Chapter 12 : Faceoff
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Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter belong to JKR.
This one is dedicated to all the patient lovely people who have enjoyed Caprice so far! Thank you guys!
My first Slug Party had gone so unpredictably wrong that I resolved never to go to another. I zombie-walked back to the common room after the stupid dance, flanked by Jason, Sirius and Nora, all of them wanting to know if I was alright. None of them seemed to be content with a “yes”.
“I’ll beat him to a pulp!” Sirius muttered grinding his teeth and balling his fists.
“We shouldn’t do anything rash” Jason commented on my left. Sirius snorted quietly. I wished they would leave me alone. I just wanted to sleep and let the stupid thoughts chasing in my head find their own way out of it.
“Capri, you should eat something. You haven’t had dinner, you must be starved!” said Jason thoughtfully but I didn’t care about food.
“I really don’t think a ham sandwich is going to help right now!” said Sirius in an annoyingly loud voice. Jason frowned at him.
I was starting to have a headache and I knew I was close to yelling at someone.
“Cappie, what did the prat say?” Sirius continued to nag.
We had reached the common room and I was holding within me the urge to scream “SHUT UP!” in their faces.
I recited the password before the Fat Lady could ask and walked in.
At that same point Nora decided to finally step in,“You know I really think this discussion can wait till morning! Right now Cappie needs a good rest! Not an interrogation or dinner!”
I was so relieved and full of gratitude that I wanted to turn around and hug her but I was too tired and irritated for that so I floated toward the staircase.
“Are you sure you’re ok, Capri?” Jason called through the portrait hole.
“Fine, just need to lie down. See you tomorrow, Jay!” I said because I honestly had no energy to muster anything romantic.
“Night night!” Sirius smirked gleefully at Jason shutting the portrait in his face.
I would deal with him later.
Tired and exhausted from the previous night, I slept peacefully late into Saturday morning. When I woke up Sirius and James had already dealt with Regulus Black.
I heard he spent the morning tied upside down to a tree in the grounds clad in nothing but his drawers on a frosty day with a remarkable lack of memory as to how he got there.
I had nothing but positive remarks for the both of them.
However my sudden lack of interest in hospitable relations between houses greatly annoyed Lily, but Nora took my side and put an end to the arguments.
Regrettably, pacifying Jason over breakfast took a whole lot more than that.
After telling him a hundred times that I was alright (which I was, thanks to the good sleep that had managed to kick the idiotic thoughts away), I had to then explain what had happened.
Nora tried and failed several times to change the topic but Jason always insisted on knowing what Regulus had said or done that made me so upset the night before. She finally gave up and pushed her hair back returning to her Charms book. I smiled at her appreciating her effort and then sighed turning back to Jason.
“He just said that he didn’t think you were really interested in me.” I waited, slowly adding sugar to my porridge. He seemed calm and said nothing so I continued, “He said there was nothing anyone could possibly want in me. So why would anyone pursue me?”
Still nothing. I wondered what he could be thinking.
“Basically, he meant the only reason you’re with me is because I’m holding you back” I finished.
I expected him to be outraged at Regulus, to be furious at sheer audacity of it all. I expected him to rush to reassure me that he was highly mistaken.
Not that I needed it but just the same I thought he would.
“Ha! He obviously has no idea about what men want!”
Of course as with everything else about him, Jason surprised me.
He was indifferent, calm and carefree. I might as well have been talking about the weather.
On the next Hogsmeade weekend I took a very brave step and asked Sirius and Nora to join me and Jason. It was my attempt to smooth things over with my best friends and my boyfriend.
After all, though Nora was the most supportive person there ever was, she hadn’t had the time to meet and talk with Jason after we had started dating.
The crowded little tavern was warm and cosy against the cold wind of the Halloween night. Inside, it was decorated with orange and black from curtains to table cloths. The tables themselves were topped with miniature Jack-o-lantern pumpkins and there were live bats fluttering around about the rafters. The buzzing chatter of the taverns many customers filled the little inn.
A few wizards got up and we took our seats at the free table. Nora, who was partnered with Remus for Potions that day, brought him along, which was very smart of her since Remus was generally known to be the peacemaker of the group. Peter sat with a few of his friends from the Gobstones Club. They all wore matching black woollen sweaters with a large orange pumpkin face knitted at the centre. He waved as he spotted us.
