Chapter 17 : Chapter seventeen: Times like these
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Anyway, this one is a filler but it's very important too. Hopefully it won't be too boring.
January passed, as did February. More than two months passed, and Sirius and I didn’t make up. He tried to talk to me a couple of times but I just ignored him and walked away every time he neared me. Eventually he gave up, and there was only silence between us.
Our quidditch practises were awkward and tense, but since he played beater I didn’t have to cooperate much with him. In fact, we didn’t even have to talk to each other. Still, the tension was obvious and there was something missing. Our team didn’t have the feeling of solidarity anymore.
It also had to do with the fact that I wasn’t talking to Mandy either. She had tried to apologize several times but I ignored her too. I was too stubborn to forgive her.
Things weren’t as they used to be, but we managed to make it work anyway. As soon as practise started we worked as a team no matter what we thought about each other. All of us were too determined to win the cup to let something get in between us.
But as soon as we left the pitch we split into different groups. Sirius and Mandy were obviously on one side, and Freddy had joined them. He was Mandy’s best friend and he apparently thought that she had done the right thing by telling Sirius.
Lucas and Joey were on my side. They weren’t as hostile towards the rest as I was, but they thought that Mandy and Sirius had ‘fucked up completely’, as they had told me.
And right in the middle of everything was James. He tried to intervene between the two groups but it didn’t work like he wanted. We still didn’t talk to each other.
I felt bad for him, putting him in the middle like that. I didn’t even know if I was angry with Sirius and Mandy anymore. I felt indifferent to the situation. I had a feeling that I was too proud to take the first step and talk to them.
So the team stayed divided, and it was the same with the rest of my friends. Alisha had taken my part immediately, and she too refused to talk to Sirius. Peter had rushed to Sirius’ side, which didn’t surprise me at all. He followed Sirius like a shadow, trying to be as cool as him. I would have felt sorry for him if he wasn’t so pathetic.
Remus, James and Lily refused to choose sides, so they stayed neutral. Whenever there was a situation where Sirius and I were close to each other, like lunch or dinner, they kept for themselves. They talked to both of us, but clearly showed that they didn’t like the situation.
But who did? None of us were happy. The only thing that was good about this situation was that Lily and James had become friends. He didn’t tease her anymore and she didn’t yell at him. At least there was something good about it.
But except for that, everything was colorless. It was as if I was riding in a car with toned windows; the colors were faint and the light was feeble.
My friends were more affected by this than I had thought they would be. I felt bad for putting them in this situation, and I had started to realize that it was time for me to do something. Things couldn’t go on like this. I had to let go of my pride and fix this.
The question was though; what exactly was I going to do?
I was wandering through the corridors even though it was past curfew. I didn’t care if I got caught; detention would be a relief.
You see, the evenings were the worst. Our friends usually sat together in front of the fire like always, but all of us were never there at the same time. If I was there, Sirius wasn’t, and if he was there, I fled the common room. I think both of us did this not only to avoid each other, but also to let our friends sit together. All of us were sick of the grouping.
I was so caught up in my thoughts that I wasn’t thinking about where I was walking. I didn’t realize that I was on my way out on the grounds until I looked up and saw that I was standing in front of the big gate.
I had subconsciously made my way here, but still I hesitated. It was very cold outside and you never knew what you would meet on the grounds at night. I was just about to turn around and walk back when I heard someone whisper my name.
I whipped around, but saw nothing. I immediately drew out my wand.
Three shadowy figures suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I gasped before recognizing the figures. Sirius, James and Peter stepped out of the dark shadows. I briefly wondered where they had come from, but then remembered about James’ invisibility cloak.
“Sorry Sophia, we didn’t mean to scare you” James said as he walked up to me.
“It’s alright” I said as I examined them. All of them wore dark clothes, and Sirius was holding the Marauders’ map. “Where are you going?”
All of them shifted a little and looked down at their shoes, as if they were very interesting all of a sudden. James looked up at me nervously and opened his mouth to say something, but I interrupted him.
“Don’t even think about lying to me, James Potter, because I’ll know if you do and I’ll swear to god I’ll hurt you if you even try” I said menacing while glaring at him.
He gulped and looked desperately at Sirius. I looked at Sirius too, and for a moment I forgot that I was angry with him. He wore a tight, black t-shirt that brought out his muscles and his shaggy black hair was hanging in his eyes like always. His expression was calmer than James’. He looked more… worried. I had no idea why but one thing was sure; he was gorgeous.
