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Caught In The Fire by DeathCabForCutie
Chapter 23 : What It's Like
 
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The rehearsal dinner went well. Chloe was glowing, Nik talked about how much he loved her. My brother looked adorable in his tie and jacket, almost like a grown up. I couldn’t believe he was getting married he’s only twenty four but then again Chloe is twenty three. Other than that though it was what you'd expect. Everyone was dancing and boozing it up but I couldn’t find it in myself to have fun. I could have put it off as I was tired but the truth was I didn’t feel like partying. My heart wasn't in it. When I got back to the flat Sirius wasn’t there. So I just sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the vacant space blankly. I didn’t know where he was  for sure but I had a vague idea. Something however stopped me from going there now. Maybe it was the fact that in just a few hours I would be in hell. Chloe…dear, sweet Chloe didn’t ask her sister to be her Maid of Honor. No she asked me because she knows that her seventeen year old sister could not come close to handling all the drama that naturally erupts from a simple wedding ceremony.




 



I took of my dress combed out my hair and pulled on a pair of jeans and a tank top on. It was nine o’clock; I left the party early. Rising I went over to his dresser. There were some odd knickknacks scattered across the surface but my eyes focused on the five framed pictures standing boldly in the center. The first was of James, Sirius, Remus and Peter. Judging by their uniform of no shirts, swim trunks and dripping hair, I assumed they all had just gotten out of the black lake.  They had their arms around each other and were grinning ear to ear; they couldn’t have been older than sixteen. The next was of James, Lily, Sirius and Remus at what looked like James’s wedding considering their age and their dressage.  Remus had one of James’s arms while Sirius had the other. Lily was beaming as she shoved a piece of white cake into her husband’s face. A smile floated onto my face at the pure revulsion and betrayal on James’s face. The next was of James and Sirius. They had to have been twelve with Sirius’s lack of five o’clock shadow and their small sizes. They were in their Gryffindor Quidditch robes with huge grins on their faces.  The next frame was of Sirius and James with what looked like James’s parents. Mrs. Potter was a petite woman, with large dark eyes and a kind smile. Mr. Potter on the other hand was a tall and fit man even though he looked well into his fifties. He also had James’s half hazard jet black hair and wore glasses similar to the ones I always saw James wear. My smile faltered slightly when I saw the last picture. It was of Sirius when he was around thirteen with his Uncle Alphard. His uncle had his arm around the small boys shoulder with a look of pure affection, something I knew Sirius never received from the rest of his family.

 

 

I let out a shallow breath and fidgeted nervously. Sirius noticed and gave me an easy smile. “Hey.”

“What?” I retorted too quickly as I became defensive.

“You nervous?”

I gave him a look. “No,” I lied horribly.

“Jules.” He muttered knowingly.

“Fine!” I whispered surprisingly loudly, “I’m nervous!” I let out another cutting breath. “I’ve met your horrible parent’s on several occasions and you hate them so I never had to worry about impressing them because you hate them and now I have to find out there actually is a relative of yours you like!”

He let out a bark of laughter. “Honey,” He rubbed my shoulder as we walked up the path to his uncle’s house. “You’ll be fine. He’ll love you.”

“Yeah,” I scoffed critically, “Easy for you to say.”

 

 

Sirius knocked on the door and I could feel myself getting overly anxious as we waited for someone to answer the door. When the door opened I expected to see a house elf answering it but i didn't. Even at houses a quarter of this size they had dozens of house elves. Which is why I was astounded when his uncle answered the door. He looked a great deal like Sirius and he even had his grey eyes. I stood remote as he dragged Sirius into a bear hug.

 


 

“Sirius! My favorite nephew!” His uncle beamed, “How are you my boy?”

Sirius smiled happily. “Good…Uncle Alphard this is Juliette Paxton.”

I tensed up immediately but the man just smiled at me. “Hello my dear.”

“She’s my wife.” Sirius continued bravely.

I observed every second of his uncles reaction. It wasn’t hard because within a second of the news he came to life and threw me into a large hug. “YOUR WIFE! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO EARLIER?!”

I laughed cheerfully as he released me. “I’m so glad you’re happy.”

“Of course I am!” He pulled us both inside. “This is not everyday news! Please forgive the state of things I gave my house elves the week off.” He added casually as he ushered us into his spacious living room. “I can’t believe you’re settling down with such a lovely young lady!”

Sirius wrapped his arm around me as we sat on the sofa. “What are you saying Uncle?”

