Chapter 27 : Chapter Twenty-Seven: Conflicting
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The house had an eerie feeling about it; Adara was instantly scared and barely held together for the two seconds it took Sirius to follow her. As soon as he walked out of the fireplace he took Adara’s hand. She gripped it firmly and took a deep breath as she assessed the living room around her.
In front of her were some of MacKenzie’s favorite toys and pieces of broken furniture. Kenzie’s teddy bear lay on the recliner, having ‘night-night’ time as the toddler would have said, and the stuffed kitten she had received for Christmas was laying on the floor beside the overturned coffee table. The couch that her family had sat on not even two weeks ago was flipped onto it’s back and there was a rip across the side furthest from Adara and Sirius. She took a step forward and heard a crunch. Looking down, Adara saw that the floor was littered with broken glass from a tea-set Claire’s mother had given MacKenzie. She tried not to think about how the teacups and plates were broken as she tugged Sirius out of the room.
“Claire?” Adara’s voice cracked horribly as she called out to her stepmum. She listened closely but heard no response. She looked to Sirius, at a lost of what to do.
“Er – maybe she’s upstairs. I…” he looked around at the broken furniture, “I wouldn’t want to be down here, either.”
Adara nodded and she and Sirius walked up the huge staircase, “Claire? Are you here? It’s Adara.” She still heard no response but as they reached the top of the staircase, she saw that the door to MacKenzie’s room was the only one that was open. Adara let out a sound that was somewhere in between a whimper and a sigh. She really didn’t want to go into the place that would remind me most of the little sister she’d never see again.
“Adara?” Sirius asked softly.
“She’s in Kenzie’s room,” Adara explained quietly as she stood still just staring at the door to the room with soft pink walls.
Sirius turned Adara to face him, “Look, you can do this. I’m going to go –”
“No!” Adara’s eyes widened.
“No, listen to me,” Sirius took her face in his hands. “I’m going to go clean up downstairs and you need to go in there and take care of your stepmum.” He said it so calmly, yet firm, that Adara couldn’t even doubt that he was right.
“I-I can’t, though,” Adara said her eyes tearing up yet again.
“Yes, you can,” Sirius insisted. “You are one of the strongest people I know Adara Moore and right now you have to be strong for Claire. She needs you.” He wiped a tear from her cheek and Adara stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him. He crushed her to him and she breathed in his scent. It strengthened her and, she didn’t know why, but she felt better knowing he was really going to stay here for her.
He pulled away too soon and nodded towards the room. Adara turned from him and wiped her eyes as she made her way down the hall. She reached the door and looked back at Sirius, who was still standing in the same place. She gave her a reassuring nod before he turned and headed back downstairs. She took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
The sight that met her was probably the most heartbreaking thing she had ever seen in her life. Claire was sitting in the middle of the room surrounded by nearly all of MacKenzie’s stuffed animals, one pair of pajamas, and little things like her hairbrush and blankets. Her back was to Adara but just her posture screamed pain and suffering. Adara literally felt like her chest was going to constrict so much she would never be able to breathe again. She wanted to turn and run away from this scene. Away from this house. Away from all suffering and loss.
But she needed her. Adara was probably the person that understood what she was feeling the most. “Claire?” she asked as she took a few steps forward and put a hand on her shoulder. Her stepmum jumped at the sound and contact but didn’t look up. Adara cleared a spot of toys in front of her and sat down. Claire was looking into her lap as she held a little doll with soft brown curls: MacKenzie’s twin doll.
“Claire, it’s me,” Adara said. She felt stupid, but she wasn’t sure whether Claire was paying attention or not. Finally, the elder looked up. She looked horrible; it was as though she hadn’t showered in days – her makeup was running down her face and her hair was everywhere. Her eyes were almost completely swollen shut and her whole face was blotchy and red.
“Hey,” Adara swallowed. She had no clue what to say. “How are you holding up?” she asked stupidly as her voice cracked.