James, I noticed was spending more time with Giselle, apparently their Slug Party experience was a good one. They were double dating with the Hufflepuff Captain, Eric Coleman and his girlfriend Erin at a table not too far from a very giggly Lily and Emma seated with a few Ravenclaw boys I didn’t recognise.
Sirius was... I checked my watch... late.
Black and white balloons floated around the room, occasionally showering the merry people with brightly coloured sweets whenever they burst. Most of the entertainment that night was supplied by a highly animated skeleton behind the bar serving drinks. As we watched it piled ice and liquor into the shaker and shook it well, in tune with its rattling teeth.People applauded as he garnished his cocktails with slices of apple and wedges of lime.
We were all laughing and having a good time and had just resumed our conversation when Madam Rosmerta came over to our table.
“What can I get you all?” she asked cheerfully.
“Butterbeers for us” said Remus indicating himself and Nora.
“I’ll have a Cherry Syrup” I said. I liked that Jason let me order what I pleased instead of guessing what I wanted.
“I’ll have a Butterbeer too, Rosmerta. Thank you” he said kindly to the barmaid and turned to smile at me.
“And we will have two Firewhiskeys, Rosita!” Sirius had appeared behind Rosmerta with his arm around a rather giggly girl. Rosmerta rolled her eyes, as did I.
“I’ll be right back with your drinks” she left us.
“Ahh, sorry we’re late” said Sirius looking around the table, “we err... lost track of time” said Sirius devilishly. His date succumbed to a fresh wave of giggles. I resisted both the urge to roll my eyes at him again and to laugh at the wrinkling of Jason’s nose as if Sirius had brought with him a particularly foul stench.
They took seats opposite me, between Nora and Jason at the round table.
“Remus!” Sirius exclaimed suddenly spotting him, “Glad you could join us mate!”
“Nay, the pleasure is all mine” Remus said lazily. I smiled at him.
The drinks arrived then. I had almost touched the glass to my lips when Sirius yelled, “A toast!”
We all raised our glasses, shocked.
“To honesty!” Sirius raised his glass. I might have been imagining it but I sensed he was looking at me behind the glass mug of foaming Butterbeer.
I looked away.
“To honesty” we all murmured our toast, bewildered.
Sirius drank deeply from his glass while we all stared at him stunned.
As usual Sirius slowly became placid with the next few pints of Butterbeer and I was beginning to think the evening was going quite well.
His unintroduced date was sandwiched between him and Jason completely ignored thus far. Since I felt sorry for the girl I decided to talk to her.
I could not in a million years have predicted what followed afterwards.
“Hi there, I’m Capri” I extended my hand.
“Hi!” a smile lit her face up like a lantern at finally being acknowledged, “Yeah I know you! You’re friends with my cousin, Emma, aren’t you?” she shook my hand enthusiastically.
“Yes! Wow, you’re Emma’s cousin?” I wondered why this was such new information to me.
“Well we’re distant cousins, but yes”
“That’s amazing! You guys look completely unrelated I would have never guessed!” I said looking more closely at the straight haired brunette. Yet as she smiled I realised it was quite characteristically similar to the wide smile Emma had.
“I really like your scarf” she said, which I’m sure was her attempt to keep the conversation flowing as the talk continued between Sirius, Nora and Remus without pause.
“Oh, thank you! It was a gift from my boyfriend” I said proudly looping my arm in Jason’s.
Her smiling face turned to him.
“Aww, you two are an excellent couple! and you have great taste!” she added to Jason in a reassuring voice.
Jason laughed “Thank you! I just picked one with her favourite colour that’s all. It was simply a safe bet”
Sirius choked loudly on his fourth Butterbeer, “Her wha?!” He said turning to us.
Jason cleared his throat, clearly annoyed by Sirius’ behaviour.
“Her favourite col-our!” he said as if to a deaf person. I tried not to laugh.
“Pink?!” Sirius asked wiping his mouth on his sleeve, “that is NOT her favourite colour!”
“Yes it is” said Jason calmly looking away.
“No, it bloody is not! Capp, tell him!” he turned his outraged eyes on me. I swallowed realising I was trapped. Sirius' date watched me with wide fearful eyes.
