Chapter 9 : Making Sure
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But evasion wasn’t even close to the worst part of what I went through. Hiding from my friends didn’t even hold a candle to seeing James. Oh, it wasn’t as though he was following me around or anything. He was actually giving me plenty of space, but that didn’t stop me from having to go to classes with him or seeing him during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It seemed that every time I looked at him, I found him gazing right back at me, a small, endearingly doofy little smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. Then, after a few seconds, he’d look away for a second before turning back to me again with this big, slightly embarrassed, purely joyful grin. It was positively heart breaking.
It was a freaking nightmare.
However, through my baffled misery, I couldn’t help being slightly impressed with James. Given my past experiences with him, I would’ve expected him to broadcast the fact that we’d snogged each other around the entire school within an hour of the occurrence. However, the entire population of Hogwarts seemed none the wiser.
I was in way over my head when Remus finally cornered me and demanded answers. “I know something’s wrong, Lily,” he accused. “Come on. You know all about my problems. Nothing you can tell me will shock me.”
“For some reason, I highly doubt that,” I contradicted him.
“Try me,” he challenged.
“I think I’m in love with James,” I blurted out suddenly, needing to confide in someone.
Remus responded, “Well, Lily, I can’t say that I was exactly expecting that from you, but I…”
“But I think I might be in love with Sirius as well,” I added, cutting him off.
Remus just stared at me for a moment before finally saying, “I’m shocked.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I let an awkward silence fall between us. After a minute or two, Remus decided to break the silence. “Honestly, I feel kind of left out. Peter will be quite dicouraged as well when he finds out.”
“Remus, this is not a laughing matter!” I chided him.
“I’m sorry, Lily,” he apologized. “It’s just that, when you’re friends with James and Sirius, you learn to laugh at your problems, especially when they’re no laughing matter.” He rummaged in his bag for a moment before pulling out a bar of chocolate. He broke it in half and offered one of the halves to me. “Here. Eat this. I find that chocolate can work wonders.”
I accepted his proffered sweets, and we ate in silence for a moment. “Now. What to do about this…” he pondered to himself absently.
“What do you think I should do?” I asked him desperately.
“This is actually a very delicate matter. If you choose Sirius, you’ll end up hurting all three of you,” he told me.
“Why is that?” I inquired.
“Sirius doesn’t date,” Remus reminded me solemnly. “He’ll turn you down, hurting you, and then James will find out, hurting him. Then, seeing two of his best friends hurting will hurt Sirius.”
“So you think I should just go with James? But what if I decide I like Sirius more? I can’t just be with James if all I want is Sirius!”
“This is so awkward for me it isn’t funny,” Remus commented to himself as he took an extra-large bite of chocolate, as though it would alleviate his acute discomfort.
“Well, you wanted answers, so now you get the whole package,” I told him stiffly.
“I know, I know. I just don’t know how to best give you advice concerning two of my best friends. I can’t tell you whom you should be with. That’s ultimately for you to decide. All I can tell you for certain is that you need to be extremely cautious. You have the power to break two very good men, and I’d rather not see either of them broken,” Remus told me. “The best I can tell you is to listen to your heart. It’s cheesy, and, ultimately, it doesn’t really do you much good as far as advice goes. But it’s the best I can do.”
“Remus, you give horrible advice,” I informed him. “I appreciate your effort though, and thanks for the chocolate.”
Later that night, I found I couldn’t sleep, so I crept back down to the deserted common room and sat in front of the dying fire. I wasn’t there for very long before I heard someone enter through the portrait hole. Dread filled me. I had two guesses who the intruder was, and I wasn’t in the mood to confront either of them.
“Lily? What are you doing up so late?”
It was Sirius.
Biting back a groan, I said, “I could ask you the same.”
“Indeed you could,” he agreed. “But I asked you first, so you have to answer first.”
“Couldn’t sleep,” I admitted simply with a shrug. “Your turn. I’m sure it’s far more interesting than mine anyway.”
“Snuck down to the kitchen for a little midnight snack,” he told me happily, sitting beside me on the couch.
“It’s well past midnight,” I pointed out.
”Now it is, but it was midnight when I got there.”
“And you call that a little midnight snack?” I demanded. I hadn’t talked with Sirius in so long. I’d forgotten how much fun it was.
“So I was exaggerating. Sue me,” he said. “Lily?”
“Are you alright? I haven’t seen much of you lately, but you always seem off whenever I do see you.”
“I know. I’m sorry,” I told him. “I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately.”
“Such as…?” he prompted.
“Oh, you know. Stuff.”
“Most illuminating, Lily,” he responded dryly.
I said nothing in reply. I did have a lot on my mind. James or Sirius? I wished there was a way I could easily figure out which I preferred…
And then an idea occurred to me. It made me sick as soon as I considered it…but it was the only thing I could think of. I had to do it. Because there I could think of no alternative, I’d do it. Oh, I’d hate myself in the morning, but I was going to do it.
“Hey, Sirius?” I choked, breaking the silence. He looked over at me and raised an eyebrow, but he said nothing in response. “I’m going to ask you a favor, and you’re going to think I’m insane. Just please do it for me,” I begged him.
His eyes narrowed as he looked at me now. “What exactly do you want me to do?” he inquired suspiciously.
I knew I’d gone red. I could feel the heat boiling under my skin. I quickly reminded myself that this was necessary. I had to do it. Very quietly, I mumbled, “I need you to…to k-kiss me.” His eyes were positively gigantic.
Sirius opened and closed his mouth over and over again like a fish out of water, gaping at me as though I were a madwoman. Perhaps I was. “Lils, I…” he stammered. He closed his mouth then opened it back up and tried again. “But you…I can’t…Lils, this is so…Are you out of your…But what about James?!” he finally demanded in a strangled sort of voice.
