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Chapter 10: Responsibility
Elle and Remus reached the portrait hole, just as Brigid came storming out.
"Did they post it?" asked Elle eagerly. "Who's the new Seeker?"
"You," said Brigid bitterly, before pushing past them.
"Did she say-"
"I'm the Seeker!" squealed Elle, throwing her arms around Remus's neck excitedly.
"How long have you been playing Quidditch?" asked Remus, looking at her in amazement.
"Since I was twelve," explained Elle. "My dad was the Seeker when he was at school. Come on, though. I want to see for myself!"
She pulled him through the portrait hole and was immediately mobbed by people shouting their congratulations. Elle smiled shyly and blushed furiously at all the attention.
Followed by Remus, she made her way over to James, Lily, and Sirius, who were talking in a corner.
"Elle!" cried Lily, when she saw her. "Great job!"
"Thanks," said Elle, trying not to smile too much.
"Yeah, I was just telling them how good your try-out was," said James.
"Why didn't you tell us you were trying out?" asked Lily.
"Well, I was afraid you guys wouldn't take me seriously," said Elle sheepishly. "And I was afraid that Brigid would be mad at me."
Sirius, James, and Lily exchanged looks.
"Well, she's not exactly happy," said Lily cautiously.
"Where is she?" asked Elle quietly.
"Off sulking somewhere," said Lily, rolling her eyes.
"I'll go find her," mumbled Elle, as she turned to go.
Lily grabbed her arm. "Bad idea," she said, pulling her back. "Brigid would eat you alive. In fact, I think the only one she'll listen to is you, Sirius."
"Why me?" said Sirius indignantly.
"Because if I go, she'll complain that I'm siding with Elle," said Lily, giving him a very dangerous look. "And if you don't, I'll have to curse you. Besides," she smiled sweetly. "It's your duty as a boyfriend."
Sirius gave a Remus and James a pleading look, but they both shook their heads.
"She's got a point," said Remus.
"You're on your own, mate," said James, trying not to grin.
"But here," said Remus, handing him a piece of parchment, which Sirius snatched out of his hand. "Use this."
Sirius shot them all a very sour look and, grumbling to himself, headed out of the common room.
The four friends watch them go, and then burst out laughing.
"Oh, that was mean, Lily," said Elle, giggling.
"What?" protested Lily. "It's time he started taking responsibility for things."
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," muttered Sirius, pointing his wand at the parchment.
Remus's handwriting suddenly appeared all over the paper. Sirius scanned the Map, looking for Brigid's name.
"There we go," he mumbled to himself, spotting her alone in a six-floor corridor.
He started down the hallways as fast as he could. The sooner he got Brigid out of her sulk, the better.
He was just reaching the last staircase, when a voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Where are you off to in such a rush, dear brother?"
Sirius whirled around to face his brother, with an almost animal-like look on his face.
"Get away from me, Regulus," he growled.
"Off to see your girlfriend?" sneered Regulus. "Saw her pass by awhile ago." He shook his head with a look of mock pity. "Never thought I'd see the day when the wild beast would be tamed."
Sirius clenched his fists and glared at Regulus with absolute hatred. Leave it, he thought furiously. Just leave it.
He turned to go, and Regulus smiled nastily behind his back. "If you care that much," he said softly. "It will be the death of her, Sirius. The Dark Lord was not pleased. He had you and I all-"
"Shut up!" snarled Sirius, moving quickly and pinning Regulus to a wall. "Don't you dare threaten me."
"What are you going to do, Sirius?" choked Regulus. "Kill me?"
Sirius, in a fit of rage, pressed harder against his brother's throat. Regulus tried to take a gasping breath, and, after a moment, Sirius released him and started to walk away.
"You love," muttered Regulus, rubbing his throat. "That is your weakness."
He laughed hoarsely. "And it will be their death!" he called at Sirius's retreating back. "It will be their death!"
Brigid sat in a corridor by herself, wallowing in self-pity.
"Ugh," she groaned. "I hate my life."
"Well, that's not a very positive outlook," came a voice from the end of the hallway.
"Oh, go away, Sirius," said Brigid sulkily.
He grinned at her. "C'mon, Brigid," he said, spreading out his arms. "I know how to cheer you up."
"Nothing can cheer me up," she mumbled, resting her head on her knees.
When Sirius didn't reply, she looked up, only to find a large black dog staring at her.
Her jaw dropped. "Sirius?" she asked.
There was no mistaking those gray eyes.
The dog, Sirius, gave her a doggy grin, and he began to lick her face.
"Oh, gross!" she said, giggling and trying to push him away. "You're getting dog drool all over my robes!"
Sirius transformed back and settled himself next to Brigid, who proceeded to wipe her face.
"You are absolutely disgusting," she said, laying her head on his shoulder.
They sat in silence for a few minutes.
"So, this Seeker business-"
Brigid gave a very unlady-like snort. "I can't believe it," she grumbled. "She's a total back-stabber."
Sirius assumed that by "she", Brigid meant Elle. "Well, can you blame her for not telling you?" he asked cautiously.
Brigid gave him a look of indignation. "What's that supposed to mean?" she snapped.
"What would you have said if she told you she was trying out?" asked Sirius.
"I probably would have had to try very hard not to laugh," said Brigid sheepishly.
"So, can you blame her?"
