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Chapter 5: A Dog Outside Hagrid's Hut
James was torn. The conversation he'd heard the night before had broken him, mentally and physically. Calamitous thoughts washed through his mind like waves of terror, each thought led to a new dilemma. James clasped his head in his hands and groaned in defeat. Lily. Sirius. His all time love and his best friend. How could this have happened?
It was almost a late summer evening, and James wanted anything but to be around Sirius or Remus. The fact that they'd kept this all from him knowingly, and never thought to confide in him, was almost bad as the topic of Sirius and Lily itself. He grabbed his cloak with a swift motion and exited the dormitory without a word, amongst wary and guilty glances from Sirius and Remus.
He traisped aimlessly around the grounds under the protection of his cloak, concealing him and his thoughts from the rest of the world. Under normal circumstances, he would be sharing the cloak with Sirius. However, things had changed, and James felt almost invisible, even without the cloak.
He past a few trees, dew glistening on the leaves, enriched with flowers that carried a gently scented breeze over him. The sun was setting under a pale pink and orange sky, utterly in contrast to James's mood. After checking no one was around, James pulled off the cloak absent-mindedly and sat down amongst the grass, leaning against the trunk of the tree. He closed his eyes just for a second deliberated for a moment, considering all the possible alternatives to his problem. There were none.
Shivering slightly as the breeze grew colder, and the sun set over the Great Hall, James had never felt more alone in his life. As if in a trance, he watched the swirling smoke emitting from Hagrid's hut, above a warm glow of the fireplace. James urged himself to go and chat to Hagrid, most likely the only person he could trust right now, yet he couldn't ignore the fact that Hagrid would disapprove of him wallowing in despair.
The sun caught the Gryffindor badge James was wearing, and he couldn't help but smile softly. Gryffindor. As soon as he's said the words aloud, softly, amongst the dazy dribble of the stream behind him, the sense of patriotism for his house and sense of pride and warmth spread over him in an insant. He stood up in a flash and stared at the sky above him. He was a Gryffindor. No one else. He had been placed in this hosue for a reason, a reason that he would probably need most now. His bravery. His courage. His valour and honesty. Painful memories of laughing and joking with Sirius flooded his mind and he scrunched up his face in vexation. In a sense, he was being stupid. This couldn't go on forever. Even though Lily was his only true love, who could foresee that it would have worked out for both of them anyway? The friendship he had with Sirius was too precious to lose, no one could mistake that both of them were inseperable.
Pushing Lily out of his mind, he got up, Gryffindor pride surging through him as the sun shone behind one of the turrets of Hogwarts. He ran through the tall grass towards Hagrid's hut, freedom washing over him like the cool air that rushed through his hair as he ran. A huge weight had been lifted off his mind and he felt past the troubles that had tormented him previously. Laughing aloud, his cheer echoed off the walls of the castle.
Then, suddenly, as if an invisible brake had just been pulled, he stopped and inahled quickly.
A large, shaggy black dog was sitting outside Hagrid's hut, surveying him with fearful and reproachful eyes. It took a moment for James to come back to reality. For the first time in the past 24 hours, he didn't feel alone. He stared at the black dog with a cold chill rushing through his veins. It was almost embarassing for Sirius to have seen him a second ago. He looked at the dog for what felt like the first time. It's usually glossy, shaggy black fur was limp and lifeless, and it's wagging tail was motionless. James couldn't take his eyes of the dog. Both locked stares, but neither knew how long for. Emotions and silent agruments were thrown out in silence between the stares, a million thigns said, all with one glance.
Giving half-hearted smirk, he watched as the dog cocked it's head to one side, and clasped its paws together in front of it, large, oversized tears welling up in its black eyes, begging for forgiveness. James extended a hand and chuckled, amidst all that had happened, it was lost in the moment. He stared at the dog and felt a hole in his heart refilled. He opened his mouth, and the words which came out were the same greeting the two had used since they could both remember.