Brad Silverspring, November 1st-
Sue, bleary-eyed and weary, sat across from me in the library, the picture of complete dejection. We had been sitting here, in the darkest corner of the library, for hours in total silence. There was no energy or even will for talking. There was too much to be thought on; too much to feel.
Aura Portalsman- my girlfriend, and Susan's sister- would be leaving Hogwarts on in less than 48 hours. For good. Everything she had built- the SBG, and her relationships with everyone here- would be taken from her. Taken from me.
She was the first girl who had ever treated me like a real person. She teased me, corrected me, and even fought with me- and I loved it. I hadn't experience that much genuineness in a female since I was thirteen. She was beautiful and lively and ever so smart. I loved her. I really, really did.
If you loved her so much, you should have protected her.
I hung my head, and squeezed my eyes shut. Warm tears welled up and ran in miserable streams down my cheeks. Sue looked up at the sounds of my shaky breathing, prompting me to wipe my face and give her a watery smile.
"I'm sorry, Brad," she said, in her delicate voice.
I didn't say anything for a moment. Aura always said that Sue looked like Maresa, her late sister, but I treasured the resemblance of their bright, intelligent eyes and smiling mouths.
"Sorry for what?" I shook my head at her, doing my best to give her a good-humoured smile.
She shook her head, blond curls falling away from her face, revealing her thoughtful brown eyes, "You misunderstand me. I am sorry. Sorry for us. I'm inclined to think that we have the worst luck in the world with loved ones, but perhaps that would be an exaggeration that I am not worthy of."
I sat there for a moment, mouth agape. Who was the wisened sage that sat before me now, straight out of a Jane Austen novel? I laughed. I couldn't help it. I loved this child. She was a mini-Laura Portalsman.
She's too nice to be a chip off the old block. Susan's a brand new block.
"I would tend to agree with you," I said, standing up and pulling Sue off the floor. She complied and the tiny first year buried herself into the crook of my shoulder as I hugged her tightly to my chest. We laughed and cried at the same time, a desperate medley of confusion and sorrow. I understood why maybe Aura would be willing to say goodbye to me, but...
Who in their right minds would give this kid up?
Grace approached me the next morning. Her green eyes were full of compassion. "Aura wants to see you today."
My breath caught in my throat. No one but Grace had been allowed to visit Aura while she was in the hospital wing, and I hadn't seen her in weeks.
"Really?" I breathed, feeling totally unashamed as tears fell from my eyes, even in front of all my macho friends.
She nodded, "She wants to say goodbye." Grace took her leave quickly, squeezing my hand once before going.
One of my friends, Kyle Lamberton- a huge, well-muscled Ravenclaw- approached. "Dude," he began, looking concerned, "What was that about?"
"Aura wants to see me," I said breathlessy, hardly believing it.
"Oh," he said, looking obviously awkward. We walked to the Dining Hall, not saying another word about it, other than Kyle remarking on Grace's "hotness".
I crinkled my nose. I liked my friends, but there were probably more comforting sentiments he could've offered.
"When are you coming back to the team?"
"Are you coming to the afterparty this Saturday?"
As soon as we entered the Dining Hall, we were swarmed by a clamoring mass of students. I was tired and worried about Aura, but I did my best to respond civily to the crowd. I skirted my way through the mob towards the table. As I passed, I made eye contact with my friend, Chad.
Well, maybe friend was a strong word. I would like to think he was my friend. But in reality, Chad hadn't even acknowledge my existence since our third year. It had gotten even worse after Aura and I started dating; he didn't seem to like her either and ignored her when she tried to talk to him for me.
My breath hitched in my throat and I flashed a friendly grin at him, but he looked away before he could see it.
I bit my lip in disappointment, but couldn't stay that way for long. Aura wanted to see me! This was more exciting than when we battled Slytherin for the House Cup last year, only about forty million times more nerve-wracking.
