Chapter 14 : Chapter 14
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The next morning I wake up with a headache. It could be from the Firewhisky I drank or it could be from crying, or maybe it’s a combination of both.
Lily and I have to wake up early to finish our packing; our possessions seem to have spread themselves all over the house since we arrived. We have to catch the Hogwarts Express at 11 o’clock, and then it’s back to school for the welcome back feast.
“Bye, Mum,” I say, giving her a hug.
“Good-bye, sweetheart,” she says, returning it. “Take care. Study hard. Write me if you need anything.”
“I will,” I promise. I say good-bye to my father, and then Lily and I board the train.
We search through the compartments, and toward the back of the train we find the compartment containing Alice, Frank, Peter, Remus, James, and Sirius.
After glancing through the compartment window, Lily hesitates.
“We don’t have to sit here if you don’t want to,” she says cautiously.
I take a deep breath and shake my head. “Don’t be silly, they’re are our friends. Come on.” Giving me a final look, Lily slides open the compartment door.
“Hi!” says Alice brightly from where she sits, leaning back on Frank’s knees.
“Let me help you with that,” James says to Lily, immediately springing up and taking her trunk from her. As he begins to hoist it onto the luggage rack, Sirius stands up too, much more nonchalantly. He walks over to me and takes my trunk without a word.
“Thanks,” I say. He nods.
“Thank you, James,” says Lily, taking a seat next to him. I sit down next to her, avoiding looking at Sirius again.
“So,” says Alice, “did everyone have a good time at James’s last night?” She smiles and looks expectantly at us.
Poor Alice, completely clueless, just trying to make conversation. I haven’t gotten a chance to tell her what happened yet.
“Er-” says James, glancing at Sirius, “yeah, it was fun.”
Silence follows this statement. Alice looks at Lily, then at me, with a puzzled expression on her face, as if looking for answers.
“Yeah, it was really…” Lily tries, looking nervously at me.
“Excuse me,” I say, standing up and leaving the compartment.
I watch Mads get up, brush past me, and leave the compartment. I get up and follow her.
As I leave I hear Lily say, “Sirius-”
“Let him go,” says James, as I slide the compartment door shut.
I find Maddie at the end of the hallway, facing away from me with her arms crossed across her chest.
“Hey, Lane,” I say, causing her to turn around. “Can we talk?”
I turn around to face Sirius. He looks handsome as ever, long hair sweeping across his forehead, hands in his pockets, serious grey eyes staring right at me.
“Look, I know a lot’s happened,” he starts. “But I don’t want things to be awkward between us.”
“Me neither,” I reply honestly, relieved he feels this way too. “So I think we should-”
“Go back to being friends?” he says before I can finish.
I stare at him. This isn’t how this conversation is supposed to go.
“Like you said last night, it’s not going to work,” Sirius continues. “We should go back to being just friends. That’s what you were going to say, right?”
My heart sinks. I was going to suggest we talk about what happened. I was going to apologize. But apparently that’s not what he wants.
“Right,” I say finally. “Yeah, that’s what I was going to say.”
“Okay then,” he says, and he sticks out his hand for me to shake. “Friends.”
I shake it, trying to ignore the pain that has recently developed in my stomach. “Friends.”
Sirius and I return to the compartment, problem supposedly solved.
If he just wants to be friends, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. It’s my own bloody fault; I’m the one who ended things with him. I’m the one who said that it wasn’t going to work.
Either way, I decide as I sit down, I’m going to make him believe that I’m fine. Just like I know he will be. Within hours of being back at school, he’ll be jumping into a broom closet with some other girl, holiday fling forgotten.
I’ll be back to my old ways if it kills me. To prove to him that I’m perfectly fine. I can bounce back just as well as he can.
If Sirius Black wants a friend, it’s a friend he’s got.
I know Maddie doesn’t just want to be friends. Hell, I don’t just want to be friends either.
But trust is one of the most important things in any relationship. And as she proved last night, Maddie doesn’t trust me.
I know I’m not the guy to be making generalizations about relationships, but I’m not just talking about romantic relationships. I mean all of them. I trust Mr. and Mrs. Potter wholeheartedly. I’d trust Prongs, Moony, and Wormtail with my life.
I can’t be with Maddie until she learns to trust me. I’m going to make Madison Lane trust me.
However long that takes.
“Off to bed, everyone!” says Dumbledore after we’ve all enjoyed our welcome back feast. “Classes begin again tomorrow, and we all ought to be well rested!”
I begin the ascent to Gryffindor tower with Lily and Alice (who has now been filled in on the events of James’s party), when I hear a voice from behind me call, “Maddie!” I turn around. It’s Joshua, one of the blokes I snogged at James’s end of summer party.
“Hey,” he says, once he’s caught up to me. “How was your holiday?”
“It was great,” I lie. “Yours?”
“Pretty good,” he says, smiling at me. “Well, I just wanted to-er, say hi. I’ve got to get to my common room, but I’ll see you around.”
