Chapter 21 : Unity
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I breathed a sigh of relief as I swiftly checked over my body for any sign that I had been splinched, and found that I was perfectly fine. Well, in that sense anyway.
Just as I glimpsed across the road down the alley to where the Hog’s Head was located, the front door burst open and Fenrir Greyback dived out onto the small, dusty street. I stood there horrified, quite unable to move as his yellow gaze met mine hungrily and he barked something back into the building.
I didn’t wait around for long – as soon as I knew that he had seen me, I ran as fast as my legs would take me, down the street and into a large group of students who were standing outside an immensely crowded shop. They shouted in protest as I barged through them and in through the door to the shop, but I ignored them – thinking of nothing but finding a place to hide so I could figure out what the hell I was going to do next, and how I could possibly get back to Hogwarts without being caught by Greyback or any other Death Eater.
As I rushed past the crowded aisles of the shop I quickly realised that I had stumbled into Zonko’s Joke Shop. The noise in the place alone was overwhelming – the air filled with whizzes, whirs and bangs as the Hogwarts students tested the various products. Obviously, I wasn’t there to shop, so I pushed my way through the students and slipped down one of the aisles at the back of the shop, leaning against a wooden shelf for support as I caught my breath.
The aisles themselves were lined with high, wooden shelves that reach up to the roof – the particular one I was standing in had shelves littered with discounted and faulty goods. I thought that I would be well concealed where I was – most students were too busy sorting through Zonko’s newest product-line – though I knew I was still far from being safe. Any one of those Death Eaters could step in here at any time – and I had no doubt that if I was caught, I would have to endure something a lot worse than the Imperio curse.
I looked around the shop, thinking up my next move. There was a small door set into the back wall just down the end of the aisle which I thought must lead to the storeroom. I thought for a moment that perhaps I could slip out the back of the shop and sprint my butt off back up the road to Hogwarts – but I knew it was likely that someone would be keeping a lookout for me on the road.
I buried my face in my hands, feeling utterly defeated – there was no way that I was going to make it out of here. The next thought that struck me was less then pleasing – perhaps I could hand myself back to Travers and beg for him to forgive me – to lie and say that I had panicked for the briefest of moments, and that to serve the Dark Lord was the only thing that mattered to me. I didn’t see what other choice I had.
“Cortez – are you alright?”
I quite literally jumped at least ten feet in the air in fright – my heart beating in my chest furiously. For a moment I thought I had been caught – but, to my intense relief, I found it was only Remus Lupin standing at the entrance to the aisle, his forehead creased in concern. On second glance I saw the lump of a boy, Peter Pettigrew, half-concealed and peeking out from behind his friend.
“Sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you. You just ran right past me before and I thought... what happened to you?” Remus asked anxiously, and I couldn’t help but stand there dumbstruck – still not quite over my scare.
“I- Nothing. Nothing’s happened” I spluttered in reply, very much wishing that he would go away so I could wallow in my misery alone.
Remus simply raised his fair eyebrows in response, clearly not believing my lie “What happened to your clothes then?”
He indicated to my white scarf, which was covered in grime from where Travers had cursed me to bow on the floor, and my jacket which bore a great, dirty hand-print on the left sleeve from Greybacks filthy hands. Needless to say, I wasn’t too worried about the state of my clothes at that particular moment.
Remus took a tentative step forward, fixing his sapphire eyes on me firmly “Look, I know that we don’t know each other very well – and, I mean, we aren’t exactly friends – but... if you’re in some kind of trouble...”
I shook my head stubbornly in response “I can handle it” I lied, not particularly wanting to get anyone one else involved in my mess. Without thinking, I unravelled my dirty scarf from around my neck, and saw that there were small splotches of blood where it had rubbed against the wounds on my neck. I heard Remus gasp quietly at the sight of my bare neck.
“How did you get those marks?”
My fingers flew to my neck instinctively as he spoke and I whispered quietly, mostly to myself “Greyback...”
Remus’ face paled considerably at that single word “What did you say?”
I gazed up at the sandy-haired boy as he stepped closer towards me – towering above me as he was considerably taller then I was.
“Greyback? Fenrir Greyback?” He asked quietly and I nodded my head softly, preparing to ask him how the hell he had known who Greyback was before he turned on Peter swiftly.
