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Chapter 15: Stubborn
In the boys tower the scene was anything but calm, with James throwing objects around the room.
“I can’t find my lucky t-shirt!” He continued to search through his trunk until having reached the bottom he surmised that it wasn’t in there. Looking around the room his eyes fell onto Sirius’ trunk. Quickly checking hat Sirius was safely locked in the bathroom he began to yank things out of his friend’s trunk, mixing them with his own belongings that were strewn across the floor of the dorm. The bathroom door flew open to reveal a slightly battered looking, dripping wet, towel clad Sirius holding what looked like a grey rag in his hand.
“Prongs I found your-“ he stopped when he saw James’ head buried in his trunk “OI! What are you doing, you bloody pillock?!”
James was out of the trunk had the lid shut and was sitting on it quicker than Sirius could blink. “Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about mate.”
Sirius folded his arms across his chest, wincing slightly as he pulled at a rather tender looking slash across his ribs. His eyebrows had all but disappeared into his hair line. “Oh no? Let me refresh your memory, three seconds ago you were rooting through my stuff, you are now pretending that I didn’t just catch you doing said deed.”
“I asked you if I could, I thought I heard you say “yes”.”
Sirius eyes narrowed “You asked me?”
“While you were in the shower.”
“So you would have had to shout then, so I could have heard you?”
“I-guess.” James was starting to look worried now.
“Well let’s hear the exact volume at which you asked me then.”
James’ eyes were bulging slightly “What right now? I’ll wake up Pete’.”
“Surely you would’ve woken him when you shouted the first time?” Sirius had a smile on his face now that almost made the bags under his eyes disappear.
James opened his mouth to say something before shrugging his shoulders in a defeated way, “I was looking for my lucky t-shirt.”
“You mean-“ Sirius unfolded the rag in his hand to reveal a very small tatty grey t-shirt “-this t-shirt.”
“Where was it?” James asked jumping to his feet.
“In the bathroom.”
“Well chuck it here then.”
Sirius smile grew, as he screwed the t-shirt into a ball and began to dry his armpits with it as James watched on, aghast. Once Sirius was finished he threw the t-shirt to James who still seemed to be in some kind of trance as it hit him square in the face.
Sirius walked across the room towards his bed, picking up his uniform as he went, before dropping the towel and pulling on some silky red underwear that James had found in a muggle underwear shop and had given to him for Christmas.
Breakfast Monday morning was a relatively quiet affair, as usual; the girls had managed to get seats away from the boys who were concentrating too hard on eating as much as possible to be able to talk to one another. Both groups were one short however: Remus was in the hospital wing recovering from a particularly strong full moon that had passed that weekend and Lyla had taken to eating her breakfast outside while walking Indie since everyone had returned from the Christmas holidays. It had been over three months since the news of Lyla’s parents had broken but people did not seem to be relenting in their behaviour towards her. In fact some had gotten worse since returning, causing Lyla to shrink into herself and distance herself from the only people she cared for.
Sirius pushed his empty plate away from him. “I’m going to head up ‘n’ see Moony, I’ll meet you in Ancient Runes.” James and Peter grunted in reply as he left before Peter’s eyes widened and he jumped to his feet.
“Bye Pete.” James sat finishing off his breakfast for five more minutes, debating whether to wait for the morning post. Making his decision he pushed away from the table and exited the great hall. There was still over half an hour until first lessons started, so he headed outside; after a quick scan of the grounds he saw just what he was looking for on the opposite side of the lake. Breaking into a jog he was barely out of breath by the time he reached her.
“Hi James.” She had heard him coming but she had not slowed to allow him to catch up, she didn’t need to.
“Didn’t see you all day yesterday, what were you up to?”
James rolled his eyes; it had become so difficult talking to Lyla over the past couple of weeks, but he wasn’t about to stop. “Oh, how was it?”
A shadow of a smile appeared on Lyla’s face before disappearing again, it was hard not to smile when James was around. “Quiet” she hoped he’d take the hint. He didn’t, instead he continued to walk around the grounds with her, talking and throwing sticks for Indie.
“Do you not get cold out here every day?” James asked her, he only had his school uniform on and it definitely wasn’t designed for brisk February mornings, even if with the sun beating down on them as it was this morning..
“No, I wear clothes.”
He looked at her, a slight grin on his face he could tell she was beginning to get irritated with him. “Indeed you do, and very regal you look in that cloak.” He paused to allow Lyla to concentrate as they walked across an icy patch of grass. “I thought you might have gone to visit Remus, he was pretty beat up.”
“So were you, from what I heard.”
AHA! James thought. So you did check on him.
“Sirius mentioned it yesterday morning.” Lyla continued, effectively bursting James’ bubble.
“So you haven’t been to see him?” James asked, frowning at her.
“Why would I do that? I know he’s ok.”
James almost exploded, his anger was so quick in coming. He didn’t know how he managed to stop himself from taking Lyla and dragging her by her hair to the hospital wing to see Remus. Instead he simply walked away from her. He didn’t know how one person could go from being the caring and fun person he had met six months earlier to this cold-hearted being he saw in front of him.
