Disclaimer: JKR owns what you recognise; the rest is mine. “Oh, Captain, my captain!” is a quote from Dead Poet Society (1989), Dir. Peter Weir; Touchstone Pictures.
Coming to Hogwarts?
I stared dumbly at the piece of parchment until more ink began to appear on the paper, as if Adam were writing on it in that very moment.
Thirty minutes. RoR.
Holy shit - Adam was really coming. My brother was coming to Hogwarts, and even though I had no clue how he was going to get here I was suddenly overwhelmed with an intense sensation of relief, like I had secretly been missing him for a long time.
The noise made me start, and when I looked behind me at what I thought was an empty Common Room I was met with the sight of Kato, hovering unsurely behind the soft blue couch I was sitting on.
I glanced at him and then back towards the flickering patterns of the fire before responding. “Hey.”
“Can-“ Kato cleared his throat, a nervous habit for him. “Can we talk?”
I fixed my gaze on the large grandfather clock to my left as I replied, mentally calculating what time I needed to leave in order to meet Adam in time. “Yeah, I guess.”
Kato walked around and sat at the opposite end of the sofa. Now he was the one refusing to look at me as he fiddled with his hands, and I waited until he was ready to speak to meet his eyes again.
“I am so sorry,” he said, rather hollowly. “I never should have done that, much less put you in that position. It’s just - I wasn’t thinking, and I know that’s not any excuse, but I really wasn’t and I can’t tell you how sorry I am. You-you do always seem so upset now,” Kato continued. “And, Merlin I am so sorry for what I did, but...but I think I meant what I said. About guys upsetting you.”
“I’m not always upset about things to do with Potter,” I told him, and I know it came off as defensive and biting but I didn’t really care. “It was just something had happened right before practice. I have other things going on, you know.”
“No, I know,” Kato said, and then his eyebrows softened downwards. “I know, Nels.”
He did know, to some extent; he knew that something was wrong with my family life and he knew when my father was in the hospital a couple of months ago, but he didn’t nearly know anything of importance like my best friends did, like James.
“What had happened right before Quidditch? If you don’t mind me asking,” Kato added hurriedly, and I sort of sighed before giving in to his politely sheathed curiosity.
“Flynn overheard Potter telling his friend that he was dating me to get back at Scorpius for dating Rose.”
Neither James or I had brought it up again since that argument, and even though I knew I had probably been overreacting the thought of it still sat in the back of my mind, nagging me whenever it resurfaced.
In response to my explanation Kato frowned slightly, as if he were thinking. “Wait, what?”
“Yeah,” I fiddled with a loose thread on my sweater. “Apparently he knew about Rose and Scorpio’s since summer and has been waiting until now to get his revenge. Or something like that.”
Kato grimaced and then exhaled as if he were in pain. “God, I hate that I’m about to argue on behalf of Potter, but...that’s not really what he said.”
“What?” I sat up straighter. “How would you know?”
“I was with Flynn,” said Kato. “Me and Benjy were. And Potter, like, sort of said that, but then I heard him add something like, ‘Good thing I’m not a prick like Danvers.’ He was just sort of saying it would be a karma if he actually gave a shit, which he didn’t, and I think Potter was referring more to the way Danvers reacted when his younger sister got with one of his friends earlier this year - like Potter was saying he wasn’t upset about it.”
“Oh,” I said. I had heard about that happening - Gryffindor Keeper Josh Danvers sleeping with his younger sister’s boyfriend’s older sister as a way of teaching the boyfriend a lesson - but I didn’t think to connect the two. I had immediately expected the worst in James like I always sort of did, and now I could understand why he had gotten so upset at me for blindly believing he would do something like that.
“Nellie?” Kato interrupted my train of thoughts. “I’m just really sorry.”
“I know,” I told softly. “Thank you.”
