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Seer by RoxyRose

Format: Novella
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 23,414
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Rose, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing, James/OC

First Published: 03/28/2010
Last Chapter: 04/24/2013
Last Updated: 04/24/2013

Summary:

I was told over and over how lucky I was to have fallen in love with my best friend. That we were the perfect couple. That we would be together forever. I believed it.

But I’ve ‘seen’ my wedding. 





He wasn’t looking at me. “Who?” He asked. “Tell me.” 

“Not you…” I whispered.


banner-.brookeabee/TDA


Chapter 1: I
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Chapter I


-

He wasn’t looking at me. “Who?” He asked. “Tell me.”
“Not you…” I whispered.
 

-




My name is Renee Cook. And I am happy. 


If asked to describe themselves in one word, not many would choose the word ‘happy’. It’s a big shout, I suppose, isn’t it? To describe yourself as completely and utterly happy? 


But that’s how it was for me. I guess, in a completely cliché way, you could say I had it all. I wasn’t perfect. Far from it. I got good grades, but never the best. I had a lot of people care about me, but I wasn’t the most popular. I wasn’t butt ugly, but I wasn’t a beauty queen. 


That’s the thing, really. You don’t need perfection to be happy. I was happy with my lot. I was happy with my average-to-decent grades, my close circle of friends, my floppy hair that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be blonde or brown, my butt that would deceive me by looking reasonably shapely on some days but just plain wobbly on others. Most of all, I was happy with my boyfriend. My Mr Perfect. 


“What’re you smirking at?” Christian (read: Mr Perfect himself) asked, suspiciously. 


“I’m not smirking,” I informed him, cheerily, “I’m smiling,” 


“Any particular reason?” 


“Other than it being my birthday?” 


“Uh-huh. Day of birth doesn’t allow excessive smiling. What’s the reason?” 


“Do I need one?” 


“Unless you want Vector to send you for a calming draught, probably. He looks concerned.” 


I toned down the smiling a little and focused on the translation we were supposed to be doing, “Maybe I just really like Ancient Runes,” 


“Maybe that’s why he’s concerned for your health,” Chris suggested idly, reaching for my hand absently across the table while he jotted down some notes. 


I watched him concentrate for a moment, a bit of a crease forming between his eyebrows as he focused on whatever the hell he was writing. 


Ordinarily I wasn’t one of the those girls that stares dreamily at her boyfriend, pondering just how lucky she really is etc, etc. I mean, I loved him and everything but it had been three years. We’d gotten over all that sappy stuff aged fourteen so now… well, I guess we took each other for granted. 


It sounds a bad thing, but it’s not. Of course we took each other for granted. Because we knew we always could count on each other to be there. Chris was my constant. He had been long before we were together, even. My best friend, turned boyfriend. Two of the most important roles in my life played by one person. 


So of course, we were passed the vomit-inducing stage of staring dreamily into one another’s eyes and overly abundant public displays of affection (to the relief of our friends). 


But still. That didn’t mean that sometimes I didn’t look at him and just… really look. Not just seeing my Chris. Seeing the intense blue of his eyes; the straight line of his nose; his mouth, so ready to break into his cheeky, boyish grin; seeing his lean, confident strength… 


Of course, he felt me looking. 


“What’re you looking at?” He asked, without looking up. 


“Nothing,” I replied, innocently, averting my eyes back to my work. 


“You’re weird today. More than usual.” He informed me. 


“Oh thanks, you charmer, you,” 


“Ren.” He squeezed my hand, “What’s up?” 


Oh holy hell. See what I mean by ‘we’re not usually the sort of couple that stare at each other’? Or even look at all, apparently. 


“I was just looking around,” I said, “And my eyes happened to fall onto you, my boyfriend, for a couple more seconds more than usual. Is this an issue?” 


“Why are you smiling?” Bloody hell, he was not going to let this go. 


“Because it’s my birthday! Because I’m happy,” I said, half mocking but half irritated. “Aren’t you happy, dear?” 


He grinned at my bared teeth. “You make me happy. Dear.” He mocked me right back, but held my gaze for a second longer than necessary, conveying the truth behind the petty banter. 


Smiling, I lowered my eyes, “That’s alright then,” 


“Hey,” He tugged on my hand. 


I looked up. 


“Happy Birthday.” 


It was my turn to stare suspiciously at him now. His smile was too secretive. He had something planned. He always did. He loved birthdays – well, anytime to spoil anyone – but was completely useless at keeping secrets. Usually he’d be bursting to tell me for weeks before, so Rob and Luc would have to physically restrain him. It was a full-time job. 


I don’t know why he was bothering with the pretend-I’ve-done-nothing act. He knew I knew there was something going on. Last year it’d been a huge surprise party in the evening, so that was a possibility. Although it wasn’t very Chris-like to do the same thing two years running. And the year before it’d been one of every single item sold in Honeydukes because of my ‘indecisive nature’, as he’d called it. Before that it had been a string of surprises including Quidditch tickets, an agreement to take me shopping (despite his hate for the activity – probably a little to do with my indecision) and smaller things from the earlier days of our friendship. 


Always a big gesture. Always horrifically difficult to match up to when it came to his birthday. Sometimes it was a bit of a drag having such a wonderfully original and imaginative boyfriend. Like last year, when I’d been completely stumped for what to get him so ended up inviting him skiing with my family. Not such a treat, really, when you consider it a week spent with my Dad pointing out enthralling things like interesting birds, my older sister Harriet complaining day and night about the cold, and my younger sister Chelsea as usual showing no social boundaries and asking him five hundred and twenty questions about his life story. Not to mention, being a pure-blood, he’d had difficulty even grasping the concept of throwing yourself down a mountain on two planks of wood. 


It surprised me, sometimes, that he did actually love me. 


Point was, it was nearing the end of the day and he’d still not told me what it was. 


Perhaps he actually hadn’t got me anything. Perhaps he thought that, after three years, we were past such grand gestures of love. To be honest, it’d be a bit of a relief. It was beyond my mental capacity to keep up with him. 


But nope. We were on the way to our next class when he stopped me. He’d always walk me halfway to Divination before turning and heading outside for Herbology. This time he pulled me to a stop besides the tapestry on the fifth floor. 


“Ok,” He pulled it aside and backed into the passageway behind it, “I can’t wait any longer.” 


I narrowed my eyes at him in the dim light. It was lit only by a mounted lantern, casting a warm, orangey glow. “I knew you were the one acting weird.” I said, adding, “Weirder than usual. And then you go and accuse me of acting strange -” 


He shrugged, sheepishly, “I thought you might guess,” 


I smiled, “I promised you I wouldn’t look. Back in third year.” 


“I know. And I trust you.” He assured me with a grin, before chewing on his lip, agitatedly. 


I stared, “What?” 


“Ok,” He said, “I just… I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I don’t want to scare you or anything. I just…” 


“You’re scaring me now,” I said, a little anxiously. Chris didn’t do nervous. 


“Sorry. It’s not scary. I promise. Just… here,” He pulled out a small, gold box from his pocket, “Happy Birthday.” 


Well, this was a lot smaller than previous presents. I suppose, after the skiing shenanigans, he was making more of an attempt to even the scores. 


“Chris, what…” I took the delicate little box, suddenly even more apprehensive. Little packages didn’t always mean little present… 


“Don’t worry, it’s not an engagement ring or anything,” He said, hurriedly, as I opened the box, “I just saw it and… thought of you. I just thought it was pretty…” 


A ring. Not an engagement ring, I was fully assured. But a ring. A beautiful ring. A thin gold band with a cluster of small pearls set in glittering – 


“Christian!” I said, sternly, “This is ridiculous, I -” 


“You don’t like it?” 


“No, I love it. It’s beautiful but -” 


“Exactly. Beautiful ring for a beautiful girl,” His cheeky grin told me that he was fully aware of the cheesiness of that statement. 


“But it must have been so expensive…” 


Chris always worried me with how far he’d go with presents. With his father being fairly high up at the ministry, he had access to far more money than he ought to and his father would never deny his only son anything he wanted. It was a wonder that he’d turned out the selfless, generous prat that he was rather than a spoilt little brat with the upbringing he’d had. 


Only problem was, there was no way I could match up to a present like this… 


“Not an issue, Ren,” He gently took the box from me and eased the ring from the groove in the cushion where it sat, “I know you worry about that sort of thing, but just humour me, will you? Here,” 


He took my hand and went to put the ring on my finger, seemingly oblivious to the obvious parallels. 


“No, Chris,” I took my left hand away, “That’s my wedding finger,” I gave him my right hand, trying not to let it shake. 


“Oh. Right.” He didn’t seem to give one about the connotations and slid the ring onto the fourth finger of my ring hand, instead. He grinned and kissed the finger, “There. Beautiful.” 


I couldn’t help but smile back. His face just did that to me, “You shouldn’t have.” I told him, seriously. But I couldn’t help my eyes keep darting back to it. He was right. It was so beautiful. 


“But I did,” He said, reaching for my other hand and pulling me close to him, “And you can never refuse a ring from someone you love. That’s just cruel,” 


“I’m not refusing it,” I lifted my arms to put them around his shoulders, “I’m just informing you how silly and irresponsible it was.” 


“I wanted you to have it,” His arms slid around my waist, “That’s all that matters.” 


I rested my head on his chest. I wasn’t going to bring up the fact that I could in no way whatsoever afford something like that for him. It was a tired old argument that he just couldn’t comprehend, and even now to me it just sounded petty, overdone and ungrateful. 


“You spoil me,” I said, listening idly to his steady, strong heart beat. 


He smiled into my hair, “Maybe a bit,” 


“I’ll turn into a bratty little princess, if you’re not careful,” 


“No you won’t,” He cupped my chin and lifted my face, “You’ve got Harrie and Chelsea to put you in your place,” 


“So unfortunately true,” 


He laughed and tilted my face up to lightly kiss me, “I love you,” 


“I love you too. A lot. And thank you. A lot,” 


“Not a problem, Princess,” He grinned as I pinched him in mock anger. “We should probably get to class,” 


I followed him out from the passageway into the main corridor, which was now rather empty. “Chris. Thank you,” I traced the smooth shape of the pearls. 


“Don’t mention it,” He insisted, and with one more kiss made his way outside. “Happy Birthday!” He called behind him, leaving me to make my way up to the North tower with a sappy smile on my face. 


“Miss Cook, you are late,” Professor Trelawney announced as I made a crappy attempt to sneak to the back of the room. 


“Sorry!” I called with a bright smile. 


“Do settle down,” She replied, with a swish of her shawl. 


“How do you manage to get away with that?” My best friend, Roxy muttered as I sat beside her. 


“Ah,” I replied, mystically, “We with the inner eye have an innate understanding…” 


“Bollocks to that,” Roxy retorted, and shoved the crystal ball in my direction. “Here. You can give me some sort of answers other than the stupid fog I see,” 


See, I wasn’t exactly lying about the inner eye thing. Alright, I’m not exactly cut out to be some sort of a famous seer. I’ve never had any independent visions, anyway. Roxy reckons it’s because I’m at least half-sane, and Chris reckons it’s because with a best mate like Roxy who’s so down-to-earth she’s half-buried, I don’t have the freedom. To be honest, after an hour with Trelawney, I’m sort of more in agreement with Roxy. 


But anyway. What I can do is be kind of freakishly accurate with a crystal ball, tea leaves, reading the planets, whatever. Most mediums I’m presented with, I can use. It does Roxy’s head in. But she’s a good friend (and a good bull-shitter) so she’s stuck to Divination with me for the past four years. 


Chris, however, dropped it as soon as he received his ‘P’ at OWL level. He said it freaked him out, seeing me making these predictions that would later come true. He was right. It bloody freaked me out. Especially at the beginning, when I had no sort of control over it at all and would end up prediction very personal things. I saw Chris asking me out before he worked up the guts. I saw our first kiss, our first row. I saw him break his ankle falling from his broom. 


And the worst part is that there seems to be nothing I can do about it. 


I did try. Alright, I wasn’t going to stop the good things. But the row I saw Chris and I having – I tried to avoid the topic. It came about anyway. And I warned him about the Quidditch injury. He promised to be careful in the match – it happened in training. 


So, like I said, it could be pretty freaky. I didn’t like it. I, like Chris, was ready to drop the subject after receiving my ‘O’ at OWL level. But Professor Trelawney stopped me. I was adamant, at first, that I was sick of seeing things happen to the people I loved and having no control whatsoever over it. But she helped me develop the ability to kind of control what I saw. At least a little bit. 


See, I’d generally see things vaguely to do with what was on my mind. When I saw Chris asking me out, it was because I was impatient with wondering when it was going to happen – it seemed obvious enough to everyone else, as Roxy many a time informed me. When I saw our first kiss, I was anticipating it. When I saw the row, it was because that particular issue was on my mind. When I saw him fall from his broom it was because I always worried about him when he had a match. 


Professor Trelawney encouraged me to keep my personal life far from my mind when I was ‘delving into the future’. If I focused more on trivial things, and never my friends, my family, Chris… then it was more likely that I wouldn’t see them. 


Well, I’ll admit that I’d been tempted to cheat when it came to birthdays. But Chris had come to the same conclusion back when I’d first discovered my talent and made me promise not to look. And the same went for his birthday. I couldn’t even take a quick peak into the future to see what pathetic idea I’d come up with. It was only fair. 


But, anyway, it worked. For the last two years I’d seen nothing more interesting than the weather for the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend. Boring – yes. But stressful – no. 


I wiped my mind blank, as was my usual preparation for using a crystal ball, and focused on dinner. What was going to be served for dinner, that was a safe one. And also vaguely interesting. It was going to be my birthday dinner, after all… 


“Oh my God!” Roxy’s voice broke through my consciousness, “Ren! What is that ring?!” 


It was too late. Her words registered just as I delved through the fog in the crystal ball. There was no time to wipe my thoughts, no time to block it out before… 



It was a sunny day. I could see that because the sun was reflecting blindingly from the dewy grass and my white, floor length dress. 


White dress? 


My father was beside me, mouthing words I couldn’t hear and smiling indulgently. 


Roxy was there. Roxy, Harrie, Chelsea; gathered around me. And behind them, another two girls. I couldn’t quite see them behind my sisters, just the sun glinting from two red heads… 


The ‘me’ in the ball was ushered around and the girls around me ordered into a line in front of me, ready to… 


An aisle. An aisle between rows and rows of wooden chairs all facing the front. All facing… 


A wedding. My wedding. 


It must have been because Roxy had shrieked about my ring, she’d interrupted me! Now I’d connected ring with wedding and… 


Oh my God. My wedding. I was seeing my wedding. 


Chris… 


I looked forwards, around the girls lined up in front of me. Roxy, Harrie, Chelsea… the red heads, whose faces I still hadn’t seen. I craned my neck to see Chris. My boyfriend. My fiancé. My husband… 


Two men were stood at the opposite end of the aisle, facing away from me. Chris and his best man. Who would it be, I wondered, Rob or Luc… 


No. 


The backs in front of me weren’t Rob or Luc. In fact neither of the men before me had Rob’s cropped brown hair style, Luc’s shaven head or… 


No. 


The two heads in front of me were dark. 


Where was Chris? Where was the brown-gold head I was looking for? 


No.


It wasn’t Chris. This was my wedding. It wasn’t Chris. 


I was being ushered forwards, down the aisle. 


It wasn’t Chris. 