“Gone,” Claire croaked as she stared at Adara. “They’re gone,” she said and tears began once again streaming down her face. “It’s all my fault. I-I left and didn’t s-s-say goodbye to M-MacKenzie. S-she was still asleep a-and n-now…” she broke off into incoherent syllables and Adara was at a loss. She had never seen anyone this depressed and upset and just… gone. It was like Claire was a shell that only held misery and tears – Adara couldn’t bring to mind a memory from break where she was happy. It was as if there were a dementor in the room – no, it was worse than that. It was as if a dementor had decided to take up permanent residence inside of her stepmum.
Adara leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Claire as if by holding her tight enough she could keep her together. “It’s not your fault,” Adara told her as she tried to stay strong. “You couldn’t have done anything.” And she lost it, too. She couldn’t sit here in the room that was so recently her sister’s and not be reminded of her. She could almost feel the parts of both her and her stepmum’s hearts breaking off as she sat there crying with her. The sides of the room seemed to close in as it finally hit her that they were never coming back. Two big chunks of her were lost forever leaving only their absence to tie her to the woman she was now embracing.
“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Adara said hollowly as she lay next to Sirius in the huge fluffy bed in her room. It was now well after the sun had set on the horrible day and the adults were too busy planning and coping to notice that the two teenagers had slipped away.
Not long after Adara felt she had cried away all of the liquid in her body, Elle had arrived and pulled them apart. She took Claire – emptier now than ever – to one of the guest rooms and helped her to clean up. Adara took that time to change out of her uniform and make herself somewhat presentable. She and Sirius spent the rest of the day trying to stay out of the way or doing things like waiting for the flower people to arrive with arrangements for the funerals – which was set for the next day at three.
Now, Adara didn’t really know what was going on. She and Sirius had escaped when some auror had arrived and began going over some details that Adara wasn’t really keen on hearing. Claire had been asleep for a while – thanks to a dreamless sleep potion – and there was really nothing left to do. The horrendousness of the never-ending day and its consequences had settled and it seemed that everyone was knee-deep.
“No one ever knows what to do after something like this happens,” Sirius told her. She nodded into his chest and relaxed again to hear his heartbeat; the sound of it calmed her.
She closed her eyes and thought about the letters that lay on her desk, all unopened except one. She’d opened Emmett’s and sent a response back asking both him and Dumbledore if he could be permitted to come to the funeral. Adara felt that that was about the only helpful thing she’d done all day. She knew that both her dad and her sister loved Emmett and thought it right that he be at the funeral. However, she didn’t have the heart to open the rest of the letters from her friends and even a few acquaintances.
“Thanks again, Sirius,” Adara told him, opening her eyes and looking up to see his face.
“I wish you’d stop acting like I want to be anywhere but here,” Sirius said softly as he began to rub her back in soothing circles.
“Yes, attending my dad and sister’s funeral is exactly where you want to be, I’m sure,” Adara said sarcastically. Sirius sighed and looked down at her, his grey eyes trying to convey a message he couldn’t say. “What?” Adara asked softly, too tired to think anymore.
He sighed again, “Nothing, ‘Dara. Get some rest.” He continued her circles as she laid her head back on his chest and allowed her eyes to close. Whatever Sirius was trying to say, she knew that she would never be able to tell him exactly how grateful she was that he was here even if she tried for the rest of her life.
They were standing in the entrance hall – Adara, Elle, Claire, and Bryce holding MacKenzie. It was time for Adara to go to her mother’s house for the rest of break as her dad and his little family were leaving for vacation the next day.
Bryce handed MacKenzie to Adara to say goodbye, “I love you, MacKenzie.” Adara hugged her. “I’ll see you soon, I promise.”
“No!” the little girl wailed.
“I have to go now, you’ll have fun on you vacation! I love you.”
Finally after many explanations, Bryce managed to pry MacKenzie off and with one last “I love you” to the whole family, Adara and Elle apparated home…
“No!” Adara jerked awake, tears streaming down her face.
“Adara?” Sirius sat himself and the sobbing girl up. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” he looked at her in alarm. Light from the hallway illuminated his face through the crack in the door – he looked tired and worried.