“We need to find Padfoot now” Remus spoke quickly to his short, plump friend, who eyed me nervously before speaking.
“He’ll still be at the Broomsticks”
Remus nodded in agreement “I need you to get him and bring him here. Go quickly, Wormtail”
Peter bustled off back towards the entrance to the shop before I rounded on Remus.
“What are you doing?” I asked incredulously, knowing all too well from my many encounters with the Marauders that “Padfoot” was code for Sirius Black – though I had no idea what on earth it was supposed to mean.
“Sirius needs to know about this,” Remus answered simply, folding his arms across his chest as he continued to eye the small marks on my neck.
I scoffed in disbelief “I don’t see why!”
At once, I wanted to get out of there – I didn’t think I could handle Sirius and his condescending stare, especially when he had been so infuriatingly right. He had been the one telling me all along that I was an idiot to meet with the Death Eaters – and I had only realised too late how right he had been.
Remus and I waited a few minutes in an awkward silence. I had just begun to contemplate the idea of bolting out through the back door so I wouldn’t have to face Sirius, before Remus spoke up suddenly.
“You do know what Greyback is, don’t you?” He asked and I stared at him sceptically, wondering what the hell he was talking about. What did he mean what Greyback is?
“... don’t know why you can’t quit babbling and learn to explain things properly, Wormtail!” I was distracted from Remus by Sirius’ boisterous voice before he turned the corner a moment later.
“Moony, what the... Alex – your neck!” Sirius was at my side at once – placing one of his warm hands on the back of my neck while he used the other to tilt my chin up and inspect my wounds with his stormy, grey eyes. My eyes flitted closed briefly at his touch.
Sirius’ dark eyebrows knitted together in a frown “Tell me these aren’t what I think they are” he spoke quietly while turning slightly to Remus, letting his hand slip down to rest on the back of my shoulders.
Remus nodded his head and Sirius let out a low growl of outrage “Who?”
“Greyback! What the fuck is he doing in Hogsmeade?” Sirius turned to me, his eyes laced with a mix of worry and anger before a sudden realisation dawned on him “Oh, Alex, you didn’t...” He breathed in disbelief and for a moment I found myself quite unable to meet his unnerving gaze.
“I-I had to go” I spoke quietly – my eyes firmly fixed on the dusty floor.
Sirius shook his head in clear disagreement “What were you thinking? I told you it was a bad idea and now look what’s happened!”
“I got away from him didn’t I? I’m fine!”
“You’re lucky to even be alive – with him around...”
I raised my eyebrows at him incredulously “What the fuck do you lot know about Greyback that I don’t”
Sirius shot the briefest glimpse at Remus before replying “Fenrir Greyback is a werewolf”
At once, I faltered, taking in a sharp breath. Fenrir Grey was a Werewolf – well, that certainly would explain those unnerving, animalistic eyes of his. I was beginning to feel awfully sick at the thought of how close I had been to an actual Werewolf.
“And probably the most savage one there ever was, at that” Remus added, carefully judging my response to the new information “Those wounds on your neck... if they’re from Greyback, they’re cursed – they’ll never fully heal”
I traced my fingers over the small holes on each side of my neck “I’ll be stuck with these forever?” I questioned, earning a nod from Remus in reply.
Just what I needed – an eternal reminder of what an idiot I had been.
“We need to get out of Hogsmeade” Sirius spoke at once, distracting me from my thoughts “Where’s James?”
Remus shrugged his shoulders in response “I thought he was at the Broomstick’s with you”
“No – I was with, uh, Selene” Sirius answered, clearly hesitant and I narrowed my eyes at the thought of the blonde-haired Seeker, Selene Silver “He told me he was coming to find you”
“He’s at Madame Puddifoot’s” I spoke up, my tone sounding a little more bitter then I had meant.
“Why on earth would he be there?” Remus asked, but Sirius rounded on me before he could be answered.
“How do you know that?” He questioned – deep frown lines embedded on his forehead.
“He stopped to have a little chat with me on his way there”
Sirius raised his hand to his forehead in anguish “Ugh, that git – what did he say?”
“Something along the lines of “quit torturing my best friend” – though I don’t see why you would care so much” I replied icily and Sirius let his head roll back dejectedly.
“I’ll go to Puddifoot’s and get him – Remus, you take Peter and Alex and get to Honeydukes without being seen” Sirius ordered, but Remus shook his head dismissively.