We both sat there for a moment, unsure of what to do next. I think he knew I wasn’t ready to fully give up words that offered forgiveness or anything of the sort, because after a minute he rose from his seat, stretching his long arms up to the ceiling in a universal symbol of fatigue.
“See you Saturday morning?” he asked. I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful lilt in his voice.
“See you,” I said back, and after I watched his back retreat up the steps to the boy’s dormitories I slipped out of the Common Room, prepared to meet my brother.
The Room of Requirement door appeared to me without the slightest strain of thoughts, but still I paused in front of it, something like anxiety passing through me.
Don’t be stupid. He’s your brother.
Shaking off my hesitation, I pulled on the handle and opened the door.
“Corn,” said Adam from the doorway, and then he was wrapping me into his arms and hugging me before I could say anything back. This was it - a sort of home - and so when I pulled away my eyes were rather wet and his were unusually bright but neither of us acknowledged it.
“How are you here?” I asked as I looked around the room: a small space, dimly lit, with two dark green armchairs across from a desk filled with books and trinkets. Sort of like the office of a historian or professor.
“McGonagall gave me permission,” he shrugged, as if it were obvious.
I didn’t dwell on that for as long as I probably should have, instead crossing my arms, as if it would somehow protect me from the next question out of my mouth. “What the hell is happening, Adam?”
“First tell me what happened to you.” Adam led us to the two armchairs across from one another and I sank down slowly, my eyes never leaving his.
“I had a terrible headache, and then there was this unbelievable back pain and suddenly I was-“
“Go on,” he urged, when I didn’t continue for a moment.
“It was like I was in - I don’t know, a really really realistic dream, and I was watching someone get hit with a Bludger and fall off their broom in a Quidditch match, and then I blinked and I was on the floor.”
Adam settled back into his seat, his light blue eyes piercing into mine. “You saw the After.” he told me, gravely.
Adam’s eyebrows twitched down slightly. “Did you not read any of the book?”
I faltered. “Well, no, but-”
“You have to read it,” Adam leaned forward. “I know you’re scared, but it’ll help. I promise.”
“Am I - you know...” It was the first time I had even managed to begin asking the question everyone else seemed to know the answer to.
“A Seer?” Adam finished. “Sort of.”
My heart felt like it was beating both too slowly and too quickly, but my voice remained steady.
Adam sighed. “You know how Astoria’s family was cursed, so that if any woman had a child she would slowly become ill and eventually die?”
“Our mum’s family in France had something like that happen to them, hundreds of years ago. The women were cursed with the power of Sight - but not like a Seer, who can make prophecies or see when they want to. This sight is limited.”
“Limited how?” I asked, almost warily.
“You can see the future, but only glimpses into the unfortunate events that will happen and only about people you have some sort of an emotional connection to. The visions come to you, not the other way around.”
I considered this for a moment.
“I don’t understand why that’s such a curse,” I said. “I mean, it’s kind of cool, right? Useful, even. You can see the bad things about to happen and stop them.”
Adam sighed heavily; a sound of reluctance. “That’s the thing,” he said, finally.
“You’re not going to be able to change the vision you see. And I’m not going to sugarcoat it, Corn - they’re going to be really terrible things sometimes - but you won’t be able to stop a single thing about it. That was the last piece. It’s a curse of powerlessness.”
A curse of powerlessness. I would witness hurt and pain and suffering and have to sit idly by, not able to intervene or help. And I would get headaches like my Mother, and see strange visions, and live and be and exist like that, making no impact on my world at all.
“It's impossible?” I asked finally. “To change the future?”
“Not impossible,” Adam amended, carefully. “But - you won’t be able to do it. You can’t. It’s not worth it to even try.”
“So on Saturday, someone is going to fall off their broom,” I summarised after a moment of pause.
“And I won’t be able to stop it.”
Adam’s mouth grimaced slightly before it straightened out again. “No.”
“Not even if I try?”
“Not even if you try.”
I closed my eyes for a moment, opening them when I was ready to speak again. “And our father knows.”
