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The Human Factor by SexyDoorFrames
Chapter 23 : The One Where Things Are Mended And Broken
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11


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I’m sorry this has taken so long to write, health has been up and down and this chapter is a lot longer than the others, hope you don’t mind the length but it didn’t seem right to split it. I hope you enjoy the chapter, I'm pretty nervous about posting it, I’m trying to catch up on reviews and I appreciate everyone I get. Please excuse the mistakes, this chapter has not been beta’ed.






Chapter Twenty Three-
The One Where Things Are Mended And Broken


"This is so exciting." I stared out of the window as he wrapped his arms around my waist laughing. I was looking at the stars, wishing upon a star that was already dead that everything would turn out okay. I sighed before plastering a smile upon my face. "I can’t believe we are actually here!"

I was in muggle hotel in the middle of London. If my parents knew where I actually was, I'd be in deep trouble, I had only turned 15 in August and it was now December. Luckily for me, my parents trusted me and lapped up my lies. I had told them that I was going to London with Cassie to do some shopping and then I was stopping at hers. I saw the look in my dad's eye when I asked if I could go, he wanted to say no but he said yes. Then he sighed and told me I was growing up too fast. If only he knew what I had done in the past few months.

Lies upon lies.

I am not their little girl anymore, I am someone else.

I had fallen in love with the most beautiful boy ever. He was changing me, for the good and the bad.

He trailed kisses along my neck. "I've missed you." Those words cut so deep that they penetrated the bones, I felt the love seeping in, bringing me to life. His voice would always be my favourite sound. It was absolutely mesmerising. Every time he speaks, I fall under his spell.

I turned around and I pressed myself against him "I missed you too." Sometimes I missed him when he was standing right next to me because occasionally, he felt like a ghost. Sometimes he went somewhere where I couldn’t follow. Missing him was an ache that didn't fade.

I always had nightmares of losing him, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he worried that one day I would be lost to him. I didn't dare ask him, I was not looking for a fight tonight. Tonight I wanted to feel loved. I would ignore the paralysing fear of what it would be like not having him in my life. I will lose him, soon as he sees past the front I put up. I try to be perfect, to be the girl he needs. I let him mould me into the girl he wants and erase my human faults. One day though, the monster inside me, who itches underneath my skin, begging to be released will escape, it isn't a question of if, it is certain that one day it will break through and my true colours will be revealed. Once I show him who I truly am, he will walk out the door. Flaws irritate him and I am full of them, so I have to bury them deep, lest he see who I am and be disgusted. It was hard to figure out what part of my personality was mine and which parts are the ones that I created to please him.

There are moments where I freeze and I retreat so deeply to a place inside my head where he could never reach me. His voice echoes but he doesn't get a response. I know he hates it when it happens, thinks I'm being dramatic and attention seeking but it is like something else takes over my body. I am a puppet and someone else is pulling the strings. I end up falling into my thoughts, my demons appear to rip me apart. I shivered. I was alive but dead when I fell into these trances.I shook my head, I would not let myself ruin this night. I had to stop these thoughts because he hated my insecurities. It made him angry and I wanted today to be perfect.

"You okay?" He asks and I raise my chin to look him in the face. I kiss him gently at first, but he is soon invading my mouth. The second he touches me, a fire erupts inside of me but I was in control of myself, it will all be okay. The touch of his fingertips is one of my addictions. My address is his arms and I am always homesick, whatever he gives is never enough.

He stops kissing me and I make a little whiny sound. He stares down at me before smirking. "There is a bed over there." He nibbles on my ear. "And I've always loved the sight of you in my bed." I laugh when he picks me up and carries me onto the bed. He litters kisses across my shoulder blade as he undoes the buttons to my top. "And I really like it when I wake up next to you." He drives me insane but in the same breath, he keeps me sane.

I don’t ever want to live without him. He is mine. Forever. He promised.

Let's play a game, you lie and I'll believe.

You think you've found love, but it's just death masquerading. Love is death. Death is love.

I smile at him as I pull his t shirt from over his head. "Just shut the hell up and kiss me, you idiot." Oh darling, I may be an utter mess but let's just forget that for a while. Love seemed like a good idea until I met you.

So he kisses me and we pretend that everything is going to be okay.



The memories always come back to me but he never will. He lives in my nightmares now. Thoughts were hammering against my skull and I was too weak to fight back.

The rain crashed against my naked pale skin in the moonlight. I hadn't bothered to grab my cloak when I escaped the smothering dormitory earlier so I was in shorts and a thin tank top; when I dressed for bed this evening I didn't think I would end up here. I wasn’t even wearing shoes. My nose was bright red, my hair was dripping, my clothes stuck to me like a second skin, my disgusting tainted lips were blue, the coldness was seeping into my bones, I couldn’t feel my frozen fingers and my body wouldn't stop shaking but I couldn’t find the energy to care. The harsh wind whipped against my back.

Rain.

Rain.

Please wash it all away.

Make me clean.

I shouldn’t be here. I should be tucked in bed being destroyed by the demons that haunt my sleep.

Instead, I'm at the edge of the great lake staring at my reflection and hating what I saw. If I step even just a couple of centimetres, I will tumble in and this nightmare would be over.

Because that is what my life is, a complete and utter nightmare that never eases. It was a fiasco. The loneliness never stops, but I know in a way that I am to blame because I have a problem with giving access to my world. The door wasn't just locked, it had chains wrapped around the lock and furniture stacked in front of it. I had people who loved me but I tried my best to keep them at a distance. I remember the start of the year when I was playing the part of the girl who had her crap in order. In these past few months, everything has spiraled into a disgusting mess, I don't recognise my life anymore. I have lost control. I remember at the start of the year, I was doing brilliantly at pretending that I was fine. What happened? Why can't I pretend anymore?

These past few days had been soul crushing. Then I think, has it only been that long? Since I found out that my best friend had betrayed me, the boy I hated kissed me and I had hurt the boy who cares so damn much about me. I hadn't slept since that night. I couldn't. I wouldn't.

I screamed at my reflection telling her I fucking hated her.

When you truly hate yourself, there isn't anything to powerful enough to talk you into believing that the things you screamed at the mirror weren't true. None of this, "Don't be stupid", "oh, you’re so pretty", "there are people that love you", "you're here for a reason" bullshit. All of them are lies. Hate will whisper that people aren't worth the trust or the time. That you are being used because they couldn't like you for the person you were; there had to be an ulterior motive. Then you're all alone and it makes you hate yourself more because you pushed everyone away and that is why you were alone.

These thoughts would all stop if I took a few steps...

I closed my eyes.

Albus’ touch was scorched into my skin. I had scrubbed my skin until it was red raw and I still couldn't remove the stain of him. His image overwhelms my brain. He had left bruises on my collarbone. He used to leave bruises too but they were a different kind. The name he marked upon my lips has been removed and replaced with another.

I had been tainted by Albus Potter.

I was utterly disgusting. I would never feel clean again. Nothing would ever be the same.

I have no idea of anything anymore. The more I learn, the more I know that I really don't know nothing.

Every breath is burning my lungs. I was a damaged girl. I am damaged permanently. My heart would never be whole again because he took pieces of it when he left and the people around me had crushed the remaining shards with their betrayals.

I opened my eyes.

"Hello Pippa." It was him. Standing next to me in the pouring rain but not a drop touched him. I rubbed my eyes, but he didn't disappear. I felt the pulse of my heart ringing in my ears. "You look bloody awful by the way." He looked me up and down like I was dirt.

