A/N: Thank you to all of you who reviewed! It means soo much to me!
Chapter 24: New Discoveries and Revelations
As soon as I slid through the solid brick wall to see the billowing scarlet train before me, my heart broke. I had arrived early, only a handful of parents and students were around the train. I dragged my trunk in to the train and walked in to our favorite compartment. I ran my hands over the seat and smiled, reminiscing. Then I remembered Carisma, I wondered how she was doing. Lily and I have not spoken to her since her sister’s misfortune. We had decided to give her some space to mourn.
I jumped in surprise when someone placed their hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see Sirius smiling down at me, “What are you doing?”
“Nothing, just thinking…” I answered softly, “Come on, let’s go outside…” I began to walk out of the compartment then stopped, “Wait, why are you here so early?”
”Well, it does get kind of lonely living alone, you know…” Sirius pouted as I leaned up and kissed him.
“Don’t worry, at least you have me now…” I teased before pulling him outside, in search of Lily or Carisma.
“Don’t worry, at least you have me now…” Jen grinned mischievously and dragged me off the train. I sighed inwardly, she had no idea how badly I wanted her. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. When I’m lying in my bed at night all alone, I begin wishing that she was right next to me, so that I could wake up and see her beautiful face every morning. I couldn’t bear to be far away from her for long. I am attached, I am hooked and I am addicted.
“Where are they?” Jen muttered as she got up on her tip-toes, which to be honest did not help much.
“Do you need help?” I chortled as I watched she craned her neck painfully.
“No,” She muttered crossly, “I know I’m short…you don’t have to rub it in,”
“I’m sorry,” I apologized and embraced her, “Don’t worry, I like you short…”
“I’m trying to think of a time when I haven’t seen the two of you showing unnecessary public displays of affection whenever I run in to you…” A voice said cheekily.
“Prongs…” I greeted without turning around. Jen blushed deeply and looked away.
“Have you seen Lily and Carisma anywhere?” Jen bit her lip anxiously and glanced at her watch.
I lowered her arm, “They’ll come, don’t worry about it, it’s still early,”
“Alright, alright,” Jen exhaled slowly.
“Jen! Sirius! You…” Ten guesses who that was? A fiery red-headed girl strode over to us.
“You? YOU?” James repeated incredulously, “Do I not even get a note of recognition?”
“Do you deserve one?” Lily retorted and rolled her eyes.
“Carisma!” Jen called as Carisma emerged from the throng of students around us.
“Hi,” She croaked, looking ready to break in to tears anytime soon.
Jen placed her arm around her and guided her in to the train, Lily trailing behind.
“Where’s Remus and Peter?” I turned around to face Prongs, who was gaping at Lily.
“OY!” I hollered in to his ear.
“Bugger, what’d you have to do that for?” James winced.
“When certain people don’t listen…” I enunciated.
”I’m sorry, I’m just…” James sighed.
I looked up, “What’s wrong?”
“This is the last year…I really wish she would just give me one chance…” James expressed sadly.
“Maybe she will, mate, maybe she will one day…come on,” I spotted Remus and waved him over. We entered the train and walked over to the girls’ compartment.
Thankfully, the girls were in there chatting quietly, there were no tears or depressed faces. Everyone seemed neutral for once. Remus, James and I cautiously entered the compartment, fearful that we would set Carisma off.
Her reaction was quite the opposite, staring at us with gaped eyebrows, she spoke up, “Are you going to enter or not? I’m not going to bite,”
James, Remus and I exchanged glances and quickly scrambled in to the compartment as Lily and Jen laughed.
“So, what are we talking about?’ I asked as the train lurched forward.
“Just recalling all our memories at Hogwarts,” Jen replied miserably. I nodded understandingly; Hogwarts had been my sanctuary for the past six years, to hide from my pureblood-crazed parents and brother. I had considered it my real home, the only place where I had actually felt affection. I laced my fingers through Jen’s and watched the smile light up on her face. Now that I had her, my life is complete.
“LET THE FEAST BEGIN!” Professor Dumbledore roared as everyone cheered.
As I was spooning some carrots on to my plate, I looked up to see Lily sneaking glances over at James, who was twirling his fork around miserably.
“What are you looking at?” Sirius leaned over.
“Oh, nothing…” I hastily picked up my spoon and continued to eat. Out of the corner of my eye, I continued to observe Lily carefully, as she would look over at James every minute or two. I stared pointedly at Carisma to catch her attention, however, she seemed to preoccupied with her dinner as she wolfed down plate after plate.
“Do you think she’s really that hungry or is it just a symptom of depression?” Sirius whispered in my ear.
“I think she’s just sad,” It was heartbreaking to see Carisma act this way. She was usually lively, jumping up and down, making everyone around her laugh. It wasn’t normal seeing her this way.
Back at the common room, all of us gathered around the fire. Seeing as we were 7th years, we had the privilege of dominating the comfortable armchairs and sofas around the fireplace. I laid my head on Sirius’s shoulder and looked over at Lily. She was staring intently in to the fire, deep in thought. Startled, I lifted my head in surprise. Lily had snuck another glance at James once again, who was talking to Remus on the side. I looked over at Carisma, who seemed to have noticed something too.
I mouthed, “Did you see it too?”
Carisma nodded in shock. As Carisma and I communicated soundlessly, we had not noticed that the entire group had begun to stare at us.
