Chapter 6 : Who Can You Trust?
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So the story had spread about the Slytherins putting hair removal potion in my shampoo, and everyone believed it. Everyone knew I had a hatred for some of the Slytherins, so it was easily believable. Even Sirius believed it, which led to him planning a revenge plot.
As much as I disliked the Slytherins, I couldn’t get into the excitement of pranking them. I was tired. Exhausted. Worn out. I don’t know how the others couldn’t see it; maybe they did and just didn’t say anything. I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it until Christmas break, but I was relying on the doctor’s prognosis.
I was flying around the pitch. It was really early, about 5 am. It being Saturday, I had never been up this early really. Well, not in a while. I was told by my mother than when I was just a baby I would get her up at this time and the only thing that would make me sleep was a walk outside.
I stopped my broom high in the air and stared at the sunrise. I thought sunrises were better than sunsets. They were prettier. Softer. And you knew it was the beginning of a new day, not the end of one. God, I was beginning to sound like a cheesy fortune cookie.
I sighed and laid my head against my broom handle. I loved flying. It was like floating, but better. I didn’t get to do a lot of it now that I wasn’t on the Quidditch team.
I heard someone flying up behind me and I turned to look who it was.
“Remus!” I yelled in surprise. “I didn’t know you even knew how to fly!”
He chuckled as he pulled up beside me. “Haven’t since first year. I’m not very good.” His knuckles were white from holding the broomstick so tightly.
“Remus”, I smiled and couldn’t keep the laugh out of my voice. “Why are you up here if you are afraid of heights?”
His cheeks reddened a bit. “I know there is something wrong. I know James knows. I don’t know what it is that you’re keeping from us, but it has to be something bad enough that you would.”
My face dropped. “Remus, you’re being ridiculous. There is nothi-“ My fake smile slid off my face as his face collapsed. He looked utterly broken and defeated.
I had a sudden realization. We were all so close. I had only been thinking about myself these past few weeks and I wasn’t thinking about the toll it was taking on my friends. Obviously something was wrong and they worried about it as much as I was.
“Remus, you have to understand. It’s best if you don’t know.” I looked up from the gaze I had on my hands and found he was staring at me intently.
“How do you know if it’s best?” He demanded.
“James even said he sometimes wished he didn’t know. I won’t put anyone else through that.” I was pleading with him, something I never did.
Remus nodded slowly. “You don’t have to tell me. But something is wrong then?”
I didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”
He nodded. “Okay. And it’s something bad. Well, I can deal with just a confirmation.”
We flew around the Quidditch pitch a few times. (Well, I had to hold Remus’ hand most of it, but still, he flew.) We jumped off our brooms and made it in the Great hall for early pre breakfast. (That’s what they call the early riser breakfast- available only to those who eat at 6. Ha, yeah right.)
We were in the middle of our meal when he looked at me and said, “So when are you and Sirius going to tell us about you guys?”
I began choking on my pumpkin juice and after a shocked coughing fit I gave him a look of bewilderment.
“Christ, I forgot you’re practically psychic.” Well, about some things.
Remus smirked, not at all unlike Sirius “You can tell when you guys look at each other. Well,
I can at least. I tried to bring it up with James and he burst out laughing saying that it would never happen.”
I sighed, wanting to be truthful with Remus about this if I couldn’t be truthful with him about me dying. “Sirius wanted to tell people about five months ago but I can’t-“
“FIVE MONTHS?!” Remus’ eyes were bulging out of his head in shock. I was grateful we were practically the only ones in the Great Hall.
It was my turn to smirk, “Haven’t known for long have you Moony? Anyways, as I was saying before you so rudely interrupted me, Sirius wants to tell everyone but I don’t… you know… want to be another one of “Sirius’ girls”.
“Well, already five months is his longest relationship ever… has he said anything that makes him sound serious about you guys and not just another one of “Sirius’ girls”?” Remus still seemed slightly shocked about how long this had been going on between Sirius and me.
“He’s mentioned moving in together after Graduation…” I gave him an embarrassed, slightly flushed look.
“Wow.” Remus shook his head and let out a long breath. “That doesn’t sound like the immature Sirius that we usually see.” Remus looked at me seriously and my heart starting pounding hard in my chest.
“We can’t go public. I think this is a bad idea. Think about how the group would feel if Sirius and I ended on bad terms.” My mind was racing, but not necessarily about our relationship in a good way…
“What if your relationship doesn’t end?” Remus looked at me with that look that made me think exactly what he was thinking.
“I don’t want to think about that right now, okay? Marriage isn’t something Sirius finds appealing.” I made up that excuse and I said it in a tone that said that part of the conversation was over. We started to eat in silence.
