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The Art of Surviving. by AC_rules
Chapter 11 : Pain.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 33


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The fight with Mulicber had given me new found confidence but had brought so many doubts to my mind at the same time. He’d been forced to play fair. He hadn’t been able to use the curses that was usually have been fired at me, in a proper duel, and that had bothered me. Obviously we’d practiced imperious, and now we were all fully capable of throwing of the curse- not matter what stupid menial task we were asked to do. We were fast too. Sirius managing it in under three seconds the other week. Not that it wasn’t hard: I could visibly see how exhausted each of us were after each practice session ending – but that was always mixed with a grim satisfaction which came with the fact that we were fighting back. But it seemed there was a lot more we could not imagine... and there was one spell which had fixed itself in my mind and would refuse to budge.

The cruciatius curse.

I’d mentioned it at the beginning of December but there was no way we could practice on each other. Snape had already demonstrated that you couldn’t be half hearted with that sort of thing – you had to mean it, really mean it, and none of us could really hate each other like that.

James seemed to have picked on the fact that there was something on my mind and had mostly given me quite a lot of space. I imagined he’d warned the marauders that I needed to be left alone for a little bit too –because all but Sirius had stopped asking even the basic questions like ‘are you okay’ and instead just offered me smiles when I walked into the room. Sirius, who was never one to listen to James anyway, asking very loudly and pointedly at as many opportunities as possible. James had gotten very good at rolling his eyes in the past couple of days.

Still... the thought had festered in my head until I needed to experience it. The sooner the better. There was no defence, of course, but I felt the need to experience it before I was out there. So that I didn’t come across it for the first time on the middle of the battle field. Maybe that was illogical, but I wasn’t like any of them – I really didn’t have a choice anymore. Sooner or later I was going to be put in a life threatening situation and I wouldn’t know what the hell to do about it. I needed to know. Snape’s curse had been a little teaser and now I was longing to have full knowledge of what hate personified felt like. I needed it.

It had been easy to organise. With James ‘giving me space’ (I wondered whether he thought this had anything to do with what happened when he visited my house?) and the others mostly letting me sit around brooding about things meant I had plenty of time to plan.  Sirius, who had been almost cheerful today (certainly enough to pull some stupid prank with disappearing chair legs, guffawing every time unsuspecting sixth years tried to sit down) and thus he’d been too busy being a similar person to his old self – loud, boisterous and over confident. So, I’d engineered a situation to my advantage (or, more accurately – my disadvantage).

I was patrolling on my own, wondering closer and closer to the Slytherin common room –expecting and hoping that today the Slytherin’s would be up to something. They normally were, so it seemed only right that they would be tonight... especially if the prefects informed them that I had changed the schedule so that I was the only one patrolling. I was literally asking for trouble and I didn’t want to think about how twisted my disappointment would be if they didn’t come to take the bait.

I hadn’t told anyone else, either, which would be the issue. They didn’t like me wondering around on my own at the best of times – despite me insisting that I wouldn’t mind being involved in some trouble; because that meant people might appreciate that I was standing up and remaining resilient against the torrent of prejudice.  Still, the minute they worked it out they’d been running for the map and trying to locate me. Which was exactly why I’d stolen it.

Maybe that was stupid. If I got in serious trouble I might be left rotting in some corridor until morning. I decided to head in the general direction of the hospital wing, just in case I did run into some Slytherins – I could always just crawl in that general direction.  Yes, I’d be sensible – head for the stairs. It seemed there was no Slytherins about anyway. Maybe I’d been too obvious. I should have put James down for patrols too and just neglected to tell him.

It was probably for the best. This whole thing was stupid. I’d go back to the Gryffindor common room now, have an early night (although it wasn’t that early anymore – why wasn’t James looking for me? Did he just not care?) – maybe look over my potions book or something. I’d be sensible.

“Alone, mudblood?” A voice sneered. A rush of fear, adrenaline and relief flooded through me. At least all my planning hadn’t been for nothing, and yet... I was down here, practically on the lowest floor of the castle – miles away from the hospital wing.  And I already knew that this was going to bloody well hurt.

“Yes actually,” I returned, wondering if my complacent attitude was too much. Would they assume that I wasn’t alone due to my blaze way of facing danger? Hopefully they’d just think I was being arrogant and spirited. Like normal.

