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Chapter 26: Round Table Discussions
*the plot and OC's are mine, the rest belongs to JK
“Thank you for doing this,” Shay said to Jude, who was standing right beside her in the kitchen.
Jude was fiddling with the utensils in front of him.
“You’re my wife. I’ll do whatever I can to make you happy,” Jude replied half-heartedly.
“Jude,” Shay said and grabbed his hand, “I love you. I married you. You are whom Jayme calls Dad. It’s you, not Sirius.”
Jude turned to her and planted a kiss on her forehead.
“I love you too. But let’s get on with this,” Jude said with a sad smile and grabbed the utensils and entered the dining room.
Shay followed him in and found that Jayme was entertaining Remus and Sirius with a story from school.
“All my friends are still shocked that Professor McGonagall didn’t take my head off,” Jayme ended her story.
“I’m not surprised. McGonagall always had a soft spot for your mum,” Sirius said with a delighted smile.
“She liked me because I didn’t make her hair gray, unlike some other people I know,” Shay spoke directly towards Remus and Sirius.
“Remus, I thought you were great at school?” Jayme asked and piled desert onto her plate.
“I was but I seemed to have always gotten dragged into the plots of Sirius Black and James Potter,” Remus answered and Sirius scoffed at the fact that Remus was always good at getting himself involved.
“So it’s true?” Jayme asked cautiously.
“What’s true?” Sirius asked back.
“That you were best friends with Harry Potter’s dad.”
Shay and Remus shared a glance and waited for Sirius to answer.
“Jayme, this isn’t really appropriate to talk about at the dinner table,” Jude interjected.
“No, it’s fine. James Potter was practically a brother to me. We became instant best friends when we met and were best friends until he died. I loved Lily too and Harry, of course,” Sirius said with a fond smile.
“Mum, you were friends with them too, right?” Jayme asked.
Shay nodded and answered her daughter.
“I was very close to both of them and I still miss them both very much.”
“You never really talk about them though.”
“Sometimes it’s really hard to talk about people that you miss so much.”
“Is that why you never talked about Sirius?” Jayme questioned and caught a quick glance at Sirius who she was really starting to like.
Shay paused before answering.
“Yes, Jayme. I missed Sirius a lot,” Shay said and secured Jude’s hand in her own.
This didn’t go unnoticed by Sirius.
“We were all great friends. Being at Hogwarts was some of the best moments of my life. Of course the past 14 years haven’t compared,” Sirius said with a smirk.
There was an uneasiness that settled at the table.
“I think it’s terrible what they did to you, Sirius,” Jayme spoke up.
Sirius gave her a look to tell her to speak her mind.
“They put you in jail for almost half of your life without a trial and everyone you knew turned against you. It sounds like you had a really nice life before the Potters died. I’m just sorry that it all got taken away from you,” Jayme explained with a sense of earnest and innocence.
All the adults were silent at the words of the almost 13-year-old girl.
“I’m sorry if I said something wrong,” Jayme apologized and gave a worried look to her plate.
“Don’t apologize for that. You’re a kind and considerate girl. Your parents did a great job with you,” Sirius said and gave a watery smile to Shay, “They’re the luckiest people to have you as their daughter.”
Shay returned the smile to Sirius and Jude beamed with the exact pride that Sirius was just talking about.
“Thanks,” Jayme replied awkwardly.
She hadn’t expected such a big compliment from a man she had just met.
“Well anyway, we all know that you can’t change the past. So I just carry on from where I am and try not to let the last 14 years control my life. But I’ll also never let myself forget it. Only fools pretend that the bad stuff never happened,” Sirius finished with an introspective smile.
Jayme shot a smile at him and for a split second Sirius saw some relation between himself and the girl.
“I think you’re okay, Sirius.”
“Well I think you’re okay too, Jayme. You remind me a lot of your mother. You’re practically a spitting image of her.”
“Everyone says that,” Jayme replied and Shay chuckled.
“I think Jayme gets sick of being compared to such an old hag,” Shay said with a playful smile.
“You are neither old nor a hag,” Jude said and kissed the back of Shay’s hand.
