Chapter 73 : You've Got a Friend In Me
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“Sirius, I either need you to cook, or order out - everyone’s coming over today.” I was picking up toys and clothes strewn over the floor, and throwing them into the kitchen closet, to be sorted through later.
Sirius looked angry beyond belief. “You’re inviting Remus?”
I dropped the plastic truck that had been in my hands. It clattered angrily to the floor. “And why wouldn’t I?” I questioned dangerously. Sirius had gone down that road before (the one in which he accused Remus of being the spy for Voldemort) and I would have thought he’d know better than to go down it again.
“No reason,” he responded tersely.
“Good. Now, go make food.”
With Sirius grumbling, and pulling out our magical cookbook, I left to extend the invitation to James and Lily, and Remus, myself.
First, I Apparated to Potter Manor. Technically, we couldn’t Apparate immediately outside, so I walked down the rode for a bit before I arrived outside the familiar mansion. When I got to the front door, I rung the doorbell and waited for one of them to answer.
Lily appeared, smiling, and holding Harry. “Anna! What’s up?” She invited me in and we sat down in the kitchen, eating chocolate cookies.
“Everyone’s coming over to mine and Sirius’ tonight.” I didn’t exactly leave a choice, but there was no room to. James and Lily needed a Secret Keeper. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Sirius was convinced that Remus was the bad guy. And, vice versa.
I explained that all to Lily, and then left in a hurry . . . She would be my partner in crime for this scheme. It was late in the afternoon, and that didn’t leave me much time. My next destination was Headquarters. I knew that’s where Remus was living at the moment, preparing for his excursion into the werewolf pack.
“’Ello, good boy!” I yelled into the house as soon as I let myself in.
As I had suspected, Remus was there. He was lying out on one of the ragged couches, reading an equally used book.
“Oh, hey, Anna.” He looked up, folded the corner of his book and put it down to greet me. “What brings you here today?”
“Dinner at mine and Sirius’ with Lily and James.”
He had gotten up to greet me with a hug but immediately back away. “No, Anna. You know I can’t do that.”
“I know no such thing!” I insisted.
“Sirius and I . . . We’re at odds right now,” Remus trailed off.
“You’re lying through your teeth. Sirius thinks you’re a spy, and you think he’s a spy!” I accused.
Remus denied it -
"How can you deny it! Both of you bloody admitted it!"
- and invited me into the kitchen for something to eat. One of the members had been by earlier that day and brought a plate of sugar cookies; I couldn’t say no.
He then decided to explain. “Sirius might think I’m a spy. In fact, I’m sure he does, because you confirmed that it wasn't just a dig at me. I, however, don’t believe he is at all. First of all, I know him too well. He’d never hurt a fly, and he has absolutely zilch of a reason to go over.
“I, on the other hand, do. I can hardly blame him for accusing me - it just fits perfectly. I’ve got everything to gain and nothing to loose, I've lost the one I love, and I’m always gone. After this war is over, the whole population will treat me like I'm lower than dirt. The only reason I accused him back was to keep us on a level playing ground.
“Besides, I couldn’t really accuse him without believing that you were in on it. And, Anna let’s be honest, you’d never join the dark side . . . It’s too much work.”
He got a laugh out of me with that one. “Well, they do have cookies . . . But they’d have to be the cinnamon sugar kind, and I’m pretty sure they’re not.”
That had us both laughing, and by the time I had backed out of the house, I’d also roped Remus into coming for dinner. “And if you’re not there, I’m hunting you down.”
Two hours later, Sirius and I were sitting quietly, and awkwardly, waiting for our friends to arrive.
“You’re no fun anymore,” I accused angrily, crossing my arms across my chest.
“Yeah, well, you got fat!”
I looked at Sirius like he was the dumbest person on earth - being an abnormal member of the female race, comments like that didn’t effect me, especially when I wasn’t any different in size than during Hogwarts. Well, maybe it was just a teensy bit different, after the babies.
“You sure about that?” I raised my eyebrows.
“No,” he grumbled. “I just needed some retaliation . . . Well, you taught our baby how to say ‘dumbarse!’”
“You taught him how to say ‘fuck!’”
“I was passing on a tradition!”
“So was I!”
When Sirius and I fought, it usually ended up with one of us on top of the other, in a potentially compromising position.
However, the tension from the argument lingered because the door burst open and Lily and James flounced in happily. “Hey, you two!” James cried happily. He kissed me flamboyantly on the cheek, and then did the same to Sirius.
