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Chapter 28 : It Was Never a Secret
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It was December 21st, the day after my Father's funeral. I couldn't help but think of Professor Wilson's funeral, as well. Two funerals in two months weren't what I had been planning for my sixth year.
I got to see Remus the day before, but he didn't look too good. It had been a full moon days prior.
"You didn't have to come, Remus. You should be home, resting," I remembered telling him.
He looked at me and shook his head, feigning good health. "I'm fine, don't worry about me. How are you?"
I told him the truth about how I was doing. He later learned more when I gave a whole big speech about my Father and how he really was a good man deep down. My Father just had a broken heart that wouldn't mend; he was the victim after all, and I learned of his kindness too late.
Sirius was really supportive and always there for me. He made me feel a little better about everything as I sat in his arms.
James's parents planned a Christmas party, and it was to be held at the Potter's house. Only people who were in their sixth year at Hogwarts, the same as all of us, were invited, even if James didn't like them or didn't know them at all. They still got an invitation, automatically sent by Mr. and Mrs. Potter. James, for the majority, didn't mingle with anyone at the parties I'd been to at their vacation home; he'd just hung out with Sirius, Remus, and Peter, and he occasionally tried talking to Lily. That never really happened. This year was fresh and different.
The three of us -- James, Sirius, and I -- sat in the living room, eating sandwiches for lunch. His parents were at work.
"Did you talk to Remus... yesterday?" Sirius was almost afraid to ask if it involved the funeral.
"Yep, he didn't look that great. He said he was okay, though."
"We weren't there for him when he needed us, all because of this stupid party my parents are planning. They wouldn't let me out of the house until we decided on what kind of table cloth to use." James made a face. "As if I care if it's plaid or red or green, or if there even bloody is one at all!" James ranted. "I told them this, and they just laughed."
"We need to get out more," Sirius sighed, sounding like his lungs were deflating.
"What do you have in mind?" I asked in boredom.
Sirius smirked widely. "Shopping for Christmas presents, of course. You know I haven't bought anything for you yet. I'm too cool to buy gifts early."
"I didn't get you anything," I replied with a half-hearted chuckle. "I have no money."
"It's okay. You don't need to get me a gift; I have your love," Sirius said smugly. Then, he sounded hesitant all of a sudden. "Right?"
"Where do babies come from? Why are dragons dangerous? Do you have a boyfriend? Why are there skulls on your shoelaces? Have you ever worn sunglasses? Can a wizard change the weather? Why parts of your hair black and the other parts aren't? How do--"
"Look, kid! I don't even know who you are! Go back to your Mum and Dad," I said harshly to a little boy around six years old. He just walked up to me and stared at me, then shot questions at me. Diagon Alley gets stranger with each visit.
"Could you get any meaner?" Amber asked, walking alongside me. Lily was on my other side. They were searching for the perfect store to enter to buy their friends the perfect gift, me included.
"Yes, I can," I said, readying myself to prove my statement. "You're Mum is so fat, little kids jog around her for exercise!"
"Aww, you hurt my feelings," Amber said in false misery.
"That was the plan!" I said, trying to be cheerful. I had a lot on my mind. Now that I was around Lily again, who was keeping quiet, I wanted to ask her about what Sirius said to her. Would she tell me, though?
"So Lily," I started nonchalantly, "When was the last time you talked to James?"
"School," Lily replied in a subtle dreamy voice.
"You're going to forgive him, aren't you?" Amber asked knowingly.
"Who knows," Lily said vacantly. "I might, considering what Sirius said and all."
"What did Sirius say?" I perked up, straining my neck from the sudden movement.
"Well, he simply told me how James was feeling that night we had a fight. I'm not sure if I should believe him. His story seemed a bit far-fetched..." Lily explained as we entered a store.
"Far-fetched? How? What was far-fetched?" I asked, looking from Lily to Amber to Lily again. Amber already knew because Lily had confided in her.
"Just... all of it?" Lily questioned more than stated. I sighed in irritation.
"Tell me everything!" I said, getting anxious.
"Fine, don't have a cow," Lily laughed, picking a weird-looking object up from a shelf in the store. She immediately set it down because it bit her finger. "Oww! Well, Sirius said that James might've looked angry around me, but he was feeling truly lousy about the argument we had. He also said -- and this is the hard-to-believe part -- that while he was trying to sleep that night, he was staring at a picture of me. One that he supposedly took while he was still my stalker or something. I don't know, when I heard that, I guess I kind of felt better and eased up. Do you think it's the truth?"
I let out a large sigh of relief. Sirius wasn't talking to Lily about me. Or anything else that would make me suspicious. Thank Merlin it was just James.
"Geez, Lily, why didn't you tell me earlier? I felt like you were keeping it from me!" I laughed, still relieved.
"It was never a secret," Lily snapped with a dreamy air about her voice. "So should I forgive him or not?"
"Do you miss him?" Amber asked.
"...Yes," Lily admitted to us and to herself.
"Do you think you love him?" I asked with a small smirk.
"Is that a trick question?" Lily asked, noticing the smirk and the curiosity that lied within my eyes.
"No, just a question to help determine the answer to your dilemma," I shrugged.
"I don't know if love is the word. I care for him, but I don't think I love him... I love you are three of the most precious words you can say to someone that you care about. If you say it to just anybody, someone you don't truly love, the phrase loses its meaning," Lily countered wisely.
"I know," I reminisced, thinking of the time when Sirius said he loved me. Was that the usual teenage love or the type of love that Lily just described? Great, just what I need; something else to have weighing on my mind.
"I think you should definitely forgive him," Amber said brightly. "It's not all the time that you find someone like James to think about."
"Really? Kris, what do you think?" Lily asked eagerly, inquisitiveness shining over her emerald green eyes.
"I agree with Amber one hundred percent," I replied with the slightest vacancy in my voice. I was trying not to drown in my thoughts and memories.
"Okay. Next time I see James, I'll forgive him," Lily concluded, taking a deep breath. Then, she smiled. "Thank you both."
Amber and I nodded as a respond.
"You do know that the next time you see James is probably going to be at his Christmas Party, right?" I looked Lily in the eye.
"Erm, yeah... When is that thing, anyway?" Lily asked, setting the things she was buying onto the counter top to pay. Amber did the same thing and balanced herself on her elbow which was positioned curtly on the counter.
"See, this is why James's parents were so stressed: The party is tomorrow night."
"WHAT?" Lily roared then apologized to the man at the counter. She gave him five galleons to pay for her gifts. "I don't think I can make it! I have no dress, no cookies baked, no hair appointment -- nothing!"
"Come with me to mine. You too, Amber. It will be fun." I smiled for the first real time in a while. "A jolly old time," I said in the deepest voice possible for me, swinging my arm around like an idiot.
"You know what?" Amber inquired as we walked out of the store and thanked the man behind the counter.
"What?" Lily and I both asked in unison.
"That doesn't sound half bad. Let's do it." Amber smiled with glee.
"Okay, good. I'm glad you think my idea isn't 'half bad.' Who would think it was bad, after all? I'm the Brilliant Kris Idea-Suggester Lupin. Coming to a town near you."
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