It's Christmas Day!!! I can hardly sit still I'm that excited, I hope you're all having a wonderful day and got loads of awesome prezzies!
Ok well here it is, the final chapter of Seasons May Change, this story was particularly special to me as it was my first fanfic and also the first piece of work I managed to finish entirely without wishing I had added other scenes and so I wanted to thank you all, my readers, for making this so magical and for your wonderful reviews. I really did write this for you all :D
While I'm thanking people I should admit that I had a lot of help from my best friend Paul who truly helped me develop Scorpius' character and much of my inspiration came from our endless talks, and I owe my decent grammar and lack of typo's (hopefully) to my boyfriend Dan who proofreads all my chapters and picks up on my mistakes :P So Thanks guys!
Anyway back to business, I really hope you enjoy it, I've also uploaded the first chapter of my sequel today for those of you who wish to carry on following Lily, Scorpius and the others, It's called One Love, One Lifetime and I hope you'll love it as much as this one :)
Thanks again and another Merry Christmas!!
Chapter thirty – The future is looming
It was almost as if the days were passing as minutes, before I knew it the weeks were ticking by and our last few months at Hogwarts together seemed to be moving in a blur. I forced myself not to think of the date every day and that made it easier to cope with the inevitable fact that Emma, Lucy, Hugo and I would have to return to school without Scorpius and Al. It was only for a year though, one tiny little year, surely it would fly by. I wasn't convinced, but like I said, I wasn't thinking about it. Not all of the time anyway, just when I was awake and sometimes in my dreams.
July crept around and the air was unusually icy, the grass had hardened from a fresh frost and I slipped a few times on some patches of precarious ice as I made my way to the Quidditch pitch. I didn't take my usual seat amongst the Gryffindor stands with my friends instead I found a slot on the opposite side of the pitch surrounded by the unwelcoming stares and awkward glances of the entire Slytherin population. It was impossible to spot any of my friends across the massive pitch and so I opted to blend into the cheering crowds of rival students.
"Well, well, well what brings you over to the enemy side?" the familiar voice of Emery was a welcome beacon of light in the situation and I gave him a grateful smile, at least one person here wouldn't hate me.
"Hey, long time no see." I had to shout a little to be heard over the rowdy crowds cheering and yelling.
"Indeed but that doesn't answer my question, shouldn't you be over there with your house and your friends?" he pointed absentmindedly to the other side of the pitch where the others were chanting their own supportive words.
"Oh so you don't want me here either?"
"You're just avoiding the question." And I was but I wasn't about to admit that, the noise dimmed as both teams strolled out onto the pitch headed by my raven haired brother and his silvery haired rival. I watched tensely as they shook hands and wished each other luck, this was not going to be a relaxing evening.
The teams kicked off and the match was swiftly underway, I had no interest in the point scoring happening below my eyes were fixed firmly on my boyfriend hovering carefully as his grey eyes darted around for a glimpse of what they were seeking.
"Do you always look like you're in pain when you watch Quidditch?" Emery's voice startled me out of my furious staring and I tried to relax my tense muscles.
"No, no it's just this match." If only he knew what was riding on this match.
I could see the hard blazing look on Scorpius' face as he scanned the empty skies, I knew he wasn't thinking about any of what had happened, his mind was fixed firmly on the job at hand – catching the snitch. I'd hardly seen him over the past few weeks, he'd chosen to throw himself into rigorous training almost every day and I knew the root cause wasn't a drive to win but the need to push his anger into something.
"What's so important about this match?" despite it feeling like the time was crawling at a snails pace while my mind ran away with itself little more than a few seconds had passed since our last exchange and Emery was still watching me with curious eyes.
"Um, there was a bit of an argument." I didn't want to go into too much detail and it was much too long of a story to be telling now anyway, especially to someone who was practically a stranger.
"Between Albus and Scor?" how could he know that? Was it really that obvious? I turned to look at him, startled and now as curious as he was.
"You already knew." It wasn't a question it was a fact, I could tell by the knowing glint in his eye that he already knew the cause of my tension but could he possibly know what the root of all of it was?
"It's not hard to notice when friends fall out." He gave me a reassuring smile guessing that I would be stuck in the middle of all of this because of who it involved. Over the weeks since it happened I hated the feeling like I constantly had to choose between the two of them, what side was I supposed to take when the choices were my brother and the man I loved? Blood was thicker than water and everyone would argue that I should never turn my back on family but what about when it was your family that was wrong? Should you choose the wrong side just because of blood? Hadn't that been the mistake Draco Malfoy had made years ago when he was still here at Hogwarts.
