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Contrast by OvergrownEden9
Chapter 13 : Stupidity In A Sirius-Shaped Box
 
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Sweetheart, bitter-heart; now I can't tell you apart. ~ 1234, Feist.

Chapter Thirteen
Stupidity In A Sirius-Shaped Box







  Despite the popular belief that Ravenclaws are the most intelligent people to walk Hogwarts, I can safely say that it is a load of crap. I think I am to prove that point. Oh, and Matthew too… but, generally, I reckon he was dropped on his head as a baby.

  Matthew. I wasn’t really sure how to react to his “outing”. Suddenly, everything he did made sense. Every jealous glance, every twisted word. It must have been spinning around in his head for awhile; he always had a thing about complaining, and Sirius was always a topic of it. Since we were in third year, when I sat next to Sirius in transfiguration.

  After the argument, with Sirius, Matthew had been silent. We walked up to the common room, and he left me alone. No snide remarks or anything. But, he did keep glancing at me.

  “Why do you keep looking at me?” I asked, wearingly, the next morning. Matthew averted his gaze from across the breakfast table, revealingly looking over my shoulder, “Sirius isn’t there yet. I checked.” I mumbled to him.

  Matthew blushed slightly, “Oh. Right.”

  We ate in silence, awkwardly. Suddenly, I felt the urge to ask, “How long have you known?”

  Matthew choked on his bacon, “Known I was gay?”

  “Yeah.” I replied, in monotone. I didn’t raise my eyes from my plate. I was pushing an egg around it. Well, it used to be a fried egg. It looked more like scrambled now… or, just a mush really.

  Matthew licked his lips, thinking tersely. His shoulders were tense, “Um. Fifth year, I figured it out…”

  “Oh.” I hesitated, “Did you think so before that?”

  Matthew shrugged, “I dunno. I guess… I always… well; I didn’t want to be gay so I… didn’t admit it.”

  An overwhelming wave of pity for him washed over me, “When did you… admit it?”

  “To people?”

  I nodded.

  “Half-term. At Clem’s. They… thought I liked you, actually…” Suddenly, Matthew blurted, “I’m really sorry, though. For everything. I didn’t mean to act like that. I just…”

  It felt like I had swallowed cotton wool instead of egg-mush, “Liked him too much?”

  Matthews cheeks burnt, and he averted his eyes again as he nodded curtly.

  I know how that feels.

 Sirius disappeared from lessons for two days. Two whole days. At first, I felt numb. Where had he gone? Was I ever going to be able to be close to him again? I was scared. Then, I realised two things. The first was that Remus, James and Peter were also absent. The second was that they must have put me in Ravenclaw because there was no where else for me to go; especially Gryffindor. I lacked the courage to be in Gryffindor.

  I took a hasty trip, during the afternoon of the second day of the Marauders absence, to the Library. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I told myself. I had been steering clear of the Library since that day, and Irma Pince too. I wanted to slap Irma Pince.

  Leaning over the dusty desk, crinkling my nose at the vulture woman, I queried curtly, “Do you have the moon listings for this month?”

  Irma raised a thin eyebrow, peering over her beak of a nose, “Why ever would you ask that?”

  “Astronomy,” I lied, with a roll of my eyes, my patience wearing thin, “Do you have them or not?”

  “Keep your knickers on,” Irma clacked, ducking under the desk. She added, very quietly, “Hard as it is for you…”

  I clenched my fist, but said nothing. Not worth it.

  “Aha!” Irma lilted happily, her eyes bulging, as she emerged from under the desk. She held out some relatively new papers, peering at me with unrepressed suspicion. I took the papers from her, flicking to the nearest full moon.

  It was last night.

  “Thanks,” I mumbled, walking from the Library. Irma gave me a funny look as I left, but I ignored her.

  How stupid was I? Sometimes Sirius came very late to lessons, or was absent for half a day, once or twice a month. I had always assumed he was playing pranks or something Sirius-like, so I had never asked… I wish I had. Merlin, I wish I had.

