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Chapter 7 - Wish You Were Here






 



It ain't hard to see
Who you are underneath
I'm still in love with who I wish you were
And I wish you were here                      
- Wish You Were by Kate Voegele



Maisy’s POV



It’s surreal. Watching a wicker casket, threaded with lilies, glide slowly down the church aisle. Watching it pause on a marble platform. Then watching it disappear silently. Then realising that it’s your own mother.



It only hit me as the casket began to disappear, flower by flower. The sun seemed to peep from behind the winter clouds briefly and shine brightly on the wicker, burning away the shadow of the ominous room and casting rainbow flecks of light across the space through the stained glass. My whole body seemed to stiffen and an alien gasp burst from my lips. There were witches in dark robes crying softly who turned and stared at me, their eyes full of pity. Lily grasped my left hand. Dad grasped my right hand. And then I fell. Fell into the deepest, darkest pit I had ever seen. Full of nothing, brimming with alone – it was like the real world, but seeing it through a looking glass.



In fairytales, Alice falls through the looking glass and enters the most magical of worlds. Full of mythical cats, extinct creatures and impossible possibles. My looking glass was like looking into my life, in the overcast gloom of England. The rooms were dark, everyone’s faces were faded and blurred and just looking through the glass made your heart twist and turn and pump so violently that it becomes hard to breath and impossible to stop it from affecting your legs, your heaving chest and your eyes; which have now completely overwhelmed themselves with cascades of salty tears, enough to fill an ocean of emotion. It wasn’t my idea of a magical looking glass. It was a looking glass I had promised to smash and forget.



But there was no forgetting the pain that swept over my body as the foot of the casket disappeared forever behind the onyx curtains. Wretched noises bubbled up from inside me and bellowed like a tortured woman, echoing around the four walls, not even interrupting the perdurable singing of the larks that swept the skies above the church. I was not aware of anything or anyone. Somehow, through instinct, my hands reached my mouth and covered it tightly, waning the wails that were still fighting the barrier. Suddenly, I was out of the stone seat, being pulled from the church in a whirlwind of black and hand shaking. Then, there was green.



The green blared up into my eyes and made me feel dizzy. There were still hands around my shoulders. And there were still tears falling gradually down my face, seeping into my satin dress and spreading like a disease. Like a disease in the brain. Like mum’s final frontier. The green then reminded me of her eyes and her love of summer, gardens, trees, emeralds – everything to do with the colour green was everything to do with mum. The green drew me into it, impaling me with soft spikes of the grass, my knees covered in the vicious stains. Then, a flash of auburn ringlets and creamy skin – Lily sat down in front of me, cross-legged on the lawn and pulled my chin up slowly.



“Maisy,” she said, her voice catching when she looked straight at me. Was I that horrifying? That awful? Her own eyes began to fill with moisture and I wished she would stop.



“You just look so sad,” she said, in answer to the questions in my head.



“I know,” I said, though my voice was foreign to me, coming out in a raspy whisper that belonged to a deathly frail woman. Not a teenager.



“I promised I’d look after you!” she cried, touching my hand and gripping it like a vice. “It’s me and you, Maisy. Best friends, ‘til the very end, okay? If you’re sad, I’m sad! If you’re happy, I’m happy. And I think you’re doubting everything and anything! – but I promise, I’m always gunna be here. With you. Until the world stops spinning and the stars stop shining. You don’t need to doubt anything. You’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, everything will be fine. You’re the best part of me, Maisy. Please, come back? Please just come back.”



She was rocking slightly and crying even harder. She looked so absent, so helpless. But everything wouldn’t be fine. The world had just lost one of its group. It had just been fragmented and broken up. The world, through my looking glass, had ended. But somehow the sun was still shining, the grass was still growing and Lily was still crying... Lily was still crying?



It was like the black clouds had vanished and the eye of the storm had settled above us – letting in the sunlight through such a tragedy, such a disaster. I gripped her hands back and she stopped crying, instantly, and looked up at me. I smiled, wide and proud, proud of my best friend. Her battle with the sombre doppelganger of me had paid off. The imposter had indeed been infiltrated and beaten back into the corner of my bodily make-up, and would stay there.



I threw my arms around Lily and beamed happily, laughing lightly. She hugged me back and we smiled and cried and smiled some more. Like old times. Like before the incident. As if we’d carried on form where we’d left off.



“Best friends,” I agreed, nodding my head seriously, but jesting. She laughed.



“Til the very end,” she said, holding out her pinky finger, which I wrapped with my own. A promise that would never be broken.


