|break with speed
Author: courfeyracs PM
This is a story of freedom, recklessness and being alive. This is a story of messing things up and finally getting them right. This is not a fairytale. -RoxanneLysander.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Roxanne W. & Lysander S. - Words: 7,465 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 8 - Published: 08-18-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7300152
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
notes: God, this fic has had me tearing my hair out over the last week or so, who knew it would give me this much trouble. Plus it's about five thousand words longer than I originally intended, so yeah.
Anyway, this is for Bri (swirling-summernotes) and Lissie's (fabricated fantasies) Once Upon A Time challenge on NGF with the prompts casanova & crazier and the fairytale Aladdin. :) It's also my entry to Rachel's (this carnival ride called life) Kissing in the Rain challenge with the prompts summer time, freedom, smarter with age, bubble & rooftop.
break with speed.
we break with speed
that girl can read my racing thoughts
my racing thoughts, jack's mannequin.
This is a story of freedom, recklessness and being alive.
This is a story of messing things up and finally getting them right.
This is not a fairytale.
- in the beginning –
i tell them we're like magnets, i tell them i feel no shame
She was always the golden girl, compared to the rest. She may as well have had a halo perched above her head, for all it was worth. She was the one who everyone thought would shine bright, not like spacey Lucy, rebellious Lily and tarnished Dominique. No, she wasn't like them, so caught up in chasing a love that wasn't there. Not like her brother, so caught up in pranking, trying to make people laugh and live up to his namesake (but never really succeeding). She was all head down, get working, seize the future before it slips away.
But then he came along, and gone was her reputation, gone was everything she had worked for — and the strangest part was, she didn't even care. She ran off with him without a second thought, that crazy, out-of-control boy with the sky blue eyes and lazy casanova smile, barely saying goodbye to her parents.
And oh, then it was a spinning, looping rollercoaster of a ride as she raced down the motorways in Lysander's dad's car, slamming on the brakes at red lights and watching the sun fade past the horizon as they shot towards it in that little Muggle box.
And that's when she realised — this was the life she wanted, the life she had dreamed of, rather than being that girl with the straight Os and no life. Her halo has definitely fallen and this is only the start of her descent.
She can remember the first time she met him, that boy. He was a year older than her at Hogwarts, the Ravenclaw who should've been a Gryffindor. Whereas she, she was the opposite. Too Ravenclaw for Gryffindor, too Gryffindor for Ravenclaw, so the Sorting Hat did her a favour and placed her with the rest of her family.
He was sitting outside, by the beech tree where she always sat, so, naturally, she was a little surprised to find someone else sitting there. It was kind of her territory.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, raising her eyebrows challengingly. She was the perfect example of the Weasley temper.
The boy looked up, eyeing her with something like interest. "Sitting."
"Well, I'd really appreciate it if she went and sat somewhere else, thanks," she said plainly, crossing her arms.
He just looked at her with mild surprise. "No, I don't think I will, actually."
She rolled her eyes. "Look. I don't know who you are—"
"—Lysander Scamander, charmed I'm sure—"
"—Nor do I care. I just find it rather difficult to believe that you haven't noticed me sitting here every single day," she finished. Lysander Scamander looked as though he were about to laugh, and it was only then she noticed that he was sort of nice looking. Not traditionally handsome; he had a curved nose, full lips and bright blue eyes that seemed to gleam with mischief, but attractive nonetheless.
"Hmm." He surveyed her. "I don't see your name on this tree. It's not yours."
She sighed exasperatedly. "Are you really being that childish, Lysander Scamander?"
"I believe you started it, Roxanne Weasley," he said smoothly, getting to his feet. He gathered up his books into his arms and took a step away from the tree. "But if it makes you happy…" He left, turning his back on her and walking away.
She stared after him for a moment before exclaiming, "Hey—I didn't tell you my name!"
He turned back for a moment, smirking. "I know."
"Favourite colour?" she asked. They were both spread like stars on the grass by the lake, the summer sun beating fiercely down on their exposed limbs. The whole game of questions was Lysander's idea, as a way of getting to know one another better. Secretly, she thought he just liked telling her things and having her listen.
"Mm," he deliberated. "Yellow. Or maybe blue."
"Summer colours," she mused. "I like blue as well. Your question."
"What do you want to do after Hogwarts?"
She paused. "Not sure. Maybe Healing… or something at the Ministry. Haven't decided yet."