I snapped out of my thoughts, surprised at them. Sirius wasn’t someone I stared at. Sure, he was attractive, but he was like a brother to me for crying out loud! Or… had been like a brother. But that didn’t matter; I didn’t look at him that way.
Sirius’ voice brought me back to reality.
“Look; there’s something we have to do tonight that we can’t tell you about right now.”
I could feel the anger boiling up again. Didn’t he care that I had just threatened James? Didn’t he think I was serious? I opened my mouth to protest, but he held up a hand.
“Wait. We can’t tell you now, but we will tell you later.”
James’ eyes widened and he stared at Sirius as if he was insane. Sirius shot him a look that immediately made him look away. Peter just stood in the background, watching the scene. I suddenly realized that there was one marauder missing.
Sirius and James looked at each other for a while, as if they were having a silent conversation.
“You’ll know later, but right now we just can’t tell you. I’m sorry, but we don’t have time for it” James said and gave me an apologetic look.
I wanted to protest and force them to tell me, but I realized I was fighting a losing battle. They were probably telling the truth.
“When will you get back?”
“Probably around four… Remus won’t be back until tomorrow though.”
I opened my mouth to ask why but James just waved his hand and continued.
“He’ll probably want to be there when we tell. You’re going to have to wait till tomorrow, okay?”
I nodded, but a plan formed in my head. I could always sneak up to their dormitory and wait for them and then try to force them to tell when they would come back.
“Okay, we really have to go now. Be careful when you walk back to the common room, promise? We’ll see you in the morning.”
James gave me a quick hug before hurrying away. Sirius and Peter followed without saying anything to me. I stood there for a while, watching them sneak out. A part of me wanted to follow them and see what they were so secretive about, but they had promised to tell so I would just have to wait a couple of hours. Waiting was much more comfortable compared to sneaking out to the cold grounds.
I sighed and started walking towards the common room. I was tired, but I doubted that I was going to get any sleep. When I got there, I went up to the boys’ dormitory. It was empty, of course, so I sat down on James’ bed and waited.
I thought about the episode right outside the great hall. It was the first time I had spoken to Sirius about anything else than quidditch. It was a bit ironic that we talked at the same place where we had fought.
I replayed the scene, and realized how weird it had been. First I had ogled Sirius, whom I was supposed to be angry with, and then I had talked to him as if nothing had happened. There was only one thing that could explain my behaviour; I wasn’t mad at him anymore. It seemed I had gotten over our fight. I was surprised, but I didn’t know if I should be. It had, after all, been more than two months.
I needed to talk to him, but I had to wait for the right moment. I couldn’t just discuss it over breakfast or in class. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too hard, but we had become very good at avoiding each other. I would find a way though.
I tried to stay awake, but my eyelids were so heavy, and James’ bed was so comfortable. I tried to focus, to stay alert but it was impossible. It didn’t take long before I fell asleep.
My plan had failed. I had fallen asleep, and didn’t even wake up when the guys came back in the morning. I woke up at seven, only to see all of them sprawled on their beds with their clothes on.
I thought about waking them up and forcing them to tell, but they looked so exhausted. I didn’t have the heart to do it. Instead, I snuck out of the dormitory and went back to my own.
The day passed quickly. The guys didn’t show up until after lunch, all of them looking tired. I knew I had to wait until after dinner before they would tell.
I was right. After dinner they asked me, Alisha and Lily to come up to their dorm. We sat down on James’ bed and waited. None of us had any idea what they were going to tell us, but it was obvious that it was something important.
I had never seen Remus so nervous. He was deathly pale and he was fidgeting his hands. James put a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s okay Moony.”
We sat there silently, waiting for them to begin. Remus drew a couple of deep breaths before opening his mouth.
“Okay. We have to tell you something. It’s kind of a big secret, and I completely understand if you’ll hate me after I’ve told you. If you don’t want to be friends with me anymore, then I understand.”
He paused and looked down at his shaking hands. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Why would we hate him? I looked at Alisha and Lily and saw that both of them wore confused expressions.
“Remus, what on earth are you talking about?” I asked. “I mean, why would we-“
“I’m a werewolf” he blurted out.
I gasped. Remus, a werewolf? It couldn’t be true. It just couldn’t. But the expression on his face told me that he wasn’t kidding. He was a werewolf.
