Chapter 5 : Quarrels and Secrets
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“Yeah, you’ve got it bad all right, mate.” Remus told him as the two of them, along with Peter, walked down to the greenhouses for Herbology.
Sirius stopped his not-so-subtle search for Everly’s face. He’d revealed his… situation to his friends a few days back when he’d finally had enough of their pestering. “Sod off,” he mumbled, trying to feel less embarrassed at being caught yet again. “I know it’s ridiculous. She makes me feel ridiculous. I don’t even see her and I feel ridiculous; it’s bloody effortless at this point.” Sirius gave a mildly stifled groan. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”
It was crisp out, a bit cold for early November, and the three boys pulled their cloaks tighter around themselves. “Welcome to the world of normal blokes. You know, the ones who don’t have their pick of girls and actually have to put some effort into it.” Peter said, causing Remus to chuckle.
“Shut up, Peter.” Sirius said, scowling. “I’ve put in effort before, alright? I’ve just never had to give… this much effort. I’m new to this, you prat.”
Remus snorted, opening his mouth to say something only to choke on his words. The other two followed his gaze curiously to the handful of people huddled around by the door of the greenhouse. It took Sirius less than half a second to see the problem.
Everly was standing with a bloke. The boy kind of bloke. The teenage boy kind of bloke. He felt his back tense up at the sight. The guy was a bit short and had dark neatly cut hair. It took a moment before he recognized the boy: Gabriel Thorne, the Seeker for the Hufflepuff Quidditch team. Sirius felt his heart speed up a bit and a frown pulled at the corners his lips while he watched the pair of them talk. He stared with an ever tightening jaw as Everly gave Thorne’s arm a nudge with her shoulder, smiling. The same smile she gave him.
“C’mon, Padfoot, let’s go.” Remus took Sirius by the shoulder and steered him away from the pair of students and to the other side of the group.
Sirius couldn’t bring himself to speak, his jaw too tightly clenched, and contented himself with glaring stonily at the rest of the grounds. Remus and Peter exchanged nervous looks, but didn’t try to strike up conversation. Thankfully, after another minute Professor Sprout appeared and let them all in. As they filed in Sirius met Everly’s eyes. She gave him a small smile in greeting, but his face only hardened for a moment before pointedly ignoring her as he turned sharply into the room.
She could flirt with whomever she wanted, but he certainly wasn’t going to pretend to be okay with it. Though, admittedly, he did feel a small tug when her face crumpled into surprised confusion.
He glanced around the room, knowing James had come in with Evans. She was letting him walk with her to the classes they had together now. Without giving him boils or animal body parts, that is. Several pages of James’s diary were devoted to this new development. Sirius knew this because he tended to read James’s diary whenever he got bored around the dorm.
Not that James would ever admit that he had a diary, of course. But that was a minor detail.
Sure enough, he spotted the two of them sitting next to each other at the middle of the table. He headed over to sit down across from them, followed by the remaining two Marauders. He tried not to notice that Thorne was occupying the seat next to Everly. At least Charlotte was on her other side. Professor Sprout stood at the front when everyone was seated, explaining how to correctly trim and prune whatever wonky plant she had them working on that week. Sirius stopped listening once he got the gist of it, letting his eyes wander over to the three Hufflepuffs. He hadn’t talked to Charlotte since she told him off, though he wasn’t too worried. She wasn’t much of a grudge holder, so he had a feeling she was over their spat by now. His eyes slid over a seat. He watched Everly push her fringe out of her eyes impatiently with a swipe of her fingers. She was listening to Professor Sprout with her full and undivided attention. Sirius felt his spirits lift just a little knowing that Thorne obviously wasn’t interesting enough to distract her from the lesson. At that thought he scrutinize the aforementioned boy. He didn’t seem particularly special or remarkable. He looked rather plain and a bit bored. Sirius could tell that he was only partially listening to the lecture, his eyes drifting around the room also. His eyes caught Sirius’s and he looked surprised for a second before his eyebrows furrowed, looking puzzled. Without the smallest of pauses Sirius’s face contorted into a fiercely dirty look before looking away angrily. He pulled on his gloves and began to work on the plant in front of him, ignoring the silent conversation taking place between Remus and James. Obviously Remus was trying (and failing miserable, so it seemed) to subtly fill him in on the happenings that took place outside the greenhouse. Sirius casted another furtive glance down the table. Charlotte and Everly were chatting while they pruned, but Thorne was still looking back at him, scowled slightly now.
Sirius fumed quietly to himself. Moronic tosspot, why doesn’t he mind his own bleeding business? Whatever. He’d never liked Thorne. He looked dodgy, the bloody pounce. And he wasn’t even a good Seeker. What did Everly even see in him anyway? Was she into girly gits with weak chins or something?