“You are such a creep,” Sirius grumbled tersely.
“What’s up your arse?” Lily asked, smiling, with baby Harry cooing in her arms.
“We argued,” I explained.
“There you go! Always spewing things that should be between us!” Sirius cried.
I shrugged. “I’ve always done that . . . It’s what I do.”
Sirius huffed and turned away from me. “You’re ridiculous.”
“That’s why you love me,” I pointed out. Crawling up to him and nuzzled into his chest.
He pushed me away, but only half-heartedly.
“Do you want us to leave for a few minutes while you guys make up?” James winked suggestively.
I laughed. “Nah . . . You can stay.”
The atmosphere was immediately lightened, and I whispered to Sirius, “I’m sorry . . . I’ll fix it later.”
However, the laughed ceased immediately when the door opened a second time. This time, Remus entered the room.
“Er. . . hello?”
James and Lily greeted him nicely. Sirius simply glared until I nudged him hard in the ribs. “Hey, Remus,” he said reluctantly, after that.
“Food! Shall we? I’m starved!” I claimed, decidedly ignoring the giant elephant that had joined us in our relatively small home.
“Well, I thought we’d start with some dessert,” Sirius said. He was gesturing towards the bowls of strawberries, marshmallows and pretzels that were all lined up in front of two chocolate fondue pots. “Nothing says ‘bonding’ like melted chocolate.”
As we all rushed the scrumptious desert, I warned Sirius against any ill-advised behaviour. “I swear, if you’re got something planned, I’m going to kick your dumb arse.”
Considering that there were only five of us, we finished off that in no time. When Sirius began to heat up the real food that he’d prepared, I stopped him and asked him to come sit at the table with us.
As soon as Sirius had sat down, Lily and I jumped up from our seats and chained the boys to theirs.
“Aha!" I cried, as the idiots tried to free themselves. “Not going to work!”
“Lily,” James whined.
But Lily shook her head adamantly. “Sorry, James. Even though you’re not part of this feud, we can’t really leave you out of the festivities.”
“Thanks,” he grumbled.
From the other room, three babies began to wail. “Oh, dammit,” Lily swore. “I’ve got to go check on Harry. Want me to take care of Al and Will, too?”
I nodded, turning my evil mastermindedness towards the three chained ‘men’ (yeah, right) before me.
“You two idiots have a lot of explaining to do,” I said, addressing Remus and Sirius.
“He’s the spy!” Sirius cried petulantly.
“No, he’s the spy!” Remus countered.
I shook my head in disgrace. “Are you not all grown, twenty-something year old men?”
Sirius scoffed. “If you were in this situation you’d probably be trying to turn us all into the giant squid with your mind. So, don’t peg us as being immature.”
“Don’t argue with me, mister.” I pointed my finger accusingly at him. “Alright. Now . . . GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ARSES!” I screamed.
They all leaned back as much as their bindings would let them and cringed away from the explosive sound that was my voice.
“Well, now that I’ve got your attention,” I said sweetly. “Why don’t you-” I paused and pointed at Sirius. “-start by telling why you’re being such a prick.”
Sirius shook his head. Then he made a jerking sort of motion that I could only describe as wanting me to come over to him. He made me lean down, and then whispered into my ear, “Tell Remus that he’s being really suspicious by not telling us stuff; it has led me to believe that he’s leaving not for Order business but to go see Voldemort. And that the cloth in Peter’s house links him to Peter’s disappearance.”
I relayed the information to Remus, who immediately responded by saying, “Tell Sirius that the one who points the finger is the one who dealt the damage.”
I scurried over to Sirius and told him, “Remus said that, ‘the one who points the finger is the one who dealt the damage.’”
I listened for Sirius’ response. “Tell Remus that I said, ‘WHAT?!’”
Thank you, Sirius, for blowing out my eardrum.
“That’s it!” I cried. “I will not be an owl for you two idiots! Yell and scream like a normal arguing couple!”
Perhaps that was bad advice. Because for the next two minutes, neither James, nor I could get a word in edgewise, and I couldn’t hear a word that Remus or Sirius was saying because they were doing their absolute best to yell over each other.
Finally, I could think of nothing else to do but smack them both. I suppose a silencing spell would have worked, but the smacking was a bit more fun.
“Okay. Bad idea,” I admitted. “My fault. Let’s try something new. You two listen to me. You are Remus. You are Sirius-”
“James.” We all turned to look at James, who had inserted himself into the conversation.