Lyla stopped to listen to James march away from her. Sighing she shook her head and found herself thinking (not for the first time) that she should never have come here. She ran a hand over the Indie’s fur, feeling a long fresh scar that ran down the dog’s body, then she and Indie began to make their way back towards the castle. “You and me, eh Indie? Just the two of us.”
James made it to Ancient Runes just as the bell rang, throwing his bag on the floor and himself into his chair.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius looked at him, one eyebrow raised questioningly.
“Your friend the Ice Queen, that’s what’s wrong.”
James looked over at Sirius; he definitely wasn’t going to like what he was about to say. “She’s a cold-hearted bitch.”
Sirius ran a hand through his hair, though it was much shorter than it had been it was already starting to grow out, “she gets that from her mother, I never knew anyone as cruel as that woman, except maybe my own darling mother.”
James just shook his head and began to doodle on his parchment; Professor Mery hadn’t begun the lesson yet, and he was talking to a dark haired girl at the front of the class. “You’d have thought she’d have gotten over herself by now-”
“She’s too stubborn.”
“-Or gotten lonely.”
Sirius sighed, he had tried to explain to his friend numerous times before but he obviously didn’t understand, or just wasn’t listening; “She has spent the best part of six years in relative isolation from the rest of the world, she’s used to being on her own.” He picked up his quill, began to copy the Hieroglyphs the professor had drawn on the board before placing it back on the table and looking directly at James. “Besides she isn’t on her own.”
Sirius picked his quill back up “Indie.”
James slumped back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “I still don’t get it, does she still talk to you?”
A smirk appeared on Sirius’ face. “Apparently he’s been forcing himself on her.”
That got James’ attention, almost causing him to choke. “What?”
“Not like that you prude, he’ll go and sit in the library with her while she does her homework,” Sirius was practically beaming now. “She’s starting to get pretty irritated with him.”
“Don’t suppose that’s the kind of relationship Moons had in mind when he first asked her out.”
“Doubt it.” Sirius turned to regard James who had progressed to pushing his chair on to its back two legs and seeing how long he could balance before falling forwards. “Look mate, are you gonna write anything down or do I have to do it all?”
“Nah, my heads not in it, you do it an’ I’ll copy your notes.”
“Fine but you’re doin’ the next one.”
“Fine.” He paused as he allowed the chair to fall forward. “I don’t get it, she was fine when we got back after Christmas, then all of a sudden, she’s MIA.”
“Missing in action,” James smirked at him. “Try and keep up Padfoot.”
“Stop reading Moony’s books.”
James smiled at his friend. “Make me.”
“Don’t tempt me,” was the groaned answer in reply.
“Anyway, before I was so rudely interrupted I was saying that she was-“
Sirius rounded on him, his eyes hard; most people would be worried had Sirius Black looked at them like that. James Potter, however, is not most people. “James, shut the hell up.” He looked around the classroom, most people were copying the notes down, however he noticed Snape and another Slytherin who he didn’t recognise listening to their conversation, identical smirks on their faces. “Anything I can help you with Snivellus? Perhaps you need help reading the translation or maybe just reading the instructions on your shampoo bottle?”
James snorted next to him before joining in. “Now Sirius you know Snivellus doesn’t own any shampoo.”
“True, James, true. I was getting ahead of myself.”
Snape’s eyes narrowed at them as he leant forward towards their desk. “I didn’t see your friend at breakfast maybe he’s bitten off more than he can chew?”
While normally James would have brushed Snape’s remarks off; in his current mood he was not feeling so charitable and was only stopped from leaping across the desk by Sirius.
“Boys! What is going on back there?” Professor Mery-who gave a lot of leeway during his lessons as long as the work was done at the end- was forced to step in.
“Nothing, professor. James was just offering to explain the ‘glyphs to Sni-Severous.”
He narrowed his eyes at the three boys. “I don’t care. Shut up, turn around and face the front all of you!”
The rest of the lesson passed in relative silence apart from James falling backwards off his chair.
As the two boys walked to their next lesson James started up the conversation they had been having before. “So come on Padfoot, explain to me why she’s suddenly turned into the Ice Queen.”
“You seriously can’t remember?” Sirus asked stopping mid-stride.
James, who had continued walking, turned around to see where Sirius had gone, “I siriusly can-not remember.”
Rolling his eyes Sirius began to explain. “Second week back after the holidays?”
“Lyla and Lily were walking up to dinner together after potions, Lily had stayed behind to ask Slughorn something and Lyla had waited for her. They were walking up through the dungeons when a group of Slytherins-“ Sirius paused here. “Prongs mate you must remember this.”
“Of course I do. I just don’t understand why that would cause her to act the way she is.”
Sirius groaned pushing the heels of his hands into his eyes. “For fuck sake Prongs.”
“Lyla will you wait while I ask Slughorn something?” Lily looked over at her expectantly.
Lyla had decided shortly after she began school that potions was now her least favourite lesson and so wished to spend no more time in the classroom than was absolutely necessary groaned inwardly, “why me?”
Lily smiled to herself. “Because everyone else has already gone?”
“Eugh! Fine, just hurry up.”