“See you,” I say, forcing myself to return the smile.
As he disappears up another set of stairs leading to Ravenclaw tower, Lily says, “Maddie, are you thinking what I think you’re thinking?”
“Probably, since you usually know what I’m thinking before I do,” I answer.
“Snogging Joshua isn’t going to help you get over Sirius,” says Lily gently.
“Who says I need to get over him?” I ask. “Maybe I’m already over him.”
Lily gives me a sympathetic look. “Maybe,” she says. “But maybe you should give it some time.”
I shake my head. “I appreciate the advice, Lils, but Sirius just wants to be friends. I’m surprised he even lasted a few hours in a relationship. This is for the best anyway.”
Lily looks at me again, this time somewhat sadly. “Alright,” she says, defeated. “I just hope you know what you’re doing.”
That makes two of us.
I enter Gryffindor tower with the rest of the Marauders. Within seconds, there’s a girl at my side.
“Hi, Sirius,” says Lauren flirtatiously. “Good holiday?”
“Great,” I lie. “Yours?”
“It was good,” she says. “Are you up for that rain check?” She looks up at me hopefully.
I shake my head. “Not tonight.”
She pretends to pout. “Alright then,” she says, and then flounces off to find her friends.
I head up to the boys dormitories, ignoring my friends’ expressions: confused (Peter), understanding (James), and a mixture of sad and pitying (Remus).
I pass right by Lily, Alice, and Maddie, chatting in chairs by the fire, without saying a word. I look at Mads, and she looks up and sees me. I get the feeling she wants to say something to me, but the moment passes and she looks away, leaving it unsaid.
The next morning at breakfast, Sirius sits across from me, and says, “Good morning.” I say good morning back, but apart from that, our conversation with each other is minimal.
“So, ready for classes, everyone?” asks Lily.
“I’m always ready for Transfiguration,” James replies, which is true. It’s his best subject.
“You really do have a knack for it,” Lily compliments him with a smile.
James beams. “Thanks, Lils.”
Sirius raises his eyebrows at me and smiles. Seeing him smile is more painful than if he’d been glaring at me. I look away.
As we’re getting up to go, Josh appears on my right side. Sirius leaves the Hall with James, who has now struck up a conversation with Lily about her eyes. (“Your kid better have your eyes, I mean, they’re such a great color…”)
“Morning,” he says cheerfully. “What do you have first?”
“Transfiguration,” I answer, picking up my bag. “Why?”
“Just wondering if I could walk you,” he replies, still smiling at me.
“Sure,” I say, slightly surprised at how forward he’s being.
“Great,” he says, and we leave the Hall together.
Time for Potions. I won’t lie and say I’m not dreading it. It certainly isn’t going to be easy to going back to being Maddie’s friend. But it’s necessary.
I arrive to the dungeons with James and Maddie isn’t here yet. She arrives a minute later, with that git Josh Allen from Ravenclaw. He’s been all over her since we got back last night.
Friends, I remind myself. Friends.
Mads says goodbye to Allen with a smile on her face and comes to take her seat. The smile vanishes. She says nothing to me. It’s like I’m not even here.
“Hey,” I say casually. “How’s your first day back been?”
“Fine,” she says, not looking at me.
I’m about to open my mouth to say something else, but Slughorn beats me to it. He sets us off on today’s task, leaving Maddie and me with only each other to talk to.
“So,” I say, “what do we need to do first?”
“Cut the valerian roots,” Maddie answers, not taking her eyes off of her textbook.
I do this for the next ten minutes while Maddie, who is still avoiding eye contact, shreds the shrivelfig. We add these and a number of other things and then we have to let the potion simmer for two minutes.
We are still sitting in silence (and she still hasn’t looked at me) when I say, “Alright, Mads, come off it.”
I think she’s so surprised that I said that that she has to look up at me. “What?”
“You heard me,” I said. “You said we could be friends. You agreed. And if I recall, when we were friends there were no four word sentences, or entire classes where you refused to look at me.”
She opens her mouth, and then closes it again. She takes a breath. “Sorry.”
And then she looks away again.
I promised myself I would go back to being Sirius’s friend, back to normal. But I never thought it would be this hard.
Every time I look at him I see everything that happened. That night in the changing room after practice, stolen kisses in the Potters’ kitchen, dancing at the New Year’s party…him kissing Charlotte, yelling across the room from me, his dejected expression when I walked out.
But I’ve got to make him think this isn’t as hard for me as it is. I’ve got to show him that I can care just as little as he does.
And I think I know just the way.
A/N: I know some of you may not be happy with what's happening in the story right now, but trust the author ;) Lots of exciting things are coming up, so please just stay with the story. Also, sometimes a certain song will really describe what's going on in the story right now, and I think it's pretty cool to listen to it after you read the chapter. In this case, I think that "The Story of Us' by Taylor Swift, pretty accurately describes Sirius and Mads right now. (It's not perfect, of course, but pretty close.) Have a listen :) Thanks so much for reading!
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