Chapter 30 : Chapter 30: That's What Friends Are For
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Lily and Gabriella stared back at the newly arrived Amberle in confusion, their already sad looking eyes wide with misunderstanding.
“What do you mean, Amb?” Lily asked curiously, looking over at her friend’s face that was strangely guarded in a way that wasn’t there before. Had something happened while she’d been downstairs?
“I mean, it looks like I’m joining the ranks of the newly single,” she told them glumly, making her way across the room to the bed they were sitting on and flopping down as non-dejectedly as she could manage. “Ex-Marauder style.”
Lily and Gabriella continued to look at her blankly and Amberle fought the urge to let her Extremely-Dangerously-Pissed-Off mode react. They were heartbroken; they were allowed be slow about things. Especially unexpected things. Like this. Because, seriously, Amberle was fairly sure Sirius Black had just taken the best Seer in the world by surprise.
But strangely, she couldn’t find it in herself to be thoroughly stunned. She was hurt, more deeply upset than she really liked. She was angry, an emotion she was more at peace with. But shocked? Nah, when she was totally honest with herself she couldn’t say she never saw it coming. Did she expect to marry Sirius, become Mrs. Black? No. Had she ever seen herself leaving Hogwarts to live with him? Not really. Did she think she’d finish out the year as his girlfriend? Not likely.
He’d just confirmed these things for her tonight.
“He could have done it a whole lot better,” she growled to herself, settling back against the hard headboard and staring dejectedly up at the canopy hanging overhead. “Would it have killed him to at least act like he wasn’t totally relieved about this? Was it so much to ask?! Stupid prat, I’m much better off without him anyway!”
Lily watched Amberle wearily, seeing her very prominent temper radiating from her like heat coming from a blazing fire. “Amb? Are you ok? Will you tell us what happened?” she asked quietly after a few minutes, watching and waiting as the immediate dangerous blaze sizzled away to a comfortable roar.
“I’m fine, just fine,” the brunette muttered, gripping one of Gabriella’s pillows tightly to her chest so hard that her knuckles soon turned white with the strain.
“No you’re not. If you were fine you wouldn’t be trying to strangle my pillow,” Gabriella stated, turning around to face her friend and roommate, glad (more than she should be in light of Amberle’s obvious pain) for a momentary distraction from her own sorrow.
Amberle put the offending pillow, now considerably flatter than its original state, aside with a sigh. “Alright fine, so I’m not peachy perfect. But I’m entitled to be a little miffed after Sirius Black dropped me like last weeks Potions ingredients.”
“He broke up with you?” Gabriella gasped, leaping forward to wrap her friend in a fresh hug as new tears - this time for Amberle instead of herself or Lily - sprang to her eyes and followed their predecessors down her cheeks.
Amberle stared down at her friend, ready with wide-eyed sarcastic wonder that she’d only copped that obvious fact now, but she couldn’t bring up the bitter anger necessary for such a jibe right now. Not while she was wrapped in the loving arms of her two closest friends while they cried tears in her honour. Things like that got to a girl and zapped the hostile energy right out of her.
“Oh, Amb! I’m so sorry!” Gabby gushed, gripping her friend tighter. Her recent total emotional breakdown had left her extremely vulnerable to any sensitive situations. And both her friends losing their boyfriends in the same day definitely qualified in that category. By right as the least recent girl to enter the single domain, she should be consoling and encouraging the others. But she couldn’t bring herself to find that strength just yet. That was the type of strength her mother had inspired in her, that Remus (a shudder at the thought of his name, especially in conjunction with her mother’s) had encouraged. Well, she had neither of them now. So how was that strength meant to survive on its own?
“It’s ok, Gabby. You don’t have to be. We’re much better off without the whole lot of them anyway,” Amberle muttered, sinking back into her friends’ arms with a sigh. There was a feeling of a lie in that statement that she wasn’t comfortable with. She didn’t want to think losing Sirius was a big deal, or any deal at all. Amberle would much rather just accept it was over and move on to something new instead of letting it get to her, as she’d done with every previous relationship she’d been in and every other ending she’d seen.
So why wasn’t this like all those times? What was so Merlin damn special about Sirius Black that he’d wormed his way into her heart like this? Why didn’t he just stay on the outskirts like every other guy had, close enough to admire but not so close that there was a long walk away at the end?
