Chapter 21 : A Rush Of Reality
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Chapter 21: A Rush Of Reality.
Memories suddenly started clouding over James Potter’s thoughts. What was once a spot for clear concise thinking, a place to judge, rationalize, even contemplate, was quickly turning into a slide show of the recent past. Not understanding how his brain could possibly be distracted in this shining moment, he let all thought succumb to his recollections. As if he could help it.
“Oh it went alright. She’s not mad. Just confused. She’s fine now though. I don’t know why she couldn’t talk to you about it though unless…oh. OH MY GOD. I think I just had a revelation (if that’s what they’re called). I’ll tell you later. At lunch.”
It was the note Sirius had written him in one of his classes flashing through his brain. As soon as it had appeared though, it disappeared to be replaced by more memories of the past.
“Wow Evans, you smiled,”
It had been after he had given the flower to Lily at lunch previously that day. He hadn’t noticed it until now, now that the scene was running through his head again. But Lily had pointedly glanced at Remus before she had offered the smile. Made and held eye contact with Remus.
“Hey Evans, are you wearing your black bra today? Or is the lacy one? Or….” Sirius started.’’
Again, after further thought, James finally took into account had awkward Remus had looked and acted after Sirius had said that to Lily. In fact he had left the table. And Lily’s reaction had been no different:
“I just was…well…he didn’t even say goodbye or anything,” she stuttered out.
Why did she get so upset about the fact that Remus didn’t say a personal goodbye to her? No one ever does that.
And then all of a sudden, James’ thoughts swirled once more and he was brought to a different day with different memories.
“I’m scared…about the fact that you can tell right away when something’s bothering me. That you know before anyone else. That you are the one that comes and finds me. That you came even before Remus came’’
What did she mean by that? “..even before Remus came.” Why would Remus be there first? Nothing was making sense. James’ mind suddenly flashed back to a different day. The day they had had the party in the common room.
Remus had come out of their dorm with Lily that night. They had been standing at the top of the stairs together. At first he had just assumed that they had gotten together to stop the party. But no. They had come out of a room together. How long had they been in there? Alone?
And sticking on this train of thought, why had Remus known about the switch. He had known the whole time. That was weird. Since when did Lily have such a close personal friendship with Remus Lupin? He hadn’t seen this coming. And swirling back one last time, James landed on a final memory. This one had been from his last visit to the hospital. The day after Remus’ latest transformation.
“James,” Remus started, “no, there’s no one else in the room, me and Sirius were just having a conversation before you showed up. But it’s alright, we’ll finish it later.”
That was when Sirius and Lily had been in each other’s bodies. That meant that Remus and Lily had been having a conversation that needed to be finished later. What was so important that he, James, couldn’t have been told? And now, looking back, he must have sounded like an idiot. Running in there exclaiming to them both how ‘Lily’ had called him Prongs in the hallway. How stupid he had been. How could he not have noticed until now?
The memories stopped with a screeching halt, sending him back to the world of reality. These memories, which had lasted mere seconds, had told him all he had needed to know. He pulled away from the girl who was kissing him. The girl who had caused so much trouble in his life. The girl who had been at it again.
“Evans, look me in the eyes and tell me that the other guy isn’t Remus,” James said with a pleading look in his eyes.
Lily’s emerald eyes opened wide as she attempted to look into the hazel ones interrogating her. Swarmed with guilt and knowing that it was showing in her eyes, she looked away from James.
James lowered his head and closed his eyes. Relationships weren’t supposed to be this hard. For the first time in his life, he was actually seriously mad at the girl in front of him. The girl of his fantasies. Taking a deep breath he looked back up and saw Lily on the verge of tears. Not caring at the moment, James spoke harshly to her.
“You can’t do this to people, Evans. Pit two best friends against each other. But you know what, I’m not even mad at Remus. You are dating him, right?”
Lily nodded, tears starting to slowly leak down her cheeks.
“Then consider it over between us. I’m rejecting you this time, okay? It’s not a good feeling, is it? I don’t know how I put up with it for so long. Especially to have it lead to something like this. Just…date Remus. But don’t tell him about ‘us’. And don’t cheat on him. He’s one of the best people I know. He deserves you.”
Lily was speechless. How could someone be so loyal to their friend? James wasn’t even mad at Remus.
This is what she wanted though. She wanted all the blame. In fact, she just wanted this to all go away.
“James, I’m sorry. I don’t even know what to say,” Lily said as she watched the person she knew she wanted to be with walk towards the door.
James turned around slowly. Hoping he would say something to make her feel better as he usually did, she stood up and met his sharp gaze. But his eyes were not showing any pity. He was upset. Was he going to cry?
“Does Sirius know? Did he know the whole time?”
Lily was taken aback. Of all things, she had not been expecting that.