“Refill?” Nora and Remus said together and then looked at each other. No one else responded to them.
“I love pink” I said shortly.
“But it’s not your favourite colour” Sirius pressed on.
“Honestly, what difference does it make?” said Nora catching up on my situation.
“Nora shut up!” Sirius said loudly. Part of the tavern went silent for a moment before resuming their talk. Nora fell silent immediately.
“Sirius!” Remus warned.
I was enraged. Firstly because of the scene Sirius was creating over such a stupid insignificant issue and secondly for how he just treated my best friend. Nora looked down at her hands. I could feel blood pounding behind my ears. I just wanted to walk over to Sirius and punch him in the face as hard as I could.
Jason felt it too. His hand gripped my knee under the table asking me silently to stay calm. I hated being rational when the irrational thought was clear justice, yet I stayed heeding his appeal.
Sirius drank from his Butterbeer again, oblivious to how much he’d hurt Nora, and to how angry the rest of us were.
“I can vouch you that her favourite colour is purple!” he gave Jason a superior look and turned to me “Aint that right, Capp?”
“A lot has changed since then!” I hissed though my teeth again.
Sirius simply smirked at me.
“You love the bracelet don't you? That’s purple, I made sure it was. You told me you loved that colour because it was the colour of the twilight sky, your favourite time of day. You told me that charm bracelet was the most special thing anyone ever gave you. What’s changed since then?” he asked.
My eyes widened and my jaws clenched together.
“Charm bracelet?” Jason asked suddenly as comprehension dawned on him. Sirius’s smirk grew wider.
“The Charm bracelet? The one you said meant the world to you? It signified the most amazing friendship you’ve ever had?... Him?!” Jason stood up. I panicked and followed suit.
“Jason, I said things have changed a lot” I said quietly trying to calm him down.
“Him? He’s the one who gave you that thing?”
“It doesn’t matter”
“Of course it matters! It matter’s that you hid it from me!...Why?” Jason demanded. It was fair for him to ask me why I had hid the truth about it when I had almost willingly shared everything else.
The rest of the group had gone silent. Sirius just sat there as if made of cold stone, his face expressionless.
“Well?” Jason asked again.
“Because...” I swallowed the words many times but knew I couldn’t run from it anymore, “because I wasn’t sure if I really loved you.” I bit my trembling lip, “and I didn’t want you to think it was because I was waiting for someone else”. My voice had become a pained whisper again.
As the painful truth came out my eyes flooded and the warm tears trickled down my cheek.
Jason swallowed slowly staring into my eyes. His soft green eyes were ablaze. They were agonized, it broke my heart to pieces. He was lost for words. He felt betrayed and I could clearly read it in his transparent gaze.
“Were you?... waiting?” he finally asked in a soft dead voice. His defeated words made my heart throb with guilt.
I had realised this for a while, today more than ever. The boy I had loved was a figment of my imagination, a phantom. Something I had deceived myself to believe in. Something that had never been real and will possibly never be so.
I had no recollection of how I returned to the common room. I only remembered that Jason “needed time to think”. I knew lies cost something dear, even the unintentional ones. I just wasn’t expecting it and so the tears came readily.
I wrapped my coat tighter around me as I walked along the deserted corridor to the Fat Lady’s portrait. The rest of the castle had probably gone for the feast. My appetite was gone and thus had no intention of doing the same. Nora and Remus walked silently beside me.
“Hushpollok” Remus recited. The portrait swung forwards and I followed Nora into the common room. I pulled off my coat, slung it over my arm and turned to face them.
“I’m not going to the feast guys, so I’ll see you both later” I said to them.
I put my arm around Remus and hugged him for accompanying us back. He seemed just as bewildered as I was about my own actions but he patted my back gently and smiled.
I then clung to my best friend, Nora, now the only one I had. She held my arms and steadied me.
“I’m sorry” I whispered in a cracked voice in her ear.
“It’s ok” she said gently as she put her arm around me, “Goodnight Remus!” she said over my head and then turned to me, “let’s get you upstairs Cappie, you need sleep”
Remus nodded and headed to the boys’ dormitories.
I disentangled myself from her. Sleep. Yes that I did need.