Lily grinned at her. “I bet you ten galleons that I’m done before you’ve finished packing up all your equipment?”
Lyla’s trademark grin engulfed her face. “Are you challenging me, Evans?”
“Why yes, I believe I am wonky eyes.” Lily laughed as the expression on Lyla’s face turned from shock to amusement.
“You do have ten galleons to pay me right?” Lyla began to laugh loudly. “Because I don’t to enter into a wager with anyone who can’t pay, I might be forced to break your thumbs.”
Lily narrowed her eyes at the laughing girl in front of her. “Whatever just be prepared to pay up. I know what you purebloods are like when it comes to losing.”
Lyla had already begun to pack her things away while Lily was still heckling her, so she just smiled sweetly before making her way slowly across the classroom.
Five minutes later when Lyla returned to her desk she found a tremendously happy Lily sat on the desk. “Come on Capulet, pay up.” Lily slid off the desk, swinging her bag onto her back as she waited for Lyla to pick up her own bag and wrap Indie’s lead around her hand.
Lyla ignored Lily’s jibe as they made their way out and up through the underground corridors. “Fine, but you’ll have to wait until later. My money’s up in my room.”
“Making excuses already are we?” Lily shook her head in mock disappointment. “Bloody purebloods.”
Lyla burst out into a fit of laughter as the girls turned the corner. “Shut it, Evans.”
“Yes Evans, shut that dirty mud-blood mouth of yours.”
Both girls stopped dead in their tracks; in front of them stood Lucius Malfoy, Aiden Jugson - a sixth year Slytherin who had nursed a dislike of Lyla ever since the explosion in potions -Rodolphus Lestrange, Bartholomew Wilkes and Evan Rosier.
“How dare you-“Rosier snarled at the red head. “How dare you speak to us!” he towered above the two girls making Lily take a step back.
To Lily, Lyla seemed entirely oblivious to their predicament. She hadn’t notice Lyla release Indie from his lead and neither had any of the five boys standing before them. “If you could make this quick? Only I’m hungry.”
Lucius stepped forward. “Oh, don’t you worry your pretty little head, this won’t take long.” He hissed at her before turning to his companions and raising his voice. “You, Lyla Capulet, are blood traitor, which,” he thought for a second, “is almost as bad as that thing standing beside you.”
The four boys all chuckled as each one removed their wands from behind their backs.
Lily chanced a look at Lyla, hoping she would be able to read what the girl planned to do; Lyla’s lips had curled up at the edge, giving her face a look of loathing Lily had never seen before. Her wand was also in her hand, held slightly away from her body. Following her lead Lily slowly removed her own wand from her robes.
“Now Lucius, do you really want to embarrass yourself by being beaten into submission by a blind girl and a mud-blood?”
Lily flinched slightly at Lyla’s flippant use of the word, but she could see that Lyla was trying to infuriate Lucius into making a clumsy attack. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to be working.
Lestrange eyed Lily hungrily up and down. “After we’ve finished with you, blood traitor, we’ll have a play with your friend. We won’t hurt her too bad, mind, we want her to know precisely what is happening.
Lily’s eyes widened at his words revulsion coursing through her body and fighting the temptation to hide herself behind Lyla she raised her wand so it was aimed directly at the boys chest. Lily glanced quickly at Lyla and almost did a double take when she saw that both her eyes had turned black.
Lyla did not know that her physical appearance had changed. She only knew that when Lestrange had threatened her friend she had smashed through all the extra barriers Dumbledore had put around her and she could now hear everything that each of the boys were thinking. A sadistic smile crept on to her face and she revelled at the different effects it had on each of the Slytherins in front of her. The downside to being able to read the thoughts of those around her was that she could also hear Lily’s and the girl’s lack of confidence was hardly inspiring.
Lucius shot Lestrange a look and the boy stepped back into position. He then turned back to Lyla, completely ignoring Lily’s presence. “So, my little blind friend, have you heard from your brother recently? It is only a matter of time before he is found and then he must decide his own fate.”
“He would rather die than be a part of your sick master’s delusions of grandeur,” Lyla spat at him.
Lucius hung his head as if in disappointment. “The Dark Lord does not enjoy spilling wizarding blood. However if that is what it comes to he may soon be joining your parents, though in a less honourable manner.”
Lily wasn’t sure what happened; one minute Lucius stood in front of her, the next he was flying through the air before hitting a wall and crumpling to the ground.
The other boys did not hesitate in retaliating; thankfully Lyla placed a shield in front of both girls and the spells rebound on their casters. Lyla threw spell after spell, but they were slower in coming because she had to shield them from so many.
“Lily, help me.”
“Oh God! Stupefy!” Lily broke out of the trance she seemed to have been in since this whole situation began.
Both girls began to duel properly now and the corridor was filled with bright flashes of multi-coloured lights. Jugson crumpled where he stood when a spell from each girl combined. However, Lucius was back on his feet -though nursing a gash across his cheek- and slowly the girls were losing ground, each firing a spell then taking a step backwards. Lucius saw this and pushed forward harder, firing more spells at Lily in order to distract Lyla and though Lyla knew this to be his plan, the tactic worked and she was thrown off her feet as a spell hit her in the stomach.