“I-I didn’t m-mean in a-a casket!” Adara sobbed, hugging her knees.
“Shh,” Sirius gathered Adara into his arms and pulled her into his lap. “What are you talking about, love?” he whispered.
“I-I promised! A-and now I-I’ll only s-see her in-in a casket!”
Sirius pulled her into his chest and stroked her hair, “It’s okay,” he told her.
“N-no it’s not!” Adara sobbed again, pressing her face into his chest. And he didn’t argue with her.
If Elle thought anything about her daughter and Sirius sleeping in the same room, in the same bed, she didn’t say anything when she woke them up the next morning. Tired, and Adara with red, puffy eyes, they walked downstairs and into the kitchen to find that Elle was already making breakfast as Claire stared at her coffee sitting at the kitchen table.
“Coffee and toast on the table; eggs and bacon will be ready in a few minutes,” Elle told them without turning around.
As they sat down, Adara poured both she and Sirius a large cup of coffee. After Adara’s memory nightmare, she hadn’t gone back to sleep for what seemed like hours and Sirius had stayed up with her the whole time. Sirius sipped his coffee, staring at Adara with heavy eyes.
The clock chimed eleven as Elle magicked the eggs and bacon onto the table. She helped herself then put food onto Claire’s plate, too. “You have to eat something,” she told her.
Sirius piled eggs onto both his and Adara’s plate as Adara scored them each some bacon. “Thanks,” they told each other at the same time. They shared a small smile before turning to their plates. Adara kept glancing around the table; Sirius seemed deep in thought next to her, her mum was trying to get Claire to eat, Claire was pushing her food around on her plate. Feeling like she was going to explode again, Adara scooted her chair up and subtly moved closer to Sirius until their arms were touching. He looked up at her, switched his utensil to his left hand, then firmly took her left in his right. Adara’s breath caught and she smiled at him in thanks; everything was easier with him.
After breakfast, Adara and Sirius slipped on warm clothes and decided to take a walk – anything to get out of the house. Claire’s sister, Lucille, and her parents were due to arrive soon, along with Adara’s dad’s mother, Nana Hayden, but Adara really didn’t feel like socializing.
She didn’t know how her mother did it, really. Elle’s best friend, Blair, had come over to help, but still. Elle was doing most of the work and maintaining a seemly calm composure. Adara’s admiration for her had grown tenfold; while she wanted nothing more than to hide away forever, Elle – who had known Bryce longer than anyone else, basically – was remaining strong.
The snow was not as thick as it had been – there were only about five or so inches on the ground now and most of that was gone due to so many people trekking up the pathway and into the house. Gloved hand in gloved hand, Adara and Sirius walked around the house and into the backyard where there was a small forest. Many times over the recent break, Adara and Kenzie had “gone exploring” there.
“Kenzie used to love coming out here. She loved to find random things – everything she found was ‘treasure,’” Adara smiled faintly as they walked.
Sirius chuckled, “Little kids are funny like that,” he agreed. “The only cousin that I actually get along with, Andromeda, she married a muggle about a few years ago and they just had a little girl,” he told her. “Nymphadora,” he laughed, “she’s going to hate her parents when she gets older. She’s about two now, I guess, but I saw her last year and she was always into things.”
Adara smiled for the first time in a while; she enjoyed hearing about Sirius’ life.
“She’s a metamorphmagus, Nymphadora is,” he added proudly. “Few minutes after she was born, her hair changed colors. Nearly scared Andy to death.”
“That’s so cool,” Adara mused. “To be able to change your appearance at will.” She walked in silence for a while, “How do you think I would look with purple hair?” she smiled up at Sirius.
He stopped walking and looked her over, “Weird,” he said. “but that’s not a big change…”
Adara’s jaw dropped and she smirked. In one motion she dropped down and grabbed a handful of snow. She chucked it and hit Sirius right in the face, “I’ll show you looking weird,” she laughed as she stood on her tip toes and messed up his hair.
They both started laughing and fighting each other as Adara tried to mess up Sirius’ hair and he tried to stop her while screaming things like “Not the hair! Anything but that!”