"You're back…" I closed my eyes expecting him to be gone when I opened them but he was still there. "You're not real," I whispered, my voice cracking. "You cannot be fucking real...I can't go through this again."

After he left, I saw him everywhere, a stranger's face would morph into his and smirk at me. He followed me. I would look behind to find him looking at me until I blinked and he wasn't there any more. He appeared to me all the time, trapping me in a hell that I couldn’t escape. He left when I made a vow never to utter his name again nor try my best, to think of him.

He laughed at me. "I'm not." He smiled at me."I'm part of your imagination. You've finally lost the plot…then again, you've always hovered over the edge of madness...I'm the voice you always try to ignore." My demons don't just talk, they scream.

I was fucking crazy.

Complete and utter nut job.

I stared at him, trying to see the boy who once meant everything to me. He was the boy I loved but I couldn't see him because the boy I loved wasn't real. I had twisted my own memories.

Maybe I could use this chance to say everything I wanted to say to the real him that I never would.

I bit my lip hard, due to the coldness, I didn't even feel it. But I felt blood trickle down my chin. "I miss you. I think about you all the time." I wiped my chin with my arm, leaving a red streak across it.

"Well, considering I'm not real so I don't know what the boy actually thinks but I reckon he doesn't miss you. I mean, if he was bothered, he wouldn't ignore your existence would he? After the break up, he would have tried to get you back wouldn't he?" There were both truth and lies in his words but I couldn’t remember what the truth was, I only had this feeling that it existed. He laughed again. His laugh was no longer beautiful, it was evil. "He may still think about you but that doesn't matter one bit because he ain't doing crap about it. It's all about the actions isn't it?"

Tears came crashing down my face and I cursed myself. I should be stronger than this. I was crying too damn much lately. I was weak. So weak. As soon as I rubbed my tears away, new ones were already rolling down my face. I wrapped my arms around myself as my shaking got worse.

I had tried not to think about these ugly truths that existed within his words.. Some things were true imaginary and I just couldn't accept it.

"You've fucked me up, you know. I am a complete and utter mess because of you. I can't even say your name in my head." His name would burn my mouth and crack me into a thousand pieces.

"Oh darling," He rolled his eyes. "You were messed up long before you met me. You were a box that was labeled fragile, yet tragically, the crap inside was already broken."

"That's not true." I mumbled and he just raised an eyebrow. I am a liar. Loving me isn't easy because my edges are jagged and you will bleed when you stumble against them trying to get closer. You look inside of me and you'll find that some parts of me are out of order. Some are even missing. I am difficult. I am not worth it. I belong on a scrap heap with the rest of the broken things. I belong there, I don't belong with the living. I am not shiny, I am covered in rust.

I breathed in. "Fine! I'm a fucking mess and have been for years. Is that what you wanted to hear?"

He shrugged. "Not really, I couldn't actually give a damn." He stared at the water, looking at my reflection. He didn't have one being that he was my own personal made up demon.

The train has slipped off the tracks.

He is suddenly behind me, his lips next to my ear. No warm breath touched it. I look at the water. It still only shows me. "Everything you feel could be over in seconds." He giggles. His words are quiet, it is a struggle to hear them despite his close proximity. "No more struggling. All the memories of me would be lost. The water would wash away the taint from you skin left over from that Potter boy." His words were soft and gentle. Just like they were when he used to whisper that he loved me. "You see Pippa, you're the flame and everyone around you is a moth, that is why you destroy everyone you come into contact with…and frankly, that just won't do."

Potter boy.

Albus.

There was a tight pain in my chest.

I closed my eyes and followed his voice. I shuffled a little bit forward. He was guiding me. "That is it Pippa, just a little more. You're doing so well," He encouraged. "A couple more steps…"

I was enchanted. He was here with me. I wanted to play pretend for a little while longer. My world was whole when he was in it.

Another step.

I opened my eyes and I looked at the bedraggled girl in front of me. Her eyes were wide. She was trying to tell me something. This isn't it. This isn't right.

I closed my eyes again.

"I don't want to."

"But you must."

"No." I screamed.

And I screamed again.

And again.

"Pippa, you utter twat." Someone yelled before wrapping their arms around my waist, pulling me away from the edge. We hit the floor with a thud. "Have you lost your fucking mind?" I tried to fight whoever it was. I tried kicking and hitting but I couldn't escape. "Calm down, it's me, Damien." I opened my eyes to find it was Damien and not my demon made flesh. I looked around, there was no one around but me and Damien. "What the hell do you think you are doing?" I was shaking in his arms. "Look at you, you're freezing." He tore his cloak off and wrapped it tightly around me.

I wondered how Damien managed to find me.

"I wasn't going to jump." I managed to say. It isn't easy to talk when your teeth are chattering. For some reason, I wanted to assure my brother I was fine, even though we both knew that was a big fat lie. I tried to put up my walls, pretend I was fine but I couldn't do it anymore.

I wasn't fine.

Damien sighed. "For some reason, I don't believe you." He stared at me but I couldn't face him so I buried my face into his chest. "You're a complete idiot, I mean crap, I'm not ready to become an only child! Mom and Dad would die if they lost you…they would never recover." He mumbled before whispering. "I don't think I would recover…" There wasn't as much softness as you would expect with this confession. Instead, it was pure anger. Damien cleared his throat. "I can't believe you would be so stupid."

"You'd all be happy without me. I am useless. I am corruption. I am a monster."

"No, we really wouldn't. What you don't realise is that you keep on setting yourself on fire but it is not just you burning, we all burn with you...I don't know how to help you. I really don't but I want to." Damien took in a deep breath as he stared into my eyes, his eyes. The colour is the exact same. It is one of the only things that marks us as siblings. "If you burn, I burn too."

"Oh! This is utter bullshit." I pushed him away and tried to stand but my limbs felt like wood. I could hardly move them and I stumbled a bit. The shakes hadn't stopped and I suddenly realised that I was freezing.

But my pride made me throw Damien's cloak back in his face. "You can stuff your stupid cloak, you can stuff your lies and you can stuff your stupid fake offering of friendship." I howled. "Because you and me both know that all you’re good for is crappy broken promises that I'm stupid enough to believe time and time again!"

Damien stood up and grabbed my arm. ""What's the hell is the matter with you?"

"What's the matter with me?" I screeched. "The question should be, what the hell is matter with you?" I laughed bitterly. "You've been the shittiest brother a person could ever ask for, yet you come swanning over to me, acting like it is all fine, which is bloody damn isn't by the way and start talking about, how if I burn, you burn, which is just utterly laughable because I've been burning for a while and all you've been doing is getting a goddamn suntan from my flames."

Damien grabbed both of my wrists. "Calm down."

"No."

"At least wear my cloak. It's pouring down and you're turning blue."

"I don't want your fucking cloak."

"Well, you're having it." He bundled me into his cloak before picking me up and throwing me over his shoulder.

"What are you doing?" I tried to fight but it's hard when your limbs feel like lead, plus, I had never realised that Damien is actually pretty strong. I hit his back with my fists. "Put me down! Now!"

Damien laughed. "You hits are so weak, it is actually quite embarrassing."

"Your face is embarrassing." I hissed. Okay, I'll admit, my witty retorts are not quite up to scratch right now. "Where the hell are we going anyway!"

"I'm taking you back and we are having a long flipping chat, alright?"

"I don't want to talk to you." I huffed, as I tried to wriggle out of his grasp but he held me tighter. "Put me down! I'll report you to the headmaster!" Damien snorted with laughter. "I'll tell mom! I'll even tell dad! I'll tell the whole of Hogwarts that you kidnapped your own sister and you took her hostage." Damien just hummed a happy tune.