I could see the band begin to play and heads turned towards me. All head began to turn including…
 




“NO!” 


In one instant I threw the table away from me, stood up and backed up into the table behind. 


“Ren!” Roxy exclaimed in a hushed voice into the silence that followed my outburst. 


“Miss Cook!” Professor Trelawney flitted over to me quickly, “What did you see? Something unsettling? Tell me about it, dear -” 


“No,” I shook my head frantically, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t… I’m sorry I just -” 


“She saw a spider,” Roxy announced, putting an arm around me, “On the desk. She’s terrified of them. Don’t worry Ren,” She assured me theatrically, “You’re ok. It’s gone,” 


“Ah,” Professor Trelawney seemed utterly disappointed that I hadn’t seen something tragic, “Never mind, dear. Just try again in your own time…” 


When the rest of the class had resumed their own conversations, a few furtive looks thrown in my direction, Roxy demanded an explanation. 


“Well?” 


I realised I was still breathing heavily, “Thanks for the save.” 


“Whatever,” She dismissed with a wave of her hand, “What did you see?” 


“Who the hell is even scared of spiders? Everyone’s going to think I’m completely pathetic -” 


“My Uncle Ron. Cries like a girl if he sees one. Hilarious. Stop changing the subject. What did you see?” 


When I tried to breathe in it sounded dangerously like I was going to cry. 


“Ren,” For once Roxy’s voice became gentle, which meant she was genuinely concerned, “Was it awful? Do you want me to get Chris -” 


“No,” I shook my head, quickly, “Don’t get Chris,” 


“I know he hates it when you see bad stuff, but he won’t be angry that you made a mistake this once. If you’re upset he’ll want to know -” 


“I saw my wedding,” I said, quietly. 


That stumped her, “You saw… BLOODY HELL!” She yelped. 


“Rox, ssh!” I hissed, as her exclamation caught the attention of a few people. 


“Sorry,” She lowered her voice to match my own, but her eyes were flitting between me, the crystal ball and my hand. “Fuck! Christian proposed?” 


“No! Oh God, no,” I said, hastily, waving my ring-bound hand, “This… this was a birthday present. We’re not… it’s not -” 


“Oh, but he will,” Roxy seemed, now, unruffled. She gestured to the crystal ball, “He must do. And besides, everyone knows you two are meant to be. I just didn’t think he had it in him to ask you this soon. You know Mr Sensible, I thought he’d have his million pound salary sorted before he offers his life to you -” 


“Stop saying it like he’s already asked me! He hasn’t -” 


“Yeah, but he will! You’ve seen it -” 


“No.” 


“And why are you so shocked by something you surely expected all along… wait. What?” 


I swallowed, “I didn’t see… mine and Chris’ wedding,” 


Roxy blinked, “But you said -” 


I widened my eyes, willing her to understand. I wasn’t sure I could say it aloud. 


“- Oh God. It wasn’t… It wasn’t Chris?” She lowered her voice even more, as if he was going to hear her all the way from the greenhouses. “But Ren, you… You two are perfect, you… It wasn’t Chris?” She repeated. 


I mutely shook my head, biting my lip. 


“Fuck. Then who?” 


“I don’t know,” I whispered, “I couldn’t see… just the back. The hair. The dark hair.” 


“Dark hair.” Roxy echoed, looking around the room as if my future husband were about to step out from the shadows and announce himself. “But Chris…” 


I shrugged, helplessly. 


“Fuck, Ren. You and Chris are meant to be together forever.” 


I shrugged again. 


“You just always… It’s always been you two.” 


Again. 


“What – or who – the hell is going to be big enough to break you two up?” 


Well.


That was precisely what I wanted to know. 















A.N. 


Hi! So this just popped into my head and I thought I'd get it down while I'm having this painful block on my other stories (don't worry, I'm fighting through it). 


What did you think of Renee and Christian? And Roxy? And the mysterious groom...? Any ideas? Basically, is it worth carrying on with? 


Thanks for reading, please leave a review!


Rx.


Chapter 2: II
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Maybe… maybe he just dyes his hair,” I offered, lying flat on my back and staring up at my bed hangings, “That must be it. It’s a perfectly reasonably explanation.” 


“Why in hell would Christian dye his hair?” Roxy was pacing the dorm. As if she were the one who’s whole life (to put it dramatically) had been thrown off balance. 


“I don’t know. Maybe I tell him I like it like that.” 


“Do you?” 


“Maybe. I don’t know. No.” I screwed up my eyes, “Why? Why did I choose to specialise in something as clear and informative as a fucking crystal ball? Why didn’t I choose tea leaves? Tea leaves never tell you anything of interest in any detail. Tea leaves are safe -” 


“I think we’ve just got to come to terms with it, Ren. You just… you and Chris just aren’t meant to be,” She began idly picking up various items from the floor and throwing them into the air, juggling. It wasn’t odd for her to be doing something like that. She had the natural co-ordination you think only exists for international athletes. Well, to be fair, she probably was heading in that direction. Maybe I’d Look one day, and see. 


No bloody way. 


No more ‘looking’ for me. Not now, not ever. See what it does? Disrupts? Yeah. 


“Just a couple of hours ago you said we were!” I pointed out, “Everyone does…” 


“Yeah,” One of the items she was concentrating on juggling was my shoe, I noticed. How she managed to juggle and carry out a conversation was beyond me, “But you saw it. You saw yourself marrying someone else. How often are you wrong?” 


I ignored the rhetorical question. “Yeah, but I was thinking… I never saw the actual wedding. You know, the whole ‘I do’, ‘you may now kiss the bride’ part. Maybe I don’t marry Dark Haired Guy. Maybe it’s all some kind of a con for me and Chris… or maybe I was going to marry Dark Haired Guy but Chris comes in at the last minute and stops me -” 


Roxy fumbled a catch and let all the objects fall into a heap on the floor before sternly placing her hands on her hips and raising her eyebrows at me, “Have you been reading those trashy muggle romance novels that Harrie got you for Christmas?” 


“That is besides the point.” 


“You really think that things are going to be screwed up enough for you and Chris to need to come up with some elaborate con for reasons unknown?” 


Well, when she put it like that… 


“You never know,” I said, stubbornly. 


“Or, you reckon that you were going to marry Dark Haired Guy – I’m going to call him D.H.G. – you reckon you were going to marry D.H.G. but then Chris stops it? Well, honey, that still means that you were planning on marrying someone else anyway.” 


I sighed, “What’s your point?” 


“My point is that you’re finding excuses. From what you’ve told me, I think we can safely conclude that you and Chris aren’t forever. Not anymore.” 


There was a pause. 


“Ok,” I swallowed, “Fine.” It totally wasn’t fine. 


“So you just have to figure out what that means for you.” 


“What?” 


“You know. Knowing you’re not… well, not eventually destined to be together. What that means for you two right now. I mean, you still love him. Right?” 


I nodded. Of course I did. 


“And it’s not like you were exactly planning on marrying him. Right?” 


I nodded again. More slowly, though. 


Of course I wasn’t exactly thinking about marriage. I was eighteen, for God’s sake! I was still at school… I wasn’t ready to be thinking about marriage. 


Except… 


Except it was just sort of… presumed. Accepted, kind of. People just made the assumption that Chris and I – the perfect couple – were, as Roxy put it, forever. 


Except if there was anything in the world that my overactive imagination couldn’t stretch to, it was the idea of me and Chris ever not being together. 


Except, to have ‘seen’ that in the crystal ball today… surely I must have been thinking about it. 


It was the context, I told myself. It was the ring… he’d said himself ‘don’t worry, it’s not an engagement ring or anything’… he’d planted the seed in my head! And then the issue with the complete fool not realising which was my wedding finger… and then Roxy’s reaction… 


Of course I’d had marriage on the brain. 


Just not the marriage I’d been expecting. 


“Maybe it doesn’t happen,” I sat up, blinking heavily to get the image of the dark head from my mind, “I could be wrong.” 


“Ren…” Roxy shook her head. I knew as well as she did that ‘wrong’ wasn’t really an option here. ‘Wrong’ was just… out of the question. 


“Or I could change it.” I ignored Roxy’s second head shake, “I could. Maybe I’ve just never wanted to change anything this much before. And I’ve got more time… I can change it, I know I can -” 


“Ren,” Roxy repeated, sitting on the bed next to me. 


I ceased my prattling on. 


“You really want to marry Chris.” The way she worded it wasn’t quite a question. 


I shrugged, helplessly, “I don’t know. But I do know I’d like the option. I just… I’ve never seen that far ahead before. I don’t like it that that’s the only way things can be. It can’t be like that.” My voice broke towards the end, almost like I was going to cry. But my eyes were dry. 


Roxy put her arms around me, obviously startled that I was about to start bawling. “Honey I just don’t know what to say. This is all so… unreal.” 


“Yesterday all I was worried about was Chris going over the top with his present,” I said, my voice muffled by her shoulder, “This really is a shitty birthday.” 


“Technically…” Roxy said, tentatively, “This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but technically nothing’s changed for you and Chris. You’re right where you always were.” 


With her usually brash attitude, it was easy to sometime overlook Roxy’s keen intelligence. She wasn’t a Ravenclaw for nothing. 


“I preferred blissful ignorance,” I said. 


Roxy arranged herself cross-legged on the bed and rested her elbows on her knees, chin in her hands. “What are you going to tell him?” 


I blinked. “Chris? I’m not. I can’t…” 


“He knows something’s up. He asked at least three times if you were ok over dinner. He might even click that you’ve ‘seen’ something, you know. He’s not thick -” 


“No.” I shook my head, “He’d have asked. He doesn’t… he always used to tell me to be careful. Before every Divination lesson. But I haven’t seen anything in so long… he hasn’t warned me in so long…” 


“So you’re just not going to tell him anything?” 


“What’s to tell?” I reasoned, “I don’t want to terrify him with a nice ‘oh by the way seventeen-year-old boyfriend, I’ve just seen that we’re not getting married, just so you know’. You know how much he hates me Seeing anything to do with us anyway… let alone this. He’d run for the hills based just on the fact that I was even thinking about marriage…” I trailed off. 


Roxy was looking at me seriously, and sympathetically. “Ren. Don’t kid yourself. You know as well as I do that he’s going to be devastated.” 


Something in my midriff prickled at the thought that Chris would want that. That he’d want me… Then it died away. It wasn’t going to happen. 


I sighed. Why did things have to be so complicated? Served me right for all my stupid ‘I’m so happy and content’ thoughts. 


“I really do love him, Rox.” 


“I know.” 


“I just thought… I just…” I shook my head. “I don’t know.” 


“This probably isn’t what you want to hear but maybe you should just… forget about it. Look, you’ve had a perfectly nice birthday with Christian ‘Mr Perfect’ Macmillan, right?” 


I sighed, “Right.” 


“And you shouldn’t let something that happens how ever many years from now ruin that. Right?” 


“Something that might happen.” I corrected her. 


The look Roxy gave me said ‘don’t try and kid yourself you stupid bint’ better than her words could have. 


I respectfully ignored it. 


“Night, Roxy.” 


“Happy Birthday, Ren.” 




** 




Roxy’s ‘forget it’ plan was probably my best option. It was too much to think about – to get my head around. I fully intended to follow her advice. 


That didn’t mean I was going to escape dreams filled with flashes of my faceless D.H.G, flashes of an unfamiliar stony expression on Chris’ face, flashes of gold, pearl and diamond… 


“Sleep ok?” Roxy asked, as she arrived at breakfast. I got there early. No, I had not slept well. 


I gave a non-committing grunt and shrug that I could blame on a mouthful of yoghurt. 


She probably wasn’t convinced, but thankfully any interrogation was interrupted by the arrival of the other members of our little group – Chris, Luc and Rob. 


“How’s it feel to be eighteen and a day, Little Miss Pensioner?” Rob Willis swung himself onto the bench in his usual graceful, athletic manner. He reminded me of Roxy in the way that they both possessed that natural athleticism; that was kind of how our group had formed – Rob, Chris and Roxy played on the house Quidditch team together, bringing their non-sporting friends (me and Luc) into their little bubble. 


“Funny.” I said, through a mouthful of yoghurt. 


“Got your O.A.P bus pass yet? Ordered a pensioners saving deal at the chippy? I’ve heard you get 30p off…” Rob, like me, was muggle born and so none of the others understood his ‘hilarious’ jokes. 


“Got to hell, Robin.” I scowled. After my tossing and turning, desperately avoiding dreams involving D.H.G or that look on Chris’ face, I’d lost many hours of sleep. Therefore, wasn’t feeling at my perkiest. 


“Don’t listen to him,” Chris took the seat next to me and winked, and easy grin on his face. It made me relax a little. He was smiling, not that heart-breaking expression… “I happen to find the older woman very sexy…” 


“I’m two months older than you!” I protested, “Leave off with the elderly-based remarks, tossers!” 


“You’re the first of the lot to hit the big one-eight,” Luc shrugged, “It’s a big deal.” 


“I was the first to become of age too! And sixteen, and fifteen, and -” 


“And we make a big deal of it every year.” Luc pointed out. 


“Definitely growing up,” Rob said, grabbing my hand, yoghurt spoon and all, “Check out this rock…” 


I flinched as attention was drawn to my ring and snatched my hand away. 


Chris didn’t seem to notice my not-so-thrilled reaction, put his arm round my shoulders and whispered, “Looks perfect,” into my ear. 


I shivered and I wasn’t sure if it was because of his breath against my ear, his contented words or something else entirely. 


“I hear something,” Rob cocked his head on one side, “Oh wait that’s… is that bells?” 


Rob.” I said, my stomach churning. 


“It is,” He pulled a mock shocked face, “Wedding bells -” 


“Robin!” Roxy leapt to my defence, “Don’t be ridiculous you moron -” 


“Jesus, Weasley, I was only kidding,” Rob looked a little taken aback by her screech, “Ren knows I’m only joking, don’t you Ren? And Chris knows my views on the matter…” 


Chris threw a quick punch to Rob’s ribs, to which he theatrically recoiled into Luc, resulting in another pub and a quick scuffle between the three of them. The usual, really. 


Meanwhile, Roxy raised her eyebrows at me and nodded towards the dungeons, where we had our first lesson of the day, and we made our way across the hall. 


“Don’t let it get to you,” Roxy muttered, as we were out of hearing range, “He wasn’t to know. I mean, think about it as you would any other day. You’d have just laughed, right?” 


“Any other day the idea of weddings didn’t make me want to vomit.” I muttered back. “Hell, any other day I hadn’t given a second thought to my bloody wedding day, let alone been stressed that I wasn’t destined to marry my current, seventeen-year-old boyfriend…” 


“This is definitely one of the weirdest situations possible,” Roxy agreed, “’Sight’ or no sight. Not normal.” 


“Tell me about it,” We reached the dungeons and made our ways to our separate seats. Me beside the empty seat belonging to Chris, Roxy’s besides her cousin Lily. 


I blinked as Roxy took her seat next to her cousin, the flash of auburn hair was briefly vividly familiar… 


“You ok?” Chris arrived, swinging his bag onto the desk and blocking my view. 


I blinked again. Of course it was familiar. Lily Potter was in at least half my lessons. What a weird reaction. Definitely lost a lot more sleep than I realised.


“M-me? I’m fine,” I replied, breezily – stutter aside. I arranged my books into a stack and laid out my quill and parchment neatly. Perfectly normal behaviour… 


It was a practical lesson. 