 








“Linda, you know you’re like, god!” Lily managed, through mouthfuls of crumbling cookie. She smiled apologetically at the mess.



“Why thank you, hun,” she smiled from behind the stove in her thick Welsh accent, mixing a large bowl of batter.



I looked over at Lily from where I’d propped myself on the kitchen side. We’d decided to stay longer than the days of the funeral, just being home gave me the feeling of contentment that I wanted to build up before the hustle and bustle of school and Christmas and end of term exams. Fantastic.



“So Lily, do tell me about this James that Maisy has informed me of,” she said slyly from inside the pantry. Lily shot me a glare and threw the rest of her macaroon at me. Wasteful child! And I hate macaroons.



“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she huffed quietly.



“By the raspberry ripple going on in those cheeks I’d say you do, duckie!” Linda smiled, wiping her hands on her apron and chuckling.



“Well at least I can own up to it now, I guess..” she trailed off. “But I don’t see Maisy informing us of her dirty little secret!”



“Dirty little secret?” I repeated. Was she talking about Sirius?



“He told me he told you.” Lily said simply, chewing on another macaroon. Another one.



“Told me..?” Was I that stupid? What had he said?



“That he loved you. He told you he loved you? Surely you would remember something as big as that!?” she coughed, choking on a surprisingly hard piece of her macaroon. Haha, karma.



“Maisy?! You’ve been holding out on me,” Linda pouted, putting her hands on her hips. She walked over to me and gripped me fiercely. “Tell me who he is or I will have to torture you.” She said simply. I laughed.



“It’s no big deal Linda...”



“Yes it is!” Lily choked. Cheers Lil, reaaaally smooth.



“Do I have to tickle you in the kidneys? Really? Are we not more mature than that?” Linda said, raising her eyebrows and sighing dramatically.



“Never!” I cried, wriggling in her grip, laughing and crying.



“Tell me, Maisy!” she kept repeating.



“Never! No!” I kept shouting back, giggling and writhing on the floor now, squeaking around on the lino covering.



“Okay Okay Okay!” I gave in, breathing heavily and sitting opposite Linda on the floor. She was backed against the fridge and I was backed against the aged aga.



“Spill the beans, honey,” she said, her eyes crinkling in the corners from years of freedom and laughter. My nanny, my house keeper, my respectable second mother.



“He’s in my year, a Gryffindor. He’s been tutoring me that’s all. I kinda forgot he even, you know, said that stuff.” I said, pulling at my hair and twisting it nonchalantly in my fingers. He’d actually said that hadn’t he. He’d left me that note! That note...



“So! Who is he?!” she said, anticipation thick in her throat. She looked fit to burst. Barmy!



“Sirius. Sirius Black.” I said, smiling, not being able to help myself. Lily giggled and clapped enthusiastically from the stool above us.



I looked at Linda who seemed to have stopped, stock still. Her lips were thin and drawn as wide as a pencil line, pursed so hard they seemed to elevate an ominous white colour.



“Linda..?” I said. She glanced up at me, fire in her eyes, and an anger I had never seen before.



“Black!” she spat.



“Urm.. Yeah? I’m, urm.. sorry?” I faltered, stumbling over my words. What the hell?!



“Sirius Black. Son of Arcturus Black? Are you joking, Maisy?” she hissed.



“What? What’s wrong Linda?” I nearly shouted, exasperated with her lack of understanding. What had I done? Why had she gone mental.



“Arcturus Black, is the reason your mother ended up in that be-be-eautiful c-c-casket!” she wept noisily, choking on her words. “He backfired the whole oper-a-a-ation. It’s his fault. He’s a mmu-mu-urderer!” she cried, running from the room in haste and slamming the door behind her. I heard her storm the stairs and retreat to her own room. I could still hear her tears from the floor below.



One again, the darkness inside seem to filter out through my eyes, my mouth - my whole body radiated the darkness. I looked over at Lily, who looked scared; scared beyond description. But I couldn’t see Lily as my best friend and I couldn’t picture Sirius, or lazy days to come with him, or growing old with him, or ever being in love with him. The looking glass has re-pieced itself and come to rest like permanent spectacles on the bridge of my nose, blocking the real world from my view. Sirius was right, it wasn’t my fault my mother was dead. It was his.


 








I knocked the door quietly with my fist clenched. I could hear creaking of the old floorboards and sniffing as Linda came to the door and opened it slowly. She looked at me. But it felt as if she was looking into me – into my head, into my heart, into my soul. She sighed and looked down at your feet.