I continued. “You have been best friends since you were eleven. That’s more than ten years. You can’t honestly believe that anyone of you guys would betray another, can you?”
“But . . . But the evidence,” Sirius insisted.
“Fuck the evidence! I don’t know who the hell put this idea in your head, or why you listened to it, but-”
“I don’t know. One day, McLaggen suggested it. I walked away thinking he was crazy, but then all of a sudden I believed it. I don’t know why, I just knew that it was true.”
That’s really suspicious . . . Too bad I’m crap at figuring things out . . .
“I didn’t want to believe it, mate,” Sirius said to Remus. “You’re my best mate, and you’re definitely the best guy out of all of us. I don’t know how I ever could have thought that.”
Remus heaved sigh, and looked quite perturbed.
I think he’s about to admit he was wrong!
It seemed to be a Marauder characteristic to detest admitting when you were wrong. “I never thought it was you, Sirius. How could I? I mean, sure, we were all a bit mean when we were younger, but you’d never hurt a fly. Not something so harmless . . . I just tried to justify it to myself, saying that your family roped you into it . . . But Anna knows I couldn’t convince myself. I told her all that this morning.
“And the reason I don’t tell you guys about my missions is because I don’t want anyone to hurt you. They’ve got a skilled Legilimens at those places . . . I haven’t mastered Occlumency yet and if they find out I’m faking it then they’ll come after me. And you guys.”
Sirius mumbled something that I don’t think anyone could hear.
“Hey, Remus?” I said. They may have been in a love-fest, but I was busy trying to figure out what made Sirius think that.
“Is there any spell that can influence your thoughts? Like a sort of dark magic? I mean, I know there’s the Imperius curse, which takes over your actions; what about one that takes over your thoughts?”
Remus seemed to ponder the idea. “You know, I’m not sure. I’ve just got to get myself out of these.”
I shook my head. “There’s time for that later . . . Now that you two have kissed and made up, you need to apologize to James for being such wankers and trying to make him choose sides.”
Sirius and Remus mumbled apologies to James.
“Like you mean it,” I clarified.
“I’m sorry for tearing our friendship apart, James.”
“I’m sorry for trying to make you choose.”
“Much better,” I approved.
Then Remus - always the clever one - somehow free of the ropes that Lily and I had used to tie the boys down. “Aha!” he cried, jumping up.
But that was not the only surprise we got at that moment. Not even five seconds later, the backdoor burst open and Peter - looking not at all harmed or distressed - walked in.
Then, four simultaneous voices screeched, “What the hell!?”
Then, I always have been the most vocal and least thinking of our group, I began to question him immediately. “What the fuck?! You can’t just walk in here like you haven’t been missing for the past five months!”
“Guys, relax.” Peter waved his hand in a dismissive manner and sat down casually at one of the kitchen chairs. “I went to visit my Mum; she’s sick in a hospital in the United States.”
I critically observed his relaxed manner. Ever since I’d had Al and Will, I became much more observant when I wanted to be. There was something quite fake about his manner . . .
I went to speak, but Sirius beat me to it. From his captivity, he yelled, “No note? No letter? No, ‘Hey I’ve got to go visit my sick Mum, be back in fives months?!’ What the hell, Peter!”
“S-stop pushing me around, Sirius ”
Woah. What the fuck is going on here?
At that point, I decided that it would be a good idea to untie James and Sirius, and run and get Lily. I used my wand to have the ropes untie themselves. Then, as I was rushing out of the kitchen, I heard Sirius defend himself. “Woah, Pete. Calm down . . . I wasn’t pushing you around. I just think you should have told us before we worried ourselves sick when you disappeared for almost half a year.”
“Lily!” I whisper-yelled, bursting into the guest bedroom, which we had used to put the kids to rest, because it was away from the noisy kitchen.
“What?” She turned around, not yet picking up on the fact that something was wrong.
“We have a problem.”
She looked questioningly at me.
“Well . . . Do you want the good news or the bad news?”
Lily looked impatiently at me. “Fine, fine. The bad news is that Sirius and Peter are fighting-”
“-and the good news is: I saved a bunch of money on my-”
“Anna, shut up!”
I shrugged and smirked. “Sorry. But, actually, the good news is that Peter is back and also that Remus and Sirius had stopped being idiots and have made up.
“So . . . The reason I came to tell you this is that we need a mediator,” I added, when Lily made me move towards the kitchen.