Chris knew me too well. Well enough to look concerned by my obsessive arranging. 


“You’re not feeling sick again?” 


“Sick?” I echoed, dumbly. 


“Yeah. Last night at dinner you were a little quiet… I thought it was because of Rob and Luc getting the whole school to sing Happy Birthday to you but you were kind of quiet before that… “ 


“Oh. Yeah. I suppose I was feeling a little sick. And I didn’t sleep well last night.” I said. All the truth. I had been feeling nauseous last night, only it hadn’t been because of anything I’d eaten or from receiving the attention of the whole school. 


“Sucks. On your birthday.” 


“I’m ok now.” I said, cheerfully. 


Chris was still looking closely at me, “So Rob didn’t freak you out with the wedding stuff?” He lowered his voice. 


I felt the need to swallow, as if something were stuck in my throat. But I couldn’t, because then I’d look uncomfortable. And my lips felt dry, but I couldn’t lick them, for the same reason. 


“No,” I assured him, essentially lying through my teeth, “Don’t be stupid. Just Rob being Rob. I was just worried it might freak you out,” 


I wondered for a second how Chris, in my position, would have acted with the knowledge I had. Would he have reacted better than me? Would he have been more freaked out? My ‘ability’ definitely got to him more than it got to me, so maybe he would have been worse. 


But he probably wouldn’t have been even remotely thinking of marriage. Therefore, would never have seen it. 


Chris grinned in a relieved way, “Oh good. Nah, I’ve learnt to filter out Rob’s useless comments over the years. He was against me getting you the ring from the start, I’ve heard every kind of marriage joke under the sun in the past few weeks, I think. But I… I don’t know. I just didn’t think about that. When I saw it. I just thought of you.” 


We were both looking down at the delicate ring on my finger, the diamonds catching the eerie dungeon light and the pearls shining a misty green, as I twisted it around and around my finger. 


He ‘didn’t think about that’. Wasn’t thinking about marriage. But he saw a ring and thought of me. Didn’t that mean… 


I shook my head to stop myself going there. I couldn’t think about this stuff anymore. 


Chris covered my hand with his own to stop me agitatedly twisting the ring, and returned it to it’s correct position. I wondered if he could feel my hand shaking. 


He squeezed my hand and I automatically looked up, blue eyes meeting blue eyes. His still showed that little bit of worry. It made me want to tell him why I was acting so shifty. I always told him. Always told him everything. Maybe I should… 


“Sure you’re ok?” He asked, one more time. 


“Sure.” I shouldn’t tell him, “Of course. I’m fine.” 




** 




“I’ve just thought of another thing,” I said to Roxy. We were sprawled on my bed on our stomachs flicking through a Witch Weekly magazine. Although I’d agreed to go along with the ‘forget it’ plan, I couldn’t pretend that I was distracted by Tessie Tulips Transforming Tint nail polish any more. 


Roxy sighed, knowing exactly what I was talking about at once, “What?” 


“How do I even know it was me I was seeing?” I said, gaining excitement, “I never actually saw me either. It was like seeing it from the bride’s point of view. It could have been anyone -” 


“You said you saw me, Harrie and Chelsea as bridesmaids.” 


Bum. 


“Yeah but -” I tried to argue, nonetheless. 


“Ren. You know as well as I do that the only wedding I’ll willingly agree to be a bridesmaid for is yours.” 


It was odd to experience such a mix of responses to that statement. For one thing, it was touching that Rox was planning to forgo her strict No Dress policy for me, for another it was frankly hilarious to imagine her as a cheery bridesmaid, and for another it made my stomach drop to realise that she was right. 


“You have like a million cousins…” I was still trying in vain to make a feeble argument. 


“What, so Harrie and Chelsea are just going to gate-crash a Weasley wedding? Oh, and your Dad’s going to give my cousin away, is he? Look, you know I love your Dad but I’m pretty sure he’s never met my family -” 


“Ok, ok,” I sighed, “You’re right.” 


“Of course I am,” She shrugged, immodestly, “And you’ve just broken two of the fundamental rules of the ‘forget it’ plan.” 


“What rules?” I humoured her wearily. 


“Don’t talk about it and don’t think about it.” 


Bum. 


“Ok, ok.” I said, turning back to an article entitled ‘What sort of magical hair remover suits you?’. Thrilling. Really. 


It took approximately ten seconds for Roxy to lose patience and rip the magazine from my hands. 


“You’re still thinking about it aren’t you?” 


“Little bit, yeah.” 


“Renee!” 


“I wasn’t talking about it!” 


“You weren’t forgetting it either!” Roxy jumped up, discarded the magazine and agitatedly started doing some sort of complicated leg stretches. I took it, as I always did when she started doing spontaneous and unnecessary exercise, that it meant she was antsy. 


“Rox, I can’t look at my boyfriend without wondering what the hell splits us up! Of course I can’t forget it…” 


“So you’re accepting it now.” 


“I… what?” 


“You’re accepting that something splits you up.” 


“What? No! It might not, I mean -” 


“You just said -” 


“I don’t know what I think.” I rolled over and covered my face with my hands. “Maybe I can change it. I want to think I can change it.” 


“Because you want to marry Chris or because you don’t like your future being planned out for you?” 


I groaned at her shrewdness, “I don’t know.” 


“Put it this way,” Roxy said, “How would you have felt if you’d seen yourself marrying Chris instead?” 


Sometimes it's useful to have a perceptive best mate.


Sometimes it fucking sucks.









A.N. Hey! Thanks so much for the support for this story, even in the first chapter!  I was very pleasantly surprised. Now I hope this isn't a disappointment, it's not too action-packed after throwing you in at the deep end with the first chapter but it gets better! Promise!

Please let me know what you think... do Renee and Chris make you too sick? Being overdramatic? I can understand if you think that but the whole assumption about getting married even when you're that young... I've seen it happen! And to be fair to them it wasn't really a conscious expectation until they had to face it!

Thanks for reading, please review, or Roxy will karate chop you and Chris will cry.
Rx.


Chapter 3: III
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]




Roxy’s forgetting it plan was my best option. Of course it was. I was throwing myself into it with gusto – she would never hear me utter a word on the topic again… 


Unfortunately, since I had no one to whinge to and I wasn’t allowed to actively mull over the topic myself, I had to shunt the dreams (nightmares, if you will) to the back of my mind where I’m fairly certain they were going to drive me slowly and painfully insane. 


A predicament. 


But survivable. 


Therefore, it went like this. 


Roxy: “Good morning, Renee. How did you sleep?” I don’t know why Rox is a sickening sweetie-pie in my mind… this just goes to show the depths of my insanity. 


Me: “Wonderful, thank you. Shall we proceed down to breakfast and subsequently enjoy a thrilling day of lessons?” Unfortunately I did actually use those words one day. I then legged it into the shower before she could call me out on it. 


Today, anyway, I had a bigger issue on my mind. 


Today was the first Divination lesson after The Incident Of Which We Shall Not Mention. And I was a teensy little bit worried. Understandably, I’m sure you’ll agree. 


“You’re not eating,” Chris observed, at breakfast, eyes on my untouched plate of toast. 


I intended to politely pick up a piece and nibble on it to prove him wrong, even though I was sure it would taste of sawdust in my mouth but, like I said, the dreams and lack of sleep were driving me a bit nutty so… 


You’re not eating,” I retorted, raising my eyebrows at his empty plate. 


“I’ve… just got here…” He didn’t know whether I was joking or not, which was pretty amusing in itself, so proceeded to pile his plate high with all the things boys like to feast on after an hour and a half’s Quidditch practice. “See?” 


“You’re not eating,” I repeated. No food had been consumed, so he was not technically eating. 


He then decided that I was joking – quite frankly I had no clue whether I was or wasn’t, the lack of sleep had made me delirious – and stabbed a fork into a sausage and brought it to his mouth with a grin. 


I wasn’t going to allow him to win just like that so I snatched it from his fork at the last minute. 


“Not eating,” I repeated, then realised I was holding a greasy sausage in my bare hands so dropped it swiftly onto my plate. 


In my defence I was severely over tired. 


“If you wanted a sausage you could have just asked…” Chris said, a little bewildered that some of his precious food had been taken away. 


Rob overheard this and snorted into his porridge, loudly. “Oh God. Too many dirty jokes… which to choose…” 


“Oh Rob,” Roxy overheard and shook her head in faux sympathy, “Does it upset you that no one’s asked for your sausage?” 


“Does it upset you that no one’s offered you their sausage?” Rob retorted with a leer. 


“Roxy’s got her own sausage,” I interjected, just to shake things up a bit. 


My comment met silence. 


A faintly disgusted look passed over Rob’s face. “That’s just ruined several images in life for me.” 


Rob! You huge perv…” It was Roxy’s turn to look disgusted and she kicked him hard in the shins. 


“I meant it in the least perverted way possible! Of course I wouldn’t want to imagine you or Ren with a -” 


“Why would you imagine us at all?” Roxy screeched, her expression horrified. 


“Rox! I didn’t mean -” Rob tried in vain to defend himself. He probably knew it was too late. 


“So how was training?” I asked Chris quickly, so that I wouldn’t get dragged into the dispute to reprimand Rob on Roxy’s behalf when she became too infuriated to speak. 


As predicted, the shrieking increased in volume. 


“Average,” Chris said, not batting an eyelid to Roxy battering Rob with a teaspoon and Rob’s occasional yelps of pain, “I think we’ve been having too many sessions.” He looked pointedly at the battling duo. 


He had a point. We could always tell when they’d been practicing too much because it always ended up in a safe, teasing repartee between Roxy and Rob becoming a murderous row often involving teaspoons or other appropriate weapons. 


Chris reckons it’s because they can’t get away from one another. They were both beater’s on the Quidditch team, both in our same close group of friends and even ended up sitting together in most classes, being Weasley and Willis. 


I guess that was one option. 


My explanation was that they were too bloody similar for their own good. They were both the natural athletes – so with that came the natural rivalry and competition. They were both the sociable type who can’t bear being alone – they always need someone to talk to them or listen to their stupid jokes. They were both unreasonably clever behind the loud, jokey front – enhancing their ability to wind the other up. 


Of course, they had so much in common that, on one day, they could be the best of friends. 


Of course, on other days they’d clash – they were always bloody competing against one another. To be the better beater, to make the better jokes, to be the better friend, to get the better grades. 


Unfortunately for Roxy (or Rob, depending on how you looked at it) she always seemed to be more riled up by these…disagreements. It was the Weasley temper. 


I sighed as her face deepened in colour, turning a strange purple beneath her smooth golden complexion. “What do you reckon?” I asked Chris, “Intervene or leave them to it?” 


“What’s first class?” Chris asked, then caught my eye with a grin. 


“Runes,” We both remembered at the same time, “Leave them to it.” 


The Ancient Runes classroom was conveniently on the opposite side of the castle to the Arithmancy classroom, where our bestest chums would be headed. 


“Bye guys!” I called, in a fairly quiet voice so that no attention would be drawn to me, “See you at break,” 


“Nicely done,” Chris shook his head in amusement, “I’m sure they heard that whisper over Roxy’s wailing,” 


“I tried,” I shrugged, innocently. 


“I wonder…” A contemplative look appeared on Chris’ face as he absent-mindedly hauled my bag onto his shoulder along with his own and, with his spare hand, reached for mine. 


“Don’t strain yourself,” I took his hand, entwining all of our fingers as was the usual. It was a comfort thing for me, pressing our hands as closely together as they could. 


Often if we were lounging around in the common room or just lying in bed together I’d find myself sleepily playing with his hands; holding them, tracing the lines, fitting them together perfectly. I wouldn’t even realise until something I did tickled his palm or something and he’d twitch, making me jump. 


Holding his hand now, acting so normally with the whole dealing (or not) with Roxy and Rob thing, going to lessons as usual… it relaxed me a little more. Helped me with the Forget It plan really, and made it obvious, I think, that the vision must have been an anomaly. A mistake. Because there truly was nothing I wanted right then more than the love and comfort of Christian Macmillan. Nothing at all. 


I pulled myself closer to him as we walked, another thing I often did, holding our clasped hands up against my shoulder. He’d never really understood that – not that I did really – and often would comment on it, but right now his ‘wondering’ distracted him. 


“I wonder when the sexual tensions going to catch up to those two,” 


I nearly choked, “Pardon?” 


He laughed, “Come on, you don’t see it?” 


“They’re not… it’s not… it’s Roxy and Rob! They’ve always been… no! Why?” 


“Why else would they wind each other up so much?” 


“Because they clash?” 


Why do they clash?” 


“Because! Same reasons it’s always been. Too similar and too much time together.” 


Or because they want to fu-” 


“Christian!” I shushed him hurriedly, clapping my free hand over his mouth, “You’re the one who’s been spending too much time with Rob with ideas like that…” 


“Ren, Ren, Ren,” He shook his head, “So naïve…” 


“I’m not naïve,” I bumped him with my hip. It probably hurt me more than it did him. 


“Well it’s either that or you’re just extremely susceptible to Roxy’s brainwashing,” He said, knowledgably, as if that settled the topic. 


“Um, brainwashing?” We reached the Runes classroom and took our seats at the back of the room. It was a small class, just us from the Ravenclaw’s, two Slytherin’s, a Hufflepuff and four Gryffindor’s. 


Chris nodded, evidently pleased with his conclusion. 


“Explain.” I requested. 


He shrugged, “Come on. How many times have you had Roxy storm up to your room ranting about whatever he’s done to piss her off this time, declaring her undying hate for him, that sort of thing?” 


“A lot,” I allowed. 


“Exactly. She’s convinced you and herself that they’re never going to get along because she’s said it so much.” 


I stared at his slightly cocky grin that clearly said ‘I’m a genius’. 


“Or,” I suggested, “They really are just argumentative little shits who try and often fail to be friends. And you’re just reading into it too much.” 


“Or maybe you’re not reading into it enough,” He shot back with a sarcastic smile, not to be outdone. 


I had to repress my own smile. See, back when Chris and I were first… well, I wouldn’t call it dating, even. When we were first beginning to feel… uh, that way about each other but were both too stubborn to be the one to mention anything in case the other didn’t (we were thirteen, give us a break), that had – according to Chris – been my problem. 


Apparently I didn’t read into all those little things – the flirting, the arms around waists, the eye contact, the sad puppy-dog face whenever I spoke to another guy – enough. All the hints as to what he was feeling. 


Of course, he was wrong. I totally read all those signs – of course I did, I’d seen him work up the guts to finally tell me – I was waiting for it. 


But I had to pretend to be oblivious. Because, for one thing it was just plain weird that I’d seen that, and for another he hated it when I saw anything. Seriously. He hated it if I saw that he’d do well in an assignment, let alone something like this. I guess it was a kind of intrusion of privacy. 


Afterwards, when we figured out the whole ‘seer’ business, I’d had to confess about the whole thing. He asked me - I wasn’t going lie. But anyway, I’d told him and he’d, in typical Chris fashion, hated it. 


I attributed this to his dislike of being predictable – I mean look at the birthday thing. Never a predictable present in all these years. Chris was all about having the freedom to do whatever he wanted, to surprise people, to act impulsively… and all of that kind of went to waste on me. 


It surprises me, even now, that he still appears to like being with me. On paper I’m pretty sure I’m the worst match for him. Look at it – guy who likes to surprise, be spontaneous, be impulsive… and girl who can see it all coming. Complete waste. 


