I Love You More than Myself Part One

Chapter 84

"Growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change -Clary Fray" ― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

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*Tonks's POV*

Tears drip down my cheek and onto the piece of parchment clutched in my shaking hands. As I finish reading Remus's letter, I feel a spot in the middle of chest start to ache. I set it down on my desk and wrap my arms around myself, silently sobbing into the nook of my elbows. After reading his account of the events from yesterday, my hatred for his father only grows stronger. I don't understand how one man can be so ignorant, so narrow-minded, so prejudice. More than anything I yearn for Thursday, just so he can get away from all the hatred and back to where he is completely accepted. Yes, it's finally only four days until we begin our seventh and final year at Hogwarts. But, my time to sulk is rudely cut short.

"Tonks?!" I hear through the door, a loud knock accompanying the intruding voice. "Are you okay?"

Begrudgingly, I stand and cross the room, hastily wiping the tears away, hoping he won't notice my puffy, red eyes and tear-stained cheeks. "What do you want, Aaron?"

"I just heard sobbing… and, well… I, being your brother-"

"You were concerned?" I finish for him, crossing my arms and leaning against the threshold.

"Well of course," he says, trying to break a smile. "You're my little sister, I'll always be protective of you."

"Thanks Aaron," I mutter, awkwardly patting his shoulder. "But I'm okay, you don't have to worry."

"Are you sure?" he asks, raising an eyebrow.

"One hundred percent," I confirm, slipping the little white lie right past him.

And he believes it.

"Okay," he says uncertainly, smirking. "If you say so." He pinches my cheek lovingly before turning to walk away, his hands deep in his pockets.

"Speaking of being okay," I start loudly, making him turn around. "I thought you were supposed to be out job hunting today."

He makes a face then comes sideling back down the hallway, the Aaron-smirk that I love so much still sporting proudly on his lips. "Yeah, I'm supposed to be."

"What happened then?"

"Nothing," he admits, shrugging. "I just don't feel like going."

"Don't feel like going?" I repeat incredulously. "Dad's going to have your ass if-"

"I know, I know, I don't need to be told off," he mutters in an undertone, irritated.

"Sorry," I murmur, face blushing. "I didn't realize it was such a touchy subject."

"Tonks, we both know…" he trails off, glancing around. "Are Sasha and Alice here today?"

"They're supposed to be coming around 3:30, why?" I answer, knitting my eyebrows together.

"In here," he whispers, ushering me back into my room.

"What's going on?" I ask, tripping over my own feet as he follows me in and shuts the door.

"Tonks, we both know I'm never going to amount to anything."

I stand there in shock for a moment, completely still, staring into the eyes of my favorite brother. I don't believe what he's saying, I don't want to believe what he's saying.

"That's not true, Aaron-"

"Yes it is," he cuts me off. He runs his fingers through his wild black hair, and begins to pace, the nineteen year old unraveling before my eyes. "Between you and Sasha, I'm nothing."

"That's not true, Aaron," I repeat, getting frustrated with him for thinking like that. "You're good at a lot of things!"

"Yeah, like what?" he spats in my direction. "I can't even get myself a bloody girlfriend when you and Sasha both have soul mates!"

"Stop comparing yourself to me and Sasha! This isn't going to help anything," I say firmly.

"You know it's true, Nymphadora, you just don't want to admit it."

"Okay first, don't call me Nymphadora. Second, I certainly do not know that's true, because it isn't! And what does this have to do with anything, may I ask?"

"It's not worth job hunting if I know I'll never actually get one," he explains, stopping his pacing, shoulders heaving. I don't know how to approach him, the black sheep of the family. I would be lying if I said the three children all had equal success; I'm on the fast track to becoming an Auror, Sasha is engaged, living in London with a high-ranking position in the Ministry. And Aaron… well, Aaron lives at home, sometimes picking up a Muggle job or two to be able to afford an apartment of his own one day. While Sasha and I excelled at our O.W.L.s, Aaron barely passed. With scores like his, he might be able to scrape a low-ranking job in some obscure office at the Ministry, which probably wouldn't pay much. I sigh, all thoughts of the past hour gone, my attention now solely on my brother.

