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Fragile Things by paper_xtigers
Chapter 7 : Ch. 6 - An Unexpected Visit
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 15


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Ch. 6 - An Unexpected Visit

Days pass and both Sirius and James noticed Elaina falling into a routine the longer she stayed with them. She started running with the boys in the morning and it turned out that this was a good thing, as it drove both James and Sirius to run harder, faster and longer so they wouldn’t be outdone by a girl. When she wasn’t hanging around the boys playing Wizard’s Chess, Exploding Snap, or helping come up with new Quidditch plays (since Elaina’s mother was a professional Quidditch player, James figured she could be of some help); Elaina could be found helping Maryann around the house, in the garden, or going shopping or, on most occasions, sitting in the sun room reading one of Maryann’s various romance novels her face screwing up in distaste at a particularly explicit part.

Elaina must’ve still been having nightmares after the first one Sirius woke her up from because more often than not, she was the first one awake in the morning for their runs, always nursing an already half-empty mug of coffee. Sirius could always see the uneasiness and fear embedded in her eyes which he noticed were such an undecided shade that they seemed to change depending on her mood. Usually in the mornings after a nightmare, Elaina’s eyes were dark and scarily empty. And what was most frustrating for James and Sirius was that she would not tell them what she was having nightmares about.

Over Elaina’s first few weeks with them James and Sirius had come to accept her as their friend. James truly did come to see her as his sister, worrying over her lack of sleep and sometimes appetite more than Sirius; while Sirius kept his worry to himself because he could see not only Elaina’s discomfort at James’ worry, but her frustration as well.

“How are we supposed to help her if she won’t respond!?” James fumed, combing a hand through his hair, one day after returning from Remus’ house.

They had been gone the last three days due to the fact that it had been a full moon, and just because they were out of school for the summer didn’t mean they were going to leave Moony to deal with his “furry little problem” by himself. Peter couldn’t be in attendance this month because he was on vacation with his parents. Remus’ mother had fixed them up the best she could, as this full moon had been a particularly rough one on Remus. James could still be seen tonguing the split in his bottom lip, while Sirius tried to refrain from moving his right arm too much since his shoulder had been dislocated.

Sirius chuckled and closed the front door behind him. Elaina had been brought up in the conversation when Sirius ventured to wonder how she had got on being at James’ house by herself with only his parents for three days. It was the first time the boys had left Elaina alone in the time she’d been there.

They hadn’t told their other friend about Elaina living with them, it was just something that would have to be explained at a later date. Both James and Sirius felt guilty about keeping it from Remus, but they reasoned that the less people knew the more comfortable of a summer Elaina would have, and the less questions would be asked if she didn’t show up at the start of term due to expulsion.

“She doesn’t want help, Prongs,” Sirius told him as they strolled into the kitchen, Sirius going to the fridge and grabbing a coke, tossing one to James as well. “She probably just wants to forget it happened and go on with her life.”

“She still shouldn’t keep it in, it’s not healthy,” James said, looking out through the sliding glass doors that lead to the patio.

Sirius followed his friend’s line of sight. Elaina was reclined in a wicker love seat reading what Sirius recognized as one of Mrs. Potter’s romance novels. James set his can down on the counter and stormed into the sun room, startling Elaina.

“We’re back!” he announced regally, throwing out his arms. “I know you missed us.”

“Not really,” Elaina replied, un-amused. “It’s been quiet without you two here.”

“Ouch,” Sirius said, resting a hand over his heart. “I think you broke my heart, ‘Laina.”

One eyebrow came up in a perfect arch as she turned a doubtful, but playful, gaze to him, “You have a heart to break, Sirius? Color me shocked.”

“Hey now!” he said, but she just laughed.

“Where are my folks?” James wondered.

“Your dad got called into work and a customer of your mum’s called, said it was an emergency,” Elaina replied uninterested, turning a page in her book.