It wasn’t so bad, I guess. Could have been worse. At least this stuff only works for me through mediums, like the tea leaves and crystal balls. If I was one of those seers that could be attacked by a prophecy at any moment, or had those big prophetic dreams… well, I don’t think I could have handled it. Chris certainly couldn’t have handled it. 


He didn’t show it a whole lot, but he must have struggled over the first year or so of our relationship. Going to all the trouble for all these romantic gestures - because that was the Chris way - just to know that I’d probably seen it happen before he consciously planned it. 


Must have been a relief when I figured out how to stop it and he could actually surprise me. To be honest, I preferred it this way too. 


Definitely. 


“I still think you’re wrong,” I whispered, half-way through the lesson. Running it through my mind – Roxy and Rob – it just seemed more and more ridiculous. Sure, they were both so similar it should work, and they were both probably smart enough to know that. And they both had eyes – therefore Rob could see Roxy’s dark, sassy beauty and I knew for a fact that Roxy had at times observed Rob’s considerable six-pack. 


But they were also both smart enough to count the number of times they clashed per day. That wouldn’t be healthy for any relationship. Chris and I very rarely argued – about anything important anyway. Chris was so blasé and confident about everything in life that very little annoyed him at all, and me… I’m just not the confrontational type. 


“Am I though?” He shrugged and smiled infuriatingly to himself without looking up. 


“Yep.” I replied. 


Am I though?” The smile widened. 


Yes.” 


“We’ll See,” He stopped his pratting around upon hearing my mock-annoyed tone of voice, “Or, well, you might. I guess. Hey, maybe you should allow yourself one sneaky look just to settle this.” He chuckled. 


“Don’t be stupid,” I snapped, instantly. Then I immediately felt bad. I hadn’t meant to say it that quick, or that fervently. It came out in panic. In guilt. In worry about this bloody next lesson I had. The one after this. The one where I would be required to look into the same stupid ball that, oh, just ruined my life for me. That sort of thing. 


This did drag Chris’ eyes up from his work. “I was only joking, Ren.” 


I know.” I still sounded defensive. Why did I have no control over my voice when I was panicked? And why had it taken me until now to bloody notice? 


There was a couple of seconds pause as Chris stared at me from across the desk. I wasn’t looking up but I didn’t need to, I could feel it and I could definitely picture his slightly furrowed brow as he figured it out. 


Because he would figure it out. Oh God. He could always figure me out. Why did I even bother keeping this from him? Chris knew me almost better than anyone. Pretty much as well as Roxy knew me, even as much as my sisters. Stupid of me, to think he wouldn’t… 


“Did you See something?” 


Oh bum. Oh bum, oh bum, oh bum. 


Tell him. 


'Don’t kid yourself. You know as well as I do that he’s going to be devastated'... The sincerity that had been on Roxy’s face when she said that… 


I couldn’t. I’d never been able to do anything that might upset him, not intentionally anyway. And, I acknowledged guilty for the first time, what if he wasn’t upset? How was I supposed to feel then? What if he was baffled as to why I was worried? What if he legged it in sheer panic that it had even crossed my mind? What if he laughed? 


I couldn’t do this. 


I forced myself to look up and meet his worried, intense blue eyes. 


“Of course not,” I pushed away the twisting guilt as I lied through a smile, shaking my head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap. I didn’t sleep very well last night…” 


“You haven’t slept very well for the last few nights,” Chris still looked worried, “And you’re extra jumpy today.” I could see him racking his brains to see what could be bothering me and found myself praying that for once, he’d miss it. 


I swallowed. 


He shrugged, “Look, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. It’s not like we have to always tell each other everything -” 


But we do. We always do. 


“- I just want to know if you’re alright.” 


What in hell had I done to deserve this boy? It must have been in a previous life because, try as I might, I really didn’t make the fit of a good person in this one. It was this stupid ability I was born with – it didn’t create the right circumstances to be a good person. Fraught with secrets and lies. How can you be a good person with secrets and lies? 


“Don’t be silly,” I poked his arm with my quill, “Me and Roxy have just been up all night talking for the last few nights, you know what we’re like -” Well, it was true. I didn’t need to tell him what we were talking about, right? “I’ll get an early night tonight. Promise.” 


There was a second before Chris returned the grin. It killed me to lie to him. It killed me that I didn’t know if he believed me, and it killed me that he accepted it. 


“Good.” He said, simply, picking up my hand and kissing my knuckles. “Good.” 


Good.” 




** 





“You’ve got to do it at some point,” Roxy whispered through the musky perfume of the Divination loft. We were crammed onto one armchair on the corner table in the hope that Trelawney would conveniently forget about us and not check up on us. 


“Not right now, though,” I hissed back, sinking back into the squishy chair as if the crystal ball was going to leap up into my face and assault me with things I didn’t want to see. “I should wait. Put it off until it’s not so fresh -” 


“You can’t put it off forever, moron. The longer you wait, the more scared you’re going to be and the bigger deal it’s going to seem. Just throw yourself into it -” 


“I can’t -” 


“What are you so scared of? Ok, worst case scenario - you fail. You can’t keep it from your mind and you accidentally see something else. So?” Roxy looked genuinely puzzled, “You’ve already seen the end of the world -” Oh, thanks Rox. Way to be consistent in the ‘it’s not such a big deal’ quest. “What could make it any worse?” 


I folded my arms sulkily. “I don’t want to do it.” 


“You’re still telling yourself it could be wrong, aren’t you?” She accused. 


I didn’t say anything. It seemed too childish to retort with an ‘it could be’. 


Ren. You obviously don’t believe that, not really. Or else you wouldn’t be so bloody worried that you’re going to see something else that’s going to confirm it.” Her eyes were narrowed but bright and knowing. Because she knew. 


Between her and Chris, it was no wonder I was such a god-awful liar. They saw through everything, I didn’t get the chance to become half decent… 


I kept up my stubborn stance for a whole two seconds more before I crumbled. 


“I can’t.” I had to whisper or else I would have wailed. “Rox, I can’t… I can’t take seeing him again -” 


Him?” Her voice was high and shrill. 


“It.” I corrected myself, hurriedly, “It. The vision. I can’t take seeing it again…” 


“Him.” Roxy repeated. “D.H.G?” 


“It.” I maintained. 


“Him.” 


It.” 


“Renee!” 


“Eurgh.” I slumped back, if possible, further into the chair. It hurt my head, all of it. Especially how Roxy could read me. I couldn’t lie to her. It made my stomach sink further to consider that while I couldn’t lie to Roxy, I could lie to Chris. 


Roxy hauled herself up from the chair and perched on the arm, facing me expectantly. 


“I just…” It sounded pathetic in my head, let alone out loud, “I’ve only seen him from behind. It makes him… I don’t know, it just makes him -” 


“Less real,” Roxy supplied. 


“Right.” It probably should have surprised me that she knew but it was Roxy. It didn’t. “If I… to see his face, I…” 


“Again, it’s something that’s going to have to happen at some point.” She gave a small half-smile even though it wasn’t really funny, “You’re going to marry the guy -” 


“Don’t.” 


“Sorry.” She meant it. Then she laughed, “Sorry for reminding you about the currently faceless bloke you’ve already seen yourself marrying who isn’t the guy you’ve been in love with for three bloody years. Jesus, Ren, this is ridiculous.” 


“Oh really? Ridiculous, is it? That I’ve had to keep more secrets and tell more lies in the last few days than I ever have before? Because I was getting by just fine -” 


In reply, she just threw back her head and laughed. Loudly. Attracting the attention of the majority of the class. 


“Roxy.” I hissed, embarrassed and annoyed that she was drawing attention to us, especially where the aim of today’s class was for me to be inconspicuous. 


She didn’t stop. 


“Roxanne.” I dug her fiercely in the ribs and she slid back down from the arm into the chair with me. “People are looking!” 


“Sorry,” She finally stopped after one last weak chuckle. “It just hits me sometimes. The bizarreness of the whole thing. Look, Ren, just do it. Just look into the stupid, sodding ball and just, I dunno, tell me if it’s going to snow this Christmas…” 


“I don’t -” I began to protest but was interrupted. 


“Miss Cook, Miss Weasley,” 


Marvellous. Roxy’s fit of giggles had attracted the attention of Professor Trelawney. That could only mean… 


“You have been practicing, I trust?” She peered expectantly at us through her startling bug-eyes. 


“Yes, Professor,” 


“Let’s see how you’re getting on,” 


“Oh,” I swallowed, “Oh. Well Roxy was just -” 


“- Just telling Renee how it was her turn,” Roxy loudly spoke over me. I glared pointedly at her but she just smiled self-righteously. “Right, Ren?” 


I opened my mouth, too panicked to form any sort of coherent speech; too panicked even to hate Roxy a little bit for doing this. 


“Marvellous. When you’re ready, Miss Cook.” Professor Trelawney clasped her hands in front of her and waited. 


My mouth felt dry. I licked my lips a couple of times and reached out with a shaking hand to pull the orb towards me. 


Christmas, I told myself. Just like Roxy said. I could do this. Snow at Christmas. Or a lack of. That was all I had to see. 


I could do this. I’d been successfully controlling this for the last two years, this stupid little setback shouldn’t stop me now. 


It still took me a couple of seconds to compose myself before I even dared open my eyes. 


Christmas. 


Snow. 


Only a couple of weeks till the end of term now, so it’s not like I was going to have to strain myself to look very far… 


Not that I’d strained myself last time. I mean, bloody hell, I’d only been meaning to look as far as what was for dinner and I ended up years into the future. 


No. That wasn’t going to happen this time. I was in control. 


Christmas. 




The first thing I notice is the warmth. It feels warm with the flickering heat of a wood fire, it sounds warm from it’s gentle cracking and it looks warm in the cluttered, cosy living room… 


Roxy’s living room. Complete with… yes. Complete with Christmas tree. 


We’re talking earnestly, Roxy and I. She’s sat on one soft, deep sofa and I’m cross-legged on the floor in front of her while she’s doing something intricate to my hair. I can feel her bony knees in my back. 


If only I could hear what we were saying… but I never could, not in a crystal ball… 


Roxy’s getting annoyed with me repeatedly squirming around when I’m talking, it must be something serious for me to be fidgeting like this… 


I catch sight of the window from the corner of my eye. It’s early evening, getting dark but it’s hard to see anything because of all the… 


Rain. 


Not snow. Rain. 


I try to pull myself away now. Away from the vision. That’s how it usually works, once I’ve seen what I need to I can just bring myself back to reality and… 


I can't. Why can't I? What the hell is going on?!


There’s a harsh, green glow from the fireplace to my left, I automatically turn my head but Roxy yanks it back straight with fistfuls of my hair to finish whatever she’s creating. I can’t see who it is, just aware of a shape in the fireplace… I just want to see who it is…
 




“Miss Cook?” 


I blinked and suddenly was just back. Without even needing to try. The ease at which I’d found myself back made it hard to believe that it had even been so hard in the first place. 


But I’d definitely tried, hadn’t I? I’d tried to leave it, leave the vision, and I couldn’t. 


Right? That did actually happen? 


I couldn’t even tell. 


I rubbed my eyes. My face felt clammy. And I felt oddly disorientated, as if I’d just hit my head. Actually, now that I thought about it I did have a sort of dull headache… 


“Whoa, Ren,” Roxy looked a little alarmed, “Are you ok? You look awful -” 


“Gee, thanks.” I squeezed my eyes shut for a couple more seconds to try and ease the headache. 


“What happened?” 


I couldn’t help but notice that Professor Trelawney was also listening intently. I don’t know why, but I felt odd talking about a vision about Roxy’s home in front of her. Though it was a pretty eventless vision – weird inability to leave aside – it felt kind of personal. 


Weird. I had no idea what was going on in it but it felt personal. 


So I kept it short. 


“No snow.” I opened my eyes slowly to keep my headache at bay and met Roxy’s eyes, trying to convey that I didn’t want to talk about it right now. “Just rain. At Christmas. Too bad.” 


“Well that sucks.” Roxy understood and beamed up at Professor Trelawney, “Professor, I think Ren’s dehydrated. It is awfully hot up here. Shall I take her to get a drink of water quickly or will we miss anything important…?” 


“Of course, of course,” Professor Trelawney gestured towards to trapdoor, “You’re looking rather pale, Miss Cook, perhaps… yes, there are only ten minutes remaining of the lesson. Perhaps you ought to take her straight to the common room, Miss Weasley.” 


“Great,” Roxy scooped up our bags and ushered me out ahead of her. “See you on Thursday, Professor T.” 


I allowed myself to be half pushed, half dragged across the room and somehow managed to manoeuvre the ladder even with my faint dizziness and my mind swimming about all over the place. 


When we got out of the muggy little room and into the crisp, cold air of the tower I felt better. A lot better, after a few deeps breaths to clear my head. 


Roxy didn’t have the patience to let me fully recover. “What in hell?” She asked, idly linking an arm through mine and marching us away, “You look like arse.” 


Ordinarily I’d have protested but I felt it too. Even though the headache had dulled down to a mild pressure, I didn’t feel entirely sturdy on my feet and my hair felt like it was sticking to the side of my face and the back of my neck. 


“I feel like arse.” I said, in an odd croaky voice. I cleared my throat. “And I’m blaming you, Weasley -” 


“Bloody hell, what did you see?” 


“Nothing. Nothing big. Like I said, rain. No snow. Oh, and apparently I’m coming to yours at some point in the holidays.” 


“Really?” Roxy looked a little confused, “Mine or the Burrow?” 


She usually spent her Christmas holidays at her grandparents house along with the other thousand or so members of her family. I’d never been – I mean we all have our own family stuff to do anyway so the most I’d see Roxy or any of my friends would be for a day or two. And it’d always be her coming to mine, incredibly thankful for a bit of space. 


“Yours.” I hadn’t realised at the time that it was odd for her to be at home over the Christmas holidays, but I was. Very strange. “Weird. Maybe there’s a party or something going on?” 


“Not as far as I know.” Roxy frowned. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe you are losing your touch…” She joked, feebly. 


“That’s what I’m counting on,” I muttered in reply, wiping my clammy forehead with my sleeve. 


“And why do you look like arse?” She gestured to my, probably sweaty, hair. 


“I don’t know.” That brought me round to my next point, “I just… when I saw that it wasn’t snowing I tried to come back, just like normal and it… I couldn’t. I don’t know why. I was trying but I just felt trapped. Maybe I… I don’t know. I probably just panicked.” 


“How did you get back?” 


“I… don’t know. I was trying and trying and then I sort of gave up and then it just sort of happened.” I felt a little cold thinking about it. I wasn’t in control. I always had to be in control of my visions and yet the last two… the last two seemed to be in control of me. 


“Sorry for making you.” We reached the Entrance Hall and began to climb the marble staircase. 


“No you’re not,” I smiled. 


“Worked though, didn’t it. No more mystery sightings of D.H.G.” 


“Just a face full of sweat and a killer headache instead.” I pointed out. 


“You’d rather that than D.H.G.” 


“Stop calling him that. I don’t want him to have a name. He isn’t real.” 


Roxy raised an eyebrow but did as I asked. “Sure. Point is, you can do it. Point proven. You don’t have to worry every time we have that joke of a class anymore. You know you can control it.” 