  It struck me, suddenly, how little I knew about him. Did I know him as well as he knew me? I doubted it. I hadn’t bothered to ask much, and he hadn’t brought it up. I didn’t know he lived at the Potter’s. I I didn’t know if he had siblings, or what his life was like before he moved to James’. Feeling depressed, I trudged down the stairs on the way to the Great Hall. I thought about Matthew and Sirius. I couldn’t imagine how crappy Matthew felt. I couldn’t imagine how pissed off Sirius felt. Everything was so fucked up.

  A faltering hand lay on my shoulder for a moment, as I stood at the top of the last staircase. I stiffened, hoping it was Sirius. Spinning around, I saw no one. Was it a bloody ghost or what? My eyes widened with panic.

  I asked, loudly, “Who the fuck?!” My voice came out creepily squeaky and I flushed scarlet.

  A hand, no where near as gentle as the first, grabbed my blouse and dragged me backwards. I was dragged down an empty corridor, my mouth shrouded by another hand so I couldn’t shriek.

  I bit down hard, on what I thought felt like a thumb. Whoever – or whatever – it was let me go. The bite caused a loud moan, followed by a mumble, the sound of someone getting kicked in the shin and then the voice of James.

  “Bloody hell, Moony,” James groaned, “You didn’t have to bloody kick me!”

  I spun around, flapping my arms widely just in case I was dragged away again. Appearing from no where were James and Remus. James slipped some silvery material under his shirt, raising one eyebrow at me and my flapping. I stopped, quirking my own eyebrow.

  “Er, sorry,” I mumbled, watching the two of them, “For the bite.”

  Remus raised a hand, “No need. He dragged you away.” Remus gestured at James.

  James shrugged, “She was going to be a screamer.”

  “So you do this to girls often then?”

  My question wasn’t answered. James, sucking his thumb and rubbing his shin, added darkly, “Fucking hurt, Moony. Why was there need to kick me?”

  Remus shrugged, “A laugh?”

  James glared at him, “You don’t believe in laughter.” Remus glared back.

  “Er…?” I pursed my lips, mildly amused but generally bewildered.

  “Ah!” James seemed to remember something, clipping Remus around his back. Remus brushed him off, “We need to talk to you!”

  “I gathered that?”

  “Oh, yeah. You’re a Ravenclaw.”

  Remus rolled his eyes, conjuring up two stools and handing one to me. He sat on the other, leaving James looking affronted, “Or, maybe, she hadn’t got the brain capacity of a wooden spoon.”

  James giggled, “Hehe. Spoon.” Remus ignored him; James often giggled at words he considered funny. I once said the word unscrupulous, and he guffawed for an hour. Apparently the definition “lack of scruples” didn’t help.

  “Right, anyway,” Remus turned to me, “Sorry if this is… personal… but I… we… what’s happening? With you and Sirius?”

  I was stumped. I mumbled something, which made no sense – even to me. Taking a deep breath, I said slowly, “I have something to admit.”

  “Oh?”

  “I know you have lycanthropy...” I confessed. Remus shut his eyes. I felt like… well, like my stomach was going to drop out of my ass, “I’m so sorry, I overheard and I-”

  Remus opened his eyes, interrupting with a baffled tone, “Oh. You haven’t ridiculed me, and run away screaming.”

  “Er, no…”

  “Interesting.”

  James clapped me on the back, “See! She doesn’t hate you, Remus. She’s still your friend, aren’t you Claire?”

  I nodded, “Why wouldn’t I be?”

  “You would ridicule me, rightfully, because I a freak.”

  The look of sadness in his eyes made my heard break, “You aren’t a freak.” I hugged him, closing my eyes, “Honestly.”

  Remus brushed me off, not convinced but obviously not wanting to argue, “So, why aren’t you and Sirius…? Even though it’s off that he told me without consulting me, it’s okay because I trust his judgement and you…”

  I shook my head, “I overheard,” I repeated, “Matthew found out too.”

