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Chapter 11 : Ponderings and Denial
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Chapter Eleven, Ponderings and Denial
Alcyone yawned, opening her eyes slightly to see the clock. Ah…five thirty. It was at least an hour before she had to get up. She rolled to her side and took a quick look at the other beds. Hangings pushed back as usual, everybody was fast asleep. Her eyes traveled over Dorcas’ brown curls tucked behind her ear, Lily’s catlike sleeping position, Aella almost falling out of her bed, and Hillary, Margaret, and Katy, the three other girls in the room. Satisfied, she turned onto her back and closed her eyes, feeling the warm sunshine play lightly on her face.
Her thoughts drifted to her friends, and as they did so often now… to Sirius and Regulus. A small smile lifted the corners of her mouth.
Sirius…she thought of him with a feeling she couldn’t put into words. Solid…reliable…fun…he was certainly the best friend she could possibly ask for.
I trust him.
More than Regulus? A voice in her head piped up. Did she trust Regulus?
His face appeared in her mind’s eye. The simple sentence from their meeting in the Room of Requirement sounded in her ear as if he were there.
“You understand, right?”
Well….no, she didn’t. It had been weeks since she had “forgiven” him and moved on, but she didn’t know if she truly had forgiven him.
What he did…
It was possible that her hurt at the time of their separation was a bit too much to be forgiven so easily, although their friendship progressed quite speedily and happily regardless.
She bit her lip. Perhaps it had grown too speedily.
“Alcyone, you’re an angel!” Regulus lifted her off her feet to spin her in the air.
“I’m rather afraid that helping you with a bit of homework doesn’t bring to me to angel status, Regulus,” she said laughingly. “Besides, every rose has thorns.”
He smiled up at her…the charm in the expression melted her heart.
“Then I was wrong - you’re not a rose…you’re something far better.”
Alcyone pounded the pillow angrily.
Even now, when she questioned him, the sweetness of moments like these flooded her mind.
Why couldn’t she stop thinking about him?
Alcyone sat straight up in bed with a jolt.
Did she honestly like Regulus?
No. The very idea was impossible. Feeling slightly relieved, she lay back down in bed and closed her eyes.
His face came into view, closer, and closer, until their eyelashes could have brushed. Her pulse quickened. Slowly, his mouth lowered until they came in contact with her lips. His hand slipped to her back, steadying her, as she swayed slightly, feeling so light she could have floated…
Her eyes snapped open.
She had not just dreamed of Regulus kissing her.
Oh damn. Maybe she hadn’t been wrong after all.
“Let me get this right…you have a crush on Regulus?!” Aella looked at her smiling dark-haired friend in disbelief.
“Come on…if you don’t believe me, nobody will.”
Aella continued to mouth wordlessly in surprise.
“Very,” Dorcas said wryly. “But not unhappy.”
“I knew it,” Aella chimed in. She was apparently back to normal. “You smile every time he’s mentioned.”
Dorcas rolled her eyes.
“And yet you looked like my cat after a collection of rubbish bins fall on her. Absolutely shell-shocked.”
Aella gasped. “I did not!”
Leaving her friends to bicker, Alcyone looked at Lily, whose face was thoughtful.
“You haven’t said anything yet, Lil,” she said rather uncertainly. “You’re not…angry…are you?”
Lily finally seemed to pull herself together.
“No, no, of course not.” She smiled. “I was just thinking.”
Glancing at the clock, she jumped. “We only have three minutes until class starts!”
Next to her, Lily heard a yell of panic as the four scrambled for quills, books, and homework and dashed out the door.
“Why didn’t you tell us earlier?” Alcyone panted as they sprinted to Charms.
“I didn’t know!” Lily gasped as she skidded in front of the door just as Professor Flitwick entered the room. It was a white lie, but Lily didn’t particularly care.
Breathing deeply, they slipped into empty seats, and feeling slightly calmer, began to take notes.
The usual gaggle of younger Gryffindors seemed to take forever to go to bed this particular night, as Lily waited for the common room to clear. The book she had been reading to pass the time, Fifi LaFolle’s Enchanted Encounters lay on the table, long-forgotten. She was bored and impatient.
When the last pack of lingering students left for the dormitories, yawning, it was late. Standing up, she searched the few remaining students, until she finally found who she was looking for.
Lily sighed as she saw Sirius sitting in a corner with the Marauders, and, walking over, resigned herself to the worst.
“Sirius…could I talk to you?”
Sirius looked up from whatever they were doing.
“I’m a bit busy here, Evans,” he replied coolly. They hadn’t talked since their fight in Hogsmeade.
Lily ground her teeth and prayed that she wouldn’t lose her temper.
“Please…it’s about Alcyone.”
The reaction was immediate. It was as if she had dropped a bomb-shell.
Every face was turned to her anxiously except for Sirius’ and Lily noted that even he had displayed emotion for a fraction of a second.
“What is it?” Sirius looked unconcerned; indeed, he continued scrawling on the parchment in front of him, but Lily saw the slight tremble in how he held his quill.
“You know – about Regulus…” she began tentatively.
“Yes?” James prodded.
“Well…” Quickly she told them of the growing feelings Alcyone had disclosed, of her own doubt of Regulus, and the fear she had of Regulus playing her friend.
“Does she really like him? More than just a regular crush?” Remus asked.
“Yes. That’s what the scary thing is - it’s a strong attachment.” Lily bit her lip. “I just don’t trust Regulus. He left her alone for three months and then suddenly comes back with winsome smiles and promises? I don’t like it…I don’t like it at all.”
“Hmm…” James frowned. “That is suspicious. But I don’t get it…why would he do that?”
Lily looked at Sirius. He had remained silent since she had started talking.
“Why are you telling me this?”
Lily recoiled in shock.
“Why is this my problem?” Sirius said angrily. “If Alcyone chooses to hang around people like Regulus, fawning all over him, what am I supposed to do about it?”
James, Peter, and Remus were stunned.
“You don’t mean that…you’re just denying it…” Lily stuttered.
“I damn well do mean it.” Sirius stood up and headed to the stairs. “You lot can do whatever you want. Count me out.”
Without a backward glance, he marched up to the boys’ dormitory.
An astounded silence fell behind him.
Sirius slammed the door to the room shut, moving to his bed, and yanking the hangings around it so that his cubicle was completely covered.
So Alcyone had fallen for Regulus. Sitting there, on his bed, the world seemed to have crumbled into pieces around him. Sirius could almost hear it shatter like glass.
Well…it wasn’t as if he hadn’t seen it coming. And a relationship would undoubtedly be the next step. Regulus would not turn her away…indeed, Sirius couldn’t fathom the type of man that could.
For the thousandth time, he wished he didn’t care. He desperately wanted the news to mean nothing to him, to be just one more piece of gossip.
That he cared was his problem.
Faintly, he heard the other Marauders coming up to bed. None of them attempted to engage him in conversation, something he was glad of.
Soon, Peter’s gentle snoring, James’ deep breathing, and Remus’ soundless sleep filled the room.
Only Sirius remained awake the entire night.
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