“Just as long as all thoughts of Chris, the future and wedding are far from my mind.” My stomach didn’t even flip that much at the thought when I said it aloud. I was improving. “Then it’ll be just fine -” 


I was interrupted by a shrill squeal accompanied by the patter of quick footsteps and before I’d even registered that the person was saying her name, Roxy was leapt upon. 


“Argh! What… Lily, what’s -” Roxy tried to pry her cousin from her neck and get some sense out of her. 


Lily was jumping up and down, her dark red hair flying around her face. For a second my headache flared again and I had to press my fingers to my temples, willing it to die down. Thankfully it only lasted a second but it left a prickling feeling on the back of my neck. I didn’t know why, but this felt significant. 


“You’ll never believe it.” Lily said, still clinging to Roxy’s wrists and bouncing. 


“Erm…” Roxy was still bewildered. 


“Teddy and Vic are getting married!” 


…Just as long as all thoughts of Chris, the future and wedding are far from my mind… 


Married. 


This had to be some sort of a joke. 












A.N. Hey! Very quick note to apologise for being very slow - on this and my other stories - I still very much love writing them and AM continuining, it's just been taking a while so far! I really hope you keep reading though!
I'd love to hear what you think of the chapter, Ren and Chris, Roxy and... Rob? Ren and Roxy in class, this new vision and the side effects...

It's going to heat up!

Thanks for reading and please leave a review!


Chapter 4: Four
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

 

“Looks like you were right.” Roxy said through a mouthful of cereal at breakfast a week later. She brandished a rather vile piece of pink (yes, really) parchment at me.
 

 

I took it and held it a fair distance from me, not because I was that disgusted by the colour – it was vile but I’m not an absolute idiot – but because it hurt my head to focus on reading something too close to me. I felt like an old dear.
 

 

I briefly scanned the parchment, informing me that Roxanne Weasley (+1) was invited to celebrate the engagement of Victoire Weasley and Teddy Lupin at the Burrow, on the 31st December.
 

 

“I never Saw this.” I reminded her, massaging my temples to make the headache disappear. Though it had faded dramatically since the whole getting-stuck-in-the-vision thing, it hadn’t completely gone. I wondered briefly if it would be classified as a migraine yet. Dad would know. He was a doctor – a muggle one, true, but effective enough. I wondered if, if I asked him to send me some painkillers, they’d be taken off me.
 

 

“No, but we weren’t at the Burrow when you came to mine at Christmas, remember?” Roxy said, as if it were obvious.
 

 

I momentarily thought it odd that she was referring to an event I’d seen in the future in the past tense. Then I realised that I couldn’t really pass opinion on anything ‘odd’ right now.
 

 

“So you were right,” Roxy concluded, dropping her spoon in her empty cereal bowl with a clatter. “There was a party. Therefore, no room for Roxy at the Burrow.”
 

 

“Right. Yeah.” I closed my eyes for a moment to dull the ache, then opened them and made an attempt to make an actual, decent contribution to this currently one-sided conversation. “A New Years Eve Engagement party.”
 

 

“Oh yeah,” Roxy snatched back the parchment and read it as if I’d been lying. “Bloody cheek. I might have had other plans.”
 

 

“Did you?”
 

 

“No. Except… you know. The usual. Shining my shoes and darning my stockings ready for school the next day.”
 

 

I was fairly certain that this and other related events had not once occurred.
 

 

I looked pointedly at her feet, currently wearing mismatched sports socks rather than stockings – I was also fairly certain that she nor any other girl at Hogwarts owned anything of the sort – and her trainers discarded underneath the table.
 

 

“It might be a good party.” I said, fairly, neatly skipping the shoe and stocking issue.
 

 

“Probably. My brother will love it – Veela cousins galore to bore with his tales of being a division two reserve team beater.”
 

 

Roxy’s older brother Fred had been the bane of her life for our first five years at school. The two of them were both fiercely competitive and unfortunately for Rox, Fred had the advantage of two years superiority and being male, which gave him the upper hand in both studies and sport.
 

 

I don’t know how she got by, I really don’t. First Fred to contend with, then Rob and Chris, in Quidditch. Not that Chris was entirely competitive but he couldn’t help his superior strength. And then there was Luc, in class, with his ability to understand and store everything important the first time he heard it.
 

 

Maybe on some level she enjoyed the challenge.
 

 

Lord only knows why she’s friends with me then, I lack any competitive drive whatsoever.
 

 

Anyway, she sounded scathing, but I knew she did actually recognise that Fred was doing pretty well for himself. Just nineteen and already signed for a team – any team. That was pretty much unheard of nowadays; Quidditch players tended to reach their peak later on.
 

 

But this was Fred. She couldn’t actually sound proud of him. That would upset the balance of everything we’d ever known.
 

 

“So, when are you going to ask me to be your plus-one?” I asked, with a grin.
 

 

“Is there no surprise in romance any more?” Rob chose to arrive at this moment with a goofy leer and clambered onto the bench beside me. This placed him opposite Roxy, I noticed with a spark of interest, then cursed Chris for putting these ideas in my head.
 

 

“Not with madam, here.” Roxy sighed, dramatically. “How am I supposed to woo her when she knows my wooing plans before me?”
 

 

“Woo?” I asked.
 

 

“It’s a word.” Roxy defended.
 

 

“Now who’s been reading Harrie’s crappy romance books?” I sniped back.
 

 

“You’re the one that leaves them lying around…”
 

 

“I wouldn’t call stuffed to the bottom of my trunk ‘lying around’…”
 

 

“What have I walked in on?” Chris arrived, planting a kiss on the top of my head before ruffling my hair and sliding into the seat on the other side of Rob.
 

 

“Lover’s tiff.” Rob supplied, probably stumped by the concept of Roxy squabbling with anyone but him. “Far as I can tell, Rox has popped the question to Ren -”
 

 

The throbbing in my head flared up again and I had to fight not to wince. I didn’t want Roxy to notice and nag me to go to the hospital wing, as she’d been doing for the past week or so.
 

 

The question?” Chris pointed out, innocently enough.
 

 

Throb.
 

 

“She’s going to be my plus one… sorry Chris -” Roxy grinned, “- to my cousin’s engagement party. Hey, actually, maybe I can get you all invited. After all, it’s New Years Eve… I’m sure I can put up a sufficient fuss to acquire a few more invites…”
 

 

I didn’t doubt it. If Roxy’s ‘cute, baby daughter’ act wouldn’t get her what she wanted from her Dad, she could argue for England. I got the impression that it both exhausted and delighted him when she stubbornly and intelligently made her point to him. For some weird reason it made him proud of his extremely difficult daughter.
 

 

“Wicked.” Rob loaded his plate with bacon, “What’s the situation going to be regarding Veela cousins…?”
 

 

As Roxy narrowed her eyes I promptly pulled a ‘told you so’ face behind Rob’s back at Chris. If Rob was interested in Veela cousins, obviously there was no romantic feeling there between him and Roxy…
 

 

Chris shook his head, eyebrows raised, and nodded at Rob again. I followed his line of vision and noticed the tiny, wicked smirk on Rob’s face as he dug into his breakfast. Almost as if he knew exactly what he was doing. Almost as if he were bracing himself for the backlash…
 

 

“Oh, don’t worry Robin,” Roxy said, airily, “There’ll be enough of them to go around for entertainment, you know, for the rest of us. To count how many rejections you can get in one night, that is -”
 

 

Rob appeared surprised at the lack of yelling, but laughed appreciatively at the comeback. If there was one thing Rob definitely was, it was a good sport. Or perhaps it was because he knew that that would infuriate Rox even more.
 

 

Speaking of good sport…
 

 

“Hey, why aren’t you guys training this morning?” I realised that today was a Friday – they’d usually have their early morning sessions today and yet here I was, not abandoned at breakfast alone, whilst Luc buggered off with whoever the hell his current girlfriend was.
 

 

Roxy and Rob exchanged eye rolls – momentarily allies – and chanted simultaneously as Chris answered me. “No training the day before a match.”
 

 

“Ah.” I remembered. The match tomorrow. Ravenclaw vs. Gryffindor. All they’d been talking about all week. It must have just slipped my mind because…
 

 

Nope. No excuse. I was just a poor and pathetic excuse for a friend and girlfriend. I‘d been so consumed in feeling sorry for myself over my headaches (migraines?) that I hadn’t even been worrying like I usually did.
 

 

“Hey, you’ll be -” I began.
 

 

“’You’ll be careful won’t you?’” The three of them chimed in together again. What were they, wind up dolls?
 

 

Was I that predictable?
 

 

I scowled. “I’m only saying.”
 

 

“Ren, Ren,” Roxy gave a dramatic sigh and eye roll, “You know perfectly well that to date no one has ever managed to get anywhere near hurting me or Rob…”
 

 

“Willis-Weasley Beating Team have most definitely inflicted a whole lot more damage than they’ve ever suffered.” Rob was attempting to sound wise, I think, with the whole talking in the third person thing. It didn’t work. Particularly teamed with the casual high-five he and Roxy exchanged across the table without pausing to swallow their mouthfuls of breakfast.
 

 

See what I mean? Sometimes they can be the best of friends. Perhaps this was going to be a good Roxy and Rob day.
 

 

“Why ‘Willis-Weasley’?” Roxy demanded, as an after-thought to the amiable high-five.
 

 

“Why not?”
 

 

“Because! Because why should you be first?”
 

 

Ah, I spoke too soon.
 

 

“It sounds better.” Rob shrugged as if it were obvious.
 

 

“It does not.” Roxy dismissed with a flick of her hair. “And besides, it makes more sense for ‘Weasley’ to be first. It’s alphabetical.”
 

 

Oh dear God, this was pathetic.
 

 

“Does it really matter?” I fulfilled my best mate quota with an attempt to keep the peace.
 

 

I was promptly ignored.
 

 

“Well, fuck me. If it’s alphabetical, that just overrides any sort of freedom of expression, doesn’t it - ” Rob retorted, snarkily.
 

 

Freedom of expression. Such a freaking Ravenclaw.
 

 

“It’s because you think you’re better, isn’t it?” Roxy accused.
 

 

“Did I say that?”
 

 

“It’s obvious. You think you’re better and stronger than me because I’m a girl.” She had her ‘dangerous’ look. The one where her dark eyes were narrowed to the extreme and seemed to flash threateningly.
 

 

As usual, it didn’t have an outward effect on Rob.
 

 

“Well, I am stronger.”
 

 

Oh Rob. Stupid move, stupid move. I could practically hear mine and Chris simultaneous internal groans.
 

 

“I knew it.” Roxy hissed.
 

 

Even Rob recognised the error of his ways there. “I didn’t say better. Did I say better? You heard me, I said stronger. I am, I’m a bloke – it’s physiological, you know that –”
 

 

“A beater’s strength is his strength!”
 

 

“Who says that?”
 

 

You do!” Her voice was steadily rising in pitch.
 

 

He was an idiot, sometimes. And absolute idiot.
 

 

“Well, what do you want me to say, Rox? You need some sort of a reassurance? You need me to tell me you’re good just to make you feel secure? Sure. You’re amazing. There. Is that what you want to hear?”
 

 

“Fuck off and die, Willis.” She was a sweetheart, my Roxy.
 

 

“Couldn’t do that to the team. Where would we be without our strong beater?”

 

Sometimes I truly wondered if any sort of thought process went on at all inside Rob’s head before he spoke.
 

 

I sincerely doubted it.
 

 

Roxy’s grip on her fork tightened. Oh no. Not another stabbing. I still wasn’t over the trauma of the Vicious Fork Stabbing of ‘24. I could still hear Rob’s howl of pain and see the shiny metal impaled in deep red blood on the back of his hand if I tried.
 

 

The grip loosened.
 

 

Oh thank God.
 

 

She swivelled and stood up, swinging her legs over the bench. “I’m going to Charms. I’ll see you all there.” Her tone of voice was very sweet and calm, as if she were just heading down to class early to catch up on some reading.
 

 

Not likely. She was Roxy Weasley.
 

 

Rob swallowed as he watched her stride away, a slightly pained expression on his face as if he’d just been presented with the most complicated Arithmancy problem ever.
 

 

When Roxy disappeared from the doorway without looking back, Rob turned back to Chris (amused) and me (disapproving).
 

 

“I was kidding.” He held out his hands in appeal. “You know I was kidding.”
 

 

“I don’t think it really matters what we know, mate.” Chris said.
 

 

“Oh, come on. She knows it too -”
 

 

“I don’t think she finds it funny.” I supplied. Understatement of the Year there.
 

 

“But it was funny.” Rob looked thoroughly thrown.
 

 

“Yes, yes. You’re very funny.” I patted him on the arm before standing up. “Come on, we’re going to Charms.”
 

 

Rob followed my lead, along with Chris, without protest, until we were climbing the stairs towards the Charms corridor.
 

 

“But -” Eventually Rob recognised the seating predicament we’d be in.
 

 

“Yep.” I put a hand on his back to prevent his escape. Not that I could really restrain him. He hadn’t been lying about the strong thing. He could probably knock me aside with a finger, but that’s not the point. “You’re sitting next to our dearest Roxanne.”
 

 

“But -”
 

 

“No buts.” I ushered him along. “Man up.”
 

 

To be fair I could see why he’d been slightly apprehensive. I was sure he, too, remembered the Vicious Stabbing Incident of ’24. After all, his hand was the one in question. I think he still had the scars, having refused to go to the hospital wing.
With one last shove, Rob was through the door and stumbling along towards his seat next to Roxy at a table for four in the corner, his complexion ever so visibly paled.
 

 

“Nicely done.” Chris congratulated me.
 

 

“You say that now,” I pointed out, “But you’re the one that’s got to sit with them.”
 

 

I saw realisation dawn as Chris groaned. “Touché. This is going to be one frosty research session.”
 

 

For the past term we’d been working on a Charms research project in pairs. Alphabetically. Therefore Weasley and Willis were working together, sat on a table opposite McMillan and Potter.
 

 

I could see Chris’ resignation that he was going to have to work twice as hard throughout this lesson as he both assisted Lily Potter in their project, and also acted as the messenger between Rob and Roxy whenever they were required to communicate.
 

 

I, however, was safely on the other side of the classroom working with Luc.
 

 

“Have a fun lesson, love.” I grinned.
 

 

Chris responded with a self-pitying grunt and slouched into his seat opposite the two darlings. Roxy had averted her chair to a forty-five degree angle away from Rob, while he sat – still with that baffled expression – with his cheek resting on his fist, hazarding frequent glances at the sheet of dark hair blocking Rox from him.
 

 

This would take a while. I ought to have felt bad for Chris having to deal with it, really I should.
 

 

I skipped across the room to my lovely seat on the lovely far side of the room, a lovely long distance from the frosty vibes.
 

 

“Morning, Mr Da Costa.” I chirped, as I slipped into my chair besides Luc.
 

 

He frowned. Well that was a reassuring greeting.
 

 

“What have you got away with?” He analysed, after a moments scrutinizing.
 

 

How offensive. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean.” I protested, still in my chirpy voice.
 

 

He stared for a second longer, before glancing over his shoulder at the Arctic. Oh wait, my mistake, Roxy and Rob’s table.
 

 

He understood at once. “What was it about this time? Let me guess, he implied he was smarter than her?”
 

 

Ah, close.
 

 

“Stronger.” I corrected him.
 

 

“Ah.” He nodded wisely, “A touchy one.”
 