James nodded. His dad worked for the Ministry, in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. If he got called in, it was because Death Eaters had caused some calamity or another on some Wizarding or muggle town. James’ mother on the other hand was an accomplished seamstress and owned her own shop. A customer of his mother’s probably had some event or another coming up that she forgot about and needed appropriate attire as soon as possible.

Suddenly James snatched the book from Elaina’s hand. “Why are you reading this rubbish?”

“James, give it back!” Elaina cried, not really making much of an effort to get the book back. James flipped through the pages she had been reading. He stopped on a page and smirked. “You’re not going to want to do that!” she warned him.

James cleared his throat began to read, the expression on his face growing more horrified with every word he read. “… ‘He drew his hand out of her pants so he could help her push them off. Only when she was completely naked did he unbuckle his belt to shed his pants and boxers. The fabric fell from his strong thighs and unveiled the heavy length --’ Ahh!! My eyes!!”

James threw the book back at Elaina as if it burned him, rubbing his eyes to try and remove the image of the words on the page scorching his eyelids. Both Elaina and Sirius were laughing so hard they were finding it hard to breathe.

“You should - have seen - your face!” Sirius stuttered between laughs, bent double with his hands on his knees.

Elaina was wiping the tears from her cheeks, the smile across her face lighting every part of her eyes. “How can you read that without wanting to gouge your eyes out?”

Elaina shrugged as she closed the book, “It’s something to do while I’m here, it doesn’t bother me that much. But thank you for that entertainment.” She placed the book on the end table and looked at James, “By the way, there’s someone here to see you. I told them you’d be back in about ten minutes, and they elected to wait; they’re in the living room.”

“Well why didn’t you say so in the first place?” James said, turning from the patio and back into the kitchen.

“Because I had thought you would have gone into the living room first instead of coming in here and scaring me half to death!” she called back, returning to her reclined position.

More out of habit than anything else, Sirius followed James back into the kitchen, then into the living room. Both froze when they saw who had come to visit James. Lily Evans stood with her hands on her hips looking not the slightest bit pleased.

“Oh god, Padfoot… I think she’s going to kill me,” James mumbled over his shoulder to Sirius.

Somehow, Sirius didn’t disagree. The look on Lily’s face was akin to the one Sirius had seen many times before she smacked, hexed, screamed, kicked, punched or did any other violent act against James’ person. Her jaw was set, and her eyes suddenly hardened to stone they so resembled.

“Lily!” James said, cheerily. “I thought you weren’t due back for a couple of days.”

“We decided to come back early so I thought I’d surprise you,” she said, flippantly. “But guess who answers the door when I get here? No, not your mother, or father but Elaina.”

Sirius couldn’t help the way his hands fisted at his sides when Lily spat her name like it was a poison. Why was Lily so mad in the first place? True, she couldn’t have been comfortable with Elaina, a very attractive girl, staying with her boyfriend of only about two months, but Lily was always so selfless when it came to other people. Surely she would understand and agree with James’ parents opening their home to Elaina.


Unless… Sirius thought looking to James.

“Prongs, did you tell Lily why Elaina is here?” Sirius muttered.

James looked at him out of the corner of his eye and shook his head, his mouth set in a firm line. So that was why Lily was upset, because James hadn’t told her Elaina had no where else to go.

“I’m just going to go do… something,” he said, thumbing over his shoulder and legging it out of there before Lily decided to throw something. He entered the kitchen again just as Elaina was closing the sliding glass door. “You know you could have warned us that it was Lily.”

“Why?”

“Because now she and James are about to have it out in the living room,” he told her.

Through the door he could hear James and Lily.


“Why is she here, James?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“What do you mean you can’t tell me!? I think I deserve to know why a girl is now living with my boyfriend!”

“Have it out about what?” Elaina wondered, leaning her hip against the kitchen table. Sirius raised both his eyebrows and looked at her and suddenly it dawned on her. “Not me?” But Sirius’ eyebrows just raised higher, any higher and he was sure they would permanently become part of his hairline. “Are you kidding me?”