“Obviously that you must have drugged this woman.” His uncle teased him handing him a drink. “Why else would she be with you?”

I snorted, “That’s so true…”

Sirius put his face pulled me tighter as I laughed. The first and last time I’d meet his uncle.




 




It took me a minute to decide on what to do before I apparated to Godric’s Hollow. It was too late for a house call but for some reason I knew it would be okay. It was a warm night so I didn’t have to worry about the walk. It gave me time to think. By the time I made it to the house, went up the walkway leading to the house and knocked onto the door I was ready. For what I didn’t know all I knew was I could handle this. James was the one that answered the door. This man looked so …gone. His face was unshaven, his clothes weren’t buttoned up right and it was obvious that he hadn’t slept in days. I took a deep breath and steadied myself.


 

 

“I’m sorry, I know it’s late but I came to see Lily.”

 

 


His face showed subtle signs of shock but he moved and let me pass. Like the outside the inside looked like it could have been cut out of a magazine. Everything had its place and looked perfect. I wondered faintly who had the time to clean this house when it occurred to me that Lily probably did. It was weird. It was like I was stepping into a different world, a different life. A life I could have had. I could have been these people. Sirius and I could have stayed together, gotten a house, fought in the order together all these years…James shut the door and gestured for me to follow him to the living room. The room was painted a rich emerald green with gold crowning. I don’t know why that was interesting to me but I thought the color choice was unusual.

 

 


“I don’t know if she feels well enough to come down.” James told me bluntly.

I nodded. “I would come to her but I doubt that she would want that.”

 

 


He didn’t reply. Instead he went upstairs to get his wife. I sat down on the sofa and tried to think of what to say to her. No words came to mind. Then again I never had anyone say anything to me other than I’m sorry. What was I going to tell her? Back at Hogwarts I always thought she’d had it made. She was Headgirl, prefect, top of our class, beloved by all and girlfriend to the second most popular boy in school. Outside of Hogwarts she joined the order married the man of her dreams and bought a nice house. Until now I never saw any problems in her life. It occurred to me that she went through hard times too. I glanced up at the sound of footsteps. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised she came down at all. Lily came into the room followed closely by her concerned husband. He didn’t touch her but I could tell it was killing him that he couldn’t do anything. His hazel eyes were so intense I could practically feel how much it hurt him to see his wife this way. She was just so destroyed. I thought i knew the expression well but looking at her face i knew there was still some broken mystery to it.

 



 

“Hi,” I whispered softly.

She attempted a smile but it failed. “Hi.”

“I’m sorry to bother you…I just wanted to …” I stopped talking and shifted my gaze. “I know it probably doesn’t help much but I can relate to…you know.”

That seemed to hurt her more. “How?”

“I lost a baby too. I didn’t know about it and I didn’t plan it so that I can’t understand but if…” I pulled my strength together to look at her. “You need to talk…I mean you probably wouldn’t want to talk to me but…I’m here if you do.”

“Was it a girl or a boy?”

“I don’t know. The doctor never told me.”

Her big sad green eyes seeped into me as she surveyed me. “Was Sirius the father?”

I nodded.

“Did he know?”

I shook my head. “He found out a couple of days ago.”

“Would you have kept it?”

Without hesitating I nodded.

“Will you try to have kids again?”

I paused. “Probably. It wasn’t my choice to not have that baby. I used to blame myself but it won’t bring that baby back. It won’t make that pain go away.”

That seemed to impact her. “I keep thinking…I could have done something…I should have done something.”

I took her hand. “Don’t. We make a billion decisions in a day. Some work out some don’t. Maybe you weren’t meant to have a baby now but you will later. The doctor didn’t say you couldn’t have children did he?”

“No.”

“Then there’s no reason for you not to.” I smiled at her benevolently. “Grieve your loss Lily but don’t let it stop you from living. I made that mistake.”

 


 

Lily then shifted forward and shocked the hell out of me by crying. It was like her armor had broken and all that was left was this helpless woman. I couldn't think of anything else to do so I cautiously wrapped my arms around her and rubbed her back. “Shhhh…You got you….I gotcha…”








 

 

At some point James left the room but I didn’t acknowledge it. It was like I wasn’t just healing Lily. I was healing myself. I was giving to her what I never got myself and it felt good. She collected herself after a half hour of crying, let go of me and wiped her puffy face.

 



 

She was about to say sorry when she changed course and gave me a watery smile. “Thank you.”

“No problem.”

