Chapter 15 : Chapter 15
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After I leave Potions, I don’t see Mads again until dinner. She walks in with Allen, the two of them laughing about something. He says good-bye to her and then goes to sit at the Ravenclaw table. Maddie slides in next to Lily.
“Hey,” she says cheerfully to everyone in general. “How was everyone’s first day back?”
“Pretty good,” says James. “Oh, Lils, don’t forget we’ve got rounds tonight.”
“Of course I won’t forget,” says Lily, but she’s smiling.
“Okay then,” says James, smiling back at her. This is too weird. I look at Mads, hoping to share a raised eyebrow or surprised expression like earlier, but she’s not paying attention. I follow her gaze over to the Ravenclaw table.
“Maddie?” Lily says. “Do you want to get a start on that essay for Binns tonight?”
“I can’t, I’ve said I’ll meet Josh,” Maddie tells her. “How about tomorrow?”
“Alright,” says Lily, looking at her with an expression that is a cross between confused and sad.
We’ve barely finished dinner when Allen is back, ready to escort Maddie somewhere else. He’s like an annoying fly I can’t get rid of.
I watch the two of them leave the Hall together, wishing that looks could kill.
Josh and I leave the Hall, and I know we’re both thinking the same thing. He takes my hand and leads me to an old Transfiguration room that no one’s used in years. I follow him inside, kicking the door shut with my foot.
Josh put his hands on my waist and pulls me into him. Within seconds, we’re snogging, and it’s mindless and careless and free, just like it should be.
Can I pretend I didn’t hear her? This has got to be the tenth time Lauren has sought me out.
“Sirius!” she calls again, and I finally give in and turn around.
“Hey!” she says. “I thought I would never catch you. So, are you busy right now?”
“Not particularly,” I say.
“Me neither,” she says, smiling suggestively at me.
I take a breath. “Listen, Lauren, it’s nothing personal, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
She frowns. “You promised.”
“I know,” I say. “I’m sorry.”
She waits for a further explanation, but I’m not going to give her one. When she realizes this, she says, “You’re a prick, Sirius Black!” then turns on her heel and is gone.
I’m reminded suddenly of another girl who left me standing alone.
I’m sitting on my bed writing a letter to my mum when Lily comes back from rounds. She comes in and shuts the door very suddenly. Alice looks up from her book. I put down my quill.
“Lils?” I ask. “Are you alright?”
“No-I think so-yes-I don’t know,” she manages to get out. This is so unlike Lily, who is always so put together.
Moony and I are finishing our Charms essay when James comes back from rounds. Wormtail is sleeping. James enters the dormitory with a dazed expression on his face.
“What’s up, Prongs?” I ask, taking in his dreamy gaze.
When he doesn’t answer, Moony asks, “Are you alright?”
“I’m better than alright,” James says, and his voice sounds far away.
“What happened?” I ask her.
“I don’t even know how it happened!” Lily replies, beginning to pace. “How could I not have seen this coming?”
“How what happened?” I ask and at the same time Alice says, “Seen what coming?”
James walks over to his bed and lies down, staring up at the ceiling.
“Prongs, what happened?” I ask.
“It was the most wonderful thing in the entire world,” he answers dreamily. “It was the best moment of my life.”
“What was?” Moony and I ask in unison.
Lily stops pacing and looks at Alice and me.
“James and I-”
James sits up on his bed and looks at Moony and me.
“Lily and I-”
I break into a wide grin. “Tell us everything!”
“Don’t leave anything out!” Alice adds excitedly.
I beam. So does Moony. But our expressions are nothing compared to James’.
“So, how did you finally manage it?” I ask him.
“We were just doing rounds like usual,” says James. “Just talking.”
“We were just doing our rounds, like usual,” says Lily. “Having a perfectly nice conversation.”
“And then she said, ‘James, I’m really glad we’ve been talking more lately.’”
“And then he said, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking?”
“And then she said, “No, I don’t get tired of it.”
“And then he said, “I do.”
“And then she said, “What do you mean?”
“And then he kissed me!” Lily finishes, sounding as though she still can’t believe it herself. “I mean, just kissed me, right there in the corridor.”
“Did you kiss him back?” I ask. Lily’s eyes are wide as she nods.
Alice and I squeal with excitement.
“And she kissed you back?” Moony asks. Prongs nods happily.
“Well done, mate,” I congratulate him. “You finally kissed Lily Evans.”
“You kissed James Potter and you liked it!” sings Alice tauntingly. Lily buries her face in her hands as she blushes furiously.
“You fancy him,” I state.
“How did this happen?” asks Lily as she lifts her head up. “James Potter, of all people, James Potter! He used to be an arrogant, bullying toerag, someone I could barely stand to be in the same room with, let alone fancy!”
“Used to be,” I repeat. “He’s changed.”
Lily nods again. “He really has.”
“And you kissed him!” sings Alice again. Lily throws a pillow at her.
“So, what happened next? What did he say?” I ask.
“He said, ‘I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to do that,’” says Lily, smiling in spite of herself. “And then he walked me back to the Common Room.”