"Aaron," I start, slowly and evenly. "You can't be talking like this. If you really want to succeed in anything, you can't be such a downer."

"It's hard not to be," he mutters, slinking past me and over to take a seat on my bed. I turn around, mentally preparing myself for a battle.

"Well you know what? With this attitude, your sorry ass isn't going to go anywhere," I say, trying a new tactic. I place my hand on my hip as he looks up at me, wide-eyed and shocked at my sudden change of character. "You need to reevaluate your outlook on this situation if you want to succeed."

"Wow, who taught you to be such a bitch, sis?" he says incredulously, chuckling.

"I taught myself," I answer smugly, taking a seat next to him on the bed. "Growing up with two older brothers, a girl needs to learn how to defend herself."

Aaron looks over at me and smiles, his pale face brightening in the morning sun. "We didn't torture you that bad did we?"

"So bad, I'm surprised I'm not a homicidal sociopath," I remark, chuckling. Aaron reaches over and pulls me into an awkward hug, my head resting on his chest.

"I love you, sissy," he mutters after a few moments, choked up.

"I love you, too, Aaron," I reply, feeling myself on the verge of tears as well.

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*September 1st, 1977*

My alarm goes off at 8:30 am, exactly two hours before we're set to leave. I drag myself out of bed and take a shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed in my signature ripped jeans and black converse. After checking and rechecking my packed trunk, I stand in front of the mirror for a good twenty minutes, trying to decide how to wear my hair for such a special day. I decide on short, spiky, and pink, which compliments my bright yellow t-shirt. I sigh, just standing and observing myself, in awe of what I see.

This is the first day of my last year at Hogwarts.

I can remember clearly how I felt exactly six years ago, standing and looking in the same mirror, my stomach in knots with nerves and excitement. I can remember how my mother called from the kitchen that breakfast was ready, her voice as clear and delightful as a Christmas bell. My whole family sat around the table together, digging into the beautiful spread she had prepared for us, us three kids discussing how exciting that year was going to be. It seems so odd, yet Sasha was only going into fifth year and Aaron was only going into third at the time. I remember bolting back up the stairs after finishing my meal and dragging my humungous trunk down the stairs, and how my father had to come help me halfway because it was too big and heavy for me. He packed in the back of the car for me along with my brother's trunks, and he ruffled my hair saying how proud he was of me. We drove the familiar road to King's Cross, one I was used to taking, but it felt immensely strange and different to me that day. I can remember my mother hugging and kissing and fussing over the three of us on the platform, but finally paying special attention to me because it was my year. I remember following my big brothers onto the big, scarlet steam engine, and waving and watching my parents shrink to tiny ants before disappearing. And I remember that's when the nerves really kicked in.

More than anything I remember meeting my friends. I can still feel the exact way the bully pushed me into their compartment, and how feisty I got in that moment. I remember the feeling of both my cheeks and hair turning bright red, every ounce of attitude I inherited from my mother kicking in. I remember screaming in his face, a little ball of fury, and slamming the compartment door shut. And I remember turning around and seeing them, sitting there so innocently. I can still feel my hand clutching theirs, shaking it and hearing their names for the first time. James Potter. Sirius Black. Remus Lupin. I remember hearing that name for the first time especially well. I can still see his little, scarred face looking up at me, those stunning amber eyes meeting mine for the first time. This stranger whom I had just met instantly brought me joy, comfort, and a million other emotions a ten year old doesn't know how to deal with. But now that I'm sixteen, and we've been through all we've been through, it makes total sense. There's no doubt in my mind that Remus and I are soul mates, and we met exactly six years ago today.

