Chapter 28 : Chapter 28: Vicious Cycle
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“What?! Why didn’t you tell me sooner?!”
Sirius and Amberle were making their way back to the common room that night and Sirius decided to break the news to Amberle about Remus’ condition haven briefly discussed it with his friend the day before. They all agreed the girls had to know if they were going to be hanging around much longer…something Sirius was shifty about.
“I couldn’t. Moony made us promise,” Sirius shrugged as they walked on.
Amberle glared suspiciously. Moony? She’d been listening to that nickname for a few years but now it sounded different, like there was more to it than just a strange prank gone wrong or something. But she shoved that aside for the moment, she had bigger fish to fry. One that went by the name of Sirius Black to begin with.
“I can’t believe you kept this secret from me for so long,” she grumbled. They’d been going out, what, three or four months? Had it just slipped his mind?!
“Hey you can’t lecture me about keeping secrets, missy,” Sirius said. “You do it all the time.”
“Like when?” she demanded. “That stupid thing about not dating you guys wasn’t a secret, it was like a pact.”
“Well then, think of this as our pact,” Sirius said with a shrug, not wanting to get into the politics and technicalities that coated this subject. It was sticky enough as it was without dragging up all those little details.
Amberle said nothing in return, just muttered a quiet “Yeah right” before falling silent in thought. How come she’d never known this before? Forget the whole “it was a secret” stuff, how come she’d never guessed?! She wasn’t usually this slow on the uptake, and now that she thought over all the suspicious things the Marauders always did she couldn’t believe she’d never thought of it. It seemed so obvious now.
But yet it was still so unbelievable. Remus? A werewolf? He just…He wasn’t…He was too nice! Poor Remus, she kept thinking. Going through that horrible ordeal every month with no one but the other Marauders to turn to, keeping his real life a secret from the rest of the world. It wasn’t fair, he didn’t deserve that!
“Does anyone else know?” she asked eventually when they were further down the mercifully empty corridor. Now would not be the time for nosy first years to be wandering around.
“Well, up until I told you the only other person who knew about it was Lily. Which is fairly obvious ‘cause James is woeful at-…” Sirius cut off mid sentence seeing the murderous look on Amberle’s face.
“LILY! She got to know before me?” she cried indignantly. This wasn’t fair!
Sirius looked a little uneasy. “Yeah well, you’ll have to take that one up with Prongs. He wasn’t supposed to tell her, but you know completely useless he is when it comes to Lily. He blabbed almost straight away after the first full moon they were together.”
Sirius expected another rant from Amberle about how irrelevant his argument was, it was what she did best after all, but instead there was silence. He tuned around puzzled to find that she wasn’t even beside him anymore. She was standing a few paces behind him, shock still with a horror struck look on her face.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before, Amb. But Remus made us promise. I-” Sirius tried, mistaking her look for one of dismay of his implying James’ relationship with Lily was stronger than theirs.
But that wasn’t it.
When she failed to say anything, Sirius walked back to her side. “What’s up, Am? It’s not really that bad. Moony’s getting used to it, and-”
“Does Gabriella know?” Amberle said in a hoarse whisper, cutting him off immediately as his stomach plummeted. Now the strange look he’d seen on his friend’s face made a whole load more sense.
But not the good kind.
Amberle turned and sprinted back in the direction they’d already come, Sirius only a step behind her. Amberle’s mind was racing, speeding through any number of scenes that could be waiting for her back in the common room. The one she was rooting for involved Gabriella and Remus sitting comfortably together as before with her friend none the wiser of her boyfriend’s condition.
Because Amberle knew Gabriella Frost well enough to know exactly how she would react to the news, given the recent death of her mother.
“Oh please. Merlin, please, please, please,” she begged as she ran, cursing herself for getting so wrapped up in Sirius once more that she’d wandered this far without noticing. She had to get there before Remus said it…
A few minutes later the couple reached the Gryffindor portrait hole, speaking the password hurriedly and launching themselves through the hole, almost breathless by this stage.
What awaited them inside was the total opposite of what Amberle had been hoping for.
Remus sat on the sofa, head in his hands and as unmoving as something made of marble. The few people that still remained in the room were casting pitiful, fear-filled looks at the sandy haired Marauder.