"Why did you choose to sit here?" the question came out of the blue and was not what I had been expecting, the answer might seem obvious but I paused for a moment to find the right words.
"I don't want to choose a side but I can't very well sit in the middle can I?" I laughed nervously and Emery frowned, I hadn't answered his question.
"I love him, he needs me." I said simply letting my eyes wander back to the green figure circling above with the elegance of a bird, I noticed his eyes drift across to the Gryffindor stands a few times but he tore them away almost immediately – he was looking for me. His expression was hard as he tried to conceal his disappointment when his eyes did not find what they sought. I longed to scream at him, to call out his name and assure him I was here but that would be inappropriate and probably highly embarrassing so I kept myself rooted firmly to my seat.
"But your brother doesn't need you?" why did Emery seem to disagree with my choice so much?
"Look for years I have cared for my brother and looked after him even though I'm younger and he should have been looking after me, he's not a kid anymore. Scorpius is my future and he needs me so I'm here. If you don't like that then I suggest you find somewhere else to sit." I hadn't meant to sound so defensive and he raised his hands apologetically, the pressure of it all was starting to weigh me down and now I was snapping at innocent people.
"Sorry, I shouldn't have a go at you." It was a poor apology but it was all I had the strength for, he offered me a grim smile and patted my shoulder comfortingly.
"No it's my fault, you're obviously stressed out and I shouldn't have stuck my nose in." it wasn't entirely his fault but he had been a bit pressing with his questions so I didn't argue with his apology.
"Where did you get the scarf from?" he pointed to the garment tied around my neck adorned with the green and silver house colours.
"Oh it's Scor's, I borrowed it the other day." I recalled the moment when we'd been walking around the lake together and the cold had brought a shiver rippling through me, without hesitation Scorpius had whipped off the scarf and coiled it carefully around my narrow neck. The romantic memory warmed me from the chest outward and I smiled.
"Were you hoping to blend in or something? Because I hate to break it to you but your hair is a major giveaway." I laughed and tucked my flaming red locks behind my ear.
"No I was just cold but Slytherin could do with a redhead I think." We both glanced around at the many students surrounding us and noticed the shameful absence of red hair.
"I agree but it's tough for us when Gryffindor keeps stealing them all." I laughed again realising that it was true, every Potter and Weasley had been sorted into my house and there was a dangerously low population of redheads outside of our family. A sudden eruption of noise startled us and broke our casual banter, our eyes darted back to the pitch where two students were racing neck and neck across the air – one red and one green.
"Looks like we're about to find out who's won…" Emery murmured as the stands fell deadly silent and every student held their breath. I was willing Scorpius to reach the snitch with every millimetre of my body so much so that it almost ached. Suddenly they changed direction, veering sharply to the left and hurtling at a dangerous speed towards the floor. It took seconds for the battle to end, Peter the new Gryffindor seeker pulled away as the ground grew too close for comfort but Scorpius wasn't so easily spooked. He held out until the last second and as his broom threatened to collide with the floor he leapt off the end and swiped the golden ball from the air landing with a smooth roll on the sandy ground. The ear splitting roar that erupted around me almost burst my eardrums and I threw my hands over my ears to protect them. Way below on the pitch Scorpius rose to his feet and held up his little golden trophy proudly, he looked completely unharmed and I blew out my breath in a relieved puff. Scorpius was the first Slytherin captain to end Gryffindor's reign of winning the Quidditch cup.
"Do you think things will get easier now?" Emery asked shouting over the masses of cheering, I really didn't have an answer for him. I had no idea how this was going to affect things.
"I hope so." I said with a light shrug, he gave me a sympathetic smile and Scorpius hopped back onto his broom rising into the air and looking proudly at the Slytherin stands who were roaring with celebration. Suddenly his eyes fell on my red hair betraying my presence in an instant and I watched the relief that I had come to watch appear on his face, he turned his broom and sped toward the stands where we sat, as soon as he reached the edge he leapt off lithely and swept past his adoring house students to snatch me against him and crush my lips with his. It seemed like an eternity since we'd last kissed and I painfully craved the feel of his mouth. His lips were soft and warm as they eased mine apart, his tongue slid teasingly across my bottom lip filling my mouth with the exquisite taste of him, I didn't care that the entire Slytherin house were watching us in that moment or that most of them were groaning in disgust.
"Forgive me." he requested in an unsteady voice, his arms were locked around me in a vice grip refusing to let go but I was glad for the support otherwise my knees would have buckled beneath me.
"You're forgiven." I assured him still a bit dazed from his kiss, he captured my lips with his again and I didn't even notice that most of the students had left the stands to celebrate.