“Because you let him.” It wasn’t even a subconscious voice that offered this statement; Amberle just thought it to herself. Why? Because it was the truth. She only had herself to blame for this; she’d let Sirius Black too close when she knew all along he wouldn’t be sticking around.
“You idiot,” she growled angrily to herself. “You were just looking for a tragic ending, an excuse to be heartbroken, weren’t you? Well, congratulations! You got what you wanted. Happy now?”
Amberle tended to argue with herself like this a lot of the time, so don’t worry too much about her mental stability. It was rough, admitting you’d done the wrong thing. And Amberle White hated being wrong. But she couldn’t really deny, not even to herself, that she’d made the incredibly bad decision of going out with Sirius in the first place when she knew it would eventually end in tears.
Yes, tears. Amberle White, contrary to popular belief, was capable of having her heart broken and crying over it. The first few tears were over annoyance with herself, frustration for allowing herself to get humiliated like this and allowing Black to win once again.
But, behind all that anger, came the tears of a seventeen year old girl who’d just lost, for the first time, the boy she loved. Yes, she loved him. Arguably yet undeniably, wholly and limitedly, loved him. It was wrong, but hey these things happen, right?
Do you remember the first guy who ever broke your heart? Or the one you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with until he left? Or the boy you trusted more than life itself only to have him betray you? Remember all those feelings? All those tears? All that heartache?
Well, put them all together and you’ve got the feelings of these three girls right here, the inner torment they were going through.
“Oh, Amb, I’m really sorry,” Lily said quietly, breaking through the silent crying bonding that had been going on. “I thought he’d changed. We should never have made you give him another shot.”
Gabriella nodded her head numbly. “Yeah, we should have known better. We just thought they’d all changed, and we wanted you to be happy. We’re sorry, Am.”
“You guys didn’t make me do anything. I made the decision to give Sirius a shot by myself, I made the mistake so this is my fault. You guys did nothing wrong, so you don’t have to add guilt to your suffering right now, ok?” Amberle disagreed. In an attempt to lighten the mood with a weak, difficultly captured smile she added; “What are we like? Sitting here crying while all that ice-cream goes to waste? Never thought I’d see the day we’d let guys get in the way of stuffing our faces.”
Her false smile still in place, she disentangled herself from her two friends and leant over the side of the bed to retrieve the bag of goodies she’d collected earlier. She didn’t think about the laugh she’d had with Sirius on the way down to the kitchens, but focused on the numbing feeling she knew would come from the immense sugar-hit she had planned.
Lily gave a shaky laugh as she watched Amberle unload the never-ending stream of ice-cream and chocolate destined to help them feel better, accepting her own tub of cookies&cream with gracious eager hands.
“Am, you sure know how to give a girl a sugar-coma,” Lily laughed, conjuring a spoon for each of them so they could dig in.
“That was the plan,” Amberle said, a real smile lighting up her face momentarily. “The only men we need right now are Ben and Jerry; the only two guys on earth certain to never break a girl’s heart.”
“Plus they taste really good,” Gabriella added, smiling shyly before all three girls cracked up in peals of laughter. It wasn’t carefree mirth - each and every strand of pain rang out quite clearly in every giggle…but it was a step up from the tears they’d cried and the many more they were sure to shed during the coming night.
They may have each had their hearts crushed in different ways, for different reasons, and by different guys. But, in light of all that, they could stay united and suffer it out together because they had what every girl needed in her life;
A best friend to be with you through it all.
A friend will sit by you and be sympathetic when your heart has been broken. But a best friend would cry the tears with you like she’d been torn apart as well.
Well, there was sure to be a million and one tears shed by these three girls, with their separate and shared pain rocketing around in a twisted triangle of hurt.
But if they could see it through together they’d be the better for it in the end.
If they all saw it through…
The scene in the Marauder dormitory could not have been more different that the one you just witnessed.
For one; they had no ice-cream, tragically enough. Things might have gone a little better if Sirius had brought some of the stash with him.
Second; they weren’t crying, not that that’s really a shocker. These guys didn’t cry too often, especially when they were together.
And third; there was none of this happy, united-in-heartache bonding going on that was happening with their counterparts…or rather ex-counterparts. No, the Marauders weren’t going down the sad road together as a whole. They decided to take their pain out on each other. In anger.
As I said, could not have been more different.
It all commenced when Sirius returned from his visit with Amberle, looking a little off about something. He seemed sad, almost hurt, about something but at the same time looked relieved. That would be odd for someone who wasn’t Sirius Black, but it was normal for him to have mixed reactions about things.