“Mum, I told Violet that I would be to her house by sun down. Is it alright if I head over there now?” Jayme asked.
“Sure sweetheart. Tell her parents that we say hello,” Shay said and Jayme got up from the table.
“Thanks Mum. Bye Dad, bye Remus, and it was really nice meeting you, Sirius.”
“The pleasure was all mine, Jayme. I’m sure you’ll see me again soon,” Sirius returned with a warm smile.
Jayme gave one more glance to everyone and was gone in a flash.
Suddenly a very stiff and heavy silence fell over the table.
“Have you two come up with a decision about the Order yet?” Remus asked, figuring the middleman should be the first one to speak.
Shay and Jude looked at each other with uneasiness before answering.
“We’re still milling it over,” Shay answered.
“We’ll keep her safe. I would never let anything happen to her again,” Sirius said to Jude.
“Pardon me, Sirius, but I’m not sure how much of your word I can trust,” Jude shot back.
Shay looked at him incredulously.
“Don’t be that way, Jude. He’s just trying to be helpful.”
“But how is a man who is not supposed to be anywhere but Azkaban, supposed to help you?” Jude asked in a frustrated, hushed tone.
“I don’t know what more you want? I thought when Albus came to talk to us, it would convince you, but not even that worked,” Shay said and placed her head in her hands in frustration.
“I guess this wasn’t the best topic to talk about,” Remus said with an uncomfortable smile.
“I guess not,” Jude replied.
Another silence fell across the room.
Shay couldn’t help but feel Sirius staring at the top of her head. She also couldn’t help but notice Jude staring right back at Sirius.
“How did you guys meet?” Sirius asked suddenly.
“When she was my professor in my 7th year,” Jude answered as if it was too obvious of a question.
Shay cringed. She hated when he answered that particular question with that answer. It made her seem like some sort of sexual deviant.
“No,” Sirius chuckled and waved his hand at him, “I mean, how did you two end up getting together?”
Shay looked up at Sirius.
“I don’t think we should talk about that,” she told him.
“Why not? All I hear about is unrequited love from this guy,” Sirius said and pointed his thumb at Remus, who then looked a tad embarrassed, “I would like to hear about true love for once.”
For a second, Shay hated the slick smile that was sitting on Sirius’s face. And for a quick second after, she absolutely loved it.
Shay and Jude looked at each other and Shay motioned for him to start the story.
“Well, it was about eight years ago…”
“Mum, I’m tired of walking around,” a young, 5-year-old Jayme complained and started dragging her feet.
“Sweetie, we just have one more shop to go to and then we’ll get some ice cream. Deal?” a tired looking Shay responded.
Shay watched as her daughter contemplated for a few seconds.
“Deal,” Jayme caved begrudgingly.
Shay smiled down at her and carried on.
“You’ll enjoy the next store.”
The duo walked for a few more minutes before stopping in front of Eeylop’s Owl Emporium.
“We’re here,” Shay said with enthusiasm.
She saw disappointment lingering in Jayme’s eyes.
“Not what you wanted?” she asked softly and a tad confused.
“Gambel and Japes,” was all Jayme responded with.
Shay let out a deep sigh and looked down the alley at the joke shop. It had been a place she had been in frequently with James and Sirius and not a place that she planned on going anytime soon. Plus, it was no Zonko’s, so in Shay’s mind she thought why even bother. Just the fact that Jayme wanted to go there so bad reminded Shay that Jayme was in fact half Sirius, whether she liked it or not.
“Next time Jayme. I have to get an owl for work. I’ll let you pick it out,” Shay said and offered a smile and a hand again.
After two very long years, Shay had finally qualified to be an Auror. It had been a lot of work but Alastor really helped her through the training and Remus had helped tremendously with Jayme. Mad-Eye had told Shay the day prior that the last thing she had to do was get an owl to keep in contact. Shay had actually fought this. She didn’t like being that connected to the outside world. The past six years since the Potters died had been very rough and Shay had lost contact with many people since then, at least the ones that were still alive to be contacted.
