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Chapter 14 : Fear of Falling
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Blinking stupidly, I tried to retain the information that was just given to me. My first thought was that I was imagining it. I was sure that my mind was playing another one of its famous tricks on me again, those stupid daydreams, just like it always did with Sirius, when he and I talked. But on some level, I knew that what I heard was real, and it made me nervous, so nervous that I started to tug at my wet hair. Through heavy raindrops, I watched him, questioningly. Watching to see if his facial expression would change, but no, he still held a blank look on his face, that wouldn’t give away what he was feeling or thinking. Sirius would often give me that look as well.
Had he meant what he said, though? It didn’t seem that way, at first, for one, he wouldn’t even look at me, only squeezed my hand, gently. Never in my life had I wanted to say something so badly, the silence was killing me, but my throat felt strangely dry, I couldn’t bring myself to speak. I wanted him to repeat himself, reassure me, that he said what he said, and meant every word. I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but quickly snapped it shut when he turned to look at me, his eyes locked with mine, staring at me intently. I sighed, shakily, my heart was racing, he let go of my hand, I felt cold, and he repeated himself. Before I could give him an answer, he interrupted me, saying that I should give it some thought before rejecting him. Then, he turned and left, left me standing alone in the rain to think.
That was almost three days ago, now, I was lying in bed with Madame hovering over me, checking to see if my temperature had gone down or not. I guess standing in the rain all afternoon, wasn’t exactly a good idea, go figure. I spent the first two nights coughing, sneezing, groaning and complaining about how hot and cold I was, in the hospital wing. The next day, I was taken to the Gryffindor tower with the help of James and Peter, Lily and another girl from our house helped me into our dorm. I barely had a chance to think of what I was going to say to Regulus, when I saw him.
“Well,” Madame Pomfrey started, moving away from me, putting her things away, “your fever’s gone, but I would like you to stay in bed, just in case, understood?” she gave me a look that challenged me to say otherwise, I merely nodded. “Now, I’ll be leaving, you get some rest and Miss. Evans-” she looked to the bed next to mine, where Lily was sitting, legs tucked in, hair in a ponytail, with her arms crossed over her chest, “-will be going to class.”
“Yes, Madame Pomfrey,” she said, nodding, rolling her eyes in annoyance, she didn’t like people reminding her of her responsibilities, she once said that it made her feel like a child. Madame Pomfrey, with a quick goodbye, left the room, leaving Lily and I, alone. She stood up and walked towards my bed and sat down on the edge, “how do you feel?” she asked, making herself comfortable.
I shut my eyes and sighed, “Throat’s a bit scratchy,” I admitted, trying to clear it. “My head hurts a little, as well. Other then that, I’d say I feel a hell of a lot better then I did a few days ago.”
She laughed, “that’s good, but I still don’t know what possessed you stay out in that rain for so long, a few days ago. You hate the rain, you said so yourself.”
She had me there; I really didn’t like the rain. I could tolerate it, if I had to, but I hated being caught in it. It didn’t bother me a couple of days ago, though, Regulus had been with me. So it was all right, after awhile, I barely noticed it was raining.
Shrugging, I said, “just needed to think for a bit, I guess, got caught without even realizing it. I didn’t think I would be sick for so long,” I answered half truthfully. I hadn’t told anyone exactly why I was out there or who with. They didn’t need to know.
Lily nodded and stood up quickly from my bed after she glanced down at her watch, “I’m late, again!” she shouted, making a face. “I better go before I get into any more trouble, maybe I can make the second bell,” she grabbed her charms book and her bag and headed for the door. “See you later, okay? Feel better!”
“Bye, Lily!” I managed to shout before she shut the door. Sighing, I pulled my blanket over my shoulders and let my head fall back onto my comfy pillow, from home, already feeling bored out of my mind; this was going to be a long day. I could tell. After staring at the ceiling for a while, my eyelids began to feel heavy, I let sleep take me, who knew, maybe I would feel better after some sleep.
Something brushing against my face woke me up. Thinking it was a fly or some kind of bug, my hand instinctively went to swat it away. When I was satisfied that it was gone, I turned over on my side, snuggling against my pillow, never bothering to open my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. I had been having the best dream of my life, that I could remember, and I intended on getting back to it, one way or another, but again, something brushed against my cheek. Only this time it lingered a little longer. My hand shot up to grab it. It was warm, with skin. I had grabbed a wrist.
Opening my eyes, slowly, I found a pair of hazel ones, staring down at me, uncomfortably close to my face. My eyes widened in surprise, “James Potter!” I shouted, shoving him away as hard as I could. “What the hell are you doing in the girl’s dorm room?” I sat up quickly, pulling the covers with me, trying to cover my pajama top. I thanked Merlin that I wasn’t one of those girls that slept in their bra.