“What’s up, Padfoot?” Peter questioned curiously, being the only one of the three other Marauders up to querying at the moment. James was sitting on the windowsill, staring blankly out the window at the grounds while Remus was looking at the floor from his perch on his bed. Not the liveliest bunch around. “You look kinda…weird.”
“I’m fine, Wormtail,” Sirius said, trying to sound like his casual self obviously with little effect. When you couldn’t even fool Peter Pettigrew then your acting skills needed some work.
“Really?” the smallest boy asked, sounding suspicious. “Well what did Amberle want?”
Sirius threw Peter an annoyed glance, not in the mood for this type of questioning. Or any questioning at all really. He just wanted to forget about Amberle and what he’d done, move on to something different.
“She just asked me to help her get some things to cheer up Evans and Frost,” he brushed off with a shrug, walking over to flop down on his own bed. He wasn’t sure how much more of this silent brooding nonsense he could take, but playing along was his best option right now. If the rest of them started to get suspicious then he might actually have to explain himself, something else he didn’t really enjoy all that much.
His plan seemed in vain though.
Remus didn’t look so distant and tired anymore all of a sudden. He was glaring angrily at Sirius, his eyes accusatory of the untold story. The fact that Sirius hadn’t taken the opportunity to gloat about how useful he could be was a sure sign that he was hiding something. And Remus knew damn well what that something was.
His temper rose alarmingly as he narrowed his eyes at his seemingly laid-back friend.
“You did it, didn’t you?”
Sirius answered calmly, feigning confusion. But he wouldn’t look Moony in the eye. “Did what?”
“Don’t play dumb, Sirius,” Remus growled. “You broke up with Amberle, didn’t you?”
Sirius narrowed his own eyes in annoyance. Remus wasn’t asking him as a concerned friend; he was demanding the answer he knew followed his accusation. And demands didn’t sit well with Sirius Black.
“So what if I did? It doesn’t matter to you,” he replied defensibly.
But obviously it did matter to Remus because you couldn’t get that worked up about something that meant nothing to you. It was a waste of time and energy.
“I don’t believe you, Sirius! What the hell is wrong with you?! Why did you do that?” he growled again.
“There’s nothing wrong with me, Moony. At least I got to make the decision about losing my girlfriend, unlike you. Amberle could actually stand to be around me, not Gabriella who just couldn’t wait for you to make the call,” Sirius snarled back viciously, not realizing how horrible that really sounded until it was too late.
“Come on, Padfoot, Moony. Calm down, guys,” Peter tried to sooth them, him being the only other person in the room…James didn’t really count at the moment since he hadn’t so much as twitched from his seat at the window. It was like he couldn’t even hear the shout-fest going on between his two best friends.
Unfortunately for Peter, it seemed Remus couldn’t hear him either because he continued to glare daggers at Sirius, his face a little paler.
“No, Sirius, you’re wrong. You didn’t really have a choice with Amberle, your stupidity and fear about actually liking someone made the decision.” Remus’ voice was hard like stone and his sarcasm sharp, two qualities not usually associated with the placid Remus Lupin.
But then again, minor events can have a big impact on a person. So a huge passing like his split from Gabriella was likely to change Remus. And by the looks of things it wasn’t for the better.
Sirius glared at Remus so harshly it was almost possible to see the lightning flash in his eyes. It seemed Sirius Black was not as laid back as he liked to appear. “Wow, Moony. Someone got smacked by the bitter branch. You might want to put a leash on that, you know, - you sound like a monster,” he snarled viciously.
Remus looked like he was millimeters away from jumping on his friend and pummeling him.
“Guys, come on. Lay off. It’s not worth this,” Wormtail said, trying to bring about peace again. But all he got for his efforts was a double glare from both Remus and Sirius.
“Shut up, Wormtail,” Remus snapped simply.
“What do you know about it anyway?” Sirius added harshly. “It’s not like you’ve ever even had a girlfriend to lose.”
“Hey, don’t take this out on me,” Peter yelled back, his own temper rising with the high volume of tension in the air. “And if I did have a girlfriend, I would have treated her far better than you lot did. None of you deserved those girls.”
Sirius sneered cruelly. “I don’t think you’ll ever get the opportunity to test that theory, Wormy. You-”
“Oh for Merlin’s sake, quit it, all of you! I’m sick of you,” James suddenly roared, his voice hoarse and cracking. Sirius, Remus and Peter all turned to look at their friend. This was the most they’d heard James say in days.