 

It was true. The strength issue was always a more touchy one for Roxy because, unlike with grades or anything, it was the one thing she had to admit to herself that she wouldn’t be able to beat Rob at. You could study extra hard to improve your grades (sadly I’ve seen them both at this, frantically studying the night before a test, not for the teacher or themselves, but for the sake of competition) but there’s not really any way for Roxy to become stronger than Rob. Ever.
 

 

“You missed the climax at breakfast,” I told Luc, “And you missed the last fight. And the… Hang on… When was the last time you witnessed a Roxy-Rob fight?”
 

 

“I dunno,” Luc shrugged, “They fight every other day, it can’t be that long ago -”
 

 

“You haven’t been sitting with us for ages,” I realised. Wait a minute… “Lucas Da Costa are you breaking The Rules?”
 

 

The Rules.
 

 

The Rules are a sacred and vital part of Luc’s inclusion in our group. I perhaps first ought to explain that Lucas Da Costa is probably the smartest guy in the year; which, I suppose, in turn makes him the smartest guy in the school. But whilst some may apply this intelligence through extra assignments and further study, Luc chooses to use his smart-alec ways to seduce a new girl about every other week. Alright, that’s a slight exaggeration, but sometimes it feels that way.
 

 

So this called for some rules.
 

 

The Rules.
 

 

An extensive set of regulations surrounding Luc’s slightly whore-ish nature to ensure that his (and our) reputation remained untarnished, and we could all get along just fine and dandy, making life much better for everyone of course.
 

 

“No, Renee Cook, I have not,” Luc retorted without missing a beat.
 

 

Ha. Think you can deter me with your smooth talk, do you, mate?
 

 

“Remind me, please, of Rule Number Four?” I prompted.
 

 

His innocent expression slipped just a fraction. Just a fraction, though. He was good. Any one else probably wouldn’t have noticed, but there were four people in the school who wouldn’t be. And unfortunately for him, one of them was perched right next to him.
 

 

And he knew it.
 

 

“Aw, come on, Ren…” He moaned, with a small laugh.
 

 

“You have, haven’t you?” I exclaimed. Blimey, I’d only been guessing but it was true. “You’ve broken Rule Number Four. You’ve abandoned us for six or more meals on the trot. We agreed to this, Luc! You can’t abandon us for a whole two days, it’s just not done!”
 

 

“You don’t understand,” He protested, “It’s easy for you and Chris. You don’t have to do the boyfriend/friend split, you’re in the same friendship group! We don’t all have the perfect life, you know…”
 

 

My head throbbed painfully again. Ouch. I’d almost forgotten about this blasted headache. Keeps coming back to haunt me when I least expect it.
 

 

I rubbed my forehead, as if that would make it go away.
 

 

“Oh no, you’re not going to guilt trip me with that one,” I told him, “I’m not thick. What’s wrong with bringing her over to eat with us for a change? Come on, we’d all like to meet her, I’m sure. Who is the lucky girl this week, by the way?”
 

 

Luc muttered something I couldn’t quite hear, his voice muffled by the odd way he was sitting with his mouth pressed to the heel of his hand as he rested on his elbow.
 

 

“Pardon?” I assumed it was an accident.
 

 

He mumbled something incomprehensible again.
 

 

Then it clicked. Blimey. He was uncomfortable. Luc Da Costa was a little bit embarrassed! This was brilliant. Unheard of. And bloody brilliant.
 

 

“Come now,” I nudged him in what I felt was a friendly and jovial way, “Tell your buddy who it is. You want me to use my inner eye? ‘Cause I will. I’ll look right here, right now, I tell you. And I’ll See. You know I will -”
 

 

I was only pissing about. And he knew it. Of course I wouldn’t be so petty (that and I was off Seeing for life) but he lifted his head from his hand and let his arm fall to the desk.
 

 

“It’s Bonnie.” He said it so shortly that I didn’t click right away.
 

 

“Bonnie who?”
 

 

He glared. “Bonnie Bonnie.”
 

 

Bonnie Bonnie? As in Bonnie Summerby? As in Bonnie Bonnie? As in your ex-girlfriend Bonnie?” I babbled. Maybe a little.
 

 

“She’s not my ex-girlfriend.”
 

 

I groaned. “Oh God, Luc, are you really going to do that? The whole Ultimate Bachelor act gets old, you know. You can claim you were never an item all you want, but you were at it pretty much exclusively for months with Bonnie, and if that’s not a relationship then I don’t know –”
 

 

“I never said she wasn’t my girlfriend.” Luc said, still sounding snippy, “I said she’s not my ex-girlfriend.”
 

 

I opened my mouth with a clever retort. Then stopped and had to close it. Then, “What?”
 

 

“She’s not my ex-girlfriend,” He said, “Because we never broke up.”
 

 

“You never…” I thought back, “Yes you did.”
 

 

“No we didn’t.”
 

 

“Yes you did!”
 

 

“Ren, I think I know we -”
 

 

“You always break up with them!” I pointed out.
 

 

“With who?” Luc wasn’t entirely on my wavelength.
 

 

“With girls,” I was doing well, I though. Sounding intelligent and suchlike. A bit.
 

 

Luc raised an eyebrow, clearly thinking exactly the same as me. Then he got this weird smile on his face that I don’t think I’d seen before. “Well, not this time.”
 

 

Oh God.
 

 

Oh God, Oh Lord, Oh hell.
 

 

“Lucas Da Costa, was that just a sappy smile?” I demanded.
 

 

He wiped the smile from his face. “What? No -”
 

 

“It was!” I gaped, putting two and two together. “Oh God! You like her!”
 

 

“What? Of course I like her, what else would I be doing with her -”
 

 

“No, you really like her!” I prodded him in the chest for extra emphasis, “That’s why you’ve been together for… God, it must be months and months now. That’s why you’ve ditched us for her -”
 

 

“I have not ditched you -”
 

 

“- that’s why you… hey.” I paused, with a frown. “If you really like her, why don’t you just bring her to sit with us rather than ditching us?”
 

 

It was Luc’s turn to open and close his mouth like a fish. Like a twit-fish.
 

 

Realisation dawned, a little late. Again.
 

 

“Does she still not like us?” I asked, a little incredulous. Of course I’d be surprised. We were a wonderful bunch, me and my buddies. You know, the odd bit of violence (strictly between the boys and/or Roxy and Rob) and death threats (always Roxy and Rob) aside. Wonderful, I tell you. I don’t know who in their right mind wouldn’t be thrilled at the opportunity to sit with us.
 

 

“She doesn’t dislike you…” Luc said, in an attempt to defend his Love.
 

 

“Then why did we not know you were still together? Why haven’t you joyously introduced her to your friends and integrated her into the group?”
 

 

“Introduced? You’ve gone to the same school for six years -”
 

 

“She’s a sixth year, we’ve not had a proper chance to get to know her.”
 

 

“Yeah, well…” Luc shrugged.
 

 

“She still doesn’t like us!” I concluded, mildly outraged.
 

 

“It’s not that,” Luc groaned, “Really, it’s not. She doesn’t dislike you guys, Ren, she’s intimidated by you.”
 

 

I blinked. “Intimidated?”
 

 

“Yeah. And I don’t blame her. Look at what she’s going to see when she looks at us lot. There’s me -”
 

 

“Perfection incarnate, obviously.” I chipped in humorously, but immodest little Luc ignored me quite rudely.
 

 

“There’s Roxy and Rob ripping one another to shreds either verbally or physically -”
 

 

Well I couldn’t deny that that would be a little off-putting.
 

 

“- And then there’s Mr and Mrs Couple of the Year so in love that it hurts -”
 

 

It took me a second to figure out he meant me and Chris. I blame it on the head twinge. Darn headaches.
 

 

“Oh come on, me and Chris aren’t like that.”
 

 

“You’re so like that. It only takes five minutes in your presence for you to wonder when the wedding is…”
 

 

Ouch. Freaking headaches.
 

 

I think it was getting worse. It seemed I couldn’t go a minute or so without another twinge and they were only getting more frequent. And painful. That last one made me close my eyes.
 

 

“Ren?” Luc looked concerned.
 

 

“Uh-huh?” I asked, squeezing my eyes for a second before opening them.
 

 

“You ok?”
 

 

“Sure.” I blinked a couple of times. The light seemed to be really bright. Was it usually that bright?
 

 

“If it really bothers you I can ask Bonnie to have lunch with us,” He said, jumping to the conclusion that I was hurt by his girlfriends disregard, “But you’re going to have to be the one to tell Roxy and Rob to be on their best behaviour. I get frostbite just looking over there…”
 

 

I took a glance over my shoulder and winced again. Too bright. Why was the light hurting my eyes? Now my head was pounding, rather than just the occasional throb.
 

 

For one woozy second I forgot what I’d twisted in my seat for, then I remembered, but slowly and with difficulty, like trying to recall a dream. Roxy and Rob, that was it… Roxy and Rob…
 

 

I overbalanced in my chair. My eyes were screwed up, my grip was weak and my hand were sweaty.
 

 

It was too bright.
 

 

Too bright.
 

 

The last thing I remembered was Luc’s panicked voice calling my name but from a great distance, blurring images of Rob, Roxy, Chris and… Too bright… A glint of red hair…

 

 


**

 

 



I was starting to stir.
 

 

“- the Headmaster was very clear that you are to go back to class, Mr McMillan -”
 

 

“I’m sorry but that won’t be happening.”
 

 

“You can’t… this is not your choice to make! Professor Longbottom has directly informed you that -”
 

 

“Well you can directly inform him that I’m not going anywhere -”
 

 

No. I couldn’t be waking up. Because that sounded a whole lot like my boyfriends voice and my boyfriend would never be so ill-mannered as to talk to the nurse like that…
 

 

“You think we can even concentrate in class now? She’s our friend and she fainted. Do you know how traumatising that can be? I may need to seek therapy in the long run. We’re staying.”
 

 

That one sounded like Roxy.
 

 

“Yeah, what she said.”
 

 

Hey, and that one sounded like –
 

 

“Oh, way to go with the insightful input there, Robin.”
 

 

Wait. I couldn’t still be sleeping. There’s no way I’d put myself through dreaming about Rob and Roxy’s petty squabbles. I got enough of that in my waking hours.
 

 

“You need to leave, Mr McMillan, or it’ll be a detention tomorrow for you and I am not above the innovative idea of scrubbing bed pans... That goes for you too Miss Weasley and Mr Willis. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about you sitting quietly over there Mr Da Costa just because you’ve kept your mouth shut -”
 

 

No. If this was real they couldn’t get detentions. Not on match day…
 

 

“Shh, she’s waking up.”
 

 

I opened my eyes.
 

 

“Chris,” I said, and cleared my throat, mildly surprised to hear how hoarse my voice was, “You’re being rude.”
 

 

A relieved grin spreading across his worried face was the first thing I took in about my surroundings. “Do forgive me. I completely apologize for my disrespect, Madam Bones.” He said to the nurse, immediately and mock-solemnly, making me chuckle croakily.
 

 

“Ren, thank God.” Roxy plopped down onto my bed besides me, “Now, I’ve seen you in a few states recently,” She shot me a knowing look, “But this tops it all.”
 

 

Bollocks. What was that look supposed to mean? It’s not like I’d fainted or anything like this before.
 

 

“Thanks, beloved best friend. Your support is always graciously received.”
 

 

“Noted.” She dismissed with a wave of a hand. “How’s the head?”
 

 

“Alright.” I was nonplussed. “Did I hit it?”
 

 

“No, Luc caught you -”
 

 

I waved a thank you at Luc, on the chair at the foot of my bed, who acknowledged it with an immodest nod of his head.
 

 

“- But that’s not what I meant. Headaches, remember? The reason I’ve been telling you to come to the hospital wing all week long and if you’d listened to me, maybe this never would have happened and the stress wouldn’t have cut a good eight years or so from my life -”
 

 

“Headaches? You never said you were getting headaches…” Chris sat down on the wooden stool beside my bed and took my hand. It was only against his warm skin that I realised how cold my hands were. He noticed it too, and took them both between his to warm them.
 

 

“I’m not.” I glared at Roxy. This was exactly what I didn’t want – Chris worrying about me. “I mean I am. But they’re not bad. Or often. Just every now and then -”
 

 

“Yeah, you know, I often get crippling headaches that knock me unconscious for half an hour too…” Rob rolled his eyes.
 

 

“I’ve been out for half an hour?”
 

 

“You’ve been getting headaches, Miss Cook?” Madam Bones joined in the concern. Marvellous. Just what I love – being the centre of peoples anxiety.
 

 

“Just every now and then.” My teeth were gritted.
 

 

“For how long?” Madam Bones asked.
 

 

At that moment I hated the poor woman. I knew she was only doing her job, and it was a good job. Helping people. I respected that. But I could immediately see where this was going and it was what I’d been trying to avoid for the last week.
 

 

“Only about a week.”
 

 

“A week?” Chris was frowning, but he didn’t let go of my hands. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
 

 

Because I didn’t want all this sodding fuss. Because I didn’t want you to worry.

 

Because I didn’t want it to be anything to worry about.
 

 

Any one of the above.
 

 

“We were in Divination.” Roxy supplied, for Madam Bones benefit.
 

 

I whipped my head around and glared at her.
 

 

“What?” She said, her eyes wide, “We were.”
 

 

Oh. I got it. She wasn’t going to say anything about the stupid vision if I wasn’t. Because that’s the sort of friend she was. She was going to make me either do it or die of the guilt of lying.
 

 

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t say it.
 

 

Chris hated it when I Saw anything. I didn’t want that combined with his worry.
 

 

“It was really hot.” I said to Madam Bones. “Maybe I was dehydrated.”
 

 

“I’ve checked, and although you were a little dehydrated after your episode, there were no signs of any extended dehydration, nor any other physical abnormality.
 

 

“I don’t know, there’s that disgusting growth on her neck right there…” Rob chipped in, peering closely at me, “Oh wait. That’s her head.” He grinned in a ‘what you going to do about it’ kind of way. Prat.
 

 

“Charmed, Rob, thanks.” I said.
 

 

“Nobody asked you, Robin.” Roxy snapped, simultaneously.
 

 

“Miss Weasley, Mr Willis,” Madam Bone sounded slightly weary. “You’re really not doing yourselves any favours…”
 

 

“Shutting up. Got it.” Roxy glared at Rob and shifted on the bed so she had her back to him. Mature and stuff.
 

 

“I was only kidding. It was funny.” Rob muttered to himself, sounding just as baffled as he had after Roxy had stormed out of breakfast.
 

 

“You’re very funny, Robbie,” I consoled him. “Can I go now?” I asked Madam Bones.
 

 

“No!” Roxy and Chris said firmly and simultaneously, both in their own way looking out for my health. Although in Roxy’s case her tone was more ‘how stupid are you’ whereas Chris was calmly caring.
 

 

“I’m afraid not just yet, Miss Cook.” Madam Bones bustled around with a few inexplicable utensils, “Spit.” She advised, holding a glass tube in front of my face.
 

 

“Pardon?” I automatically withdrew.
 

 

“Spit.” She repeated.
 

 

I stared at the tube, then at Rob and Luc, who were paying absolutely no attention, to Roxy who saw nothing strange about the whole thing, and to Chris, who stifled a grin.
Shooting him a look I shielded my mouth and tried to spit as delicately as possible into the glass vial.
 