I turned. Well, it would hardly have made a difference if I wasn’t alone – there were a lot of them. Mulicber. Avery. Knott. Regulus Black... looking slightly uncomfortable but still managing to sneer at me menacingly. Snape standing behind him, his eyes glittering with emotions I no longer recognised within him. I didn’t reach for my wand and instead just stared at the lot of them – there was no point. As much as I was a talented witch, even I couldn’t out perform all these people when they quite clearly had the advantage.

“Scared?” Another voice asked. I recognised the exact tone of malice and satisfaction – Bellatrix. Now that was... different. Bellatrix had left at least two years ago, and yet here she was. Skulking round dark corridors of Hogwarts in the middle of the night. I supposed that it explained the numbers but... that was scary. Uncomfortable. What was she doing?

“No,” I said but my voice gave me away slightly. Yes, it was true, I’d wanted to be tortured – which now seemed like such a stupid wish, but... it was someone like Bellatrix who would take the whole thing I step further. She might kill me.

I reached for my wand, grappling around in my pocket frantically. I curled my fingers around it and tried to count the numbers – ten? Fifteen? A shock of white hair. Lucius Malfoy?

“What are you doing?” Another voice asked someone I didn’t even recognise – they were wearing hooded cloaks.

“Counting,” I informed them, “Three, four, five.... is that... another two of you at the back or?”

Why?” Bellatrix snapped.

“So I can tell Dumbledore how many of you there were,” I continued. “Nine... ten, eleven...”

“Dumbledore!” Bellatrix laughed, stepping forward from the group and snarling at me – her teeth shockingly white in the darkness. She was horrific, and I felt a spasm of fear down my spine. Jesus, this stupid plan was going to kill me. “We’re not scared of Dumbledore, or surely... We wouldn’t be here,” She laughed – manic and terrifying. I gripped my hand tighter around my wand.

“Bellatrix Lestrange,” I said, beginning to count them on my other fingers whilst wondering if there were any ways of escape left open to me. “Reg -”Bellatrix made an alarming hissing noise, and then all the wands were drawn – including mine. “Think you have a chance, mudblood?” A man sneered.

I didn’t. Not in a million years. No one would, not against all these people.

I waved my wand and the man who had spoken’s wand flew in my direction. I let it fall to the floor, stepped on it until I felt the wood crack slightly underfoot – and then smiled at him. Apparently I am incredible idiotic in these sorts of situations.

There were a few seconds of silence. I don’t think any of them had expected me to be quite so audacious. The shock turned to anger quickly enough. Bellatrix advanced on me, with years of experience and a whole host of dark spells that were completely unknown to me. Not that I wanted to know them. Her wand flashed and I quickly erected a shield. The spell, a curse no doubt, nearly broke it completely. I just about managed to support it.

“Think you have a chance, pureblood?” I mimicked. If this was going to happen I needed to make them angry enough that they’d torture me. Otherwise the whole thing had been a pointless exercise and a complete waste of a good night’s sleep.

“You dare?” She hissed, and then with an unexpected flick of her wand I was unarmed. I decided that when I retold this story I’d say I let them take away my wand. I had a little bit. I probably could have stopped it but... now I was unarmed. Buggering hell.

And a little scared. I stepped back into the corner and smiled weakly.  “Guess I do,” I said. My back hit the wall. Bellatrix advanced a little more, her want pointing directly at my chest.

“I think it’s time we taught you some humility,” She snarled, and then, “crucio!”

It was like someone had set fire to my skin, on the inside. At first I couldn’t help but scream – the sound softly escaping through my lips before I slammed my jaw shut with enough force that my jaw felt like it had shattered, and bit down  on my lip with all the strength I had. I felt it break under my teeth, and start to bleed, but that pain almost felt soothing compared to the pain that was engulfing the rest of my body. So I concentrated on that.

It was much worse than any other pain I’d ever experienced, but that went without saying, and what made it worse was that it was no caused by any outside wound of affliction, but purely by the hatred the spell was cast with –burning your insides and eating away at your organs. That’s what was so painful about it – the hatred. Hot. Cold. Sharp. Piercing. Pain.

Then it relented and every muscle in my body screamed in protest of the pain it had just endured. I was yelling at myself for being so stupid. I wanted to wipe the blood of my lip, but I couldn’t move my hand, instead my lip bled more and dripped off my chin. I opened my eyes – barely realising I’d closed them and found Bellatrix Lestrange crouched down to my level on the floor (when had I fallen?) her expression twisted into pure evil.

“I’m going to make you scream mudblood.” She muttered. I wanted to inform her she’d missed the point of the whole thing, and that I would not scream. But I couldn’t speak. Could barely move. She pressed her wand to the side of my head – like a gun in some muggle film – and smiled manevoulantly. And then the pain started all over again, and this time I couldn’t think.