The boys now turned all their attention to Lily. She felt something graze across her face and saw Lestrange’s face becoming more and more triumphant with every step he took towards her. She chanced a look down at her, but Indie was blocking her view and soon Lestrange would be close enough to touch her.
Lestrange was blown backwards off his feet hitting the wall opposite with a sickening crunch; all of the boys had been focusing their attention on Lily, none of them noticing that Lyla was conscious and waiting for her moment.
Lucius let out a cry of anger as he looked at Lyla and slashed with his wand “Sectumsempra!”
Lily let out a cry of terror, which was replaced by an ear splitting yelp of pain as Indie leapt in front of Lyla, blocking her from the spell but leaving his own side cut open and spilling blood all over the floor. The next sound Lily heard was one of pure un-concentrated pain and was quickly replaced by anger as Indie trembled on the floor in Lyla’s arms.
“No,” the whisper was barely audible above the triumphant cry of Lucius Malfoy, however his own voice was quickly drowned by another terrifying voice.
“YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT!” the blonde leapt to her feet and began firing spells at an inhuman rate. Wilkes and Rosier soon joined Lestrange so the only boy left standing was Lucius.
Lily had no idea what spells Lyla was using as she took Lyla’s position next to Indie and wrapping her robes around the trembling animal, but flashes of purple and orange along with reds, whites and blues flew towards the Slytherin boy - and she was sure that she would not have learned them out of a school book.
Lucius was duelling with as much ferocity as Lyla but she always appeared one step ahead of him. And suddenly it was over. Both Lyla and Lucius were pushed away from each other as a huge blue shield appeared between the two. Lily looked with grateful eyes toward the stairs leading towards the main castle and saw, to her surprise, Sirius with his wand out and James behind him his wand pointed at Lucius.
“What the fuck is going on?” Sirius was holding the shield between the two, but he was staring at Lyla who was covered in blood.
“Drop the shield, Sirius.”
“Drop the shield” she snarled “and I’ll do everyone a favour and finish the bastard off once and for all.”
James was looking around the corridor; he saw the four bodies lying at the other end and he had to admire both girls’ skills.
“What is going on down here?” Professor McGonagall had arrived closely followed by Remus, Peter and Sophie. She paused as she surveyed the damage in front of her before snapping back to attention. “You three take them to the hospital wing,” she pointed her wand at the four unconscious boys and levitated them up the stairs while the three Gryffindors followed all of them, clearly wanting to know what had happened in the corridor.
Indie gave a small whine, effectively distracting Lyla from Lucius. She crouched beside him, stoking fur that was now soaked in his own blood.
“Professor you have to help him.” Lyla pleaded her voice cracking.
McGonagall strode over to the injured animal and examined him closely before muttering a spell. “I have healed the wound but he has lost a lot of blood.”
James stepped forward “I’ll take him to Professor Grubbyplank, Professor.”
“What? Oh, yes, excellent idea, Potter.” McGonagall looked down at the girl who was crouched protectively over the dog. “Miss Capulet, you must let him go so we can help him.”
Lyla shook her head as though trying to clear a disturbing thought from it her eyes were still as black as coal. “I’ll go with him then,” she whispered.
“No.” The Professor spoke kindly but forcefully, you must stay here, I need to speak with you. Black, help Potter.”
Sirius finally dropped the shield he had been holding and swept down on top of Indie, scooping him up in his arms. “Come on Prongs we need to go now.”
“Now.” Professor McGonagall straightened herself up. “You three come with me.”
Lucius followed McGonagall up the stairs, while Lily took hold of Lyla’s arm and lead her up away from the scene. They followed the Professor not knowing where they were heading. They all came to a stop in front of a statue of a stone gargoyle “jelly babies.” The gargoyle sprung to aside to reveal a winding staircase that the three students followed her up pausing while she knocked lightly on the door at the top.
Professor McGonagall led the way into the headmasters office, and Lily though in a state of shock could not fail to notice the beauty of all the delicate instruments that were whirring and humming around the office as well as a large scarlett phoenix in the corner of the room, its head was hidden under its wing but Lily had a strange feeling it was fully aware of everything going on in the office.
“Professor Dumbledore, I apologise for disturbing you but I felt that given the circumstances it was necessary.”
Dumbledore placed his hands together and surveyed the three students in front of him, two of which were covered in blood. “Please explain to me what has happened, Professor.”
“By the time I reached the scene it was over. However, that corridor will need to be closed and repaired.”
“And who stopped this conflict?”
“Potter and Black.”
“Where are they now?”
“They have taken an injured animal to Professor Grubbyplank. Would you like me to have them come up here when they are finished?”
“Yes ple-“ A knock at the door interrupted the head teacher “come in.”
Sirius and James, both also covered in blood, trooped into the room. “Sorry to interrupt, Professors.” James began but was interrupted by Dumbledore.
“Not at all, I was just about to send for you both.” He glanced over at Professor McGonagall. “Thank you.”