"You'd make a good Healer," remarked Lysander. "Your turn."
"Um, best friend?" she asked.
"Lorcan, of course," he answered promptly.
Roxanne smiled. "Thought so. Your go now."
"Favourite… fairytale?" he asked, shifting so his arms are behind his head. He squinted in the sunlight, trying to catch a glimpse of her.
"Aladdin," she replied immediately.
"Aladdin?" His brow furrowed. "Muggle, right?"
Roxanne nodded. "Rose always gave me her storybooks when we were young. I always liked Muggle fairytales better than wizard ones. The book's actually called Arabian Nights, but I like the Muggle film better. It's just called Aladdin."
He wrinkled his nose. "Okay. What's so special about this Aladdin, then?"
"It's a story about magic," she began. "Not the kind of magic we can do, a different kind. He's this street urchin, right, and Jasmine—the girl he falls in love with—is a princess. And really, the whole theme of the story is that, you know, strength comes from within yourself, instead of without." Lysander was silent. "All that cheesy goodness," she finished awkwardly. "It's a nice story."
She thought he was about to laugh at her when he suddenly said, "You'll have to let me borrow it some time, then."
She grinned. "'Course, Ly."
"Ever wonder what it feels like to be alive?" Lysander asked, cigarette at his lips. He looked forward to the distant horizon, a vaguely dreamy expression on his face and he resembled Lorcan than he ever had before. They were sitting on the rooftop of the Scamanders' home, legs hanging over the flat edge. It's April and the flowers in the garden are starting to bud and burst into bloom, the trees are growing their leaves back and everything seems to scream new beginnings.
"We are alive," said Roxanne, looking at him. "Don't you feel it, Ly? Especially in spring. This is what it feels like to be alive."
Lysander shook his head, standing up and swaying a little, taking a step back to steady himself. He stamped the cigarette out under his foot and threw it to the ground, wobbling a little. She extended her hand to catch him on instinct, but he didn't fall. Instead, he took her hand and pulled her to her feet too, and it was like they were standing at the very end of the world, looking down on everything. And suddenly, it was as if everything was brand new and more beautiful than ever as they towered over it all.
"No, Roxy," he said, taking her hand. "This is."
Book in hand, leaning against the tree outside her house, he waited.
She saw him through her bedroom window, just standing there with his hand occasionally turning a page. Holding a grin back, she raced downstairs and out the front door, slowing to a walk as she got outside. He looked up upon seeing her and smiled, waving her over. She obliged, walking quickly to him. As she approached, he held the book up for her to see the front cover.
She beamed. "You're reading it. Do you like it?"
"Uh." Lysander scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "Yeah, actually. More than I thought I would. It's – it's good."
"I'm glad you like it." She beams at him, and he can't help but smile back.
"I've been thinking," said Lysander, "we should do something big." The snow swirled around him, getting caught up in his hair and gathering on his eyelashes. Lysander in the winter was something to behold: he seemed to thrive as much as he did in summer. With his wind-reddened cheeks and eyes that stood out against the white snow, Roxanne thought that she could maybe fall in love with him here.
"Something big?" she repeated. "Like what?"
He grinned. "Well, my dad showed me how to drive a few months ago, you know, Muggle cars. It'd be an adventure if we just drove up and down the country. You know, go everywhere. What d'you think?"
She paused, rubbing her arms to generate heat. "You mean… just leave everything behind?"
"Yeah." He was getting more enthusiastic now. "Just, get away from it all for a while. A few months, maybe. Pack some stuff and off we go, yeah?"
"I…" Roxanne hesitated, about to refuse, but her Gryffindor side got the better of her. "Okay. When?"
"This summer," said Lysander, still grinning.
She bit her lip. That was awfully soon… but she really did need a break from being around her family constantly. After a moment of deliberation, she said, "Okay. I'm up for it."
"Make a wish," said Lysander, pressing his finger lightly to an eyelash on her cheek. It came away, clinging gently to his fingertip and quivering in the slight spring breeze.
She raised her eyebrows. "Seriously? What are you, a genie or something?"
He grinned. "I could be, if you wanted. Now, are you going to make a wish or not, before I let the wind blow it away?"
"I don't think it'll be as effective as rubbing a lamp, somehow," Roxanne said, a smile creeping slowly across her face. "But okay." She closed her eyes, hesitated for a moment, and then blew the eyelash from Lysander's finger. She opened her eyes just in time to see it dance away on the breeze, drifting into the blue spring sky like a daisy petal.
