Chapter 7 : The Room of Requirement: Lily
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The Room of Requirement
He had called her name in his sleep. Not loudly, of course, for his darkest thoughts were rarely broadcast for others to hear. But it had been loud enough to wake him from sleep.
Sitting up in bed, Sirius threw off the woolen blankets to try and cool the drenching sweat that covered him.
“Sirius, my friend, are you alright?” Although soft, Remus’ voice was strong. “You’re having a bad dream.”
“He’s just dreaming about his parents again,” James said sleepily. “Happens every time he sees them.”
The stern tone of Remus’ voice made James climb out of bed and flip on the light. “What’s going on?” James, now concerned, moved to Sirius’ side. “Not becoming a seer, are you?”
“Screw you, Potter.” Sirius jumped off the bed pushing the two aside. “Too much firewhiskey is all.” Sirius tried to block the dream from his mind. How could he have called for her? Her, of all people!
“Sirius,” James took his arm, “are you sure you’re okay?”
“Can I borrow the invisibility cloak?”
“What for?” Remus asked suspiciously.
“Of course,” James answered already handing it over.
Sirius ignored the exchange between the two and slipped out the door. He needed time to think…room to breathe in the suffocation that had quickly become his life. He tried to shake off the emotions that were overwhelming him. The dream had been so vivid.
Sirius stopped when he saw Lily curled up on the common room couch. What was she doing up at this hour? Here? Blocking his escape?
Sirius moved closer, knowing the invisibility cloak kept him safely hidden. Sirius watched as Lily sat up and scanned the room. Sirius smiled…she knew she was being watched but just couldn’t tell from where. He watched as she shook the feeling off, Sirius imagining she was chalking it up to paranoia after the day’s events. As she moved to leave, Sirius suddenly realized he didn’t want her to go.
“Lily, it’s me.”
“Sirius?” Lily sat up straighter, glancing nervously around the room.
“I didn’t mean to frighten you.” Sirius moved to kneel at her side, still not removing the cloak. The brush of the cloak against her legs alerted Lily to his presence and she jumped. “How long have you been here?”
Lily faltered until she found fabric and then she pulled the cloak off his shoulders. The sight of him made her gasp.
“Sirius, what’s happened?”
The concern in her voice made Sirius weak. How long had it been since someone worried about him? Truly worried about his welfare with no ulterior motives? Sirius knew that he should run. He was determined to end things with her before they got any farther out of hand. Wasn’t that the reason he had acted so malicious earlier?
“Sirius, what is it?”
Sirius could feel Lily’s soft comforting touch as she forced him to look at her. Her brilliant green eyes had turned murky with worry and the thought made Sirius’ heart wrench even more. How much more pain could he cause those around him? He had been so hateful to her and she had already forgiven him. The knowledge that he had somehow gained loyalty from her that he knew he didn’t deserve made Sirius ill.
“I should go.”
Sirius struggled to stand but Lily held tight and refused to let him move. As she searched his eyes, Sirius could see the visions of Voldemort, Lucius and then Regulus flash before him. The more he tried to hide from them, the more vivid the emotions of the day became. Knowing he had no more strength left to fight, Sirius crumbled. Silently, he dropped his head into Lily’s lap, his arms wrapping around her tightly in a moment of desperation.
Sirius could feel Lily’s hands sliding through his hair – a comforting feeling that reminded him of his mother’s safe touch when he was a child. The brief thought brought his dream rushing back and he vaquely wondered why he had called for his mother when he knew there was no chance she would ever hold him like this again. Oh, how he longed to have someone to run to.
Sirius shook himself. Wasn’t that what he was doing? Once again he was using Lily for solace. Sirius chided himself for allowing her to get passed his defenses yet again.
“I have to go.” Sirius pulled away from Lily’s touch and moved to leave, willing his heart to be as cold as his voice. Instead, it was Lily whose words cut into him like razored shards of ice.
“And where will you go, Sirius?” Lily asked quietly. “Madame Alexandra’s again?”
Sirius knew it was a dangerous question and briefly, he considered ignoring it. He also knew he’d never lied to Lily and he wasn’t about to start tonight. As much as he wanted to distance himself from her, he knew lying would not be the right way to do it. Her audacity to ask him such a thing angered Sirius. He had never made any commitments to her, or anyone for that matter. Why did she, just like his family, believe they had the right to judge him for his actions?
“I require neither your approval nor your acceptance of my behavior.”
“So, it’s alright to run to ladies of the night but not to me?”