“Merlin, he speaks!” Sirius exclaimed sarcastically, wasting no time in adding James to the firing range for his pent up frustration. “For a while there I thought you were going troll on us, Prongs, what with all the grunting and what not.”
“Jeez, Sirius, does everything have to be a joke with you?” James demanded, fixing his cold, hard eyes on his best friend. The look chilled Sirius to the bone – it was so unlike the way James used to look – but there was no way he was going to back down.
“I suppose not,” he said, shrugging casually as if they were discussing something as mundane as quill preferences. “I guess I could take a leaf out of our book, Prongs, and make everything seem like the world is out to get me. I could mope around, talking to no one and sulking like a little baby. It seems to be working so well for you, after all.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” James said, his voice flat and expressionless.
“The hell I don’t. I know exactly what you’re doing, Prongs, and honestly I think you’re being pathetic. They’re gone, James. Face it. I don’t give a flying feather how you do it; scream, cry, yell, throw something, anything. Just do something! I know you loved your parents, and that you miss them, and that all this is really hard to deal with, ok? I get it. But you need to pull yourself out of this…funk you’ve sunk yourself into. Your parents were brilliant people who died trying to be the best they could be. They thought you were like that too; brave and noble and a son they could be proud of. But, frankly, Prongs, I think if they could see you right now, they’d be ashamed of you.”
Sirius Black; master of the tough love and straight talking.
James moved so suddenly from his seat at the windowsill that Remus and Peter as bystanders almost missed it. Even Sirius, as the intended target and closest to him, didn’t have enough reaction time before James jumped him and punched him squarely in the jaw. Hard.
Sirius reeled backwards, trying to stay on his feet as his head spun. Bringing his hand up to feel the tender area, wincing at the sharp pain (James could really pack a punch when he wanted to and, by the feel of it, he really wanted to just then. Sirius suspected maybe he was channeling some of Amberle’s spirit in him too) and said; “Ok, that works too.”
James glared at him, teeth clenched and fist raised, ready to strike again. But Sirius didn’t back down, even with what he was fairly sure was a broken jaw – he’d been punched often enough to know the symptoms. Instead he just stared back at James, calmly waiting for any further onslaught his friend wished to deal out. Sirius was deluded enough to think he didn’t deserve it. He did. And a whole lot more.
But after a few minutes of agonizing tension, James lowered his eyes and hand, his shoulders slumping in defeat. Sirius moved forward once he saw the danger had passed, and put a hand on his arm, drawing him in for a hug when he noticed James had begun to shake.
“They’re gone, Padfoot. I can’t…I don’t want to believe it. What am I meant to do? Everything’s gone so wrong,” James whispered hoarsely, his voice breaking with the emotion that leaked out. He’d lost so much…it felt like he was starting to lose himself.
“I know, I know,” Sirius said, trying to sound reassuring. “But you’ve got us, mate. You don’t have to go it alone.”
Remus and Peter moved closer as well to pat James consolingly on the shoulder, nodding their agreement, all the harsh words from earlier forgotten.
A true friendship could withstand any attack, any trial that it faced. Even those that came from within. True friends went to any lengths to help one another, even if those lengths were unpleasant.
And there was no truer group of friends than the Marauders.
A/N: Hey there!
Ok, so I know many of you may want to flay me alive...if any of you are still around that is, because first of all I haven't updated in an unreasonably long time and second because when I do finally resurface, I give you this chapter which, to say the least, isn't exactly breathtaking. But I'm really really sorry, for both reasons! I don't even have a valid excuse for my long absenses, except that I just lost my flare for writing I guess and for that I'm sorry. I will try to get back in the swing of things though and hopefully the chapters will come much faster and in better quality (anybody notice how so many of stories have turned so doom and gloom? Jeez it's just depressing. I had a plan all set out for this story but I don't think I'd last if I write such sad chapters for too long, so I may change it. But, forewarning, the happy ending won't make its appearance for another while, I'm sorry!)
So I think I've effectively given any of you who still remember I exist due cause to try hunt me down haha but hopefully you'll hold off and give me a chance to redeem myself, ok? I'm begging here!
Anyway, enough rants, thanks to anyway who's still reading and I promise to try make it up to you!
Love, Irish_Ginny = )
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