Chapter 7 : Stupidity in its Most Complex Form
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“Give us a break, Lily,” Peter complained.
“We’re experts, darling,” James assured me. “We’ve got plenty of experience."
“It’s just a little romp in the moonlight with a werewolf. What could possibly go wrong?” said Sirius.
“What indeed?” I replied. “I don’t know what I was thinking, being concerned for your safety. You’re obviously in no danger what-so-ever.”
“We have to do this for Remus,” James reminded me. “We can’t just leave him to deal with this by himself.”
I sighed. “I know. But the idea of socializing with a werewolf while he’s transformed is just so alarming,” I told them. I decided it was time to lighten the conversation. “Now, you all better come back alive, because if you die, I will kill you,” I warned them.
Sirius chuckled. “I would very much like to see that. Now be a good girl while we’re gone,” he said, giving me a hug.
“Psh. I should behave myself, should I? Take your own advice, will you?”
James hugged me next. “Do I get one of these when I come back, too?” he inquired eagerly.
I laughed. “Just concentrate on making it back in one piece for me, then we’ll see,” I replied, worming my way out of the circle of his arms.
Finally, Peter hugged me gingerly for half a second. “Don’t worry about us so much, Lily. You’ll give yourself a headache.”
“Associating myself with the lot of you is a constant headache as it is,” I told him solemnly. “I’ll see you all later. Don’t die, please.”
“Don’t worry about us” my arse. I was still so new to them fraternizing with a fully-grown, transformed werewolf, and they didn’t even have the decency to break me in easy. It was the morning after the full moon, and I was on my way to the hospital wing to visit my four currently incapacitated morons.
I burst noisily through the doors of the infirmary, and Madame Bronski immediately shushed me indignantly. I paid her disapproval little heed. ”Where are they?” I demanded, absolutely livid.
“Now Miss Evans, I will have to ask you to calm yourself considerably before I allow you to visit with any of my patients,” the healer ordered. “You see, they’re still in a rather delicate condition, and…”
“DELICATE CONDITION?!?” I shrieked wildly. “Oh, I’m going to KILL them!” I attempted to storm past Bronski, but she caught me in a surprisingly strong grip.
“I insist that you drink this calming solution before you visit those young men,” she said firmly.
“Visit them? I don’t want to visit them! I want to murder them!!!” I corrected her wildly.
“My point exactly,” she told me. “Come now, dear.”
It took Madame Bronski a few minutes to shove her potion down my throat, but she eventually accomplished the task and finally allowed me to see the Marauders after it had taken affect.
With newly gained composure, I looked in on Peter first, but he was still completely unconscious. Because of this, I moved on to James. He was lucid enough, and had ugly gashes all over his face.
“This really isn’t so bad, Lily,” he informed me. “My back is worse, actually.”
I sighed unhappily. “I did tell you to be careful, did I not?”
James chuckled a little weakly. “Only about five hundred times. Besides, Peter got it the worst of us.”
“What happened to him?” I asked.
“We think he got stepped on,” he told me. “Most of the bones in the lower half of his body have been crushed. None of us know who did it. It was all so confusing.” I could tell he was feeling guilty about his friend. It could just as easily have been him that had put Peter in his present condition as anyone else.
“Don’t take it so hard,” I advised him gently, something I wouldn’t have done had I not taken Madame Bronski’s calming solution. “He’ll be back to normal soon enough.”
“I suppose. Have you seen Moony yet?” he asked.
“No,” I replied.
“Could you do me a favor and talk some sense into him?" he requested. "He’s taking all of this kind of hard. He always blames himself whenever stuff like this happens.”
“Sure,” I agreed. “Now hurry up and heal so I can kick your arse for scaring me like that.”
“Sounds like fun,” he said with a grin. I hesitantly gave him a chaste little peck on the cheek before leaving him to visit Remus.
“Are you all right, Remus?” I asked quietly. He didn’t answer me, and he kept his back to me. I walked to the other side of the cot. “Remus?”
He looked absolutely stricken. Awful, sick, exhausted…He looked like he’d been through Hell and back. It shocked me to see a few tears running quietly down his cheeks.
“Oh, Remus,” I said gently, draping myself across him as carefully as I could to hug him. “It’s alright. Everything’s okay.”