"I hate you." I screamed in frustration as we entered the castle. I was hoping to wake at least one of the teachers so I could be saved. I didn't want to talk to Damien. Right now, I wanted to hex him to oblivion and use his eyeballs as earrings.

"Of course you do."

"No, I really do." I spat, angrily. I looked around and I noticed we seemed to be going away from the Slytherin common rooms and that's when I realised where he was taking me. "You can't take me to the Gryffindor common room! It would betray to all my oaths! I swear Damien, if you take me there I will blow the whole place up and don't think I won't! I'll catch Gryffindor cooties!"

"Seriously Pippa, please shut up for one moment."

I just huffed. "Hate you."

We finally arrived at the gates of hell, also known as a portrait of a woman called the Fat Lady. Quite a charming name isn't it? She asked for the password after moaning that it was very late but Damien gave the password 'Golden Snitch' and she opened the door.

Damien still didn't put me down even after the portrait had slammed shut. He carried me through the common room to the dormitory. He pushed the door open. "Now, I'm going to put you down, don't try to do anything stupid." He finally put me down in the middle of the dormitory.

"Spoken like a true kidnapper." I muttered underneath my breath.

"Oh good you found her." I heard James say. I looked up to find James and Fred staring at me, they glanced at Damien who shrugged before looking at me again. "Are you alright?"

"No, I am not alright!" I huffed "I have been kidnapped against my will." I shrugged off Damien's cloak, which was now soaking wet. "James, your dad is an auror right?" James nodded, a bit confused. "Do you think I have good grounds for Damien to go to azkaban? You know, for kidnapping me? Which by the way is against the law." I shot my brother a dirty look.

Damien, Fred and James just laughed at me.

How charming.

It took a while for them to stop.

"Anyway, Fred, would you be able to go grab some clothes for my sister the comedian? I know they'll still be big, but they'll be a lot less baggier than anything me and James could find."

"Sure." Fred walked out of the room and a little while later, placed some jogging bottoms and a top in my hands. "These are small for me, but they should be okay for you. I got a towel for you too. " He smiled. He was being kind.

I hated it. I wanted to thank him, but the best I could do was not insult him and just take the stupid clothes.

So I took them before grumbling as I walked into the bathroom. I would have said no, but I was still chilled to the bone, I was starting to think I would never be warm again. I stripped everything off. I tried to fold my wet clothes before getting too angry at my fingers not doing as I ordered them too and throwing them into a corner. I dried myself with the towel, before pulling on the jogging bottoms. The bottoms were still too big covering my feet, but thanks to the pull string and double knots done with shaking hands, I was confident they would stay up. I shoved the plain black t shirt over my head and it hung mid thigh. I am wearing a person's clothes who was younger than me, yet it still looked like I had played dress up with my father's clothes.

Oh, the curses of being small.

I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, before quickly looking away. I figured I looked awful but what I had just glanced at was beyond awful.

I opened the bathroom door. "I'll give them back tomorrow." I muttered.

"Don't worry about it." Fred smiled.

I shivered.

"You're still cold?" James asked and I looked away, not wanting to admit it. I heard him banging around the room for a little bit and a trunk being slammed shut. "Here." He shoved a jumper into my hands. "Wear this." I opened my mouth to argue I was alright but James just shook his head. "Just wear the stupid jumper Pippa…please?"

I quickly shoved the jumper over my head, desperate to feel warm again. It was a maroon jumper with a chunky golden coloured 'J' stitched on the front. It fell to my knees. I shoved the sleeves up to my elbows.

"Nana makes them for all of us every Christmas."

I already knew that because I remember Scorpius mentioning them once after we had just found out about Emilie and Damien's relationship.

I opened my mouth but I quickly closed it again.

"Hot chocolate?" Fred called, him and Damien were gathered around a small stove. I just stood there still leaning against the bathroom door frame before James tugged at my sleeve and pulled me over. Fred shoved a cup of hot chocolate in front of me.

I looked around the room, for a place where the male species dwell, it wasn't too bad. I mean, it was mess, things were scattered everywhere but it wasn't disgusting, other than the fact that Gryffindor people lived here. On James' bed, I spied a very ugly ginger tabby cat. I was over there in seconds and interrupted his nap, as I picked up my cat. "What the hell is Lucie doing here? He hates you." He squirmed in my arms for a little bit, he didn't like the fact that my hair was dripping water onto his head. I hadn't seen Lucie around in a while but I hadn't been too worried, my chubby Lucifer was pretty independent. He knows where the kitchens are. Also despite being bigger and taller than most house elves, they loved him, always feeding him scraps of meat from the kitchens. I kissed his head before letting him jump out of my hands.

Damien laughed. "He may hate me but he loves James." He pointed at Lucie, who had legged it from me to James and was headbutting his legs. James sighed before picking him up, fussing him for a while before placing him onto his bed, where Lucie lay down on his pillow.

"Lucifer, you traitor! If you come back to the dungeons, there are two delicious pygmy puffs you can eat! Chomp down on PJ and Uggers."

"I don't think Cassie would be very happy without that."

"Who cares? I don't."

"Oh! Emilie did mention to me that she thinks you two have had a big argument because it doesn't seem as if you two are currently on the greatest speaking terms?"

"Oh? Did she now?"

"Yes."

"Stupid bitch."

"Who? Cassie or Emilie?"

"The bloody both of them!"

"You don't mean that, well maybe about Emilie you do, but not Cassie." James looked at me and I just glared at him.

"I do." I folded my arms across my chest grumpily.

Damien stared at James and Fred, before asking, "Would you be able to leave us alone for a little bit?"

"Yeah, we will just hang out in the common room for a bit." Fred said before getting up with James and leaving us alone.

"So," Damien shrugged, "What happened?" Damien asked, while yawning.

"You happened."

"What does that mean?"

"Don't play dumb. You kissed Cassie, my best friend, then you discarded her like she was nothing." I was angry again. "Why the hell did you do that? How would you feel if I went around kissing your friends? I'm sure you wouldn't like it...I despise you." At that moment, I really did mean it. "You're a disgusting human being and I can't believe my utter bad luck to be related from you...Grandad Nott was right, you should be blasted from the family tree."

Since the war, rules in azkaban changed. It was run by aurors for one. It was also decided to follow the muggle way prisoners rights, you could now visit whenever you wanted. There was rules to be followed, you had to request an visitation with the aurors office because they were the ones that took you, where you forfeited your wand amongst other checks you had to pass. You sat in a room. One clear wall stood was in the middle of the room. It was enchanted with spells that made it impossible to break. I reckon a lot of spells were involved to create this wall. You could even hear the person on the other side. You stood on one side, the captive on the other side. Two aurors on each side of wall. Sometimes more depending on how volatile and evil the prisoner was. My father visits every so often because he feels like he should. When my father told my grandad that his precious grandson had been sorted into Gryffindor, he demanded that my father disown Damien immediately. He was scum. A traitor. An embarrassment to the family name. He needed to be blasted off the family tree. His grandson was dead to him. When I got sorted into Slytherin, I became the future of the Nott house, despite me being a girl because he claimed that women were only good for breeding. My dad came home from that visit with sore, red rimmed eyes. It was obvious he had been crying to my ten year self. He hugged me tightly when he returned, stroking my hair while telling me he loved me and always would. Obviously, he refused to blast Damien from the family tree. He was proud of his son but his father's words still hurt.