“Arcturus was here the night your mother came home...” she said wistfully, trying to gather herself together. I immediately knew the man she was talking about. The tall man, with dark hair and penetrating eyes. He seemed to live in a shadow, he looked so dark. “Your mother was a great woman. And that, that Black killed her.”



She blew her nose into a flowered handkerchief, and put her hand on my shoulder, smiling. “But don’t worry – I won’t tell your father. You just keep away from that Sirius boy. Your mother would want it that way. Yes, she would want it that way.” Linda hiccoughed. “You’re going back now, I hear?”



I looked up, eyes red. Yes, but I don’t want to. Ever.



“Yeah, school. Exams and such. But I’ll be home again in a month.”



“Home’s never the same without you, duckie.” She said sadly. “Especially with your mother gone as well. It’s so silent here, all of the time.”



“It’s not too long. I promise I’ll come home, I’ll come home this time.” I said. “I know I should have stayed. Mum would still be alive. She’d still be here fi I’d stayed and talked her through everything. She was getting better..”



“She was never going to get better, Maisy.”



“Yes! Yes she was! I felt it! She was getting warmer and her heartbeat was still strong when I left!..” I started to cry again. I did wish I’d stayed home with Mum. Seen her through her final days. Too late now. Two months too late.



“I have something for you,” Linda said, hurrying inside her room. I looked inside at the simple quilted bed and rocking chair. It smelt so homey in here. I wanted to curl up under the covers and stay young forever, cocooned in the safety of Linda’s room. She returned with a small black box. A jewellery box. She handed it to me, and wrapped her hands around mine, we both held the box together.



“She would have wanted it this way,” she said simply.



I opened the box and gasped at what was led in the black velvet. A white gold necklace, balancing a perfect sapphire, embedded in more white gold, off of its centre. The chain was fine, the links entwining around each other like natural vines. Hot tears bled from my eyes again as I picked the necklace out of its bed and handled the jewel tenderly. Mother’s engagement necklace. How petty she thought of rings! “Ugly things!” she would say, “just a nuisance when I’m writing or using my wand. No, I’d much prefer something special and on show to the world.” She would smile proudly and let me try the necklace on, pretending I was the grown-up princess, the one with the fairytale prince and grand castle. Mother was in love even in the final days of her life, Dad had given her the necklace over twenty years ago, and she always looked at it in admiration whenever she caught herself in a mirror. And now, it was mine?



But I wasn’t like mother. I wasn’t grown-up or independent or happy! I was selfish and young and ridden with inexplicable guilt over the one boy, the one boy who I’d thought I could love forever. For forever and a day. Someone who I knew would keep me safe and love me and treat me like a queen. But things had changed. People change. I’d let Sirius enter my world and life and head. He knew things about me that not even Lily would understand. He knew when I was sad, when I was nervous. He knew when to expect tears; he knew when to expect tantrums. Sirius was; just Sirius. The one person I couldn’t possibly live without – but had to. The thought of it encircled my throat and made it harder to breathe, caught my heart and squeezed it fit to burst. But petty teenage love, over the love of a mother? Sirius’ father had murdered her! What was I thinking? How could I love someone so treacherous, and he had lied to me! He hadn’t even told me about his father. He’d been keeping it from me!



“Want me to put it on for you?” Linda said, snapping me out of my reverence and taking the chain. She lifted up my hair and clasped the link together. “There,” she said, patting my hair back down. “You look, beautiful. Just like your mother. She’d be so proud.”



I smiled up at her and hugged her hard. She returned the hug and I cried quietly into her house coat. God, I didn’t want to leave.



“Dumbledore will be upset if I keep you here any longer.” She laughed, pushing the hair out of my eyes. She kissed my forehead and pushed me along. “Now go! Gosh. And study hard!” she said, still laughing.



I walked down the stairs, pausing at the same point from that night. Shake the feeling, shake the feeling.



“We’re gunna be late!” Lily shouted at me. She was handing a small letter to an owl.



“Lily, seriously?” I said, giving her the eye and looking at the poor owl.



“He told me to owl him!” she said, letting the owl fly out through the open window. She shut it hastily because of the November chill.



“Yeah, but not every five minutes!” I said. She was so in love. “Admit it, you love him!”



“I.. I.. Is that stupid of me? Should I just, give my heart away like that?” she said, biting her lip. Awh Lily.



“You’re scared, aren’t you?” I said.



“I don’t want to be another notch on his bedpost.”



“Lily, you’re gunna be the reason he wakes up in the morning. You’re his forever.” Everyone could tell. James looked at Lily like a man in awe. He worshipped her. He loved her beyond words, and now she finally reciprocated the love, his was going to increase even more, burst through the Gryffindor tower and erupt through the school grounds. Nobody would be safe from James Potter’s happiness. No one.