 

“How do you even make that look pretty?” Roxy rolled her eyes, “I missed the tube when I had to do it in fifth year…”
 

 

“Am I done?” I asked, again, “Can I go yet?”
 

 

“Have a little patience, Miss Cook,” Madam Bones was starting to sound a little irritated.
 

 

I just wanted to get out of there. Whatever she was doing over there, mixing my spit with potions, she was probably trying to figure out what was causing my headaches.

 

And if she did find out, which she might – I mean, I don’t know any other seers… maybe the whole ‘getting stuck in a vision’ thing has happened before? – nothing was going to stop her announcing it in front of my friends.
 

 

And Chris.
 

 

And if we got into that vision, we’d get dangerously close to…
 

 

You know.
 

 

“I can’t see any sort of a problem medically,” Madam Bones announced. Fair enough for her to say. The vial of my spit was now a radioactive looking yellow. “Have you been under any level of stress at all?”
 

 

I firmly ignored Roxy’s narrowed gaze on the side of my face. It practically burnt. “Not that I’ve especially noticed,” I shrugged, “It is NEWT year, I suppose…”
 

 

Rob snorted, “You’re on an E in every class.”
 

 

Madam Bones frowned slightly, “Perhaps you’re feeling slightly overworked?”
 

 

It was Luc’s turn to snort, “You don’t have to work for an E. What do you think she is, a Hufflepuff?”
 

 

If he wasn’t one of my dearest friends, it would be quite easy to hate Luc. But I knew that it wasn’t just a superior attitude, he genuinely couldn’t get his head around that fact that not everyone is a near genius.
 

 

“I do too work.” I told him, doing my bit sticking up for the Hufflepuffs. Well. Kind of.
 

 

“So you’re feeling stressed?” Madam Bones posed.
 

 

“No! I didn’t say that. Look, I’m fine. Maybe I was just a bit tired…”
 

 

“So you’re having difficulty sleeping?”
 

 

“No! I’m fine. Ok, now I’m slightly stressed. Does that count?” I asked, retaining as much politeness as I could.
 

 

“You’ve been saying you’re tired for a while, actually.” Chris interjected, “For about a week, I’d say. Isn’t that how long you said she’s had headaches for?”
 

 

Ok, abandoning talking to me now, are we, and just talking about me?
 

 

“Yeah.” Roxy agreed without removing her stupid stare off the side of my face. “Why d’you think that is, Ren?”
 

 

What was she doing? What happened to it being up to me if I told or not?
 

 

“Flu?” I suggested, weakly.
 

 

She tutted loudly.
 

 

Our exchange hadn’t totally escaped Chris’ notice. Nothing ever did.
 

 

His eyes flicked between me and Roxy, questioning.
 

 

I squeezed his hand, then turned to Madam Bones. “Seriously. I’m ok. Can I please go now?”
 

 

She didn’t look happy about it. But that could have been because she was worried about my health or that she was just frustrated that she hadn’t been able to figure out what was wrong with me. She was probably a Ravenclaw herself.
 

 

But, whatever. Fifteen minutes later I was free to go with just the promise of attending an appointment the following week to follow up, which I’d more than likely forget about.
 

 

“Lunch?” Rob only had one concern after it turned out I was ok. That was probably all he’d been thinking about the whole time we were in there.
 

 

“Read my mind, bro.” Luc agreed, heading towards the Great Hall.
 

 

“So, Luc,” I remembered the conversation we’d been having before the fainting incident, “Will Bonnie be joining us today?”
 

 

Luc groaned as there was a chorus of ‘Bonnie?’ from the rest of them. A shriek from Roxy. A laugh from Chris. And a ‘who’s Bonnie?’ from Rob.
 

 

“You think you can get away with that just because I thought you just died?” Luc shook his head, “I was scared, but not that scared, Cook. You’re going down.”
 

 

I wasn’t particularly intimidated by the threat. Luc had nothing on me, especially with the other three now intrigued.
 

 

“As in Bonnie Bonnie?” Roxy echoed my exact phrase from earlier, “Again?”
 

 

“Nope, not again,” I supplied, “They’ve been together in secret for months now.”
 

 

“I’m starting to regret catching you.” Luc informed me.
 

 

“Bonnie? She the hot one?” Rob asked.
 

 

“No.” Luc said, swiftly heading off any potential interest from Rob.
 

 

Just as anticipated, he lost interest.
 

 

“Lucas!” Roxy sounded disappointed.
 

 

“She’s not hot. She’s beautiful.” He invented, hastily.
 

 

“Vomit.” I chipped in.
 

 

“Beautiful. Bloody hell. You’re either serious enough to be that sappy or serious enough to pretend to be that sappy to head me off. Either way I’m impressed.” Roxy gave her seal of approval.
 

 

“Luc’s growing up.” Chris grinned.
 

 

“Give me a break.” Luc sounded fairly exhausted from the onslaught. “And no, she won’t be joining us today. Not until Rob and Rox are on non-murderous terms, and Ren regains enough colour to resemble a human rather than a vampire.” He stared sternly at each of us in turn whilst informing us of our flaws, then paused at Chris. “Chris, you’re doing fine.”
 

 

“I should think so.” Chris nodded, matter-of-factly. “So I can meet her?”
 

 

“No.”
 

 

“Am I that pale?” I asked, touching my cheeks.
 

 

“I thought you were dead.” Luc said, in explanation.
 

 

“Eew.”
 

 

“I want to meet Bonnie!” Roxy complained.
 

 

“You’ve met her already. You just don’t remember because you were strangling Rob with his tie.” Luc reminded her, calmly.
 

 

No wonder the poor girl has avoided us.
 

 

Rob, Roxy and Luc took off slightly ahead of Chris and I. Ordinarily I’d have kept pace – despite the utterly pointless conversation – but Chris’ steady hold on my hand held me back a little.
 

 

Oh hell. I almost didn’t want to look up at him.
 

 

“So what was all that about?”
 

 

I steadily looked at his shoes, “What was what about?”
 

 

“Ren.” He took both my hands. The gesture pulled me closer and, the seriousness of the situation aside, I still got that familiar old pang of longing that only Chris could elicit just by pulling me close.
 

 

Roxy wanted me to tell him. Roxy was smart. She’d know what was for the best.
 

 

Why the hell couldn’t I say this?
 

 

Another beat of silence passed as I willed myself to at the very least look up and meet his eyes.
 

 

But I didn’t.
 

 

It made me jump when he pressed his lips against my hair. “I’m going to let this go, seeing as you’ve just fainted -” He was way too good for me. “- But Ren… you… I used to be the one you’d tell everything to. I know, Roxy’s your best mate too. But we… we’re more than just the girlfriend-boyfriend thing, aren’t we?”
 

 

Yes. Of course we were. We were right. So everyone told us. We were best friends, soul mates. We were the ones expected to be married as soon as we left school. Only to each other; not to other people.
 

 

The return of the familiar throbbing in my temples didn’t startle me any more. Just a brief tensing of my shoulders and I was pretty sure Chris didn’t notice it.
 

 

“I love you.” These were the only words I could summon. I didn’t know if they made up for anything, covered anything. But I mean them. Really.
 

 

From Chris’ heavy sigh as he released my hands and rubbed his hands firmly up and down my arms I could imagine his slight frown, even though his cheek was flat against my hair. I kind of thought for a second he wasn’t going to say it back. That would be a first. The very thought of that made my stomach churn.
 

 

“I love you too.” He was Chris. He wouldn’t do that to me. “Always.”
 

 

For the first time since I’d started keeping things from Chris I could put a name to the ugly, churning feeling in my gut.
 

 

I was disappointed in myself.

 

 


 

 




 

 

A.N. Sorry for the long wait on the update! I had a mishap pasting... and it told me my chapter was too long so I therefore made the assumption that the rules had changed and panicked that all my to-be-posted chapters were too long so fussed about with that and dsliked cutting them and then realised I was wrong and they were fine before. Sigh. Urgh. All good.

Anyway I hope you liked it! Although not a lot happened, the next chap involves some revelio-ing on Roxy's behalf. Exciting!

I' love to hear what you think! Please leave a review!

Thanks for reading

Rx.
 


Chapter 5: V
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“What time is it now?”

 

“Five past nine.”

 

“They’ll be warming up.” I deduced. “I hope they’re warming up properly. They’ll be alright, won’t they? I mean, they know what they’re doing -”

 

“They’ve been doing it for the past five years, Ren. If they don’t know by now...”

 

“They’ll know.” I nodded fervently. “What’s the time now?”

 

“Nine oh six. Exactly one minute since you last asked.” Luc sighed tolerably. “Seriously, Ren. It’s just a game. Like any other. No one’s going to get hurt -”

 

“You don’t know that.” I said, defensively.

 

“I can guess. They’re all perfectly capable of flying a broom -”

 

“Rob and Roxy’s job is to hit heavy balls at people! With the aim of knocking them off their broom.”

 

“I know. Just the same way it’s always been. And none of them have been hurt yet. Badly, anyway.”

 

I scowled. He didn’t get it. Stupid pure-blood – utterly unfazed by unruly teenagers flying around on a piece of wood – fifty metres in the air, might I add – pelting balls at one another. It’s been seven years since I was introduced to the idea. Three since I’ve had both my boyfriend and two best mates to worry about.

 

I would never get used to it.

 

“Can we just get down there now?” I whined, impatiently. It made me more anxious not being able to keep an eye on them. Not that there’s be anything I could do if anything did happen. But still. It would stop my brain creating worst case scenarios that could be currently occurring.

 

This, in combination with the ever-present head-twinges... an uncomfortable state of mind. For me. And probably for Luc too. Judging by the way he was tiredly rubbing his temples. And looking shiftily over his shoulder.

 

Wait.

 

“What are you looking at?” I demanded, peering behind him.

 

“No one. Nothing.” He picked up his goblet and took a swig, nonchalantly. Except his goblet was empty.

 

I squinted in the general direction he’d been looking. “Bonnie?” I shrewdly deduced, spotting the back of a shiny blonde head at the Hufflepuff table. I think she was blonde, anyway. I’d gotten used to Luc leering at so many girls over the years they tended to blur into one.

 

“What? No.” He picked up his goblet again, then seemed to remember it was empty and put it down again with just a tad too much force.

 

I narrowed my eyes. “ You’re blushing.”

 

“I’m not.” He said, quite comfortably.

 

Damn. It was true, I’d taken a stab in the dark to try and ruffle him. His caramel complexion was smooth as ever. I’d envied it, in the way I’d envied Roxy’s, on so many occasions. Even at the height of summer my skin could never reach the golden/bronze colour of theirs. It was infuriating.

 

“You’re not going to ditch me for her are you?” I asked, suddenly struck by the fear of abandonment. “You can’t – I need you. Who will I sit with? Who will tell me I’m being pathetic when I worry? Who -”

 

“Relax.” He cut me off, hurriedly. “I’m not going to ditch you. Bonnie was simply wondered whether it would be ok to join us today.”

 

I blinked. “She was?”

 

“Yep.”

 

“And you were ok with that?” I was more than aware that I was not the coolest of friends to introduce your girlfriend to at the time point in time. Or at any Quidditch match, for that matter. I was annoying and pathetic. I knew that.

 

Luc grinned, “I’ve told her you’d be a blithering mess. She thought it was sweet that you were so concerned for the love of your life.”

 

I winced, as a head twinge coincided with the ‘love of your life’ phrase. The timing of these twinges hadn’t escaped me. But I couldn’t very well make an announcement that nobody was to mention the L word or any of its associates in my presence for ever more.

 

Unfortunately.

 

I pulled a face to disguise the wince. “What’s the time?”

 

Luc just sighed. “Alright, let’s go. Bonnie will meet us down there.”

 

The bite of the November air was good. Cleared my head a little. Both from frantic worrying and head twinges.

 

I could see some vague royal blue shapes in the air above the stands, accompanied by the scarlet of Gryffindor. At least it wasn’t Slytherin – with their reputation for dirty tactics. Around this time before a Ravenclaw – Slytherin match I’d probably be hyperventilating.

 

Luc lead the way to the middle of the Ravenclaw stand in the bottom row, where he’d told Bonnie to meet us. I was actually quite looking forward to it. Not the third-wheel part, but having a new person to interrogate... I mean talk to... would take my mind off the worry a little. Maybe.

 

The narrow wooden staircase leading up to the viewing platforms was hidden beneath a thick canvas bearing the Ravenclaw crest. It cast a dull blue light where the winter sun had manager to force its way through the more worn areas, making the stairs dappled and distorted.

 

The air was less fresh in here, which made me headache all the more prominent. I had to grip the cold steel rail to stop myself feeling dizzy. Luc was still nattering on about something. Probably Bonnie. It was like I’d opened a gate by interrogating him in Charms yesterday. Now it was alright to have every conversation looping back to Bonnie somehow.

 

That was mean. I scolded myself. Luc was happy. Luc actually genuinely liked someone, for once. He was, in those brief moments where he let down the ‘Cool Lucas Da Costa’ guard, vulnerable. For once. It was quite endearing.

 

I hoped Bonnie appreciated that. I hoped she wouldn’t keep secrets from him and expect him to still love her in return. I hoped she was a better girlfriend than me.

 

Ouch. Head-twinge.

 

“Are you coming or not?” Luc paused at the top of the staircase, framed in sunlight streaming in from the outside.

 

I blinked. The sunlight hurt a little. I hadn’t realised I’d stopped, gripping the rail, with other students streaming past me into the stands.

 

“Come on, or we won’t get seats.” Luc only looked at me strangely for a couple of seconds, before towing me up the remaining stairs into the sunlight.

 

I closed my eyes against it. I hoped he didn’t notice.

 

“Are you sure you’re alright?” As we waited for the people in front of us to stop rabbiting on about where to sit and just choose somewhere, Luc looked me up and down again. “You look... pale. Again. You’re not feeling faint again, are you?”

 

I rolled my eyes. “No Dad. I’m fine.”

 

Well, fine was a lie. But I wasn’t feeling faint. If anything I was feeling all too aware. The light, the head-twinges, the heaviness of my winter coat, the sharp bite of the November breeze.

 

I turned away before he could insult my appearance any more as we shuffled towards the front of the stand, and watched the pitch.

 

Chris. The sight of him gave me the very strange combination of comfort and guilt. Comfort - he was whole, healthy and on the ground away from danger. Guilt – I’d never explained my weird behaviour yesterday after the hospital wing. I’d essentially ignored him throughout dinner and focused on some trivial conversation with Roxy.

 

He still loves you, I told myself. He said so. He loves you and you love him. He forgives you.

 

I don’t deserve it.

 

As Chris and the Gryffindor captain flipped a coin to decide on ends, the glint of the sun from the coin seemed to blast straight into my eyes, making me wince again. Now I could see blue and red spots wherever I looked. I blinked again, trying to get rid of it.

 

After the toss, they shook hands and it was time for them to get back to the changing rooms with their teams before coming back onto the pitch for the match. Chris glanced up before he turned back for the changing rooms. He knew where we sat – these had been our seats for years.

 

He caught my eye. I smiled, automatically, and raised a hand to wave.

 

He would blow an exaggerated kiss. That was what he did. That was what he always did.

 

He caught my eye. He turned around. Walked back to the changing rooms.

 

My heart sank. I was supposed to be forgiven. I knew I didn’t deserve it. Had Chris now figured that out?