I didn’t scream the second time, although at one point a stifled groan managed to rip through my throat and into the corridor, but for that I was almost thankful – because it had been enough to make Bellatrix pause.

The third time she had told me to open my eyes. I was in too much pain to see, but I kept them open – staring her down as she tortured me.

“What should we do with her?” Bellatrix grinned after the fourth time. I blocked out their response and found my tired weary body beginning to function again – despite everything. I was reaching for the man’s wand I’d crushed under my foot, and then – miraculously – I was armed and no one had noticed. I sent two spells in quick succession that probably saved my life.

The first was to retrieve my own wand from Bellatrix left hand and the second was a spell I sent at the ceiling. It was either the adrenaline rush or the fact that the wand was partly broken, but the spell was powerful enough that it hit the ceiling loudly and with enough force that the ceiling cracked. Someone screamed and the others seemed to have realised the noise was enough to attract the attention of anyone in the surrounding areas, and they began to scarper.

I quietly opened the door of the broom cupboard door that had been just to the left of me, and pulled my body inside. I imagined that Bellatrix Lestrange would want to finish me off before she left. This move into the broom cupboard either meant that Bellatrix would assume I somehow managed to escape and left, or that she would burst in and kill me before I had a chance to force my limbs into standing up (the move into the broom cupboard had been difficult enough). The other option was that Bellatrix left but I was too weak to move ever again and ended up dying alone in the broom cupboard with the Marauder’s map uselessly shoved into my pocket.

Twenty minutes passed and I assumed that the others had all left. The corridor was silent but for my painfully loud laboured breathing. I was too scared to light my wand, and I was probably too weak in any case. I slipped in and out of consciousness for an infinite period of time and then, eventually, I pulled myself up and decided that I had to do something.

The hospital wing, I decided.

My lip was still bleeding – the only outward sign that any kind of harm had been done to me at all. I reached up and brushed some of the blood away, finding that the back of my hand was completely covered in my own blood. Who knew lips could bleed so much?

My limbs felt shaky and weak as I stepped out of the broom cupboard and into the corridor which was as dark and dingy as it had been however long it was previously. I forced myself to walk, as quietly as I could – my body wouldn’t be able to cope with anything else tonight – towards the stairs. Then up them. Step by step. All the way to the hospital wing.

Several times I had to stop and sit down, or lean against the wall and breathe heavily for a few minutes before I regained the ability to walk again. I was visibly shaking. My lip was still bleeding but the bitter and metallic taste of my own blood was motivating me to carry on walking.

I was only one floor too far down when I heard the footsteps. Brisk and purposeful – a teacher maybe? I wanted to call out, but could hardly risk it if it was yet another slytherin.

“Lily! Shit, thank God you’re all right!” James. I turned to face him and whatever relief there’d been in his voice vanished. He didn’t say anything for a few moments. “Can you walk?”

“Yes,” I answered, the first time I’d spoke since the incident – I sounded so weak and frail that it scared myself. I took a few more steps in the direction of the hospital wing before James picked me up gently. I could sense he was angry and goodness knows how long he’d been out there looking for me... but... My brain wasn’t working properly. It was too full of pain. The ghost of the pain seemed to still be humming in my bones and with every step I was reminded how I would rather have died than continued existing through it – how my brain had been screaming, begging for everything to just end.

I liked the smell of James’s neck. I’d be come so accustomed to the scent of his aftershave that I could probably recognise him before he arrived, and now I closed my eyes (because everything was so horrible blurry) and let him carry me. He didn’t say anything for the rest of the journey, but my mind could hardly comprehend the fact that he could be mad – that anybody still had the energy left inside of them to feel.

I felt myself be laid down and was vaguely aware of footsteps. A cool cloth was placed against my lip, James’s hushed voice mixed with another, “what happened?” A woman asked.

“I don’t know,” James replied, then a hand slipped into my own for the briefest second.

 “Cruciatus...” I muttered vaguely. She let out a whispered scream of shock and gathered round some more potions. If she knew, maybe, if she understood then she could fix the roaring rush of aching pain and stop it.

“Your lip,” She said, “Is it cursed or -”

“No, I...

“Then, goodness, what happened to it?” She asked, I was floating between sleep and a vague and smoggy unconsciousness.

“Trying not...not... not to scream...,” I said finally, and then she poured a potion down my throat and the final effort of swallowing was enough to make my head sink back into the darkness of my mind, only a little aware that James had let go of my hand. 