Alice and I squeal again and Lily smiles. Tonight, for two people at least, things have fallen into place.
The next morning, Josh meets me outside the portrait hole.
“Hey,” he says. “We need to talk.”
“Okay,” I say slowly, wondering what this could be about.
“Maddie, don’t take this the wrong way,” he says, “but you kind of have a reputation.”
I nod. “I know.”
He looks relieved that I haven’t exploded at him. “Well, I just need to know…is this going somewhere? Or am I just another hook up to you?”
I look at him for a minute. I can tell he’s serious. (Not Sirius. No one could be Sirius.)
“Be honest,” says Josh. “I’m not going to be mad.”
“Okay,” I say. “You’re a really great guy, Josh. But I really don’t think I can handle a relationship right now.”
“Is that just a way to get me to go away?” he asks.
“No,” I say sincerely, “it’s not. It’s the truth.”
He nods. “I believe you.”
“I’m sorry,” I say. He nods again, and walks away.
I don’t think James will be able to contain his excitement much longer if we don’t get down to breakfast fast.
“Padfoot, what is taking you so long?” James exclaims, running to the bathroom.
“Prongs, you used the bathroom for an hour this morning,” I say, “I’m going as fast as I can!”
“Go faster!” he urges. “I want to see Lily!”
When everyone is finally ready, we head downstairs to the Great Hall, James leading the way.
We reach where Lily, Alice, and Maddie are sitting at the Gryffindor table. Lily looks up and smiles at James, who smiles back.
“Can we talk?” he asks her, and takes her hand and leads her away from the table.
I slide into a seat next to Moony. “Well it’s about time, isn’t it?”
“I’ll say,” says Maddie, and she actually looks at me when she says it. Progress.
Lily and James return, hand in hand. They’re both grinning from ear to ear.
“I take it that Potter and Evans are finally a couple?” I ask.
Lily blushes and James beams. When Maddie smiles at them, I find myself wishing that it was Maddie and me standing hand in hand, with James and Lily sitting and congratulating us.
I’ve just spent half an hour in the library by myself. Lily is doing rounds with James (which probably now consist more of snogging than patrolling), and Alice is off somewhere with Frank. I realize that it’s almost past curfew, and that I need to get back to the common room.
On my way back up to Gryffindor tower, I see a dark-haired boy and girl walking hand in hand, coming back from what was probably a romantic walk by the lake. I realize it’s Adrian, with another 7th year Ravenclaw, Megan. I heard they’re dating now.
As I watch them walk past, Adrian leans over and whispers something in Megan’s ear and she laughs. He gives her a kiss on the cheek as they turn a corner.
My heart pangs at how an action so simple can be so sweet. And how for a few, brief hours, I’d had a chance at that, until I ruined everything.
As I enter through the Portrait hole, memories of Sirius flash before my eyes.
“Mads, before I tell you, I just want you to remember that you are awesome. Okay? I’m serious. You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re fun to be around, and you’re beautiful.”
“No, I’m trying to protect you!”
“I am most definitely not happy.”
“You don’t have to thank me.”
“Because you know, I can always give him a good punch in the face if you want. I never did get to do that.”
“Did you see the look he gave Mads after he blocked her goal? Stupid, sodding git-”
“What’s going on here, Mads?”
“If I recall correctly, the first thing you ever said to me was ‘If you ever call me Mads again, I will hex you into oblivion.’”
“I think you secretly love it when I call you Mads.”
“You’re not random, you’re Maddie.”
“It means that I, Sirius Black, actually fancy a girl. And not just any girl. But the funniest, smartest, most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.”
“Mads, you need to listen to me. What happened back there was a total mistake-”
“You need to believe me! You need to trust me!”
“Like you said last night, it’s not going to work. We should go back to being just friends. That’s what you were going to say, right?”
The Common Room, for once, is empty. I sink down to my knees, and I cry.
I cry for Sirius. I cry for me. I cry because of how much it hurts. I cry because there's nothing else left to do but cry.
I cry until a time I don’t remember, when sleep overtakes me.
I arrive back to the common room at about ten, an hour after curfew. I’d borrowed Prongs’ Invisibility Cloak to take a walk and clear my head.
As I pass by the couch near the fire place to go to the boys’ dormitory, I notice that there’s a person on it. It’s so dark that I’d almost not noticed, which is what Lily and James must have done when they got back from rounds. (Of course, they were probably distracted.)
As I draw closer, I realize it’s Mads. She’s still in her uniform, and her hair is all over, but she looks beautiful as ever.
I lean over and brush a piece of hair out of her face. Then, before I can stop myself, I give her a soft kiss on the cheek.
I taste the salt from what can only be the result of Maddie crying herself to sleep.
I cover her with a blanket and head up the boys’ dormitory, wishing I could have been there for her to cry into like last time.
A/N: Hello again, everyone :) I really enjoyed writing this chapter (even I almost teared up while writing Maddie's little flashback montage), so I hope you enjoyed reading it. I hope I did Lily & James justice! And I hope the switching POV's didn't give you a headache; I just felt it was the right way to announce the news. Leave a review and let me know what you thought of this chapter! Thanks for reading!
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