Adam nodded, his eyes carefully tracking my reaction to that piece of information. “He’s done a lot for both of us, stuff that we’ll never truly know the extent of. I’m not saying he’s a good father,” Adam said quickly, as I had opened my mouth to protest. “But he’s not a bad person.”
“And Esmeralda? Does she know, too?”
“No,” he said immediately, and then shuddered. “Oh, God, no. If the Purebloods knew…”
He didn’t have to finish his sentence. If word got out to people like that, I would certainly be dealing with more than one curse.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I demanded. “You knew, and you said nothing!”
“You didn’t deserve to know,” Adam shook his head, and as I opened my mouth to protest he spoke over me. “You didn’t deserve to have your entire Sixth Year clouded by anxiety and fear and hopelessness. You didn’t deserve to analyse every dream or slight headache or back pain. You didn’t need that, Nellie, and it kills me that you do now.”
I leaned back in the armchair, absorbing everything he had just said. Even though I was surprisingly poised and rational one thing kept nagging at the back of my mind and inciting some deeply buried anger, and after a few moments of biting my tongue I couldn’t push it down any longer.
“I can’t believe our mother didn’t stick around just a couple more years to explain this.”
For some reason that made Adam prickle, his fists balling and eyes flashing. “You know why Mum didn’t? Why she died?” Adam said. “Because she had to.”
I thought I had misheard him for a moment, and then the potential significance of his words crashed down over me like a tidal wave. “What do you mean?”
“It’s all in the letter, Corn, which you should’ve read by now. Stop avoiding the truth of everything.”
“What letter?” I demanded, and for some reason I felt around my pockets, as if it should magically be in there.
“There should’ve been a letter in the book I sent you,” Adam’s gaze narrowed. “Was it not there?”
“I’ve never opened it,” I admitted in a tiny voice, and I shut my eyes so I wouldn’t have to witness his reaction. “It’s been too overwhelming - too scary. Like, with our father’s hospital warning and then the dreams and then that out of body experience thing, I just...I couldn’t, okay?”
“Just like you couldn’t face what happened to Mum,” said Adam quietly, and I opened my eyes reluctantly just to see him remove a hand from his. “Look, Corn, I love you,” he continued. “But, Christ, all you do is hole up with old books at home, so just read the bloody thing!”
“I will,” I told him, and I don’t think either of us were sure that I meant it until I said it again, chin up and set with the security of a promise. “I will.”
The dormitory was darkened when I returned, the harmony of separate breathing patterns rising and falling in an intangibly comforting way.
The book was exactly where I left it, slid under my bed by the back of my trunk as if an out of sight out of mind policy could work for it. I didn’t open it until I was safely inside my four-poster bed, the muted glow from the tip of my wand casting a dim light over the cracked paper of the parchment.
There was only one thing written on the first page of the mysterious manuscript: an address.
425 Rue d’Allaste
Sighing, I turned the page and began to read.
“Today is the day. Today is the day we prove once again to everyone watching why we are the best. Today is where we reclaim our past victories and cement our future ones. Today is the day we WIN!”
There was a poignant silence - the drop of a pin could be heard.
“Moose, how the FUCK did you get in the girl’s dormitory?” I screamed, throwing my alarm clock at him, but he ducked, absolutely unphased by my reaction.
“Get ready, Burke!” he yelled over the noise of the clock smashing into the wall, “I need you completely focused from the moment you get up!”
“What the hell?” Mia asked blearily from the bed next to me, Willow muttering complaints from one over.
“Get out!” I screeched, grabbing my wand from my bedside table, and everyone in the dorm flung their curtains wide just as Moose opened the door and stepped half in and half out of the room.
“Breakfast in the lockers in twenty minutes!” Moose called, and then slammed the door shut just as I sent a rather nasty hex where his head had been moments before.
The air was still and silent again for one, single moment. Then-
“I fucking hate Quidditch.” Mia groaned, pulling her curtains shut with a snap.