 *

My body ached horribly and I was very against the idea of waking up, but a strange sort of pain was beginning to sear in my muscles and it was too bad for me to be able to sleep. My eyelids were heavy but I wrenched the open anyway. There was a soft December-morning light coming for the window and I vaguely tried to estimate the time but... my brain wasn’t working correctly. Nothing was working correctly.

 I sat up and found that I was very nearly alone in the hospital wing, except for one bed... screened away from the rest. My curiosity wasn’t dampened by my weariness and aching muscles well... not much anyway. So I stretched as far as I could... and I saw a face I recognised. Remus.

He looked bad, pale, like he hadn’t slept for weeks and... Hadn’t James told me he was going home to visit his sick mother? What could have happened to him? And before any of my internal questions had been answered I’d forced my body into working again and I was up on my feet. My bare feet made no noise on the floor, for which I was thankful, and I padded over to his bed. Everything bloody hurt.

He looked awful. There were several bottles of empty potions on his bedside table and...  he had horrible deep cuts on his visible arm. I bent down beside him –ignoring my leg’s screams of protest – and ran my finger along the longest cut – longer than a handspan...  and there were three of them, in a row... like he’d been attached by some vicious animal or....

“What are you doing out of bed?!?” Madame Pomfrey asked – her shrill tones too much for my delicate ears.

“Sorry,” I said quickly, “It’s just, Remus is my friend and I... I just saw him there and,” I hurried back to my bed (although my attempts at hurrying weren’t especially adept considering how weak I felt), trying not to turn my back on her – she may have been small and thin but... It didn’t mean I wasn’t entirely sure that she wouldn’t throw something at me or something...

“You’ve been cursed! You must rest – back to bed!” I practically jumped back under the covers and sat down.

“What’s happened to him?” I asked. “Will he be okay? Can you heal him?”

“Rest!” She exclaimed. “You need rest!”

“But...” I began, sighing when she turned her back on me and headed towards his bed. I folded my arms over my chest and realised that I was wearing one of my nightgowns, which must mean someone must have fetched me something... which means that Alice or Rachel had been up too, and...

What if what happened to Remus was because of me?

That certainly wasn’t part of the plan. I bit my lip which was enough to break the skin of the just healed wound, and for it to start bleeding again. I was too tired to do anything to stem the flow. I closed my eyes and rested my head back on my pillows. I was in the furthest bed from Marys, and I appreciated James a lot for that. Forget it, I appreciated James a lot full stop.

Then a figure appeared at the doorway that regained my interest. Dumbledore. Dumbledore was here? With James, too, and both of them were walking towards my bed.

“What happened to Remus?” I demanded James the second he was close enough to hear me – I think the power of my demand was lessened significantly by the fact that my voice gave out half way through. I brought a hand up to my throat. Everything hurt.

“Oh, Headmaster,” Madame Pomfrey said, turning around to face the two of them in shock. “No visitors, I must insist. This girl has been tortured.”

“Which is precisely why I must insist that I be allowed to talk to Miss Evans.” James wouldn’t look at me. Was I in trouble? I couldn’t decide.

“She needs rest!” Pomfrey declared but reluctantly walked towards the door without too much complaint. She continued muttering right the way to the doorway but, apparently, being tortured on school premises is enough for even Madame Pomfrey to resign to the fact that I had to talk to Dumbledore.

“First things first, Miss Evans, how are you feeling?” His eyes were concerned. James didn’t take the seat at my bedside like normal and instead hovered awkwardly behind Dumbledore’s shoulder.

“Okay,” I answered. “Sir, is Remus okay? I mean -”

“The second thing I must ask is why you were wondering around on your own in the middle of the night?”  Dumbledore questioned, his eyes twinkling ever so slightly –it was like he already knew. I stayed silent and shook my head. I didn’t want to answer that one, it sounded even more stupid this morning. Dumbledore nodded, “could you please tell me exactly what happened?”

“It was... in the dungeons,” I began, glancing at James worriedly – and then at Remus – before turning to face Dumbledore again, “and, there was a group of them – twelve.”  James’s eyes widened, “and they weren’t just Hogwarts students, I mean... Bellatrix Lestrange was there, and Malfoy and... others. It was dark and they were all wearing hooded cloaks. Then I disarmed one of them... broke their wand and...” My gaze drifted back over to Remus and then to James. He looked like he hadn’t slept.