With a brisk nod she turned on the spot and swept out of the office, leaving four blood soaked Gryffindors and one nervous Slytherin. Sirius stood beside Lyla and took hold of her hand. “Grubbyplank’s working on him. She thinks he’ll be okay.” He whispered so that no one but her could hear. He saw a barely viable nod as she heard the news.
“Now-” Dumbledore began “-Miss Evans would you care to tell me what happened?”
Lily’s eyes widened. She glanced quickly around the room, her eyes lingering on Lucius for a few seconds before nodding slowly. “Lyla and I were walking up to dinner together as we were last out of Potions when Lucius and several others-“ Lily was cut off as Dumbledore raised his hand
“Where are these others?”
“They’re in the hospital wing, sir,” Lily paused for a second before continuing her story, but was encouraged by a wave of the headmasters hand. “Well yes, Lucius and some other Slytherins were waiting for Lyla. Lucius said something about Lyla’s brother having to choose and then they began to duel.” She paused to look around the room quickly; she met the grey eyes of Sirius Black who was watching her intently. “Lyla blasted Lucius off his feet but the others began then; we were all firing spells at each other but there was more of them than us and we began to take steps backwards, then they caught Lyla with a spell, I don’t know which one, and she fell.” Lily shook her head trying to clear it of images that were flashing through her mind. “I couldn’t stop to see if Lyla was okay and Lestrange was getting closer to me-“
James’ hands had tightened into fists when he heard this; his knuckles were white as though trying to break through the skin. He knew, everybody knew, about Lestrange’s reputation. Lily continued talking, unaware of the battle raging inside James - he wanted to go down to the hospital wing and hang Lestrange off the roof.
“And then Lyla hit him with a curse and he was down, Lucius lost his temper then, he said a spell I’ve never heard before aiming it at Lyla, but Indie,” Lily’s voice broke. She looked at the girl stood next to her, her eyes still as black as coal were moist, but her body was tense and hardly moving apart from the continuous movement of her ribs expanding and contracting slowly with every breath. Lyla’s body was in the room but her mind could have been somewhere completely different; she certainly wasn’t listening to Lily tell the tale, Lily drew in a breath. “Indie jumped in front of Lyla, the spell cut him across the body, there was blood everywhere. After that I’m not sure what happened except that I wrapped Indie in my school robes trying to stop the blood.”
The office was quiet when Lily finished speaking apart from the humming of Dumbledore’s many instruments. Sirius was squeezing Lyla’s hand with so much force that he must have been hurting her, but she made no indication that she even felt him.
“Thank you Miss Evans.” Dumbledore looked over at Lucius; the boy hadn’t moved or said a word while Lily was telling her story but now he was fidgeting with his own robes. “Mr Malfoy, what is your side of the story?”
A malicious grin flashed across the boy’s face but it was gone in an instant. “My friends and I were heading down to the Slytherin common room when we passed those two. We continued past them but Jugson was hit from a spell behind. We turned to see Lyla, her wand out, aimed at me next. She hit me and my friends must have come to my aid.”
Lily’s eyes filled with tears of rage. Surely Dumbledore would not believe that total rubbish! Why would she, a fifth year, and Lyla, a sixth year, take on twice their number, the majority of which were all in their final year at school? On the other side of Lyla Sirius’ eye had narrowed as the blonde boy told his side of the tale. James began unconsciously to massage his knuckles.
Dumbledore stared straight at the boy, who attempted to hold the gaze but soon dropped his eyes to the floor. Slowly Dumbledore began to nod his head “and could you tell me about the spell that hit the dog?”
Lucius shook his head, “I can’t sir that wasn’t me.”
“Liar!” The word came out as a hiss stretched between Lyla’s teeth; the sound gave Lily goosebumps.
“Professor, I saw him cast the spell with my own eyes,” Lily insisted.
“Well, Lucius, what do you say to that?”
“I was acting under instinct, sir! For all I knew she had just seriously injured one of my friends.”
“And the spell?”
“I heard someone in the Slytherin common room talking about it, I couldn’t say who as I just over heard the end of a conversation.”
James was shaking his head. A real fucking politician, he thought to himself.
Dumbledore looked once more across the five teenagers in front of him, “I will ask you all to leave while I speak to Miss Capulet in private.” He turned to fix Lucius with a piercing stare. “Mr Malfoy, please wait outside. I also wish to speak with you further.” He made a small gesture with his hands and waited as Sirius, James Lily and Lucius made their way out of the office.
Lyla made no sign that she had heard the headmaster.
“Lyla, can you hear me?” Dumbledore stood up from behind the desk and came and stood in front of the girl, there was a small crease between the girls eyesbrows.
Her voice was barley audible when she finally answered.
“Can you tell me why you broke through the psychic barriers I had placed around you?”
Lyla blinked and seemed to regard this question for a few seconds before answering truthfully. “That’s how I’m trained sir.”
Dumbledore eyed the girl carefully; he had been surprised earlier when he felt all the barriers he had created shattered around him but now he was beginning to understand. “Your parents trained you to use your psychic abilities in conflict?”
“And now? Can you reverse the effect?” Dumbledore was having to apply Occlumency in order to prevent the girl in front of him from have free access to his own mind and reading his thoughts.