“You can’t go wandering the streets of Hogsmeade with Death Eaters out and about” He replied sensibly “Not now that they think you’re a blood traitor – they’ll kill you. I’ll go instead”
“Out of the question, Moony – not with Greyback on the loose!” Sirius exclaimed before letting out a low sigh and a wave of his hand “It’ll have to be Pete, then”
I didn’t quite understand why Sirius would risk Peter being out in the streets of Hogsmeade with Greyback around, but not Remus. All three of us turned to Peter, who looked very much as if running through the streets of Hogsmeade with a bunch of murderous Death Eaters on the loose was the last thing he wanted to do. And who could blame him, really.
“M-me? I don’t know – what if I get c-caught?” Peter piped up – his voice shaking with fear.
“Be brave, Wormtail” Sirius put a hand on his friend’s shoulder comfortingly “You can do this – just take your time – and for the love of Godric, don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself”
Peter nodded a little, still looking unconvinced.
“Once you get James, go to the Shack and get back to Hogwarts – then meet us at James’ room in the Heads dormitory. Do you understand?” Sirius ordered, not waiting for any particular answer before ushering Peter in the direction of the front of the shop.
I have to say I felt awfully uncomfortable, having the Marauders of all people making this plan around me – and not to mention the fact that I was becoming increasingly frustrated with not being able to understand half of what they were talking about. But if they could somehow magically get me out of Hogsmeade – I would be more than grateful.
“We’ll go out the back and go along to Honeyduke’s – it’s not far” Sirius said as he returned from pushing Peter out of the shop. I let out a low protest as he grabbed my hand and started dragging me along the aisle to the small door I had noticed earlier on.
“You’ll find out when we get there, now c’mon” Sirius interrupted my question before opening the door to the storeroom. The room was small – littered with boxes piled on top of each other until they reached the ceiling. I didn’t get much time to look around before I was pulled out the back door and on to a small dusty street.
We ran down the road – Sirius’ hand clasping mine the entire time, as if he feared I might be snatched up by Greyback from right under his nose. Two shops down we reached Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop. Slipping in the back door, which took us right into the shop, we were met by the most delicious smell of candies, cakes and all sorts of other treats. Honeyduke’s, I noticed, was just as busy as Zonko’s had been.
I was forcefully ushered into a small room at the back of the shop – which was filled to the brim with boxes full of sweets. I watched, confused, as Sirius used his wand to push aside a couple of heavy boxes, and then lifted up the end of a dusty, old carpet – revealing a rather shoddily hidden trap door.
I followed behind Remus through the trap-door and down an unstable, wooden ladder into darkness – where I was immediately enveloped by the musty smell of dirt and stale air. I held my wand out in front of me, lighting the end so I could see where I was – it was a tunnel, tall enough for me to stand comfortably – but Remus, however, was forced to bend a little so he wouldn’t hit his head on the roof above. The tunnel itself was rounded, with crumbly dirt walls that had roots sticking out all over the place. I shuddered as I thought of how many disgusting bugs there were likely to be down here.
Sirius was the last to climb down the ladder – he shut the wooden door above him, and with a small flick of his wand I could hear the carpet and boxes moving back to conceal the trap-door.
“I remember this tunnel being bigger” Sirius complained as he joined the two of us. He lit his wand and I forced myself to keep from laughing at the ridiculous sight of him hunched against the roof of the tunnel, dirt falling through his dark hair.
“We’ve been using the tunnel to the Shack for so long – I almost forgot this one was here” Remus replied as we began to move forwards into the darkness, with only the small lights from our wands guiding us.
“Would someone care to tell me what the deal is with these tunnels – and where the fuck this one is leading us to” I asked angrily after tripping on a root which was poking up from the ground.
I heard Sirius give a bark of cynical laughter behind me “You’d think she’d speak to us a bit nicer since we’re so kindly risking our necks to save her arse, eh Moony?”
I stopped in my tracks – turning to sneer at the smug-faced boy “I didn’t actually ask for your help”
Sirius raised his eyebrows questioningly “Oh, I’m sorry – would you like us to take you back to Hogsmeade so Greyback can rip you up a bit more? Merlin knows that’s less than you deserve”
“Cut it out, Padfoot” Remus interrupted – the annoyance in his voice obvious as the sound echoed back to us “You know damn well that nobody deserves that”
“I could think of a few people who do” Sirius muttered under his breath, prodding me sharply in the back with his wand to get me moving. I scowled at him before hurrying to catch up with Remus – grateful that the low roof of the tunnel allowed me to move much faster than Sirius could.
