Chapter 5 : Day 20
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20 July 1975
So feeding time with TV
then sleeping time, not sleepy so
reading time with pickle
but where the bedside lamp had been
is now emanating soft, soft green
Being grounded sucks. Of course, the one day that we actually get to catch up, my mum goes and ruins it all. It’s like she’s got me bugged with a tracking device or something! Lily wrote in the journal she had propped up on her legs with a sigh, watching as her curly calligraphy faded the moment the message was complete. The journals had been a birthday gift from Severus, something he’d worked really hard on getting for her a few years back.
Back when she had hated his guts.
And thrown the present in the corner without a second thought.
But, you know, it gets sort of lonely when you’re not allowed to go anywhere, phone anyone, or breathe. Alright, that was a bit rash, but she was quite sure that it was bound to go soon, along with her eating privileges.
Suddenly, a message composed from near-chicken scratch appeared on the parchment. Lily’s face brightened at Severus’ familiar handwriting.
How long’s your sentence?
Lily frowned slightly.
Too long, she wrote back.
The words dissolved, and she waited another few moments. Perhaps it may have been a minute or two. She didn’t exactly keep a clock in her bedroom, so she couldn’t be sure. Then his message appeared.
She can’t keep you in there forever. Want me to come rescue you?
Lily chuckled softly at the last bit, a little flattered by the offer. She quickly explained her theory about being on the brink of losing the privilege to sustain life (i.e. eat, breathe, etcetera).
She leaned her head back against the headboard of her bed with a hollow thud, shutting her eyes. It really sucked being grounded. She was stuck in her hot and humid bedroom, all day, with zero contact to the sane world. You know, minus the two-way journal. And to top it all off, she missed Sirius. Too much for words.
And he hadn’t even tried to come round and visit.
It had been seven whole days.
There was a sudden tapping at her window that made her jump. Her eyes flickered to where a tiny owl sat perched on the outside sill, its great yellow eyes looking straight at her. Lily closed her journal and slowly crawled off the bed on the side closest to the window. She glanced over her shoulder at the door, before taking a deep breath and opening the window for the owl.
Up close, it was no larger than her hand. It had an even smaller scroll of parchment tied to its foot, which she removed carefully once it had stopped hopping round the window sill excitedly. Lily laughed quietly, amused. She leaned against the wall next to the window, and opened the parchment.
The message was short and to the point:
Can I come in?
Lily’s eyebrows pulled together, and she looked over at the little owl on her window sill – who was currently grooming itself, and completely oblivious to her – as if it had all of the answers to the many questions that were now flooding into her head. She shook her head, suddenly remembering that she still hadn’t responded to Severus.
As she climbed back onto the bed and picked up her journal, someone spoke to her.
“It’s rude not responding to a letter, you know.”
She gave a start, spinning round on her heel. Sirius was in her window, stroking the little owl with his forefinger affectionately. Lily rolled her eyes once she’d managed to pull herself together. “You can hardly call that a letter,” she explained. “A note, maybe, but not a letter.”
He chuckled, looking up at her then.
Lily was suddenly very highly aware that she was wearing her pajamas; her clothes that screamed never-to-be-worn-when-around-the-opposite-sex. She was wearing paint-splattered sweatpants and a faded blue tank top, and her hair was wavy and pulled up into a messy bun. To put it simply, she felt utterly unattractive.
But he didn’t seem to notice that. He seemed to still look at her the same way he had seven days ago, and it was that look that made her almost forget that he hadn’t spoken to her in that long, lonely week.
“So, can I come in?” repeated Sirius.
“Only if I can ask you a question.”
He threw his head back with a small groan. “Not this again,” he replied with a soft chuckle. Lily just tucked a loose strand of red hair behind her ear.
“It’ll be quick, I promise,” she assured him.
“Let’s have it, then.”
“Why haven’t you written? Visited? Called, at the very least?” Her eyebrows furrowed as she thought deeply, suddenly regretting ever opening her mouth. She was whining. Now that was unattractive. But she couldn’t stop. “I thought you liked me.”
Sirius laughed again.
“I do like you, Lily. I like you a lot,” he sighed. “It’s just that things have been really hectic this past week. I never had a chance to write, and your parents are probably out for my head, so I didn’t think it would be a very good idea to come over.” He broke into a small smile. “As for calling you… well, I don’t exactly know how to… you know, use a… telephone? Is that what it’s called?”
Lily smiled, her anxiety washing away. “Yes,” she laughed, “yes, that’s what it’s called.” Sirius climbed through her window then, pulling a broomstick in after him. Her brow rose. “You’ve got a broomstick?”
He looked down at it as though he had only noticed that he had it when she had.
“Actually,” said Sirius, “I sort of borrowed it from a friend.”
“Won’t he wonder where it is?”
Sirius smiled as he propped it against the wall. “Possibly,” he admitted, shrugging indifferently as he flopped down on the bed next to Lily, situating himself so that his head was in her lap.
“I’ve missed you,” Lily told him, threading her fingers through his hair and looking down at him fondly.
He looked up at her for a long moment, a small smile faint on his lips. Then he propped himself up on his elbow, reached out and cupped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her full on the mouth. Lily felt her body relax considerably, a soft moan of content escaping her lips.
She’d missed this, too, even though they had only kissed once before.