Sigmund Cloverfield caught my eye and he gave me an apologetic nod. From what I understood, he was one of Aura's close friends. I hadn't liked him that much when we first started dating, but Aura trusted him and so did I. I wondered if he knew about Aura. I wondered if he was going to see her, too.
"Hey, Brad," a pretty teenage girl greeted me as I sat down, twirling a strand of dirty blond hair around her finger.
I smiled politely, "Hey, Lila."
Lila Mistletoe was the most determined flirt in all of Hogwarts and hadn't stopped talking in three years. Or so it seemed, at least.
She leaned forwards, resting her chin on her hand, "McGonagall is killing me in Transfigurations. You think you could tutor me this afternoon?"
Her words said tutoring but her tone said something else. I cringed.
"I'm sorry, Lila," I began, turning away, "I'm really bad at that." Then I decided to throw a bone Chad's way, "Maybe my friend Chad could help you."
I pointed his way and Lila followed with her eyes, then made a disgusted pout. "No way, I can't be seen with him."
I was getting annoyed now; I didn't want to be rude, but it was time to pop Lila's bubble. "Look, Li, I'm sorry. I'm meeting with Aura this afternoon, so I wouldn't help you if I could."
"Ugh," she moaned, pulling away, "I can't believe you're still hung up on that-"
She didn't get to finish. I slammed my fork down and took my leave. First, Chad, and now Aura. I didn't care how popular she was, or even how popular I was. I didn't care that Chad didn't talk to me and that Aura hadn't contacted me in weeks. No one was allowed to talk about anyone like that.
It was no secret that Aura and I weren't the most obvious match. The worst insult anyone ever threw at me was "The Golden Boy" or "Hogwarts' Poster Boy", but Aura was reclusive and unwilling to deal with fake and flighty people. She did what she wanted and acted how she liked, and people didn't appreciate that. Most of them, anyways, I thought, passing Sigmund and Tim.
How Aura and I ended up together was the most embarrassing moment in my life. I was still on the Quidditch team at that point, and shared in the bravado and recklessness of my teammates. On a dare, I had been told to ask out the very next girl I saw. At the very same moment, the smartest and sassiest student in Hogwarts decided to join us in the gym, and it didn't end well. Well, at first. Eventually, we ended up together and all of Hogwarts knew about us. The rest is preferably history.
She was the first person to ever treat me like that. A person. Not just the next Quidditch star or the Golden Boy. Just a person. Someone that you could talk to and tease and laugh with. And it meant so much to me to have that.
I almost couldn't believe it would all be gone today.
She asked me to meet her in the Quidditch pitch, behind the bleachers. I wasn't surprised. That was where we had our first kiss.
Her back was to me and I approached, I stopped there for a moment. Her tiny, slim build waved slightly with the wind, and her dark hair with it. What was I going to say to her? I was so nervous. So angry. At her, at the world, at Lila, at Chad, but at myself mostly. I should've seen what she was going through. I should've saved her.
With my head down, I stepped forwards and tapped her lightly on the shoulder. She spun around, electric eyes wide, but relaxed almost immediately.
"Oh, Brad," she sighed, hand over her heart, "It's just you."
I smiled at her and we both took a step backwards, eyes everywhere but each other's.
We both began speaking at the same time, and laughed awkwardly as we realized it.
"You first," she said gently.
Oh, my. I had been playing out what I was going to say, but as she stood in front of me, eyes sad and mouth open, it all left me.
I took her hand. It was small and warm and slightly scarred, but blood still ran in those veins. I squeezed it, feeling the life. She was alive.
"Brad," she began, voice soft. I looked up and her eyes were filled with tears. I tilted my head at her, attempting to hold back my own but it was futile. I didn't want this. "A lot has happened this year," she continued, swallowing hard. "I know I've been different lately, but I want you to know that you didn't do anything wrong."
I shook my head, squeezing tears out of my eyes. She had been different. She had recoiled at my touch and didn't talk to me anymore. But I knew why now. She was depressed. She was scared. And I hadn't even known.