“Where does this tunnel lead?” I asked quietly, hoping Sirius wouldn’t butt in with another of his smart-arse answers.
“Hogwarts” Remus spoke shortly, his voice sounding less annoyed than it had previously been.
I wasn’t particularly surprised at learning of the existence of this tunnel – I knew of one myself which Evan and Rodolphus had found back in our third year. Though we had no real interest in using it as it seemed the only place it led to was the middle of the Forbidden Forest.
“You said there was a tunnel to the Shack – do you mean the Shrieking Shack?
“Uh-huh” Remus answered, clearly unwilling to share any more information, though that didn’t stop me from trying.
“But why would anyone go in there? I mean, there’s some pretty horrible ghosts in there, right?”
Sirius snorted behind me “For God’s sake – it’s bad enough my trip to Hogsmeade was ruined, but now I have to listen to you asking stupid questions the whole way back too?”
“Well, I’m terribly sorry I ruined your little date with Silver” I answered through gritted teeth.
Sirius let out a bark of laughter in response “You couldn’t care less! And besides, it wasn’t a date – we were just talking”
Oh, how I laughed at that one.
“How does your boyfriend, Rosier, feel about you running out on them all anyway – I’m guessing he won’t be too happy” Sirius, clearly annoyed at my laughing at him, snapped a cheap shot at me and I fell quiet at once. I didn’t even want to think about what Evan or any one of my friends felt about what I had done.
I knew that they would be mad – or that they would even hate me for it. I didn’t think I could live in a world where they felt that way about me.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” was all I could reply – silently wondering if he was still even my friend.
Sirius scoffed loudly “Could’ve fooled – “
“Would you two shut it!” Remus interrupted once again, clearly pissed off at our squabbling “I feel like I’m baby-sitting a pair of ten-year olds”
So, at Remus’ request, I did shut it – all the way back to Hogwarts in fact, which was no short walk, let me tell you now. I didn’t even speak when Sirius tried apologising to me for being a jerk – though I very much wanted to tell him to go to hell.
Eventually, we came to a dead-end at the end of the tunnel and I almost broke my vow of silence for my annoyance at being stuck underground in a stupid tunnel with one and a half stupid boys – I figured Remus wasn’t all that bad, though he had quite an unpleasant case of mood-swings.
Remus pulled a small lever, which was poking out from the dirt to his left. Once pulled, the lever revealed a set of small steps in the wall before us, leading up to an opening which glorious light was currently pouring down from.
The three of us climbed out of the opening into one of Hogwarts many dingy, stone corridors – though at that moment I absolutely believed that it was the best corridor I had ever seen. In my relief at making it back to the castle in one piece, I lay back on the cold, stone floor –thanking Merlin out loud, and rubbing the foot of the great, ugly statue that had moved back to guard the entrance to the tunnel.
“Finally – a bit of thanks” Sirius drawled, seated with his legs outstretched on the ground next to me, making an attempt to straighten out his neck.
“I wasn’t actually thanking you” I replied without thinking – instantly realising how ungrateful I sounded as Sirius rolled his eyes and pushed himself to his feet, dusting off the back of his black pants.
I sighed lowly – the two of them had just escorted me safely back to Hogwarts when they didn’t even have to. They could have left me for dead back in Hogsmeade – though I was still a little puzzled as to why they didn’t.
“Thank you” I spoke up, getting to my feet and pushing my pride firmly to the side in the process “I really do appreciate your help”
Remus gave a small smile and nod of his head in reply – though Sirius stood staring at me as if I had gone mad, his eyebrows raised in disbelief.
“Now, excuse me while I go and throw myself off of the Astronomy Tower” I said quickly – my cheeks turning a bright shade of red as I turned to hurry off – though I had barely taken two steps before both of my arms were gripped by a pair of strong hands and I was pulled backwards into someone’s broad chest.
“Oh, no you don’t” Sirius spoke, his breath warm against my ear “You’re coming with us”
“I – wha?”
“You don’t think those friends of yours will drag you back to Greyback the first chance they get?” Sirius asked, placing one of his hands on the small of my back as he turned and ushered me in the opposite direction.