Gradually, Sirius sat up straighter, kissing her harder. Lily felt her body lying back against the various pillows on her bed of its own accord, suddenly pinned down by her… boyfriend? Was that what they were? Boyfriend and girlfriend?
His hand was under her shirt now, working its way subtly up her abdomen – but she wasn’t oblivious to it. And she wasn’t very comfortable with it either.
She broke the kiss by turning her head and swating his hand away. “Sirius, I don’t think – we really shouldn’t…” she shut her eyes and took a deep breath, chewing on her lip, “Do you think we should really be doing this? My parents and sister are home. What if they walk in and see us – see you? Then I’ll never get to see you again,”
Lily exhaled, finally looking up at him again. She’d managed to save her neck at the last second, by making it seem like the reason that she didn’t want to go through with… this was because she didn’t want them getting caught. But that wasn’t the case, or at least not the whole case.
To be quite honest, she was terrified.
And he didn’t look quite as upset as she’d feared he would be. But he didn’t speak either. Overall, he was just… passive. Blank.
“Sirius?” Lily repeated weakly. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
He climbed over her carefully, and then got out of bed. “I should get going,” he claimed, retrieving his borrowed broomstick. A wave of heat rushed through her veins and across her skin.
Lily sat up, her eyebrows pulling together.
“So, that’s it, then? You’re leaving?” demanded Lily as she sat up. He stopped at the window, tensing suddenly. She swallowed hard, waiting. He said nothing in his defense. “I- I’m sorry, Sirius, I really am. It’s just… I’m just –”
“Scared?” Sirius finished for her, looking round finally. His tone was accusing; Lily was taken aback by it. She pressed her lips together firmly, crawling towards him.
Lily put her hand on his shoulder. “This isn’t you. This isn’t the same boy that I had the most amazing time with a week ago,” she told him in a steady, sure voice. “You like me, and I like you. It’s enough for me. Why can’t it be enough for you?” You’re just running away, she wanted to add, but she bit down on her tongue to keep it from slipping out.
He closed his eyes and took a deep, slightly shuddering breath. She squeezed his shoulder.
“What do you want me to do?” He dead panned.
She climbed down from the bed and walked round to stand between him and the window, caressing his cheek. “Just… don’t leave yet,” Lily replied, fighting to keep her voice steady. She stepped forward and kissed him before he could speak – before he could tell her something she didn’t want to hear.
Lily arched her body towards his as her arms wrapped themselves round his neck, her fingers tangling themselves in his silky hair. At first, he didn’t touch her back, or even respond to the kiss. But she was not ready to let him leave yet. Even if she wasn’t ready to… take their relationship any further, she just wanted to be with him as long as she could.
She wanted to be sure that what she was feeling wasn’t as one sided as she felt it was.
Sometime around eleven, as she lay in her bed, Lily opened her eyes. They glittered like jewels in the pale moonlight, but they were bloodshot; she hadn’t been able to sleep since she and Sirius had lay down for the night. She was suddenly aware of the arm wrapped round her waist, and as she shifted, it moved.
Lily rolled over, and Sirius opened his eyes, too. “Hey,” he yawned, smiling tiredly.
“I thought you’d be gone by now,” Lily murmured, tucking her bed-tousled red hair behind her ear as she kept her gaze steady on him. “Won’t your parents be worried that you haven’t come home yet?”
In response, he clenched his teeth and sat up, turning his back on her as he swung his legs over the side of the bed. Lily pushed herself up into a sitting position as well, looking concerned. She reached out to touch his shoulder, and he flinched, but didn’t cringe away.
He sighed, “My parents don’t care where I am.”
“Don’t say that,” she shook her head, closing her eyes with a deep exhale. She knew all too well about parents who didn’t understand their kids. She’d thought the same thing on more than one occasion.
But that had only been a phase.
Lily wanted to believe that he was going through that phase now, too, but something – the bitterness in his voice, maybe – was making her think this was much more serious than that.
“You don’t get it,” Sirius told her, dropping his head into his hands and running his fingers through his hair. “They really don’t care. They’d known I was rotten from the very beginning – a black sheep in a herd of pure, perfect ones, like them.” He laughed bitterly. “I’ll bet they’re bloody ecstatic now that I am finally out of the picture,”
Her eyes were wide with horror. “Sirius, what’re you talking about?” Lily asked. “What’s happened?”
Instead of replying, Sirius stood up and walked round the bed to the window for the second time that night. But this time, Lily was too shocked and too exhausted to follow him.
“You’re right,” he said finally. “I should probably leave.”
As he turned to the window and picked up his broomstick, he stopped and turned back to Lily, before giving her a long, hard kiss goodbye. He kissed her on the cheek, and then whispered in her ear, “My friend’s decided to throw me a party for my birthday on Friday. It would suck a whole lot less if you showed up.”
Lily opened her mouth, and then shut it again stupidly.
She knew that her parents wouldn’t be generous enough to let her off the hook by Friday, let alone for a party at a boy’s house, but she couldn’t very well tell him that. Not when she knew that something was troubling him to no prevail.
“Okay, sure,” she told him before she could finish deliberating, “I’ll be there.” Sirius nodded, a small smile pushing its way onto his face.
“I’ll send you the address tomorrow,” he replied, before climbing out of the window, mounting his broom, and disappearing into the night. As Lily sat there on her bed, and the cool night air danced across her cheeks, she realized something.
He hadn’t even said goodbye.