When we got back to the common room it was almost completely empty as most of the Gryffindor students had wandered off to sulk about their loss, but there were four people I expected waiting by the fire and I felt the atmosphere thicken the second Scorpius and I entered.
"Maybe I should go." Scorpius said turning to leave, I caught his elbow and snatched him back angrily.
"No, this is getting cleared up now." I marched him over to Al, took a deep breath to steady myself and in my pocket my fingers clutched my wand in case I needed to stop them fighting.
"Ok…I've had enough." They both raised their eyebrows and I felt more confident now that I'd begun.
"You've had enough?"
"Yes, this is ridiculous, you two have been best friends for years and you're just going to throw all that away over a stupid argument?" Scorpius opened his mouth to reply but I held up a hand silencing him.
"I know Al shouldn't have said what he did and he knows that too but he did say it and he can't take it back now, you're just going to have to accept his apology."
"He hasn't apologised!"
"Yes well he will."
"Will I?" I turned to scowl at my brother and his expression turned repentant, Lucy, Emma and Hugo watched intently as I tried to force the two older boys into a reconciliation.
This whole situation had escalated from a silly comment about Hugo training harder ready for the Slytherin match, when he turned up at breakfast exhausted Scorpius had simply told him to take it easy in case he made himself sick and Al had kicked off accusing him of trying to get Hugo to slack off so that Slytherin could win. I could still hear the words that had ended the argument in my head, Al's response to Scorpius being captain, we all know what power does to a Malfoy.
"You're not the only ones this is affecting you know, what about the rest of us? We're just stuck in the middle and what about us Scor? Have you noticed how little time we've spent together lately?" Scorpius' frown relaxed and he looked guilty for neglecting me.
"It's almost the end of the year guys, we don't have much time left at Hogwarts together or have you forgotten? Well we haven't, so we've had enough now, this is going to stop. You're going to apologise." I jabbed a finger in the direction of my sheepish looking brother. "And you're going to accept it." I added pointing at Scorpius instead.
"Then you're going to shake hands and we're going to forget this ever happened ok?" for a while the two boys just stared at me blankly, thoughts battling in their minds deciding whether to listen to me or not. Suddenly Al lurched forward and I panicked, I withdrew my wand in a second and cast the first thing that came to mind.
"Protego!" I almost shouted the incantation in a desperate attempt to make sure it worked and sure enough the shield erupted between the two boys, Al hadn't anticipated the spell and walked headfirst into it staggering back slightly off-balance.
"Bloody hell Lils!" he cursed rubbing the spot of his forehead that had impacted my strong shield.
"I'm sorry, I thought you were going to hit him or hex him or something." My irritated brother scoffed at my silly fears and I noticed Scorpius trying to stifle a laugh.
"Oh shut up you." He shot at the chuckling Slytherin unable to keep the smile off his own face, it was the first time I'd seen either of them smile or laugh in a long time.
"She's right you know this has dragged on." The atmosphere suddenly thickened again and I tensed in case of another blow up.
"I know, listen dude I shouldn't have said that…" my eyebrows crept up as my older brother nervously tried to stumble his way to an apology, he avoided Scorpius' gaze and scratched at his scruffy hair uncomfortably.
"Don't worry about it, it's true after all." Scorpius shrugged casually, I hated to admit it but power did seem to have a bad effect on the previous Malfoys but that wasn't to say it was an inherited quality.
"Yeah but you're not like them are you, you're the black sheep." The two boys snorted with laughter and I rolled my eyes, this was an important moment and they were being stupid.
"Seriously though, I am sorry." Finally there was the apology, Al had kept his side of the bargain now all we needed was for Scorpius to do the same.
"Don't mention it." he offered his best friend a thankful smile and I sighed in relief.
"Um…Lils…?" Al pointed to the shield still blocking them and I blushed.
"Oops, sorry." With a quick flick of my wand the shield melted away and he strode over to Scorpius outstretching his hand, after a moments hesitation my boyfriend shook it stiffly and then in a burst of spontaneous laughter they launched into a hug patting each other on the back roughly. I rolled my eyes as the rest of us watched the bizarre exchange, over a month of hostility and evil looks had passed before we could get here and in my opinion it was long overdue.
"Oh, nice catch today dude, it was a fair win." It was a big deal for my brother to be saying that and I felt a sudden urge to hug him.
"Thanks." Scorpius smiled appreciatively and I knew their friendship would survive this.
"Right then, who wants some food?" he flashed us all one of his signature grins and we laughed following him out of the portrait hole.