“Yes, he’s the only one I told,” and then realizing what saying that might mean she added, “but please don’t be mad at him, James. This is completely my fault. I shouldn’t have led you and Remus both on like that. Don’t fight with Sirius over this, okay?”
But James just turned around and left the room.
And Lily was left alone with tearstained cheeks and a pained heart.
James found Sirius in the hallway.
“Thanks a lot, mate! Look, I’m out. I don’t want to be a marauder anymore. Everything’s too damn messed up,” James said rather loudly as he walked past Sirius.
Sirius, who had been in the middle of a conversation with a couple of guys from their year, could say nothing in response to his friend who had just yelled and stormed away from him. Offering looks of apology to the other boys, Sirius picked up his bag from the floor, threw the banana he had been eating in a nearby garbage bin and ran after his best friend.
Sirius only caught up to James just as he was heading through some big iron doors leading outside.
“Slow down, Prongs. What the hell happened?” Sirius said, catching his breath as they stepped out into the sunlight.
James was walking fast and Sirius was having trouble keeping up with him.
“Oh, now you’ll talk to me. Go away Sirius, I told you I don’t want to be a marauder anymore,” James said rather harshly as he turned left towards a path that they both knew well.
Sirius grabbed James’ arm and stopped his rigorous march.
“Well I’m calling your bluff. And I’m not going away until you tell me why you’ve suddenly taken to yelling at me,” Sirius said equally as harshly.
If there was anyone who knew how to deal with James, it was Sirius.
But James just pulled his arm out of Sirius’ grasp and shook his head. He then turned back around and continued walking in the direction he had been going.
Sirius was just about to follow when something on his right caught his attention. Peter was walking a little distance away with none other then Severus Snape. Absolutely repulsed by this, Sirius made a mental note to stage an intervention with the traitor. But later. He had much more important things to deal with now apparently.
Looking back in front of him, Sirius was shocked to see how far ahead James had already gotten. It was almost like he was running away from him. Still utterly confused, Sirius jogged to catch up with him.
“Honestly, Potter! Don’t make me get my wand out,” Sirius said once he was next to his best friend again.
A split second after he had said this, James had his wand out.
“Sirius I’m not even kidding, leave me alone,” James said rounding on Sirius.
Sirius rolled his eyes.
“What are you going to do? Curse me with a spell that the pair of us made up together? Put your wand away, you idiot,” Sirius said. This wasn’t funny anymore.
James glared at Sirius, but put his wand away nonetheless.
They had reached the place where Sirius had knew they had been heading the whole time. It was the Whomping Willow Tree which had been planted at Hogwarts for Remus. James prodded the secret knot which rendered it motionless and started to climb down the passageway that they knew led to the shrieking shack. As if he would do anything else, Sirius followed, but at a good distance away. He was trying to remember what he had last done to upset his friend. But nothing was coming to mind.
They were almost at the opening to the shrieking shack before Sirius attempted to talk to James again.
“Look, I’m sorry for whatever I did. I know you’re not actually done with the marauders though, Jim,” Sirius said.
They stepped into the shack and Sirius closed the door behind them before rounding on James once more. James seemed to have considerably calmed down.
“I can’t deal with it anymore. But let me at least try to do it by myself,” James said before sitting down on the floor.
Sirius sighed before flopping down on the floor on the opposite side of the room.
“James Potter. Do you seriously not know me at all? After all these years? I know everything about you., mate. And more. We tell each other everything. You know you’re going to end up telling me. Don’t make me get out the veritaserum,” Sirius said. This was getting ridiculous, but he figured if he got angry at James back, it would not help the situation at all.
“We tell each other everything? Then how come you didn’t tell me that Lily was dating Remus?” James said, his eyes wide.
Sirius ran his hands through his hair. Of course this was about the girl.
“Look, in my defense, I didn’t know they were dating. I just knew that she liked him,” Sirius said knowing these words would hold no meaning to his friend though.
James stood up and started pacing.
“You might have clued me in! This is so retarded. I’m in love with the same girl as one of my best friends, you’re keeping secrets from me for the first time ever, and our last marauder is off doing god knows what with the Slytherins! I don’t want to be part of this anymore, don’t you see?” James proclaimed, his voice echoing in the otherwise silent room.
Sirius was silent for a minute.
“All problems that can be fixed,” he started, “First of all, I’m not keeping secrets from you, James. You sound like a five year old. Lily told me that she like you and Remus. What was I supposed to do? If I went to you I would have had to have gone to Mooney as well. Then you would be yelling at him instead of me. Better me,” Sirius finished.
James shrugged before losing all composure.
“He likes Lily. Sirius, this is not good. I was kissing her. Finally, I know. And I rejected her. I rejected her, Padfoot! I told her to go back to Remus. I yelled at the girl I’m in love with and told her to date my best friend. After she finally told me that she liked me back. How is that not messed up?” James said before slouching on the floor once more.