Shay and Jayme wandered the shop a bit. It was dark and smelt like a barn but it reminded Shay of being a kid.
“What about this one?” Shay asked and pointed at a tall Barn owl.
Jayme looked at it and shook her head, disinterested in the plain looking owl.
“I like this one,” Jayme exclaimed and pointed at a heavyset Snowy owl.
Shay balked at the flashy creature.
“It’s beautiful but I think it’ll stand out too much,” Shay explained and tried to let her child down easy.
“Oh, I don’t think it’ll stand out that much,” a voice said from behind them.
Shay turned around and found someone she hadn’t seen in years.
“Jude Borchardt,” Shay said in disbelief.
He looked the same, but more adult. It was odd for Shay to see him. She felt bad for thinking it, but she hadn’t thought about him since 1981.
“Professor Calhoun,” Jude said with a wide smile and looked down at Jayme, “and mini-Professor Calhoun.”
“I haven’t been a professor in six years. You can call me Shay and this is my daughter Jayme.”
“Jayme, I am thoroughly enchanted,” Jude said and took a knee in front of Jayme to be eye level with her.
Jayme looked up at Shay cautiously and didn’t seem impressed at all with Jude.
“I see she didn’t get only your looks. I seem to annoy her as much as I did you,” Jude said with a toothy grin.
“It’s not you,” Shay said with a soft smile and put her hand on Jayme’s shoulder, “I just have the most skeptical 5-year-old in all of England.”
Jude offered Jayme another smile and stood up.
“I would love some time to catch up with you. Can I offer to take you two out for ice cream?”
Shay hesitated and awkwardly put her hand on the back of her neck.
Other than Remus, Shay hadn’t spent any time with a man outside of the Ministry in a very long time. That fact wasn’t created by accident either.
“I’m sorry. I’ll just make my exit now,” Jude said politely.
Shay could only stare at him as he turned to walk away. She felt horrible. She had let him down six years ago and now it was happening again.
“I like ice cream,” Jayme spoke up.
Jude turned back around.
“She likes ice cream,” he repeated with a grateful smile.
Shay couldn’t help but smile.
“What five year-old doesn’t?”
“I’m impressed,” Jude stated from behind his sundae.
“Impressed by what?” Shay asked after she took a spoonful of the ice cream she was sharing with Jayme.
“You becoming an auror.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Shay asked and whipped an eyebrow up at him.
“No, I didn’t mean to insult you,” Jude conceded quickly, “It’s just, it’s hard enough to become an auror while living a single life. You did it while caring for a small child on your own. That’s just down right amazing.”
“I didn’t do it on my own. I’ve had Remus helping me the whole way,” Shay confessed.
“Remus Lupin? Is he your boyfriend?”
“Oh no, Remus and I have been there and done that. He’s just a great friend and I couldn’t survive without him,” Shay said with a smile.
“Well either way, I think you’re doing astounding.”
“I do whatever I can for her. She’s my everything and she’s kept me going since the war ended,” Shay said and fondly petted Jayme’s hair.
Jude smiled at the duo and continued on with his ice cream.
“Enough about me. What has life given you so far? What did you end up doing after Hogwarts?”
“I started working at the Ministry last year. I’m an Unspeakable. All thanks to you, of course.”
“Thanks to me?” Shay questioned.
“You started me on the path of Occlumency and Legilimency. I wouldn’t have a job without it.”
“I left before we could even get started with any of it. I hardly think you have anything to thank me for. You’ve gotten here on your own. I was a lousy teacher anyway,” Shay admitted.
“I don’t think you understand the impact you had on your students while you were at Hogwarts. You’re one of those people that are destined to get a place in our history. You’re one of those people that get books written about them. You’re a game changer Shay, don’t you realize that?” Jude insisted and leaned closer with every word.
Shay could feel his enthusiasm.
“I’m just a 27 year old single mother who is just trying to teach her daughter right from wrong. I think you have the wrong person.”
“You’re a 27 year old single mother who decided to become an auror even after all you’ve been through. I think I have the right person.”