"What did you wish for?" asked Lysander, nudging her.
She sighed exasperatedly. "I can't tell you, Ly. It won't come true otherwise."
"I know, I know," he grumbled. "But go on. It can't affect your chances that much, can it? Please, Roxy?"
"Why?" she asked, tutting.
He shrugged. "I just like knowing these things."
She bit her lip, contemplating. "Okay. I wished that this summer would be perfect. Happy?"
"Ecstatic," he replied, and she believed it.
That was when they hit the road and that was when everything changed.
- on the road –
this could really be a good life
"That's a car?" Roxanne breathes, staring at the vehicle in front of her. "I thought they had roofs."
Lysander smirks. "It does, if you want it to." He leaned in the car and pressed a button. The top of the car slowly moved into place.
"How on earth did your dad manage to get a hold of this?" she asks in wonder, her hand on the red bonnet of the sleek soft topped car. "It looks like it must have cost hundreds of Galleons."
"It did, in Muggle money," he replies, opening the door.
"Why did he buy it?"
Lysander shrugs. "Your grandfather got him hooked on Muggle things. He's always been fascinated with the weird and wonderful, just not quite on the scale my mother is. So he bought a Muggle car and learned how to drive it and got me and Lor lessons as well because he thinks driving is fun. So yeah. This is our home for however long." He grins and seems to sparkle in the dim evening sun. "You wanted a magic carpet, well, here's the closest thing I've got, Jasmine." Winking, he asks, "You ready?"
She laughs, allowing him to help her into the car. "Of course I am, Scamander."
"Got everything you need?" he asks, and she pats her backpack that's full to bursting with clothes and necessities. "All right then." She watches him walk around to the driver's side of the car and get in, putting the keys in the ignition and starting up the engine. "Here we go."
They both grin widely at one another and in that moment, the world feels smaller than it ever has before.
"Slow down!" she yells over the sound of the wind blowing past them. "We're going to crash!" The road isn't full, but neither is it empty. There are a substantial amount of cars around for two o'clock in the afternoon, and Lysander comes dangerously close to some of them at times, causing her heart to hammer in her chest as the adrenaline pumps through her.
He grins. "Calm down! We're fine, Roxy!"
"You're sure?" she shouts, turning her head to look at him. His hair is all over his face, windswept and tangled with grit and dirt. He's still grinning, somewhat recklessly. "You're honest to God sure?"
"I promise," he replies, braking a little as they come riskily close to the car in front.
She relaxes a little, looking out the side of the car and watching the scenery fly past. "Where are we going now?"
Lysander laughs, and it sounds like freedom. "Anywhere, Roxy. Anywhere!"
She screams, the sound ripping from her mouth in a bubble of laughter as the air whips by her, stinging her eyes and tangling her black, curly hair into knots. She doesn't care, because it's been a while since she's felt this alive.
Lysander presses his foot to the accelerator and they're racing, well over the speed limit, but who cares about that, after all? They follow the steady curve of the road, burning their tire tracks there — ROXANNE AND LYSANDER WERE HERE, it would read. Or something to that effect. Just to let the world know that they're young, they're reckless, and there are no impossibilities when she feel this invincible.
Then there's the city, gleaming before them like something out of a film. The lights shimmer and glow; bright oranges and vibrant yellows, trembling beneath the stars. There's bridges and skyscrapers and fancy hotels they could never afford to spend one night in. Roxanne screams again, then she's laughing, and he's laughing too, because there's nothing — nothing — more wonderful than this.
The two of them, they feel like some kind of unstoppable duo in that moment — RoxanneandLysander; LysanderandRoxanne. Invincible. Indestructible. Eternal, trapped in this moment forever.
They wouldn't have it any other way.
They're cruising through Wales when it starts to rain. Big droplets of water fall onto the windscreen, running in rivulets down the glass. Lysander turns the windscreen wipers on and speeds up a little; he doesn't like driving in the rain much.
"Maybe we should find somewhere to stop," suggests Roxanne, staring out the side window that's covered in water. Welsh rain is something her cousin Victoire mentioned to her years ago, but she just laughed then. "There's a town coming up ahead, let's stop."
Lysander nods, changing lanes smoothly. She can hear the water under the tires, spraying up as they drive through puddles. "Roxy, can you see that sign?" He takes his hand off the wheel and points.
She squints. "I think it's the turn off for the town."