Damien looked more angry than I had ever seem him before. I had pushed him too far. I had touched a sore spot. "You're actually mad Pippa. Mom and Dad are right, we do need to put you in therapy." Damien spat and I was stunned. My parents thought I needed therapy? I had a feeling that my holidays would be dreadful. "No, it isn't enough that you had a boyfriend that attacked you whenever you did something he didn't like," There was bile in my throat, I had buried those ugly memories so deep that I forgot where I placed them but now they were forcing themselves to the surface. He had an angry fire inside him and eventually I got burned from it. My broken wrist from him holding it too tight. The scratches across my cheek to claim me. The bruises stained with his fingerprints. The black eye from bumping into his fist and so much more. "We had to remove you from school and you had to take your OWLS in the summer. Even then, you were stupid and refused to press charges because you carry this delusion that he is coming back but he isn't, you need to accept that. For starters, he isn't allowed any where near you and second of all, he fucking abused you, why would you even want him back?"

When we first broke up, I imagined us getting back together when I turned seventeen because coming of age meant I could undo the order that keeps him away from me. I imagined he would wait for me.

I am so stupid.

That isn't going to happen.

And truthfully it shouldn't.

I remember sitting by myself with only an examiner for company. Missing a whole month of school. As soon as my secret was discovered, my parents took me away to help me and let me heal. What a joke that was. I am terrible at letting things go. I carried my past with me.

"You're fucking crazy, screaming at yourself, then trying to drown yourself. Crazy Pippa, that's all you'll ever be."

He was right. I was crazy.

"You don't know how hard you are to deal with, everything has been about you lately and I'm sick of it."

I was sobbing. I howled with tears. I tried to use my sleeves to stem my tears but it was useless. I felt like his words would kill me. My eyes were stinging and my vision was blurry. I would never recover from this blow.

"I hate you." I meant it. I truly did. "Oh my god. I don't know how we ended up this way." I sobbed, wishing we could go to a better time when we would do anything for each other.

Damien shrugged. His anger was slowly fading away but mine still remained. "I don't know. I mean, I hate the fact that you prefer Scorpius over me."

"You can't judge me for that. Remember when you first started Hogwarts?"

Damien looked at me confused. "What does that have to do with anything?"

I smiled sadly. "Well dearest brother, I'll refresh your memory about something." I breathed in deeply, I could do this. I could be open and honest. "As soon as we got home from dropping you off on the train, I was bereft. I ended up wandering around the house for a long time until I ended up in your bed, where I cried because I no longer had my best friend with me." My hands clenched. It took all my willpower to make them unroll but they wouldn't stop shaking. "Dad found me later, still curled up in your blanket and he told me it wasn't all bad, I could still write to you. So that's what I did, I wrote you a letter every single day for the whole year, I would spend hours sitting by the window looking for our owl and do you know how many times the owl returned with a response for me? Not even once."

Damien looked truly horrified. "I didn't reply? Not even once? I remember being busy with general stuff, you know how it gets sometimes but you must have sent like over 250 letters and there is no excuse for ignoring 250 letters…I can't believe I did that." He felt bad about that, but not about ripping all my wounds open and confirming my worst fears.

"Well, you did. Now can you blame me for turning to others? You abandoned me. You came home for the holidays and you didn't want to know me anymore. You banned me from your room, a place I had sort solace from since I can remember. You changed, the games we played before we suddenly too childish, you were too cool for me. So eventually, I had to teach myself to need you less. It got to a point where I had convinced myself that I didn't need you at all." I shook my head. "I didn't need you if you didn't need me."

Damien sighed wrapped his arms around me and squeezed me tight. "I'll always need you, Pip." Damien whispered. "You're my baby sister." He stared at me but I closed my eyes, unable to look at him. I didn't trust that his wasn't just another false promise. "I remember whenever you used to have a bad dream or something had unnerved you, you used to crawl into my bed in the middle of the night, if Scorpius had slept over, he would come to as he slept mostly in your room because he thought a monster lived in his wardrobe." He laughed. "Do you remember?"

I did. Scorpius had his own room at our house but when we were little, he hardly spent any time in there. He preferred my room. Until I did the same thing to him as Damien did to me and banned him from my room. Once again, someone hurts me so I hurt someone else. It's a twisted version of pass the parcel. I remember Scorpius crying at my bedroom door after a terrible nightmare and I still refused to let him in my room. Instead, I just held a pillow against my ears to drown out his wails. That very morning after, I unlocked my door and I found Scorpius fast asleep on the landing outside my door. Guilt washes over me. I couldn't talk. I was no better than Damien, in fact, I think I am a lot worse. It was a big deal when someone had hurt me but I had forgotten about the misery I had inflicted on others.

Oh my gosh Scorpius. I am…sorry. How do you not hate me? Because I do.

"Yeah, I remember." I choked, utterly disgusted with myself.

"I would wake up to find you both fast asleep, normally one of you would be drooling on my pillow and I used to feel so lucky that you two existed in my life.

"And how do you feel now?"

Damien thought about it for a moment. "I still feel same...I just forgot I felt that way. It got buried under crap that I realise doesn't even matter anymore. You petrified me tonight." He ran his fingers through his hair. "You really did...I'm sorry for what I said, I lost my temper…I didn't mean it."

I unwrapped myself from his arms. "Yes, you did." I breathed in deeply. I was tired, so tired and I have reached the end of the rope and it is time to let go. His words have pushed me too far. Reminding me of what he had inflicted when I had forgotten was something I just could not forgive.

It was time to let go. It was too much to bear. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Loving Damien was just too painful.

"I'm done with you Damien. I am no longer your burden, I no longer exist to you. I have problems, I know but I can't help them." Damien stood there, utterly stunned, tears had started to drip from his eyes. A huge part of me was proud that I had made him cry. It was nice that someone was crying about me rather than me crying about them. Another part of me was ashamed. "I'm going to go to someone who doesn't put up with me out of duty." I didn't ask him to take my pain as a personal insult. Damien didn't know me at all because if he did, he would know that I hated being the centre of attention. The very idea made me want to vomit.

Damien hates people being angry at him, I hoped he would think of this moment and be filled with regret for the rest of his life. He deserved that much.

My name necklace felt heavy around my neck. When I was born, I received a present from Damien. A gold necklace that spelled out Pippa in swirly handwriting encrusted with peridot around the letters which is my birthstone as I was born on August 20th. It seems my nickname was decided before I even entered the world. For five years, it stayed in my mother's jewellery box until I begged her that I was grown up enough to have it in my possession and not lose it. My mother agreed, exhausted from my begging. She placed it around my neck, it hung loosely on me then but now sits comfortably around my neck. She told me it was a sign of my brothers love for me. I hadn't taken it off for 11 years, it was one of my most precious possessions along with my thick, chunky, golden locket that sits above my necklace. Scorpius had given it me for my 13th birthday. It had a snake made of emeralds on the front and peridot encrusted around the edge of it and on the back it had my initials. Inside, he had put a picture of him and me when we were about eight. We are laughing together as he tries to twirl me before we both end up falling over, crashing into the grass. The other side had a picture of me, Emilie and Cassie grinning. I had replaced that with a picture of me and Cassie. I am scowling because I didn't want my picture taken but Cassie kisses my cheek, throws her arm around my shoulder, whispers a dirty joke in my ear and I end up bursting out laughing.

Those two possessions mean everything to me.

But I think it is time to give one up.

I couldn't stand it. It felt wrong. But I had to do it. I couldn't bear that every time I looked into the mirror, my necklace would be mocking me. Damien didn't love me. Not the real me.