“They would never” I replied, bitterly resenting him for even suggesting it.
“They’re Voldemorts servants now” Remus spoke up as we walked down the corridor – me still being pushed along by Sirius “If they are ordered – they will do it”
I shook my head firmly in disagreement – fighting the tears that stung at the back of my eyes as Sirius draped an arm around my shoulder and whispered grimly “Welcome to the blood-traitors club”
I should have felt disgusted at the closeness of him but instead, for some strange reason I found it oddly comforting to have him there – no matter how wrong he was about my friends.
Eventually, Remus led us to a large set of double-doors – the golden crest of the Head Boy and Girl on each side, with the names of James and Lily engraved underneath. Remus pushed the door open and we walked into what was a small kind of common room.
In the very centre of the room was a circular scarlet-red couch, formed in almost a full circle and surrounding a round, dark-wood table. On the far side of the rounded room were two doors – in the middle of which was a large, marble fire-place – which James Potter was furiously pacing back and forwards in front of – while Peter was seated on the edge of the couch. Both of their heads jerked up at the sound of us entering.
“What the hell is going on?” James demanded – his hazel eyes darting between the three of us from behind his black-framed glasses “Wormtail and I ran all the way back here – and you know Wormy, I couldn’t understand a word of his blabbering – but I managed to hear something about Death Eaters!”
Sirius eyed me as he replied “I don’t really know the full story myself, mate”
All eyes were on me for a moment or two, making me feel incredibly uncomfortable.
“Come through here then – I expect Lily will be back soon and we don’t need her snooping around” James ushered us through the door on the left into a large bedroom.
The walls of the room were a beautiful, sapphire blue and the floors a rich mahogany. As I inspected the huge, blue-clad bed against the far wall under a wide, open window, a sharp pang of jealousy hit me and I suddenly wished that I had thought of trying harder for the position of Head Girl – if Lily’s room looked anything like this one.
I perched myself on a wooden chair next to a large, study desk – removing my filthy jacket which this morning had been white, but now boasted a palette of several shades of dirt – and hung it over the back of the chair.
“Someone please explain” James ordered as he seated himself at the end of his bed and ran a hand through his dark, messy hair.
Sirius, who was standing in the middle of the room, his arms crossed in front of his broad chest, spoke first.
“Apparently Fenrir Greyback was in Hogsmeade – and by the looks of things, he and Alex have had a bit of a disagreement” He answered his friend, indicating to the marks on my neck “What exactly did you do to make Greyback attack you?”
Sirius directed the question at me, but Remus interrupted briskly “Greyback doesn’t need a reason to attack – he does it purely for his own pleasure”
Sirius shook his head in clear disagreement “This is a would-be Death Eater we’re talking about – not one of his victims. And knowing Alex and her stubborn little Slytherin ways, she did something to set him off”
I couldn’t stop the guilt from spreading itself across my face “I might have disobeyed Travers’ order”
I watched as Sirius shot Remus a look that clearly said “I told you so”
“Travers? That’s the guy who went to Azkaban years ago for using the Cruciatus Curse on Muggles. Merlin, Cortez – why on earth were you with them?” James asked, and Sirius cleared his throat loudly – he already knew the answer, though he had his head cocked to the side as he waited for me to say it myself.
I stared out the window as I replied, looking anywhere but Sirius’ face “It was a meeting for the Hogwarts students willing to join the Dark Lord”
James growled loudly, immediately jumping to his feet “And you’re with them?” he asked, his eyes livid “What is this about, Padfoot?”
James directed the question at Sirius who had moved to stand between the two of us, attempting to calm his best friend.
“I don’t know exactly, James – all I know is that Alex needed our help getting away from them”
James let out a bitter laugh, ruffling his hair so much I half expected him to tear it out “And you were eagerly willing to jump to her rescue, huh Padfoot? You know, I don’t know what’s going on between the two of you – since you’ve been so reluctant to tell me anything” he shot a look between Sirius and me “But I’m telling you now that I don’t like it – she’s one of them”
I narrowed my eyes at James “I don’t know what you mean by them, but I’m not with the Death Eaters, if that’s what you’re thinking. Not after today, anyway”
“What do you mean?” Remus questioned, his voice considerably more calm then his friends. I let out a low sigh before I relayed the story of everything that had happened that day – from when I first left Hogwarts that morning, to when I ran into Remus and Peter at Zonko’s.