~ ~ ~
I stomped into the lockers and straight over to the two people sitting idly on the benches and stopped in front of them.
“Did Moose break into your dorms, too?” I demanded before either could wish me so much as a hello, and Beck and Jack both nodded, Beck’s expression contouring into a rather murderous scowl.
“You think that’s bad?” Benjy countered as he dug into a plate of scrambled eggs from the bench over. “Moose woke me up with a speech, and then Milo started sleep-casting and hit Andrew Bell with a hunch-backed toad wart hex.”
“Classic,” I snorted. Milo was infamous for causing sleep-related issues around Ravenclaw, and it wasn’t the first time he had performed magic while still in a slumber.
“Hey,” someone said behind me, and when I turned I found Cicely wringing her hands and biting her lip so hard I was almost worried she would draw blood. “Nellie, I’m so sorry-“
“You should be,” said Beck harshly at Cicely, Jack looking up at us with interest.
“Beck, give us a moment,” I told her, and when Beck finally nodded reluctantly I led Cicely away from the rest of the group, Benjy loudly beginning a distracting debate on the best form of eggs.
“I’m so sorry,” Cicely whispered once we were in the women’s lockers. “I shouldn’t have told Katria anything, and now you hate me and Kato hates me and everything is ruined!”
I let her calm down her breathing and pull out her Quidditch stuff before I responded. “Kato doesn’t know,” I told her.
Her brown eyes widened. “What?”
“Kato doesn’t know you have feelings for him. Just because you decided to screw me over doesn’t mean I did the same to you.”
“I - I didn’t mean to,” Cicely insisted rather hysterically as she sort of woke up from her frozen form and began to pull on her robes. “Katria was just there and I really so upset - I really didn’t know she had anything against you, I swear.”
I considered this. I liked Cicely, I did, but even though she was only a year younger than me she always seemed much more so, perhaps because where Beck and I could be loud and witty she was usually more quiet and tame. But she was a good asset to the team, and I realised that perhaps the reason she was more subdued was because both Beck and I were a bit hard on her.
“I know,” I told her finally, and I felt like such the bigger person that I quite wanted to give myself a pat on the back. “I forgive you. You just have to take a breath and trust your teammates next time something like this happens.”
Cicely nodded and then looked up at me with big eyes. “Thank you not for telling him, Nellie.”
”You’re welcome,” I replied, and then I gestured towards the door with my head. “Now let’s go. Moose is probably having an aneurysm waiting for us to be done changing.”
Cicely giggled, and as we exited the women’s changing area I felt the sort of pressure that had been pushing down on my shoulders for the past few days release.
“Burke,” Moose barked the moment we were in view, and I shot Cicely a look that said, “See?” before walking over to where he was sitting near the Magik-Erase boards.
“Oh, Captain, my captain,” I told him cheerfully, bouncing on the balls of my feet with my usual pre-match energy, but Moose merely glowered further and capped the marker he had been using.
“Millican told me what happened.” Moose said rather grimly, and instead of giving me a lecture or going in depth into it, he merely asked: “You’ll be good for today?”
“Of course,” I told him, and I think I looked and sounded and felt so fierce that he couldn’t question my preparedness any further, so all he did was give me a brisk nod and sent me away with some brief strategy for the match.
It was then when Kato and I met eyes from where we stood by the benches.
“Nels,” Kato said quietly, low and pained, completely unsure.
“I know,” I said back softly. And then I reached out and hugged him and he wrapped his arms around me like he always used to, all natural and warm, with no tension anywhere in between us.
And as I released him Jack ran by us, being chased by Benjy who had a jock string dangling on the end of his wand, and Moose was yelling at Beck who was shouting back louder, and everything was back to the chaotic normal I knew we all needed.
And most importantly, as we settled down and then lined up together, our backs straight and heads held proud, we were ready to secure our place in the Quidditch House finals.