Shay sat back in her chair and watched Jayme finish up the sundae.
“I’d like to take you on a date,” Jude interjected.
Shay gave him an incredulous look.
“Jude, I…” Shay started to let him down easy but Jude interrupted.
“Sure you can. I’d hate to have to remind you but you did already reject me once in my life, you couldn’t possibly do it again after this nice conversation we just had. Plus, I think your daughter likes me,” Jude said with his toothy grin.
Shay really did like his smile.
“My daughter likes ice cream,” Shay responded playfully.
She couldn’t tell if this was considered flirting. She hadn’t flirted in years.
“I’m a lot like ice cream.”
“How so?” Shay asked and couldn’t help the smile that played across her face.
“I’m a pretty simple guy, like vanilla or chocolate. But I can make things interesting when I’m up for it, let’s say I’m like rocky road in that sense. I can make you feel better when you’re sad, I’m also very rewarding. I can keep you cool on a hot day or make you remember summer when it snows. I’m also pretty damn sweet too.”
“Too much ice cream will make me fat,” Shay responded, once again finding herself playing into the absurdity of it all.
“That’s the thing about metaphorical ice cream. It doesn’t have the capabilities of making you fat. Not that the metaphorical ice cream would care because the metaphorical ice cream likes who you are, no matter your robe size.”
Shay couldn’t help but laugh. He was charming.
“Alright Mr. Metaphorical Ice Cream. I’ll go on a date with you.”
“Really?” Jude asked with wide eyes.
He couldn’t believe that actually worked.
“Jude, everyone likes ice cream.”
“That’s adorable,” Sirius dryly rolled out.
Shay gave him the dirtiest look she could muster up and responded.
“It worked,” Shay admitted and subconsciously leaned her body closer to Jude.
“Both of our careers were really kicking off so after about a year of dating we moved into this house and a year after that, June of 1989, we got married. It was a really small event,” Jude said and smiled at the memory.
“It was actually rather large. As soon as Jude’s mum heard, the whole damn Ministry and all of the greater London area was invited,” Shay added with semi-annoyance.
She still seemed to be a little peeved about the mishap.
“It was small for my family’s taste. Shay only invited a handful of people. More than she probably wanted to. Albus Dumbledore was there. How many people can say that Albus Dumbledore was at their wedding?”
“James and Lily,” Sirius, Remus and Shay all chimed in at the same time.
“That was a great day,” Sirius said with an introspective smile.
“It was. Shay, I remember you’re wedding day like it was yesterday. It certainly doesn’t feel like six years ago,” Remus added.
“It was an interesting day for us, wasn’t it?” Shay said and gave her head a small, embarrassed shake and Jude and Remus had matching grins on their faces.
“I feel like I’m missing something here,” Sirius interjected.
“The wedding almost didn’t happen,” Shay admitted and began her story.
“Hey. Emmeline told me that you wanted to see me. Is everything alright?” Remus asked with knowing concern as he entered the room Shay was occupying.
She was staring out the window at the crowd of people waiting for her to get married.
“Shay?” Remus called from the door as he shut it.
She turned around to face Remus. Aside from the horrified look on her face, she looked magnificent. Her hair was gathered on top of her head in an elegant way with soft tendrils framing her face. Her dress looked like it once belonged to a princess, with a delicate lace corset top and a billowing whiter than white skirt that completely hid her feet.
“You are breathtaking,” Remus complimented and walked toward his oldest friend.
“I can’t do this,” Shay admitted in a small voice.
Remus stopped in mid-stride.
“Of course you can.”
“No. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, Remus. Look out there. Look at all of them. I don’t know any of them. I wanted a small wedding, where only the people I care about were there. Did you know that Jude’s parents invited the Malfoys? The Malfoys, Remus. And this dress…I feel as if I’m being suffocated. I didn’t want this dress but I wanted to make Jude’s mum happy. But now I’m not happy. I’m supposed to be getting married but I’m not happy,” Shay rambled and paced the room.