“Regulus was there?” Sirius asked grimly after I had finished explaining, and I nodded my head apologetically.
“This is unbelievable! Travers used an Unforgivable Curse on you – do you have any idea how close you could have been to being killed? If you hadn’t Apparated in time, they wouldn’t have hesitated” Sirius stood before the chair I was seated on, growling down at me.
I glared back at him “Well I got out of there – I’m not going to join them. You should be happy you got what you wanted”
“What I wanted was for you not to go to them at all!” Sirius barked in a harsh whisper, his hands leaning on the wooden armrests on either side of the chair I was seated on as he locked his eyes onto mine angrily and I inhaled sharply, unnerved by his temper.
A door slammed somewhere outside the room followed by voices, and James literally jumped off the bed, muttering “She’s gonna be so mad” before he slipped out into the common room. Remus and Peter, I noticed, didn’t take long to follow after him and leave Sirius and I on our own.
“Why are you so intent on keeping me away from them? Why not Regulus, or Bellatrix – your own family!” I countered, ignoring the other’s departure.
“Because my brother, and my cousin are lost causes! They’d never go against our family like I have” Sirius explained, his stormy eyes boring into me intensely “Your family is not like mine is, Alex – Serenity is a perfect example of that”
“Bella and Reg are my family – along with all the others. Not that air-headed bimbo” I spat, utterly disgusted by the thought of my do-gooder sister “You really think I’d go against them?”
Sirius let out a deep sigh, his gaze falling from my face as he replied “You’ll have to. If you won’t join them, Voldemort will turn them against you – and whether you like it or not, they’ll be your enemies”
I gritted my teeth before pushing Sirius back and standing to my feet – though he seemed quite content to glare down at me through narrowed, grey eyes rather than get out of my way.
“No – that won’t happen” I replied stubbornly.
“Open your eyes, Alex!” Sirius grabbed me by the arms, shaking me gently as if he would shake some sense into me “Voldemort won’t take kindly to you running out like you did – you’re not safe with them anymore”
I laughed at his words, though rather half-heartedly. What if Sirius was right? What if my friends were ordered by Voldemort to turn against me – would they ever defy his orders? I knew the answer right away, just as I had known that every one of them would give anything to be servants to the Dark Lord, when I would not.
“I’ll be fine” I answered Sirius, choking down any thoughts that he could be right again.
The sound of the door banging open followed by heels clicking on the wooden floor diverted my attention from Sirius.
“What the hell is she doing here?”
I growled lowly as my twit of a sister, Serenity, bustled into the room – clad in a skirt that was much too short and inappropriate for the season. Luckily, this time she was devoid of any ridiculous blonde wig – though that didn’t stop her from being a complete idiot. And right now she looked anything but happy as her eyes darted between Sirius and me, taking in his hands on my arms and how close we stood to each other.
“That’s actually none of your business” I replied bitterly, turning and folding my arms across my chest and knowing full-well that she had directed the question at Sirius and not me.
Serenity narrowed her sapphire eyes at me, preparing to speak before Sirius interrupted.
“Now’s really not the best time, Serenity. We’re kinda in the middle of something” He spoke and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fury that sparked in her eyes as he dismissed her.
She took a few steps forward – her hands placed on either hip delicately as she glared daggers at the pair of us. I could clearly see Lily and James through the open door, having some kind of argument in the next room.
“I think now’s a perfect time, actually. Maybe now you could shed some light on why the two of you have seemed to become so disgustingly close lately” Serenity demanded with a click of her tongue.
“Serenity...” Sirius began, his voice a low warning.
Serenity rolled her big eyes lazily “Don’t think no-one’s noticed – I wonder what those snakes you bunk with think of all this attention Sirius is showing you” she snapped at me and I glared at her in response – knowing that what she was saying wasn’t completely out of line. Things had changed between me and Sirius lately – he was being protective – caring even. And it was confusing the hell out of me.
Sirius moved to step between me and my accuser for the second time that day – and I couldn’t help but wonder what prompted him to do so.
“That’s enough” He growled, yet Serenity merely rolled her eyes at him once more.
