Chapter image by Mockingjay @TDA
"Psst, Car. Car. Carina."
I ignored Ben and continued writing my essay.
"Carina," he persisted, poking me in the ribs.
"What?" I hissed. For the past half an hour that we'd been in the library, Ben had only been quiet for fifty-four seconds total.
"Can you help me with this next sentence?" he asked, giving me a pleading look.
"I've helped you with every single sentence," I growled. It was difficult to get my own Charms essay done.
"But it's hard," he whined.
"Maybe if you actually tried writing it instead of staring at Susan," Ryder suggested, finishing the conclusion of his own essay. I frowned at my own half completed essay.
"Well it is quite a sight," Zoe cut in. "I didn't know she knew where the library was..." She looked over where Susan was sitting with her fellow Gryffindors, sending flirty looks to Ben.
"Zoe, be nice," I scolded lightly.
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Well, I'm finished." She packed her things up in a hurry.
"Me too," Ryder said quickly, tossing all of his things in his bag.
"Where are you going?" Ben asked, finally tearing his eyes away from Susan.
Ryder and Zoe shot each other worried looks, while Ben and I raised our eyebrows as their story fell apart.
"Right, Charms Club. That's what I meant," Ryder, a notoriously bad liar, amended.
"I thought you had meetings on Tuesday," I challenged.
"Yes, but since the holidays are coming up, we're trying to get as many meetings as possible," Zoe said smoothly.
We held eye contact, communicating in our heads. Finally, I broke, not wanting to call her bluff.
They practically ran out of the library, leaving me shaking my head.
"Can you believe them?" I asked, turning to the empty seat beside me.
Ben had immediately left and was currently chatting up Susan Wilde across the room. Apparently, they were a thing now - Susan didn't like labels- and Ben was always at her beck and call. But at least they'd stopped snogging in public.
I sighed, shutting my textbook. Why did it feel like all of my friends had more important things to do without me. Though I supposed I had been ditching them for James, so it only seemed fair that they did their own thing. I just missed them...
Ben's laugh rang aross the library, causing Madam Pince, our psychotic librarian, to give him a menacing glare. Also sitting at Susan's table was an attractive messy haired boy with a devilish smirk. James caught my eye and his smirk widened, giving me a subtle nod. With a quick explanation to his friends, he collected his books and left, flashing me a wink.
Shortly after he left, I stood up as well, taking my time to pack up my things, and left the library as inconspicuously as possible. Not that anyone noticed me anyway. After countless turns and corridors, I ended up in the third wing of the fifth floor in an abandoned classroom.
Someone grabbed my wrist and pulled me against them, kissing me fiercely. "What took you so long?" James aked, pulling back.
"It's been five minutes," I snorted, pushing his hair back.
"I can get a lot done in five minutes, Fawley," he told me huskily, pushing me further against the desk with his body.
"Well, I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting, Potter," I smirked, before gripping his hair and kissing him again.
For the past month, it had been easier to see James more often. He seemed to know every hidden place in the castle, so we were never caught.
Being with him was easy. Relaxing.
"And daddy is not pleased with our decision to not step in on the crisis in Germany. I mean for as much money as he put into Minister Mckinnon's campaign, the least he could do is listen to the board daddy selected for him," Ophelia huffed, adjusting her headband.
"Mhmm," I responded with no enthusiasm, as usual. Ophelia continued without noticing, as usual.
The recent report of our Ministry choosing not to interfere in the public uprising in Germany had ticked members of The Sacred Twenty-Eight Club off to say the least. Many of them had financially backed campaigns, so they have a good bit of pull in these decisions. However, this time around they didn't get what they wanted, and they were not happy.
It didn't really matter anyways, because a week later, Germany came to a peaceful agreement with the rebels, and there was nothing to intervene on. To some families, like the Averys, it was still a slap in the face.
"Can we please talk about anything else?" Damien begged.
"You're absolutely right," Ophelia gushed, and Damien brightened a bit. "Mum just sent me this new wedding magazine, and it's so important that we pick out the right napkin patterns!"
Damien dulled out again. "Can we go back to talking about the whole Germany thing?"
Ophelia ignored him, talking on and on about how the napkin patterens were what really made or broke the wedding decor.
"Darling, I was thinking eggshell napkins," Scorpius said, placing a hand on my knee.
