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Chapter 16 : Burning Bright
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"Get out, Brigid."
"OUT!" screamed Elle.
Brigid, her heart pounding, hurried out of the room.
Elle rounded on Remus and slapped him across the face.
"What the hell was that for?" he yelled.
"Gee, I don't know!" cried Elle. "What the hell was that for?"
"It was just Brigid!" said Remus. "It didn't mean anything!"
"How the hell could you do this to me?"
"Do this to you?" shouted Remus. "What about me? You sure didn't think about me when you were going around with Sirius!"
"Don't you dare-"
"You were practically shagging him on the couch!" cried Remus. "He was going farther than I had!"
"IT'S NOT LIKE I WANTED HIM TO!"
"YOU WERE COMING ON TO HIM, ELLE!" roared Remus.
Elle was so pissed now that she couldn't even think about what she was saying
"I DIDN'T WANT TO!" she screamed. "IT WAS THE FUCKING BINDING CHARM!"
Suddenly, her throat closed and, with a last rasping breath, she fell to the floor.
In the Hospital Wing, Lily gave a sharp cry of pain.
The scar that had faded into her palm was now burning bright red.
Back in her dormitory, Brigid was on her knees, fighting back tears. Her palm was burning.
"What did you do, Elle?" she gasped.
"Elle!" cried Remus, falling to his knees beside her.
He felt for a pulse and although he found one, she wasn't breathing.
"Brigid!" he yelled. "Somebody!"
Then something caught his eye.
An X seemed to burn bright on Elle's palm.
Brigid stumbled down the stairs, and a quick glance told Remus that she had the same thing on her hand.
"We have to get to the Hospital Wing," he said frantically. "Now."
About a half an hour later, the four Marauders and Brigid were sitting in the Hospital Wing with Albus Dumbledore, who was examining them with a twinkle in his eye. He had been called in immediately after Elle had been brought in.
Without asking a single question, he had pulled out his wand a muttered a charm.
His wand glowed red and he placed the tip on the back of Elle's hand. "Miss Mullins, Miss Evans," he said. "If you would."
Lily pushed away her blankets and climbed out of her hospital bed.
With a nervous glance at Brigid, she placed her hand on Dumbledore's wand, followed by Brigid.
An icy feeling filled them, and Lily could have sworn that she saw frost forming on her fingers.
Elle's face, which had been turning blue from lack of oxygen, flushed and, though still unconscious, she began breathing again. Madam Pomfrey had said that she had only been kept alive up until now because of the magic in her blood.
"Now then," said Dumbledore, smiling at them. "Since Miss Insontis's life is no longer in danger, I have to ask you, who placed the Binding Charm?"
Brigid sheepishly raised her hand. "That would be me, sir."
Dumbledore studied her face, and there was a silence until Sirius, unable to restrain himself, blurted out, "What the hell is going on?"
"Language, Mr. Black!" cried Madame Pomfrey.
"Now, now, Poppy," said Dumbledore cheerfully. "I daresay these girls have put them through quite a bit. They have a right to be angry."
"Perhaps," he continued. "Miss Mullins should explain, as she is the only one not bedridden."
Brigid, unable to meet anyone's gaze, mumbled something and then cleared her throat. "Well, er, you see," she said nervously. "When you played that last prank on us, we decided we had had enough. Lily came up with a plan, which was basically to break you all up. I got a tad bit over enthusiastic and, since I was afraid Elle would back out, I put a Binding Charm on it."
"Then things started to go wrong," she continued. "Because we were actually starting to like you."
"Elle tried to tell me," said Remus suddenly.
"Yeah," said Brigid. "And I bet you can guess what happened next."
She looked away guiltily. "I guess we deserved what we got," she mumbled.
"Which is why I'm excusing you from further punishments," said Professor Dumbledore cheerily. "Although you could have come to me at anytime."
He beamed around at all of them. "Now I think that you will find yourself all patched up, Miss Evans," he continued. "You should head back to your dormitories."
"Professor, is it alright if I stay with Elle?" asked Remus quietly.
Dumbledore looked to Madame Pomfrey, who sniffed and said, "I suppose so."
And the others filed out, leaving Remus by Elle's side, stroking her hand.
Elle was having a nice dream. There were no charms gone awry. No hurtful pranks. No stupid mistakes.
Just her and Remus.
A light began to shine in her eyes, pulling her out of sleep. "No," she mumbled.
I don't want to wake up, she thought. I want to go back to my dream, where Remus was.
Elle's blue eyes fluttered open to the immaculate white of Hospital Wing.
Her heart fluttered happily to see Remus sitting beside her, his brow furrowed in worry.
When he saw she was awake, he relaxed and smiled at her.
"I was afraid you'd never come back," he said softly. "It looked like you were having a such a nice dream."
"I'll always come back to you," she whispered, reaching her hand to touch his face.
He bent down and kissed her sweetly.
She kept her arms around his neck, preventing him from pulling away, even if he wanted to. "I love you, Elle," he said. "Always."
James and Lily had started back to the Head's Room after leaving the Hospital Wing.
They hadn't made it there though.
No sooner had Sirius and Brigid disappeared from view, then Lily had grabbed James by the tie and yanked him into the nearest broom closet.
She pushed him up against a wall, kissing him passionately.
When she pulled away, he looked at her with a lopsided grin on his face. "Lily Evans," he whistled.
She licked her lips and smiled at him. She took his hand from her waist and moved it up to her breasts, pushing herself up against him. "Are you ready yet?" she whispered in his ear.
Lily pulled off his robes and then undid his tie. She had never wanted him so bad in her life.
But something felt wrong.
"James," she said, trying to distract him from the buttons on her blouse and the hickey that was forming on her neck. "Are we really going to have sex in a broom closet?"
James pulled away from her and, seeing her flushed, nervous face, mumbled, "I suppose not."
Not that he had any objections to shagging in a broom closet. After all, he'd done it there before.
"We should go make sure that Sirius and Brigid have made up," said Lily reasonably. "Don't want them ripping each other to shreds."
"You're in my chair."
Brigid looked up to find Sirius standing right in front of her. "I know," she said.
Before she could say anything else, Sirius had lifted her up off the chair and sat down with her in his lap. "I take it you're not mad then," said Brigid, giggling nervously.
"Mad?" said Sirius innocently, sliding his hand up her leg. "'Course not. I had to come back for the make-up shag."
"I don't think so," laughed Brigid, smacking his hand away.
"Aw, I never get any fun," whined Sirius.
"You're such a baby," said Brigid.
"Hm, could a baby do this?"
Sirius kissed her passionately, just as Lily and James walked in. "So much for ripping each other to shreds," grumbled James.
"Has Elle come back yet?" asked Lily, hurrying up to them.
"Nope," said Brigid absently, as Sirius kissed her neck.
"Do you have to do that in the common room?" snapped Lily. "There are first years in here!"
"C'mon, Lily," said Sirius. "These kids have to learn sex ed from somewhere."
Lily opened her mouth to retort, just as the portrait hole opened again.
"Elle!" squealed Brigid, struggling to get up from Sirius's lap (he didn't seem to want to let her up).
Elle found herself being attacked by her two friends, both of which were jabbering apologetically.
"Alright," she said wearily. "I'm alright."
Remus pulled her over to an armchair and sat her down on his lap. She snuggled up against him and sighed happily. Thinking the others would be too occupied to notice, she whispered something in Remus's ear.
As Remus and Elle disappeared up the stairs, James muttered to Sirius, "I think you're going to have to add to his mental tally."
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