So we rushed out of the bedroom and back to the kitchen, were Remus seemed to be working out the differences between the pair.
“So. We all good now?” Remus asked, glaring at the previously fighting pair.
“Good. Now, Sirius, you’re happy that Pete’s back unharmed. And Pete, you’re happy that Sirius cared enough to freak out that you were gone.”
They nodded again.
Lily coughed purposefully. We all turned to her. “Guys, we still need a secret keeper.”
“Sirius,” James said, not even giving it a moments thought. But I wasn’t surprised. Those two were meant to be together as much as Sirius and I were (which was a fact I had recently come to terms with.)
“No,” Sirius responded with equal swiftness.
“No,” Sirius confirmed. “It will be a bad idea for both of us. They’ll know it was me. We’ve all fought Voldemort a number of times.” He pointed to Lily and James, then to me and himself.
“Remus ” he cried. “Pick Remus!” Remus hadn't been fighting Voldemort like the rest of us. Instead, he periodically took refuge as a werewolf, appearing as Voldemort's adversary, rather than enemy.
But Remus shook his head, as well. “Like I said, those Legilimens . . . I don’t want to take a chance.”
“Pete.” Sirius sounded less excited about this option, but I attributed it to the recent argument.
James and Lily nodded at each other.
“Pete?” James asked.
Peter looked terrified for a moment. Like they were asking him to get the dark mark, or something like that, but then he agreed, shakily. He went up to pat James on the back and his left sleeve began to slip.
Then, in a manner odd for even a Marauder, he dove to the ground on top of his left arm.
Something is up with that boy . . . I just wish I knew what.
I wanted to warn Lily and James, but I knew it was wrong.
I wanted to tell them to re-choose. To ask Dumbledore (who had offered) to be their secret keeper. Anything that kept them away from the questionable Peter.
But I kept that mouth shut. I shared a look with Sirius, and got the impression that he felt similarly.
“We’re moving to Godric’s Hollow next week, on Wednesday . . . Try not to disappear again, Pete.” James seemed to be only half-joking. There was quite a bit of tension in the room at the moment.
Remus was quick to jump on that, though. “Good! Now, who wants snacks?”
And, as he usually did, Remus made himself at home and began to bring out all the ingredients needed to bake sweets.
It was quite fun, actually, all six of us together and mixing ingredients.
It was quite messy, as well. But that was mostly because Sirius threw flour at me. I threw an egg at him in retaliation and missed. It hit Remus . . . The rest is history.
I was so distracted by the mixing and the tasting that I didn’t realize what was about to happen next. I should have known, of course; it’d been happening since I was fifteen years old. Yet, it was still a surprise when Sirius scooped me up in his imperturbable arms and dropped me off on our front stoop.
“Let me in!” I cried and rapped furiously and continuously on the front door. “Let me in or I’ll withhold sex!”
Even that didn’t get Sirius to come back.
“That means all kinds!” I cried.
This is payback for all those times when you told him you couldn’t do it with him because you had to eat.
Psh . . .
Besides, you know you’ll end up doing it anyway . . . How do you think you ended up with two kids in two years?
Oh, shut up.
There was a pause in my thought cycle.
Why do all of the conversations I have with myself end in me telling myself to shut up?
A/N: Well, here’s another big chunk of AU for you guys . . . In the books, Sirius and Remus weren’t tied to chairs and forced to see the other as a friend. (Remember, in PoA, when they each thought the other was a traitor . . .) Each piece of AU here goes towards the mystery of how Polychromatic will end . . .
A/N2: And, because it never explains much in the story, I’m going to clarify the situation with Peter.
William was born in the middle of May, which is when Sirius found Peter to be missing. At that point in time, he was presumed to be in a few-week long mission for the Order. When, after a month went by, he didn’t come back, they talked to the Order and found that he was not on a mission.
Around the end of May, Sirius accused Remus. The feud went on until the day portrayed in this chapter (sometime in the middle of August.)
In actuality, Peter was informed by one of Voldemort’s inner circle that he would need to come to what they described as a “check-up initiation.” He was afraid that he wouldn’t be able face his friends, so he just took off and left like a coward, and came up with his crappy lie when he came back.
A/N3: Oh, and as much as I love Ashton Kutcher, I have officially found the real-life epitome of Sirius Black's looks. Like, what he was imagined in my head. Google Eduardo Verastegui if you're curious . . . Or if you just like to look at good-looking boys.
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