"No," said Brigid, shifting uncomfortably. "I guess not. But she still-"
"C'mon, Brigid," said Sirius. "She's one of your best friends. It's just Quidditch."
He gave her a grin. "But don't tell James I said that."
Brigid smiled and lay her head back down. "I guess you're right," she mumbled. "But I want to be mad at her."
Sirius rolled his eyes and started to get up. "C'mon," he said, pulling her up. "Let's go."
Oh crap, thought Lily.
The shower in James's bathroom had just gone on. "I didn't tell him about the new Heads' duties," Lily said aloud.
She shifted her weight nervously for a moment, before striding into his room and knocking on the bathroom door.
Lily waited a moment, but the door didn't open.
Shit, shit, shit, she thought. McGonagall told us to meet her out there at no later than quarter to nine.
She glanced at the wall clock. They had five minutes to get downstairs.
"Um, James?" she said, knocking on the door again.
"Oh, shit," she muttered, feeling very agitated by now.
Taking a deep breath, she placed a hand on the door handle. I hope he has a towel on, she thought, turning the knob and opening the door.
"Oh!" she cried, slamming the door shut again.
I just...oh, Merlin-
James had opened the door a crack, before stepping out, with a towel wrapped firmly around his lower body.
"What's up?" he said, looking at her with a confused, but highly amused, expression.
Lily suddenly found herself at loss for words. "I, uh...well, you s-see...P-professor McGonagall-"
James leaned against the bathroom door, regarding her. "Yes?" he said, trying not to smirk.
Lily cleared her throat loudly and composed herself. "Professor McGonagall gave us new duties today," she said, trying to avoid eye contact. "We have to be down there in exactly...two minutes."
James suddenly lost his smug expression. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" he asked.
"I forgot," she said sheepishly, as he headed over to his trunk. "Sorry, James."
Lily realized what he was going to do just before it happened.
"Oh!" she cried again. "I'll just...I'll go if you need to change..."
She hurried over to the door, trying not to look at him. "I'll meet you outside," she said, before going out the door.
Shaking his head and quaking with silent laughter, James proceeded to get dressed.
Lily waited outside James's door, tapping her foot anxiously.
It wasn't just the fact that they were keeping McGonagall waiting that was making her nervous.
"Um, James?" she called at the door. "Are you done?"
"Why don't you just walk in again and check?" said James, slipping out.
Lily flushed deep red and hit him playfully on the arm. "Shut up," she mumbled.
"Alright," he said, grinning at her. "Come on, though. We were supposed to be down there five minutes ago."
"Mr. Potter, Miss Evans, nice of you to show up," said Professor McGonagall, giving them both a very stern look. "Promptness is something I knew I wouldn't get out of you, Potter. But, Miss Evans, I expect better next time."
"Yes, ma'am," said Lily quietly.
"I assume that Miss Evans has informed you of the new duties, Potter?" asked McGonagall.
James passed Lily a sidelong glance. "Er, no," he said truthfully.
McGonagall sighed heavily. "I'm afraid that the attacks from You-Know-Who are becoming more frequent," she said. "And they are coming closer to Hogwarts."
"You two are going to be expected to patrol the corridors until midnight, each night," she said. "Detention is to be given to anyone found out of bed. Do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Lily, as James nodded.
"Well then, I'll leave you to your duties," said Professor McGonagall, giving them each a rare smile. "And when I say anyone out of bed, I mean anyone, Potter."
"She desperately needs a Cheering Charm," muttered James, as McGonagall walked away, her cloak swishing behind her.
"Come on," said Lily, ignoring his comment. "Let's get this over with."
Sirius and Brigid got back to the Gryffindor common room just before curfew.
Elle, exhausted after a long day, had already gone to bed. Remus, however, was sitting in his chair with a book, waiting for them.
He took one look at Brigid's face and was relieved the see that Sirius had somehow managed to calm her down.
Brigid kissed him goodnight and hurried up to her dormitory.
"So, Sirius," said Remus, looking back down at his book. "How was your first attempt to be responsible?"
"I think I did pretty damn good," said Sirius, collapsing into his chair.
"Great for you," said Remus, closing his book. "I think I'm going to call it a night."
"See you," said Sirius, watching Remus go upstairs.
What if Regulus was right? thought Sirius. What if they Dark Lord comes after them, because of me?...But he's got other things to worry about. Why would he target me? Or my friends?...Or Brigid?
He looked to where she had gone up, only a little while before.
If there was anything he couldn't lose, it was her.
When Brigid got upstairs, Elle was already fast asleep.
"Congratulations, Elle," she whispered, before crawling into bed and turning out the light.
When Lily and James finally got back to the Heads' Tower, they were both absolutely exhausted.
And Lily was still having problems speaking to him.
"Goodnight, James," she said, clumsily kissing him on the cheek.
James caught her by the hand. "Lily, stop being awkward, alright?" he said, pulling her to him. "I'm not embarrassed. You shouldn't be embarrassed."
Lily, feeling very relieved, suddenly had an attack of the giggles. "I'm sorry," she said. "I was just...a bit shocked."
James gave her a smirk. "Well, most girls do find it a bit...shocking," he said, winking at her.
Lily rolled her eyes and kissed him. "Goodnight," she said.
James watched her go, with a content smile on his face, before heading to his own room.