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A/N: This is just a continued explanation as to everything that happened in the previous chapter. And it’s kind of a narrative to what Elle is telling James, in a way and if that makes any sense at all! It’s another shorter chapter but at least you get to figure out everything at last. Anyhow, I really hope you enjoy this chapter and tell me what you think as well because I am beginning to feel sorry for Elle’s Dad, Chris, now.

Disclaimer: I only own my OCs and the plot but everything you recognise from the Harry Potter world does not belong to me but the talented J.K. Rowling.






“And then when I finally woke up from the coma, a month later, Charity was there to explain everything that had happened,” I explained as we sat in the hospital cafeteria, “She told me about Norah, about Mum and about Dad.” I gulped at that particular memory. It wasn’t pretty at all and I can only imagine the pain and torment having to explain something like that to your younger sister.


“Oh…” He said quietly. That’s all James had been doing, staring at the table in silence and listening to everything that I was saying. He wouldn’t even make eye contact with me and the quiet and tense atmosphere around the table was making me feel so claustrophobic. I desperately wanted James to say something else, to tell me what a horrible person I was and that he didn’t want to do this anymore.


The silence dragged out for another half an hour until I couldn’t stand to sit there anymore, waiting and holding my breath in the hopes that maybe he would say something else. My chair was pushed back abruptly and I scared myself that I had stood up suddenly. James didn’t even flinch so I turned and walked away, towards the exit of the hospital, not giving him a chance to catch up to me. It felt like I was walking in slow motion, fighting back tears but failing miserably.


“…Elle,” I had reached the double doors that opened up into the main waiting room, “Wait,” my whole body was frozen on the spot, too scared to turn around and see his facial expression. My eyes snapped shut as soon as I felt him step around me so he was stood in front of me, “Elle, open your eyes and look at me.” He commanded softly, his voice barely a whisper but I shook my head violently.


“I can’t.” I croaked out, the lump in my throat was back once again and threatening to make the dam burst.


“Why?” He whispered, gently putting his finger under my chin and lifting it ever so slightly. My face automatically blushed at the contact and I cursed him for ever having any effect on me.


“I can’t stand to see the hate and disgust on your face.” I answered just as quietly. It felt like I was admitting something really embarrassing and once it was out there, I couldn’t take it back.


“Oh, Elle,” I felt him grab my shoulders and pull me to his chest, smothering my face and I instantly wrapped my arms around his waist, “I could never hate you,” he whispered, kissing my forehead reassuringly, “And I know it’s not your fault, Elle, it’s not.” He added after a while. My eyes slowly peeled open to look up at him in shock.


“Of course it is,” his amazing hazel eyes stared down at me kindly, “Did you not hear anything I was saying?”


“Yes I did and Elle, it wasn’t your fault,” he continued before I could protest again, “It was the other driver’s fault for suddenly swerving into your lane.” I lowered my eyes and stared at his chest in defiance, clenching my jaw roughly to hold down my tears.


“But if I hadn’t grabbed the wheel then… M-Mum would’ve controlled the car and…,” I couldn’t hold them back anymore as soon as I started talking to him and they flowed onto my cheeks, “Then s-she w-would still b-be alive.” I gasped for air desperately, my hands clenching into fists on the back of James’ shirt.


“You’re blaming yourself for what someone else did,” he grabbed my face in his hands and made me look up at him whilst he tried to wipe away my continuous tears, “Even if your Mum did have control of the steering wheel, that car still would’ve swerved into your lane and the car still would’ve flipped over,” he explained quietly, pulling us both out of the way of the doors to two chairs to the side, “It’s not your fault. And it never will be.” He pulled me back into a bone-crushing hug and I was thankful he was trying to make me feel better but nothing he could say would ever make me think it wasn’t my fault. Because it was. We stayed sat in those seats for an eternity, both in silence, with James’ arms still around me and me occasionally closing my eyes and pretending I was someone else who wasn’t quite so fucked up.