I stepped around Sirius, meeting his eyes as I spoke “You know what? She’s right – I don’t know why you feel like you need to protect me, or whatever the hell it is you’re doing. But stop, okay. I can look after myself”
And with that, I walked out the door into the common room, ignoring Sirius’ weary call after me, and stepped right into James’ and Lily’s full-fledged flight
“... don’t know why you had to run out like that! Do you know how much of an idiot you made me fee – what is she doing here?” Lily mimicked the earlier question of her best friend, glaring at me with bright, emerald eyes as I strode through the room, ignoring the lot of them, and stumbled out into the corridor – slamming the doors behind me.
Instinctively, I started walking in the direction of my common room – though after a moment, I halted. I didn’t know if I was ready to face my friends just yet – or ever. But I guess I’d have to do it eventually.
I started walking again – and it wasn’t long before I heard footsteps behind me.
“Leave me alone, Black” I snapped, guessing Sirius had not taken my hint and was still intent on stalking me.
“Uh, I’m not Sirius” A familiar voice spoke and I turned to find that instead of Sirius, it had been Remus that was following me. I let out a small sigh of relief.
“What do you want?”
Remus gave a small smile – he looked tired, and I very much thought that he should be fast asleep in bed, rather than standing in a corridor talking to me.
“Just to ask you not to be so hard on Sirius” He spoke, a hint of amusement in his voice “As hard as that is for you – he really doesn’t deserve it”
I snorted loudly in response “Save your breath – Potter already beat you to the “Lay off my best mate” speech”
Remus raised his eyebrows “I guess we’re pretty protective of each other” he admitted, almost bashfully “But I’m not trying to threaten you, or make you feel uncomfortable or anything that I’m sure James would have done”
I chuckled lowly as he spoke, leaning back against the stone wall “And why is that? I thought the whole lot of you hated the sight of me”
“Not Sirius, obviously” Remus countered with a grin “I can see what it is that he see’s in you – even if James doesn’t – he was right when he told me you weren’t like the rest of them”
I raised my eyebrows questioningly – not quite sure how to respond.
“The two of you are more alike than you might think” he continued “You both come from families who disagree with your beliefs – and although you’ve always believed in Pureblood supremacy – I think that maybe... that’s beginning to change?” Remus questioned and I shrugged my shoulders dismissively.
“I really don’t know what to believe in anymore”
Remus nodded in understanding “I’ve watched the two of you together, and I’m sure that Sirius' intentions to help you are genuine”
I shook my head “I never wanted his help – I may not want to join Voldemort and this whole Pureblood uprising, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to stand against them”
Remus studied me through his blue eyes, his eyebrows knitted together in a frown “Would you stand aside and let your friends’ torture innocent Witches and Wizards just because you don’t want to stand against them? Would you watch them kill and destroy?”
I faltered – I certainly didn’t want to have to do that. But there was some part of me that believed my friends weren’t even capable of doing such horrible things.
“I guess that if it came down to it... I wouldn’t just stand aside” I answered honestly and Remus nodded his head in approval.
“This uprising is forcing us all to grow up – probably more quickly than we might have done. Sirius, especially, is beginning to realise that there’s more important things in life than chasing girls and pulling pranks. I think he’s finally starting to see that now, more than ever, is the time for us to stand together – no matter which House we’re from. It won’t matter whether we were a Gryffindor, or Slytherin, once we’re out there in the world fighting for our freedom – the only thing that will matter then, is that we’re all fighting for the same thing”
I exhaled slowly, realising the truth behind Remus’ words. It really wouldn’t matter what House we had been in once we left Hogwarts – even now, the lines were being blurred with friendships developing all over the place.
“I don’t understand how Sirius can be so willing to help me – after everything we’ve been through” I admitted, finding it strange how comfortable I was discussing these things with Remus.
Remus ran a hand through his blonde hair before answering “Sirius can be very accepting, and not to mention forgiving – if he believes that someone deserves the chance, of course. I know that better than any”
“But... we were enemies – we hurt each other. And I hated him so much” I admitted, and Remus let out a low rumble of laughter.
“You were enemies? You hated him?” He questioned, his tone laced with amusement “How exactly do you feel about him now that you’re no longer enemies?”
I faltered “I honestly don’t know... I didn’t even know that we stopped hating each other, though I know that I no longer have the urge to curse him whenever I see him now” I added with a grin, hardly believing the words coming out of my mouth.
