image by Anatkh
"Look," said Brigid. "The paper's nearly all gold. It has to start today."
"We'll have to choose who goes first," said Elle, quietly.
The three looked nervously at each other and Lily pulled out her wand. "Exigo
," she muttered.
Her wand levitated upwards in her hand and began spinning quickly. After a few minutes, it began to slow down until its point rested on Elle.
She drew in a shaky breath and looked around at her friends. "You go after Sirius, remember?" said Lily.
Elle nodded silently and looked warily at Brigid, who was avoiding eye contact. "Don't worry about me, Elle," she said softly. "I got us into this and now we all have to pay the price. You do what you have to do."
Lily and Brigid threw themselves at her in a supportive hug.
"You can do it, Elle," said Lily. "Go on."
With one last look at her friends, she left Brigid's room and headed downstairs.
"Sirius Black, what are you doing up at ten o'clock while on holiday?"
"Going after the leftover cake, no doubt," said Mrs. Potter, trying hard to hide a smile. "Just try to leave some, alright, dear? And when everyone else wakes up, tell them that Mr. Potter and I will be out for the day."
"Right," said Sirius, grinning at her.
"Now go get your cake!" she said, shooing him towards the kitchen.
Elle heard the kitchen door and prayed that it wasn't Remus. She had assumed that the best place to find Sirius was the kitchen, and turned to see that she was right.
He grinned cheekily at her and said, "Morning, Elle. You hungry, too?"
With a large lump in her throat, she nodded. I have no idea what to do
, she thought frantically.
Suddenly, the kitchen door swung open again. "Good morning, Sirius, Elle," said Peter cheerfully. "Were you going to get some of that cake?"
Sirius nodded and uncovered the enormous chocolate cake that the house elves had baked for the night before. He served them each a piece and they ate in silence.
When Elle finished, she stood up and said, "I think I'm going back to bed. I'm still pretty tired."
"Suit yourself," said Sirius, stifling a huge yawn.
"What happened?" asked Brigid anxiously, as Elle collapsed on her bed.
"Nothing," said Elle. "Peter walked in before I could do anything."
She heaved herself off of Brigid's bed and began to walk toward her own room.
"Where you going?" called Brigid.
"Back to bed!"
"Elle?" called Lily. "It's time for dinner."
Elle jumped awake. "Sorry," she mumbled. "Didn't realize I'd slept that long."
Dinner seemed to last forever and it was absolute torture. Elle felt jittery whenever Remus or Sirius spoke to her and once, when she was passing the butter to Sirius, her hands trembled so badly that it dropped from her hands and smashed on the table.
After dinner, Elle watched as Lily and Brigid announced that they were going to call it an early night, and, kissing James and Sirius goodnight, hurried upstairs.
"I'm going to head up, too," said Remus, kissing her. "Got to write home. I'll see you when I'm done, though."
Elle nodded and watched him head up to his room. "You going?" James asked Sirius.
"Nah," said Sirius. "I promised Wormtail a game of chess."
"What about you, Elle?"
Elle smiled and said, "Yeah. If Remus wants me, I'm going to be in my room."
She hurried upstairs to her room. When Peter goes up
, she thought. Then I'll do it
About a half an hour later, she heard someone shuffling downstairs. "Lily!" she called.
Lily appeared in the doorway. "Sirius is down there in the living room," said Elle. "If Remus comes to find me, send...send him down there."
Lily nodded and rushed forward to hug her. "If he really loves you," she whispered fiercely. "He'll forgive you in the end"
Elle said nothing, but made her way downstairs, with a lump in her throat.
Sirius was standing by the fire, jabbing it with a poker. He was far too awake to go to bed.
He jumped when he heard the door open, turning quickly.
"Oh, hey, Elle," he said, going back to the fire.
Elle tried hard to keep the butterflies in her stomach still. Stop being a ninny
, she told herself.
"Sirius, I've been meaning to talk to you," she said, moving closer.
He grinned at her. "'Bout what?" he asked. "Remus?"
She was very close to him now. "No," she said quietly. "You."
Suddenly, she flung herself at him, kissing him in a way that Sirius wouldn't have expected from such a shy, quiet girl.
Somewhere in Sirius's brain, a red flag went off, telling him how wrong this was. But he was a teenage boy full of hormones and couldn't help himself.
His hands groped upward and began to undo her blouse. Let him
! Elle thought, as she began to panic. Don't screw up
Her shirt half undone, Elle pulled Sirius down with her onto the couch. One hand supporting himself over her, the other moving over her breasts, she could feel him getting hard on her. Oh my God
, thought Elle, completely panicking. I can't believe I'm doing this
Suddenly, the door opened, and Remus Lupin entered saying, "Elle? Lily told me you'd be in-"
He stopped in his tracks. It was not a pretty sight. Elle was laying on the couch with Sirius basically on top of her. Her shirt was undone and Sirius's hand was on her, and, to top it all off, it was impossible to mistake the bulge in his pants.
"What the hell
is going on?" asked Remus angrily.
"I, uh," said Sirius looking guilty. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" roared Remus. "Nothing
Elle cringed at each word and wished that Sirius would get off her.
Her wish was granted, as Remus moved forward and threw Sirius to the ground. "What the hell is the matter with you?" he yelled at Sirius. His normally kind expression was contorted in fury. "Elle, button your goddamn shirt!"
Elle, her eyes filling with tears, fumbled with the buttons on her blouse. "How dare you?" he growled at Sirius. "You call yourself my friend
"Oh, so it's all my fault, then, is it?" Sirius, who had gotten up from the floor by now, hollered back. "Not my fault if your girlfriend throws herself at me! Maybe you just don't give her enough! Or maybe she's just a tramp! Why don't you-"
But whatever Sirius thought Remus should do was cut short by a crack, as Remus punched him in the jaw. Elle looked on horrified. "Remus, stop," she pleaded. "Please."
He looked at her with his eyes full of hurt. "Get out, Elle," he said. "Now."
Elle burst into sobs and ran from the room, as Sirius began shouting again.
"Lily!" cried Brigid. "Look!"
She pointed at the now faded gold paper. The words, once written in bold black, had grown fainter than the night before.
Lily ran to the door and yanked it open.
The halls echoed with two male voices, each yelling at the top of their lungs.
"Elle!" cried Lily, seeing her friend dash up the stairs and towards her room. She tried to grab her by the arms.
"Leave me alone!" screamed Elle, pushing Lily away.
She ran into her room and slammed the door behind her.
Lily winced as she heard James's voice calling to the other two to stop. Their voices quieted down to a low murmur, with the occasional loud outburst.
Elle lay in her room, listening to the voices yell obscenities at each other. Finally, it all grew quiet and she heard two doors slam.
Someone had not gone to bed.
Elle felt as though her heart was breaking, the pain was so horrible.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she lay awake, listening to the awful silence that had followed.