Chapter 23

The girls were practically buried in sweet wrappers. Ines had her own personal whorde of sugar quill wrappers that was now spilling onto the compartment floor. Her friends were glad to have the real Ines back. She was no longer cowering at the sight of her friends, afraid to have any sort of attachment to anyone. She had come to terms with the fact that she couldn't carry out the rest of her days that way, and that her friends were only there to help. She had yet to see the boys. She sat furthest from them during their Transfiguration exam, one she could also confidently say she passed, and then in the common room after. She hadn't gone to the compartment she knew they were in. She could tell because Marlene was trying to convince them all to get the compartment right next to their rather than their usual one. Her persistent crush on Sirius had become increasingly annoying, especially after yesterday's events.

Ines stared out the window, reaching her usual favorite spot on the bridge. She took her moment to admire its beauty, she watched as a cold wind raced across the surrounding fields of wild grass, turning the land into a heaving dark-green ocean. It soared up through the branches of the trees and rattled the thick leaves. She turned back to find that her friends were looking as well, a smile crept onto her face. When the moment had passed and their smiles faded, Ines decided to diffuse the tension and grab some more sweets. She whispered that she would be right back and slipped out of the door. On the way to the trolley she heard her name called from a compartment, she had just passed. Gavin stepped out of it, a small smile on his face. "Gavin," she whispered, "Nice to see you.". He continued to smile, "I was just on my way to see you," He lifted his hands from his pocket and pulled out a few packs of sugar quills "I bought more than I wanted and knew you would appreciate some.". She took it from him, unable to look into his eyes.

She didn't deserve this kindness, especially from him. He was an incredibly kind and caring boy and she felt as though she led him on. In the moment, of course, the time they spent together, it didn't feel that way. At the time she hadn't fully accepted her feelings, and even now she hadn't. They walked back to her compartment, as the girls were just leaving. Emmeline blushed as the girls looked to her to explain "Owen Caudwell has invited us to sit in his compartment, they've got a pretty intense game of exploding snap if you'd care to join.". Ines smiled, "Just a moment,". The girls filed out, giving soft glances to Gavin as the did. She could still barely look at him and chose to stare at his captain's badge instead. He had been so excited to show it to her on the train ride to school at the start of term. "I'm giving it to James." He said, patting the badge "Don't get me wrong, you're a right good beater, but, I think he'd be good for the team.". Ines smiled, he was going to be over the moon excited. "Yeah, he will be.". They were silent, the only sound being people milling about the hall and the train on the tracks.

"I'm sorry," Ines mumbled, "I'm sorry I can't give you what it is you want, or at least what I think you want.". He bowed his head, he didn't look too upset but he definitely wasn't happy. He moved his head to look up at her, and he did for only a moment, before looking beyond her. Ines turned to find Sirius a few feet away, staring. He obviously hadn't intended for this interaction to happen and was in the process of turning and walking away when Ines looked at him. She held his gaze before turning back to Gavin. She pressed a soft kiss to his cheek and hugged him tightly. He walked back to his compartment, and Ines followed the sound of excited yells. She found her friends, engrossed in Owen and his friends' exploding snap match and joined in the happiness. She did her best to mask her sadness and knew her friends saw right through it.

As the train slowed down in the approach to King's Cross, Ines thought she had never wanted to leave it less. She even wondered fleetingly what would happen if she simply refused to get off, but remained stubbornly sitting there until the first of September, when it would take her back to Hogwarts. When it finally puffed to a standstill, however, she lifted down her owl's cage and prepared to drag her trunk from the train as usual.

She exited the train and hugged all her friend's goodbye. It was a sad departure, but they were all absolutely exhausted from the year and their O.W.L exams that some quality time with their family was well needed. Despite Ines feeling otherwise about what she needed, she understood and wanted only the best for her friends. They were all excited to see their parents, and Ines wished for only a second that she felt the same way. That was until the crowds parted and she saw Euphemia and Fleamont. She rushed through the hordes of people towards the woman who was a better mother in the five days she spent at her house than her actual mother was in her entire life. Her path was blocked by her brother. He stood resolutely and staring around nervously. He was looking for their parents. He gripped her shoulders, stopping her from running. "Where are you staying this summer?" He whispered. Ines took a step back, in such shock that he would ask such a thing. "The Potters." She mumbled, he nodded and kept walking.

Ines looked around, hoping the crowd of bustling people had concealed that moment and kept walking towards Euphemia. She hadn't seen the interaction as she was engrossed in greeting James and Sirius. They were wrapped up in hugs and smiles. Sirius fit right in, his dark hair was practically the same tone as the Potters. Ines wondered how she fared up against them, she was much paler, her hair was lighter. She struggled to separate herself from her brother, they were identical, and she could never escape that as much as she wanted to. She reluctantly joined the Potters, hugging Euphemia first then Fleamont. They walked from the platform, chatting of the upcoming summer. Ines passed Oberon yet again, this time he was flanked by her family, just as she was hers.