Amberle approached him slowly, looking over her shoulder to make sure Sirius was with her which he was, standing just one step behind her and looking at his friend with big sad eyes.
“Remus?” she said cautiously. “Are you ok?”
Lupin lifted his head very slowly, as if his head weighed ten times what it usually did. His eyes were wide, his face pale and his lips set in the saddest line Amberle could ever imagine. Looking at him was enough to send someone to tears.
“She’s right…I’m a monster,” he said so quietly Amberle barely caught it.
“Did you tell Gabriella?” Amberle asked. “Please, Remus, what happened?” she pressed as Remus turned his head away.
“She…she ran away,” Remus muttered miserably before standing up and rushing from the room towards the dormitories. Amberle looked around desperately at Sirius who was staring up the staircase with a resigned look on his face.
This would be a long night.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said, kissing him quickly on the cheek before dashing up the opposite set of stairs to search out Gabriella. From the little Remus had said, it looked like she hadn’t taken his secret all that well.
Sirius nodded and watched her leave, contemplating a little longer what he could possibly say to Remus to make this better.
“Is everything ok, Sirius?” a feminine voice said from behind his right shoulder. He looked around, hoping to see Lily standing there with James. But it was a blonde sixth year girl by the name of Sarah Smith that was smiling sympathetically at him. “Is there something I can do to help?”
Sirius knew very well that she offer didn’t just stop at helping him with Remus’ problem. A part of him, he was somewhat appalled to find, was ready to turn around and possibly take her up on the offer (whichever one she liked) and forget his worries for a while.
But after glancing up the stairs once more, he sighed.
“Not right now,” he said, and mounted the fourteen steps with a heavy heart.
“Is she alright?”
James looked up and asked the question as Lily materialised in front of him from underneath his invisibility cloak.
“I don’t really know,” Lily said with a sad sigh, folding up the cloak and laying it on the armchair before joining James on the sofa. Settling in against him, she relayed the story of what had happened between their two friends that evening, her voice laden with regret.
“Poor Remus, he must feel so awful,” she said. “But Gabby was just so stunned, she hasn’t been coping well since her...well, you know. I hope she’ll come around. She really does love him. If things had been different, I don’t think she’d have reacted that way.”
If things had been different. James couldn’t argue with that. If some things had of been different, if a few details had been changed, then things wouldn’t be like this.
Too much was changing. He couldn’t handle it, no one seemed to be able to.
“Did you see Remus?” Lily asked a few moments later when James didn’t volunteer a comment. Not that she had expected him to launch into full blown conversation, he hadn’t done that in a long time. In fact, he hadn’t done many of the things he usually did lately. Like now, for instance, he wasn’t even cuddling against her. They were just holding hands.
Sirius had stuck his head into the Head common room earlier in the evening stating quickly; “Moony told her. You’ve gotta come and calm him down, Prongs”, before disappearing just as quickly. James had jumped up almost immediately, his quickest reaction in weeks and Lily following him out the hole. Hours later he had returned after Remus eventually falling asleep, but Lily was only getting back now.
“Yeah,” James said. “He wasn’t doing too good.”
“I’m sure Gabby didn’t mean what she said,” Lily said in a sad but fearful whisper. Gabriella was one of her closest friends, one who’d never ever deliberately hurt anyone. But then again; grief did strange things to people.
She only hoped the mistakes could be reversed.
“No, I’m sure she didn’t,” James agreed, staring into the fire once more as he’d done so often before. It seemed to be the best place to look when he felt that unbearable drowning feeling; the constant flicker of the flames acting like the thoughts and emotions in his head.
Neither could be controlled.
Lily stared at James sadly, not knowing what else she could do to try and help him. He wasn’t the same James she’d fallen in love with this year. She knew he was still there, but he was buried underneath all this pain that just wouldn’t seem to budge, the weight too much for her to lift all by herself.
And now with Gabriella so torn to shreds, she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to.
It was a crushing thing, to watch the people you love fall to pieces around you and not be able to do a thing about it. But she knew James would come back to her eventually, there wasn’t a doubt in her mind. He was far too strong to let himself be swallowed by this for his life time. And she would be there when he turned back to his normal path.
