Chapter 4 : Bird
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“No,” Remus said, standing in front of her and stopping her. If Henna hadn’t been close to losing consciousness she most likely would have hit him, or shoved him out of the way. Instead, she looked up into his determined eyes. She wanted to lose herself in those eyes. She shook herself mentally however, and mustered up some strength.
“Leave me alone...please...” she said, hoping that by adding the ‘please’ he might be more inclined. Instead it seemed to strengthen his resolve. He saw it as a first sign of desperation, and smiled.
“You’re not going anywhere. I’m going to help you. Trust me,” he said softly. Henna snorted. His words sickened her. She had never heard such crap in her life...except when it was told as a lie. She didn’t know why this boy was so determined, but she knew it couldn’t be good. Maybe he had figured out that she was a vampire, and he was trying to capture her. But then why hadn’t he just let her jump off the roof? Perhaps he thought her an easy target for drug dealing. At these thoughts, she became infuriated.
“GET OUT OF MY WAY!” she screamed, and slammed her broken body into his side. Pain engulfed her as cuts and bruises rebelled against the movement. Remus stumbled slightly, but caught her wrist just as she hurried past. He heard her sharp intake of breath, and knew he had somehow hurt her. He didn’t know how, until he felt something sticky working its way between his fingers. He brought his hand up to his eyes and saw blood. He let out a gasp of his own, and squinted to see her better in the dark. His whole being tightened in shock and lividity. He wanted to kill somebody. She was covered in bruises and cuts. Her eyes were swollen, as were her lips. Blood trickled down her chin...a lot of blood. Her blonde hair was caked with dirt, and her brown eyes were encrusted with agony. He saw that both of her hands were badly injured. One seemed to be cut very badly, the other appeared to be burnt.
He couldn’t speak, and tears welled up in his eyes. “Who did this to you?” he whispered softly. There was no way he would leave her now. She looked ready to collapse. “Tell me their names, I’ll find them...”
“It was all my fault...” she muttered. “I was too weak to stop them.”
“No...no,” Remus said, seeing that she was oddly obsessed with strength.
“Look at me,” she said, giving a bone-chilling laugh. “I’m about to break down as it is. I was about to kill myself. Take the easy way out. I’m a coward. I’m weak. I’m...”
“The most amazing person I’ve ever met,” Remus whispered. Henna looked up, surprised. “Do you realize how badly injured you are? And yet you haven’t let out one single complaint. You’ve stood up to me with your last breath. You’ve refused to give me any information whatsoever. You live every day without certainty of food or shelter. If that’s not strength, then I don’t know what is,” Remus said firmly. This seemed to make quite an impact on Henna, as she examined his words. “You might not be as strong as some physically, but you have more courage and willpower than a hundred warriors.”
Henna was stunned. Her world spun slowly as she realized that he had found out her fear, and had rushed to sooth it. She felt like crumbling. She couldn’t do that, however. Especially after his words of praise. Instead she gave him a rare show of her true feelings. She tried to push a piece of hair behind her ear, but even that was excruciatingly painful. Remus shook his head, and did it for her, allowing his fingers to trail across her battered face.
“I won’t let anybody hurt you again,” he muttered. Henna jerked her head around in shock. This boy was definitely going to be her downfall.
“Thank you,” she murmured. Remus looked at her, watching her as her emotions roiled around behind her eyes.
“Come with me. I can help you,” he said softly. Henna shook her head, and began to walk away.
“I can take care of myself.”
“Henna...you’re coming with me. It’s not an option. I think I understand you better than you think,” he said softly. Henna stopped and turned, shaking her head.
“You could never understand,” she whispered in desolation.
“Then tell me,” he said. They stared at each other for quite some time. Henna was feeling awful. All she wanted to do was sleep. She needed to rest...she wanted to feel safe.
“Never,” she said hoarsely. Her voice was cracking with fatigue. Remus knew she was close to dropping.
“We’re going to go to my friend’s house. They have a nice little cottage in the woods, it gets great sunlight,” he said encouragingly. Her face fell. He shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I can’t just let you wander around here starving to death. Even if I have to force you,” he said the last part regretfully. Her eyes filled with traitorous tears.