"Absolutely not!" I gasped. "They will totally washout the pastel hairclips in the flowergirls' hair."
We laughed together, but it wasn't as real as it used to be. Our marriage was becoming less of an idea and more of a reality each day, and it almost made me sick thinking about it. I could tell Scorpius wasn't too thrilled about it either, but he always seemed to be willing enough to do whatever his family pleased.
I laid my head on his shoulder, sighing. After glancing at the clock, I realized I had promised to meet James in ten minutes. During my last weekly 'get together' with The Sacred Twenty-Eight Club, I had been almost an hour late to meeting him.
"Do you want to get out of here?" I whispered to Scorpius.
"Let's pretend I'm sick and you're bringing me to my dorm," I suggested.
"Brilliant." He grabbed my waist and gently helped me out of my chair, whie I tried to look as sick as possible.
"You're leaving?" Ophelia asked. "It's only nine."
"Well Car isn't feeling too well," Scorpius lied easily, holding me tighter. "I'm going to take her back to her dorm."
"Shame you're sick, Car," Midnight cooed with an icy smile. "I guess we'll see you at the New Year's party."
"Of course," I replied with a weak smile. She wasn't buying our facade, but she didn't care.
A few hallways from our meeting room, we decided we were safe enough. Scorpius dropped his arm from my waist, and we both let out the air we always held in around the others.
"Is it just me, or does it feel like those get together last twenty hours?" he asked, groaning as he stretched.
"Ophelia tends to do that to people," I agreed.
"How can you stand her? She's a nightmare!"
"Well, according to her, she's my best friend," I laughed.
"I suppose it's true, though, since you don't really have many other friends."
No matter how close Scorpius and I were, he was still an avid supporter of The Sacred Twenty-Eight Club. There was never anyway I could risk telling him about my friendship with a muggleborn. Instead, I just nodded and laughed.
"Bloody hell," he gasped, looking at his watch.
"What's wrong?" I asked, and I remembered I was meant to be in a hurry too.
"I forgot I was supposed to meet... someone," he trailed off.
"Who?" I demanded, arching an eyebrow.
He ducked his head. "Rose," he admitted.
"As in Weasley? I thought she never wanted to speak to you again."
"She gave me a second chance, and I don't want to ruin it. She's so... she just gets it, you know?" Scorpius gray eyes were warm as they thought about her.
"Go," I said, nodding my head. "We wouldn't want you to be late."
"Thanks, Car," he said, giving me a quick hug before sprinting down the hall.
"If I had teammates who were as late as you seem to be, they'd be running laps until their feet fell off," James declared when I walked into our secret alcove later that night. His arms were crossed, but his eyes told me he wasn't that mad.
"I'd rather have my feet fall off than sit through another one of those get togethers," I told him, taking a seat next to him on the ground. "But I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. Thank you for staying." I gave him a peck on the lips.
"Well, I didn't have a bloody choice, did I?" he asked, rolling his eyes. "I told Fred I was going to get with some hot Hufflepuff, and I couldn't come back only fifteen minutes later."
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I drawled, pushing myself off of him. "I would hate for Fred to think so little of you."
"Fuck off, Fawley," he growled. "He's not just my cousin, he's my best friend, and I fucking hate lying to him."
My face softened as I sighed. Of course, my fucking moral compas was kicking in, and I was feeling guilty. James was fuming, but I could tell he was also feeling guilty about blowing up on me. Honestly, we were both such messes that I wasn't sure how we functioned.
I crawled back over to him and rested my head on his shoulder. After a moment, he wrapped his arm tightly around my waist. "I'm sorry. I always forget how important family is to you."
Maybe it was because I only had one cousin, but I had never particularly cared about being close with my family. Sure, Jesse and I got along well enough, but frankly sometimes I forgot he was here.
"No, it's my fault," he sighed, "I hate lying in general, you know? It just always seems that the truth comes out in the worst way..."
"Yeah.." I mused. I normally didn't get caught in my lies, but there was always a part of me that thought the longer a lie went on, the bigger the consequences would be when the truth came out.
Thankfully, the conversation moved on to much lighter subjects afterwards. James had tried to explain the function of bludgers in quidditch, but soon gave up when he realised I was hopeless. I simply didn't understand why violent flying objects trying to knock players off their brooms was necessary. Wasn't maintaining balance, flying, and shooting goals already hard enough?