James had walked up behind Remus and had once again put a hand on his shoulder. They were examining our expressions. Remus was looking terrified, and I realized what he had been talking about earlier.
He actually thought that we would hate him. Sure, there were many people that were against werewolves but in my opinion, it didn’t change anything. He was still Remus, the kind caring guy I had met on the train five years ago. I could understand why he felt that way though; many people would abandon him if they knew.
But I didn’t have anything to be afraid of. I mean, if he could go to school then there wasn’t any risk that he could harm anyone when he transformed. Dumbledore had without doubt taken care of the safety issue.
“Remus… I’m so sorry” I began.
He suddenly looked very sad, and I realized that my choice of words wasn’t the right one.
I waved my hands. “No, don’t misunderstand. I’m sorry that you have to go through this; it’s not fair. But this doesn’t change anything. You’re still my friend.”
He breathed out and looked relieved.
“I agree; I just wish you had told us sooner” Lily added.
“Me too; although it’s weird that we didn’t figure it out by ourselves” Alisha said.
All of the guys looked relieved, and the tension was suddenly completely gone. James had let go of Remus and had sat down on Sirius’ bed. They must have known for several years. It was probably part of the reason why they were so close too.
“When did you tell them?” I asked curiously.
James answered before Remus had the chance to. “He didn’t tell us; we figured it out by ourselves. Second year.”
“Poor bloke was so scared that he actually ran away when we confronted him” Sirius added and grinned.
“Yeah, but he couldn’t get rid of us that easily though” James finished, grinning too.
I felt bad for Remus, but was glad that the guys had figured it out. If they hadn’t there was no way that they would have become this close to each other.
“So full moon was yesterday… Er… Where do you transform?” Lily asked carefully.
“Shrieking shack. It’s not really haunted you know. There’s a secret passageway right here on the grounds” Remus replied and gave her a small smile.
It made sense. The guys were on their way out on the grounds, to go to Remus… Who was transforming.
Realization hit me like a wrecking ball. They had been on their way to be with Remus. When he had transformed.
“You were on your way out yesterday…” I said, still trying to overcome the shock. What were they thinking, being around a werewolf?! It was impossible. “What… How? I mean-“
“What on earth are you stuttering about Sophia?” Alisha asked, looking confused.
“I think we can explain that” James said. “Yesterday Sophia caught me, Padfoot and Wormtail on our way out. She threatened to hurt us if we didn’t tell her what was going on, so we promised to. We were on our way to Remus, to help him with his transformation.”
“You were WHAT?” Lily exclaimed. “Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?”
“Calm down Lily” Sirius said. “There’s an explanation for that too. You see, when we found out about Remus condition, or ‘furry little problem’ as James likes to call it, we wanted to help. We started reading about animaguses…”
Lily gasped. “You didn’t. Did you actually manage to-“
Sirius nodded and she fell silent. “Fifth year. We’ve been with him on his transformations ever since.”
I was completely gobsmacked. It was incredible; amazing. Not many people would do such a thing for their friend.
“Wow…” Alisha mumbled. “That’s astounding, really.”
The guys just smiled. “That’s what friends are for.”
“So are you going to tell us which animals you transform into?” Lily asked.
“I’m a stag” James said proudly. “Which is why I’m called prongs.”
“I’m a dog; Padfoot” Sirius said and grinned.
Alisha rolled her eyes. “Makes sense” she muttered.
“And I’m a rat” Peter finished. “You know, Wormtail.”
That completely made sense too. He actually looked a bit like a rat. The other two were appropriate too. Sirius sounded like a barking dog when he laughed and James was elegant like a stag.
We asked them several questions about the transformation and other things, and they answered willingly. I was overwhelmed by the information. It was a lot to take in. One of my friends was a werewolf, and the other three were animaguses. It shocked me, but I felt sorry for Remus and was proud of the others for helping their friend.
It would take me a couple of days to get over the shock, but it didn’t change the way I felt about the guys at all. In fact, it just made me like them more. I wasn’t mad that they hadn’t told us earlier because I completely understood why they had kept it for themselves.
We said goodbye to them at midnight and went back to our dorm. None of us talked on our way back. I guess we were too deep in our own thoughts.
I had trouble sleeping that night. I just kept thinking about what I had found out. It was big, but I didn’t care. They were still the same guys. They hadn’t changed. The only thing that had change was what I knew about them.
I also thought about Sirius. Once again, we had acted as if we had made up. The tension and anger was gone. It was really time for us to talk. We had to clean the air before we could let go of it completely. I had already forgiven him and I missed him. It was time to make things right.
