Chapter 13 : The Memories Alone Can Torture Us
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A/N: Ok this chapter is where things start coming together for a certain couple you've all being waiting to see get together, so enjoy as the ride is about to start.
Hold on to your knickers and enjoy the ride!
Albus Dumbledore looked across the cemetery to see Ruby Mason with Lily over by a tree on the far side while the congregation made to move off for the wake. He walked softly over to her and paused.
‘Ruby, I am so very sorry for your loss. You take all the time you need, and send word with Aero if you need anything at all. When you’re ready to return the Knight bus will bring you to Hogsmeade and someone will meet you,’ Dumbledore said and Ruby barely nodded, her hair falling in her face, her hands gripping the ends of her black dress. He stepped forward and placed his hand on her shoulder, causing her to look up, her lower lip quivering as she bit it to stop the tears from falling.
‘I’ll see you soon. I’m just an owl away,’ Lily said hugging her friend once more. Her arms gripping Ruby’s shoulders before she pulled away clutching her hand. Ruby tried to smile before she let Lily’s hand go and walked towards her home where the wake was being held. Lily watched Ruby walk off before she took Dumbledore’s arm.
‘Ready Miss Evans?’ Lily nodded before her Headmaster looked around before disapparating from the cemetery.
Dumbledore steadied Lily as they landed in his office and handed her a clean white handkerchief.
‘She’ll be back soon, in body at least.’
‘I just wish there was something more I could do for her.’
‘When the time comes, just be there for her.’ Lily nodded, ‘Well everyone’s back and dinner will be in an hour or so.’
‘Thanks,’ Lily said turning from Dumbledore. ‘Professor?’
‘Yes, Miss Evans?’
‘Why would something like this happen to someone so young?’
‘These things can not be explained. If they could then life and death would be accepted much more easily. But we do discover as we get older that there are good things that come out of the bad, even when it may not seem like it,’ Dumbledore smiled gently before Lily nodded and walked slowly from the office. Before she could register what she was doing she found herself in the Gryffindor common room.
‘Miss the train back?’
‘Lily, are you alright?’ Remus asked genuinely concerned, standing up from the sofa as he noticed Lily’s lower lip trembling.
‘I…Ruby…’ But Lily couldn’t continue as fresh tears for her best friends pain fell from her eyes. Remus wrapped his arms around her and tried to comfort her as her shoulders shook with her breathing uneven. Eventually her tears ceased and she pulled back looking at Remus’ caring face. He raised a finger and wiped away a tear from her chin just as the other Marauders walked in.
‘Oi!’ James yelled.
‘Didn’t think I’d find out did you?’ James was glaring at his friend.
‘James I was just…’
‘He was just comforting me you bigheaded prick!’ Lily yelled wiping her eyes.
‘Why did you need comforting?’ James asked his face worried.
‘Lily?’ Remus said softly looking at her, still wondering why she had returned from the Christmas break in tears.
‘The day before Christmas when Ruby and I met you in Diagon Alley…’ Lily started her voice quivering. ‘Ruby’s little sister, Heidi the blonde one, you remember?’ She asked looking at the three Marauders. They nodded carefully. ‘Well she… she was hit by a car that afternoon, she passed away before the ambulance reached the hospital, today was her funeral.’ Lily’s eyes had welled up with tears again, ‘Ruby might not be back for a few days so she won’t be at Quidditch practice.’ James just stared, his mouth open as he watched Lily close her eyes for a moment.
‘Lily, there you are. Where’s Ruby? Why weren’t you on the train?’ Rainy asked quickly as they came down the stairs.
‘Lils, what’s wrong? What did you do?’ Annie said looking to James.
‘He didn’t do anything…’ Lily said tears dripping from her chin and the tip of her nose. She shook her head and headed quickly up the stairs to the dormitory.
‘Ruby’s sister was killed,’ James said softly, his voice barely audible.
‘Poor Ruby,’ Remus said softly as he sat down in front of the fireplace.
‘Ruby…’ Annie said picturing the state of the family that lived down the road from her own. James was stunned; he was friends with Ruby and couldn’t believe he had seen her moments before her sister died, seen the little girl hours before she lost her life. Sirius looked around at his friends breathing deeply trying to understand what he was feeling, an overwhelming ache in the pit of his stomach.
It was towards the end of the week that Ruby arrived back at Hogwarts. She walked into the Great Hall in time for breakfast and sat next to Lily who smiled supportively at her.
