Chapter 12 : Learning to Breathe
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Remus went up the boy’s staircase urgently. When he got there he did not find Sirius. What he did find was James standing on his bed with a giant alligator snapping at his heels. Confused but not all together surprised Remus backed away from the alligator and gave James a withering look.
"What the hell is this-?!"
"DON'T-SAY-WHAT-HE-IS!" James shouted as he swatted the reptile away from himself with a pink umbrella, "HIS NAME IS TACO!"
Remus's let his jaw drop in bewilderment. "You named an Alligator, Tac-"
"NOOOOO!" James yelled as the large alligator moved from trying to nibble on his ankles to trying to swallow Remus whole.
Yelping in fear, Remus hurtled over his own bed and jumped into the bathroom. "WHY THE HELL IS THERE A-"
"DON'T SAY WHAT HE IS! He's very sensitive!" James announced in a nurturing way before climbing up onto the window sill away from Taco's reach.
"Okay," Remus sighed in aggravation, "Then would you mind telling me why..."
"Taco," James supplied with a smile.
"Fine, can you tell me why 'Taco' is in our room? Probably eating my bed at this point..."
"He doesn't like your bed but i do see him going for your books."
Remus slammed open the door furiously and pointed his wand at his book bag intimidatingly only to find Taco on the entirely opposite side of the room. "Why you-!" He roared at James menacingly. "How could you lie about such things?!"
"Oh come on we both know you never would have came out of my room if i hadn't of threatened the livelihood of your precious books."
"Whatever," Remus scouffed testily as he stayed far away from Taco, "Why is he here?"
"Transfig final project. I have to Transfigure my luggage into a...." James eyed Taco carefully, "Into a him and then transfigure him into a bag."
Remus rubbed his eyes in anxiety before sighing. "Okay...I won't even question it...Do you know where Sirius is?"
James's face considerably darkened at that as his face grew sober. "No. Can't say I have."
"Well you have fun with..." Remus rolled his eyes, "Taco and i'll look for him."
"Bye!" James shouted before screeching, "BAD TACO! DON'T CLIMB UP THE WALL! VERY BAD TACO!"
Remus went through the empty charm’s corridor frustrated and tired. He’d been looked for Sirius all over the castle and still nothing. With a week left before school ended it was getting harder and harder to track Sirius down. It really didn't make sense to Remus why he was acting the way he was. When he had come back from Easter break two months previous Remus knew something was wrong. He’d fake smiles and laughs for James’s sake but Remus saw right through it. Sirius was never one to hold a frown even when he was surrounded by people he hated. After Easter he was different. Anyone could be talking to him and his eyes just would be empty of any emotion. Remus was planning on saying something when he started his serial snogging sessions. The odd thing was in October Remus wouldn’t be surprised to find him snogging a new girl every week but since November it was like he was having a women hiatus. He didn't date, or even shoot out nearly as many sleazy pick up lines as normal. It was just so...out of character.
Grunting in frustration, Remus finally gave up. He’d gone so far across the castle he had landed himself in the dungeons. Turning, he let out an irritated sigh and stopped abruptly. He wasn’t completely sure but he could have sworn he heard a woman scream. Acting on his instincts, he rushed towards where he thought he heard the sound. After taking one step into the room he froze. What he saw, he couldn’t believe. There were four Slythern’s in the room; Lestrange, Nott, Malfoy and Paxton. Two months ago it wouldn’t have been odd to see them all together but this was not right. From what he could see Nott and Lestrange were holding her up. Her face was blank from emotion. He wouldn’t have even known that she was still living if it weren’t for her eyes. Her black sullen eyes were filled with suffering and regret that he felt his own heart ache with her anguish. Every inch of her was broken and bruised. Not sure what to do he just stood there and watched in fear.
Pausing between Cruciatus curses, Malfoy wiped the small bead of sweat that was building on his forehead and smirked. “Stings doesn’t it?”
She glared at him hatefully, “You are a spineless coward Malfoy.”
“How am I coward?”
“You didn’t even fight me on your own…You’re not even original,” She spat out some blood and let out a shaky breath, “Yaxley and Nott had this discussion a week ago. Same misunderstanding.” Her eyes lifted to his, “You all seem to think I give a rat’s ass what you think about me…I don’t.”
Remus was surprised to see that as weak as she was she still had the energy to speak full sentences. He was taken aback by the look of loathing that intensified on their already furious faces.
Malfoy punched her so hard in the face Remus knew Malfoy had broke her jaw. She started to actually physically shake in pain as he sneered and lowered his face to hers. “You are lower than that blood traitor you love and now for the rest of your life you will pay for this.”
She looked like she was going unconscious and Remus rushed forward. After taking one step Lestrange whipped out his wand and sent him flying into the hall. He woke to Sirius picking up off the ground. "You okay mate?"
"Yeah," Remus slurred disoriented, "Where is she?"
"Where is who?"