What my mind was racing over and over was that I was dying. Being with Sirius, even in secret, would ruin him. It wasn’t fair of me at all to be with him when I knew I was dying; he would lose it. Too many people have left him and hurt him.
I couldn’t explain this part to Remus because Remus didn’t know I was dying and it had to stay that way. I couldn’t stand Remus watching me the way James did sometimes; the sadness in the back of his eyes, and him watching me all the time as if he was storing memories so he wouldn’t forget me later.
“You know you’re like a brother to me, right Remus?” I put my hand on his that was on the table.
He looked at me and nodded really seriously, a faint frown forming between his brows. I nodded back and smiled; suddenly, a voice broke us out of our trance and made us jump.
“You guys are up early!”
We turned to see Sirius, who was looking oddly happy; too cheerful, as if it was forced. The way he was standing was as if he had been standing there and watching us for a few moments before announcing himself. Sirius sat down beside me, a little too close, and put his arm around me.
“What were you too talking about over here? Little too serious for my liking!” He said, squeezing me closer.
I was bewildered by the forced smile and awkward cheerfulness that Sirius was emanating. Apparently, Remus was a little confused by it too, by the cautious look on his face that questioned Sirius’ sanity.
“Sirius!” Growing uncomfortably suffocated by his still squeezing arm, I struggled and tried to pry it off me until he got the hint and took it off himself.
He seemed kind of put out by this and his fake cheer seemed to drop slightly. I was going to explain but I was interrupted by a loud James.
“HELLO ALL!” He yelled, taking a seat beside Remus, nudging him over a bit.
“Godric Prongs, do you have to be so loud at seven o’clock in the morning?” I said, wincing as my ears rang.
“Whoops, sorry.” James barely whispered this as he began digging into his food.
Next, Peter joined them and then Lily. Conversation was general except for when it turned to what they were going to do tonight.
“I really want to do something awesome.” James put in, through almost a full mouth of food.
“Agreed. We prank the Slytherins ever night though... it would have to be really epic, and take a lot if preparation…” Sirius said, contemplating.
“Nah, I want to kick back tonight.” James was thinking, when suddenly his eyes when alight.He flashed a huge grin at me, then at Sirius, then a Remus.
“No. No way.” Muttered Remus.
“Too bad Moony, it’s happening. Get the word around to the other Gryffindors.” James was grinning ear to ear by this point and clapped his hands together.
“I’m confused, so why don’t you make it more clear for those of us who aren’t practically mind readers.” Sirius said sarcastically, I nodded and laughed.
“Party. We still have our stash of Firewhisky. Let’s use half of it and I happen to know Tree has a HUGE stash of butterbeer.” James looked pointedly at me.
I gave him a ‘fine-but-only-because-I-love-you’ look and then clapped my hands in delight. I did love a good party.
“This may be your greatest thought yet, Prongsy.” Sirius grinned devilishly. “Maybe tonight I can get with some drunken girls tonight.” He did a little dance in his seat. “That blonde girl who’s in fifth year, you know the one with the beauty mark just above her lip? She looks fine.”
I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, hoping he was just keeping a cover on. Remus gave Sirius a look he didn’t catch and then gave me one that I chose to ignore.
After sneaking out to get my pain potion, we wandered around the castle a bit. It took about an hour for the word to get around that the Gryffindors were holding a party… and it was Gryffindors only. This led to the happiness and excitement of the Gryffindors, and practically the complete opposite of everyone else.
It first started when they were walking down the hall toward the Courtyard.
“Hey Sirius.” This Hufflepuff girl, Rebecca, slimed her way up to us and put her arm around his neck.
“Hey Rebecca.” Sirius seemed a little bored and a little disgusted. Rebecca had a well-known reputation of being easy. Of course, Sirius had already made out with her by third year.
“So I heard you’re having a party¸ but Gryffindor only. Hope that rule doesn’t apply to me, babe.” She gave him a little smirk and wrapped her other arm around his neck. We were all standing there awkwardly. Though James looked like he was enjoying it; smartass had a smirk on his face.
“Sorry, rules are rules.” Sirius said after pausing for a moment. In that moment they all thought Sirius was actually considering saying yes.
She pouted. Actually pouted, for Godric’s sake. I guess the hostility was rolling of me because I could feel Remus’ hand squeeze my shoulder slightly, just enough to tell me that he was there and to calm down.
“Shame.” She leaned in closed to his lips, and then she shifted to his ear. She whispered, just loud enough for us to hear, “I was going to take you on a wild ride.”
“No means no, unfortunately.” I said. She gave me a dirty look and I flashed her a sarcastic smile. God what a ditz.
“No, you can come.” Sirius said. He looked at my shocked face for a second before looking at her as she squealed and threw her arms around him.
I masked my shock quickly and ignored the pain in my chest. “Hey, if Sirius gets to invite friends, that means the rest of us can, right? I looked at James.
