Probably shouldn't be starting a new story so close to my exams, but what can I say? It's an addiction. So this is the third in my next-gen series, after Fire and Ice and Heart and Home. I've a couple of one-shots that fit in to it, too, but all of it can be read independently.
I went with the majority and paired Lydia with Lysander. I've only wrote the first four chapters so far, but I think it's going to work. And, by the way, a reviewer for Heart and Home suggested I write an epilogue kind of thing with Mason going to to Hogwarts - would anyone else be interested in reading that, as a one-shot or Jigsaw Piece, because I like the idea?
He couldn't take it anymore. Listening to Lily talk about her honeymoon, listening to the family say what a great wedding it was, what a nice guy Scorpius was. They loved Scorpius, all of them, and had welcomed him into the family.
He'd decided he wasn't in love with Lily. Was sure he wasn't. And she was married now, after all.
But that didn't mean he didn't wonder, didn't sort of wish...
She looked so right with Scorpius, and the two of them were so in sync. That hurt the most, really. That they were so obviously perfect for each other.
He couldn't take it. The family, the family he loved but weren't really his, were suffocating him. He had to get away, from them, from Lily and Scorpius and their overt happiness. Had to get away from the damn country.
As the solution hit him, Lysander pushed his hair back. They weren't going to take it well. But this was the only way for him.
"I'm going away for a while."
He didn't expect the absolute silence at his statement, but decided he shouldn't really have been surprised.
"Where?" His brother asked, stunned, and Lysander realised, too late, that he should have told Lorcan first, separately.
"Everywhere. I want to – to see the world."
"Why?" Lily was looking at him, bewildered, and he was tempted to reply, "because of you". But it wasn't, really. It was mostly about him.
"I just – I just need to get out there. It's just something I have to do."
"How long?" Lydia asked. It would be easier, Lysander decided, if it wasn't those closest to him asking the questions.
"Um, I don't exactly know. I haven't set out definite plans. And, I mean, I'll come home, visit, you know?"
"How long'll you be gone, Zander?" His mother asked. Lysander avoided meeting her gaze.
"Six months or so. Maybe longer. Maybe a year."
The atmosphere turned awkward. Suppressing a sigh, Zander sat down. It was going to be a long afternoon.
It hurt. It had been more than a year, now, and he could finally admit to himself that it was no longer worth it. Going home for a day, a weekend, every now and then wasn't enough.
He was no longer protecting himself from pain, he was causing himself it. Lysander laid out on a bed – the mattress was thin and the sheets itched but he couldn't afford anything better, having eradicated most of the savings fund his parents had set up for him when he was an infant – looking up at the ceiling. And thinking of home.
He'd left home, friends, family, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, because Lily had got married, and he still hadn't been over that thing he'd had for her. It had bothered him that she was married, in love with someone else, because for a long time he'd pictured her being married to and in love with him. Maybe he'd been in love with her. He thought not, now, but at the time...
Secondly, he had wanted to see the world. Wanted to see more than the few parts of England he'd experienced.
And thirdly, he'd had to prove to himself that he could. That he could leave the loving home his parents had provided him and his twin, he could leave the close security of the friends he trusted beyond anything, and leave the safe cocoon of the extended family that treated him as their own.
When he'd left, that rainy, late Autumn day, promising to be home for Christmas (a promise he'd kept, even if he'd broken so many others) he'd been angry. At himself. At Scorpius. At Lily, even, becuase she'd only ever looked at him and seen a friend, an honorary cousin. And he'd been determined to figure things out.
He'd never, like Lorcan or Lydia or even Ally and Mitch, accepted without thought that the extended Weasley family, though not tied to them by blood, were theirs. He could never understand just why Molly Weasley thought of him as a grandson, just why he called all those people uncles and aunts, or why, in fact, he called Molly and Arthur Grandma and Grandad. He'd heard, read, understood, that family wasn't always, and in fact shouldn't be, just expected, given, because of blood and birth. A little thing like DNA didn't entitle a person to the benefits of a family, nor mean that they had to put up with the downfalls. Family ought to be earned.
He understood that, liked the philosophy of it. But he knew that he'd done nothing to earn the Molly Weasley and her family, and so didn't understand why they were his.
He still didn't, but that was less important to him now. Lysander had seen the world, he'd convinced himself he was over Lily and he'd hurt his family in the process.
He missed them, so much now that it was a physical ache. So tonight, he thought of home.
And knew he had to go back.