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Chapter 20: Discoveries
Lily lay on her four-poster in the Gryffindor dormitory, her head hanging off one end, and her long hair brushing against the floor. The blood that rushed to her head made her thoughts hazy, and she was glad of it, because she didn’t want to think. She hadn’t seen Sirius in the two days since their argument. This of course, made it easier for her to avoid James too. Why had she agreed to go to the ball with James? She liked Sirius, it was Sirius she was seeing and now she found she was giving James hope, something she had promised herself she would never do.
Two things had previously stemmed the guilt she might have felt about her relationship with Sirius. The first was that she had always made it clear to James that she didn’t like him like that, the second was her conviction that James had no real feelings for her. She’d assumed it was all a show, an idea that he’d taken into his head and stubbornly followed – but now she wasn’t so sure. The look on his face when she’d accepted his invitation was just so... happy. And she’d felt happy at seeing him happy. What was going on here? Now all her ideas were blurred, and the guilt at what she might be doing to a friendship had hit her like a tonne of bricks. Merlin, what should she do? Lily covered her face with her hands.
“Conscience hurting you?”
The tone of the voice was hard and bitter, but Lily recognized it’s owner immediately.
“Sirius!” she exclaimed, dropping her hands and beginning to scramble to her feet. Sirius watched her, a dark expression on his face.
“Hi,” she began, as she straightened her skirt. “Sirius, how did you get up here?”
“Right – wow, I thought it’d be more difficult than that.”
“The founders obviously underestimated the determination of teenage boys.” There was a glint in Sirius’s eyes as he said this, and Lily laughed. Sirius did not laugh with her, and there was an awkward silence.
“Look,” Lily began again, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “Look, I’m sorry Sirius. I’m really sorry – I over-reacted the other day.”
“Yes, you did.”
Lily took a deep breath, trying not to let her temper rear its ugly head again.
“I did, but you were being very annoying.” She laughed, but again he didn’t laugh back. He raised an eyebrow.
“Why did you say yes to James?” he said.
“I was angry, at you. I just ran into him – it was spur of the moment.”
“You’re leading him on, again.”
“No, I’m not. He knows it’s just a friends thing.”
“You don’t really believe that.”
No, Lily thought. I don’t.
“Well it’s just one date. Not even a proper date, a school dance.” She walked towards Sirius, putting a hand on his arm and looking up at him. “You don’t mind that much do you?”
There seemed to be some kind of conflict going on behind Sirius’s eyes. Lily watched it intently, wondering what he was thinking.
“I mind – for James.” He shook Lily off and strode away from her, seeming agitated. He turned back to her, and a strand of dark hair fell over one eye. Lily caught her breath.
“Look, Lily.” Sirius began, his eyes boring into her. “I think it’s about time you made your mind up – me or James.”
“I can’t tell whether you know you like James or what, but a lot of the time it feels like you’re just wasting time with me – that it’s him you really want.”
Lily was shocked.
“Sirius, what the hell? Of course not!” She made a move to walk towards him. “I’m sorry if i’ve...”
“Stop apologizing. It’s annoying.”
There was a silence, and Sirius went and sat down on Lily’s bed. She hovered awkwardly at the other side of the room as he leant on his knees and looked down at the floor.
“It’s just...” he muttered, “I already feel guilty, and now – well, I’m bloody jealous too. It should be one or the other at least.” He looked up at Lily, a bitter smile up-turning the corner of his mouth. “You understand don’t you?”
“But you know I can’t just tell James I’ve changed my mind?”
Sirius took a breath, suddenly looking murderous.
“Merlin Lily, who do think I am? Like I’d do that to James, do you really think I’m that self-“
Lily crossed the room in a few strides, to sit beside Sirius on the bed.
“Of course I don’t.” She said, and she kissed him. “I know you’re a better person than that... well” (with a laugh) “nowadays you are...”
Sirius pulled his face away, ignoring her laughter. Lily flinched, and her eyes filled with hurt.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Sirius snapped. “This is a big deal Lily – me and you, I felt guilty enough as it was, and now...”
“And now what?”
“And now you’re making James think he’s got a chance! You don’t know what this is going to do to him.”
Lily rolled her eyes.
“Sirius, don’t be so melodramatic. James can look after himself – and he barely knows me, I bet he won’t even be that bothered...”
“Lily, James is in love with you.”
A shocked silence followed Sirius’s words. Lily’s mouth hung open, and Sirius bit his lip, knowing he had said too much. Lily pushed back her hair, and tried to make sense of Sirius’s words. James loved her? Actually loved her?
“He – he loves me?”
“Merlin, you heard me the first time. Yes he loves you. He’s never exactly tried to hide it has he?”
“But, he doesn’t even...”
“He doesn’t even know you? He knows you enough, you’ve been at school with us for six years haven’t you? God knows you’ve had enough conversations with him – well, if you call “I hate you! I hate you!” a conversation.” He mimicked her voice, a high pitched squeak that sounded nothing like her. Lily smiled and nudged his shoulder with hers.
“I don’t sound like that.” She said. Sirius let out a ‘huh’ of laughter. They were now seated side by side, both wrapped up in their own thoughts, their hands laying inches from each other on the bed.
“What have we gotten ourselves into?” Lily said, with a sigh. Sirius turned his head towards her sharply. Was she regretting it? Was she thinking she’d made a mistake now she knew the truth about James? He suddenly felt on edge, his chest heaving with anxiety and anger. Lily had noticed something was up.