“OH would you two speak up already? It’s not fun to strain your neck like this, you know?” James cried.
Carisma and I jumped up guiltily and grinned awkwardly, “Sorry,”
Lily crawled over to us, “What were you talking about?”
“Nothing,” Carisma and I chorused hastily.
Lily eyed us suspiciously before turning away. That night, when the both of us had made sure that Lily was fast asleep, Carisma and I snuck downstairs to the common room in our pajamas and crawled on to the snug sofas to talk.
“Did you notice her at dinner?” I fiddled with the pillow’s fraying material unconsciously.
“No, but wow…so has something been going on that I don’t know about?” Carisma inquired.
I shook my head, “If there was, I wouldn’t be here would I?”
Carisma shrugged, “How could she not tell us?”
“I don’t know…let’s just give her some space, she’ll tell us when it’s time…” I remarked.
Carisma nodded, “I guess so, come on, let’s go to bed, I’m rather tired from the train ride,”
“How are you holding up?” I asked as we walked up the stairs to the girls’ dorm.
“Better…much better,” Carisma forced a feeble smile as I placed a comforting arm around her.
* * *
“I am ready to kill myself…any minute now,” Carisma yawned as the Professor continued to drone on about goblins.
“Shh, pay attention,” I hissed.
“Have you turned in to Lily now?” Carisma stared at me open-mouthed in shock.
Both of us glanced over at Lily, surprised to see that she was once again shooting glances at James, who for the first time ever, seemed oblivious to it as his eyelids drooped lower and lower until they completely closed. He let out a snore and the whole class burst out laughing.
“Mr. Potter?” The Professor called.
”Yes?” He spoke up automatically.
“Did you just…snore?” The Professor’s dark beady eyes bore in to his.
“OH no…of course not, I’m sick you see…can’t breathe quite properly,” James lied convincingly as the Professor brushed it off and continued to lecture.
That night, when all of us were in the common room catching up on last minute homework, Carisma crawled towards Lily and settled next to her. Lily placed her book down gently and eyed her suspiciously, “What do you want?”
“I just wanted to say that if you ever…EVER…need to tell us,” Carisma gestured towards me, “anything, ANYTHING at all, it’s okay…we’ll always be here for you,” Carisma nodded as she placed her hand on Lily’s shoulder. I shook my head and slammed my head against my book. So much for subtlety.
“Jen, are you trying to get a head concussion?” Sirius pounced on to the sofa and leaned in near me.
“No, I’m fine…” I reassured him.
“Come with me…” Sirius murmured near me. I pursed my lips and raised my eyebrows.
“Come on,” He grinned cheekily as he held out his hand for me to take.
Still doubtful, I took it and he gently pulled me out of the common room.
“Where are we going?” My voice echoed through the empty hallways.
“You’ll see,” He reported.
Hand in hand, Sirius led me towards the Astronomy Tower. Once we had reached the top, Sirius shuffled his feet uneasily in front of me as I leaned against the balcony stone wall.
“So, why’d you bring me up here?” I queried, enjoying the cool breeze that grazed my face ever so softly.
Sirius gradually strolled towards me and wrapped his arms around me, “I have to tell you something that you are probably not going to like,”
My heart sunk. Everything that he had done to hurt me came flooding back. My heart twisted in pain as I turned away so that he wouldn’t be able to see the hurt in my eyes.
I had to tell her. I couldn’t bear to go on with this. She looked away, afraid to hear what I was about to reveal. Soothingly, I lifted her chin and smiled, “Close your eyes…” Reluctantly, she shut her eyes. After giving her a small peck on the lips, I backed away and made my transformation.
I let out a bark and her eyes flew open. A smile grew on her face, “Hey! I haven’t seen you in ages,” She patted my head and looked around, “Where is he? Sirius? SIRIUS?” I barked louder in response.
“Shh, I’m trying to find him…is this his big secret? That you’re his dog? Well, that’s no surprise now…” Jen scoffed as she peered around the corners, desperately trying to catch a glimpse of me hiding somewhere. Finally, with no other options left, I transformed directly in front of her. Shocked, she let out a strangled scream as she backed away.
“It’s me,” I announced.
“Yes, I can tell…” She managed to cough out.
“I’m really sorry I didn’t tell you sooner…are you—” I trailed off.
“I don’t know,” She answered, still staring at me wide-eyed, “I just…can’t believe this…”
A few minutes of silence passed by, “YOU’RE THE DOG!?” She screeched a little while later. I nodded guiltily as Jen stood up, shaking her head in disbelief.
“Jen, please don’t leave…” I pleaded as I grabbed her arm.
“I’m just…I just need some time to…” Jen was at a loss of words as she stuttered, “I’ll talk to you later,” With that, she darted out of the Astronomy Tower and down the winding stairs. I sighed and slid down on to the cold stone floor. Great mess you’ve gotten yourself in to, Padfoot, great mess…
I rushed back to the common room and up to the girls’ dormitory. Slamming the door behind me, I jumped on to my bed and closed the hangings tightly. Hugging my pillow tightly, I tried to comprehend and register what Sirius had just said. My emotions were running high, the problem was I didn’t know exactly how I was feeling. Was I mad? Was I depressed? Was I relieved? I don’t know…I buried my head in my pillow and decided that I would figure it all out tomorrow.
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