Chapter 27 : Game Day
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Elsa Yaxley - Rachel Leigh Cook
Sirius Black - Jared Padalecki
Remus Lupin - Jensen Ackles
James Potter - Gespard Ulliel
Damon Avery - Marc Blucas
Dominic Yaxley - Chad Michael Murray
(chapter image by Jeanie @ TDA)
March soon gave way to April, and the students began to anxiously await the first Quidditch game of spring. The teams each took two nights a week to practice to prepare. James and Sirius had spent the last two nights going over the plays with their new players late into the night. So when game day came they would be prepared. Most of their new players weren't nearly as good as some of the ones who had left the year before, but they were learning to work as a team.
The morning of the first game blazed into life, tossing light into the Gryffindor common room and waking the occupants with a fiery warmth. Sirius pulled his pillow up over his head and groaned. It was way too early to be up, even for a game day. All he wanted to do was sleep. They had been up until two am going over the plays one last time. While he had a faith that they would win against Slytherin, he knew that their opponents would resort to cheating at some point in the game. He had tried to convince Remus to watch from the sidelines and stop any cheating, but his friend refused.
Someone pulled away the blankets from his bed, and Sirius growled. It may have been a muffled growl, but it was a growl all the same. Who in their right mind was bugging him? Didn't they know he was up late and required more sleep if they were going to win? Rolling over, Sirius glared at Remus and Peter. They, of all people, should have known better.
“Sod off!” Sirius snarled and rolled back over.
“Can't. James is already downstairs and he wants to go over the plays one last time. He told us to get you up,” Peter squeaked nervously.
“I know the plays like the back of my hand, I do not need to go over them again. Neither do the others. Tell him he has a problem. This obsession is going to make us lose.”
“We won't if you get your lazy arse out of bed,” James yelled from the door as he dragged two of their newer players behind him. “Downstairs Sirius, five minutes!”
“He's lost it,” Sirius snapped. “Spying on the Slytherin team three nights ago was a very bad idea. They're what got his knickers in a knot.” Sirius rolled out of bed, grumbling as he went.
By the time Sirius managed to make his way down to the Common Room, James had gathered the whole team together in one corner of the room. The other Gryffindors seemed to know not to bother James. Sirius had a sneaking suspicion that James had more than likely snapped at a few people and it had spread.
Even though he was there, Sirius wasn't paying a lick of attention to what James was saying. Rather, Sirius was successfully drowning out the sound of his best mate's voice. The more James went over the plays, the more Sirius simply wanted to go back to sleep and say 'to hell with the game'. Except, even Sirius wouldn't give up the chance of showing up the Slytherin team on the pitch. The Slytherins may have looked great the few nights before while they were practising, but Sirius hoped that the last prank they had pulled, would but a slight damper on their flying abilities.
James finally let the rest of the team go to breakfast while he and Sirius hung back. Remus and Peter had already gone off to breakfast, leaving the two boys to go over the plans one last time.
“If you bring up the plays one more time,” Sirius warned.
“I wasn't going to,” James said as they began to head down to breakfast. “I was actually going to ask why you seem to be in a grump lately. It isn't because Elsa chose Avery over you, is it?”
“No.” His answer was quick, probably too quick for even him to believe. James grabbed his arm and looked at him seriously. “Okay, maybe a little, but I promised I'd get along with him.”
They stopped in the middle of the Great Hall. Sirius immediately found Elsa sitting with Cordelia and their friends. It wasn't fair that Elsa had chosen Damon over him. They were not meant for each other. Damon was cocky and arrogant and everything Elsa hated. Where she and Sirius had been friends since they were five. If anyone should be dating her, it was Sirius. Or at least, that was what he kept telling himself.
Elsa smiled and waved at him, and Sirius waved back before heading to the Gryffindor table. She wasn't the reason he had been in a bad mood lately. Avery was. And, if Sirius were completely honest with himself, James was too.
“We better win today,” Sirius grumbled and sat down next to Peter.
“We haven't lost against Slytherin yet this year,” Remus reminded them. “Besides, there is always the back-up plan.”
Sirius had forgotten about the back-up plan. It had taken all night to rig the Slytherin's broomsticks so that if they were winning the lot of them would begin to have numerous difficulties with their brooms. It had been Peter's idea after having been the one to discover how well their rival team was flying together. It was only fair that they even the odds a little. No one would know it was them, after all. No one even knew there was a plan.