Lyla closed her eyes and breathed deeply for several minutes while she attempted to calm herself. It was far more difficult than the other times she had had to do it; there weren’t simply her parent’s minds to block but almost a thousand different minds each intruding on her own. Eventually when she opened her eyes again her eyes were once again bright blue and hazel.
Dumbledore felt her presence diminish back into her own mind. “Good. I will attempt to place stronger wards around the school and please be assured that the culprits responsible will be severely punished.”
“Thank you Professor. “Lyla still spoke as though her attention was elsewhere, but suddenly she was very much in the office with the Headmaster. “I would like to leave Hogwarts.”
“Now Lyla, I don’t think that would be a very good idea.”
“Professor, my presence here has placed all the people whom I have formed bonds with in danger from The Dark Lord and I think that the best way to rectify that would be for me to leave immediately.”
“No, I can-not allow that. You must understand.”
Lyla was not happy. Exasperated she ran a hand through her hair leaving a blood red streak through it, “Why must I?”
“Because it would most certainly not be safe for you outside of the school and I also made a promise to your brother when he contacted me.”
“You’ve spoken to-“
“Yes, I have. It was he who asked me to approach you to attend Hogwarts after your parents’ deaths. We both felt that without your parents’ protection you would be safer here.”
Lyla squared her shoulders off “I am now of age and I can leave if I choose to.”
“Yes, of course you may leave” Dumbledore spoke softly trying to placate her “but I am now speaking to your rational side when I ask you to stay for the remaining eighteen months.”
Lyla dropped her head onto her chest, her hair falling forward and blocking her face. She knew that Dumbledore was speaking sense, but right now she wanted nothing more than to be out of the castle. “Very well professor I will stay until I have finished the N.E.W.T’s.”
“Thank you Miss Capulet, you may now leave.”
“Thank you Professor. She turned on the spot and hesitated for a second and she was horrified when she realised that she would have to find her own way out of the office until she felt a light hand on her arm. “Thank you professor.” She whispered as Dumbledore led her to the door.
When he opened it, Sirius was outside waiting to guide her down the stairs.
“Please send Mr Malfoy up.” Professor Dumbledore spoke to Sirius briefly before turning and closing the door.
“I want to see Indie now.”
“Okay.” He helped her down the stairs where James, Remus and Peter were all waiting.
“Lily went to get a shower.” Remus said, stepping forward and slipping an arm through her other arm.
They began to walk quickly down the corridor in silence, the three boys shooting questioning looks at one another. They walked so fast that Lyla’s feet barely even touched the floor but she didn’t mind: the quicker they got there, the quicker she would get to Indie. In what seemed to take hours they finally arrived at Professor Grubbyplank’s office. It was a large room with the walls covered in various images of different animals’ anatomies while every surface seemed to be taken up by half chewed books or cages of small animals. In the back corner of the room there was a door leading to a small room which was empty aside from a single table in the centre where the professor could inspect and treat any number of different animals. Unfortunately tonight that animal was Indie. However, when they entered the office and made their way over to the back room it was only to find Professor Grubbyplank washing down the room. All three boys suddenly found themselves thanking Merlin that Lyla was blind and could not see the blood being washed down the drains on the floor.
Lyla pounced at the opportunity to question the teacher. “Professor, where is my dog?”
“I have sent him to Hagrid’s; he has such an affinity with animals and it’s much warmer and quieter than my office.”
“And he’s going to be okay?”
Professor Grubbyplank continued to wash down all her instruments. “He will be fine, although his fur won’t grow over the scar. The majority of it should be hidden by the surrounding fur, though.”
“Okay, thank you professor.” Lyla needed to be at Hagrid’s now, but for some reason the boys weren’t moving.
“Oh my dear, not at all. It’s my job.” She stopped cleaning for a moment to scrutinize the four students in front of her, every single one of them covered in blood and Lyla bobbing up and down on the spot, clearly eager to be away. “Well you should get to Hagrid’s before curfew.”
“Okay, thanks again Professor,” Remus shouted back as he and Sirius began to lead Lyla through the office.
James couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “So there we are, Indie’s gonna be fine and you gave Lucius and his Death Eater cronies a beating they won’t soon forget.”
Sirius’ thoughts were on a totally different pattern. “Whatever happens, you’re never being left on your own again, even when you think that you’re on your own you won’t be.”
“I shouldn’t even be here.”
Remus’ eyes almost popped out of his head. “What? What do you mean?”
Remus looked at Sirius, who was frowning, looking down at the blonde between them. James just shrugged before running ahead to let Hagrid know they were coming.
Remus and Sirius continued to have a silent conversation above her head until she interrupted them.
“When you two are quite finished.” She snapped at the pair. She felt like she was walking on knives, she was that on edge.
The pair looked at each other again before simultaneously apologising. “Sorry.”
Finally they had reached Hagrid’s hut. James stood outside talking to him in a hushed voice.
“Lyla, he’s inside.” Hagrid spoke, using a tone of voice the three boys had never heard before, but then he hardly spoke to the Marauders unless he was chasing them away from the forest.
