Chapter 13 : Caught in emotion and I'm overcome
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Chapter title is from the song "Fragile" by Delta Goodrem.
Another couple of weeks passed, and I tried to let go of my fear, just like Sam had told me. I tried not to over think things and tried to be more spontaneous. I also tried not to think as much about Sirius and instead act normal around him.
It wasn’t really working.
I wasn’t ignoring Sirius anymore, but I wasn’t really talking to him either. Our conversations were short and shallow, and we talked very seldom. At first he had come up to me to talk every now and then as he usually did, but after a while when he noticed my cold behaviour our conversations had become fewer and fewer.
I could understand him. I mean, I wouldn’t want to talk to someone who was moody and quiet. There were a lot of nicer people to have conversations with.
James hadn’t said anything more about my behaviour towards Sirius, but I could see that he wanted to. I often caught him (and Remus as well) throwing me glances.
My friends weren’t clueless anymore though. They had confronted me about my weird behaviour one night when we were sitting in our dormitory.
“So, what’s up with you and Sirius?” Pauline had asked as she plopped down on her bed. “You’re acting weird around each other again. Has something happened?”
I blushed. “No…” I said slowly, denying it before even thinking. But as I did, I heard Sam’s voice in my head and I knew that I had to tell them. “Or, well… Something might have happened.”
“I knew it!” Julie exclaimed. “Something happened when he took you to the hospital wing, didn’t it?”
“Er…” I stuttered as I blushed even redder. “No, I mean… yes. The thing is… Ugh!” I groaned and put my head in my hands. “Why is this so hard to say?”
I looked up and met Pauline’s eyes. She looked completely bewildered. Her eyes were pretty dark though. Was she angry?
“Did he try something again?” she asked. “Because if he did, I’ll steal his bat and smack a bludger right on his-”
“No!” I exclaimed. “Er, no. Nothing like that happened.”
I was beyond frustrated. Why couldn’t I just bloody tell them? They were my best friends, for fuck’s sake. I put a hand to my forehead and rubbed my temples.
“Oh no” Lily suddenly said, after having stayed quiet for the whole conversation. I looked up at her and saw realisation mixed with shock on her face. “You fancy him, don’t you?”
The room fell completely silent. All of them were staring at me. Pauline even had her mouth open.
I swallowed. “Er, there might be a possibility that I find him-“
“OH MY MOTHERFUCKING GOD!” Pauline yelled, cutting me off. “YOU BLOODY FANCY HIM!”
I looked at her, my eyes wide open. “Schhh!” I hissed. “I don’t want the whole bloody tower to know!”
Pauline seemed to be too shocked to even answer. She was muttering to herself, her eyes shifting around the room. The only things I could hear were “didn’t see coming” and “bloody hell”.
“So it’s true then?” Julie asked, ignoring Pauline’s weird behaviour. “You do like him?”
I looked down. “Yeah…”
“Well, that explains a lot” Lily said.
“Mhm…” I mumbled, waiting for their reaction. None of them had told me what they thought about this. I had expected them to roll their eyes about how typical and stupid this was. I mean, how many girls didn’t fancy Sirius Black?”
“It’s just a crush though” I said, trying to make it sound at least a bit better. “I mean, it will probably pass in a week or two. Nothing to waste any time on, really, because-“
“Does he know?” Pauline suddenly said, once again cutting me off. It seemed that she had snapped out of her state of shock.
“Er… no” I said. “Why would he? I don’t think he has figured it out.”
“So you haven’t told him?” Julie asked, looking somewhat displeased.
I snorted. “No, are you crazy? Why would I?”
“Because he might like you back?” Lily replied. “What’s the use of fancying someone if you don’t tell them?”
“He doesn’t see me that way” I said, and then the discussion was on.
The girls thought I should tell him; that it would make things easier. They didn’t believe me when I told them that it was just a crush, and they didn’t think it would pass. They wanted me to tell him, and then they thought he would confess his undying love and we would live happily ever after. At least, that was what it seemed like.