Alright, so technically he didn’t exactly have a weak chin. And yeah, okay he looked just as manly as anyone else and Sirius hadn’t actually spoken five words to the bloke, but that was beside the point. He was a very good judge of character. The tosser was just bad news.
“Sirius, watch ou—!”
Lily’s voice was cut off by the sound of Sirius swearing loudly. The plant had snuck his glove off while he was lost in angry thought before happily sinking its bloodsucking teeth into the side of his hand. He wrenched his hand away roughly, toppling off the back of his bench. As he pushed himself up off his back he heard several people snickering around the room. He lifted his eyes and glared accusingly at the plant, which was now innocently at a standstill. Bloody fucking nature…
“Mr. Black! Are you quite alright?” When she saw that he wasn’t mortally injured she frown before beginning to scold him. “I specifically stated that these plants were dangerous and tricky plants and that you needed to keep a close eye on them! Two points from Gryffindor for your lack of focus, Black.” She handed him something to hold over his hand to keep the blood from trickling everywhere. “Now go to the Hospital Wing to get that cleaned and properly taken care of. Come now, hop to it!” With a groan Sirius pushed himself to his feet, dusting off his robes while ignoring the whispers and dying laughter. His day just seemed to be getting better and better.
As he exited the room he couldn’t help but glance over to see if Everly had been watching. He caught Charlotte’s eye first by accident, and she shot him a smirk coupled with a sarcastic thumbs-up. He chose to ignore her. Moving his eyes over a seat, he saw Everly was frowning at him with mingling concern and curiosity. Well, at least she showed an interest whenever he was in pain. Perhaps he’d just have to throw himself down stairs or something more often.
…Merlin, he was well and truly pathetic at this point.
Walking toward the general vicinity of the school he began to wonder if something was really going on between Gitface Gabe (Sirius decided that would be his new name) and Everly. If he was being honest with himself it would make sense. They were both in Hufflepuff together, so they must see a lot of each other. Clearly they were chummy enough to be on arm-nudging basis. Perhaps Gitface just hadn’t the wonderful Gryffindor pride Sirius possessed and didn’t ask her to Hogsmeade. Or, he thought with a suddenly sinking sensation, perhaps they were already dating and he didn’t even need to ask her out. Maybe they spent the day in a secluded part of the castle shagging and having a grand old lovely time together.
He winced suddenly, quickly loosening the painfully tight hold he had on the cloth over his injured hand.
Everly didn’t strike him as the type to go shagging around in the broom cupboards though. Besides, Evans said Everly didn’t date—let alone shag random (or not so random) blokes. And if there was anything he could count on Lily Evans for it was being a know-it-all. The girl knew her gossip as thoroughly as she knew her research. He forced himself to calm down with that in mind.
It took him about ten minutes to wander back up to the castle and another ten to drag himself reluctantly to the Infirmary. Half an hour later he found himself seated on a hospital bed again, no longer bleeding but waiting impatiently for Madame Pomfrey to bring him a potion to fight against possible infections. At this rate he’d get back to Herbology just in time to get his books and come right back to the castle for lunch. He’d be extremely pleased by this if it weren’t for—
“—and honestly, Mr. Black, you should take better care of yourself! If you keep going around punching walls one day and letting your mind wander during practical lessons the next you’ll end up unable to take that keen mind of yours out into the real world. You wouldn’t want to—” Madame Pomfrey had contented herself with chiding him quite meticulously while he waited. He tried valiantly to tune her out with little success. Sodding talkative woman.
He was suddenly struck with an idea. He smiled slyly. Perhaps she’d be willing to chat about something a little more interesting to him if he gave her the right performance? “Madame Pomfrey, I have a question,” The mediwitch looked over at him with raised eyebrows, gesturing for him to go on. He mustered his most charming and concerned voice. “You know, I came in with Everly Hallman last week. I was kind of worried about her when she didn’t leave with me. She’s alright, isn’t she? Is she sick or something?”
Madame Pomfrey looked startled for a minute before bustling over with his potion. “Miss Hallman likes to come to me when she has a question about the practice and complexities of magical medicine. She’s a pleasantly curious girl,” There was a distinct note of fondness in her voice.
So she was studying to be a Healer! Sirius felt rather pleased with himself on his information gathering skills. “Oh, well that’s good. I was worried,”
She looked over at him, an inquiring gleam in her eyes. “Are you close friends with Miss Hallman?”
He gave a shrug, trying to be nonchalant as he stretched the truth just a little. “I suppose. Though,” Sirius casted her an overly nervous look before leaning toward her conspiratorially as he lowered his voice, even though they were the only ones in the Wing. “I’m getting the feeling that she’s not exactly the easiest person to get to know.”