“You know,” I suddenly spoke, “When I was released from the hospital and went back to Dad’s house… he’d either sold, used or burnt all my birthday presents,” James’ arm tensed around me, “Except for the portrait… he’d kept that but blacked me out.”


“That’s not right,” he spoke with an underlying tone of anger, “You’re his daughter.”


“Not in his eyes.” I said monotonously.


“Is that why you feel guilty about all this? Because your Dad says you are?” He looked down at me, his once reassuring hazel eyes were darkening in anger and frustration.


“James, I... I don’t wanna talk about this right now.” I pulled away from him, wiping my tear-stained cheeks and playing with the drawstrings on James’ joggers.


“Are those mine?” He arched his brow at me, his still darkened eyes flicked down to the pants I was wearing and I blushed.


“I was kind of in a hurry,” I coughed awkwardly, “I just grabbed the nearest thing.” I looked down at the floor when I felt James vibrate slightly beside me.


“Hey, I’m not protesting.” He shrugged, holding his hands up in surrender and offering me a small smile.


“I think we should go to the bed and breakfast.” I sighed tiredly, “I wanna catch up on some much needed sleep.” James studied my face for a few seconds and I suddenly felt emotionally bare as his eyes scanned back and forth.


“Okay.” He nodded his head the slightest amount and stood up with me, walking slowly and quietly to the waiting room doors.


“Elle! Wait!” Someone was hurriedly trying to catch my attention behind us. Spinning round, I spotted Charity making her way towards me with a distressed expression on her features.


“What is it, Char?” I questioned nervously, afraid of what she was going to say. My heart was hammering in my chest so loudly that it was all I could hear and I had to really focus on what Charity was saying.


“They’ve just given her the injection…” she said breathlessly and all the blood drained from my face. They were going to slowly reduce to amount of air she was receiving and I was about to leave without saying anything or being with her or my older sister whilst they were doing it, “And I’ve spoken to Dad… he’s… willing to let you stay in the room whilst they do it.” She also added tentatively, her brown eyes – from Dad – were trying to communicate some hidden message but right now I didn’t care about that. I could be in the room when they did it. He was letting me in the room.


“Why?” I blurted out in the silence.


“I… convinced him,” she hesitated and I become suspicious of what she’d actually done but she continued, not giving me much time to think about it, “So, are you coming or not?” My head nodded feverishly before she even finished the question and we all walked briskly back to the elevator and towards Norah’s hospital room. The enormous sense of déjà vu was present as we back-tracked, as well as a large amount of dread. A part of me was just anticipating the verbal attack from my Dad again but another part was hoping there was some sort of affection still left. But I knew that ‘affection’ would be pushing it, so I settled for just a little tolerance or civility. My heart was racing again when we reached the door, Charity pushing it open confidently with no consideration to how panicked I was feeling right now. Dad was sat at the edge of Norah’s bed with anticipation running over his facial features.


“I’m gonna be right by your side, Elle. You don’t have to be worried.” James comforted me, walking in first so that I could follow, hiding behind him.


“Thank you.” I whispered quietly, sitting down on his lap again when we were in the room. I could feel my Dad’s eyes on the back of my head, searing a hole but I concentrated on Norah’s heart monitor. Listening to the steady beating. We ended up sitting in the chair we had done previously before Dad came in, demanding we leave. My eyes drifted from the heart monitor to the side of James’ tired-looking face. I could tell he was about to drop off as his hazel eyes disappeared behind groggy lids occasionally.


“James, go to sleep.” I whispered, not wanting to break the silent atmosphere.


“No,” he widened his eyes to wake up a bit more, “I want to be awake if you are.” He shifted a little, causing me to move with him. I brought my legs up, kicking off my sandals and curling myself into a ball on his lap with my head rested in the crook of his neck. Like usual, his arms automatically wound around me to keep me from falling.


“Honestly, I’ll be fine. Go to sleep and I’ll wake you if anything happens.” I reassured him, watching his eyes scrutinise mine before he conceded.