He laughed, clutching his stomach, obviously thinking my behavior amusing, the stupid git, nearly gave me a heart attack! “You should… have seen… the look- the look… on your face!” he continued to laugh as I glared at him. “Man, you sleep like a log, I’ve been trying to wake you for the last ten minutes… and you snore. I can’t wait to tell the guy- hey!” he shouted, after receiving a pillow to the face, “what was that for?”
“For being an ass,” I stated, “what do you think?”
“Actually,” he began, brightly, picking up my pillow and plopping himself on my bed. I scooted over to make room for him, why, I don’t know. “I’m a stag, but you knew that, right?”
“Yes, you’re a regular Bambi,” I sighed, rolling my eyes. “What do you want, James? Shouldn’t you be in class or something and how in the bloody hell did you get into the girls dorm?”
“Whoa, whoa, one question at a time, hellcat, what’s got your knickers in a twist?” he asked, playfully. “Well, to answer your first questions, I wanted to see how you were feeling, Lily said you were getting better, but still felt under the weather…” I nodded. “Secondly, I told old sluggy that I wasn’t feeling well and excused myself to the hospital wing, which of course was a lie and last but not least the greatest question of the day,” he paused for dramatic affect and leaned forward, “how I got up here, is for me to know and for you to never find out.”
Groaning, I fell back, feeling stupid for thinking he was going to share his secret with me. I wanted to know how the hell he did it; I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; he was one of the Marauders. I wondered if the other boys in the group knew. “Fine, now that you know how I’m doing, you can leave!” I said pulling the covers over my head. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying his company; I just wanted to sleep, damn it, Madame Pomfrey’s orders! I felt the bed shift and the room grew quiet, but I didn’t hear the door open, I pushed the covers off and saw him pacing. “You’re still here, didn’t I tell you to leave, what are you doing?”
“I’m just looking around, no harm in that. Besides, it’s not everyday I get to visit the girls dormitory,” he said, going from bed to bed, picking up notebooks, stuffed animals, looking at pictures. The nosy bugger, he then added, “it’s so… girly.”
“It’ll be the last time, I tell you that much, and what do you mean girly?” I asked raising an eyebrow, “it’s the girl’s dorm, what did you expect?”
He shrugged, jumping on Lily’s bed, picking up the frame that held the picture of him and her, hugging, over the holidays and smiled, “I don’t know, thought it might be different,” he put the frame back on the nightstand. “So, are you going to tell me why you were out in the rain, a few days ago?”
“What is it with everybody wanting to know why I was out there?” I asked, shaking my head. “Not that it’s any of your business, but… I was trying to clear my head, think about stuff, you know?”
He nodded, giving me a knowing look, “Sirius and Holly,” he stated. I gave him a look that clearly stated he was treading on dangerous territory and should turn back while he still could, but he simply ignored me and went on. “I’m sorry, I know it hurts to see them together…” he trailed off, a hurt look flickered in his eyes, I could tell he was thinking of Lily, when they were younger, he had gained enough courage to ask her out, but she rejected him and went with another boy, to Hogsmeade instead, but they were young and James was determined, it still didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. He hid pain just as well as I did, if not better.
“Does it get any better?” I asked quietly. I really needed to know, more then his secret way of getting into the girls dorm.
“It depends,” he said solemnly, “everyone deals with heartache differently.”
“Do you think he loves her?” I asked innocently.
“I don’t know, it’s too soon to say, I think,” he stood up from the bed and walked towards me. “I better get going, old Sluggy’s going to be suspicious if I don’t get back soon,” he bent down and kissed the top of my head, ruffling my hair. “Get well soon, kiddo, we miss having you around,” he started for the door.
“Hey, James…?” I called out before he left the room, “say hi to the guys for me, yea? It feels like I haven’t seen them in years.”
Nodding, he half smiled, “no problem, now, get some rest. Hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow,” and with that, he stepped out and shut the door behind him, leaving me alone, once again.
Try as I might, I just couldn’t get back to sleep. It was too quiet and when it was too quiet, my mind liked to wander. It kept going back to the day with Regulus; would it be wrong of me to ask you to be my girlfriend? Was what he said. I remember feeling my eyes go wide, from surprise, for a split second my mind had gone blank, it was the strangest thing. He was asking me to be his girlfriend… and all I could do was gape. Oh yeah, that must have been attractive. Most girls would jump at the chance to be with someone like him, he was dark and mysterious… nothing, like his brother, who was friendly with almost everyone.
… And I like them both. Yes, I finally admitted it, I’m fond of Regulus. I mean, what’s not to like? He’s okay… for a Slytherin, but --
Tap, tap, tap.