‘How was Quidditch practice?’ Ruby asked James who was the only Marauder in the Great Hall.
‘It’s been alright. Not the same without you, one of the better chasers besides me of course but don’t tell Sirius I said that.’ James said smiling. Ruby let a small smile play at the corner of her lips before her next sentence was shut down as a girl sat down roughly at their table.
‘She’s such a cow, I hate her. My parents are always talking about Aleisha this and Aleisha that why can’t they care about me as much as they do about my stupid sister. All Christmas it was all about her and she doesn’t even go to Hogwarts yet. I wish she’d never been born.’ The fourth year Gryffindor was working herself up and Lily was concerned that what she was saying may affect the girl sitting next to her. Lily got up to go to class and found that Ruby was staring off into space tears in her eyes.
‘Come on we’ll be late,’ Lily said walking ahead.
‘I’ll catch you up,’ Ruby said walking away from Lily.
Ruby Mason had never felt more lost in her life; it felt like she was drifting around without any actual idea of what was happening around her. She started to run through the stone corridors, wanting to escape everything she was feeling. She ran, tears clouding her vision. She wanted to escape the constant ache in her chest, the pain that ripped through her body every time she let the slightest thought towards her family invade her mind.
She stopped suddenly when her body hit the solid warmth of another. They caught her before she could lose her balance and she carefully looked up through her tears to see the handsome face of Sirius Black. Sirius felt a weight crashing into his chest that had nothing to do with just being run into. His only girl friend was feeling a pain he couldn’t understand and yet he felt sick as he saw her. His arms automatically went around her pulling her close as her knees gave way and they both crumpled to the floor, Sirius’ arms still firmly around her.
‘She died and I couldn’t do anything. My baby sister,’ Ruby cried before she buried her face into Sirius’ hair. Sirius held her close, his eyes closed as Ruby’s tears began to soak part of his shirt. He could feel her heart beating against his chest; feel her ragged breathing against his skin. Her pain was trying to escape through her tears and it was consuming Sirius.
It seemed an age before Ruby’s breathing became even and she had seemed to pull herself together.
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘Don’t be, Rubes, I’m here.’ Sirius looked at Ruby; her blue eyes were shining as she moved closer to him. Sirius looked down as Ruby inched closer, their lips brushing. Sirius felt his heart jump at this action and pulled away gently.
‘I’m sorry I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’
‘Nothing’s wrong with you but maybe now’s not a good time.’
‘Maybe.’ Sirius was taken aback as he noticed the hungry look in her eyes but a part of him couldn’t help but think it was only because she was upset that she was so confident and he couldn’t work out why this thought caused a twinge in his heart. ‘I should go, Lily will be wondering where I am. Thanks, Sirius.’ Ruby stood up, straightening her uniform and her hair before she started to walk away. She paused and turned back, smiling at Sirius who still looked concerned, but no matter how she had been feeling, her smile was an honest, happy smile that seemed to light up her face.
Sirius caught his breath and smiled back. He couldn’t believe it was possible that he, Sirius Black was feeling the things that he was for one of his friends, for someone on his Quidditch team, for someone he wouldn’t have thought he’d have them for. He usually had flings, different girls that all wanted him, someone new and interesting. Just a random girl who he could touch wherever and do whatever with, without having to worry about a relationship but here he was feeling things only James had claimed he felt over Lily Evans.
He felt sick as pain seemed to throb through his chest, a pain that was not his own. It was pain for seeing Ruby in such a state, seeing her in such an emotional upheaval that took away the girl they all loved and left behind a shell. It made him nervous when he realised just how beautiful she was and just how much he wanted her in his arms again. He stood up shaking his head at the ridiculous idea before walking back to Gryffindor tower.
Ruby walked slowly out of her last class of the day, Transfiguration. With her bag securely on her shoulder, she looked forward over the heads of people to see her friends walking together talking happily. She noticed Lily look around; trying to spot her but found herself slumping behind the people in front of her, to avoid her eyes.
‘Rubes?’ She turned and found Remus watching her carefully.
‘Rems how are you?’
‘Want to go for a walk? Maybe go flying?’ Ruby looked at him and nodded. ‘Ok let’s go.’ They walked quickly to the common room and placed their things in their dormitories before they headed out of the castle, their coats tightly wrapped around them.
‘Is it ok if I hang out with you guys for a while?’
‘Of course, but why don’t you want to hang out with Lily, Thea and that?’