"Thanks," he says, and clicks on the indicator, right as there's a clap of thunder. He groans. "Great, that's all we need." The rain seems to pour down even harder, lashing off the bonnet of the car and bouncing onto the windscreens. The wipers are turned up full, but even that doesn't seem to be enough to stem the endless stream of water. "Bloody brilliant. Remind me why we came to fucking Wales of all places?"
Roxanne remains silent, watching the trees pass them by as they turn off the motorway and into a smaller road. The signpost tells them that the town is only one mile away, so Lysander presses his foot to the accelerator and they shoot forward, ploughing through the rain and wind. There isn't much traffic at this time of night, giving Lysander all the more incentive to go over the speed limit. This time, Roxanne doesn't feel like screaming or laughing with exhilaration. She just sits with her head on the window, staring.
The car slows to halt about ten minutes later. Lysander's found a hotel on the main road that looks all right. Better than the last place they stayed in for a night. It looks clean, at the very least.
Lysander gets out the car and walks around to open her door, holding it open for her. "Your palace awaits," he says, bowing low.
She smirks. "Prat."
He grins. "C'mon then," he says, locking the car, taking her by the hand and pulling her towards the entrance. The rain soaks their hair, their clothes, their skin. Roxanne shivers as several droplets fall from her hair and drip down her back. Lysander slips his jacket around her shoulders in a sudden act of chivalry she never expected from him. She turns to thank him and he's smiling that smile again, the one that makes her look twice just to catch another glimpse of it. Water drips from the end of his nose and his eyes sparkle.
And then, completely on impulse and without a second thought, she kisses him, right there in the pouring rain with water running in rivulets down their skin. She kisses him and for a moment, she doesn't care that she has no idea where they are, she doesn't care about her doubts, she doesn't care about anything except Lysander and the feeling of her mouth on his and the feeling of his arms around her.
Lysander tastes like freedom and recklessness and this, this is what it feels like to be alive.
Sometimes, Roxanne thinks that people are meant to get smarter with age instead of crazier, because she could never imagine her twelve, fourteen, sixteen year old self laughing as she sped down the motorway in Lysander Scamander's car. It's thrilling and terrifying all at once, and she loves the adrenaline rush that comes with it, pumping through her veins and making her want to stand up and scream to the world about anything.
It's like they're flying through the sky on Aladdin's magic carpet, looping and soaring through the clouds and just being. He's Aladdin and she's Jasmine and she really believes they can make this work.
Craziness, Roxanne thinks, is not the key to happiness, but it definitely helps in her case.
"We're really doing this here?" Her words fall out breathlessly, mingling with the cloying scent of cheap air freshener. His hands rest assuredly on her waist as she leans down to press another kiss into the crook of his neck. She can hear him breathing, soft and slightly unsteadily as her hand cups his face and her lips meet his. His arms move from her waist to her back, pulling her into a more upright position as he sits up, hands tangled in her long dark curls.
The room is average at best. A vase of fake roses sits by the window that's partially covered by the blind Roxanne pulled hastily down earlier. The walls are hospital white, bare except from a clichéd painting of flowers in a field. She can see why it didn't cost much to stay the night here – the motel isn't getting many visitors anyway. Most people take one look at it and drive on by in the hope they'll find somewhere with a bit more class. Class isn't needed here, though. Not between RoxanneandLysander. Not between the invincible duo.
She feels Lysander smile into her cheek and she realises she can't even tell where she ends and he begins. They're intertwined, limbs entangled and joined at the mouth, like one being, one entity (RoxanneandLysander. LysanderandRoxanne – forever, right?). Like they were just meant to be. She hates that phrase and loves it all too much at the same time.
"Why not?" he asks, twirling a lock of her hair around his pinkie finger. He smiles slowly (that casanova smile she remembers from all that time ago), and says, "There's no reason not to."
This maybe wasn't what she wished for, but it's what she hoped for and hope is as good as wishes in her book. So, without really thinking about it, with her hair spiralling around Lysander's finger, with his lips now pressed to her neck, she breathes, "Love you." The words spill out carelessly into the air, like a knocked over bottle of ink. They seep through the cracks in the space between them, bleeding out and flashing like a beacon – or a warning.
She feels the hesitation in his movements as what she just said registers in his mind. He seems to draw away from her slightly, tentatively, and Roxanne wants to scream with frustration. With a shake of her head, she untangles herself from him and walks to the window, her hands resting on the chipping white sill. She's ruined it all. Everything she built up, destroyed in a second, with two stupid, stupid words that she should've kept to herself.