“You ready?” Beck murmured quietly to me, as we could hear the announcer begin to introduce our opponents.
“We are.” I told her, and as we readied ourselves to walk out she sort of bumped her hand into mine like she always did: a last reminder of solidarity.
“And now, our defending House Cup Champions...here’s Ravenclaw!”
The screaming was deafening as we entered the Pitch, but somehow the chaos never increased our nerves; it calmed them, filled us with adrenaline and excitement - the power of being watched and admired.
Moose and William Davies shook hands and clapped one another on the back - the utmost sign of respect in Quidditch - and then Madame Hopkins was releasing the Snitch and blowing her whistle and we were off. I rose higher and higher and higher like a shot from a bullet until I was in ideal position, and I could see everything - the forest, the tips and crevices of the castle, and even James Potter in the stands with Fred Weasley, still wearing Gryffindor gear of course, so typical, but then I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in to set myself in my focused mode. Just as when James had been my opponent, I couldn’t award any thoughts to him over my task of focusing on the Snitch.
But I loved this feeling, where I solely belonged to the game and nothing else. It was a freedom of sorts - a sweet melange of air and wind and speed and adrenaline. A bell rang; Beck had scored, but I paid no attention to it, instead focusing my gaze on the breadth of the horizon, on the morning fog burning off around us, on the shimmering particles that made up every part of the still sky.
Over the first twenty minutes, Hufflepuff scored goals but Ravenclaw scored more. Their team was organised and solid, but we were fiery and connected in the way we executed our tasks, and it was clear that this wouldn’t be a terribly close game. Kato was being defended expertly by William Davies so he tried an around the back pass to Cicely and it worked, William so caught off guard that he was just a second off from the play. Cicely passed to Beck, a bullet, and she caught it just as Davies had nearly regained his defensive authority and one of the Hufflepuff Beaters aimed a shot at her.
Everything was good and fine and normal, until I just knew that I had been here before. My heart had stuttered in this exact pattern; I had felt my tongue curl in my mouth and hands clutch the wood around my broom and my toes twitch and I just knew. All I could do was manage a little gasp at the familiarity of it, the terrifyingly potent flavour of déjà vu, and then I blinked and I was watching strange outlines of a history repeated - the Bludger flying, Beck ducking, and none other than William Davies being hit square in the head, his eyes shutting an instant before it made contact with his temple.
An inexplicable aura seemed to float around me in that moment and pulse around the edges of my vision, but then it was gone in a second, the happenings of an unknown reality controlling the metaphysical world around me once more. An exhale of relief - I was free - and then I realised what was happening and I was diving down to try to grab Will’s arm before he was even off of his broom, but no matter how fucking fast I went I couldn’t reach him. It was like an impossible dream, the kind where you run and run and run and yet the thing you’re trying to catch is always just out of reach, and I kept going and going but there was nothing I could do, nothing nothing nothing.
Even with the protective spells and even with my hand inches away from his William Davies hit the grass hard, his head bouncing off the ground with a dull, lifeless thud.
“Will!” I screamed, but he was long out, and I all I could do was hold his head steadily in my hands as teachers and Madame Hopkins and everyone flocked to where we were, shouts ringing out and a stretcher already conjured.
I could see Mia rushing down to where we were as William’s body was levitated off of the ground and onto the gurney, and just like that he was being whisked away, and then whistles were being blown and I had no choice to get back on my broom and fly to where the rest of my team was huddled by our goalposts.
“Everyone okay?” Moose demanded once I had rejoined them. We were all shaken up, and it hadn’t even been one of our own that had been injured. But perhaps it was because William Davies didn’t seem to belong to a House but rather to the essence of Hogwarts itself, and even if some of us had never spoken to him before we all felt sort of connection to him, like we knew him well in our minds.
“Fucking mad,” said Beck, and it wasn’t her usual forceful tone.