‘I love the girls but they look at me with sympathy and I just want to try and forget that I couldn’t save my sister and it’s ever harder because Lily was there. She saw it all from the ambulance to the hospital to the funeral. And I can’t…’ Ruby sucked in a sharp breath and shook her head.
‘Do you want to talk about it?’
‘A part of me does but I don’t as well.’
‘Well I’ll listen whenever you need to let it go.’ Ruby nodded before they walked onto the Quidditch pitch. Remus disappeared for a moment returning with two of the school brooms, passing one to Ruby. She made it hover before putting her leg over and kicking off, the wind of winter ripping through her hair.
She breathed deeply as she let tears slip from her eyes. Her hands gripped the wooden broom as she smiled, biting her lower lip and she soared into the sky, going higher and higher.
‘Moony!’ James yelled as Remus tried to keep an eye on how high Ruby was going.
‘Prongs, Padfoot, where’s Wormtail?’
‘Had to go see Slughorn. So why you flying by yourself?’
‘I’m not, Ruby’s up there,’ Remus said indicating further into the sky then where they were.
‘Is she ok?’
‘Yeah, but she asked if she could hang out with us for a while.’
‘The girls are too sympathetic and Lily saw everything, so…’
‘Yeah fair enough, well let’s catch her up,’ Sirius said before urging his broom forward. He flew with his friends until they spotted Ruby doing 360’s. James and Remus backed off slightly now knowing that she wasn’t doing anything too dangerous. Sirius however continued on until he reached her.
‘Sirius,’ she said smiling and both Remus and James noticed the difference in the smiles she had being giving recently and the one she had now, one that was so very close to the old one.
‘Hey now this isn’t to make you feel even worse then you do, it’s just so that one day you can look back and smile,’ Ruby looked at him carefully. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper, passing it to her. She gripped the broom with her knees as she used both hands to open the folded paper. She smiled a watery grin at the picture on it.
In big letters it said ‘Happy Birthday Sirius, Love Heidi,’ with a picture of them all on broomsticks in the summer before their fifth year.
‘This is yours,’ Ruby said handing it back.
‘I want you to have it,’
‘I can’t. She did it for you, wrote to me about it and all.’ He looked at her before nodding and taking it back. ‘Thank you for showing me it though.’
‘I just want to see you smile.’ Sirius said his eyes glistening. ‘Well that sounded pathetic, however true. So how about we race the wind?’ Ruby smiled again and nodded her eyes still teary though she felt better than she had since the 24th of December.
Later that night the girls whispered quietly trying not to wake Ruby who was curled up under her covers, her hands clenched. The nights were the hardest part of it all. Where she was forced to relive every memory, both good and bad that were altogether painful.
She was dancing, spinning Heidi around, laughing, her parents watching happily. Suddenly she was in a corridor, horrible sobbing sounds echoing off the walls, with a thick stench of such a sterile environment. A pain was ripping through her body, her limbs felt as if they were on fire, her heart had expanded and disintegrated. Her eyes were begging to see no more. Her baby sister was lying in her arms, her chest not rising and falling as it should, her beautiful brown eyes not seeing, her curls not bouncing as they did when she ran, her life had slipped from her just as quickly as Ruby had being wrenched from her sleep.
She sat up breathing deeply, crying over what her mind continued to force her to endure. She looked over at the closed hangings of her friends’ four poster beds before slipping from her warm bed and hurrying down the stairs. She didn’t even really register where she was heading until she pushed the door of the sixth year boy’s dormitory open and disappeared inside. She walked over to Remus’ bed and pulled back the hangings, shaking him awake gently.
‘Ruby?’ he said when his eyes adjusted enough to see in the moonlight who was standing over him. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘She’s in my head. She was there one minute, laughing and dancing and then she was being loaded into that ambulance mumbling my name,’ Ruby cried desperately not knowing what else to do. When she was at home she had felt like it was wrong to cry but now that she was back at Hogwarts she felt like she was a burden to her friends but couldn’t help needing to cry for help. Remus moved over and pulled back the covers, watching as she climbed in and lay down with him.
‘Shhh, Rubes.’ He lay there, his arms firmly wrapped around her as she hid her face in his chest. She cried herself to sleep in his arms, muttering about the events of Christmas Eve. Remus closed his eyes, listening to the words she whispered and when he was sure she was asleep, he let himself fall back asleep, keeping his arms around her so she knew that no matter how she felt she wasn’t alone.
Lily opened her eyes, yawning as she got out of bed, heading for the bathroom. She had a quick shower and changed into her uniform before heading back into the dormitory to wake Ruby. She pulled back the hangings and blinked at the unmade, empty bed.