I reached around my necklace to undo the clasp and Damien shook his head.

"No, Pippa, please don't do this." He begged me. I had reduced him to begging. I should've felt great but I felt awful. This was not how I wanted things to end up.

The necklace felt so wrong in my hand and my neck felt naked. I looked at my beautiful necklace once more, trying to imprint it into my memory forever. I reached over and opened Damien's clenched hand. I stuffed the necklace into his hand and wrapped his fingers around it.

I looked up and stared at him before turning away. My final look. "Goodbye Damien." I whispered as my heart hammered against my ribs as I walked away. I heard him screaming my name but I didn't turn back. I couldn't. If I stayed any longer, I would fall apart and forgive him. My stitches were already frayed. I couldn't take anymore.

I ran out of the common room, not bothering to say anything to James and Fred.

I ran until I got to the Slytherin boys dormitory and I quietly entered it. I walked over to the boy who had always accepted me and poked him roughly in the shoulder.

"Pippa?" Scorpius mumbled sleepily.

"Move over."

Scorpius shuffled over to make room for me in his bed. I climbed in and wrapped the blankets around me tightly.

Scorpius opened his eyes and stared at me. "Why are you crying?"

"Because everything has gone to shit."

"Tell me." He encouraged softly.

"Damien told me that I was crazy, that I always will be. That I'm really difficult to put up with. He said a lot of stuff. I told him that I was done with him. Forever." There already felt like a piece of my heart was missing. "My parents want to put me in therapy, I think I'm losing my mind and Cassie betrayed me too."

"What she do?"

"She kissed Damien."

"Oh." He said so softly that I almost didn't hear it.

"I don't know what to do."

"Screw Damien, ignore everything he ever said. He doesn't get to decide who you are, you do." Anger was laced in his words. It was always weird when Scorpius got angry. It just didn’t seem right. He was sunshine and sunshine doesn’t get angry."And Cassie? Forgive her."

"Why should I?"

"Because she might have messed up but she does love you. You're everything to her."

I sighed.

"Be the bigger person Pippa."

"I can't. She is taller than me, I suppose I could stand on a box?"

Scorpius attempted to glare at me. "You know that isn't what I meant."

"I know."

For a while, everything was silent.

"Scorpius?" I lay on my side to face him.

Scorpius opened his eyes sleepily. "Yeah Pippy?"

Just this one time, I won't moan or tell him off about that stupid nickname. Just this once, he can call me Pippy and I won't shout.

The words were hard to say but I forced myself. I had to know. I need to understand. "Why don't you hate me? I know I would hate you if you had done half the things to me that I had done to you and-"

"-Shhh." Scorpius whispered. "Let's have none of that. I could never hate you, you're my family." He grinned and I smiled weakly back. "Even if you can't see it, there is a lot of good in you despite everything you've ever done. I will always see the good in you. You try to ignore it or sometimes I think you forget, so I decided a long time ago that I was going to be the one to remind you of it when you get a little lost."

Out of all the people in my life, he deserved these next two words so I took in a deep breath and whispered them into his ear. "Thank you." He looked so happy then. His face lit up like it does when he is in a sweetie shop. "I'm going to try to not be so rubbish to you in the future."

Scorpius gives me hope.

He doesn't deserve any of the things I say to him.

"I don't care, the point of loving someone is to love them when they least deserve it because that's when they most need it…or at least that is what my mom told me and I think it's true. I know you don't mean half the things you say anyway. You'll always have me...you've started to let me in again and now that I'm in, you ain't shoving me out again, so do your worst." He kissed my forehead. "Now get some sleep, we're going home tomorrow." He said, full of excitement, despite him proclaiming to love all holidays equally so none of them felt left out, I knew Christmas was his favourite. "Also, remember, tomorrow is a new day. Things will get better."

I tried to believe him but I felt like my past defined me.

Scorpius quickly fell back asleep and I just lay there, listening to his breathing.

Everything was still messy but in that moment, I felt a sense of peace. I felt safe. Scorpius made me feel safe. He always did.

If Scorpius was around, I would never be truly alone.

I realised in that moment how lucky I was to have this stupid, loving boy as my family. I couldn't have been given better. Scorpius, the boy who cries at romantic films that I just laugh at, who is afraid of horror films but watches them with me anyway in the cupboard with the secret tv. The boy who is afraid of heights, who loves me no matter what was the strongest person I knew. I knew I wasn't easy to deal with and Albus, being his best friend can't be a smooth ride, yet he put up with us without complaining at all. He must have got down about it all occasionally but he fought against it with smiles, being positive and love. It is a lot easier to give in to the darkness than it is to fight against it.

Maybe that is why Albus and Scorpius were friends. He needed someone to remind him that he too, was not the person this demons told him he was. Occasionally, you just need someone to tell you you're not as awful as you think you are. Even though I couldn't imagine that Albus had any good in him, I knew Scorpius believed the opposite. He believed in chance after chance, that there was a way out of the mess you had created for yourself. That you may be chaos in human form, prone to ruining everything around you, riddled with scars, lost and broken but you could always be saved.

Staring at his face reminds me there is good in the world.

Even my darkest days and thoughts are no match for the blinding light that is Scorpius.

I don't believe that another person can fix you. I believe you can break people but not fix them. Though I do believe that you can help and encourage someone to try to put themselves back together. A person can hand you the thread to stitch yourself back together but you've got to be the one to make the stitches. You save yourself or you remain unsaved. You can't rescue a person who doesn't want to be rescued. It has to come from you in the end.

After a while, I fell into the most peaceful slumber than I had in a long time. Even Damien's words couldn't touch me when Scorpius was next to me. His words will haunt me for the rest of my life but just for tonight, I didn't allow myself to think of them.

I woke up alone. I rolled over expecting to see Scorpius but his space was empty. I sat up, suddenly feeling cold.

There was a note on the pillow.

Dearest Pippa,

I left you sleeping because I know you haven't slept much lately. I'll see you later at breakfast. Remember that today is a brand new day.

All my love,
Scorpius.


I folded up the note carefully until it couldn't be folded anymore.

"Hello my little kangaroo."

His voice made me jump. I turned to find Albus sitting on the edge of the bed that was next to Scorpius. His lips curled into a horrible smirk. He wasn't wearing a top and I adverted my eyes. His hair was messier than I had ever seen it. It seems that even monsters get bed hair. I guess that is nice to know.

His eyes were wide, the dark circles were even worse than before. He stared at me with an expression I couldn't quite figure out. There was some disgust there but the other emotions were lost to me.

For some reason, I found him to be one of the most beautiful things I had ever laid my eyes on.

I hated myself for that.

I unwrapped myself from the blankets and climbed out of bed. Reading him was impossible because he was capable of anything. He was someone you couldn't predict. His heart was cold. He was cold. But his soul still manage to set me on fire. I should ignore this though, I was being stupid. It is like falling for the devil and expecting him to act like an angel. I feel sorry for the person who ends up loving him. I will not be that girl because Albus doesn't know how to let people in. He is not the falling in love kind.

I looked up to find him looking at me with his beautiful, evil eyes. Albus bit his lip as his face scrunched up in anger.

"Why the fuck are you wearing that?" He sneered with a clenched jaw. "Did my brother give you that after you fucked him?"

I gave him a cold look. "Yes. We're also getting married tomorrow, you're not invited." I answered sarcastically. I shook my head as I walked over and stood in front of him. "What the fuck Potter? What's the matter with you?"