Looking over his shoulder towards the Slytherin table, Siruis cringed. Elsa stood there with her back towards him before leaning in and giving Avery a kiss. Seeing them together made his stomach churn. He rather liked it when Avery was the one jealous. Sirius was never jealous of anyone. Or at least, he never had been. Where Elsa was concerned, everything changed.
Elsa and Cordelia walked over to the Gryffindor table and stood talking to Remus and the rest of Sirius's friends.
“You aren't going to say hi?” Elsa asked Sirius as she sat down beside him. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing. I'm concentrating on remembering all our plays for today,” Sirius lied and looked at her.
“I could almost believe you that time,” Elsa said, but she knew he was lying. “You'll do great today.”
“Who are you cheering for?” James asked, interrupting the conversation.
“Um...” Elsa looked down at her hands. “I don't know.” Sirius touched her hands and her eyes lit up. “Pulverize them,” she added a moment later and jumped up from where she was sitting. “Don't like my stupid brother win.”
Elsa gave Sirius a quick peck on the cheek and left with the rest of the students heading towards the pitch, leaving Sirius sitting there flabbergasted. He had never expected her to give him a kiss for good luck. He never even expected her to tell them to win. A large smile pulled at the corners of his mouth, until he was grinning like an idiot. That was why he loved Elsa, she could make his bad day brighter just by being her.
“You look like a love sick puppy,” James laughed. “We better get going too. We don't want to disappoint our awaiting fans. That is if you can concentrate on playing and not on Elsa.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Sirius questioned.
“It means that you don't normally get jealous over a girl. It means you've taken a page out of my book,” James answered. Together the boys left the Great Hall and made their way to the Quidditch Pitch. “You always tell me I look like an idiot when I'm fawning over Lily. Well you, my friend, look like an idiot.”
“Thanks,” Sirius said sarcastically.
The locker room quiet when they entered. No one seemed to be in the mood to be talking. Everyone was focused on preparing. Even James's teasing seemed to die as soon as they entered the locker room. Sirius could understand the tension if it had of been the last game, if it was the Quidditch House Cup, but it wasn't. It was the first game back. James was just being a prat about this game for some reason.
A sudden thought had Sirius tracking down his friend in the middle of the locker room. Something had made this game different than the others, something James wasn't sharing with the rest of them. And Sirius wasn't about to let it go until he found out.
“Why?” Sirius asked, walking up behind James as he pulled his gloves on. “Why this game? Why be such an arse about this game?”
“Why not?” James shrugged. It wasn't the answer Sirius wanted, and James knew it. “I told Lily we'd win this one for her when we were stuck in Hogsmeade. I told her that if we made it through being trapped, I'd make sure we'd win this game for her. We have to win it, Sirius.”
“And you have the gull to tell me I'm an love sick puppy?” Sirius laughed. “You've got it bad for her.”
“No more than you do for Elsa.”
“Elsa is with Damon,” Sirius said and tried to hide his distaste for that fact. He may have agreed that he would be there for her no matter what, but that didn't mean he was happy about it. In fact, he hated it. Elsa should have been with him. They were meant to be together, Sirius was sure of it. As much as James was sure Lily was meant for him.
“And I expect you have some plan in your head that will win her back,” James said with a shrug. “Look, we'll win this game for our girls, and maybe then they'll look at us differently. Elsa is still grieving for her father. She hides it well enough, but I've seen her pacing the Ravenclaw common room. I've seen her sneak out of the school late at night.”
“Where is she going?” Sirius questioned.
There wasn't any time for an answer, so Sirius promised himself he was going to find out what James knew about Elsa. He'd borrow the map and then he would follow her. He'd be there for her when Damon couldn't. James was right. He'd given in far too easily. Elsa was his, and he intended to show her that. Once he came up with a plan, that was.
The crowd roared to life as the teams took flight. Blurs off green and red whipped passed each other in a crowd pleasing lap. They took their positions. Sirius scanned the crowd to find Elsa sitting with Remus, Cordelia, Vera, Peter and Tabitha in the Ravenclaw box. The other Ravenclaws didn't seem to care that there were Gryffindors in their box. It made Sirius smile to see Remus and Peter content with Elsa's friends. It meant a lot to him to know that his friends got along with hers. They weren't all friends, he knew. Vera and Tabitha couldn't stand James and him half the time.