“I know you wanted a small ceremony, Shay. But look at the bright side; the Malfoys are not in attendance. They aren’t even that stupid. And like I said before, you look stunning. You would look good in a plastic bag and you know that. So what’s really the problem?” Remus asked gently.
“I would have had bride’s maids,” Shay responded and fell back into a chair.
Remus took a seat across from her and let out a heavy sigh. He knew exactly what she meant.
“I used to have friends. Do you know what happens when you have a wedding after all your friends have died? You have to invite your old professors to fill your section. What am I getting myself into?” Shay looked to Remus for help.
“You’re about to marry a man you love,” Remus simply replied.
“Do you ever think about if we would have gotten this far? Getting married and all?”
A sad smile appeared on Remus’s face. His eyes looked weary and tired.
“Of course I have, Shay. But you deserve better than me. You and Jayme deserve Jude.”
“We could make a really good family. Jayme adores you and I love you,” Shay whispered the last part.
“You know I love both you and Jayme. But you and I both know that you don’t love me the way you love Jude. He’s for you, Shay. You deserve a good man that will treat you and your daughter the way it ought to be. You’ve been through hell and you need to accept this good thing that is happening to you. You’ve worked hard, enjoy it,” Remus explained with poignant eyes.
Shay got up and looked out at the window again. Jude was down there waiting for her. He looked nervous but still held a pleased smile on his face. He was happy to be getting married to her.
“How do you know that I love him?”
“It’s the way you look at him. You used to look at Sirius that way. To be honest Shay, you never looked at me that way.”
Shay turned and gave him a remorseful look.
“I’m sorry if I ever put you through any pain. I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve toyed with your emotions over and over again. Niki would probably kill me for what I’ve done to you. I can’t take it back and I’m still astounded that you’ve remained friends with me. You’re the only person I’ve ever known that has kept his promises to me. You never left, you never hurt me. Remus, I wish with every bone in my body, every cell of my being that I could love you the way I want to. I wish I could,” Shay finished with tears freely rolling down her face.
Remus stepped over to her and pulled out his handkerchief. He gently wiped away the tears and the mascara that ran down her cheeks.
“Please stop crying. I know you tried with me. That’s all that counts in my opinion. You found a good man and he’s down there, waiting to marry you. Don’t make him wait any longer,” Remus said and kissed her on the forehead softly.
Shay took a deep breath and quickly composed herself. She grabbed Remus’s hands before speaking to him.
“Are you ready to give me away?”
“It’ll be my honor.”
“So let me get this straight, you know about this? And you all find this funny now?” Sirius asked Jude.
He was completely confounded.
“I knew who Shay was when I married her. She was…how do I say it?” Jude pondered.
“Damaged goods,” Shay finished for him with an endearing smile.
Sirius felt a pang of guilt.
“What Shay likes to refer to as “damaged goods” I like to refer to as “being human”. I never doubted my love for her but I know she’s had her doubts and that’s fine. We’ve made it this far. We have great careers, a great home, friends, and we have a beautiful, outstanding daughter. Something must have gone right,” Jude explained and held Shay’s hand tightly.
“You two never decided to have kids of your own?” Sirius asked outright.
Jude looked baffled and somewhat hurt by the question. Shay seemed as if she had saw it coming.
“There were complications when Jayme was born. I can’t have anymore kids,” she stated.
Sirius gave her a pitiful, apologetic look. Just another thing he had taken away from her, he thought.
“I think I’m ready to call it a night,” Shay said softly.
Remus and Jude nodded in agreement and both got up from the table. Shay and Sirius remained seated.
“When can I see her again?” Sirius asked.
“I don’t know. Jude and I have to discuss it,” Shay responded robotically.
“Jude,” Sirius made eye contact with him, “I’d really like to get to know her. There is no ulterior motive to make her my own. I wouldn’t do that to her. I know that she thinks of you as her father, and you have treated her as such. I thank you for that. I thank you for doing what I couldn’t. But I would like to get to know my daughter.”
Jude looked at him for a while then put a hand on Shay’s shoulder and looked down at her.
“I think we can figure something out. Until next time, Sirius.”
Jude held out his hand.
“Until next time.”