"Roxanne?" comes Lysander's uncertain voice. She can tell he hasn't moved an inch. "Roxanne, I—"
"Don't." Her voice comes out muffled as she presses a hand to her face. "Just don't, Ly. I didn't mean to say it, okay? It just came out, and I'm sorry, and this has ruined everything. I didn't mean—"
"Roxanne." His tone is softer now. "I was just going to say, love you too."
She doesn't know whether to laugh or cry with relief.
It's four weeks and two days before their happiness starts to crumble.
It starts off as something small; just the little things – as it always is when it comes to these issues. Roxanne becomes a little more snippy with Lysander, growing irritated at his habits and quirks, whereas he, in turn, changes these little things into big arguments that result in Roxanne yelling at him, half in frustration, half in fear, as he looks away from the road to row with her. Just the little things that build and build and build until something, something acts as the trigger. Until something sparks the match that means destruction.
And she can't stop. She knows that if she keeps going, keeps pushing, this little slice of what Roxanne felt was heaven is going to crack along its seams and shatter.
But she can't stop. (She'll never admit it, but she wants to go home, and maybe this wasn't such a good idea: running off without a second thought and no other planning.
That's not true. She's loved every minute. She just can't handle this.)
"Want one?" Lysander offers, fumbling with the packet of cigarettes. He smoked occasionally at Hogwarts and after that but not nearly as much as he does now.
She sighs. He thinks it's polite to ask her if she wants one, even though he knows she doesn't. She'd rather he just shut up and smoked the damn things himself.
"No, Lysander. I don't."
"Fair enough." He shrugs and lights it with his wand. It's a funny kind of life they're leading, Roxanne thinks. Half Muggle, half magical. Racing to unknown towns in a car of all things, for Merlin's sake, yet using wands to perform mundane tasks. She never imagined she'd be standing here, leaning against the car that's parked on a hard shoulder, the summer sun in her eyes as Lysander smokes his way through a packet of cigs.
They have no direction. No destination. It's just them and the road.
That thought used to excite her, enthral her.
Now, it scares her.
"Hey, Ly," she says suddenly, fiddling with the buttons on her denim jacket. He looks up in acknowledgement, jerking his head. She takes that to mean, go on. "When are we going back?"
Lysander raises his eyebrows, lowering his cigarette from his lips. "Going back?"
"Yeah," she says, hoping she sounds at least somewhat nonchalant. "It's been, what, four weeks? We can't keep doing this forever, can we?" She laughs nervously. "We'll have to go back at some point."
"Do we?" he asks.
"We can't live on the road," she points out, biting her bottom lip. "It's fine for a month or so, but, you know…"
"No, I don't," he says, his tone sharp. "Explain." The word is curt, low; not quite demanding but something compels her to answer.
She opens her mouth.
- the aftermath –
we'll all float on okay
Roxanne dreams of flying carpets and not-quite-wishes, fallen eyelashes and dandelion seeds on the wind. She dreams of speeding cars, A-road horizons and cheap motels rooms that never made a difference. She dreams of crushed desires, broken dreams and shattered hopes, and she pretends she doesn't regret a thing that happened, not one bit.
She always lies to herself, it's just one of those things.
"You okay, Roxy?" Fred sidles up beside her as she sloppily butters a piece of toast. She could've just used her wand to do it – that's what every other witch or wizard would do – but she's finding it hard to get back into the habit of magic just being the obvious choice after being wary about using it in public for so long. Funny that, how just running away and not using magic came so naturally to her, but going back to it seems so alien.
She sets the knife down, sighing. Her eyes find her brother's, who's watching her curiously as she chews on her bottom lip. "I'm fine, Freddie."
He doesn't break eye contact. "It's been a long time since you've called me that." His tone is flippant, nonchalant, yet something lurks behind his words.
"Yeah?" says Roxanne, looking away from him and picking the knife back up. She continues to spread the butter on her toast, going over the areas she's already done. "Well, it's been a while since I've felt this young."
Fred is silent for a moment, and then he bumps his shoulder against hers. He's taller than her now, though she was never particularly blessed height-wise. "You'll be all right though, Rox." She can hear the smile in his voice. "You always are, in the end."
And look at that, she can't help but think. Little Fred is two years younger and speaking like he's years older. She feels very small in comparison.