Lyla stepped into the doorway of the hut, wanting to stride purposefully over to the dog, but she couldn’t. Instead she took a tentative step forward – the boys were still talking outside. Taking a few more steps into Hagrid’s house before her outstretched hands came into contact with the table, she kept hold of it with her left hand and made her way further into the small house, stopping again when her knees knocked into a chair that was pulled out from the table. Making her way around the new obstacle she tripped over the lip of a rug. The boys outside heard the grating of wood on wood as Lyla snatched at the table to keep her upright. James made to go and help her but both Sirius and Remus took hold of his arms preventing him from entering the hut.
Lyla took another step forward, then another until she felt a slight difference in the level of the floor. Crouching, she stretched out her fingers. Feeling a soft bed made of roughly hewn blankets she continued to reach until she felt soft silky fur underneath her hands. It took all her self control not to launch herself onto the injured animal; instead she got onto her knees and slowly shuffled forward until she could sit with her back to the wall and stretch her legs out in front of her. Indie tried to twist himself but needed Lyla’s help until his body was curled up on her legs with his head resting on her stomach. She leant forward so a curtain of golden hair fell forward blocking her face from view.
“I’m sorry Indie, I’m so so sorry.” She whispered into the animal’s ear, her hands finding the bandages that were wrapped around the dog’s torso. “I wasn’t paying enough attention,” she explained to the dog, “he changed his tactics too quickly and I’m out of practise.” She paused for a moment. “I know that’s no excuse,” she placed a kiss on top of Indie’s head before sitting back against the wall.
The next morning Lyla didn’t go to her classes. Instead she spent the day in Hagrid’s hut sitting on the floor with Indie beside her and talking with Hagrid until Lily, Sophie Amelia and Nina came to collect her and take her to dinner.
“Lily, you shouldn’t be doing this.”
“Helping me, spending time with me, it’s dangerous. For all of you.”
A week after the incident Lyla and Remus went to collect Indie from Hagrid’s hut there was scuffling on the other side of the door until it opened and a large black Labrador came bounding out, barking and running around their feet until Lyla managed to hook his lead around his neck.
“Come on Indie, let’s take you for a walk. Thank you Hagrid.”
The huge man smiled down at her. “M’pleasure, don’t let him run around too much though.”
Lyla, Remus and Indie made their way towards lake. “Would you mind if I stayed out here on my own?” Lyla asked Remus, keeping her head lowered so he couldn’t read her face.
“Okay, I’ll see you at dinner.” He gave her hand a squeeze and made his way back to the castle.
Lyla let out a sigh. “Now you’re not going to like this,” as she spoke Indie sat down and looked up at her, his head tilted to one side giving him a quizzical expression. “I don’t think we should talk to Remus anymore-,” Indie let out a small whine but Lyla ignored him, continuing to talk. “And James and Peter and Lily and Sophie and Nina and, erm, Sirius.” Indie let out a much louder whine, this time lying down and covering his nose with his paws.
“Don’t give me that Indie, it’s for their own good.”
Okay, so why didn’t she just break up with Moony?”
“What am I, a mind reader?” Sirius asked, noting the irony of the statement.
“It’s a stupid plan, ignoring us thinking that we’ll go away. I mean Lily’s been trying that for the past year and look where that’s got her!”
Sirius looked over at his best friend who was currently skipping down the Charms corridor. “A restraining order?”
James didn’t even hesitate in answering, “’fat lot of good that did her.” James had now got his wand out and was twirling it through his fingers. “So what you’re trying to say is that she thinks she’s protecting us?”
“Yes! Finally you get it.” Sirius brushed past James on his way to the Great Hall. “By the way I’m sitting with Gemma today, I’ll see you later.” He winked at James before heading over to the Ravenclaw table and sitting next to a girl with long dark hair.
James watched him make his way over to the table, noticing one or two of Sirius ex-girlfriends shooting death stares at him as he passed. James took a mental note of who they were before going to his own seat beside Peter.
“Wormtail, did you know that women are crazy?”
Peter paused for a second before saying “I’ve heard rumours” and continuing to eat his steak pie.
“Yeah, well it’s true.”
At one o’clock in the morning the Hospital Wing was illuminated by the moon, casting shadows across the floor and onto the only occupied bed. Remus was asleep; he had been in a lot of pain so Madam Pomfrey had given him a sleeping draft so he had been able to sleep soundly for the past four hours.
The door to the ward creaked slightly as it opened, but not loud enough to wake Remus or to attract the attention of Madam Pomfrey. Lyla was dressed in her black silk pyjamas so she was perfectly camouflaged in the darkness as she and Indie made their way over to Remus’ bed.
There were three seats arranged around the bed indicating that his fellow marauders had been visiting him earlier; Lyla took one of them and sat alongside the sleeping boy. She placed a hand on the bed and her fingers crept along until they came into contact with Remus’. She took it up in her own and continued to sit like that for half an hour before leaving and going back to bed. Remus woke up to the sound of the door clicking into place but he couldn’t see anyone and assumed he must have imagined it.
The next day Remus was well enough to leave the Hospital Wing; James, Sirius and Peter were all waiting for him in the Great Hall.