I sat on one of the benches in the changing room. It was Saturday the 21st of March, and time for our second Quidditch match. Ten days had passed since I had found out about Remus’ condition, and I still hadn’t talked to Sirius.
It was ironic, really. When I actually wanted to talk to him, I didn’t have the time for it. James had worked us so hard with several extra practises and at the same time the teachers loaded us with more homework than ever. All of my spare time went to either practising or studying.
It was frustrating, but I knew that things would calm down after this match. We were playing Slytherin this time, so we just had to win. The Slytherin had tried to hex us all week, those pigs. Luckily no one got hurt.
So this match was really important. If we won this, we had a big chance of winning the cup too.
James was currently holding a pep talk. Everybody was listening attentively. All of us wanted to win, especially since it was Slytherin we were playing.
“We are the better team – and we know it. Their keeper is lousy compared to Lucas and their seeker is way slower than Sophia. They do have two good beaters though, so watch out for them. But I think Sirius and Joey can handle that, right?”
Both Sirius and Joey grinned and nodded. I could see the excitement in their eyes.
“I’m not sure about their chasers, because two of them are new this year. But that doesn’t matter, because we are going to CRUSH them!”
The whole team cheered and James went on with his speech for another couple of minutes. After a while he told us to get ready, so all of us grabbed our brooms and went out to the door.
We didn’t have to stand there for long. The door burst open and we mounted our brooms and flew out. The whole stadium was packed with people, and they were all cheering loudly. I could hear Tim’s voice through the loudspeakers. Apparently he was going to be speaker today.
“And here comes the Gryffindor team! Potter, Allum and Johnson are chasers, Black and Farman are beaters, the other Farman is keeper and the oh so lovely Crawford is seeker! Really nice girl, that one.”
I smiled at his comment, but shut his voice out and focused on what I was going to do. The Slytherin team was already there, hovering on their brooms. One of the beaters shot me a nasty glare, and I raised an eyebrow in response.
Our team positioned ourselves in front of Madame Hooch. The captains shook hands, and I felt sorry for James who had to touch Slytherin’s captain. He sure looked nasty. Suddenly Madam Hooch blew the whistle, and the game was on.
I immediately started circling the field, looking for that tiny golden snitch. I was completely focused on finding it. We had to win this game.
Fifteen minutes passed, and suddenly the score was 70-30 to Gryffindor. My team played much better, but the Slytherins were foul in their play so they managed to stop us sometimes.
I still hadn’t caught a glimpse of the snitch, and neither had the other seeker. Both of us were flying around the field, trying to avoid the bludgers. It seemed that James had been right about the beaters; they were very good. Luckily, our beaters were good too so I didn’t have to worry. They had lots to do though, but they could handle it.
Tim announced yet another goal for Gryffindor when I saw a flicker of gold near the ground. I immediately started diving in high speed, and the other seeker wasn’t far behind. He tried to tackle me, but I was a bit ahead so he didn’t succeed.
He was gaining on me though, so I flew even faster. I knew it was a risk flying this fast towards the ground, but I could do a Wronskij feint so I would be just fine. The snitch seemed to be a couple of feet above the ground too so it wouldn’t be a problem.
I completely tuned out the stadium as I sped towards the ground. The only thing that mattered now was to catch the snitch before the other seeker could.
Suddenly he had disappeared, and I smirked on the inside. Either he had been hit by a bludger or he had chickened out. I was hoping for the latter one, but it was probably the first one that was correct. The thought quickly disappeared as I neared the snitch.
I stretched out my hand to be prepared to grasp it at the same time as I straightened my broom a little. I could hear faint sounds of people screaming in the background. It was as if someone had put hearing protection on me.
I reached out even more and felt the snitch on the tip of my fingers. I quickly grabbed it and was just about to do a victory lap when I heard someone scream.
“SOPHIA! LOOK OUT!”
Moments after I felt something hit me. The last thing I heard was someone screaming again, and then everything went black.
So that was chapter 17. I just had to write the obligatory 'finding out about Remus' furry problem"-scene. It was important for the story, even though it's kind of boring to read.
This was also the first time I wrote a quidditch scene, which I must say wasn't my cup of tea... so I made it short.
Anyone who's annoyed that she didn't talk to Sirius? Raise your hands!
I can assure you that the next chapter will be much more interesting.
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