He tugged on the jumper pulling me close. I rested in between his legs. My body meshed against his. "Off." He muttered angrily as he tugged at the jumper and pulled it over my head. Albus then chucked it across the room before looking me up and down. "Much better."

I rolled my eyes. I felt my familiar need to escape consume me but I ignored it.

"Why aren't you running?" He was confused. He expected me to freak out but I was pretending I was calm. It seems I still have some of my acting skills. Awesome.

I opened my mouth to confess because he understands. We are made from the same things. "Everything has lost the plot, Damien said I was crazy and that's all I'll ever be. I replied with telling him that I was done with him and I think I am for now… Cassie kissed Damien most probably when I was taken out of school last year because my...something used to…" I couldn't say it.

Albus stared at me before frowning. "I know."

Of course he knows. Everyone knows. It was the biggest gossip in years. I had forced myself to forget and I despised Damien for making me remember. My heart hurts to think about Damien.

"I need to forget." My mouth was dry.

I expected him to reject me, to laugh at me but instead he surprised me. He always surprised me.

He sighed softly to himself before he clutched my jaw with both of his hands, pressing his poisoned lips against my severely chapped ones and drained the life out of me. His poison seeps into my bloodstream but I liked that as there are things inside me I need to kill. Kissing him felt so natural. He pulled me softly onto his bed so that I was on top of him. "We're fuck ups...and that's wonderful." He whispered against my neck, in between kisses. "Embrace it. Embrace being human. " His words seduced me. No more pretending. His words could easily kill me but his touch brought me to life. It would be the most beautiful form of death that existed. After all, all of us are doomed anyway. I thought about his words, no more hiding the monster I am. We could be monsters together, creating havoc. Oh, what an utterly stupid thought. But my mask always seems to slip in front of him until I get a hold on myself. Truly though, there was no need to being fake, even though I occasionally thought that maybe Albus was almost himself but I knew I was wrong. The boy had secrets but then again, so did I until my secrets tumbled out, one by one. I had seen so many multiple personalities from Albus that I wasn't sure which one was the real one. I'm not even sure that he knew. He had lost himself within his parents shadows.

His lips were charring my skin. I ran my fingers across his chest and that's when I noticed the bruises on his hip. A few bruises were scattered across his chest and a feeling that I wasn't expecting rose within me; jealously. Albus was seeing someone else and the thought of someone else touching him made me sick to my stomach. I would have to bury these emotions, they're dangerous. I kissed him harder, desperate to remove her, whoever the hell she is and leave my imprint on his lips so when she next kissed him, he would taste of me. I bit and I scratched, leaving my mark upon him. Try to explain that to the girl you're most likely sleeping with Albus. He just gasped before connecting my lips back to his. "Fuck." His voice was raspy as his arms slithered across my waist to bring me closer before his hand moved through my hair. I hope it doesn't get stuck. My hair is kinda knotty. Like me.

Am I too much for you? Because oh my god, you're too much for me.

It was odd. The time I felt most human was when I was doing something terrible and this was the most awful idea. But yet, I couldn't stop. I couldn't pull myself away.

His kisses dulled the noises in my head. I forget the world exists. The world revolves around us. I almost taste tomorrow in them but that was just the power of a brilliant kisser. You think they're promising the future but they are just looking for the next best thing.

His lips move away from mine and I glare at him but he pays no attention to that and grabs my wrist and stares at me for a while. I wondered what he thinks when he looks at me. I hope it is horrible things because I couldn't bear it if it wasn't. I was coming back to my senses. "This didn't happen, okay?" I choked before he bites my lip, nibbling on it.

"Obviously." He mutters against my lips before chuckling. He kissed me like he was starving and I was his sustenance. But I knew I was one of many. This fact didn't matter when I was kissing him. I forgot all others that came before me.

My heart beats widely against my ribs. It exists. It lives.

I am alive after all.

"I still hate you." I had to say this. This was our routine. The only way I am able to cope with the fact that Albus and I kissed is if I know that nothing has changed. I kissed so roughly that he'd know that it was true. "I fucking hate you." I whispered as I pulled away and stared blankly at him.

Albus had a wry smile on that stupidly alluring face. You can't look too long otherwise you'll fall into his orbit and never want to leave."I hate you too." He hummed against my lips before trapping my lips with his. His kisses sting and it is wonderful.

I pull away first, I can't get addicted to his kisses, I would never survive. Albus removed his arms and I climb off him. He watched my every move. I picked up the jumper that Albus had thrown across the room. I folded it slowly and placed it on Scorpius' bed. I figured Scorpius would give it to James. I didn't want to give it back as James had witnessed my vulnerable side and I was embarrassed.

I left the room without saying goodbye. We may have kissed but I still didn't like him. I walked slowly towards my own dormitory. I had a lot of things to do, I had to transform my appearance into a girl who had got it together. Otherwise I would get moaned at by my mother. I didn't have to pack much. I had most of the things I needed at home. I just hoped that Damien remembers to get Lucie into his cage so we can take him back home.

I entered my dormitory and walked over to my bed. I pulled out an emerald green dress that nipped in at my waist and fell to my knees. It was one of my mother's favourites. Then it reminded me of someone's dead eyes so I threw it back into my case.

I stared at it for a moment before taking it out and folding it perfectly. Instead, I took out a deep purple dress with a stupid full skirt that fell down to my ankles. My mother buys my clothes so she must have thought I would look decent in it. My mother dresses me like the stereotypical princess. It is no wonder nobody takes me seriously.

I sighed, feeling so frustrated with myself. I hated the fact I had to have everything in order. Any other person would have left that dress scrunched up.

But I am not that person.

The emerald dress stared at me so I slammed down the lid of my trunk so I didn't have to look at it anymore. Soon as I got the chance, I will set it on fire and watch it burn.

I picked up the brush and started to brush my hair.

Bloody tangles.

This is going to take ages.

"You didn't sleep in your bed last night." Cassie spoke softly and it pissed me off. I had been snapping at her, over every little thing yet she hasn't bite back. That's what made me angry. I hadn't even noticed she was in the room.

Maybe I am an angry little individual.

Scorpius voice rings out in my mind.

Forgive her. Forgive her. Forgive her.

"I slept in Scorpius' bed." I said coldly but I instantly cringed afterwards. I looked at her. She still looked like my beautiful best friend.

"Pippa, I don't know what to do anymore. You're so angry at me and I don't know what to do to make you forgive me." Cassie pleaded. She tried to grab my hand but I pulled it away. Her touch made me feel dirty. Those hands had been on the boy who had tried to destroy me with his words last night. Her touch was covered in betrayal. I also wondered whether she could smell Albus on me.

I sighed. "I just need to know why."

"Because I'm a fuck up," Cassie bit her lip to stop her from crying. "I was so angry with myself that I hadn't noticed that he was abusing you. So I did something stupid to fill the hole that you created when you left. I tried to destroy the shame that lived inside me." Cassie ran her fingers through her hair as I seized up. I hated the word abuse. I had heard it many times but every time it is uttered, I feel like I am being stabbed in the gut. "I missed you, I couldn't cope without you."

"I had no choice. I tried to fight it but my parents weren't having none of it."

"I know. I don't blame you for leaving but I need you so badly, it was hard when you went away." She whispered.

"I know." I breathed in deeply. Scorpius may be stupid most of the time but he gives good advice. I had never took his advice but there is times when I had wished I had. "Tell you what. I'll try, okay? That is the best I can do." Cassie nodded and had a small smile on her face. "Just might take some time."

"Okay." She squeezed my hand and this time I forced myself to not let go. I couldn't lose her. She was my Cassie. I was her Pippa. That was a given.