"I still haven't finished my Charms essay," I admitted with a sigh. My head was in James's lap as he stroked my hair. It was getting late, but we didn't want to leave.
"Really? I finished that last week."
"Well, I'm on my fourth draft, but-"
"Fourth draft?" he questioned, appalled, "Merlin, could you be anymore Ravenclaw."
"Could you be anymore annoying," I retorted and rolled my eyes at his cheeky smile. "Anyway, I normally finish my essays early, but this is the biggest part of our grade before holidays. Between practically writing Ben's-"
"Who can't seem to keep his tongue out of Susan's mouth," James drawled, disgustedly. At my frown, he stopped talking. "Sorry, you were saying?"
"Things are just.. off," I said, sighing. "Ben's completely infatuated with Susan, and Merlin knows what Ryder and Zoe are up to. I feel like we're all so distant now."
"Well, it seventh year, we're all going down our own path. It's probably no big deal," he answered in a rush.
I looked at him, curiously. Phased by my interrogative gaze, he avoided my eyes. It was so damn obvious when he was hiding something, I had no idea how he got away with years of pranking.
"James-" I was cut off from my interrogation by a thump and muffled laugh. "What was that?"
He looked down at the old piece of parchment that he always carried around. His face paled as he studied it. "Nothing to worry about. Ignore it."
"Why? What are you hiding?" I asked and stood up.
He grabbed my wrist. "Please don't," he begged.
I scoffed and pulled my hand free. The hallway was empty, but I could hear muffled voices coming from my left. I didn't usually open random broom cupboards that most likely had snogging couples in them, but there was something drawing me to it.
"Carina," James warned, having followed me into the hall.
It was too late. I pulled the door open, taking a moment to register what I saw, before I gasped. The couple I had caught in a compromising position, gaped back at me. The perky curly haired brunnette quickly buttoned up her shirt, while her quidditch playing partner staightened his tie and cleared his throat.
"Oh my gosh," I gasped, backing away.
"Car," Zoe started, taking a step towards me. "Let me explain."
"Oh no, I'd hate to interrupt you."
"You're being unreasonable."
"Unreasonable? I just caught my two best friends snogging, and I'm being unreasonable."
"Will you just let us talk," Ryder demanded, wrapping his arm around Zoe. "You're being rude."
"I'm sorry," I snapped with a fake smile. "Maybe I should come back when you're done."
"Look," Zoe huffed, trying to keep her voice level, "we didn't want you to find out this way. We were going to tell you, but we were waiting for the right time."
"So that's where you two have been going together all this time?" I asked, and they nodded bashfully. "All those times that I've needed you, especially you, Zoe, you've been too busy going off to snog in some dingy broom cupboard."
"I'm sorry, Car. I didn't realize- have you gotten another letter?" Zoe asked, concerned.
"It doesn't matter," I spat back, fierce tears in my eyes. "I can't believe you've been lying to me all this time."
"If you would just let me explain-"
"Enough," Ryder's voice boomed down the hall. "Carina, I will not let you speak to my girfriend this way."
"Fine, you and your girlfriend can go back to your snogging!" I exclaimed, aimlessly turning around and storming off.
After turning a few corners, I noticed the sound of another person's steps behind me. I whirled around to find James following at a safe distance.
"Car," he said, nervously coming closer.
"Can you believe them?" I cried, angry tears coming out. "They're supposed to be my best friends. Why would they keep something like this from me?"
"Maybe they didn't want you to be upset?" he asked hopefully.
"Yeah right," I scoffed, then gasped. "No." His guilty face confirmed my thoughts. "You knew." He nodded shamefully. "And you didn't tell me."
"I saw them at the party, when we weren't speaking to each other," he admitted, running his hand through his hair. Again. "And, well, it didn't seem like my place to tell you."
I barked out a cold laugh. "Right, because if I was upset, you wouldn't get laid?"
James clenched his fists. "You know that's not true."
"What I know is I've been upset for weeks about my friends ditching me, and you knew why, but you chose not to tell me."
"I said I'm sorry, but-"
I didn't hear the rest of his sentence because the world had stopped moving. Standing in a corner of the hallway, behind James's back, was a cowering couple, trying not to be seen. Normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal, but this couple in particular had the ability to ruin any chance that James and I had.