“Okay… but wake me up in an hour.”


“I will.” I braved a small grin, lowering my lips onto his for a chaste kiss before putting my head back in the crook of his neck, inhaling his signature smell. His eyes closed with his head leant on his knuckle and I listened for another half an hour until I felt his breathing had completely slowed down and I knew that he was in a deep sleep.


Then I allowed myself to get a good look at Norah, who had no idea what was happening in the room right now. It got me thinking how we would tell her what had taken place in the four years she had been under… if she survived. But that wasn’t something I wanted to think about because I needed to stay positive for Charity, who was crumbling away. It was the least I could do for all the times she’d done the same for me.


Charity or Dad had probably neatened her hair so that it wasn’t fanned out anymore, it just hung on her shoulders. The same colour as Mum’s hair, the hair all three of us had inherited. I couldn’t believe that I had even considered dying my hair blonde years ago and hadn’t listened to my Mum and left my hair the way it was. The clock above Norah’s bed read 04:48 before someone managed to speak.


“I’m going to get another coffee.” Dad announced, standing up and just leaving without giving us any time to reply.


“He’ll come round… eventually.” Charity said quietly when he’d been gone for five minutes.


“He won’t. I think we should leave that as it is, nothing we can do to change it now,” I shrugged, not feeling dejected because I had grown used to it. At least he wasn’t acting horrible to me anymore, I’d take the silent treatment over the shouting any time, “I’m not necessarily happy, but I’m getting there.” I subconsciously looked at James.


“He seems to be helping you.” She gestured her head to my fiancé that was beginning to snore lightly.


“Yeah, he has.” I turned to look at him again. Drinking in every detail of his face because I knew that by the end of the month in two week’s time, I’d have to forget about him. I think the thing I’d miss the most would be moments like this where I felt safe with him, as long as he was there nothing could harm me.


“He’s really good for you, Elle. You glow just looking at him,” her cheeks creased so that her mouth was sculpted into a miniscule smile, “It’s almost as if you’re going back to the old you.”


“I don’t know… it scares me how much I care about him,” I whispered, afraid that he could somehow hear, “Sometimes it feels like he’s too good to be true.”


“And what’s wrong with that? Maybe that’s what you need to make you feel happy again,” she replied, “It’s the same with me and Darrell. Some days it frightens me how much my happiness depends on his happiness and vice versa.”


“How do you deal with it?” I looked back at James’ sleeping face, wrapping my fingers in the spaces between his gently.


“I haven’t. It happens all the time but I guess that’s what it’s like with every couple,” her eyes drifted out the window, “If the amount you love the other person doesn’t scare you, it’s not love.” We settled into silence, mainly because I couldn’t think of anything to reply to that. Dad came back in and we waited in silence for a doctor to come in but they never did. Just like I promised James, I woke him up at six whilst struggling to stay awake myself. Charity had to leave as she was going to swap with Darrell, who was coming to sit with us whilst she got some sleep.


“Elle, you need some sleep too.” James said after the millionth time I yawned, trying to hide it.


“I’m fine,” I yawned again, “I don’t mind stay awake, I just need some coffee.” I went to get up but James kept his hold on me. It made me feel like a teenager again, scared of being romantic with a boyfriend in front of parents.


“No, Elle, you need sleep. You made me so now I’m making you,” he said seriously, “I promise I will wake you up if anything happens and if not, I’ll let you sleep for a couple of hours.” He planted a delicate kiss where my shoulder blade was, his eyes looking incredibly bloodshot. But guess what? Even he made that look attractive.


“A couple of hours, okay?” I warned him, settling myself down because I desperately needed to sleep for a bit, “And you promise to wake me up if a doctor comes in?”


“I promise. Go to sleep.” He kissed my temple as I lowered my head onto his shoulder, closing my heavily-lidded eyes with relief. Within minutes, I was in dreamland. If I’m honest, it wasn’t much sleep anyway because I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I wasn’t quite sure that what I was hearing actually happened, I may have been dreaming it all in my head.