“Maisy?”



“Yes, Lily?” C’mon! SAY IT!



“I really do, urm, you know.. Like him.” She said, biting her lip.



“And...”



“Okay fine! I love him! I bloody love him! There, happy?” I looked at how ecstatic she looked and how her emotion lit up her pretty features.



“Tell James that,” I said, but my voice was raspy again. Tears had already started to track my face. Lily was in love. Lily was allowed to be in love. And I, I was so inevitably in love, so so in love with Sirius. But...



“Maisy? Hey, c’mon! You’ll see Sirius soon, and this week will be, like it never happened!” she said, grabbing my luggage and putting it by the fire. Like it never happened?!



“LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED? MY MOTHER IS DEAD BECAUSE OF HIM! DO YOU KNOW HOW I’M FEELING RIGHT NOW? DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO WANT SOMEONE SO MUCH, SO MUCH THAT IT BURNS EVERYTIME YOU THINK OF THEM – BUT THEN FIND OUT YOU CAN’T WANT THEM? LET ALONE LOVE THEM?!”



“Maisy, please...”



“Don’t! Sirius is nothing to me, okay? Nothing!” I yelled, crying even harder at the lies pouring from my mouth. Poisoning Lily’s mind; but she wasn’t stupid.



“Don’t lie to me, Maisy. I know you better than that. You love him.” She said, touching my shoulder and wrapping her long arms around me. “You really think Linda’s got it right? Your mother would want you to be happy, not miserable!”



“She would want me happy, yes. But not with her murderer’s son!”



“Sirius hasn’t spoken to his family for a long time, I doubt he even knew anything about your mother’s condition or whether his father was working that night. He hates them, Maisy.”



“That’s not the point. Arcturus’ blood runs through Sirius. What if Sirius is as dark and evil as him? What if he’s been lying to us all for years! And nobody’s even seen it!” I cried, all thoughts of Sirius making me feel deflated and empty inside.



“But...”



"There’s no but about it!”



“But you need him, Maisy. Everybody needs somebody to love them.”



“No. No, I won’t do this to my father, or Linda, or my mother. Sirius Black is nothing to me, nothing! And you do not breathe a word of this to him, you here? We just won’t be friends. He’ll get over me.” I breathed heavily and dropped Lily from my grip, grabbed a handful of Floo powder and walked into the hearth. As the room disappeared from view I swear I heard Lily whisper,



“But will you get over him?”









I walked through the common room with Lily leading the way. She walked straight past James, who sat up quickly as she walked past. He looked up at me and winked, happy to have us home, and happy about Lily, I was sure. The wink was a ‘I’m-so-in-there-aren’t-I?’ kind of wink. I nodded shyly at him and he beamed. He got up and gave Lily a gentle hug, she rested her head into his neck then pulled away. “Later,” I heard her say.



Remus was sitting at the spindly table, noticing our entrance, he looked up and waved. He had a large star chart out in front of him and was dabbing clumsily at the spilled ink that had just toppled over as he waved. I smiled. It was weird seeing Remus so unorganised. Gosh, these boys had faltered in our absence.



Then I saw Sirius. He was reading a book on the couch and had put it down on his chest. He just looked at me, grey eyes twinkling, and my breath caught in my throat. He raised his eyebrows at me and gave me a coy smile. My heart seethed and my brain swerved me in auto-pilot towards him. He was the most inviting person in the whole room, the one person who I could seriously understand. But I stopped. I refrained. I gave him a look of pure distaste and swept from the room, slipping on the stairs slightly and bursting into the dormitory where I collapsed on the oak floor, heavy sobs jumping from my chest. Lily placed a hand on my back and rubbed it slowly. I was sick with myself. How could I have done that to Sirius? How would I do this to him. But it’s for mum, it’s for mum. I had to keep reminding myself. It’s for mum.



“We’ll get through this.” She whispered.



But even she looked apprehensive. I burst into fresh sobs in pure panic and fear. For every girl who had ever lived and ever would live; knew that nothing, nothing in existence, could heal a broken heart.




A/N1: I tried really hard with this chapter, I hope it's okay. How was the Lily and Maisy thing? I had to prove how close they are - they're literally sisters. Lily doesn't like talking about her family because of Petunia basically disowning her, so she classes Maisy as her sister.
A/N2: This is my favourite chapter image so far. Kristina @ TDA made it. Go find her and beg her for your own.
A/N3: Who wants chapter 8? Click the little arrows down there >> and your off :)



Editted for content and readability, July 2010 :)



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