"You're right," I cut him off, and he stopped talking in shock. "It wasn't your place to tell me, it was theirs. You were just doing what you thought was right. I would've done the same."
"Absolutely." I pulled on the collar of his shirt, so we were eye level. "Can we make up now?" I asked him seductively.
Of course, it worked like a charm. James leaned in to kiss me softly, which gave the two behind us the opportunity to escape. Unfortunately, they were bigger idiots than I knew, so in their attempt to run off, they managed to knock over, not one, but three suits of armour.
James broke away. "What was that?"
"I'm sure it was nothing..." I tried to stop him from turning around, but it was too late.
"What the fuck is going on here?" he demanded, drawing his wand. "Lily?"
"James, it's not what it looks like," Lily Potter said shakily.
But it was too late, James saw Levi Avery, and his eyes narrowed, gripping his wand tighter. He aimed and shot a stinging hex at Levi, sending him to the ground. Lily shrieked and knelt beside him, tears welling in her eyes.
James raised his wand again, and I knew it would be something more than just a stinging hex.
I stood between him and Levi. "Stop," I begged. His wand lowered momentarily in confusion.
"Move out of the way, Carina," he demanded through clenched teeth, raising his wand again.
"No," I said firmly, not moving. I knew James wouldn't jinx me, but that didn't stop me from gripping my wand in my robe pocket.
"This is none of your concern," he persisted, getting angrier by the moment.
"They're just kids, James," I reasoned. He made to move around me, but I blocked him. "Leave them alone."
"Leave them alone?" he cried with a cold laugh. "That piece of scum had his hands on my little sister, and you want me to leave them alone?"
This was not James. His face was cold and angry, and I'd never even seen him this tense in a quidditch match. No, this was who I was warned that James was, but I knew it wasn't him.
"They're just kids," I said softly.
"Why are you taking their side?" he questioned fiercely. "You don't know anything about their relationship! He's probably hurt her over and over again."
"I've known." As soon as I said it, I regretted it. However, I knew it was the only way to divert his anger off of them. At least for now.
"Lily, Avery," James said, eerily calm, "go to your common rooms."
Without hesitation, Levi bolted down the hallway, not glancing back. Lily, on the other hand, took a step forward, standing by me.
"Go to the common room. We'll talk later," he told her in the same calm voice.
Wisely, she chose not to argue and left.
We stood for a beat of silence.
"I saw them in the hallway at the start of the year," I blurted out senselessly. I'd nearly forgotten, but now my guilty conscious was taking over me, and I couldn't stop the word vomit. "They were getting back together, and I didn't tell you because I didn't even know you, and I certainly didn't like you."
"That's my sister," he said slowly, but his voice was strangely even.
"I know." My head hung in shame. "With everything that happened this year, I pretty much forgot about them, but that's no excuse. I'm sorry."
He scoffed. "I should've expected this from someone like you."
"Someone like me?" There was no way he was implying what I thought he was.
"Yeah, you act llike your better than them, but you're the same stuck up pureblood brat." The only emotion on his face was pure rage, and I was sure mine was the same.
"Watch it, Potter," I growled, gripping my wand tighter. Deep down, I knew we were only saying things in the heat of the moment, but that didn't stop me.
"Or what, Fawley. You're going to hex me?" The sarcastic grin that he gave me was enough to make me want to hex him into oblivion, but I resisted.
"You are the same arrogant prat that you've always been, and I can't believe we've been pretending that this," I gestured between the two of us, "was anything else than an occasional shag."
For a brief moment, hurt crossed his face, but I must've imagined it because the next second it was stone cold again. "That's all this is? An occasional shag?"
I scoffed and rolled my eyes. "Don't get all sentimental on me now. You're getting off free. You got what you wanted, and now you don't have to pretend like it was anything else."
"Great," he forced through clenched teeth. "Glad we're done pretending."
"Me too," I replied silkily, but the words tasted like poison.
James looked at me as though he wanted to say something else, and I found myself desperate to hear him, but instead he just sighed and walked away.
And for some reason, it hurt me way more than I had expected.
A/N: I know it's been a while but RL has been hectic!!
Anyways, what did you think about the chapter? What was the most expected? The most unexpected? Ryder and Zoe? Carina and James? I want to hear all about what you thought, good or bad!
I promise to try and get the next one up soon!
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