The quaffle was released and the game began. Sirius forced his attention to watching who had the quaffle. James had snatched it up first and was shooting down the pitch towards the Slytherin goals. Slytherin chasers were hot on his tail, desperately trying to catch up to him. Dominic smacked a bludger sending it soaring towards James, narrowly missing him. There was enough momentum in the bludger to force James to drop the quaffle. Most of the crowd boo'ed while the Slytherins cheered on their team
Damon caught the falling quaffle and shot off down the pitch towards Sirius. Sirius was ready for him when Damon arrived. The throw went wide. Sirius, now in possesion of the quaffle, threw it to James and the race to the other side of the pitch began again.
The Slytherins were ruthless. Several times their beaters had nearly thrown their chasers off their broomsticks. James scored and the crowd went wild. Damon, flanked by the two other Slytherin chasers flew off down the Pitch intent on scoring on Sirius. The score, now seventy to twenty, had Gryffindor in the lead, but if Slytherin were to catch the snitch, Gryffindor would still lose. Sirius was not about to let that happen. He was going to make sure that Gryffindor won, one way or another.
Sirius blocked Damon's shot for the fourth time, which seemed to anger his Slytherin rival. All Sirius could do was smile. It made him happy to see Damon fuming. Damon was after all, dating the girl Sirius loved. If Sirius couldn't have Elsa, then he was going beat him at something else.
“And the new Gryffindor Seeker has spotted the snitch.” The announcer, a fifth year Ravenclaw shouted. The crowed went wild. Tempted to look and find their seeker, Sirius forced himself to continue watching the game in front of him. He couldn't afford distraction. He couldn't afford to let one moment pass where he wasn't paying attention to what was going on in front of him. One glance elsewhere could mean the Slytherin team scoring. And that just wasn't going to happen.
Not expecting what came next, Sirius took a bludger to the shoulder, while their Seeker took one to the back of the leg. The crowd watching in horror as the Gryffindor seeker barely stayed on top of her broom. Sirius, unable to feel his right arm that hung limply at his side, clung desperately to his broomstick. Knowing he should land, and doing so were two entirely different things. They'd be out a keeper if he landed and he was not giving Slytherin the chance score unopposed. The pain caused sweat to form on his forehead, and his eyes had a hard time focusing on what was going on in front of him.
“Gryffindor wins!” the Ravenclaw announcer yelled as the Gryffindor Seeker, despite the pain in her leg, managed to snatch the snitch before the Slytherin seeker.
Elsa was waiting when Sirius landed, but she wasn't waiting for him. As soon as Dominic landed, Sirius watched her storm over to her brother and punch him. He hadn't been expecting that. No one had.
“You did that on purpose!” Elsa shouted at her brother. “There was no way that bludger would have hit Sirius! You cheated!”
“I do no such thing!” Dominic scowled, rubbing his jaw from where she hit him.
Sirius had never seen Elsa stand up to her brother like that. Had his shoulder not been nearly killing him, he would have done something to stop her for incurring his wrath. A small smile slipped across his face, however, seeing her finally take charge of her fears. As long as it didn't get out of hand. Elsa turned to look at Sirius, his face was pale and sweaty.
Touching his good arm, Sirius looked down at her hand. It was such a simple touch, but it said so much. He knew that she hadn't turned off those feelings she had for him. Which meant that if he tried hard enough he could probably tear her from Damon's arms. But did he really want to? Elsa finally looked happy and he wasn't sure he wanted to be the one to take her away from that. Right now Damon was being reasonable. Once they were married though, Sirius wasn't sure how much he would be able to stand seeing Elsa and Damon together. The thought actually made his stomach churn.
“Let's get you looked after,” Elsa said soft, shooting her brother a dangerous glare that Sirius had often seen Dominic use on her.
“Don't do that again,” Sirius said softly, trying to keep the pain from his voice.
“That look. I've only seen Dominic use that look before and you made me promise never to let you become like him. So, just don't, please?”
The fact that he hadn't attacked Dominic himself said just how much he was hurt. Sirius let Elsa lead him away from the Quidditch Pitch and up to the school. Madam Pomfrey stood waiting for him and their seeker. She tutted and put the two of them to bed. Elsa sat at Sirius's side with James standing behind her.