“I’m just going now, Darrell says he’s here,” I think that may have been Charity, “So I’ll see you later.” I know that next person to talk was James because I felt his body vibrate beneath me.


“See you later.” And then I seemed to drift away into blackness again.


“No offence, Sir,” a deep voice said, I was certain it was James this time, “But you said before that you were losing your daughter…”


“How is this relevant?” Another voice answered bitingly.


“I’m just saying that if Norah doesn’t make it then you’ll have lost all of your daughters. You’ve already lost Elle, you’ll lose Charity because of how you’ve been treating Elle. You’ll lose all contact with any grandkids that they’ll have.”


“You think you have any right to talk to me about this?” The second person started to raise his voice.


“You’re blaming your own daughter for something that wasn’t her fault! Do you know how much she believes you? Instead of comforting her, because she’s lost her Mum and about to lose her sister too, you decide to dump all the guilt on her!” James also raised his voice, “I’m not saying it helped but her intentions were good! She tried to move the car out of the way! Do you really think this girl here would intentionally set out to do anything bad to her own Mother and sister?” The silence that followed was enough to give James his answer as he settled back into his seat properly and no-one discussed it further. Either the silence that continued went on for a few seconds or I had once again fallen back into a dreamless, interrupted sleep.


“Elle, time to wake up.” I felt someone nudge me but I didn’t want to open my eyes. I wanted to stay asleep for just a while longer because I was incredibly exhausted.


“No.” I mumbled grumpily, scrunching my eyebrows up in defiance.


“Come on, it’s nine o’clock in the morning. And the doctors are gonna come in soon.” The same person repeated and I forcefully opened my eyes, seen as the person wouldn’t give up trying and leave me be. The sun was shining through the half-open blinds, glaring directly into my eyes and making me squint a little. Once I had awoken slightly and gathered most of my senses and memory, the layer of dread settled back down onto my bones again. If the doctors were coming in soon, it meant that it was genuinely happening. They were going to start slowly switching off her life support and she wasn’t ever going to wake up again.


“It’s Friday, isn’t it?” I questioned him groggily, adjusting myself on his lap so that I wasn’t hurting him.


“Yes, it is. Nice nap?” He Smiled down at me, the hazy fog over my eyes slowly disappearing.


“Mmhmm. I’m sorry, you must have been so uncomfortable with me sleeping like this.” I gestured to my body nervously and quietly because I was still scared my Dad was in the room. I was too scared to turn around and see his face after the last several hours.


“It’s okay. You needed sleep far more than I needed to be comfortable.” He reassured me and I quietened down, glancing out the corner of my eyes to where my Dad was sitting to find he wasn’t there.


“Where’s my Dad?” I asked both James and Darrell.


“He went to go and get some sleep after I kept pestering him.” Darrell answered before James could, with a small smile.


“Oh.” We drifted back into silence for a while until we heard someone bustle into the room. All three of our heads shot up to see Char walk in sombrely followed by a gentleman in dark blue scrubs, holding a clipboard and also wearing a grim facial expression. The whole room settled into tense silence as we waited for the nurse to say something.


“We’ve discussed this already with Norah’s father and with the consultation doctors…” he started slowly before letting out a huge sigh, “We’ve decided to start decreasing the amount of oxygen from her life support as soon as possible.” My hand flew to my mouth as tears welled up in my eyes. James’ arms tightened around me but nothing he could do now could help me. I don’t know why I was so surprised at this information, I already knew what was going to happen because Char had told me before but it was still shocking to hear. Maybe it was because when Char told me, I didn’t quite believe her but now he had said it, it meant that it was final. It was actually happening, “There is a possibility that she might end up breathing on her own but it’s not a very good one. I’m sorry.” He hung his head in defeat as the first few tears found their way onto my cheeks. Char came to comfort me, pulling me into her arms as we both shook with unsurmountable grief.


“Thank you.” I heard James say to the nurse in the distance.