  “Twat-thew?!” James’ eyes darkened. I nodded, shamefully.

  “Yeah. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, I-”

  The two of them shook their heads.

  “It’s not your fault.” Remus said, forcefully. I said nothing, “I still don’t understand about you and Sirius. He’s miserable.”

  I shrugged, saying honestly, “I don’t know. He thought I cheated on him with Matthew but I didn’t.”

  There was momentary silence, followed by James’ exclamation, “You were together?!”

  “No! Me and Matthew were never-”

  “No! You and Sirius!”

  Remus and I looked at James, gaping wildly. He had to be living under a rock. I opened my mouth to talk when I heard Sirius.

  “Moony… Prongs?” His voice echoed from the end of the corridor, “Oi!”

  I stiffened. Remus looked at me for a moment, as James yelled back, “Over here!”

  “Have you seen Wormy?” Sirius’ voice called back, his footsteps echoing as he walked towards us. He obviously didn’t know I was there.

  “Nah,” James replied, “You looked on the map?”

  Wondering why they were yelling a conversation to each other, I turned to face the direction Sirius was. The light lit my face up; he hadn’t been able to see me because of the dark blouse I was wearing and my dark hair.

  “Yeah, he’s not-” Sirius was around a metre away from me. He paused, locking eyes with me. I opened my mouth to speak when he continued, “On the bloody map. I dunno where the hell he’s gone; the bastard’s used my knife to cut something.” Sirius’ voice was casual, but strikingly forced.

  James raised his hand in greeting, “Cheese, no doubt. He goes through the stuff faster than Moony with chocolate.”

  Remus was looking from me to Sirius. Sirius brushed past me. He made no indication that I was there. Tears threatening to burst from my eyes, despair seeping from every inch of me, I hurried down the corridor. Sirius wasn’t going to see me cry. Not again.

  I didn’t really understand the situation. I randomly chose staircases, not sure where I was going. I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away.

  Sobbing somewhere high up, I leant against a window frame. I watched the sun set, tracing the colours across the sky with my eyes. They reminded me of cigarette ashes being blown away. Still waiting for sunsets and-

  “Claire.”

  I didn’t turn around. It was definitely Sirius. I could smell him. He placed a hand on my shoulder, gently turning it. I blinked at him through my wet eyelashes. I noticed his eyes were also watering.

  “Sirius,” I whispered softly. He averted his eyes, blinking hurriedly. I didn’t bother rubbing my tear-stained cheeks, “What’s going on?”

  “I don’t know!” He groaned, rubbing his temples, “I don’t know why I’m so pissed off. I don’t know why I shouted at you, or why I’m still fucking angry.” His tone was maliciously calm. I didn’t like it.

  “But…” I choked on my words.

  “I love you.”

  I tried to smile, despite his indifferent expression, “I love y-”

  He raised his hand to hush me, “No. I…” His voice broke. He took a deep breath, “It’s better if we go our separate ways, I think.”

  I looked up at him, helplessly.

  “I don’t think it’s any fault of yours. We can still talk… I’m just too fucked up for anything right now.”

  “It won’t be the same, Sirius. We can work this out, just talk to me.” I was reduced to begging.

  “It won’t. That’s kind of the point,” He attempted a smile, “I don’t know how long it will be, but-”

  “If we can’t be together,” I interrupted, my voice harsher, “For whatever stupid reason… can’t we be close, like we were?”

  “You know that would never, ever work.” Sirius leant closer to me, resting his strong body against mine. He kissed me softly, and I knew it was a goodbye kiss to him. It was like poison. “I’m sorry, Clairy Fairy. Honestly.”

A/n. I am also sorry... please R&R, even to cyber-slap me. Long wait, and a pretty depressing chapter. Will it help if the next will be happier, and less of a wait?

Exams are over!!!
I've had some results back, if you're interested. I had an A* for Welsh, an A for English (missed an A* by 4 marks, how gutted am I?!), an A* for Maths. Blah. Ohh... and I had a D for French. Oopsy... ^.^


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