“Are you staying with Sirius?” She questioned almost instantly.

I gave a non committal shrug. “I have no idea what’s going on with that. I haven’t seen him since this morning and he ran off so yeah.”

“Well come on,” She stood up and went to the kitchen. “I’m starving.”


I followed her into the kitchen. Her baggy pajama pants dragged on the clean floor as i parked myself down onto one of the kitchen chairs. "What are you making?"


"I actually was going to just eat some cookies with milk. My favorite's oreo."


"No way. Me too."


She poured out two glasses of milk and took out a large case of oreos. "Here you go."


"Thanks." I checked my watch and laughed. "I'm never going to sleep."


"Oh i'm sorry-"


I held up my hand to stop her. "Honestly i don't sleep much anyway. My brother's wedding is tommorow so i have a lot of things on my mind anyway."

"Like?"


"Well for one i'm maid of honor so i have to keep everybody happy."


She nodded understandly. "For Alice's wedding i was maid of honor and she was mine but for hers it was so difficult to keep the side of her family that hated each other away from the side that was Frank's."


"Yeah Pureblood's are like that." I mused aloud. "Alice's family is crazy but they aren't as bad as mine. We grew up together before Hogwarts," I added at her confused look. "I actually met James's parents when we were kids. The families weren't so blood oreinted back then."


"It's weird." Lily whispered distantly. "You all knew each other since you were born."


I half smiled. "Yeah we all have. We used to have mini-pureblood parties...In a lot of ways i envy you though. It would have been nice to not have my whole future picked for me."


"I never thought of it that way...You are an Auror though."


"By that time i was already disowned so it was just another log onto the fire." I continued when she looked confused. "I was supposed to get married to a pureblood, produce babies and be a house wife. So being the first female Auror wouldn't make my parent's proud."


Lily dunked her oreo thoughtfully as chocolate specks circled around in her creamy milk. "Yeah my parent's were proud of me being a witch...It took awhile but then after some time they began to see the positves. My sister didn't. We used to be really close too.."


"She's probably just jealous." I stated simply. "I've seen it with squibs often."

"I just wish we could go back to the way we were."


"Well you never know." I mumbled before taking a bite of my dripping cookie. "My brother and i didn't talk for years and now i can't get away from him."


Lily smiled at me quietly. "You love him though."


"I didn't love him any less then. He just didn't want me to become like all those other girls so he stopped writing."


"When did you guys reconnect?"


"Umm..I just got out of trainning and he was getting a story from a ministry offical."


"Wow," She shrugged eating another oreo. "So just like that?"


"Well no. I was a bit icy and defensive but after some time i came around and forgave him for being a jerk."'


"Maybe Petunia will..." Lily commented softly.


I tucked my hair behind my ear thoughtfully. "Does she still send christmas and birthday presents?"


"Yeah but they're pathetic..." She laughed heartedly, "She always sends me the ugliest useless things."


"But she still sends you things because deep down she cares she just can't get over herself."


Lily eyed me. "You know I always thought you were a bitch."


"That's because i was."


"I think it's just because of who you hung out with."


I frowned. "They all didn't start out bad it's just the worst the war got the worst they got. Like Regulus..." I felt my eyes water but I didn't let them overflow. "He was a good guy in an impossible situation."


"He could have done what Sirius did."


"No he couldn't. He loved his parent's he had no one outside of the pureblood society." I glanced at a picture of James and Sirius in the corner. "James saved him from it all."


Lily didn't deny it. Instead her smile grew. "They really are as close as it gets."


"I remember their pranks....Especially during Quidditch season."


"You played?"


"Yeah. Only girl on the team."


She snorted. "That seems to be a theme for you."

"I know." I groaned slightly. "But it was alright."


"Do you still play?"


My face darkened. "No."


"Why not?"


"My father was obessed. We used to go to games and stuff together. After what happened i just ...couldn't."


An awkward tension hung thick in the air and Lily was quick to change the subject. "How did you and Sirius get together?"


"Detention."


"Figures," She replied wryly. "He spent half his time in there."


"Usually with me." James pipped up walking into the room and straddling the chair next to me.


"Well," I smirked, "We did get you back that one time."


"What time?"


I leaned back and moved my glass over. "You don't remember? We took your quidditch robes, wrote losers on them and hung them off the Quidditch stands after the final."

James glowered at me. "And you strung our clothes around the great hall."


I took a luxurious sip of milk. "Oh that was so sweet."


"Is that what you got detention for?" Lily questioned.