After all it’s all that’s left to do when there is nothing you can do to help the situation. And that was Nora’s way of telling me that. I sighed and brushed my hair back.
The portrait suddenly burst open. Someone panting held the frame of the portrait hole and then climbed in looking around in panic.
I clenched my teeth.
“Goodnight Nora” I said pointedly folding my coat on my arm while staring at the newcomer.
“Cappie...” Nora softly pleaded.
“I’ll see you in the morning” I promised her and I heard her sigh and leave, her footsteps rising up the wooden staircase to the dormitories.
I faced the intruder with calm deceptive eyes, meeting his self-loathing gaze. He seemed at a loss for words. I wished he would say one word, so I could close his mouth for good. But he just stared at me, speechless.
I shook my head and turned my back on him, finally deciding to leave.
“What?” I turned sharply to face him, “... What?” I threw my coat onto the sofa. The anger I was keeping down suddenly surfaced, rising tenfold. The volume in my voice matching my anger as it mounted with every word.
“What could you possibly have left to say to me?”
“Don’t be mad...please!”
The retorts sprang up so fast in my head that for a moment I didn’t know what to say! I was silenced by my own anger, but not for long.
“Do you hear yourself?” I asked exasperated, “Don’t be mad? About what precisely?” I walked toward him not knowing what I would do when I reached him, “perhaps that you love my new boyfriend so much and have been more than welcoming?...” the sarcasm came easy, as I found an outlet for my anger.
His eyes turned downcast as if in defeat, but I knew better. He wanted me to stop yelling, he wanted us to stop fighting and to stop I had to believe I won and to believe I won he needed to look defeated. I knew him well. Too well.
“Or maybe... because you’ve encouraged me to be happy for myself” I continued. He looked up again a little shocked, proving my theory, “I know! It’s because you’re so happy to see me happy that you decided to make today such a pleasant memory for all of us, am I right?”
Sirius stayed silent, unmoving in front of me. The fire danced in crackling flames behind him casting an odd shadow against his face.
“Speak!” I yelled at him, “What Black? What is it I shouldn’t be mad at you for?”
Sirius looked up into my eyes. His eyes feigned torture as they searched mine. I had nothing in my eyes or my heart left for him and so I looked away.
I looked up after a long silent moment and wiped my hair back from my face as I met his gaze.
“You know what? I’m done” my voice was again calm and quiet. Dejected.
My fingers slipped on the silver trinkets attached to my bracelet. I undid the clasp and the shackle released my wrist. I held it tightly in my fist for a second and then threw it to him without a second glance. There was a soft tinkling as it hit his chest and fell into his hand.
“Keep it. You destroyed what it meant to me. I don’t want it and I sure as hell won’t miss it! ”
“Cappie!” his face was shocked.
“The name is Caprice, you insensitive prick!”
“No,” my voice was barely a whisper but somehow it silenced him, “I’m done listening.”
He waited for a long time, his eyes never leaving my face, before he spoke again. When he did, his voice was cracked and broken revealing some small sentiment of an emotion left within him.
“Sorry?” I finished. He sighed slowly.
“You weren’t thinking” I recited, knowing the routine. He looked into my eyes again and I’m sure he could read the sadness within them.
He opened his mouth twice and closed it and opened it a third time.
“Dont,” I stopped him before he could say it, “Don’t ask for another chance to do better Sirius. We both know, it’s not going to happen and honestly I’m sick of being disappointed, waiting for you to make things right. It’s easier to let go.”
Only then did I notice his eyes glistening in the firelight, his lips trembling as he held back everything he wanted to say. He looked heartbreakingly beautiful. At any other moment I would have broken the vows to myself again and run to him. I would have held him and told him that I only wanted him to laugh one more time and would have done anything he asked for in return. But I didn’t.
I stood still in the void that stretched between us.
For the first time it was I who crushed the lingering hope in my heart that was rooting for Sirius Black to find his way back.
He was too far gone.
All this time I was wasting hoping you would come around, I've been giving out chances every time and all you do is let me down...
This is the last straw, don't wanna hurt anymore
And you can say that you're sorry but I don't believe you baby like I did before
You're not sorry...
Lyrics- You're Not Sorry by Taylor Swift.
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