"Thank you." Scorpius whispered in my ear so that the others couldn't hear and I smiled up at him kindly, maybe now things could get back to normal for the last few weeks we all had together at Hogwarts, I certainly hoped so.
"I'm really going to miss this." Al mused as we travelled home for the last time all together, he glanced around the compartment affectionately and we all stared at him.
"This is what you're going to miss when you leave? Not your friends or the school, you're going to miss the train?" I asked him with an unimpressed look, he shrugged innocently and looked around again.
"Of course I'll miss the other stuff, I'm just saying I've gotten really used to making this journey now, it's going to be weird when the first day of school comes around and I won't be getting on." I ignored him and turned to look back out of the window not wanting another reminder that the year was over.
"I thought you were going to miss the food more than anything." Emma commented, not bothering to look up from her copy of the Quibbler.
"Oh man, the food, I completely forgot about that." He groaned, slumping back against the chair miserably as they laughed at him.
"I think I'll just miss being around you all every day, when we all leave we're going to be separated, it'll be so hard to get used to." Lucy said sadly, we all exchanged a few dismal glances and I purposely avoided Scorpius' eyes.
"I'll miss the library, it's so peaceful in there and I love having so many books to choose from." Emma gazed sadly at her hands sitting in her lap and I wished the conversation would go down a more cheerful route.
"I'm going to miss Quidditch after I leave, never playing another match is going to be depressing." Now it was Hugo's turn and Lucy patted his knee comfortingly.
"What about you Scor, what are you going to miss most?" Al asked casually, I turned to him fearfully and saw the look in his eyes as he gazed at me intensely, in that second it was obvious what he was going to miss most – me.
"Stupid question really." Al muttered quietly realising he'd touched on a bad subject, silence fell over us until Emma suddenly leapt up and pointed out of the window.
"We're here!" she told us excitedly, grabbing our stuff the six of us bustled out of the compartment and off onto the busy platform. The others rushed on but I hung back with Scorpius to say goodbye.
"I know you're worried but try not to be ok," he said softly, drawing me to him and wrapping his arms around my waist. "It'll be fine." I knew it was no use for me to worry but I couldn't help it.
"Yeah I know." I managed a small smile and he bent to brush a kiss across my lips.
"I'd better go." He said reluctantly, casting a glance over his shoulder at his father who was waiting.
"I'll see you tomorrow." I replied, trying my best to sound cheerful. There was a meal at the Burrow tomorrow to celebrate Teddy's birthday so it wouldn't be long until I saw him again.
"Ok, Bye," he gave me another kiss, lingering slightly longer against my lips than the last time and then set off over to his father.
I spotted my family waiting and hurried over to them where, as always, James was the first to grab me.
"Would it kill you to crack a smile sis?" He joked giving me a suffocating hug, I laughed a little and he plonked me back on my feet.
"Much better." He nodded satisfied and I gave my dad the next hug.
"Good to have you home." He told me with a little smile, I knew he could tell I was upset but I was glad he didn't ask me about it, we started to move off out of the station amid a sea of excited chatter and laughing and I had to admit, despite everything, it was nice to be home.
The meal at the Burrow crept around the next day and as always it was the usual sea of chatter and food overridden occasionally by a burst of spontaneous laughter or a shrill cry from baby Annalise. It was a nice day, bright and warm with a light breeze swirling around us as we stood in the garden together watching the advancing sunset.
"It doesn't feel real." Al said quietly disturbing the eerie silence that had settled over us all.
"I have to keep telling myself that it's really ended." Scorpius agreed, tightening his grip on my hand as I fought with the overwhelming urge to cry.
"I've never really thought much about what it will be like to leave," Emma's voice was shaking as she spoke and I knew she was as close to tears as I was. "But now you guys have gone it's finally hit me, after next year we won't ever return to Hogwarts, any of us." She sniffled tearfully and Al placed a comforting arm around her shoulders letting her lean into him.
"We've been through so much there, it's strange to imagine life without it." Lucy was having an easier time holding in her emotions but I could still see unshed tears glistening in her eyes.
"Well you guys have one more year left, you can treasure it." I could tell by his tone that Al wished he'd done that this year instead of letting it pass him by as quickly as it had.
"It won't be the same without you two." It was the first time I'd managed to speak since we started talking about it and my voice trembled as I wrestled with my emotions, a wave of sighs passed along the line and we returned to silence letting our memories of past years fill our minds now that the era had ended. The only comfort I found was in the knowledge that no matter how many changes were coming our way we would always stick together, Hogwarts was never going to last forever we knew that and we only had one year of being separated, it wouldn't be as bad as we thought I was sure of it. After all what was one year apart when we had a lifetime together?