We argued about it for half an hour, and after a while Lily switched to my side. She thought I should wait, and instead try to see if he had any feelings for me. That would require me acting like normal towards him, which I wasn’t sure if I could do. But I was glad that someone was on my side; that was always something.
After that conversation, the girls had helped me with my feelings, despite the fact that they had different opinions of what I should do. I had actually followed Sam’s advice a little. I was more open about my feelings and talked to my friends about them. To my surprise, it actually made things easier.
They would help me take my mind off Sirius, and if I wanted to talk about him then they would listen. They were there for me to a hundred percent.
Too bad it didn’t help fully. My feelings for him were still there, and they were stronger than ever. Being around him hurt, because I just wanted him to wrap his arms around me and kiss me. I wanted him to think I was special, but he didn’t. I was just one of his house mates.
Despite having the help of my friends, the stress grew inside of me. I had had a ‘happy period’, and was now going through a moody period. I thought more about Nathan, and missed him more than I had a month ago. Now everything reminded me about him again, and it was painful just to walk through a corridor.
I think the reason for these feelings were that I needed him. I wanted him to be there, to help me sort out my feelings. I wanted him to give me advice on what to do with Sirius, and I wanted him to distract me from my thoughts. But he wasn’t there, and he couldn’t help me. I needed him, but he wasn’t there. At least not physically. In my head he was present all the time.
All of these feelings slowly formed a lump in my chest, that grew more and more each day. I tried to release the stress; I tried running, reading and even dancing. Nothing really worked though; everything just made me feel better for the moment. But as soon as I wasn’t busy with something; the lump in my chest appeared again.
I had never experienced anything like this, and so I had no idea what it was and why it was happening. I had felt actual pain in my chest before; I had cried until my chest ached several times, but I had never felt anything like this.
All I knew was that the lump was going, and sooner or later something would happen. I just didn’t know what or when.
I was walking in a deserted corridor. It was the day before we were going home for Christmas, so everyone was probably packing. I had been packing too, but had left as soon as I’d finished. I needed some time for myself.
It was one of those days. The lump in my chest was bigger than ever, and my thoughts were so blurry that I couldn’t focus on anything. I had tried to talk to my friends but I was too messed up to participate in a conversation.
My friends had looked worried, but they had let me go. I had told them that I needed some fresh air and some time to think, and they had all nodded. I knew that they wanted to come along and help me, but they respected my wishes.
I needed to be alone, and the empty corridor was perfect for me. It was completely silent, except for the breathing of the sleeping portraits and the sound of my footsteps.
My head wasn’t silent though; memories of Nathan played like a song that was on repeat. I couldn’t understand how I could be this messed up about his death; it had been a year and a half. I should have gotten over his death and feel better; but I still had these kinds of days.
Every time I felt sad about something, memories of him would pop up. Every time I felt down, I would turn into this grieving wreck. Being sad was my weakness: as soon as I begun feeling sad it never stopped. Not until I went to bed anyways.
This time it was worse than ever. All the stress I had built up during the last month was crawling inside of me, itching to get out. I had no idea how to release it though, so I was left with the uncomfortable feeling.
It was scary, how much my feelings for Sirius had changed me. I guess it was just too much for me. I had focused on being strong and to move on; and it had been hard. This thing with Sirius was probably just the final straw. I mean, a person can only take so much.
I don’t know what it was, but suddenly a memory of Nathan’s last year popped up in my head, and it really was the final punch before I crumbled.
We were sitting in the playground we always used to spend our days in, rocking back and forth on the swings and digging in the sand with our shoes. It was mid March, and Nathan was getting weaker. He no longer had the energy to do things. We had gone out for a walk, but this was the furthest he could go.
He hadn’t said anything, but I could see the effort he had to put in to even be able to walk, so I had suggested that we’d sit down.
“Don’t you miss it?” he suddenly asked.
“Miss what?” I replied, not having any clue what he was talking about.
“Hogwarts” he said curtly, trying to hide his emotions.
He couldn’t though. I knew how much he missed Hogwarts. His friends regularly sent him letters, telling him of their latest adventures. The look he got on his face when he read them said it all.