But now, everything is different. The three excited, bouncy siblings are grown up, have learned all they could, and do not depend on their parents anymore. Sasha and Aaron have graduated and moved on, Sasha engaged and living on his own. The three siblings barely talk anymore, and do not gather around the breakfast table to eat the feast prepared for them by their mother. Instead, I sit alone, solemnly finishing the bowl of cereal I got myself. I don't need help carrying my trunk down the stairs because I am fully capable and strong enough. I load it in the back of the car, and take my seat all by myself, not accompanied by my brothers today. The car ride is long and banal, conversation sparse between anyone. When we finally reach King's Cross, I heave my trunk out of the back and onto a trolley, which I push into the station and over to platforms nine and ten, flanked by my parents. After crossing the barrier and loading my luggage onto the right car, I return to bid farewell to them.

"I can't believe how big you've gotten, Nymphadora," my mother croons, pulling me into a warm embrace. "It seems only yesterday that you were off to your first year at Hogwarts. And now, you're this. A beautiful, smart young lady."

"Thank you, mum," I say, pulling away to discover she has tears sparkling in her eyes. "Don't cry, mum, I'll be fine!"

"I know you will, that's the thing!" she chokes, caressing my cheek. "You're so independent and capable. I'm so proud of you, love."

"Thank you," I repeat, cracking a loving smile. I then turn to my father and almost immediately start to bawl. "Goodbye, dad."

"Goodbye, Dora," he mutters, pulling me into his big, warm, bear hug. I close my eyes and just let myself melt, forgetting about all the bad things in the world for a moment. "I'm so proud of you, darling."

I pull away from him and look up to meet his eyes, seeing his eyes are shiny with tears as well. "Dad, why are you crying? You didn't cry when Sasha and Aaron went."

"They weren't my little girl," he explains, wiping a tear off of my cheek. I can't possibly respond to that, so I just stand on tip-toe and give him a kiss on the cheek, then give one to my mother.

"Goodbye guys," I say as the first whistle blows. "I'll miss you so much."

"We'll miss you, too," my mother says, dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief.

"'Bye," I mutter again before turning and boarding the train at the nearest door, trying to hold myself together.

As the train pulls out of the station, I find a good spot to stand at to wave at them. They get smaller and smaller and smaller as the train gets farther and farther away. More tears leak out and dribble down my cheeks, realization hitting me full in the face that this was it. The moment. The beginning of the end.

When the train makes the bend, I take a deep breath and put on my brave face, knowing that I can't be loosing it this early on. I break away from the mob of students around the windows and find a bathroom where I can clean myself up before going to meet my friends. After pulling myself together, I look up in the mirror and just stare again, a new and more positive thought forming in my mind.

This is our seventh year and we can do whatever the hell we want. We're at the top of the school, and with friends like mine, you can only imagine what havoc is going to ensue. Be it staying up entirely too late, drinking and dancing the night away, be it spending a lazy afternoon on the banks of the Black Lake when we really should be studying, or be it playing a few harmless pranks on some underclassmen, we're going to make this the best bloody year ever. Yes, it's time to put all the bad and negative thoughts behind us, for they belong in the past. Because this is our year, and it's time to start living.

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Hello lovelies! :*

I'm incredibly sorry about lack of updates. *slap myself in the face* School, shows, etc, you guys know the drill by now!

Something terrible happened to me this morning when I realized the file I kept on my phone that had all my ideas about this fic got deleted! Yikes! I tried for a solid hour to retrieve it, but I just couldn't, I would have had to pay $60 to retrieve one file! Ughhh technology! I have most of them re-typed in, so hopefully I don't forget anything major!

Anyways, did you guys like the chapter?! I'll admit, I got pretty choked up there for a little bit writing this! It's just incredible to me, that they're all finally grown up and entering a new time of their lives! I'm going to miss writing Hogwarts! :'(

Have a lovely night guys! Hopefully I can update soon!

xoxo

~AnM

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