“Fiiiiiiine.” He whined. “But only a few extra people, important people!”
I gave him a big smile, a wrapped my arms around him and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. Then I ran off to find a couple of boys.
I spotted the exact person I was looking for down the next hallway.
“Jack!” I ran to a stop in front of him and he flashed me a wide perfect smile.
“Hey Trina, how are you?” Always the gentleman.
“I’m great! Did you hear about our party?” We moved closer to the wall so we didn’t block the hallway. He flashed me another smile that made my heart pound and I couldn’t keep the stupid smile off my face.
“Yeah I did, but I was bummed to find out it’s Gryffindors only.” He admitted.
“But I, being one of the planners, am allowed to invite guests from other houses, and I’d really like for you to be there.” I pointed at him.
He looked surprised. “Seriously? Trina, that’s awesome! Thank you! I’m quite honoured.” Jack joked.
“Hey, you’re cool so you deserve to be there. Okay, nine o’clock, Gryffindor common room.” I leaned in close to whisper in his ear. “Password is fireflies.”
I walked away then turned around to give him one last wave. He was still staring.
Now, I just needed to find Tom. Tom was a good enough guy too, but he was kind of cocky. He was a Ravenclaw and he was gorgeous, but he was the type of person who knew he was gorgeous. Surprisingly, he had only been with a few girls. He had first shown interest in me in fourth year, but I turned him down. The girls he had been with had never said anything bad about him so I figured why not invite him?
I caught him just as he was going into the Great Hall.
“Hey Tom! Wait up!” He turned a flashed me a surprised, charming smirk.
“Hey Gorgeous, it’s great to hear you calling my name.” He wrapped his arm around my waist and with the other he took my hand and brought it to his lips. “It’s also great to see you without your boys following you around. Are they busy today? Heard about your party and it’s a shame it’s Gryffindors only.”
I laughed, “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about actually. I have two free passes into the party and I want you to have one.”
His eyebrows went up a notch. “That’s surprising, but welcomed. Thank you.” He leaned in and kissed my hand again.
“Nine o’clock, password is fireflies.” I told him, smiling.
“Can’t wait.” He looked over my shoulder and suddenly he smirked, but he looked slightly nervous. “Oh, it’s time for me to go.”
I looked over my shoulder and saw the boys coming toward me, Remus with a look of slight surprise on his face, James with a frown and Sirius looking murderous.
He gave me one last look, “Until later.” Tom turned and walked away.
I turned back to James. “Kay! I’ve got my two people!”
“What?! You invited HIM?!” Sirius said, angrily.
I put a blank face on. “I’m confused, I thought we could invite two people we wanted to.” I looked at James and he shrugged his shoulders.
“Yeah, it’s fine. Just because you don’t like how he hits on Tree Padfoot, doesn’t mean she can’t.” James looked at him and clapped him on the back. “He might be smarmy but he’s never done anything to hurt us or Tree. I don’t like how he hits on you either.”
He had turned to look at me at this last point. I snorted.
“You guys don’t and will never like anyone who hits on me.” They all smiled at me.
“Yeah, I guess that’s true.” James grinned and put me in a head lock and began to give me a noogie.
They all laughed as James began to walk towards the courtyard, me still under his arm. I struggled and finally got myself out before I pushed James roughly. He laughed evilly as we made our way to our favourite beech tree.
Remus stopped to let me catch up when I started to lag behind. I could feel my stomach pain growing slowly.
“Jealousy is never the answer.” He said. I shot him a look.
“I don’t want Sirius to be jealous, but I do want to have a good time if he’s going to be with Rebecca,” I made a face, “all night, so I invited two of my guy friends.” I looked at him and he gave me a that’s-bullshit look.
“Seriously Remus,” My face must’ve been really sad because he stopped me and put both of his hands on my shoulders.
“I know you’re really hurt by Sirius inviting Rebecca. Just don’t do anything stupid tonight okay? Take it easy.”
“Yes Mooooooony. I’m not going to drink tonight I don’t think anyways. I haven’t been feeling well lately.” I gave him a playful punch on the arm and a smile.
He gave me a look, as if he wanted to know what was wrong, but then again he knew I wouldn’t tell him. Remus turned and sat under the beech tree.
Later, the party was roaring. People seemed like they really needed to let loose and by that time many of them had (maybe let loose more than we needed to see). Sirius had come over to me twice in the last two hours, and spent the rest if the time drunk out of his mind and hanging out with Rebecca (who was all over him).
I could feel Remus watching me when he wasn’t watching the others. Remus and I were theonly ones not drinking. Lils didn’t drink that often but she was a little tipsy tonight and flirting heavily with James, who surprisingly was only tipsy.