-- Ah, I’m probably just being paranoid by even thinking it, but why me? I wasn’t anything special, I admit that too.
Tap, tap, tap.
I sat up and looked over to the window, where the noise was coming from. There was an unfamiliar black feathered owl sitting outside the window, tapping on the glass continuously. Sighing, I stood up to open it. The owl gracefully flew in and dropped a letter he was holding on my bed and went on its way. I guess it wasn’t expecting a response. Shaking my head, I closed the window and picked up the letter, my name was written on the front, in neat cursive writing. Slowly, I opened it; curious about whom it could be from, even though I had an idea.
Was all that was written, but it was enough. I was right. I knew who it was and why they sent it. I just wondered what I would say… Quickly, I got dressed, cleaned my face, combed my hair-- wait, I combed my hair, hah! I know, I know, usually I just put it up in a pony tail, but for some reason I wanted to look… nice… for him.
Without getting caught, I made my way outside, thinking of my answer, I wasn’t ready, but three days had passed, he’d given me enough time, I was just too sick.
It was cold; I crossed my arms over my chest, hoping to warm myself as I walked. I didn’t see him anywhere; maybe I had wasted my time by coming out here. A few minutes passed and there was still no sign of him. Clearing my throat, I decided it was best to go back inside before getting sick again, but just as I turned I saw him approaching me.
“I didn’t think you’d show,” he said, smiling. His hair was ruffled; tie was loose, “I’m glad you did.” I nodded, not knowing what else to say, I just watched him until he was standing a few feet away from me. “How are you feeling? I heard you were sick, thought about visiting you a couple of times, but… I didn’t think your friends would like it, not that I care, just didn’t want to give you any grief.”
He didn’t want to cause any trouble… how strange. “I feel better then I did a few days ago, thank you,” I replied, trying not to act too suspicious of him. It went quiet for a while; it was the same silence from before, right after he asked me…
“So, he began, stuffing his hands into his pockets, “have you given any thought about what I asked you, what I said?”
Of course I did, was what I wanted to say, but instead I lowered my head to my feet and quietly said, “We barely know each other, Regulus--”
“Funny,” he said, chuckling a little, “that’s what you said the last time I saw you. I hoped that if I gave you some time, you’d change your mind…” he said cutting me off, I looked up at him, his facial expression gave away nothing of how he was feeling, but I did notice that the laughter in his voice didn’t reach his eyes.
I sighed, he knew nothing me, save my name, age and which house I belonged to, and expected me to accept, “because it’s true, we barely know each other!”
“But the whole point of being in a relationship, in my opinion,” he exasperated, “is to get to know each other better,” he took a step forward, “or is it that you’re afraid to be with me?”
“I am not afraid,” I stated, frowning, “just a bit suspicious. May I ask you something?” I said, cutting him off from what he wanted to say. He nodded stiffly, “what is it that you want from me?” I asked, bluntly.
He raised an eyebrow, looking genuinely surprised by my question, “what do you mean?”
“There has to be a reason. You want something,” I told him, “Slytherins don’t usually take a liking to Gryffindors, but here you are… What is it that you want fro me?” I repeated.
“Is it so hard to believe that I may actually fancy you, that I’m not as stupid as my brother?” he asked, looking my square in the eyes. “But you’re right, I do want something from you,” he took a step forward, “this--” he slowly leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine, causing me to freeze on the spot. The seconds dragged on slowly, “--is what I wanted,” he said, once he finally pulled away leaving me fuzzy in the head.
I blinked, I knew what he had just done, but… it still didn’t feel quiet real, “I walked right into that one, didn’t I?” I asked still feeling dazed from his kiss. I loved those kinds of kisses, the ones you don’t really expect. The ones that catch you off guard. And, Merlin, did this one catch me off guard.
He gave me a small smile, his hands on my shoulders, “yes, you did, but I’m glad.” His smile vanished from him face in a split second, “so… will you?”
I wanted to say yes, but I couldn’t bring myself to say so, “what if I’m not what you expect?” that terrified me, what if he got bored of me? If I said yes, where would that leave Sirius and me? Would be hate me? Would he think me a betrayer? I don’t think I could live with him hating me…
Slowly, Regulus pressed his lips against me again, “I think you are.”
The kiss was long enough for me to forget who Sirius was for a moment, should I say yes? Was I ready to let him go? He seemed happy enough with Holly, maybe Regulus would make me happy… “Okay, I’ll be- I’ll be your girlfriend.”
Please don’t let this be a mistake; I don’t think I could handle anymore heartache.
A/N: Sorry it ended there, didn't want it to get too mushy, what do you think? Lol, sorry I took so long to update, hope you enjoyed the chapter, btw, I also updated Silent Screams, in case anyone cares. Please review!
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