“The actual doctor is on his way now to start the process but you won’t be allowed in the room as he does it.” The nurse answered before disappearing out the door. Both Darrell and James came to comfort both of us but I didn’t want to let go of Char. She needed me just as much as I needed her right now, no matter how much James made me feel whole when I was in his arms. Char pulled away from the hug to go and say her final goodbyes to Norah and I followed suit, still crying.


“You’ve been an amazing sister to me. To both of us. I’m so glad and grateful that I knew you for as long as I did, I love you to pieces.” Char whispered to her, stroking her hair repeatedly.


“Noona,” I started, my voice catching in my throat, “I am so sorry. I will be eternally sorry that I put you in this state, that we’re in this situation where we have to say goodbye to you forever,” I could feel both Char and James ready to say something to tell me that I was wrong but I interrupted them, “Tell Mum we say hi and that we love her and you. And we won’t ever stop loving you both, for as long as we live.” I kissed her on the forehead, squeezed her hand before I had to be guided out of the room.

 

**

 

Everyone was quiet, sat in the hospital waiting room on Norah’s floor. Dad had even joined us again, his eyes were red and blotchy after being given permission to say goodbye to Norah too.


“Do you remember that time when I was in fourth year and I was teasing her about this guy that she fancied the pants off of?” I randomly started talking to fill in the silence. Their heads all swivelled to me, but only Char cracked a small smile.


“And she tried to prank you by sneaking into the Hufflepuff common room.” She added on with a fond smile.


“But she didn’t know how to get in so she ended up covered in vinegar.” Both Char and I chuckled a little at the memory of it.


“I remember the Headmaster at the time writing back to tell us what had happened,” Dad chimed in to my surprise, “And I told you and Kathleen, do you remember?” It was the first time I had seen him smile properly.


“Yeah,” Char nodded, “We laughed so hard after that.” Dad joined in the laughter around the table and it felt like the old times again but as I watched him, he slowly deteriorated into quiet tears.


He put his head in his hands on the table, shaking silently in grief and I couldn’t quite handle the guilt that washed over me at seeing my Dad unravel before my eyes. I just wanted to pull him into my arms and apologise over and over again and make him believe that I honestly didn’t mean to kill my own Mother and sister. I almost did as well until I saw that James had glistening eyes too.


“Why are you crying?” I whispered to him, wiping away a stray tear that had cascaded down his smooth cheek.


“Because, it’s sad seeing you all like this,” he looked at me, kissing the pad on my thumb when I ran it along his bottom lip, “I can’t stand it when you cry. It’s painful for me.”


“You don’t need to cry, James.” I sighed, resting my head on his shoulder again. Feeling numb when he pulled me onto his lap again.


“I know but I couldn’t help but keep imagining Lily every time I looked at Norah,” he admitted, “I can’t even begin to imagine how you must be feeling right now.”


“But the fact that you are trying to understand is enough for me, James. Thank you,” I smiled down at him, kissing him sweetly as he wiped this thumb over my tear-stained cheeks, “I’m glad you’re here. I don’t think I’d be this calm if you weren’t.”


“I already told you, I wouldn’t let you do this on your own.” He kissed my cheek gently.


“If this is gonna take a few hours, I think I’ll go and get a few hours’ sleep.” Char and Darrell stood up together whilst both James and I did the same.


“We’ll go back to the B&B for a few hours too then.” I nodded at James, who was looking at me for confirmation.


“Dad, if you’re gonna stay here… ring me when something changes, okay?” Char hugged him and briefly gave him a peck on the cheek. He nodded his head mutely and we all exited the hospital, Char and Darrell apparating away whilst us two walked down the street to the open B&B. I was in a sleep-induced daze as James logged us in, practically carried me upstairs and tucked me in the bed.


“I’ll set an alarm to wake us up in a few hours, okay?” James whispered. Feeling the bed dip next to me, I rolled over and cuddled into him.


“Mmhmm.” I mumbled before drifting right off into a dreamless sleep.

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