Remus nodded softly “We’re all changing – though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think that we need to be prepared for what kind of world might be waiting for us when we leave Hogwarts” he spoke truthfully “Well, I guess I better get back to the mess James has got himself in with Lily – Merlin knows that girl has a temper. I’ll see you around, Alex”
With a wave of his hand Remus strode back down the corridor and I stood for a few moments with my mind racing like mad. It would usually have seemed completely absurd to me but what Remus had spoken of had actually made sense.
A short while later I entered the Slytherin common room to find it inhabited by only the younger students, who weren’t yet old enough to participate in the Hogwarts trip.
I tramped up the stairs, entering my dormitory and closing the door so I could lean back against it. I could feel the distinct feeling of warm tears prickling my eyes as all of my emotions rushed to the surface. That was until I noticed the pale-headed boy seated on my bed – his broomstick held in both hands as it rested across his lap.
“What do you want, Lucius?” I asked icily, wiping a few stray tears from my cheeks with the back of my hand.
Lucius stood, walking towards me slowly, surveying me through narrowed, blue eyes and I moved away from him instinctively.
“I was beginning to wonder when you’d return – no-one saw you leave Hogsmeade though we were sent to search the entire town and found no trace of you. I wonder why that could be” Lucius drawled and it was clear by his tone that he didn’t wonder at all – he knew I had been helped.
I raised my eyebrows questioningly “If that’s all you came here for you can save you breath – you know I didn’t make it out of there on my own”
The corner of Lucius’ lips twitched into a sinister smile “I have a fair idea of who would help you out of a situation like that too”
I rolled my eyes lazily, not in the mood for Lucius’ games “Why are you here?”
“I have a message for you – from Travers” Lucius answered, surveying my reaction “He bid me tell you that he will let you join us again – though he certainly won’t make matters easy on you if you choose to do so”
I scoffed loudly “And why would Travers want to do something like that?”
“I imagine it wouldn’t look very good for a Death Eater to have let a young woman escape him – not when the Dark Lord finds out about it. However, if you rejoin – no-one has to know”
“He actually believes that the Dark Lord won’t find out” I asked disbelievingly, knowing that Lucius of all people was smarter than that “I guess this is bad news for Travers then. I’m not going back, Lucius – I don’t want any part in it”
Strangely, instead of flying into a rage, as I was expecting, Lucius merely let a small smile play on his lips.
“I thought you’d say that” he replied, his voice sounding dangerously pleased “And in that case, Travers has made it clear that he would allow Fenrir Greyback to make it his personal mission to hunt you down”
“He can’t touch me while I’m in this castle” I countered at once, hoping to wipe the smug look off his pale face.
Lucius raised his eyebrows, as if he knew better than that “Then you had better pray to Salazar – or Godric, if you please – that he doesn’t ask any of us to do his dirty work for him”
I let out a sharp breath – how could he possibly mean that? I was certain that none of them would betray me to Greyback. At least, I thought I was.
“Where are the others?” I asked Lucius as he swept past me, his hand resting on the brass door handle momentarily as he paused to answer.
“Still enjoying what’s left of the day in Hogsmeade. I imagine they’ll want to speak to you when they return” he answered before exiting the room, and I guessed by the tone of his voice that they would not be happy with me once they returned.
I dropped down onto my bed, closing my eyes tight as the tears finally started to squeeze out of them, running down my face and onto my pillow. Everything was so fucked up. It was as if my role in the world was reversing and there was nothing I could do to stop it and turn it back the other way.
I didn’t want to join with Voldemort – and I knew now that nothing, not even my friends, could make me do so. All I had left to do now was to find the courage to tell them just that, and hope that if they really were my true friends, it wouldn’t matter to them.
Though I couldn’t help but fear that it would.
A/N: Hello! I'm bet you're glad I finally got this chapter out ( And that Serenity appears in it =p) - I've been working on getting them done as quick as I can. Isn't Remus just great? so nice and wise-ish haha I really hope you guys like this chapter and that it wasn't too random or anything, I think I already mentioned to someone that Alex wouldn't apparate too far away since she hadn't had a lot of practice with it so that's why I decided it should be within Hogsmeade.
As you have probably noticed this chapter is the longest one so far. The next chapter will pretty much just continue on from the end of this one. Please review guys it's really great hearing what you think and it always inspires me to write more xo
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