She laughed a light cheery laugh that didn't fit the tension she was radiating.
I sighed, “What’da yuh wan?” I mumbled turning my head to the all too familiar voice.
“Well considering you’re in my bed I could ask you the same thing,” she said with that stubborn edge to her voice, this could be a long night.
“Normally that would be a good point but this isn’t normally and you are supposed to be at school and I’m broken and was put here so technically no it wouldn’t make sense for you to ask that - so what’d yah wan?"
She laughed more freely this time and I found myself smiling with her. She was clearly worried about me, I probably should cut her some slack, but then again, I didn’t kill her for waking me up – so consider her slack cut…or whatever…
“You know you’re lucky I haven’t killed you yet. You never wake a sleeping Potter.”
“Haha, yeah I’d like to see that.”
“Well if you keep bugging me you’ll have front row tickets.”
She laughed teasingly, “That the best you got?"
I sighed. “Chels, why are you here?” I asked all kidding gone.
She sighed, “I wanted to report back a few things.”
“And this couldn’t have waited two more days?”
“Hell no. Good, bad, annoying as Hell?”
I smiled, yeah, ‘cause she had to ask. “Annoying as Hell.”
She smiled, “Slytherins. Seriously Sirius already beat up a few so we wouldn’t have to. But urgh, they’re driving us crazy. It’s even worse than before – and that’s saying something. I mean they’re just so smug. They can’t wait to talk to you,” She stopped to glare at me for refusing to tell her what happened. “It’s weird, Snivellus is with them now?"
I nodded, “Since Christmas.”
She tensed but continued, “Lily’s pissed at him, kind of funny really, she’s researching curses to cast on him – and even better yet – she’s actually casting them!” She laughed remembering something I wish I could see, “It’s hilarious, though I suggest you leave her alone for awhile – I doubt she’d think twice about putting some of the less cruel on yah.” She laughed again as she switched Snivellus to me. “But yeah, the Slytherins are annoying as Hell and Sirius told me to tell you that that’s why they didn’t come with me – they have detention all week – though they let them off the day you come back. And it was soo worth it! He sure can be cute when he’s complaining...” She laughed some more, though this time I’m sure it was to cover a blush. Who’d of thought Chelsea would fall for Sirius? Hmmm… that would be ME!
“Okay,” she said calm and business like again, “Good or bad?” She asked only to be polite she knew which one I’d chose.
“Marauder’s haven’t talked since the day we got back from the hospital. Proving that I was completely right about all you’re problems which reminds me, we, as in all of us, have to talk about that night sometime, ‘cause we saw a lot,” she eye me admiringly, “I never thought – How long? How?”
“Er, fifth year.”
She nodded, “I would’ve guessed then, the whole school was on edge waiting for the prank that never came. You guys never spent that much time in a library ever.” She laughed, “You know, ever since then, Lily, she’s been, er…”
I looked up interested. She was clearly torn between two loyalties.
“Er, let’s just say, she has a greater respect for deers. If you know what I mean.”
“And you better not mess it up.”
It was my turn to laugh.
“What you mean is: I better not mess up bad as me messing up is pretty inevitable don’t yeah think?”
She laughed to.
“But how was this news bad again?”
“Oh.” I fucking hate that word. “Forgot,” I added so it didn’t sound as stupid.
“Once you guys talk it out you better come and get us ‘cause we’re dying of curiosity.”
“Curiosity killed the cat,” I said without thinking and instantly remembered Richard. I have to visit him next available weekend.
I forced a smile, “No bad questions or rubbing it in our faces or asking about any circumstances other than what we tell you?’
“Aw come on…”
“Nope, that’s the conditions.”
“That or nothing?”
“Well than okay.”
“And the good news?”
“Right, well we’re still going to kick Slytherin’s asses! Heather’s been doing really well. Yesterday I even caught her training on her own. She’s working really hard and is really getting very good… Not nearly as good as you – of course – but good enough.”
I forced a smile on my face that was good news yes, then why the hell was that bugging me more than the bad news? Wasn’t I supposed to be happy that they’d be just fine without me? Wasn’t this just what I was hoping for?
“That’s great!” I said forcing my voice into one of the best faked cheerfulness I’ve ever done, and you know it’s would’ve fooled anyone but her.
“Nobody can replace you James.”
“That’s not it, it’s just, this was supposed to be good… I was hoping for it… but now that it’s here… It’s just… I don’t know…so final.”
“What is?” She asked in a carefully calm voice that didn’t fool me – she knew what I was talking about.
“Chels, I think my Quidditch career has come to an abrupt end.”
“No.” she said stubbornly, “Come on James, you’ll be fine by next year! It’s nothing! You’re the best chaser, the best captain we’ve ever had. You cannot give up on us.”
“I’m not giving up, I’m giving in,” I mumbled. Must she make this so hard?
“Same fucking difference.”
“Chelsea! Yeah, maybe I’ll be better by next year, which mind you is overestimating my patience and healing powers while underestimating the death eater’s determination and skill. I’ll get hurt again. And now I’m more vulnerable than ever. It’s in my blood! They won’t stop till I’m dead and consequently I am going to get hurt at the very least. I can’t keep letting the team down. I can’t keep calling Heather in to help us out. You need a team that is fully reliable, a team that aren’t being hunted down, players that are more likely than not going to live the year out without an life threatening injuries or experiences. You know I’m right, Chels.”
But she wasn’t going to accept it. Not yet.
“James you’re being ridicules. And you know I’m on there with you but I’m not giving everything up am I?”
“You weren’t there… They’re pissed…But anyway I don’t want to fight this out with you. Nothing’s decided; I still have till summer, but just don’t bet on me playing.”