“I think we spend more time in the hospital wing than we do in classes,” Elsa teased, but Sirius knew she was right. They had been spending a lot of time in the Hospital Wing this year.
“If I could shrug, I would, but it hurts to,” Sirius said with a playful smile.
“You can't be that hurt, Sirius, if you're making fun.” Elsa smiled and took his hand in hers. She was worried about her friend. Even knowing that it wasn't a life threatening injury, it didn't stop her from worrying.
“I'll be fine. It's probably just broken. Madam Pomfrey will have me all patched up and ready to go.” Sirius looked to James for help, but even James looked worried.
“He tried to kill you, Sirius. Elsa's right. Dominic had to have done something to the bludger. There was no way that it should have hit you from where he hit it from. And the other bludger was directed at Cassidy.” James didn't sound impressed with what had happened. “What'd you do to piss him off?”
“Fell in love with his sister,” Sirius said and watched Elsa avert her eyes and a blush creep up her cheeks. He took her hand in his and gave it a light squeeze. “You know it's true, Elsa.”
“I know,” she said softly, her voice barely a whisper. “Being friends with me is dangerous, Sirius. Being in love with me is hazardous to your health.”
“Are you saying we shouldn't be friends anymore?” Sirius choked the words out.
“No. Goodness no!” Elsa looked up at him, shock on her face that he would even suggest such a thing.
“Just making sure.”
“But Sirius, it might be something we have to consider.” It just about killed her to say such a thing, but even Sirius understood where Elsa was coming from. “I don't know what I would do if I lost you.”
“I'm not going anywhere, Elsa. Not as long as I have some say in the matter.”
“Death doesn't give you a choice. Death is ruthless and cruel, and he takes whatever he wants. And he has Dominic on his side. Dominic wants me dead, Sirius. The best way to hurt me is through my friends. He knows that.”
“Dominic is nowhere near as talented as I am in defensive spells.”
“This is no time to be cocky, Sirius. I'm being serious!” Elsa fumed, pulling her hand from his. “I'd die if I lost you. Do you understand that? Do you understand what your death would do to me?”
“You'll still have Damon,” Sirius said, absolutely no emotion in his voice.
“Just because I chose Damon doesn't mean I've stopped loving you. I'll never stop loving you.” Elsa's voice was sad and withdrawn.
“Then why choose him at all?”
“Because it was the logical choice,” Elsa stood up. “Because it keeps you safe.”
“Do you love him?” Sirius asked.
Elsa looked at him, dumbstruck. “I-I don't know. I care about him. I enjoy spending time with him. When I look at him, I get this feeling in my stomach, just like when I look at you. But I can't say it is love.”
“Do you feel for him what you feel for me?”
“No.” The answer was simple, but it didn't mean Elsa liked saying it out loud. No one knew how she felt about Damon, and now they did. “I thought I did, but he's been distant lately.”
“Then why choose him?”
Elsa looked over at James as if he would help her, but she knew James would take Sirius's side. “I nearly died, Sirius. I nearly died and I couldn't help but think 'would I regret parts of my life if I died today?' and the answer was yes. I would. I'd regret never giving Damon a chance. I'd regret that I never even gave myself a chance to love him like I love you. I don't want to die with regrets, Sirius. I want to live my life the way I want to. I want to know that if I died tomorrow I'd be happy with what I've left behind. I thought you were okay with whatever choice I made?”
“I lied,” Sirius huffed. “Of course I'm not happy. You're with him. Him! I wanted you to choose me.”
“I'm sorry, Sirius. But if the choice is to date you and watch you die or to choose Damon and let you live, I will always choose Damon. You in my life or you not, those are the options, Sirius. Not you or him. Because it would always be you.” Elsa said and held her hand out to him. “Will you keep your promise, Sirius? Will you still be in my life if I am with Damon?”
“Of course,” Sirius said, but even he could hear the pout in his voice. He was sulking. He took her outstretched hand in his and forced a smile to his lips. “Doesn't mean I like it.”
“I never expected you to like it. I expect you to accept it. I love you, Sirius. Don't ever forget that,” Elsa said and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. “Do you want me to leave?”