“I know,” I sobbed distraughtly. “Just please do this for me, and I promise I’ll explain,” I pleaded.
Sirius didn’t reply for one awful moment. Finally, he gave me one curt nod, then held completely still. His eyes were unwilling and begged me not to, but I had to know. So I leaned forward and gently placed my lips on his.
After possibly the most awkward moment of my life, I pulled away with my needed confirmation. It wasn’t the same. Kissing Sirius had felt all wrong. Sirius swiped the back of his hand across his mouth, which, ironically, had been exactly what I had wanted to do. I didn’t though.
I turned away from him to face forward on the couch again and dropped my head into my hands. “I do fancy James,” I moaned very quietly to myself.
Somehow, Sirius still heard my confession. ”What?” All I could do was groan. “I find that kind of screwy, seeing as we just…you know…”
“I thought I fancied you, then James and I kissed, and…”
“Wait. James snogged you, so you come snog me?” he demanded.
“No, that’s not how it happened! I thought I was in love with you, but when I tried to tell James, it came out wrong. So he thought I was trying to tell him that I was in love with him, so he snogged me. Then I was confused because I thought I might actually be in love with him after all but wasn’t sure if I was still in love with you,” I rambled in a blind panic.
“I’m still not understanding why we just snogged,” Sirius told me after a moment of silence.
“I’m not exactly sure either,” I admitted. “I was just so confused, and I thought if I kissed you that maybe it would help me work some of this out.”
“Look, Lily. It’s not that you’re not…pretty, or…great or whatever…”
“Oh, now there’s a description that would make any girl’s heart melt,” I interjected sarcastically.
“Not the point. What I’m trying to say is that I’m just not cut out for…relationships. I can’t give you what you want.”
“Of course you can’t,” I agreed, feeling suddenly giddy. Maybe I just needed to go get some sleep.
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’ve decided that I don’t fancy you,” I informed him happily.
“Well, now wait a minute. You got over that awful fast. That seems a little cheap to me,” Sirius pointed out.
“Oh, Sirius. It’s not that you’re not pretty, or great, or…”
“Good night Sirius.”
Thankfully, the next morning was a Saturday. I would’ve slept through breakfast and my first two classes. I woke up in good spirits, knowing exactly what I was going to do. I practically pranced down to the common room. Marlene and Alice were both there.
“Goodness, Lily. We were starting to wonder if you’d died up there or something,” Alice greeted me.
“Have either of you seen James?” I inquired cheerily.
“Er…You might check the Quidditch pitch. Is everything alright, Lily?” Marlene asked.
“Oh, just dandy. I’ll see you later. I need to go tell James I’m in love with him.” With that, I promptly exited the common room, leaving my two friends in stunned silence.
I more or less floated down to the Quidditch pitch, but once I was there, I was knocked off of my little cloud quickly enough. James was there, alright, and Sirius was with him. They were arguing…about me.
“I can’t believe you! You know what she means to me!” James was shouting.
“You don’t even know what you’re talking about, mate! If you don’t believe me, then just ask her yourself, but I don’t know why my word isn’t good enough for you. You’d think you’d trust me just a little bit more than this!” Sirius retorted.
“Why would I talk to her about this? She obviously doesn’t spare a second thought for me.”
“How dare you!” I interjected, without thinking.
Both boys whipped around to face me. “You’ve been the only thing on my mind for the past four days, and you have the gall to suggest that I don’t care about you!”
“From what I saw last night, I’m not the only thing you’ve been thinking about,” James replied stonily.
“I think I’ll just leave now,” Sirius said, but neither James nor I noticed him sneak off. We were too preoccupied with arguing with one another.
“You saw that?” I asked, almost sheepish underneath my fury.
“Does it matter if I saw it or not?” he demanded. “You still did it. And to think, I thought maybe you might feel something for me. Turns out you were just trying to hurt me.”
“Don’t you hear yourself, James? I wouldn’t do that! You know I wouldn’t!” I implored him, suddenly realizing that I might not be able to fix this and that I might have lost him.
“But you did,” he contradicted.
“That’s not how it happened. I was confused. I was terrified of the fact that I was in love with you, so I panicked and…”
“What do you mean, you’re in love with me?” James interrupted, crossing over until he was a foot from me. I feared for a moment that he might strike me, he looked so wild.
“’I love you’ doesn’t really have all that many meanings, Potter,” I snapped.
“Well, it’s kind of hard to take your word for it when I caught you snogging my best mate just last night, Evans,” he retorted.
“Oh no you don’t, Potter. We haven’t come this far to have you doubt me now,” I said, furious. “Either you tell me that you love me, too right now or I’ll walk away forever,” I threatened.
“Yeah, sure. I love you, too. I always have. That’s all fine and dandy, but you still…”
I didn’t wait for him to finish his sentence. I launched myself at him and kissed him as hard as I could.
A few minutes later, I pulled away from him. “Now that that’s taken care of, is there something you’d like to ask me?” I inquired.
“How about explaining why I found you kissing my best mate when I take you to the Three Broomsticks this weekend?”
I leaned my head against his shoulder. “It really didn’t mean anything,” I promised him quietly. “I’m sorry. I just had to be sure.”
“Sure of what?” he inquired.
“Myself,” I replied. “Did I mention that I’m in love with you?” I added, looking up at him.
He grinned back down at me. “The subject might have come up.”
A/N: So that's it!!! A HUGE thank you goes out to all of the wonderful people who stuck with me through this whole story. I commend your patience. It was fun. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, let me know! If you don't, feel free to criticize me. AKA- REVIEW PLEASE :D
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