I shook my head mid-drink. "No the boys were streaking after our game at midnight and i was in a huge badger uniform because we beat them. Filch saw us and I tripped and couldn't get back up."


Lily and James started rolling with laughter. "Wait," James started, "I can't stop picturing you rolling on the floor helplessly in a huge chicken costume."


"Imagine how McGonagall felt she was the one who found me."


James shook with laughter. "What did she do?"


"She couldn't really punish me for anything other than being out after hours."




 





I took another sip of my milk and relaxed. I couldn't believe i was sitting here laughing with Hogwarts's it couple.It seemed like a decade ago we hated each other on principal.







I thought carefully before turning to James. "How's Remus going with the job hunting?"


"Not so great."


I shook my head disapprovingly. "It's ridiculous how he gets treated."


Lily and James both starred at me.


"I know he's a werewolf. I've known for years." I told them casually.


"And you're not scared of me?" A voice whispered a few feet away from me.


I twisted my neck to see him standing in the stairwell. "No."


"And I didn't tell her." Sirius announced coming into the room with his hands in his pockets.


"I figured it out." I told Remus, not looking at Sirius.








Remus walked over and sat in the chair across from me, Sirius didn't move. The uncomfortableness set in rapidly. It didn't take long for me to feel unease enough to get up to go. "Thanks Lily." She took my empty glass from me and put it in the sink.



 






I went to the door and was about to just leave when Lily pulled me into a hug. I couldn't help it. I smiled brightly and hugged her back. It didn't make sense but maybe for once it didn't have to. James waved and I nodded in return. Remus stayed with them but Sirius came out with me. He said nothing to me until we were half way down the street.



 





"That was nice of you."


"Yeah." I scoffed speeding up.


"Are you mad at me?"


I halted and gave him a dirty look. "Are you serious? Am I mad at you?"


"What?"


"Where have you been all day? I've been owling you and you never responded.You haven't been home and you didn't go with me to the rehersal dinner. Want to rethink your question?!"


Sirius snapped, "I'm sorry i wasn't at your beck and call."


"Why did Lorenzo hit you?" I blurted out angrily.


"Is that all you can think about?" He rounded on me furiously. "Even when it happened you were more concerned with why it happened then if i was okay!"


"Oh i'm so sorry!" I mocked sarcastically. "You big baby it's not like i didn't put ice on your small wound or anything."


Sirius started storming of but I grabbed his arm.


"No! You are going to be an adult and talk to me!"


"He's inlove with you!" Sirius yelled, "I was at a bar a month and a half ago and there he was two stools down from me telling the bartender how he felt about you. At first I felt sorry for the guy until he said your name."








It all fell into place. Twenty something, black hair and leather jacket. At the time I thought it was Sirius but brushed it off because I didn't understand why Sirius would hit Lorenzo. Now it all became too clear. All the flirting, friendly visits and openly defending me. I had met his family, all five of his sisters and his mom. I had gone with him to dinner, to the movies. I guess we had everything but the physical element. Lorenzo was very attractive but I never could seem to forget about Sirius long enough to really notice. I just made him out to be this player so i wouldn't have to think about it.




 




"What did he say before he hit you?"


"What?"


I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned against the white picket fence behind me. "You heard me."


"He said to leave."


"Okay."


"Okay?" He echoed still fuming. "How is that okay?"


I ignored him. "Where were you tonight?"


"I was with James until Remus owled me."


I gave him a curt nod before I continued moving.


"Where are you going?"


I gave him a look. "It's ten thrity. I'm tired, i'm crabby and I have to be up at seven tommorow. I get you had things to do but just because someone else likes me doesn't mean you can blow me off and act like it's all my fault. I never lead him on. So you can either come home with me or be a little bitch a complain about things i can't control. Which is it going to be?"


"I don't remember you being this fiesty."


"Well I am!"


His jaw loosened and put his hands on my shoulders. "I'm sorry. I just ...don't like him."


"Noted." I remarked lightly.


Sirius reached down and grabbed my hand before interlacking his fingers with mine. "We okay?"


"Yeah."


"Good." He let out a long sigh. "Let's go home."






Authors Note:




So close to the end guys. *Cries* I hope you guys are like the updates! I can space them out if that would be preferable. THANK YOU FOR READING!. I would love some feedback but I understand that sometimes it's really exhausting to leave one after reading a chapter so PLEASE REVIEW but more THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR READING! That's more what this is for than anything!


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