"No," I said, fiercely, "I'm so, so sorry. I should've known."
She shook her head wildly, "Brad, no, so many things have happened. Things I can't tell you about right now. You didn't do anything wrong."
She stepped forwards and held my face in her hands. I closed my eyes, relishing the moment. "You couldn't have loved me better," she said, eyes full of something she hadn't shown in a while. Love.
I kissed her. It was the most natural thing in the world and for a moment, it was only us. For a moment, we were just two kids in love who weren't battling enemies far greater than our own powers. Just two kids. In love.
We stood there for a moment, arms wrapped around each other. I felt her hesitation. She trembled in my arms and I let her bury her face in my robes.
"You'll take care of Susan, won't you?" she asked, pulling away and standing apart, arms crossed and eyes towards the ground.
"Of course," I said, confused by her separation.
She nodded, "Good." Finally she pulled something from her robes. An envelope. She thrust it towards me and I took it, looking at the neat cursive that addressed it to me.
"Brad," she said, suddenly urgent, "Something happened to me. I wasn't sure about it before, but I've been having dreams about what happened to me that night. There's a mole in the SBG and they're trying to weed us out."
I flinched, horrified. "You mean-?"
She nodded, "Yes. The mole themselves might be under the Imperius curse. But you have to save them."
"Charlie, Sigmund, Tim. You need to tell them. You need to tell them that I said it's time."
"What do you-?"
"They'll understand." She said firmly, and suddenly her eyes softened. "I really am sorry, Brad." Suddenly, she leaned forwards, kissed me on the cheek, and fled in the other direction.
I stood there, dumbfounded, clinging to the letter and to some sliver of hope that maybe. Just maybe one day I would see her again.
I held the letter to my lips and hoped.
That night, I slipped downstairs to the Common Room. Everyone was sound asleep but I needed to think. I stood in the entrance for a moment, staring into the fire. What had Aura meant?
I suddenly became aware of a second presence in the room. I looked over and for the second time that day, made eye contact with an old friend. Chad.
"Didn't expect to see you here," I said finally, "It's been a while."
"Yeah, Brad. I’ve just been relaxing by myself taking in the fire. Kinda awful to do anything this late when we’re not allowed phones" He said it in his old lazy tone, but I took it as an invitation to join him.
I smiled, for the moment content to just sit with my previous friend. I helped myself to a spot next to him and we sat. It didn't take long for the awkwardness to creep in. I had to talk, It was in my nature.
"Do you remember Scarlet Parker?" I asked, trying to find a topic of interest to us both. Scarlett had been his first crush, but she had graduated and Chad hadn't seen her since.
He flinched, "Yeah, I do. Why?"
I stared into the fire, sweating, "You remember how bummed you were when she left? I don’t know if you’ve heard but my girlfriend, Aura Portalsman has to leave. Everything we did...gone. If only she would have told me what was going on. Maybe I could have stopped it. I dunno I just can’t sleep." I left out a ton of details, but I hoped that he would show some interest.
He yawned, and began in an irritated manner, " I’m pretty sure the whole school knows about it. Just move on man. There were bigger fish in the sea anyway."
I was shocked. Such coldness seemed uncalled for, even from Chad. "Are you serious?" I said, shifting to look at him. "Can't you see I'm hurting?"
"Didn't care enough to notice," he said and began walking away.
I stood up and called after him, "First you didn’t even respond to my mail over the summer, then you’ve ignored me at school. At first, I thought maybe it was you having personal issues, but then Rhett told me that you broke off ties with him too. I guess it’s true that people said you’ve changed. Not in a good way either. Who even are you anymore?" Maybe I was harsh. I saw him pause for a moment, but I couldn't see his expression.
"What do you think I would have told you back then? Goodnight, Brad."
And with that, I lost two people in the very same day.
Hope it's okay! Sorry it took so long! First one in a while.
What happened, dear?
Please let this through!