Remus looked over Sirius's shoulder and saw that the room was empty. Suddenly her voice sounded in his ears, the fierce tone, the wounded scream. She didn't care what they did to here because she'd already been hurt beyond her limit. Something in Sirius's face gave away the truth. Sirius's didn't have to admit it. Remus now knew why he'd been so depressed and why now he was almost obsessively dating. He was trying to forget her. And every time he'd switch girls thinking maybe that girl would be the one girl to help him be able to he'd be disappointed. Comprehension filled Remus's face as he starred at Sirius's.
Clueless, Sirius gave him a worried look, "You okay Moony? Did you hit your head too hard?"
"No," Remus spoke simply giving him a knowing look, "Just hard enough."
I was almost there. Just a few steps and I would be in the order headquarters. It had nearly taken me the entire ten minute walk to gather enough sanity to calm down. I was going to be okay. I would be diplomatic and treat him the same as I did Potter and Lupin. Nothing would be awkward or change. At least that's what i needed to believe. Sighing, I stopped and picked up a wrapper that was laying on the floor. Unconsciously I was about to stuff it in my pocket when i found both my pocket's were already stuffed with bagel wrappings. I was about to just cram room for it when i saw it was the exact same wrapper. Examining it closely I even saw that the date stamp was two minutes before my other one from Tuesday. No i wouldn't normally remember if i went twice in the same day but i would however remember if they messed up my order and i had to get in line again a few moments later.
Frowning, I closed my eyes and focused on the day. I had woken up early, took a shower, went to the bagel shop, went to work, went home, slept. There was nothing out of the ordinary about that day. At work i had just paperwork and it only took me five minutes to get in, get my bagel, and get out. I really wanted to let it go and allow myself to think that i was just been overly-analytical but I couldn't. I stopped walking and perched myself on a big random nearby boulder. What was i missing? What was it that I wasn't seeing. I needed a pensive. Off in the close distance I saw an abandoned house. No one was on the road and I was already two minutes late for the meeting. I figured what the hell. I needed to know. Taking my pocket pensive out I went into the house and shut the door. For a second I hesitated. I glanced around the broken down house suspiciously and continued to pause. A few moments later I decided it was safe. Carefully I put the silver tub horizontal and pressed it to my temple....
Violently i was thrown down hard into an unforgiving brown hard wood floor. I groaned aggregately before pushing myself up off the floor to my feet. It was Tuesday again. There was a long line of muggles in front and behind me as I waited patiently for my food. I backed away to the counter see the entire shop. There was nothing odd about the scene. There was a lady with a bright scarlet serpent on her hat in line behind me, at a nearby table there were muggles talking about football and there was Remus Lupin five people behind me. For a second my mind lapsed and I thought that would be a normal occurrence. That Remus Lupin would, on his daily travels, go into MY bagel shop decked out in a baseball cap and jeans. I went over to him and saw that he was watching me. Not me at that moment but the me in the memory. I would towards him and saw him write something I couldn't see. For a little while I waited. I waited as the line moved along, for him to reveal what he'd been waiting. Then I saw it.
May 27th, 1980:
-No Death Eater's in sight.
May 28, 1980:
-No Death Eaters in sight.
June 1st, 1980:
-No Death Eaters in sight.
June 5th, 1980:
-No Death Eaters in sight.
My jaw locked tightly as my eyes narrowed dangerously. He was spying on me. I groaned and fell to the floor of the abandoned house. I pulled out my memory too quick. My temples felt like they were on fire. The sliver tub was ejecting out of the pensive so I slid it back in, shoved it into my pocket and began rubbing my temples. A anger started in my stomach, scampered up my body and rose up through my stomach to my chest. I stomped out of the house and stormed to headquarters. I never expected them to accept me. I was a Slythern through and through. I was on the Quidditch team, I dated a lot of Slythern guys and my family was psychotically pure-blood. I understood that they wouldn't like me. But blatantly going behind my back and following me! I was beyond livid.
There was nothing holding me back as I reached the door. In my head I already had the situation planned. My anger was later fueled by the fact that he was standing right by the door. I took one aggressive step forward before seeing Dumbledore next to him. Unable to completely control my anger, I marched forward and shoved him so hard in the chest he staggered backward.
"You manipulative asshole!" I dropped my hood and glowered at him hatefully. "Excuse me sir, but I don't think I can work here anymore." I turned to direct my anger at Remus. "Some people apparently hate me to the point of going behind my back."
"Well," Dumbledore smiled pleasantly, "I'll leave you two to it."
The second he left I approached him. "What's your problem?"
He tensed up, "I don't know what you're talking about Paxton..."
"You've been following me!"
My eyes dilated as I raised my hands in frustration, "You're not even going to bother denying it?!"
"Paxton calm down."
That set me off. I hated that. Why do people think that by just saying the words calm down that that phrase will have any effect on the person? It normally stimulates a stronger, more violent response like the one pulsing through my veins. Who was he to tell me to calm down? I'm about a third of his size and i could throw through the door he's leaning on. Fists clenching, I took an aggressive step towards him.