“The team needs you,” she begged, “and not just because you’re an awesome play or ‘cause you’re an awesome captain; but because you’re you. When you’re not there everything’s different. We need you.”
“And nothing’s decided my ass. You wouldn’t have said anything if you weren’t sure.”
“You’d know even if I didn’t tell you.”
“Well it’s different when it’s said,” she said sadly.
See I knew she already knew.
“Chels, come on, we’re talk about this later.”
“That you better bet on.”
I smiled nervously. That’ll be fun.
“I should go. Lily’ll be pissed if she finds out I went to see you. See yeh around.”
I nodded and watched her cross the room and jump out the window.
Not even moments later the door opened and Aunt Monica came in with a steaming soup bowl in her hands and a scowl on her face. Yeah I’m in shit.
“Chels sneaked in, I had nothing to do with it”.
Yeah that was mature.
“You’re really going to let them death eaters force you out of Quidditch?”
“It’s not like that,” I tried lamely, “I mean… I’m not going to – I’m – It’s… It’s not fair to the team and especially not to Heather. The team needs a chaser that isn’t going to be out half the season. And it’s just not fair to have Heather work so hard to fill in for me then kick her off then ask for help again.”
“It’s in my blood. It’s who I am. I’m destined to be a chief Auror who heads the most dangerous of missions. I might as well accept it now and get it over with.” I crossed my arm stubbornly.
She sighed and sat down beside me, “James, who you are isn’t decided for you. Being a Potter doesn’t destine you to a high ranked Auror with millions of people after. You always have a choice. You can be whoever you want to be. You never were like your parents. Not to say you weren’t a skilled fighter, because you are among the best, but I could see it in your eyes, that it scared you. How great you could be, you never wanted that. You just aren’t ‘that guy’ and that’s okay.”
I adverted my eyes awkwardly. For not being here very often, she sure does understand me.
“James, don’t give up on your dreams to make others happy. I’m sure Alaster will get over himself. You don’t have to be an Auror if that’s not what you want. You don’t have to give up something you love over this.”
“But it won’t stop them coming after me.” I wasn’t going to lose without a fight.
The hesitation said it all.
“And I’ll always know stuff I shouldn’t.”
“Yeah,” she said defeated.
“And I’m going to be lucky if I survive next year.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“But it’s… Urgh! I can’t not be an Auror!” I said quickly getting away from where she was going.
“And why not?”
“It’s a waste of talent.”
“James, what happened?”
So in an effort to prove my point I told her what I told Mad-Eye, just with fewer details. She was a good audience, gasped at all the right times, paled at the close calls, clenched her hands into fists when they cheated… And I wasn’t sure if it was making me feel better or worse. Obviously I proved my point – but this was a debate I didn’t want to win.
“Oh,” she said when I finished my story, then realizing what she said quickly added, “James, I never denied you were a talented kid. I’m not going to say what you did isn’t a big deal ‘cause it is. But you can’t let someone, no not even yourself, force you to do something you don’t want to do. You could be a Healer and use your talent in a different way…”
“Forget it Mon, It’s a lost cause.”
But it is a good idea…
“It’s only one if you make it so.”
“Look being a Potter isn’t easy,” she said meaningfully. “And being a Potter and an Auror is even harder. You have no idea how much it hurts me still how much you and Chelsea were forced to grow up in such a short amount of time. You have no idea of the torture when Voldemort went for a roundabout way of hurting us by taking you. I wish there was some way to shield you from that pain, but it’s impossible. So you better make sure you’re doing what you love ‘cause you’re going to need the comfort of it.”
And she makes a comeback.
“You don’t want me to be an Auror?” I was completely amazed.
“You grew up taught to always use your head and to never lose control of a situation; to always be thinking up a backup plan in case something goes wrong. And as much as you hate it, it’s been drilled deep into your head. What I want is for you to forget it. I want you to listen to your heart rather than your head. I want you to go after your dreams and take huge risks. I want you to be happy in a way I never could be and if that means not being an Auror, than yes, I don’t want you to be one.”
I hate that word with a passion.
She nodded, “But here, you better eat this before it gets cold.” She handed me the soup bowl and stood up. “I’ll be down in the kitchen if you need me.”
“Kay.” She never was one to hang around after a heart to heart.
It never fails to surprise me with how much she understands me with the littlest of hints. I guess it makes sense though – she was me. I was her.
What changed? Even half a year ago I would’ve been proud to be an Auror along with my parents and their friends. It would’ve been the best thing that happened to me. But now – the thought of it makes me sick. Something’s wrong with getting praised for killing someone, no matter how bad they were. I killed Philip Organ. I’m the reason Ralph Organ is dead. Urgh, it thought I’d feel good knowing I had killed my parent’s killer. Thought revenge would be sweeter.
“I had to kill him though, he would’ve killed me,” I whispered to myself.
I shook my head.
“You were outta control. You couldn’t of not killed him and you know it. There was no stopping you. And that’s what’s changed, you killed someone and,” I lowered my voice even more, “and you were never more out of control, and you liked it. You liked the power it brought just as much as it disgusted you. You don’t want to be in that situation again.”
Urgh! Why was life so goddamn complicated all the fucking time? Why was there never an easy decision? Why did even the littlest of choices have to backfire at me? Why couldn’t I be a regular person raised by regular parents with regular jobs in a regular world? Kay, so that was a stupid question, I hate normalness with a passion, but you know, some is a necessary. You know, maybe I am ‘that guy’?
Yet for that at least I knew Aunt Monica was right; I’m definitely not him. But then who the hell am I?
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