Madame Pomfrey heaved a sigh, sitting on the bed opposite him. “No, I suppose she wouldn’t be.” She sounded troubled by this, and Sirius looked up to find her frowning sadly with a distant look in her eyes. After a moment she gave herself a small shake, looking over at him with a sympathetic face. “She’s got quite a lot to deal with, of course, so I wouldn't take it personally if I were you. Losing both her parents like that, during such a critical part in her life on top of everything else she’s got to—”
Sirius couldn’t keep the shocked look off his face and Madame Pomfrey stopped speaking abruptly at the sight of it. An awkward moment of silence followed before she jumped to her feet, quickly ushering him out of the room claiming that he was all healed and urging him to keep himself out of trouble for more than a week’s time.
The doors slammed loudly behind him, leaving him with his thoughts in the empty corridor. With a sort of hollowness that startled him, he added another thing to his list.
Number thirteen: Orphan.
He didn’t know why it bothered him so much. He knew that if his parents dropped dead due to illness or accident or even murder he’d barely bat an eye. Hell, he’d probably throw a party. And yet, two days later, the idea of Everly losing her parents still bothered him. Sirius pushed his food around his plate absently that Friday at dinner. He thought about losing Mr. and Mrs. Potter and felt an ache deep in the pit of his stomach. He could only imagine what it would be like to actually lose loving parents.
Sirius knew his friends had noticed his unusually subdued behavior, but instead of questioning it they merely attempted to distract him in an effort to raise his spirits. In actuality they thought his miserable behavior was a result of the whole Everly/Gitface encounter. He had almost forgotten all about it entirely until James clapped him on the shoulder earlier that day and pulled him aside.
“Look mate, I was thinking we could send a few pranks Thorne’s way. It wouldn’t look too obvious, since we play Hufflepuff next weekend, you know?” When Sirius gave a bit of a smile James beamed. “Excellent! Leave it to me, then.”
And, always true to his word, as dinner ended and everyone began to file out of the Great Hall there was a sudden bang, a puff of smoke, and a shout.
People were all backing away from Gabriel Thorne as he began doing some kind of jig, only slightly hindered due to the fact that his trousers were down around his ankles. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he began to recite a very poorly rhyming poem;
"Roses are red, Violets are blue, I sing like a girl, and I smell like poo! I’m a great big git, And a shotty Seeker to boot! I wish I could win a match, But I know the point’s moot! And I have something to share, I’ll shout it through the halls! Indeed, I’ll happily admit, I love to play with my b—!”
At that point a professor had finally managed to send a silencing spell at him before rushing him off to get set straight, but the damage was done. Laughter and gasps echoed through the Hall, Sirius among them. He turned to James, who was smirking smugly, and gave him a high five.
Suddenly Lily pushed past them, glaring at James. “Just when I thought you had finally grown up, you go and pull a stunt like that!” she hissed scathingly. “You’ll never change, James!”
She stormed away, and Sirius frowned apologetically at his friend. “Rotten luck, Prongs.”
But James wasn’t looking at him; instead, he was glaring at the redheads retreating form. He started after her, calling back to Sirius with a hard look. “Not this time; I’m ending this. Right now.”
Startled, Sirius looked over at Remus and Peter before they began pushing past people. He could hear the yelling as he neared the pair.
“You’re an of-age wizard, James! It’s not my fault you don’t act like it!” Lily was shouting.
“And it’s not my fault you won’t admit that it’s one of your favorite things about me! Get off your high horse and open your eyes for once!” James yelled back angrily. The Entrance Hall grew very, very quiet. Lily used to yell at James all the time, but James never yelled back at her. He never appeared fazed, always having some kind of cheeky comeback to offer. Undeniably, he was more than a bit fazed this time.
Lily looked thunderstruck for a moment before she visibly collected herself and stomped toward him, poking him in the chest roughly. “Who do you think you are?” Her deadly whisper carried easily in the silence. She poked him again, “Huh? Who? Who do you think you are, Potter? Going around like you do—telling me how I feel! Like- like you’re bloody all-knowing or something! What gives you the right, huh? Go on, answer me!”
“What gives me the—? Bloody hell, Lily, I’m in love with you!” he shouted. Lily’s jaw literally dropped, staring at him with wide eyes for a minute before glancing toward their audience nervously as her face enflamed in a bright blush. James’s face darkened considerably. He took a step away from her, gaze never leaving her face. “I’m in love with you, Lily Evans. I’ve been in love with you for years, and I don’t care who knows it.” Sirius had never seen such a cold look on his best friend’s face. James took another step away from her. “Obviously you care too much about what other people think of you to say the same though. I'm so sorry to be such an embarrassment, Evans. It won't happen again.”
And with that, he turned and the crowd parted to let him through.