She pushed herself away from the table and walked to the door, stopping just short of walking into the living room. Stooping slightly, Elaina leaned her ear toward the door. “You know, it’s not right to eavesdrop,” Sirius told her.

Elaina rolled her eyes, “Stop being so self-righteous, you want to know what’s being said as much as I do.”

So she had him there. Stepping beside her, Sirius leaned his ear toward the door too.

“Elaina’s not bad at all, Lily.”

“Six years of sharing the same dormitory with someone gives you a pretty good idea of how they are. You know she’s hardly had a conversation with me, Mary, Alice or Marlene in all that time?”

“So what? Before this, Sirius and I have never exchanged words with her either. Lil, you don’t understand! She needs us, she needs some sort of stability in her life right now, my parents are trying to give that to her.”

“And living with you is the only way for her to get that is it? I don’t like her being here, James!”

“What would you have had me do then? Tell my parents to turn Elaina away when she needed someone the most? I admit I didn’t like the idea of her being here at first, but my parents consider her family now, just like Sirius.”

“Oh I’m sure Sirius doesn’t mind at all!”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Sirius has not made one inappropriate comment to Elaina the entire time she’s been here. He doesn’t think of her like that!”

“Right, just like he didn’t think of Mary like that…”

Sirius rolled his eyes. Of course Lily had yet to forgive him for breaking up with her best friend. Mary had been his most recent girlfriend. So he wasn’t a serial monogamist, big deal, but he also wasn’t as much of a slag as everyone made him out to be. Yes, he did enjoy a regular broom closet romp every now and then, but it was between two consenting people who understood it was nothing more than a passing fling. And despite popular rumor going around Hogwart’s, Sirius never cheated on any girl he dated. He was entirely faithful to every girl… he just never dated them long enough for them to have the opportunity to do him any real damage.

Mary had been his longest relationship, spanning three months where usually he kept it to about a month because the way he saw it a month was long enough to be meaningful and short enough to keep him out of trouble.

“She’s never going to let that go,” Sirius mumbled.

“You did break-up with her in the middle of dinner,” Elaina commented next to him.

Elaina did have a point there.

Everyone was at dinner talking about summer plans and everyone knew Sirius did not date over the summer holidays. He liked to keep his summers drama-free and having a girlfriend constantly checking up on him, making sure he was behaving was most certainly not on his list of fun activities for the summer. Mary had apparently missed this memo. Things had been going so well between them, so smoothly and then all of a sudden she had mucked it up by talking about the future. Their future to be exact. Not exactly a subject Sirius was comfortable with. Sirius didn’t like to think about the future, he liked to take everything day by day and live in the now.

Then she started the crying. Oh Merlin, the crying! The crying was always the part he hated the most because there was no safe way to comfort a crying female, especially one whose heart you had just broken. In his head, Sirius always saw himself panicking, his eyes wide and flailing his arms uselessly begging the girl to stop, but in reality he was silent, the picture of cool indifference. Mary hadn’t taken his silence well and then proceeded to yell at him, calling him several unfriendly names the tamest of which were ‘heartless wretch’, ‘selfish bastard’, ‘arrogant son of a bitch’, and ‘womanizing man-whore that would never change’. Mary then decided to insult his manhood, telling the entire school what a horrible lay he was (which was lie, by the way!), threw her pumpkin juice in his face and stormed from the Great Hall.

Sirius was also pretty sure he had never seem James, Remus and Peter laugh so hard in his life.

“Alright, I’ve had just about enough of this arguing, I think it’s about time I rescue James, don’t you?” Elaina suddenly said, standing to her full height and striding through the door.

Sirius who knew better than anyone that it was not a good idea to interrupt James and Lily fighting tried to stop her. “No, wait!” But as his hand started close around her slim wrist, it slid from his hand and he found himself following her.