“I love you, James. You know that, right?” she whispered softly, what seemed like a lifetime later. She didn’t like to interrupt these silent moments, especially since they both had so much to think about. But, then again, too much thinking can be just as bad as no thinking at all. It was the vicious circle of life. No way around but to follow it.
Lily was more than a little apprehensive when James stayed silent, hardly moving at all now and the hand she clung to as stiff as marble. Her heart thumped in a painful way as worry filled her. Was there something wrong? Were the side effects to that curse longer lasting than people thought? His eyes looked glazed and expressionless, just as they had those times before he’d passed out.
“James? Are you ok?” she asked, shifting forward so she could look at his face properly. But James moved his head to stare in the opposite direction, avoiding her gaze.
“We need to talk, Lily.”
Lily’s face took on an extra expression of confusion. Something definitely wasn’t right with him. Should she bring him to Madam Pomfrey straight away?
“What’s wrong, James?” asked Lily, concern leaking from her voice. “Will you look at me? Tell me what’s wrong, please?”
James turned slowly again to face her, and Lily’s stomach didn’t settle when she could finally look into his eyes. They were dark, clouded over like they had been on the day of the funeral she remembered.
“You were right about me,” he said simply.
This explaining very little to her, Lily asked; “Right about what, James? Will you please just tell me what’s going on? I’m trying to help you! Do you feel dizzy? Sore? Anything?” she asked him desperately, fear blocking her out rational thought.
But James didn’t seem to take notice. “Right about me, about why I went after you all those years. It was a challenge for me, something that didn’t come easily. So I wanted it. But now that I’ve got it, I think we should just leave it there.”
Lily’s face blanched, her stomach evaporated and her heart fell like a house of bricks. What was he saying? It sounded ridiculous!
“You don’t mean that, James,” she pushed aside. “I think you need to see Madam Pomfrey. We should go now.”
“No. I mean it.” His voice was blank, like it was coming from a robot.
“No you don’t, you can’t possibly. You’re upset, James, I know that. But you don’t have to do this. I love you, you know that. And you love me, you‘ve said so a million times,” she said, trying to stay calm in the face of his apparent lack of personality.
“I had to say something to get you to believe me. But it’s over now, the time is up, Evans.”
Lily’s breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t remember how to breath, how it was necessary for her heart to beat. She couldn’t even think straight.
And it wasn’t his words. She hardly took in what he said, they were like a fly just buzzing in her ear.
It was his eyes. His expression. The complete and utter lack of any love for her. There wasn’t even a hint of romantic feeling displayed there.
Just utter contempt for her refusal to listen to him, to not just accept it and move on.
Lily didn’t move, trying to wrap her mind around what was happening. He was dumping her, just up and leaving out of the blue. She hadn’t seen it coming, had thought his weird behaviour around her to just be his hurt over losing his family.
James didn’t do things like this, not to her. But his cold-hearted, blunt, emotionless creature wasn’t James. Not her James.
But apparently no type of James was her James anymore.
“I’ll see you around, Evans,” he said quietly, standing and exiting the room to leave Lily sitting on the sofa alone, staring after him with hurt and confusion mixing with the tears in her eyes.
Why was all this happening? They’d been so happy at Christmas, everything had been perfect.
And now…Now nothing was right.
They were tearing apart, both inside themselves and as a group.
Nothing was the same anymore.
A/N: I hate being the mean guy, I’m so horrible to my characters! Feel free to rant and rave at me, but while you’re doing so could you answer three questions for me pretty please?
1) Who do you feel more sorry for at this point (out of curiosity here); James or Lily?
2) I’m not sure how to set out this story. There are 3 sections to it. So would you rather I write the entire thing as the one story and have a hundred or so chapter story? Or make a trilogy? I’d really like to hear your opinions!
And 3) I have a new story started, actually a few cause the ideas just came to me, but do you think I should put them up now? Or wait til my other ones are finished??
I’m sorry about taking so long to update…and then giving you a sad and not too great chapter. But please review and tell me what you thought anyways, please?? And sorry about all the questions lol
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