“You wouldn’t dare...” she hissed.
“Give me a good reason why I shouldn’t,” he said pleadingly. “Tell me that you have a family, and that you have a place to call home. Tell me that you have money, and a job. Tell me that every night isn’t a living hell for you. Tell me that you’re safe,” he begged. Henna wanted so badly to say all of those things. She wanted to yell in his face that, of course she had a home. She wanted to be offended that he even mentioned such a thing. But she couldn’t. Her silence said more than her words ever could. She bowed her head and gave a defeated sigh.
“Why do you insist on helping me?”
“I don’t know,” he said honestly. Henna nodded. “Give me your hand. I’m going to take us to the Potter’s house. All of my friends are staying there over the holidays.” Henna didn’t answer. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to say. She knew she was terrified at the idea, but the thought of a roof over her head was also very pleasing. Henna lifted her bloodied hand to him, and Remus saw that if he held it, she would be in immense pain. “Maybe it will be okay if I simply touch your shoulder,” he compromised. Henna looked extremely relieved, and so Remus laid a hand on her shoulder.
In seconds Henna had been transported from the dark alleyway to a brightly lit room. She winced, at first thinking it might be the sun, but she realized that it was quite safe. Remus saw her odd actions and frowned, but decided not to mention it. Voices could be heard from another room, but Henna ignored them. She was too engrossed in the decorations of the beautiful house. She was standing in what appeared ti be a living room. It was painted a soft blue, and had dark-yellow trim and border. Rich furniture filled the room, and a fireplace crackled merrily at her. She could see into a another room, that had its walls sprinkled with a bright apricot-color. All-in-all, the house was very cheery. The exact opposite of what Henna was used to. Warmth engulfed her, and she spotted a large, winding staircase in another room that was filled with books. It was crammed with couches and sofas, and Henna wanted dearly to explore the volumes. There was one other room downstairs, it seemed, and that was the room in which the voices could be heard.
“Ready?” Remus asked tentatively.
“No,” Henna whispered. Remus smiled, but led her forward all the same. As soon as they entered the room, silence fell. Tension swelled like a bubble just waiting to pop. Henna stepped further into what had to be a kitchen. Windows covered the opposite wall, and Henna thought that might be very dangerous during the daytime.
Sitting around a large wooden table was a crowd of people. Two middle-aged people were standing very close together, and appeared to be a married couple. The woman had soft blond hair, and deep brown eyes. She was rather short and plump. Her cheeks were rosy, and she looked extremely motherly. The man beside her was just the opposite. He was tall and muscular. He had short-cut, balding black hair, and blue eyes that twinkled with hidden mischief.
Next to them was a girl about Henna’s age. She had dark, auburn hair, and the greenest eyes Henna had ever seen. She was very pretty, and kept shooting flirtatious glances at the boy sitting next to her.
That boy was very familiar. He had on glasses, and had messy black hair. It wasn’t hard to tell that the adult man was his father, and the woman must be his mother. Next to him was another familiar face. He was the boy with long, shaggy hair and the devil-may-care attitude. It was that James Potter and Sirius Black!
“Well, hello everybody,” Remus said uncomfortably. Sirius began laughing. Henna took offense to this, thinking he was laughing at her. She glared icily at him.
“Shove off,” she hissed. Everybody’s faces changed immediately. Sirius looked taken aback. He looked to Remus, who shook his head.
“She thinks you were laughing at her,” he explained. Sirius’ eyes widened.
“Hey, no way. I was laughing because Remus is obsessive. Not at you or anything,” he hurried to explain. Nobody moved, and everybody shifted uncomfortably. Nobody was more uncomfortable than Henna, however. Remus cleared his throat.
“This is Henna Davis,” he explained. Everybody shared curious glances. This new information didn’t explain anything. “Henna, I think you already know Sirius and James. That is Lily,” he said, pointing to the red-head sitting next to James. She waved merrily. “And those are James’ parents, Sarah and Sean.” The older couple smiled softly. “I hope you don’t mind if she stays with us for a few weeks.”