“He’ll be fine.” Kato said briskly, like he always did when something like this happened, but I could tell he didn’t really believe it himself.
“I couldn’t reach him,” I whispered. I wanted to cry or scream or tear my own hair out - I wasn’t sure - and as I met eyes with Kato I could tell he knew how upset I was. Suddenly, I was overcome with the intense desire to reach out to him and feel the comfort of his physical touch, and before I could stop myself my hand twitched out for his, as quick and jerky as a hummingbird wing. And I saw, I know he had seen, but neither of us acknowledged it as I folded my arms safely around my torso, perhaps more ignoring ourselves than each other.
“Don’t blame yourself, Burke,” Moose barked. “No one’s fault. Now, let’s get back in the game and finish this the way we started: with passion.”
We all nodded, putting our hands together and yelling some century old chant to get us back in the game, but it was barely a Quidditch match after that. Hufflepuff was mentally destroyed without their leader and best Chaser, and so we scored goal after goal to fill the time until I spotted the Snitch and chased after it practically uncontested. We didn’t feel guilty about continuing our play - this was Quidditch, where mercy was a weakness and intensity a virtue - but something about it just felt off, like we were taking advantage of a weaker opponent and exploiting it. But it didn’t matter, since the second my hand wrapped around the elusive golden orb both teams were on the ground and rushing to the Hospital Wing, some unspoken agreement of support binding us all together in that moment.
“No one can go in yet,” Mia told all thirteen of us players from outside the Hospital Wing door. Her face was streaked with delicate remnants of tears, and I reached out and clutched her hand, squeezing it tightly. Mia and Will has remained close since their breakup (although I always thought it was more so because Will wasn’t really over her), and so it was natural for her to take a place by his bedside vigil.
Will’s teammates on Hufflepuff began grilling Mia then, and as she turned away from me I saw James Potter with the Slytherin Captain Janie Deaneau, the two most likely coming to pay their respects to their fallen (equal, ). But when Janie began talking to Moose James peeled away from them to where I was.
“All right?” James asked me, but his voice was soft and careful, like he already knew by looking at my expression what my answer would be. And something in the cadences of his tone was telling me to be honest and truthful and open, so I decided not to fight it. I turned into his arms and buried my head into his strong chest, and as I did I realised that I hadn’t actually been craving Kato’s intimacy, just closeness in general, and with James there I knew that I was in the right place.
“C’mere,” James murmured, and then he was leading me out of the Hospital Wing corridor and down into a secluded staircase, sitting me down on the cold steps next to him.
“It’s not your fault, Cornelia, I promise you it’s not.”
“But I could’ve stopped it,” I shook my head. It was replaying over and over and over in my mind, and I timed my head movements with the beat of the memory: the eyes closing, Bludger striking, body falling. “I should’ve-”
“You tried your hardest,” James interrupted. “You couldn’t get to him. It’s nobody’s fault-”
“It’s not.” James insisted, but he wasn’t angry, just more unwaveringly insistent. “He’d already been hit with a Bludger, Burke. He was out anyways.”
I opened my mouth to argue, but then I realised that it would be futile so instead I huddled myself back into the warmth of his body, letting him stroke my hair and back, and when we looked up next, Scorpius was standing in the doorway.
“Can I talk to her for a moment?”
James glanced from me to Scorpius and then nodded almost reluctantly, standing up in that slow way men always did before he disappeared out the door.
“Scor,” I whispered miserably once James was gone, and Scorpius sat down next to me and put an arm around my shoulders, like he used to when we were kids.
“Adam visited me too, Corn,” Scorpius said without prelude. “When he was here. He told me what you saw.”
I nodded, because I had sort of expected that to happen.
“I couldn’t stop it,” I told Scorpius, and he smiled sadly at me, his mouth in a sympathetic grimace.
“No. You couldn’t.”
We sat there in a frozen sort of silence before Scorpius spoke again.
“Did you find the letter that Adam was talking about?”