"Who the fuck do you think you are to tell me to calm down?! You don't even know me and yet you're self entitled enough to think that i'm evil or something! Why were you even following me?!"
Then he did the most irritating thing. First he let out a sigh of relief and then he started laughing, at me. "Paxton, I wasn't following you because i think you're a Death Eater. I was following you because I thought you were being followed."
"Why would you think that?"
He pulled out a piece of parchment with a list of names on it. "Our inside source wrote that this is their most wanted list."
I scrolled from the twenty to the first and saw a few names I recognized;
Stephen Drake # 20,
Christian Savage #19,
Matthew Marowski #18,
Benji Fenwick #17,
Richard Lester #16,
Kingsley Shacklebolt #15,
Lily Potter #14,
Joe Tritt # 13,
Remus Lupin #12,
James Potter #11,
Daniel Proudfoot # 10,
Alexander Williamson #9,
Nathan Crestwood #8,
Alice Longbottom #7,
Frank Longbottom #6,
Sirius Black #5,
Lorenzo DeMarko #4,
Juliette Paxton #3,
Alastor Moody #2,
Albus Dumbledore #1.
In confusion I furrowed my eyebrows. How could I possibly be considered 2nd? Out of twenty people on the list how was I even in the top five? Top ten yes but top three? I gave Lupin a look of severe disbelief.
"This is the hit list?"
I scowled, "So...You are following me to make sure i'm not being followed because someone made a list of who they didn't like...Am i getting that right?"
Remus blushed angrily. "No. I just...Never mind. Sorry for trying to be nice."
"How is it nice to follow me? You could have at least ran it past me."
"Dumbledore asked me not to."
I bit my lip bitterly. Of course, Dumbledore. Lupin would never do this FOR ME. Dumbledore was pulling the strings. What was that man up to? "Well I'll tell Dumbledore I can take care of myself...But-" I glanced away, "Thanks..."
Awkwardly we looked at each other until finally I broke his glance and walked into the meeting room. As soon as I sat down in between Alice and Dumbledore, Dumbledore slid me a glass of orange juice. Incredulously my jaw lowered as my face contorted in confusion.
He only smiled, "Orange juice?"
Sitting back I drank my orange juice with a blank expression. All I could think about was WHY Dumbledore had this odd fascination with orange juice and why he shared it with me. Lupin came in behind me and Dumbledore stood to initiate that the meeting was about to start. Everyone's eyes were magnetized to him as he grabbed the list from Remus.
"Before I hand out our missions..." He began diplomatically, " I just thought I should once again press opon you the danger I so carelessly throw you into everyday." All eyes then became glued to the parchment as I alone starred at the table top in front of me, "Some of you this may not come as much of a surprise," His eyes lingered over Sirius's as he moved around the table slowly, "And some of you this may come as a shock," Dumbledore then chose to set his spectacled eyes on me, "But all of you should be on you're guard. What we do here is a risk but a risk we all believe in taking."
Moody let out a gruff grunt off approval across from me. I half-smiled.
"So!" Dumbledore beamed, bringing his hands together and loosing his morose tone, "Here are you're assignments. Potter and Lupin-" He handed them an envelope and they stood up and left," Vance and Longbottom.... Prewett and Evans....Black and Paxton-" He rose and snatched the envelope, turned away from me before leaving for the entryway.
I stood and followed Sirius. My head was spinning as my heart slammed against my ribs violently. I focused on staying calm. I would channel all my left over aggression from Lupin and use it to ignore everything but the mission. It took him a long time to look me in the face but when he did I recognized his expression as the same one Renee wore when she went to visit her grandmother. Tighting my lips, I collected myself. I could handle this. I was strong enough to deal with this. So I took a step toward him and nodded at him. We were two feet apart but it was still close. I could now see the tight jaw line, strong lips and the two small birth marks that hovered over his left eyebrow that I tried to forget. I didn't say a thing. All i did was stand there and convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. A distinctive mix of his natural scent and deodorant wafted over me and I prayed he would break the silence. I wanted to break it but I couldn't. All the walls I had closely wound around me were shaking.
He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes to the envelope as quickly as he could. "We have to break into Malfoy's House."
"And do what?"
"...." Sirius raised his eyebrows in bewilderment, "We have to get the ingredient's to make a polyjuice potion."
"So DNA....I guess we could grab her brush and his...." I scowled trying to think of something, "What would we get of his?"
He shrugged dismissively, "We can figure it out when we get there."
I nodded again and crossed my arms over my chest. "We should go then."
"I ah..." I started uncomfortably.
I lifted my lower lip over my teeth and starred at my feet angrily. "I don't know where they live."
"Oh..." He frowned. "You could side along apparate with me."
We walked outside and he moved his arm out a fraction of an inch for me to hold onto. I looked up into his eyes and saw nothing. Something about his indifference gave me the confidence to put my feelings aside, grab his arm and apparate with him to the Malfoy's.
This chapter isn't edited yet but I will do so in my free time. PLEASE REVIEW! THANK YOU FOR READING!
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