‘Hey, Rain have you seen Roo?’
‘No, she’s not in bed?’
‘Well that’s a first.’ Rainy said softly disappearing into the bathroom.
‘She might be down at breakfast,’ Annie said yanking on her shirt before untangling her hair from the button.
‘Yeah, maybe,’ Lily said her mind going a million miles an hour as she considered all the possibilities as to where her best friend may be. They finished getting ready, grabbing their bags and heading down to the Great Hall. When they walked in they scanned the room for Ruby, but found no sign of her.
‘Hey Lena, have you seen Ruby?’ Thea asked.
‘No sorry. Is she doing ok?’ Lena asked kindly her eyes shining with concern for the girl she cared about like she was an older sister. They sat down and turned as Peter, James and Sirius came into the Hall. They were in deep conversation as they sat down. Lily watched them for a moment before she looked to Rainy who had yelled to get their attention.
‘What’s up?’ Sirius asked working his natural charm.
‘Have you seen Ruby?’
‘Where is she?’
‘She wants to hang out with us cause we’re so much more amazing than you ugly lot,’ Sirius said smirking.
‘She just needs to be away from the sympathetic looks and you Lily.’
‘You were there, you’re making her remember it all,’ James said looking sorry for being the bearer.
‘That makes sense. But where is she? Is she ok?’ James looked at her carefully, taking in just how must she cared for those around her.
‘She slept with Remus last night,’
‘She what?’ Thea yelled her eyes widening.
‘Not like that. She was upset and needed to be with someone,’ Sirius said glaring at Thea.
‘Slept with my boyfriend,’ Thea muttered and Lily looked at her in disgust.
‘They’re here,’ Peter said looking towards the door where Remus and Ruby had just come in. He was gripping Ruby’s hand tightly as they walked towards the other Marauders.
‘That stupid witch has her hands on my Remus,’ Thea growled, in a voice so unlike her own that it startled even her.
‘Shut up, Hollyweather,’ Sirius said and Rainy looked at him in shock.
‘Yeah shut it,’ James said just as Lily said something similar. He looked at her and couldn’t avoid the question that escaped his lips. ‘Go out with me, won’t you?’
Lily rolled her eyes and ignored him as she waved at Ruby before turning and eating her breakfast wanting Ruby to eat without her memory overpowering her.
January neared its end with Ruby sleeping in shifts between Remus’, James’ and Sirius’ beds each waking her when she dreamed and holding her as she cried, her body shaking in their muscled arms.
The first night she slept in Sirius’ bed was so very different to the brotherly feel that came with James and Remus, instead she felt this fierce protectiveness that seemed to evaporate off his body and onto hers as she slept in his arms.
Ruby walked into the girls’ dormitory early on the 30th of January. She tiptoed over to Lily’s bed and drew back the hangings, placing her present on the mattress. She turned and walked back out of the room, heading down to the Great Hall with the Marauders.
Lily couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she wandered into the Hall with Rainy, Thea and Annie by her side. She looked over to Ruby who had being hanging out with them more and more each day yet she only truly seemed herself when she was in the presence of the one, the only Sirius Black. Lily had realised over the last month that Ruby’s feelings for Sirius were more than just a school girl crush.
‘Roo!’ Lily cried sitting down.
‘Hey, happy birthday,’ Ruby said hugging her.
‘Thanks for the necklace, it’s beautiful.’
‘My pleasure,’ Ruby said. She found it easier these days but certain days were harder than others, were where it hurt just to speak, to breathe.
They talked happily until a balloon floated over to Lily. She took it beaming and read the message on it. It was a blue balloon with thick silver wording that said ‘Happy birthday, sexy. Will you go out with me?’
‘Potter!’ Lily growled before picking up her knife and bursting the balloon. Confetti covered the table as it burst a small package landing on the table. She took the package and threw it at him, his Quidditch reflexes coming in handy as he caught it.
‘It’s a gift.’
‘I don’t want it,’ Lily said loudly storming away from the table. James looked after her and sighed.
‘It’s alright I’ll leave it by her bed.’ James looked cockily around before jumping up and heading off to class.
‘Well that’s a great way to start your birthday,’ Rainy said as she too followed James from the Hall knowing that later that day Lily would find the bracelet he had brought her and fall in love with it, wearing it everywhere not realising that just because it was mixed up with the presents from her muggle family members, it was definitely not from them.
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