Finally, out of breath, they stopped struggling and Sirius pulled her into a hug, “I think you’re beautiful.” He whispered into her hair. Adara sighed contently, “Well, I still think you look weird,” she told Sirius, who laughed. As they held each other close, in the forest by her dad’s house, Adara marveled at how Sirius could so easily make her temporarily forget all the horrible things that were happening.
“Nana Hayden!” Adara slid her way over the slick kitchen tiles upon re-entering the house through the kitchen with Sirius and seeing her grandmother. Her grandmother caught her in a hug, “Oh, Baby,” she cried as she held her granddaughter close. “How are you holding up?” she pulled away and looked her over.
“I…” Adara started. “I’m still here,” she said. Adara didn’t know how she was, honestly. “But that’s a lot in thanks to my Mum and Sirius,” she admitted. “This is Sirius, Nana, he’s here with me.”
Sirius stepped forward and hugged her, “I’m so sorry,” Sirius told her sincerely. He pulled away, “If there is anything you need, please just ask.” Nana Hayden looked taken aback by his kindness.
Her eyes welled up, “Thank you so much. I’m glad that Adara has someone like you to be there for her.”
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, Mrs. Hayden,” he said, looking away from her grandmother and into Adara’s eyes.
Just then, Elle came in with Lucille and attention turned to her. Adara finally broke eye contact and looked to her mum. Elle motioned inconspicuously with her head for Adara and Sirius to leave and Adara knew that she was just trying to spare them the socializing. Adara mouthed her thanks and dragged Sirius out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
When they passed the clock, Adara noticed that it was nearly twelve. “I need to take a shower and get ready for…” she trailed off as she reached her door.
“Yeah, me too.” Sirius agreed.
“Look, Sirius, I really –”
“You are not going to thank me again, Adara,” Sirius told her. He took her face in his still-gloved hands and kissed her forehead. Adara closed her eyes and took a deep, ragged breath as her whole body reacted. “I’m always here for you.” He said looking into her eyes before turning and entering his own bedroom.
As she peeled off her snow-drenched clothes and started her scorching shower, Adara struggled to make sense of her emotions. Half of her wanted to curl up and very nearly die with the pain of losing over half of her immediate family but the other half was melting with these completely opposite feelings towards the man that was in the bedroom across the hall.
She felt that that half was insulting her father’s and sister’s memories; she shouldn’t be able to feel anything but grief in a time like this, should she? But however much she tried, the half that wanted to spin in circles barefoot in the middle of her room would not be squashed.
If these emotions didn’t somehow come to an agreement, they were literally going to make her crazy.
Adara slipped on a black muggle dress that her mother had lent her and attempted to zip it up the back. After a few tries, she gave up, grabbed her necklace (a string of pearls her father had given her for her sixteenth birthday) and walked into the bedroom across the hall. As she knocked on the door, she vaguely wondered if she should feel weird about asking Sirius to zip up her dress but dismissed the thought quickly. She was very comfortable with Sirius, rightly or wrongly, and he was one of the few people she would trust with anything.
He opened the door with his white shirt half buttoned and his black dress pants unzipped with the bottom of his shirt tucked into them. “Help?” Adara asked pointing to her back.
“Sure, come on in,” Sirius smiled at her. She walked in and Sirius let the door close until it was open only a crack. The guestroom had a rich red wallpaper – not fire truck red but a royal red. The furniture was all a dark wood – the four-poster full sized bed, the dresser, and the full-length mirror that stood in the corner. She walked over to it, Sirius behind her.
“Can you zip me up?” she asked. “I don’t know if I like this dress much.”
Sirius finished tucking in his shirt and buttoning his pants then walked over and put one hand on the small of her back to hold the dress down as he gently pulled the zipper up. Adara closed her eyes and sighed. She didn’t understand how this could make her feel so weird. She was about to go to her dad and little sister’s funeral – her heart shouldn’t be going into hyper drive. “I like this dress. You look too good to be so sad,” he said as he turned her around and ran his thumb along her cheek.