"Thanks," she says, smiling a small smile. "Now, go play with James or something."
He grins. "Not five any more, Roxy. But all right."
"That still worked on you until you were fourteen, not five," she retaliates, laughing. Fred gives her a wink and disappears out the back door.
"So, run it by me again?" says Dominique, her eyes on the blue August sky. Her fingers fiddle absent-mindedly with the artificial buttons on her dress. Roxanne feels a strange pang of jealousy shoot through her as she takes in her friend's form: casually sprawled out on the grass, head tilted back, blonde hair flowing down her back. She looks like a model, with her carefully applied makeup and her purposefully messy hair. Maybe if Roxanne looked like that, Lysander wouldn't have gotten bored with her. (She doesn't make any attempt to remind herself that it was the other way around.)
She sighs. "It's nothing really. We just got… frustrated with one another. It was perfect one day and then… it wasn't."
"That's the way it always happens," her friend tells her wisely. "Everything's fine and then one day you wake up and realise everything is different."
"But what do you do about it after that's happened?" Roxanne asks, her voice rising in exasperation. "One day he's kissing me like crazy and then the next he's pulling my faults apart and turning everything I say into an argument. I just want to go back to the way we were, instead of how we are now. I haven't spoken to him in two weeks, not since I said goodbye to him after getting out the car. It's – I don't know. I just—"
Dominique sits up straight, pushing her hair over her shoulder and looking Roxanne in the eye. "Look, Roxy. I don't mean to be a bitch – well, actually, that's a lie. You know I'm a bitch, so I'm just going to spell this out plain and clear for you, okay? Don't get all offended about it, but you need to get off your sorry arse and do something about it. Don't sit and mope over him. Go out and make things right, for Merlin's sake. I've seen you two, out in the garden or whatever, and trust me – something like that, it's not worth just throwing away. Go and tell him."
"But…" protests Roxanne weakly. "Tell him what?"
She rolls her eyes and stands up, pulling out her wand. "You've left me no other choice."
For a moment, she thinks Dom is going to hex her, or maybe even curse her – she wouldn't put it past her. But instead, Dominique aims her wand at the sky and writes "ROXANNE LOVES LYSANDER" in large, cloud-like lettering across the blue.
"Dom!" she hisses, outraged. "Take that down right now!"
The other girl simply smirks, twirling the wand between her fingers. "Not until you go and do what you have to do."
"I can't just—" she cuts off. "It's not as simple as that!"
"Yes it is," Dominique replies, and as Roxanne reaches for her wand, she says in an all too cheerful voice, "I don't think so," before flicking her own wand and saying, "Expelliarmus." Roxanne's wand is jerked out of her hand and soars outstretched into Dominique's.
"Give me it back," she seethes, taking a step towards her.
Dominique winks. "Don't think so. Not until you tell him."
"Bitch," mutters Roxanne. "You know what? Fine. Fine! I'll tell him. I'll bloody tell him until I'm blue in the face. Just you wait and see!" She fixes her friend with one last glare and disappears on the spot.
Dominique watches her vanish with a smirk on her face.
She Apparates into her house in a whirlwind of colour. In a rush, she dashes up the stairs in the hopes that she'll find the answers in the comfort of her room, but after thirty seconds in there, it becomes clear that she has to make the decision on her own. If she looks outside her window and squints into the distance, she can still see the cloud lettering that Dominique hasn't removed.
"Roxanne?" calls her brother, pushing gently on her half-open door. "I heard you Apparate in – what's wrong?"
Roxanne shakes her head, pulling her fingers through her unruly curls in frustration. "I don't know what to do, Freddie. I just don't know. I have two choices and one of them is hard and one is easy, but I don't know which one is right."
He moves further into the room. "I know you'll pick the right one."
"No, you don't," she disagrees, biting her lip. "I'm so confused, and—"
"Does this have anything to do with the massive "Roxanne loves Lysander" hovering in the sky?" asks Fred, crossing his arms.
She blushes, eyes fixed on the floor. "Bloody Dominique, I swear to Merlin, I'll…"
He raises an eyebrow, his stance unchanged. "Let me guess. He doesn't know, right? Seen it a thousand times with the girls in my year at Hogwarts. I honestly don't understand why it's so hard to just go and tell people how you feel."
"Not everyone's as blunt as you," Roxanne tells him, a half-hearted smirk on her face. "It's – it's hard. He probably hates me now anyway."