“What kind of a friend am I?” he demanded shakily of no one in particular. “How could I have put them in that kind of danger? Why do I keep letting them come with me? It’s so selfish.”
“Remus, nobody blames you for what happened,” I told him firmly.
“You weren’t there. You don’t know what it was like. Thank Merlin you weren’t there, Lily. None of the others should have been.”
“Tell me what happened, Remus.”
“I don’t want to,” he choked. “You’ll hate me. I’m such a monster.”
“Remus John Lupin, don’t you ever let me hear you call yourself a monster ever again!” I ordered. “You most certainly are not! You can’t control what happens to you. So you go a little crazy once a month. All women have the same problem, and we’re not considered monsters.”
Remus gave a watery chuckle at my words. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Lily, but sometimes I swear that you and James are made for each other. He’s exactly the same, always writing off my condition to be less disgusting and horrific than it actually is.”
“Oh, yes, because that’s the epitome of chemistry and compatibility,” I agreed sarcastically. “And we don’t need to write anything off. You’re not a monster. Now what happened last night.”
Remus paled. At first, I wasn’t sure whether or not he’d tell me, but finally, he quietly said, “We were far to close to Hogsmead. And there was a little family out walking. I’m considerably more myself with James, Sirius, and Peter around, but even they can’t keep me from losing myself completely if there are humans near by.
“As you can imagine, things got out of hand quickly. The family got away, but only because James and Sirius intervened. I don’t know what happened to Peter, or who did it, but it doesn’t matter because it all comes back to the fact that it was all entirely my fault.”
“Remus, I want you to listen to me,” I told him. “James, Sirius, and Peter all knew what they were doing, and they chose to do it. They chose to do it for you because they’re your friends. If they hadn’t been there, the family may not have made it, and you’d feel even worse, even though it still wouldn’t have been your fault. They’re giving you a gift. Don’t diminish that gift by berating yourself for what they chose to do.”
Remus found my hand and gave it a squeeze. “You’re just too good for us Lily. We did nothing to earn you.”
“As I’m a human being, I wouldn’t much care to be earned. I’m not some sort of wage,” I told him. “Now get some rest and get better.”
I left him then to visit with Sirius. He looked very similar to James in his injuries.
“Ah, yes, Lily. I was expecting you. I heard you come in, you see. I imagine that anyone within five kilometers heard your grand entrance, come to think of it. Is it my turn to be murdered?”
I could feel anger trying to rise in me, but the potion that Madame Bronski had forced me to drink quelled it. Instead, I sighed and lightly traced a healing scar that ran down his cheek. “I told you to be careful,” I said.
“Oh, no one wants to hear I-told-you-so’s on their deathbed, Evans. How horribly inconsiderate of you!” he scolded me mockingly.
“You know, you’re far too overly dramatic. It’s good to see that you’re making a speedy recovery. Are you feeling alright then?” I asked.
“Oh, I suppose so. Just a little battered, broken, and all together shredded, but other than that, I’m doing just swimmingly,” he informed me.
I laughed at his sarcastic cheer. He reached up to casually tuck a stray strand of hair behind my ear, and I froze. “Thanks for coming by, Lily. It’s…nice to have someone looking out for us on the outside of this whole mess. And I heard what you said to Remus. He’s right, you know. We don’t deserve you.”
Something inside of me had gone all fuzzy and soft. I didn’t like it one bit. “You don’t have to deserve me. I’m here whether you like it or not,” I managed. “Er…I should go now and let you get some rest so you can finish healing.”
“Alright then. See you later,” he said. I made to leave, but he took my hand and kissed it.
Choking on a yelp, I pulled my hand from his as gently as I could manage and walked away. Some corner of my mind registered that Peter was coming around as I passed by his cot, but I kept right on walking as fast as I could.
I kept right on walking, not really knowing where I was going until finally slumped against a wall and slid down it until I was sitting on the floor.
As the calming solution wore off completely, I let out a desperate shriek of confused outrage at myself as I registered what had just happened.
Stupidity in its most complex form, I decided, was accidentally falling for Sirius Black.
A/N: And so the plot thickens! Thanks for reading. I'd really like to know what you thought of it, no matter what your opinion. AKA: please review!!!
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