“Yes, thanks. I’m feeling better.”
All four of the boys began to fill their plates with bacon and scrambled eggs.
“I don’t suppose you lot came down to the hospital last night?”
“You know we did, “ Peter said, spraying him with egg.
“Eww!” Remus snapped at the boy. While James and Sirius tried to stifle their laughter.
“You know we did, you were speaking to us until Madam P knocked you out!” James finished for Peter.
Remus rolled his eyes at his friends. “I know that, I meant at about one o’clock?”
Sirius turned his attention from flirting with Gemma on the Ravenclaw table to giving Remus a dirty look. “We need sleep as well you know.”
“I was only asking.” In reality he had known it wasn’t the Marauders; they never did anything secretly unless it was a prank. Now he just had to find the person it was and talk to her. “Does anyone know where Lyla is?”
James let out of snort of derision. “ I couldn’t care less.”
“You’re a bad liar, James. You should really work on that.” Sirius smirked at him before turning to Remus, “by now she’ll have headed to class, so you’ll have to wait ‘til this afternoon. She’ll either be outside or in the library.”
Remus sat finishing his breakfast in silence until, as one, they all stood and made their way to Charms. “You know what we need?”
“Sex?” James replied.
Peter followed with “drugs?”
“Rock and or Roll?” Sirius completed.
Remus let out a frustrated sigh; it wasn’t his friends’ fault that they irritated the hell out of him at this time of the month. “No. What we need is something that could tell us where every person in the school is at the moment we need to find them.”
“Why would we need to find every person in the school?” Peter asked dully and before Remus could control himself his hand had shot out a hit the boy across the back of the head.
“OWCH! He hit me, you said no more hitting!”
“Yes, well, you said no more stupid statements.” Remus snapped back before relenting. “I’m sorry Wormtail I didn’t mean to, my aggression levels are still pretty high.”
They continued to walk the rest of the way to Charms, Sirius, Remus and Peter bounding through the corridors while James walked in quiet contemplation behind them.
At half past six Remus walked into the library, he headed straight for the back corner and immediately saw what he was looking for, Lyla was slumped over a table muttering things to a piece of paper. He made his way over to her table and stood waiting.
She held a hand up to silence him while she finished a sentence on a Defence Against the Dark Arts essay. Remus watched her for five minutes before sitting down beside her. After a further five minutes she sat back in her seat.
“What do you want, Remus?”
The fifteen year old looked at her with eyes older than their years. “I just wanted to thank you for coming to visit me last night,” he paused for a second, “even if I was asleep.” He watched her carefully, judging the reaction of his words.
Her features were smooth as she said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about .”
His eyes narrowed and his anger that had been just below the surface began to bubble; he knew her reasons for distancing herself from himself and the rest of her friends but he didn’t have to like it. “Please don’t bullshit me Lyla, I think we both deserve better.”
“Why?” Her voice was scathing. “Because you’re my “boyfriend”?
Remus was fighting to keep his voice level and it was calm when he replied, “no, not only that. I thought we were friends.”
Lyla took a deep breath, preparing herself for what she was about to say. “You thought wrong.”
Unfortunately for Lyla, Remus had known that the conversation might take this route so, while her words hurt, he was prepared for it.
“You put on a good show.”
“What? What do you mean?” Lyla leant forward resting her head on her hands, the heels pushing into her eyes.
“I mean all this false bravado about not wanting or needing friends, it’d be more convincing if you didn’t look so miserable all the time.”
“I’m doing you all a favour, Remus.” Her voice was quiet, her face still buried in her hands.
“Oh yes, you’re a real martyr.” Remus anger finally over flowed. “You’re being very noble, self-sacrifice and all that. Distancing your-self from us for our own safety; the only problem is none of us will ever be safe, will we?” He didn’t pause to hear her answer.
“Sirius comes from a family of pure blood maniacs, all of whom would quite happily see him strung up. James comes from a family of some of the biggest blood traitors around.”
Lyla her face still hidden from view was shaking her head “I-“
“I am not finished!” His voice was more like a snarl than anything. “Lily, well she’d a mud-blood. Enough said. Amelia? Her dad’s been very outspoken against all the Muggle killings, so it’s only a matter of time before she gets it as well. And me, let’s have a look at me shall we? Half blood, and a werewolf. So yes, that’s me on the list of the damned as well!” He was panting by the time he finished speaking.
Lyla was still shaking her head, trying to block out his words, but now she found her voice. “Precisely, so the last thing you all need is me making the target on your backs that much bigger and brighter.”
“For fucks sake!” Remus groaned; it was his turn to bury his head in hands. “I don’t care,” his voice came out muffled when he spoke, “I give up. You want to be on your own? Fine, but I know you were in the hospital last night.”
“Fuck you, Lyla you’re not the only one with a decent sense of smell.”
Lyla was silent for a moment before taking hold of Indie’s lead and standing to take her leave. “Okay Remus, now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got a headache.”
A/N: I'm sorry this chapter took so long to post, I hope it's not caused you to lose interest, i'd love to hear what you think about the action in this chapter whether it be good or bad. Thanks guys.