“A few weeks!” Henna practically screamed. Everybody in the room jumped in shock.
“Until school starts back up,” Remus explained.
“Yes, and then you can dump me back on the streets having done your good deed for the year. Help the poor little lost girl. You people make me sick. It makes you feel like a good person when you feed a bird doesn’t it? But then the bird starts to rely on you, and then it forgets how to feed itself. After awhile, you get tired of taking care of the bird, and other things start to become more important. You decide that you’ve helped enough, and now the bird should just go about its own life again. You’ve done all you need to do. You’re such a good person now. But then what happens? The bird comes back for food, but the food isn’t there anymore. You quite putting it out! So the bird tries to fend for itself, but it can’t. And so everyday it comes back, praying that you decided to put food out again.
“You think you’re helping but you’re not! You’re killing the bird! You’re going to kill me! You don’t understand, and you never will! Stick to your own shit, and don’t try and screw with mine!”
Nobody said a word after this, and Henna stood there out of breath. Her pain seemed to double then, as did her need for sleep. Her fear took over, and she didn’t know what to do. Why hadn’t she jumped when she’d had the chance?! Now she was stuck, relying on a total stranger. He asked for her trust, but she could never give it. Now he was stealing it, and he wasn’t asking for her permission first. She panted hard, trying to regain her composure. It wasn’t coming, however. She wanted to cry. She wanted to drop to the ground and let the tears come. But no...she had to be strong.
As she thought this her knees connected with hard tile, and strong arms grasped her, stopping the rest of her fall. Her head swam, and darkness consumed her.
Remus paced around, his heart thumping. His mind rang with Henna’s words to him hours ago. Everybody else had muttered that she was too exhausted to know what she was talking about, but Remus knew better. He had made sense out of all the rambling. She didn’t want to trust him because she was afraid that he would get bored with her after awhile. She was afraid to become attached to anybody. For somebody who was all about secrets, she had certainly given away a lot. Though he seemed to be the only one that realized what she was saying. He knew she was wrong...he just had to show her that.
He would never leave her like that...he would never abandon her. It was certain that somebody had done that to her, however. Maybe it was her parents...maybe somebody else. Whoever it was, they must have meant a great deal to her. Finally the bedroom door opened, and Lily came out, sighing deeply.
“Well?” Remus asked anxiously. Lily shook her head.
“I got her to take a bath, and gave her some of my clothes. She hardly ate any of the soup I gave her though. Now she is resting,” she said. “She’s not very friendly.”
“Not at first,” Remus muttered. “Remember how I first was?”
“Yes, but you had an excuse,” Lily admonished.
“Maybe she does too. There is more to this girl than meets the eye, Lily. I have a feeling she’s been through a hell of a lot more than you can imagine,” Remus said. Lily smiled softly.
“You always see the good in people, Remus. I admire that,” then her face hardened again. She shook her head in sadness. “Do you know who hurt her so badly?”
“No,” Remus said thickly. Anger was rising in his chest. “Were you able to heal her?”
“Well, I’m no Madam Pomfrey, but I was able to get most of the cuts and bruises to heal. As for her hands...well they will heal in time. Especially the burnt one. Do you know how that happened?”
“No idea. But I plan to find out,” he said firmly. He moved to open the door. Lily put a hand on his shoulder.
“I have a feeling she needs all the rest she can get,” Lily said, shaking her head. “Did you know she had blonde hair? I didn’t notice at first, through all of the dirt. Just let her be, Remus. You can talk to her when she wakes up,” Lily said. “I hope you’re able to get more out of her than I am. She was quite cold towards me.”
“It’s an act,” Remus assured. Lily shrugged.
“I’ll take your word for it. But for now, I’m going to bed. See you!” she said with a loud yawn.
“Wait! Where are you going to sleep?” Remus asked. “You’ve given her your bed!”
“Oh, it’s no trouble. I don’t mind sleeping on the couch,” she said, shrugging.
“Thanks, Lily,” Remus said meaningfully. Lily nodded sleepily.
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