“Hello Lily,” Elaina said as if she hadn’t just heard Lily pretty much telling James that she hated her.

Lily’s eyes narrowed, “Elaina.”

It was then that Sirius took stock of how different the two girls in front of him were. There the two girls stood, like night and day facing off. Lily was willowy and fair-skinned, a few freckles spread across her nose from being in the sun, and her flaming red hair was cropped just below her shoulders. Elaina was statuesque, her skin was a healthy olive tone and her dark hair was currently in a frizzing braid hanging over her right shoulder. Lily stood with her hands planted on her narrow hips in a threatening pose, puffing herself up to make her seem more intimidating. Elaina on the other hand stood complacent and docile, one hand holding her wrist and her facial features relaxed.

And yet, though Lily was dressed nicely in jeans and a pretty blouse and modest heels while Elaina was barefoot, clad in a pair of jeans that she’d cut just above the knee and a Holyhead Harpies t-shirt, Elaina looked the more put-together one. The way Lily’s anger was reddening her face and setting her jaw was making her look like a dragon lady. Elaina however looked unbothered, while James looked like he was ready to wet himself.

“Is there something the matter?” Elaina wondered, and Sirius couldn’t help but roll his eyes.

“Actually, yes,” Lily told her. “I’m not exactly comfortable with you staying here, to be perfectly honest.”

Elaina nodded thoughtfully. Sirius could see the irritation seeping into the corners of her eyes at Lily’s unkindness; however, like Sirius she seemed to come to the same realization he himself had. “James,” she addressed him, but kept her eyes focused on Lily. “Did you tell Lily why I’m here?”

James shook his head, “No, I didn’t.”

Only then did Elaina’s eyes meet James’. “Why not?”

He shrugged, burying his hands in his pockets. “It wasn’t mine to tell.”

What Sirius could only describe as affection broke across Elaina’s face as she regarded James. He grinned in return as he shrugged again, his way of nonverbally saying “oh well”.

Elaina took a breath and Sirius found himself preparing for having to comfort her should she need it. Unconsciously, he took a step closer to her choosing to ignore Lily’s scathing look.

“Do you get the Daily Prophet?” Elaina asked.

Lily shook her head, momentarily confused, “No, what does that have anything to do with this?”

“Because if you did, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation,” the other girl replied. “I’m here because I don’t have anywhere else to go, Lily. My home was attacked by Death Eaters, my parents killed. My mum and James’ mum were good friends and his parents agreed to let me stay with them.”

With each word Elaina spoke, the anger dropped from Lily’s face and her defensive stance became more and more resigned. In truth, she looked rightly ashamed of herself. “Oh god, Elaina I had no idea, I’m so sorry!”

She shrugged, “I know. I really had expected James to tell you. I told him to let you know I was here and when he asked if you come to the services, I just assumed…”

“He what!?” Lily cried, incredulously rounding on James again.

James threw up his arms, “Come on! I just got out of trouble, what the hell!?”

Sirius took Elaina by the elbow, “We should go now.”

The last thing Sirius and Elaina heard was James saying, “Yes, yes I know! I’m an arrogant toe-rag, stupidly selfish, etcetera, etcetera! She’s already forgiven me and you’re going to as well, so just come here and kiss me already!”


 

 





This is my favorite chapter so far because it just makes me laugh. First James' encounter with smutty romance and then imagining the scene Mary caused when Sirius dumped her.

Next chapter is Elaina's Ministry Hearing! {cue ominous music}. And then after that there's only two more chapters before we're heading back to Hogwart's!! Woo!

Thank you so much everyone that has taken the time to read this, and especially if you reviewed!! So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to iluv2eatcarbs, Marauders001, Nicte, Sorcha15, Jenny, Gen, Sophia Starkey, electricfeel, casa bella and TIFFANY BLACK!! I really appreciate all the nice comments!

Feel free to leave me some feedback!

Til next time, dears,
-p_xt-

 
 


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