She took in his caring, grey eyes along with the way that his hair was just long enough to frame his face perfectly and understood how someone could fall for his looks alone. “How is this happening?” she whispered, not really knowing if she was only referring to the deaths of her family members.
Sirius sighed, “That’s a question no one can answer, love.”
Her breath caught again and she had to look away. Moments later she felt something in her hand and remembered her necklace, “Can you?” she asked holing it up.
He took the necklace from her and she turned back around to face the mirror. She watched as Sirius lowered the necklace then she held her hair as he fastened it. “Thanks,” she said again.
She watched Sirius nod at her in the mirror then turned to face him. Standing up on her tiptoes she gently kissed his cheek then walked out of his room and back into her own. Closing the door behind her, she sat at the end of her bed and put her head in her hands; nothing made sense anymore.
“Addie?” her mother called from downstairs about ten minutes later.
Adara finished signed the letter she’d been writing to Lily, James, and Remus, and as she sealed it she opened her bedroom door and answered her mum.
“Can you go get Claire, please, the car is here to pick us up.” Adara looked across the hall and saw that Sirius’ head was sticking out of his door, too.
“Sure,” Adara called back to her mum, staring at Sirius. She walked over to him and handed him the letter, “can you send this to Lily?” she asked. He nodded. Adara looked down the hall to the door at the very end – the one that Claire and her dad used to share. She felt her throat closing and swallowed.
Sirius took the letter, but kept her hand. “You can do it, ‘Dara,” he said softly as he kissed the hand that handed him the letter. Adara felt her heart skip a beat; so many conflicting emotions were really beginning to confuse her. She nodded and he dropped her hand as she began to walk away.
She took deep, calming breaths as she walked the hallway; again, it seemed much longer than she remembered. Finally, she reached the door and, with a shaky hand, she knocked. She waited for an answer; she felt weird walking in without an invitation. She’d always been taught to knock on a door, especially her those of her parents, before entering.
After what Adara guessed to be about two minutes, she knocked again. Still no answer. Adara’s mind was spinning now and her stomach was beginning to twist. What if she slipped in the shower or something? She wasn’t really that alert.
“Claire?” she said, as she opened the door a crack. “Are you okay? The car is here…” She didn’t hear anything, still, so she opened the door all the way and walked in. The walls of this room were an elegant purple color. The bed was made, the matching comforter’s gold lace sparkling in the lamplight. The room was just as Adara had last seen it; there were a pair of her dad’s old boxers lying on the floor next to a pair socks. Some of MacKenzie’s clothes were thrown near the bed as were a few t-shirts. However, there was no sign of Claire.
Adara’s breathing grew shallower as she neared the bathroom. The door was shut except for a crack through which light was streaming. “Claire?” she repeated, her voice cracking. She did not have a good feeling about this. Her whole mind and body were screaming at her simultaneously to turn around and run straight back into Sirius’ arms. But if her stepmum was hurt…
She took a hold of the door handle and pushed the door open.
Then she screamed.
A/N: Sorry, again... haha. I had to do it. And sorry that it's taken so long to update; I'm trying but the queue has been long recently. But I'm grateful to the staff who take the time to do this, Merlin knows it's probably tedious. Anyway, thanks (again) to everyone that has reviewed. I love reviews. So much. Yeah... I'm not making much sense because I'm exhausted.
So I've been asked how long this story is going to be and I'm thinking that it will go through Adara and SIrius' sixth year. Since its like early January in the story and school ends in June, I'm guessing hmm like 40-ish? Maybe more. Idk. But through their whole sixth year. And then I already have plans for a sequel. But it will be different. It'll be like their seventh year but told from Lily's POV and will probably focus more around the Lily/James relationship - but of course Adara and Sirius will be in there. =] Haha. So yeah, I just revealed my secret plans. So I think that you owe me a review. Please.
Thanks again, guys. I'm still shocked by the amount of reviews and favorite'd times this story got. I'm really glad that you all like my writing and plot and characters (even if I have to kill some of them off =/).
over and outt.
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