 

Luc was on the lower step, just in front of me. He’d noticed too. He turned back and frowned at me, noting my crestfallen expression. “What’s up with Chris? Are you two... Ren. Seriously, you look even worse than before. Are you...”

 

I blinked and shook my head, still unable to get those damn red and blue spots out of my eyes. “I’m... I’m fine...” My voice sounded distant. I blinked again, hard. All that did was make the sunlight seem even brighter.

 

My head twinged again. I bowed my head and rubbed my temples hard, hoping some outside pressure would get rid of the vice-like internal pressure I could feel.

 

“Have you two had a fight? You don’t fight. You never fight. What’s -” Luc was still rambling on. He looked concerned, I think. I don’t know, his face was starting to swim in front of me and the light was just so bright and...

 

 

A carpet. Grey and worn with the occasional piece of trodden in gum.

 

My shoes in from of my eyes. Boots. Snow boots. Slightly damp and stifling.

 

Jolting. The train. The Hogwarts Express.

 

Another vision. My stomach churned. Another one that had forced itself upon me. Out of control.

 

Only this time... this time I could hear. Sort of. It was muffled & distant. Almost like when my alarm clock ran out of battery and informed me of the time in a low-pitched, slow, warped kind of voice. Barely audible but there. This was new. I never ever heard anything in my visions before.

 

Out of control.

 

I wasn’t looking up. Staring down at my feet. I could see tiny damp spots appearing on my boots. Tears. I was crying.

 

Another pair of feet just in front of me. Trainers that I’d know anywhere. Chris.

 

I wasn’t looking up. Why wasn’t I looking up?

 

Why... why, why, why. It echoed, the voice I could hear. That was the one word I could make out.

 

Then, without warning, I looked up. Chris’ expression. Stony, cold, hurt.

 

My mouth was talking. I was talking. But what? What was I saying? Too fast, I was talking too fast to make out.

 

Chris’ mouth moving. I couldn’t make it out. I couldn’t. All I could hear.

 

Who... who, who, who...

 

I looked down again. Looked up. Chris’ face. Pain. The floor, The chewing gum. Chris’ face.

 

Pain.

 

Pain.

 

Pain.

 

 

“Ren!”

 

I was jolted back to reality with a start.

 

I felt cold, beneath my coat. Cold but clammy. I was breathing rapidly.

 

Something was on my cheek. Something rough and something cold.

 

Canvas. A zip.

 

Luc. Luc’s coat.

 

I pulled my face away and staggered back. Luc was still holding my arms. He stopped me backing into the railing. His face anxious.

 

“What the hell?” He shook me. Probably not intentionally. It hurt my head, though. “What the hell just happened? You were fine, you told me you were fine and then...” He shook his head. “Fuck this. Fuck this, Ren. We’re going to the hospital wing.”

 

“No. No I’m -” I wanted to say I was fine again. But Luc’s narrowed eyes stopped the lie.

 

“Don’t you dare say you’re fine again.” Luc pulled me back towards the stairs. “You just fainted for the second time in two days. You are not fine.”

 

I was still breathing quickly – quicker now, trying to make my legs function properly and keep up with him without tripping down the stairs and killing myself.

 

“I know. I know I’m not.” I felt dangerously close to crying. It was the helplessness. The lack of control. I was supposed to be the Seer. I was supposed to be in control.

 

Now the visions were controlling me.

 

My mind and my body. They were nearly killing me.

 

“If you’d been at the top of the steps, what do you think would have happened if I wasn’t there? You can’t just pretend everything’s alright. You’re sick. I don’t know what you’re...” Luc was shaking his head.

 

“Please, just -” I was struggling to keep up with him, tripping as we reached the grass.

 

He realised. Slowed. Looked down at me. Was he angry?

 

“Are you mad at me?” I asked, my voice unintentionally small.

 

“Yes. No. I don’t know.” He shrugged, and rubbed his head. “I’m pissed off that you lied. I could see yesterday that you shouldn’t have left the hospital wing but you kept saying over and over that you were fine. I could see you were lying but I just let it go. And then you just about go and kill yourself today. I’m kind of pissed off with you. I’m also pissed off at myself for letting you.”

 

It worried me that Luc was so worried. I must have been a state. He could barely look at me.

 

We reached the castle without saying anything more. I stopped at the corridor before the hospital wing.

 

“Luc, I don’t...” I couldn’t. I couldn’t go back to the hospital wing. Any test that Madam Bones did could tell her what’s been happening to me. No one could know that I wasn’t in control of the visions.

 

Especially Chris.

 

Had I been seeing myself telling him? I couldn’t work it out. Whatever it was, neither of us were happy. The train home. Winter. Christmas. It had to be. I was telling him something on the train home in... in three weeks time. Something that neither of us liked.

 

Was I telling him the truth?

 

It terrified me. Both that I might tell him, and that I might not.

 

“I don’t want to go back to the hospital wing.” I said to Luc.

 

“Ren, you’re -” He stopped and stared at me. I could feel my hair sticking to my clammy forehead. I could feel that I was on the brink of crying – my eyes were probably bloodshot to hell. “You have to.”

 

He wasn’t going to give up. This had ruffled Luc more than I’d ever seen before. Cool Luc was nowhere in sight.

 

He wasn’t going to let me leave.

 

“I...”

 

Tell him.

 

Could I?

 

No. He’d tell Chris. The three of them told each other everything. They were almost worse than me and Roxy. He could never keep it to himself.

 

He didn’t tell Chris about Bonnie.

 

He could keep a secret.

 

Could he?

 

Tell him.

 

“Luc, I haven’t been...”

 

He studied my face. He could see that something wasn’t right. He wasn’t a genius for nothing.

 

“Ren, what the fuck is this?” He asked, bewildered.

 

“I’ve-been-Seeing-things-again.” I said, all in a rush. I half hoped he wouldn’t follow.

 

For a second he looked perplexed. Then he raised his eyebrows. “Does Chris...?”

 

“He doesn’t know.” I said firmly. “He can’t know. These haven’t been... they haven’t been normal visions. I haven’t been trying. I don’t want to... I never wanted to. It’s just -”

 

“Whoa, whoa.” Luc held up a hand. “Slow down. Start again. From the beginning.”

 

“I accidentally saw something. In Divination. I only meant to look to see if it snowed at Christmas but it... Roxy shouted something and I accidentally... I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you exactly what it was. But it was bad. And since then I’ve had these headaches and I’ve been... I’ve been accidentally Seeing things. I don’t mean to. I don’t want to. They just... the headache will get really bad and then it just happens. And I don’t... I don’t know how to stop it.”

 

Luc processed all of that rambling for a second, while I covered my face with my hands, willing my breathing and my head-twinges to slow down.

 

“Have you told Madam Bones?” He asked.

 

“No. And I can’t. Because if Chris finds out he’ll...”

 

 He’ll hate me, I wanted to say.

 

“And you can’t tell me what you saw.” Luc said.

 

 I shook my head.

 

“And you can’t tell Chris.”

 

I shook my head again.

 

“Have you told anyone?”

 

I nodded, slowly. “Roxy.”

 

“And Roxy says...”

 

“That I should try and forget it. She thinks it’s because I’m thinking about it that it keeps happening again.”

 

Luc exhaled heavily. “You know this is beyond us, Ren. Rox is trying to help but she doesn’t have a clue. None of us have a clue. What if there’s something seriously wrong with you? You can’t just not get checked out if you might be seriously ill.”

 

“You think I’m seriously ill?” My voice got a bit high-pitched.

 

“No, I... I don’t know. That’s my point. Please, just... just go to Madam Bones again. We’ll tell her... we’ll tell her it’s something else. That you haven’t eaten. Just so she can check.”

 

“What if she knows? What if this has happened before to some famous Seer and she can tell...”

 

“She won’t. Not if we don’t tell her you’ve been Seeing anything. Do any of the teachers even know you’re a...”

 

“I’m not a Seer.” I said, firmly.

 

Luc rolled his eyes. “No. Sure. Whatever. Prophetic visions aside. Do they know you can -”

 

“No.” I shook my head. Even Trelawney didn’t know what I was fully capable of. I was careful to play it down so that she didn’t make an example of me in class. Sure, she knew what I’d been able to do back in third year. But for all she knew, I’d been ‘stifling my talent’. She hadn’t been impressed by that decision but had helped me nonetheless, declaring airily that the responsibility of the inner eye is beyond most mere mortals.

 

Something along those lines anyway.

 

“Great. So can we please just go in there and tell her you haven’t eaten and fainted. And just check that you’re not...”

 

“Dying?” I supplied, blithely.

 

Luc’s face darkened. “Not funny.”

 

I blinked. I’d been joking. Surely if anyone can joke about my condition it’s me.

 

“In.” He pointed towards the door at the end of the corridor.

 

I gave in. “Ok.” Then he turned around. “Wait, where are you going?”

“To get Chris.”

 

What?” I felt betrayed, after all I’d just said.

 

“Not to tell him everything.” Luc saw my expression. “but do you really think my best mate will forgive me for not telling him is girlfriend’s fainted again?”

 

“Can’t we just not tell him?” I suggested.

 

“He’s not blind. He’ll see we’re not there. And after that weird look that passed between you two earlier...” I could see him battling over whether to push that one or whether to let it slide. I didn’t want to ponder whether I deserved my boyfriend again right now.

 

“The match will have started.” I pointed out.

 

“Then I’ll wait till someone calls time. Or I’ll make someone call time.”

 

“And drag him away from the match? And ruin it for the team?”

 

Luc narrowed his eyes. “Like you’ve ever cared about Quidditch.”

 

“Of course I don't.” I conceded. Idiot. “But Chris cares. And Roxy and Rob.”

 

Weak argument, I thought.

 

“Weak argument.” Luc echoed my thoughts. Damn it. “You – in. I’ll be back with Chris.”

 

“Luc, please don’t -”

 

“I won’t say anything. “ He said, with a tiny smile. “Promise. Just call me Mr Mystery.”

 

"How do you know he'll even come?" I protested. Surely he would be in game zone by now. I doubted Luc could drag him away without an explanation.


 "Because it's Chris." Luc said. 'All I have to do is say your name, Ren."

 

**

 

 

By the time the cavalry arrived, Madam Bones had finally ceased her twenty minute lecture on my eating patterns. Turns out it had taken a while for Luc to catch Chris’ attention.

 

“She’s making me keep a food diary.” I hissed at Luc as he lead the way over to my bed in the corner. Oh god. It was actually my bed, now. Great.

 

He shrugged helplessly but couldn’t come back with a retort before Chris reached us.

 

Chris. Chris was here and not mad at me and holding my hand.

 

I was forgiven? Who knew. All I could feel was the panic and axiety taking a back seat and the... relief, comfort... i don't know. 

 

Just... Chris. Chris was here so it would be OK.

 

Wordlessly, he sat on the edge of the bed beside me, his arms around me fitting just right. I closed my eyes as he kissed my (thankfully no longer sweaty) forehead. This was what I needed. I couldn’t handle Chris mad at me. I needed...this.

 

“Again? Seriously, you can’t remain conscious for one whole day?”

 

Unfortunately, Chris wasn’t the only visitor.

 

“What the hell are you two doing here?” I demanded of Roxy and Rob. “Don’t you have a match to be finishing?”

 

Roxy waved a hand dismissively. “I claim as much right to be here as Chris. Rob’s just a follower.”

 

“Hey, I care.” Rob protested, roughly ruffling my hair. Comforting. Not.

 

“But you guys will have to forfeit. Or something.” I said, accidentally leaking my non-knowledge of any sport ever.

 

“Well, after fifteen minutes.” Rob said, an eye on his watch. “We have nine left. Not that I’m counting. Fully on board with your health coming first.” He gave a cheery thumbs up.

 

“Obviously.” I cracked a smile. It felt strange. But not. This was the most comfortable I’d felt today, crap banter between my friends and all.

 

“So what happened? Luc said you skipped breakfast. Are you an idiot?” Roxy asked, looking entirely sceptical.

 

“I was... worried.” I fake-explained, trying to convey shut the hell up in a single look. “You know. Standard Quidditch worries. So I wasn’t hungry. I guess I just wasn’t fully recovered from yesterday.” Bizarrely, my story was making sense.

 

“Well that’s stupid. And you,” Roxy turned on Luc, ‘Why didn’t you make her? Huh? Too busy dreaming about Billie?”

 

“Bonnie.” I corrected, absently.

 

“Whatever.” Roxy still had her angry face on.

 

“I’m not her babysitter.” Luc held up his hands, just in case of a surprise Roxy attack. Stranger things have happened.

 

“Well, she needs one! Apparently.”

 

“I resent that.” I said. But apparently my opinion didn’t matter.

 

“Seven minutes.” Rob announced, then it was his turn to raise his hands in defence, as he received both Roxy and Chris’ angry faces. “What? She looks fine. You’re fine, Ren. Right?”

 

“Sure. Fine enough for you all to get back to the game. I’m just fairly certain that Madam Bones won’t let me watch. She’s ‘supervising’ my lunch. You know, to make sure I’m not slipping it up my sleeve or something.” I glared at Luc.

 

“Are you sure?” Roxy peered at Rob’s watch. “I mean, we can still technically tell the others to carry on. Just... without beaters. And one less chaser. But they’ll be alright...”

 

“No, you should play.” I assured her. “I mean, otherwise people will ask you why you left. And I don’t want to be Hospital Wing Girl.” The thought of other people finding out I was here faintly horrified me.

 

Not that I had a reputation to ruin. I just didn’t want to gain one of any form.

 

“You’re sure?”

 

“Absolutely. I’m fine.” I stopped myself before pleading.

 

“And you’ll be allowed to come back to the dorm later?” Roxy asked, ever-so-subtly widening her eyes indicating that I had to talk to her later or else.

 

“Bloody hope so.”

 

“Right. Well in that case... five minutes, guys. And it took us that to get here.” Rob straightened up. “Get better, Ren.” He added as an afterthought without looking back.

 

I just rolled my eyes as he and Roxy backed towards the door, clearly itching to get back to injuring people with heavy balls.

 

I looked up at Chris, who hadn’t moved from by my side. “Chris.” I said, quietly. “You should go too.” I still wasn’t sure what he was thinking. The arm around me and head stroking was very much back to the old Chris. But keeping quiet... wasn’t.

 

He looked at me for a very long time. Concern was all I could see in his eyes. But I could feel it - that something still wasn’t right. And that made me feel sick.

 

“Chris. Mate, we can’t play without a captain.” Rob said, from the doorway.

 

“You can.” These were the first words Chris had said since he got here and they weren’t even directed at me.

 

“We can’t win without you.” Roxy corrected. “Is what he meant.”

 

Chris stared at them for a couple of seconds. Than at his feet. Then at me. Ask me to stay, he was saying. Ask me to stay and I will.

 

I wanted him to stay. I wanted to freeze this feeling with his arms around me and the feeling that I was safe.

 

But it wasn’t real. The visions controlled me. I wasn’t in control. I wasn’t safe from them and for once I wasn’t sure how my boyfriend actually felt.

 

“Go.” My voice was almost a whisper. “You should go.”

 

Then he looked at me for a long time. Kissed my head, lingering.

 

And left without another word. 

 
 
 

 




A.N. What do you think? I'm slowly getting back in to writing and this story is slowly but steadily moving on, I promise! Please leave a review, and thanks for reading! Rx.
 


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