” I told him, trying to find the bright side in the hope that it would make a smile appear on his face. I saw the corner of his mouth pull up and felt triumphant; I hated seeing William so sad.
“You’re a truly wonderful person, Abigail,” William told me, hugging me tightly. “Don’t let anyone ever make you believe differently.”
“Thank you, William,” I said accepting his compliment. “Did you want to go down to dinner? James might be out by now.”
William nodded before taking James’ bag from me and putting it on, we both walked in silence down the stairs and it was a nice comfortable one. James was looking around the Great Hall when we arrived and his face brightened at seeing us.
“You alright?” he asked William as he wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “I was worried about you.”
“Fine. I had a talk with Abigail and I feel a lot better.” William nodded in my direction and I grinned at him, thankful that I could help him in any way that I could.
“And the letter?” James asked curiously, the worry in his tone.
“Burnt it. I didn’t want to know what he had to say,” William said. “What’s this I hear about you punching Barry?” he jerked his thumb behind him and I saw over his shoulder that Barry and Elijah were in the hall.
“He deserved it, I would have gone for Elijah as well, but Uncle Neville turned up.”
“What’s the damage?” William asked, frowning in the direction that Barry and Elijah were in. I noticed that Michelle was now standing with them and inspecting Barry’s face with an angry look on her face. Since when did Michelle hang around with Barry?
“A few detentions and a bruised knuckle,” James told him, bringing his hand up and showing us. I tore my eyes away from Michelle and looked down at James’ knuckle that seemed more swollen then normal and had faint bruising beginning to show.
“Did you break his nose?”
“Yep,” James told William as I gingerly touched his knuckles, tracing over them with the tip of a finger.
“Good boy, I taught you well,” William said clapping him on the back before turning to look at me. “Are you joining us at the Gryffindor table? Most of the teachers have gone and it seems empty enough that no one would care if you did.”
“Sure,” I agreed happily, as James smiled at me. “I can’t see Isabella or Sian at the Hufflepuff table, so I would have been sitting alone.”
“So we’re second best? I see how it is,” James joked pretending to be upset by what I had said.
“Mate, we’re not even second best, Sian was before us so we’re third best.” William shook his head as we took our seats at the Gryffindor table, William climbed over the table so that he could sit facing us, careful not to put his feet on any of the food.
“And after I defended your honour,” James huffed, reaching for the chips and putting some on his plate, before putting a few on mine. William made a whining noise until James put some on his plate too.
“You can’t look after just one of us,” William told him. “This is a three-person relationship.”
“I didn’t agree to this,” I laughed as I cut myself a slice of steak and kidney pie and waited for William to be done with the gravy.
“Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of James,” William said matter-of-factly. “He’s only holding us back.”
As we all ate dinner and laughed amongst ourselves I was glad that things had gone back to normal, or as normal as things were at the moment. I never would have imagined that my life would be filled with so much drama, but I wouldn’t trade these last few months for anything. I had gotten some terrific friends and the best boyfriend who I hoped were always going to be in my life. The end of my sixth year was drawing to a close and I couldn't be happier with how it was ending.
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