“Yeah, it’s messed up. Give it time, mate. Who knows what Remus will do? Those two are too similar anyways. In my opinion, it won’t last that long,” Sirius said.
There was silence for a long time where the two of them just sat in silence in the dusty room.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. And I’m sorry you had to find out all the stress I was going through at that stupid truth or dare game. And I’m sorry Lily is being horrible lately. And I’m sorry that Remus doesn’t even know. Because if he did, he’d feel so bad, and I don’t want that. But he’s going to be mad, James. If we don’t tell him, he’s going to be mad at us,” Sirius said.
James just nodded his head.
“What I don’t get,” Sirius continued, “is how he likes Lily. He knows you’ve liked her forever. He must already feel bad.”
James just nodded again. He didn’t like how this day had been, and he was feeling pretty helpless at the moment. When he didn’t say anything, Sirius spoke again.
“I know you feel alone, but don’t shut me out. If you quit the marauders, then we all quit. In fact, if you ditch me, I might as well just go home to Grimmauld. And if you want me to grow up to be a ‘noble pure-blood’, then go ahead. Take away the thing that makes life interesting,” Sirius finished.
He liked being dramatic with James. It usually was the only way to get points across.
James laughed. An action that caused Sirius to smile. Finally he was getting through to his friend.
“I wouldn’t let you go back there, Padfoot,” James said.
“Good! Because I wouldn’t be able to guarantee the survival of the house elf for too much longer, ” Sirius said with a huge grin on his face.
“Yeah, Kreacher’s a piece of work, isn’t he?” James said to Sirius.
“Just last year I caught him praying to his ancestor’s heads on the wall. He’s jealous he’s not up there with them yet, I think,” Sirius said nonchalantly.
James laughed and walked over to where Sirius was sitting and offered his had to help him up.
“Look, Siri, thanks for following me. And for threatening me with your wand. Not to mention your return to Grimmauld. And not hating me after I yelled at you,” James said awkwardly.
Sirius took James’ hand and stood up so that he could look into the eyes of his friend.
“I know that it’s easier to get mad at me then at Lily. Or Remus, for that matter. No worries, mate. We’ll figure out how to deal with them later,” Sirius replied.
James then pulled Sirius into a half hug, as manly as they could muster. They then turned around and walked out of the shack together.
“You were totally going to cry if I hadn’t followed you, weren’t you Jimmy?” Sirius teased.
They had just exited the base of the tree and were starting a walk back to Gryffindor tower.
“I wasn’t going to cry, Sirius. Honestly. Marauders don’t cry,” James said with a smile.
“Whatever, mate, you forget that I know you even better then you know yourself. You walked past me in the hallway knowing that I’d follow you, knowing that I’d make everything better, knowing that I would stop you from crying,” Sirius mocked.
“Sirius, shut up. What do you want me to say? That I don’t know what I’d do without you?” James said in-between laughter.
Sirius nodded before turning his head to get the long hair out of his eyes.
“Well that’s a start. If you didn’t have me, you probably would have drowned in the lake already or something,” Sirius said, pointing to the lake as they walked past it.
“Probably,” James agreed, “but without me you’d probably be eaten by the giant squid by now.”
Sirius nodded his approval before turning to a more serious tone.
“But really, Prongs..” Sirius started before being interrupted by James.
“I know, Padfoot. Me too.”
And with that they entered the front doors of the castle.
Ten minutes later, after persuading the portrait of the fat lady to let them into the common room, (apparently Lily and Remus had changed the password again without telling them), James was in a much better mood.
That was until he noticed the two people sitting by the fire.
Lily was sitting in an armchair facing Remus. Similar to before, she had tears running down her face. The conversation did not seem to be going in her favor. It looked like Remus was doing most of the talking, which was unusual in itself.
“Erm…want to go upstairs and play a card game or something?” Sirius asked James trying to avoid any more awkward situations tonight.
James agreed and starting walking up the red stairs towards their dorm room. Sirius offered a smile to Lily’s friend Christina, who was sitting by herself on a couch reading a book, before following his friend.
Upon reaching the top, James turned back to Sirius.
“You can go talk to her if you want, I’ll be fine by myself.”
But Sirius only shook his head before walking around James towards their room on the left. As he reached the handle, he said over his shoulder:
“After what just happened today, I am now officially afraid of girls, mate.”
A/N: By the way, to those of you who read this early, I haven't edited it yet. I literally JUST wrote it and am posting it. I haven't even re-read it. So bear with any mistakes and whatnot. And with that being said..thank you so much for still continuing on with this story! Thanks to everyone who reviewed. You are all very special to me *smiles*.