I shook my head. “It wasn’t in the book.”
“It has to be in there-“
“Well, it wasn’t.” I said rather snappily, but Scorpius remained mild.
“Maybe it fell out in your room?” he suggested, and I considered this before we both sort of shrugged and walked back to the Hospital Wing, where everyone had now been let inside.
“Nellie,” Mia said, and then she was hugging me.
“Will he be okay?”
“Yes,” Mia nodded, her eyes still a little bit red. “He’s going to be fine.”
For a moment I almost asked when we could go see him, but now I understand that we wouldn’t; the moment of fear was over and passed, the dust settling down into a soon to be yesterday’s news. And besides, what claim did I have over William Davies that wasn’t trumped by twenty other people’s?
“Are you okay?” I asked Mia, because it was her now that would be the focus of my worry.
Mia was about to respond when Albus, Milo, and Flynn turned the corner towards us, and based on the way Al and Milo were glancing nervously at Flynn, I could tell he was out for blood.
“So you’re just running back to Davies, then, huh?” Flynn sneered, stopping in front of Mia with his arms crossed.
“Are you kidding me?” Mia hissed, and even though her mascara was smeared I’d never seen her eyes flash so dangerously. “William just got absolutely pummeled and you’re seriously jealous of him?”
“I’m not bloody jealous-”
“You are! Just because I still care about him obviously doesn’t mean I want to date him again-”
“Yes, really, you prick-“
“Oh, I’m the bloody prick? Really, I am?”
“Yes, really - Jesus fucking Christ, grow the fuck up!”
“Hop off your high horse for once in your goddamn life!”
And then they lunged at each other at the same time, their lips meeting fiercely, and all we could do was watch, stunned, until they broke apart a moment later, somehow more angry than before.
“I hate you!”
“I hate you more!”
And without another word they had stomped away in opposite directions, leaving the rest of us still standing in front of the Hospital Wing.
“Well,” said Scorpius, after an astounded pause. “This is sure to be a fun little adventure for all of us.”
It was much later when I spotted it peeking out from underneath the shadows of my bed, and I knew what it was immediately. I half expected Scorpius to be asleep at such a late hour, but when I owled him to come to the alcove he responded almost immediately, meeting me there in just fifteen minutes.
“What’s going on?” Scorpius asked the moment he sat next to me on the cold window seat, and I raised the object in my left hand as a response.
“I found the letter,” I told him. “The one that was in the book. That Adam wanted me to read.”
Scorpius nodded slowly. His pale eyes seemed almost brighter than normal in the blue lighting of the night. “Have you opened it yet?”
I shook my head, my hair softly shaking on my neck with the movement.
“Are you going to?” Scorpius asked me softly.
We held one another’s gaze for a moment, something unspoken passing through us, before I let my eyes slide down to the folded parchment and ran my fingers through the longtime creases, stretching it out into its natural form.
Slowly I read it, word by word and letter by letter. The only thing that kept me held to that moment in reality was the steady breathing from Scorpius as he watched me react to the truths on the paper; an anchor in a sudden storm.
Finally, I looked up at him. Tears were streaming out of my eyes as the two of us stared at each other but for once I didn’t fight it, letting them run down my cheeks slowly, foraging paths along the journey.
“There is a way.”
Scorpius took a long breath, in and out. “A way for what?”
“To change the after,” I said hollowly.
Every word hung in the air like a verdict, and I think we both knew, just by looking at each other. And yet still he asked, “What is it?” in a fashion that made it clear he didn’t really want to know, but I needed to say it out loud anyways, if not for him than for myself.
“I’d have to die.”
Author’s Note: So much happened in this chapter but SORRY about the time it took me to get this out (Orgo killed me AGAIN and I'm on vacation now) but now everything’s finally moving along here! What do you think about Mia and Flynn? About this chapter in general? Let me know!
Up next...A story of Slugs, bugs, and sleeping bags.
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