“Sirius?” she asked, placing her hand over his. He looked at her. There was a sort of restless energy animating his face, and although Lily couldn’t fathom what the thoughts behind it could be, she was captivated by it. Sirius took the hand that rested on his own and flipped it over, tracing circles onto Lily’s palm. She held her breath.
“Even if this is nearly over,” Sirius murmured, almost angrily. “I don’t regret any of it. I should, but I don’t.”
“If what’s nearly over?”
“Us.” He told her, simply.
Lily stared at him.
Her words were cut off as Sirius, eyes blazing, placed a hand around her neck and pulled her towards him, his lips pressing against hers as if this was the last time. His other arm went to her waist as his tongue parted her quivering lips. She kissed him back, but somehow, this was different from usual. There was more longing, less playfulness – she could sense Sirius’s anger even as he kissed her, as if he was channelling his rage into this gesture, rather than lashing out. It was exhilarating. Suddenly Lily found herself being flipped onto her back, and Sirius was kissing her again, more suggestively than before, and her heart began to race. Her hair was spread out behind her on the velvetine covers, and Sirius smoothed it back as his lips travelled along her jawline to her neck. They burned against her skin and she let out a long breath, trying not to forget herself in the moment. Her hands reached up, taking Sirius’s face and kissing him back, lifting herself up off the bed as she did. But this didn’t last long. He rolled her onto her back again, and she let him, enjoying the warmth of his body as it leant against hers.
“Lily,” he said, his eyes fixed upon her face. “I’m not as nice as you think I am.”
Her eyes widened, but she didn’t reply. He took this as an invitation to continue, lowering his face to hers once more. After a moment or so, his hands strayed to the edge of her t-shirt, as if to pull it up-wards and over her head. She put a hand onto his, considering stopping his action – but then decided to help him along instead. It was as Sirius was extracting one of her arms from the material, that there was a sudden loud noise from behind them.
“What the -??”
Lily pushed Sirius off her, sitting up hurridly as she pulled her top back down. Sirius also turned to face the intruder.
She had evidently been to the library, as at her feet were a handful of tumbled books – this must have been the sound that first alerted them to her presence. She stood with her mouth open and her eyebrows raised, and Lily felt herself blush as red as her hair.
“I’ll go should I? Looks like you’re busy...”
“No, wait –“
Sirius jumped to his feet.
“Stay, Mary” he said, it was almost a command. “It’s your dorm after all.” He turned to Lily. “Do you think I should go?”
She nodded, her face beetroot red.
“Yeah, go-on. I’ll explain to Mary – don’t worry.”
“Okay then“ Lily could see the panic behind his casual expression, but to Mary he probably looked totally unconcerned. She wished he looked more worried – the less emotion you show in this kind of situation, she thought, the more you look like a total man whore. He left, squeezing her hand as he went.
“See you Evans.” He said, in another irritating attempt to appear casual. Mary turned to her friend, eyebrows raised so high that they almost disappeared into her hairline.
“Sirius Black?” she asked.
It took a lot of explaining to reveal to Mary the full story of Lily and Sirius’s on- off relationship. Lily started at the beginning, with their conversation on Christmas Eve, progressing to their first kiss, their rendezvous in the Three Broomsticks, and finally the Easter holidays, when they had eventually got together. Mary listened, intrigued, as they sat on her bed and Lily regaled her with the entire tale. When she was finished Mary laughed.
“Well,” she said. “I never would have guessed it Lily! You’re good at the whole sneaking around thing, I’ll give you that.”
Lily shoved her.
“Obviously not that great, or you’d still have no idea.”
“True, true.” She grinned. “But seriously Lily - what about poor James? He luurves you!”
“Oh god, don’t. I feel so bad about that.”
“Nah, it’s not your fault – it’s Sirius who should feel bad.”
“No he shouldn’t – I should though. I wish I hadn’t said I’d go to the ball with James.”
“You did what??!!”
Mary, who had been lying on her front, head propped on one elbow, sat up suddenly.
“You didn’t know? I thought James would have told the world by now, being James.”
Mary shook her head, and her dark curls bounced. James hadn’t told anyone? But that was so unlike him - he always had to show off about everything. She’d thought that after all this time, going to the ball with her would be a triumph that he’d have to share with everybody he possibly could.
“Lily Evans! You’re two-timing the two most popular boys at Hogwarts!”
“No, no I’m not – it’s just a friends thing with James, honestly!”
“Riiight.” Mary drew out the word. She smiled and nudged Lily again. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone – but you know, I still can’t see you and Sirius as a couple. Maybe I’m wrong – but I did always think you’d end up with James.”
“Sorry for having an opinion!” she stuck her tongue out at Lily. “But I’m only joking. It’s your life, I’m not judging. I just want Sirius for myself.”
Laughing, Lily gave her friend a shove which almost knocked her off the bed. Mary squealed, and retaliated by pulling the duvet out from under Lily, rolling her onto the floor.
Rachel, Elizabeth and Alice now appeared at the door, back from their last lesson of the day, which had been care of magical creatures. Alice had a large scratch running the length of her face.
“Yep.” said Mary, “Want to join us?”
“No time.” Was Elizabeth’s reply. “We’ve got to go remember? – dance tutorial for the ball tomorrow. We came to get you.”
Damn. Lily had completely forgotten – would it be partner dancing? Would she have to dance with James, in front of everybody?
“Come on,” Rachel urged, at the blank look on both their faces. “We’re going to be late!”