The silence was quickly being punctured by budding whispers. Sirius nodded to Remus and Peter as they went to follow James, telling them he’d catch up, his eyes on Lily. As his friends disappeared into the throng of students Sirius made up his mind. He walked over to where Lily was standing, rooted to the spot, and picked up her bag from the ground before gently pulling her away from at least half the school’s prying eyes.
They didn’t say a word to each other; Sirius just pulled her along until they reached an empty corridor. Silently, Lily leaned against the wall and slid to the floor before dropping her head into her hands.
Sirius carefully took a seat against the opposite wall, watching her. He made no move to touch her, nor did he utter any words of comfort. He didn’t hate her enough to leave her to break down in the middle of The Entrance Hall, but she did continuously cause his best friend pain so he didn’t exactly like her either. The quiet of the hallway was only broken periodically by her short sobs until her shoulders stopped shaking and she slowly lifted her head. Wiping at her face the sleeve of her robe, she looked over at him.
After a few seconds though, she lowered her gaze to the floor and a few more tears fell from her eyes. “He’s right,” she choked out. “I’m pathetic. I ruined everything.” Sirius stayed quiet, unsure how to best proceed. Lily sucked in a great shuddering breath, whispering, “I love him too.”
Despite himself, Sirius felt a smile pulling at his lips. “Then there’s only one thing to do,” he stated calmly followed by a short pause. “Suck it up, get off your boney little arse, and go after him Evans.” She stared at him, looking horrified. He rolled his eyes and pushed himself to his feet. He took her arms and yanked her up, giving her shoulders a shake before pushing her toward the stairs that led to Gryffindor Tower. He gave her a smirk and a pointed look. “You know, last I checked Lily Evans wasn’t place in Gryffindor for being a coward. Go on, woman. Fix it. Go get him!”
Lily gawked at him for a minute before a laugh escaped her lips. “Alright, alright, I’m going!” As she rounded the corner she called back to him. “Hey, Black?”
He raised a brow. “Yeah?”
“Thanks,” she said, smiling hesitantly.
Sirius chuckled, “Don’t mention it Evans.”
He heaved a sigh as she vanished from sight, taking in the silence for a moment. Though, it was short-lived, as a voice broke through from the end of the corridor.
“You continue to surprise me, Sirius Black.”
He gave a shout, spinning around, only to be stunned at the sight of owner of the voice.
Everly Hallman leaned against the far corner; head tilted slightly, hair resting messily around her shoulders and chest. She had the most peculiar look on her face. It was a cross between admiration and amusement.
His heart sped up a little and he fought gallantly to keep his voice casual. “Do I? Funny, I was thinking the same about you,”
She straightened, walking toward him and eyed him carefully. “You don’t like Lily Evans,” she said. It wasn’t a question, but there was no judgment in it. It was like she had just said it was raining outside. “And yet, you save her from further humiliation, and then send her off with a plan of attack.” Again, she paused, smiling with a shake of her head. “You’re something else, aren’t you?”
He gave a bit of a shrug, trying to hide his grin. “Yeah, I suppose I am.”
Everly gave a small laugh, looking up at him. Somehow they were both leaning again the wall now, an arm’s length away from each other. “You’re either incredibly kind-hearted or suffer from a very severe case of hero-complex.” Sirius snorted. She inclined her head as though she was going to tell a very big secret, and whispered, “I’m thinking it’s the latter.”
Laughter bubbled up his throat. “Really now? Is that so?”
She nodded. “Yep,” she said, popping the word cheekily.
They were quiet for a moment, just looking at each other. There was something about her face that just made him smile. He knew he should be thinking about her possible relationship with Thorne, or Number Thirteen, or something logical, but all he could think about was how soft her skin looked and how badly he wished to kiss her in that moment.
Forcing himself to quell the urge, he tried to distract himself with a compromise. “So, I haven’t seen you around lately.” He said offhandedly, smirking. “You avoiding me or something, Hallman?”
Everly merely shrugged, “I have a habit of blending it. You must not be looking closely enough.”
Sirius raised an eyebrow, doubtful. He knew he’d been looking, and looking quite closely at that. Instead of pressing it, he chose a different tactic. “Well, it doesn’t look like you’re blending in now, at the very least,” he offered, smiling.
“Ahh, well that’s because you managed to give me a reason to come and seek you out, now haven’t you?” She was looking at him with an expression he couldn’t quite decipher.
“I have?” he asked, surprised and his suave casualness drop for a moment. “How?”
“The funny thing I found out last night, actually.” She paused, giving him a piercing look before continuing carefully. “You know, Madame Pomfrey’s big mouth? Well, it does this nifty thing where it goes both ways.”
There's chapter 5! What do you think? I threw in a little James and Lily action, mostly because I love them and couldn't help myself. The real question though, is what will become of Sirius now that Everly knows he knows one of her secrets? And just how many more does she have? Drop a review with any comments, opinions, or ideas!
Until next chapter, lovely reader!
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