“No, but I think your boyfriend will begin to wonder where you are. He should be off licking his wounds from losing today.” Even the word boyfriend tasted sour in his mouth. If anyone should have been Elsa's boyfriend it was him. “Go. I'll be fine. I'll find you later and we can spend time together like we used to.”
“Take care of him,” Elsa said to James in passing.”
Sirius watched her leave and sulked. That conversation hadn't gone entirely as he had hoped. HE should have known her reasons for choosing Damon. But at least he knew she still loved him. As long as Elsa loved him and held no feelings towards Damon, then he was content. It would make breaking them up so much easier. All he had to do was weasel his way in between them. All he had to do was convince Damon that Elsa had no feelings for him whatsoever.
“Shouldn't be too hard to break them up,” James said, his mind already working on a plan to see his best mate happy. “Say the word and we'll get it done.”
“Only if it means that Elsa ends up mine,” Sirius answered.
James was ushered out of the Hospital Wing shortly before dinner leaving Sirius alone to mend. Eventually Sirius knew his friends would be back to visit. He hadn't been expecting to be stuck in the Hospital Wing this long. His arm felt fine. He could move his fingers, feel his arm, even rotate his shoulder without any pain. Madam Pomfrey had set and mended the bones in his shattered shoulder with little pain. Now, all Sirius wanted to do was get out and spend time with James or Elsa. He hoped that James had some sort of plan brewing and that it would be as easy as he hoped to break Elsa and Damon up.
When the door to the Hospital Wing opened, and Damon walked through, Sirius sat up in his bed. Worry creased Sirius brow as he watched the Slytherin hurry across the room, determination set on his face. Whatever it was, Sirius hoped that Elsa was alright. If anything happened to her, he would make sure Damon paid for it. They had both agreed they would take care of her, to keep her safe from harm. If Damon failed, then he was of absolutely no use to Sirius.
“Is something wrong with Elsa?” Sirius asked quickly.
“No. She's fine. She's with Cordelia and her friends,” Damon answered. Sirius visibly relaxed. “I need to talk to you.”
“What could you possibly have to talk to me about?” Sirius tried not to sound like a jerk, but Damon and him had never really had that many conversations that didn't end up with one of them with a black eye.
“Could you maybe not sound like such an arse. I'm trusting you here,” Damon muttered, his eyes frantically flicking around the room as if looking for something or someone that could hurt him.
“What's going on?” Sirius sat up straighter. He had never seen Damon look frazzled before.
“I'm going to die,” Damon blurted out.
“At the end of April, I am going to die.”
“What?” Sirius looked at him confused.
“Don't be daft, Black. I know you have some brains in there, use them.”
“Then how about you explain what the hell is going on so that I can actually understand.”
“You remember when I went missing in Hogsmeade?” Damon began. When Sirius nodded, he continued. “Well, I lied about where I went. I didn't want to worry Elsa anymore than she already was. She was right when she said she saw the Egyptian. One of his men pulled me aside, dragged me off into the Forbidden Forest where he was waiting. If I don't steal back something that was stolen from him, he'll kill me. If I try to steal what was stolen, You-Know-Who will kill me. If I run, the Egyptian will kill Elsa. One way or another, I'm going to die.”
Sirius sat there a moment and let what Damon had said sink in. It had been nearly a month since Damon had gone missing in Hogsmeade. Nearly a month for him to been keeping this secret to himself. Sirius actually felt sorry for him. But he still didn't understand why Damon was trusting him with this information. Elsa deserved to know. Of course, Sirius wasn't sure how she would react to knowing that her boyfriend was marked for death.
“You could talk to Dumbledore.”
“No I can't. I go to Dumbledore and Elsa dies. The Eygptian didn't say anything about going to other students for help. As much as it pains me to say this, I need your help.”
“You want me to help save your life?”
“No. I want you to help me hide whatever it is that they both want. Whatever it is, it can't be good for You-Know-Who to have it.”
“You're kidding right? You'll die.”
“I know. Trust me, Sirius, I know. I've spent a month considering what to do. I plan to steal it next weekend. I need someone I can trust to keep it a secret until Elsa has come to terms with my death. I know you'll protect her. I know you'll love her when I can't. You are the only one I believe can help me.”
“But you want me to just let you die? You want me to let either of them kill you. How can you want to die?” Sirius asked. He couldn't even fathom the reasons behind Damon's thinking.