"I fuck up too, it's okay. Mistakes are what make us human...supposedly or at least that's what my aunt says." I shrugged. "She can be such a hippie at times."

"Your aunt is awesome."

"I know."

She gave me Scorpius.

We stood there silently until I whispered, "I still love a boy who destroyed me."

"He didn't destroy you," Cassie smiled sadly at me. "You're still here, living."

There were many times that I wished I wasn't but now, I'm not so sure.

"I need to get ready." I sighed. "Oh, by the way, I'm an only child now." I turned to leave but Cassie grabbed my arm

"What the hell?" Cassie stuttered before staring at me. Her eyes finally settled on my neck."Where is your necklace?"

"I gave it away, I didn't want it anymore."

"It seems the whole world exploded when I was sleeping…what has happened?"

"Do you think I'm mad?"

"Only in the good way."

"Crazy Pippa, that's me apparently…and it's probably true. I almost drowned myself last night because the voices in my head would not shut up. I didn't want to, but I am so weak Cassie and I couldn't take another moment listening to them."

Cassie wrapped her arms around me. It was weird because we had never been one for hugs. I hated them because of germs amongst other reasons and I wasn't sure how Cassie felt about them. Our relationship never needed them, I used to be so sure about our friendship. Cassie and I had never even uttered those three little words to each other. Not in the good times and never in the bad.

"You're strong Pippa, you need to believe in yourself more, one day at a time and you're not crazy. Your illness doesn't make you crazy."

"He said I was hard to deal with."

"Who isn't?"

"I don't know how to deal with him and make him not hate me. I don't know how to make him happy…so I cut him out. Was that wrong?"

"No, you're not ready for the drama that Damien brings."

I am not ready for a lot of things but things happen that I cannot control. So I'm cracking.

I pulled myself from her arms. "I have to get ready, I've got to look perfect." I won't accept anything less.

I have to convince my parents that I am fine. A little white lie.

"I'll do your make up?" Cassie offered and I nodded. Her makeup skills were superior to mine. At home, I convinced our house elf Maude to help me. At home, I had to look my best, stand up straight and be a proper little lady.

It was exhausting being so fake, but that is the story of my life.

It took a while for me to get ready. Poor Cassie had the job of turning a person who hasn't bothered about their looks for a while into Pippa who is fine and coping well. Make up covered up the sleepiness nights and blusher helped me look alive. My hair was brushed, something I had not bothering with lately. I didn't care what I looked like. It only mattered to get through the day. I was in my school robes, my dress was packed into Cassie's trunk so I could change into it on the train.

"I'm starving." Cassie muttered as we headed to breakfast. "I think today is a pancake day…and lots of toast."

I thought maybe I'd try to eat today. Even if it did taste like cardboard to me.

We entered the great hall and headed straight to the Slytherin table where we grabbed a corner.

I filled up my glass with orange juice and took a sip. I could nearly taste it. I forced myself to take a gulp of it.

I picked up some toast and chewed on it. I wasn't in the mood for eating but I forced myself to eat a slice.

Cassie had a mound of pancakes on her plate and she grinned at me. "Prepare to be amazed by the pancake eating machine."

I rolled my eyes at her. Cassie just laughed.

I scanned the great hall for Scorpius. I wondered where he was. His note said he'd see me here.

Instead of Scorpius, I found a sight I didn't want to see.

Nathan Morgan was talking to Lily.

Lily looked traumatised. Her horror was written all over her face and she was trying to hide her hands but I could see that they were shaking.

For some reason, I had stood up.

For some reason, I was walking towards them both.

For some reason, my fist was clenched around my wand.

"Step away from her otherwise I'll hex you Morgan."

I wasn't sure why I was acting like a Gryffindor. I just knew that I saw a little bit of Lily in me when I was younger. Lily didn't deserve to have her heart broken. She was such a happy character that it was almost irritating. I knew that Lily would eventually be fine, as she was that sort of person who healed from traumatizing experiences, where I have a wound that festers. I remember the times I used to wish for someone to come and save me when I was in trouble.

She still a rare innocent. She has gotten into my affections without me realizing. It was utterly disgusting.

"Calm down Philippia." Morgan spoke to me, his words as smooth as honey. He smiled at me, there was something in that smile that I didn't like. It was forced. It wasn't real "We're just talking."

I looked at Lily who couldn't meet my eyes.

"And now you're done talking." I stepped in front of Morgan, blocking him. He wouldn't get any closer, I wouldn't let him. "Come on Lily, want to have breakfast with me and Cassie?" Lily swallowed a lump in her throat before nodding unable to look at either of us. Even if she had said no, I would have dragged her out of this situation by her hair. "Good." She stood up. "Morgan, if I catch you anywhere near her again, you will regret it." I was surprised with how much anger was in my voice.

Morgan didn't say anything but just raised his eyebrows as we walked quickly to the Slytherin table. Cassie now had an empty plate and was scanning the food, wondering what to eat next.

"Lily is sitting with us." I announced as I sat back down. Lily choose to sit next to me.

"Welcome to the cool table!" Cassie smirked and Lily let out a small laugh, it seemed as soon as she was removed from Morgan's presence, life started seeping back into her.

I chewed on my cardboard toast for a little while, not even jam had made it better. I could barely taste the jam even though I had heaped on loads.

"Are you excited for the holidays?" Lily asked before spooning a large pile of porridge into her mouth. Some of it dripped down her chin which she quickly wiped with her hand despite a napkin being right next to her bowl.

I really am going to catch a disease one day from being too near this girl.

"Yes." Cassie answered.

"No." I muttered, thinking of the fresh hell that awaited me when I got home. I have disowned my brother and I will be forced to spend time with him because of my stupid parents renewal, which by the way will be a fiasco of the highest proportions.

"Come on Pippa, you've got the wedding!" Cassie teased.

I glared at her.

"My family has been invited to that you know, I think we're definitely going." Lily smiled but I squirmed as horror rose in me.

Albus would be there. He would be at my home, my place of refuge.

As if that day wouldn't be bad enough.

"What? Why?" It came out a lot sharper than I intended.

"Our parents are friends Pippa." Lily reminded me but it was new information to me as I had never paid attention before. "Because of you know, Damien and James being best friends for like seven years?"

"Oh."

I tried to call upon some hate for Damien for making friends with James but I couldn't. I just was flooded with this cold, empty feeling.

"What's wrong?" Lily was unable to hide the hurt from her voice and I was suddenly hit with an emotion I despised; guilt.

I sighed. "It's not you Lily, it's someone else." For some reason, I didn't want to admit that I had a fucked up relationship with her brother. I kept it all to myself, not wanting to admit it exists. I would admit to the fighting if I was forced but never to the kisses that we had shared. That was our secret though I hated that we shared a secret at all. I could never explain what was going on between me and Albus because I could barely explain it to myself.

Lily opened her mouth to respond but she never got the chance because at that moment, Scorpius turned up, humming a tune that was far too happy.

"Good morning!" He grinned, "I see we have a guest," Scorpius sat down next to Cassie. She smiled at him, unable to resist that stupid goofy grin of his. "Welcome to the Slytherin table, my dear Hufflepuff."

Lily snorted. "Thanks Scorpius."

I looked across the table to find him staring at me with those eyes that I used to get lost in. He was smirking at me before he raised his goblet, mouthed cheers at me and took a sip. A chill went down my spine and I shivered.

"Pippa?" Lily's voice brought me out of my daze, when I looked again, only an empty seat remained.