Jack didn’t show up, and though I was bummed about that, I was talking with Tom, who had his hands to himself most of the night. He was taking small sips of a Firewhisky that he’d had since the beginning of the night.
“That must be hard.” I snapped out of my reverie and looked at Tom, questioning. He nodded towards Sirius and Rebecca, who were now dancing against each other.
“What do you mean?” I asked him. I mean, was it really that fricken obvious?
“Well, he’s your best friend and you probably don’t want him with a walking disease like that. That’s why you’re staring at them isn’t it?” I watched Tom search my face and then I turned to look at Sirius and Rebecca again. Rebecca leaned in to whisper something in Sirius’ ear and she wrapped her arm around his waist. I turned back to Tom.
“Sirius is a grown boy; he can take care of himself.”
“You need to relax,” he smirked a bit and laughed. “Have one drink.”
I looked at him and smiled. “One won’t kill me.”
Tom left to go get me a glass of Firewhisky when Remus ended his conversation with Frank Longbottom and came over to me.
“Hey, how you doing?” He asked me, analyzing my face.
“I’m good. Tom just went to go get some Firewhisky.” Remus’ face made a slight frown.
“Thought you said you weren’t going to drink?”
“Come on Remus, one won’t kill me and one definitely won’t get me drunk.” I patted him on the shoulder as Tom made his way through the crowd. “Go talk to that girl over there in the corner. Her name is Susan and she’s been eyeing you all night.”
He sent me a slight smile and made his way over to Susan.
“There you are beautiful.” Tom handed me the flask of Firewhisky and held his own up.
“Cheers.” Tom sipped his and I downed half of mine, wanting the slight effect I would receive to be sooner rather than later.
Tom wrapped his arm around my waist. “Come dance with me.”
I followed him as he led our way through the slight crowd and then we began swaying together, him behind me. I downed the other half of my Firewhisky, enjoying the burning it left in my throat and the slight tears that rushed to my eyes.
Slowly, everything seemed to melt away. All my worries about Sirius and my cancer and James and Lily. Everything grew foggy and twisted and I was floating. The music pulsated through me and I felt like I wasn’t even there.
Vaguely, I could feel someone holding me and bringing me somewhere but I was so blissful it didn’t even matter who it was or where we were going. I was just floating up, up, up… I couldn’t feel my body.
And then I was really comfortable and it felt like I was lying down. I felt myself drifting off to a very peaceful sleep. But suddenly I could feel some tugging and someone breathing heavily against my cheek. My vision was blurry but I opened my eyes and I could make out vague things. I was lying down. Tom was beside me, and by the red and gold, we were in the Gryffindor boys Dorm room.
I moaned, feeling the wave of nausea that hit me as I tried to move my head to look at Tom. I was scared to find out I could barely even move my head.
“Tom,” I tried to say, but it only came out like a mumble.
“Shhh, it’s okay babe, I’m right here.” Tom said. More tugging and pulling.
I tried to focus on that, the tugging and pulling. I turned my head more sideways and I realized that the tugging and pulling was Tom, pulling at my clothes. I was shocked to see that he had already gotten off my sweater and was almost done unbuttoning my shirt.
“Tom, stop.” I mumbled, a little louder.
“Hey, it’s okay,” He said in a reassuring tone. He had my shirt open and was now trying to wrestle my skirt down.
“No, Tom, Stop!” My voice was a little steadier but my head swam. He ignored me that time.
I tried to get up but my body wouldn’t listen. I struggled against him slightly and tried to push him away. “Tom, stop it! Stop, now.”
He grew frustrated and he ripped my skirt slightly trying to get it off of me; not an easy feat due to my body just been dead weight and incompliant.
I lifted a hand to at least try to push him off me, panic filling me at the situation and the stress making my stomach start to ache. Suddenly, I heard, what sounded far away, the door to the Dormitory crash open.
“Get off her!”
Relief rushed through me as I heard the voice of Remus.
I didn’t know what was going on; I heard some thumps and some yelling and then Remus rushed over to me as the door slammed shut.
“Tree?! Tree?! Can you hear me?!” He cradled my neck under his arm and my eyes focused on his face.
“Remus,” I mumbled, trying to explain what had happened but was unable to.
“I’m taking you to Madam Pomfrey, okay? Just hold on, I’m going to help you.” I felt his hands quickly do up a couple of buttons on my shirt, so that my bra was covered.
I felt his other arm cradle my legs and suddenly I was no longer on solid bed. I felt him make his was carefully down the stairs and then his pace speed up as he made his way to the door.
“Hey, what’s wrong with Tree?!” James voice echoed through the whispers that had started and I heard him run up behind us.
Remus said something to him and James followed us to the hospital wing.
I could feel my consciousness slipping; no matter what I did to try to stay awake, I couldn’t. Someone was checking me over, and there were people talking and then slowly, everything just went black.
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