“I don't want to die, Sirius. Say I survive stealing it back. You-Know-Who will stop at nothing to get it back. He'll hunt me down and kill me. He'll kill Elsa because she is a traitor. I don't doubt that giving it back to the Egyptian will result in my death. I don't trust him not to kill me. If I run, he'll kill me. I need a plan for how to keep it from him. Help me come up with a plan. You're good and this stuff.”
“Good at pulling pranks, yes. Letting someone die, that's not usually something I'd ever consider. This is suicide. It'll kill Elsa.”
“She doesn't love me the way she loves you. She'll have you to pull her through my death.” There was such sadness in Damon's voice, that Sirius winced at what he had said. Of course, Elsa had said just as much earlier that afternoon. “If I die, she'll be safe from both of them. If we can convince You-Know-Who that the Egyptian took back what was stolen and then murdered me, then Elsa would be safe.”
Sirius sat there staring at the Slytherin standing at the end of his bed. This had to be the oddest request anyone had ever made of him. It went against almost every fibre of Sirius's being to even consider what the other boy was asking of him. Ask him to save someone, ask him to pull a prank, ask him to do anything except what was being asked, and Sirius was there. But how the hell was he meant to just keep it to himself that Damon was going to die? What would happen if he went to Dumbledore instead of Damon? What would Dumbledore do to keep the other boy safe?
Even knowing he would get Elsa back when Damon was gone, did nothing to quell the sickening feeling that sat in the bottom of his stomach. This was madness. Asking him to do nothing was like asking Sirius to commit murder. It just wasn't right.
“I don't think I can just let you die.” Sirius admitted.
“You don't like me, I don't like you. Why would you even consider helping me stay alive?'
“Because, what your asking is mental. Because I can't just stand there and let you die.”
“And what would you suggest? Go to Dumbledore? Trust him that he can keep me safe? I'd never be able to go to Hogsmeade. I'd never be able to go anywhere. I would forever be trapped, hidden from the world. I wouldn't be able to take care of the woman I love. Hiding is a sentence worse than death. I'd rather die.”
“You can't seriously mean that.”
“Except I do. If I'm going to die, I'm going to die stealing something they both want. When the times comes, you'll give it to Elsa and she can make up her mind what she wants to do with it.”
“It's still suicide.”
“I don't look at it that way. I've done nothing good my whole life. I've been bred to join You-Know-Who. The only reason I haven't is Elsa. What I feel for her keeps me from him. She makes me a better person. At least this way I can give back to the world before I die. I can steal what must be stolen and then die in peace.”
Sirius sighed. How the hell was he supposed to get Damon to understand that this wasn't the only way out. Dumbledore could help. Sure Damon was probably right. He'd be hidden away from the rest of the world, but wasn't living life better than giving in to Death?
Knowing that Damon was trusting him with this information was shocking to say the least, but Sirius knew that there was nothing he wuoldn't do to keep Elsa from hurting. Which meant, he'd have to come up with some sort of plan to keep Damon from dying. How, Sirius hadn't quite figured out, but he still had a few weeks time.
“If I agree to this insanity, how can I possibly be of any help?” Sirius questioned.
“My brother is supposed to be sending me a Portkey to where ever they are having their meeting. But, getting a Portkey back into Hogwarts that isn't from Dumbledore is going to be tricky. If I can get to Hogsmeade and then find away into the school from there,” Damon began to ramble nervously.
“Look, I'll see what I can do, but you have to know, I still don't like this. Stealing from You-Know-Who is crazy. And the fact that you plan on dying at the end of the month, it's a little morbid. If you are trusting me with this information, can't you trust me to come up with a plan that'll save yoru life?”
“Stealing the scroll from You-Know-Who, and not giving it to the Egyptian is a death sentence. Even if I gave the scroll back to the Egyptian, I'll die because You-Know-Who won't rest until he gets it back. He'll kill me and more than likely kill Elsa just because. So, no, there is no other way.”
Sirius sighed. This was not how he planned on spending his evening. He'd get James, Remus and Peter to help him come up with a way to save Damon's life. If he was going to win Elsa back, he was going to do it on his own, not because Damon was giving up his life. This whole thing was not sitting right in Sirius's stomach.
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