“Precisely,” Sirius answered coldly. “Maybe when you grow up you’ll understand that.” Sirius knew he was being unfair, but still couldn’t resist. How could she manage to be so loving one minute and so viciously cruel the next? Did she not understand that he had just opened up a side of himself that only James knew existed? How could she twist it around so perversely after everything he’d just given her?
“This is ridiculous! One minute you’re kissing me and the next you treat me like dirt. I can get treatment like that from Severus.”
Sirius whirled to face her. “Snape?”
“I don’t need your approval either, Sirius,” Lily hissed.
Sirius’ mind flew back to his conversation with James.
“Even for all the crap I give her, she doesn’t deserve to be hurt. That’s all I’m saying.”
“No. Not you. Someone else.”
Sirius’ heart lurched to his throat. Snape? Why had no one told him? “Lily.” Sirius stepped toward her but Lily raised her hands.
“Don’t feign concern for me, Sirius. You are too wrapped up in yourself to think about anyone else right now.”
Sirius was stung. Of course he was defensive. He had just given away a part of himself to her and she had unceremoniously thrown it back in his face. Sirius thrust his fists deep in his pockets, unwilling to allow her to see how deeply she had hurt him. “Then, I’ll make every effort to stay out of your path, Evans.”
“Sirius, wait.” Lily grabbed his arm. “I didn’t mean that.”
“No. I think I finally got the truth out of you.” Sirius removed her hand. “Please excuse me.”
Sirius cursed himself as he rushed out of the room. How could he have been so stupid? To allow himself to open up his emotions to her? To actually have ever felt the need to protect her?
Sirius cursed again as he realize he’d forgotten the invisibility cloak, then cursed once more when he realized the truth – he still felt the need to protect her. What exactly was Snape doing to her? And why was she so secretive about talking about it? Aside from James, she was the only person he’d never had secrets from. Sirius paced the hallway in fury. If he ever found out Snape had laid a slimy greasy finger on Lily…
Sirius glanced to the wall as a tall wooden door magically appeared. Sirius chided himself. The Room of Requirement. How stupid of him! Why hadn’t he thought of it before? No one would be able to find him here. Unsure of exactly what he required except time to get his jumbled thoughts under control, Sirius stepped into the room hesitantly.
As his eyes adjusted, Sirius couldn’t help but feel his anger fade immediately. The soft colors of the bedroom he had walked into were easily recognizable. A warm fire crackled brilliantly in the corner and, in case he had any doubt, a picture of the Potter family stood beside the bedside.
“What is this place?” a soft voice asked from behind him and Sirius whirled to see Lily pulling off the discarded invisibility cloak.
“James’ bedroom,” he replied tersely.
“James Potter?” Lily circled the room, touching the possessions Sirius remembered so well from his time spent at James’ home. “So this is your safe haven?”
Sirius ignored her question. “Is there a reason you followed me? And stole the cloak at that? I think we’ve both said enough, don’t you?”
“Your temper always gets the best of you. I wanted to make sure you weren’t running off to slit Severus’ throat during the night.” Lily said lightly. “Besides, for once, you are going to listen to me when I have something to say.”
“Ah, well, by all means, Ms. Evans, do tell what’s so important that you would once again risk breaking curfew to be at my side.”
Sirius could see how the idea of getting in trouble unnerved her and he gave a sarcastic laugh. “No one will find us here. If you must, say what you want to say and just get out.”
“Alright.” Lily huffed, her temper rising to match his own. “First off, stop talking to me like I’m a stupid kid. I’m not. And second, I know why you run to Madame Alexander’s and not to me.”
“Oh really?” Sirius asked skeptically.
“Yes. You don’t want to use me and that’s all they’re good for. It’s their job so you don’t have to worry about feeling guilty about it.”
Sirius turned away so she couldn’t see his reaction…she did understand more than he thought.
“Third, my relationship with Severus really is none of your business. If I decide to be naïve and let him use me that’s my choice and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Just how many of these are there?” Sirius growled.
“Fourth,” Lily raged on, ignoring his sarcasm. “I know you don’t always think about yourself. That’s why you’re in this terrible situation to begin with.”
“How utterly observant.”
“And lastly,” Lily ignored him and moved to face him. “We’ve been friends for seven years. That’s a lot longer than whatever has been happening between us the last few days. Avoiding me and trying to run away from me isn’t something I’ll accept. And, if you’d take two seconds to think reasonably instead of flying off the deep end, you’d know that.”