“Not really…” I said slowly. “I mean; I love the place, but I prefer being here with you.”
He frowned. “I was afraid that you would say that.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. We hadn’t talked much about Hogwarts, and I didn’t know why he suddenly was bringing it up. Hogwarts was a sore subject to him, so I avoided talking about it.
“Why?” I asked him. “What’s wrong Nate?”
He bit his lip, like he always did when he wanted to say something but didn’t know how to word it.
“It’s just…” he began. “My time is running out, Lyn. I can’t deny it anymore.”
I inhaled sharply as he was talking. This was the first time ever that he talked about death in that way. It was the first time I had heard him talk about it so… openly.
“Please Nate, don’t” I said quietly, closing my eyes.
He put his hand over mine. “Kaelyn, look at me.”
I took a deep breath before opening my eyes, instantly meeting his bright blue eyes that he had inherited from dad. His eyes were always so kind, but right now they were nothing but sincere.
“This year, you’ve built up your life around me. I understand that you wanted to spend as much time as possible with me, and I’m so happy for that, but you have to be strong on your own. This isn’t your life; your life is at Hogwarts, okay?”
I nodded, still not understanding what exactly he was telling me. I could feel the tears burn, but I fought to keep them in. I had cried so many times in front of Nathan, and I didn’t want to cause him even more pain than I already had.
“What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to stand on your own feet. I’ve always let you depend on me, and now I realise that it was a mistake. I thought I always would be there to help you, but I turned out to be wrong. I know you’re strong enough to manage without me, so please Lyn, be strong when I’m gone.”
My breath had hitched, and the tears I had fought so hard to keep in were falling. He couldn’t be talking about this now. He had several months to live! I just couldn’t deal with this right now.
“Please Nate” I whispered as I looked down on my hands. “Don’t do this now, don’t-“
“No, Lyn” he said determinedly. “I have to; I’m sorry but I really have to. I don’t know how much time I have left, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to talk to you like this when it gets worse. I just want to know that you’re going to be okay. Promise me you’ll be okay, Kaelyn.”
“I can’t” I said, my voice breaking. “How do you expect me to be okay? You’re my everything Nate. Without you I’ll be nothing! How can you expect me to move on and be strong when you are the one that’s keeping me going?”
I knew I was being selfish and I hated myself for it. My brother was dying and wanted to know that I was going to be okay. I could lie to him and say yes, but no, I had to make him feel even worse.
He was frowning again and his face had a pained expression. “You have your friends. They will help you. You have mum and dad; they’ll be there for you. When you go back to Hogwarts, you’ll have lots of things to help you go back to you normal life. You will be okay Lyn. Please tell me you will be okay?”
He was desperate now, and it was just too much for me. With tears streaming down my face I nodded.
“You’re right” I snivelled. “I’ll be okay. I promise; I will be okay.”
I reached out and put my arms around him, and he hugged me back tightly. While my tears were falling like pouring rain, his eyes were dry. As always, he was the strong one who comforted me. Yet again I hated myself; why couldn’t I just be the strong one for once? I wanted to be there for him, and not just let him be the one to make me feel better.
As I hugged him, I promised myself to keep my word. I would be okay. I was going to be strong, even if it felt impossible. I was going to do it for Nathan’s sake.
When the flashback ended, I found myself sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall. I had no idea how I had ended up there, but I didn’t care.
I was the shittiest person ever.
I had promised my brother to be strong, and I had broken that promise. And even worse; I had made it sound as if my lack of strength was his fault. I had voiced what he had feared; that his protectiveness had made me weak; that he was the reason I couldn’t deal with things by myself.
I just wanted to go back to that moment and fix things. I wanted to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, that it really was my fault. Because it was.
Nathan had always been there for me, but I had also counted on him to be. As soon as I had found something hard to deal with, I had come running to him. And as the kind person he was, he always helped me.
Tears were falling down my face and my breathing was uncontrollable. I was close to hyperventilating.
I wanted to beat myself up. Here I was, a year and a half after my brother’s death, crying in the middle of a corridor. I was pathetic. Really, I had to be the weakest person in the world.