"Then," says Fred, making his way to the door, "you have nothing to lose, do you?"
She opened her mouth.
"I just don't think it's working, that's all," she said slowly, her fingers now interlocked in anxiety. He continued to stare at her, eyebrows raised in a way she took to mean, go on. "We're not getting along like we used to. It's becoming more like a chore than adventure, Lysander, and I'm tired of it. I – I want to go home. If that's okay."
He was still looking at her with something akin to confusion on his face. Another emotion flitted across his face before it was replaced by irritation. "So it's not everything you expected? Did you really think it would be sunshine and rainbows the whole way? Aren't you even going to try to fix—"
"What's to fix?" she snapped, turning her head from him and feeling her cheeks darken in embarrassment. "I… didn't mean to shout, I just – I don't know where we go from here, Lysander. Tell me where we go. Please. You always know."
Lysander shook his head. "No, Roxanne." She flinched; he hadn't called her that since the first time they met. It was always Roxy. "I'm sorry, but it's your decision now." She turned her head, feeling compelled to look at him. His blue eyes shone in the summer sun, his outline glowing a warm orange in the light. "You stick this out or take the easy route." His expression remained unchanged; stony. Challenging. "It's your choice."
She stared at him, and then she found she couldn't look any longer. Her gaze slid to a point on the horizon behind him. There was a long silence in which Roxanne wished for a miracle; a genie. But this was real life and there were no magical lamps to save her now. Time was up, and now she had to choose, so she hesitated, breathed, and took the plunge. "It's not working, and we can't keep pretending it is. Lysander, I'm sorry, but—"
"No," he cut her off. "I get it. Get in the car."
"That's it?" she asked disbelievingly, her eyes flicking to the car that gleamed almost menacingly in the harsh light.
"What the hell else do you expect me to say?" he demanded, his ice blue eyes on fire. "You want me to beg you to stay? Because I'm sorry, it's not going to happen. You made this decision—"
"I know!" she exploded. "Merlin. I was only saying – you don't need to turn it into this – this big deal. You're acting like the last week has been a walk in the park, like we haven't been nagging at one another and fighting, and I'm tired of it. It's not working and that's it. That's just it. Neither of us tried to fix it, and now it's beyond repair." She fixed him with a long glare. "Take me home."
He returned the glower and got in the driver's side of the car, slamming the door behind him. They did not speak once on the way back and the last word spoken between them was Roxanne's muttered goodbye as she stalked off.
Roxanne has always loved the Scamanders' house.
Since the very first time she set foot into this house, she loved it. All its eccentricities, all its weird and very, very wonderful trinkets – they just remind Roxanne of home. The door is weather-beaten and there's some strange purple plant growing up it, but even that seems welcoming to her. She can hear someone clattering about in the kitchen inside, and, praying it isn't Lysander, she knocks.
There's a clang as something falls to the floor and then she hears footsteps approach the door. The latch is lifted and a woman with dirty blonde hair pulled back into a bun that has a strange utensil sticking through it stands there. She beams upon seeing Roxanne and ushers her in the door, closing it behind them.
"Roxanne!" she says, still smiling. "How lovely to see you! I wonder if – oh, I was just making some Plimpy soup – I caught them fresh, you know." She nods knowledgably. "But you probably don't want to hear about that." And as Roxanne tries to explain to her that she really doesn't mind and that she'd love to hear all about the Plimpies Mrs Scamander caught, the older woman talks over her. "It's Lysander you're here to see, isn't it? I miss seeing you two out in the garden, it was always a lovely – Lysander!"
Roxanne blinks in confusion. She's never really been quite able to keep up with Lysander's mother, despite how friendly she is. "If he's not in, I'll just go. It's really not important—"
"Oh, nonsense," says Mrs Scamander, waving her wand so that the cutlery she dropped earlier floats into the air. "Besides, he told me all about your little argument." She eyes Roxanne curiously. "Hmm… your brain hasn't felt fuzzy lately, has it?"
"Um, no," she replies.
"I just thought, maybe the Nargles – there's been a bad strain of them across the country this year and they've got a nasty habit of messing with emotions and thoughts, but if you say so." She levitates the cutlery onto the counter, which Roxanne realises is patterned very vividly with some type of tribal design.
Finally, she hears the thump of footsteps on the wooden staircase and catches a glimpse of blonde hair. Her stomach lurches unpleasantly – with nerves or something else – and Lysander appears in the doorway.
"What is it, Mum?" he asks. "I was – oh."