“Are we done now?” Sirius asked hotly, unwilling to dwell on anything she was telling him. He was angry and he refused to allow some midnight confessions from Lily dissuade him. He wanted to be alone…to remember how happy he was each time he stepped foot into James’ home and forget everything he’d been through recently.
“Yes.” Lily’s voice broke and Sirius knew he had hurt her. His coldness had finally seeped through but rather than feel guilty, Sirius felt vindicated. He had finally succeeded at hurting her as badly as she’d hurt him.
“Good.” Sirius turned from her and stretched out on the bed. “I’m sure a smart little mudblood like you can find your own way out.”
Sirius was surprised when his verbal slap had no affect on her. She stood watching him silently, her radiant green eyes as dazzling as always. He watched as she sank to sit next to him on the bed and Sirius was intrigued. “Insults won’t get rid of you?”
“What did they do to you, Sirius?” Lily asked gently. “To make you so angry and wounded that you needed to come here to escape?”
It was a peace offering, and Sirius knew it but he remained silent, refusing to let her in to his emotions any further. He had made that mistake once and he refused to make it again.
Lily was naïve and that made it easy to excuse some of her behavior. The rest Sirius excused away because of the emotional riptide she was riding with the new feelings she was having for him. Lily was so intelligent, it was sometimes easy for him to forget that she was still a Hogwarts girl… the girls he had managed to avoid romantic entanglements with for almost seven years. Nonetheless, Sirius had started the whole thing with his arrogant kisses and then, tonight, had made it even worse by allowing Lily to know she could penetrate his defenses. It was his fault and Sirius knew it.
He couldn’t really blame her for speaking the truth and he definitely couldn’t blame her for being herself. He could, however, blame himself for being so irresponsible as to think she was mature enough to handle a relationship with him.
“I need you to listen very closely. Will you give me that?” Lily nodded and reached for his hand. As he allowed her to take it, Sirius could feel her grip. “I don’t want to talk about my family. I don’t want to talk about my childhood or why I live on my own or why this is my safe haven. It’s who I am and I need you to respect that. Just because you perceive some shift in the relationship we’ve had for the past seven years doesn’t mean I have changed. I didn’t talk about it before and I don’t intend to now.” Sirius’ voice softened. “You’ve been accepting of who I am for a long time, Lily. All I’m asking is that you continue to do the same.”
Sirius had tried to soften his words as much as he could, but she needed to hear the blatant truth. Lily’s silent tears let him know he had hurt her, but she still didn’t reply.
“Lily, do you understand?” Sirius wiped away her tears, trying to be as consoling as possible.
“I understand. You think I’m a child. I always thought it was just your arrogance that made you talk that way but you really do see me that way.”
It sounded terrible the way she said it, but Sirius had to admit that she was right. He did see her that way and he refused to ease her pain by lying to her and telling her it wasn’t true.
“What must I do to make you see I’m not a little girl anymore?”
Lily moved closer to Sirius, but the tone in her voice had already alerted him to her intentions. Sirius blocked her kiss with a tender touch on her shoulder. His voice was a whisper, “not that.”
Sirius pulled her to lie on his chest, refusing to allow her to look at him too closely. He knew he could easily get lost in her, and Sirius refused to risk temptations with her when his defenses were already spent.
“Rest, Lily, you’ve had quite an adventurous day.”
“You’re safe. Neither Death Eaters or professors wielding expulsion slips will get you in here.”
Lily nodded and Sirius could feel her relax in the safety of his arms. A chilling thought occurred to Sirius and he immediately wondered if he had somehow un-intentionally taken on responsibility for her. He certainly felt protective and responsible for her. The idea bothered him immensely and Sirius made a mental note to talk it over with James.
Something else stirred in Sirius’ memory and he touched Lily’s head lightly. “Lily?”
“You can’t change Snape either.”
“I know.” Lily answered quietly. “But sometimes all a person needs is a reason to change.”
“And you think you can be his reason?” Sirius asked, trying his best to hide the revulsion and condescension he was feeling.
“I have to try, Sirius.”
The hint of desperation in Lily’s voice kept Sirius from making a snide comment and he realized that, in Lily’s innocence, she believed no one was beyond saving. “Yeah, I guess you would.”
“I’m beginning to think I have a better chance of saving him from the dark side than you.” Lily tilted her questioning eyes to meet his but Sirius’ face remained placid.
He was quiet for a long time as he gazed at her, afraid of giving her too much. Finally, he let his lips brush against hers in a detached kiss. His emotions impassive, Sirius quietly answered, “you may very well be right.”
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