I was going mad. My thoughts couldn't be trusted.

"Pippa?" Lily repeated and I turned to her. I was trying to hide the fact that I was worried I was losing my mind but I failed. Lily looked at me, worry etched on her face. It didn't suit her at all. "Are you okay?"

It took me several moments to find my voice. "I'm fine," I whispered. "Just went in a daze, what's going on?" Everyone at the table knew I was lying but nobody decided to pull me up about it. Which was lucky for me, I knew if I was questioned, the truth would come spilling out and everyone would worry about me.

Cassie cleared her throat. "Lily has invited you and me to a sleepover in the holidays, I said we'd be happy to come." She said it so firmly that I knew any arguments would be useless. I was going, whether I liked it or not.

I shrugged. "Sounds good."

I should have signed up to stay at bloody Hogwarts for the holidays.

Then Albus appeared, throwing himself into the chair next to Scorpius. He said nothing and didn't look at any of us. He didn't even bother to make a comment about Lily sitting at our table.

"Morning sunshine!" Scorpius said cheerily.

Albus just glared at him and chewed on his toast. The sleepy eyes, the circles underneath his eyes gave me the impression that Albus was struggling to sleep lately.

The group broke into mindless chatter about nothing in particular, Albus didn't say a word and I only muttered a response when needed.

It was soon time to get into the carriages that allows us to escape this place. I looked at the thestrals pulling the carriages, I found them utterly beautiful. I lifted my hand and stroked the head of the thestral that would be pulling our carriage before I climbed in. Lily had decided to stick with us, despite the weird looks she got.

It was quiet in the carriage, I just stared out of the window. I wondered whether I'd be able to survive this holiday without losing the rest of my crumbling sanity. My thoughts were being loud. Too loud. It took all my effort to silence them.

Once arriving at Hogsmeade station, we boarded the train, grabbing a compartment. Lily still had not left us and I really did not know why. The feeling of the need to destroy the friendship that was forming between us surfaced but I knew I couldn't. I hated myself for being so weak. My heart didn't have space for her, yet she was forcing herself in anyway.

I sat by the window, Lily by my side, Cassie by hers with Scorpius and Albus across from us.

I wonder what Albus thought about me. I knew I was just a game to him but I wondered how far he would take it...and how far I'd let him.

I just stared out of the window for most of the journey. Scorpius went off to a prefects meeting and Albus followed him.

Once they had left, I pulled my dress from Cassie's trunk, pleased to find it had no wrinkles. Cassie pulled the zipper up for me on the back of the dress and I looked the part of Pippa who is coping quite well with life.

I breathed in deeply. I was nervous about seeing Damien again. I wondered whether he would seek forgiveness or if he would be cold. Maybe he didn't want anything to do with me anymore either. I didn’t know if that would break my heart or make me happy.

The train arrived at Kings Cross and we stumbled out onto the platform.

Cassie looked around trying to find her parents. I couldn't see mine anywhere.

Cassie looked at me and smiled. "I'll write to you, a lot. I wish you'd get a telephone though! So much easier!" I almost smiled at the thought of my parents reactions if I bought a telephone home.

"As if I'll ever get one. You should get hooked up to the floo network, now that would make life easier."

Cassie laughed before shaking her head. "You know that's never going to happen."

Cassie didn't even have a fireplace in her house but I don't think the network would hook up her mostly muggle household anyway.

Cassie reached out and squeezed my fingers. "See you in a few days."

I nodded as I watched her hug Lily before strolling off to find her family.

"Anyway, I better be going."

I was about to walk away when Lily grabbed onto my sleeve. "Wait! Come meet my parents properly…please? I've spoken about you a lot to them but they've said they've never really spoken to you." She took my arm and I just stared at it. I wondered whether I'd her feelings a lot if I yanked it back.

I wondered when I started to care about her feelings. It irritated me because caring about her was giving her the power to hurt me and I had been hurt enough for a lifetime.

It didn't take long to find Albus and James standing near their parents. Albus was scowling and James was hugging his mother.

"Mom, Dad! This is Pippa." I shuffled uncomfortably. I had gone out of my way to avoid these people. "She's the best! This morning Morgan tried to talk to me but he didn't get a chance to before Pippa was there, threatening to hex him if he ever came near me again."

I didn't know whether I was supposed to be proud or ashamed for threatening someone so I just shrugged like it was no big deal. I couldn't read her parents. Standing before the great Harry Potter, I was nervous as hell.

Lily let go of my arm and and turned to me."Thank you for earlier. I just froze and…you know, you understand." She smiled. "It means a lot to me. Not many people would bother."

I was filled with a strange warmth and affection for the girl.

"Anytime."

And the strange thing is, I meant it.

Then I did something that was so unlike me, an action with no thought behind it.

I kissed her forehead.

Oh crap, I shouldn't have done that! She's going to think I like her or something. That were friends. My life is over and my reputation is in tatters.

I am also going to die of the plague or something.

Lily looked at me in pure shock, her fingers trailed up to the spot on her forehead where I had kissed.

She grinned at me.

Then she squealed.

I instantly put my hands to my ear and flinched. "Oh gosh, I think I'm deaf." I muttered as Lily tackled me and wrapped herself around me tightly.

Well, I'm never going to be able to get rid of her now am I?

I stood there still as a statue, I wanted to move my arms but they stayed limply hanging by my hips.

I still couldn't bring myself to hug people back. This would have been okay, if Lily wasn't such a hugger.

I glanced at James who just smirked at me. "You brought this on yourself." He laughed and I glared at him.

Lily still had hadn't let go. This was getting ridiculous now.

"Oh Pippa." She mumbled in my ear. "I was worried you didn't like me."

I wanted to tell her that disliking her was impossible. I didn't want to like her but I couldn't really find anything to hate about her.

"Lily, are you going to let go anytime soon or do I have to take you home with me?"

Lily laughed as she let go. "Sorry Pippa,"

"It's okay."

"Your hugs still suck by the way."

"Baby steps." I said softly, hoping she would get my meaning. One day, I may be able to hug her back but it seemed that I wasn't ready yet. Affection still made tense up. Being touched made my skin crawl a lot of the time. He used to hug me after he lost his temper, pretending he was sorry as I tried to smile through the pain that he had caused. Hugs are ruined for me right now.

Lily nodded before turning back to her parents. "Mum, Dad, I've invited Pippa around for a sleepover in the holidays, I hope that's okay. I've also invited a girl called Cassie too. You'll like her."

Mrs Potter or Ginny as she is otherwise known looked at me warmly. "That's great!" She grinned. She actually seemed happy about a grandchild of a Death Eater entering her home. "You're welcome to come around anytime Pippa." She grabbed my hands and squeezed them for a moment to show that her words were actually genuine.

"Thank you." My voice was faint. "Anyway, I have to go, Mother doesn't really like waiting around. " I rambled. I really don't know why I'm telling them this. "So I have to go, if you ever get bored Lily, just come around the house for a visit. You're connected to the floo network right? Just yell Nott Mansion and you'll be there."

Why the hell was I offering her to visit my house? I am an idiot. It is like my brain isn't connected to my mouth.

Lily's face brightened. "Will do, I'll owl you with the details for the sleepover and of course, I'll see you at the wedding."

"Okay." I turned to Mr and Mrs Potter. "It has been lovely to meet you. I will hopefully see you soon." They can say a lot of things about me but I have good manners when I can be bothered. I took classes on manners. I'm a pro. "Goodbye." I waved to them all before walking off to find my family.


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The Human Factor : The One Where Things Are Mended And Broken

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