She meets his eye. "Hi, Lysander."
"Roxanne," he says politely. "What are you doing here?"
"Manners," chimes his mother in a sing song voice as she bustles out the door.
"Yeah, yeah," he mutters, red faced. "Anyway, what are you here for, because if it's—"
"Actually," interrupts Roxanne. "I'm here to apologise."
They stare at each other for a long moment, the awkwardness spilling off them in waves.
"I should too—" says Lysander, just as Roxanne starts, "Well, I know I—"
They stare at one another again, until she finally says, "You first."
"Yours is more important," he tells her.
She shakes her head. "Just go. Say whatever it was you were going to."
"I think you should—"
"Just spit it out!" she exclaims, and then clamps her mouth shut. "I'm sorry, I didn't come here to argue with you again – the complete opposite, oh Merlin. I just want this to be over, Ly. I want us to go back to how we were at the beginning of the summer. No fights, no awkwardness, just us. I don't know how we got here, wherever here is, but I want to fix it. Now. So, I'm sorry. Really, really sorry. Okay." She breathes in and lets it out. "That was a mess of words, wasn't it?"
Lysander chuckles. "It was a bit."
She bites her lip, looking up at him from under her eyelashes, and then she lets a giggle escape. And then they're both laughing hysterically, leaning on one another for support and gasping for breath. They laugh and laugh and laugh until they can't laugh any more and it just comes out as this odd wheezing sound, which makes them laugh even more. It takes a while before they finally stop, but they do, and then they're left looking at one another again.
"What's this?" she asks curiously as her gaze drifts to the little shelf nailed clumsily to the wall. She picks up a small, golden object that catches the light and shines in all the right places. "Hold on – Lysander, is this a magic lamp?"
He shrugs, suddenly unable to make eye contact with her. "Suppose so. Is there something wrong?"
"No, no, not at all," she breathes, running her fingers over the studded jewels encrusted around the body of it. "It's beautiful, that's all. Where did you find it?"
"Saw it in one of those odd little shops Mum goes to," he says shortly. "It reminded me of you, so I bought it."
Roxanne holds the lamp up to the light, inspecting it. Then she grins. "You've been rubbing your hands on this. I knew it. So, go on. What did you wish for?"
"Can't tell you that, can I?" he asks, raising his eyebrows. "It won't come true."
"I told you mine, months and months ago," she points out. "Come on, Ly. What did you wish for?"
"I wished for…" He hesitates. "No, I can't tell you. Maybe another time, okay?"
He nods. "Promise."
They meet each other's eyes, and Roxanne smiles a little, opening her mouth to say something, but Lysander beats her to it.
"I'm sorry too," he says suddenly. "I never meant anything I said."
"Me neither," she tells him slowly. They both pause. "Where does this leave us?"
"I – I don't know," he admits. "I really don't know. But, Roxy—"
"Ly, there's something I have to tell you," she says quickly, and the words are out before she can stop them. He looks at her curiously. "Just follow me."
She leads him outside and along the path through the field that will lead them to her house. After fifteen minutes of walking, they arrive at Roxanne's back garden, and she stops.
"Why couldn't we just have Apparated?" asks Lysander.
She shrugs. "Walking makes it more special. Now, come round here." She takes him by the hand and leads him round to the front of the house and walks a few yards more. "Look to the sky and tell me what you see."
He tilts his head back and looks. Then he laughs.
"Who wrote that?" he asks, grinning widely. "Not you, I assume?"
"No," she laughs. "It was Dominique."
Lysander shakes his head. "Might've known. She's always been so… forward."
"That's one word for it," she says, still smiling.
He chuckles again, but sobers quickly this time. "Is it true?"
"Is what true?" she says blankly.
"The message," Lysander says. "Is it true?"
And then she laughs for real – head thrown back, hair caught in her mouth, eyes squeezed shut – and says, "Of course it is, you complete idiot."
"Really?" he asks, and the lazy smirk she knows all too well rests on his lips. "Well then, this is what I wished for." Then, almost impulsively, his arm slides around her waist and he pulls her in, sweeping her hair from her face and kissing her like he's never kissed her before. Her heart feels as though it may swell and burst with the sheer happiness she feels – it's like a bubble, growing and growing and growing and then it pops, and she kisses him back.
He tastes like freedom and recklessness, and this, this is finally what it feels like to be alive.
notes: please don't favourite without leaving a review, thanks.