My brother had wanted me to be strong; begged me to be strong for him, and yet here I was: crying and feeling sorry for myself.
It was unfair. Why had he died instead of me? He was a much better person and deserved to live more than I did. I was just a weak, pathetic girl who didn’t have any sense of bravery in her. How I had ended up in Gryffindor was a mystery.
Despite all of these mean thoughts about myself, I couldn’t do anything but just sitting there, hating myself. I buried my head in my hands and wished that I could just disappear. Who knew, perhaps it helped.
I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Kaelyn?” a worried voice said. “What’s wrong?”
I desperately wished that the voice belonged to my brother, but I knew that it didn’t. I didn’t answer the person, because I really didn’t want him of all people to find me.
Knowing that Sirius Black had found me like this made me cry even more. Why did I have to fancy him? Why couldn’t I have fallen for someone else?
He sat down next to me and put his arms around me, pulling me close to his chest. Normally my heart would have raced, but I was too messed up to even feel the least excited.
“It’s okay Lyn” he murmured as he stroked my hair. “I’m here for you.”
Hearing him use the nickname my brother always used only made me tear up even more. He probably wasn’t even aware of it, but Nathan had been the only person to call me Lyn.
He kissed my forehead and held me even tighter when he heard me crying even worse than before. I didn’t even react to his intimate behaviour. Normally I would have found it weird, seeing as we weren’t close, but right now it was just what I needed.
I don’t know how long we sat there, but eventually I calmed down. In the end, the tears were just falling slowly and silently. Sirius noticed this and took the opportunity to talk.
“I don’t know why you’re so upset, but if you want to talk then I’m here to listen. Has something happened?”
I didn’t look up; I just shook my head. He patted my back, and I took a deep breath while preparing myself to talk. I wasn’t ready to tell him how I felt, but I wanted to tell him about Nathan. It would perhaps ease the lump in my chest to tell someone what I was experiencing.
So I opened my mouth and told Sirius about Nathan. About how I still missed him, even though a year and a half had passed. I told him about the illness, the time I spent with him before he died and about the time after his death. I hadn’t planned on telling him so much, but when I began talking I couldn’t stop.
Sirius sat silent while I was talking, rubbing circles on my back. Despite all my feelings for him, he made me feel calm and relaxed. I had never thought that it would be so easy to talk to him.
After I’d finished, both of us sat silent for a while. We both seemed to be immersed in our thoughts. I was snapped out of mine when Sirius suddenly opened his mouth.
“You know, grief isn’t something controllable. It’s not something that’s scheduled, and it’s not the same for every person. You might think it’s weak to still be torn from the loss of your brother, but it’s really not. It takes time to get over someone’s death, and especially if you were close to the person. And just because your friends are over his death doesn’t mean you have to be too.”
I sat silent, letting him speak now. His words were true and pretty obvious, but I hadn’t thought about it like that before. As always, someone else had to word what I was feeling.
“My uncle died a year ago” he said silently. “He was one of the few relatives I could actually stand, and losing him was hard. It’s obviously not something to compare with your loss, but at least I know a bit how you feel.”
Now it was my turn to hug him tighter. The fact that I was still in his arms didn’t feel weird at all. It just felt nice. “I’m sorry Sirius, I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay” he said. “I didn’t tell you this to make you feel bad. I just want you to know that it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to take time to get over someone’s death. It’s not something you can rush.”
“I’m just scared that I’ll never get over him” I said, voicing my worst fear for the first time.
He rubbed my back. “Don’t worry; you will. It’ll just take time.”
I didn’t answer, and he didn’t say anything either. We just sat there; him rubbing my back, and me breathing in his cologne. For the first time in over a month, I felt calm. I found myself drifting off to sleep, and while I knew that I shouldn’t fall asleep on him I was too worn off to do something about it. My energy was completely gone.
“Thank you Sirius” I murmured as I slipped into an unconscious state. “Thanks for everything.”
The last thing I felt before falling asleep was him pressing his lips against my head, kissing my hair. “Anytime.”
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