“Miss Evans,” Dumbledore said softly. “I know this is hard, and I am sure there a million things you would rather be thinking about just now, but if you could try and concentrate – just for a few more minutes.” I nodded.

“I broke his wand and said some stuff... and then, Bellatrix tried to curse me and I was disarmed and then... Then she used the cruciatus curse. I bit on my lip, because I was trying not to scream. Then she stopped and she pressed the wand right on my head, and she did it again... four times.” I said, scrunching up my face. I ghost of the pain was beginning to fill me up as I talked about it. “Then they were taking about what to do with me next and I picked up the wand I’d broken and then... I got my wand back and I sent a spell at the ceiling... and it cracked. Then whilst everyone was panicking I crawled into this broom cupboard and stayed there for hours... Then I made myself start walking to the hospital wing where I walked into James.”

Dumbledore nodded. James looked slightly sick.

“And that would be why none of your friends could find her,” Dumbledore nodded, “do you have any more names, Miss Evans?”

“Erm...” I said. “All the seventh year Slytherin boys, and then... Regulus Black and... some other students, older ones, that I didn’t recognise.”

“Do you still have the wand?” I nodded, and reached for my robes that were folded on the chair. James reached for them and pulled the two wands out. He placed mine on the bedside table but handed the cracked one to Dumbledore.

He ran a finger along it.

“The safety enchantments around Hogwarts will be increased. Teachers on patrol every night. And, Miss Evans,” He said taking a step towards the door. “I do not wish for you to patrol alone again, no matter how curious you may be,” Then he sent me a sharp piercing look. He knew exactly what I was doing. It was almost frightening.

He nodded at James before he left. “I will need to see you both in my office after you have recovered – Mr Black too, Mr Lupin, Mr Pettigrew and Mr Longbottom.” He paused for another second, “and Miss Prewett too, I should think,”

“That man,” I said, “is incredible.” James said nothing. He still didn’t sit. He hovered around a little way away from my bed, not looking at me. I sighed and stayed silent for a few minutes, however when, after what felt like half an hour – in which madam Pomfrey had returned and was continuing to fuss around Remus – he still hadn’t looked at me, I was beginning to feel slightly irritated. “James, will you just look at me?” I questioned, but in my weak state I was not very going at hiding my emotions. My voice cracked horrible half way through, and if I had the energy I think I might have started to cry.

“I don’t want to look at you,” he snapped back, and in doing so glaring right at me. The strength of his gaze sapped out the last of my strength. There were horrible red rings under his eyes and I didn’t think I’d seen him look so, god, I don’t know – mad? Upset? Bloody awful? – since the days leading up to Mary’s death where he’d haul himself up in his room for hours then immerge with new resolve and strength that would last for a couple of hours before it all started again.

“You always want to look at me,” I said weakly, trying to lift up my hand so I could take his hand.

“You did this to yourself,” James said roughly, “and you don’t even care,”

“James,” I muttered, letting my scrabbling fingers drop back onto the bed, “can’t we talk about that... later. I mean I, I need you here,”

“Do you just.... just never think about me?” James asked, he sat down next to my bed for a minute and stared out at the window, “do I not matter?”

I blinked.

“Of course you...” I began, struggling to find somewhere for the words to come from. Couldn’t he see that I was fighting to say conscious, that I could hardly cope with a conversation about the weather let alone something like this?

“How could you do this to me?” James muttered, running his fingers through his hair and taking a deep breath, “God, Evans – how could you... just,” he stopped, pressing his fingers against his forehead and breathing again. Merlin, he was crying.

And it was worse than when Sirius cried.

“You haven’t seen yourself Lily,” James continued, “but you look like death and... you did it all on purpose. Fucking hell, Evans, what does about how worried we all were? How we’ve been searching everywhere for you, the teachers too, but no – that would hardly bother you, would it?”

“James,” I tried to say, trying to use my arms to push me up on my bed – but my muscles seemed to be made of jelly and my body was much too heavy.

 “And you lied to me, Lily!”

“You’ve lied too!” I hissed back. “You said Remus had gone to visit his mum and... you’re hiding something from me,”

“Hiding something from you?” He questioned. He looked furious. “So we’re focusing on the fact that I have a slight secret, rather than the fact that you actively decided to go and get yourself killed!”

“Not killed!” I retorted back, “Tortured.”

“Right,” James said, a hand ruffling up his hair in frustration. He took another deep steadying breath. “Because that’s so much better.”

“I’m fine, aren’t I?”

“You might not have been fine,” James said, “and then what the hell would have happened to me then? Of course, that’s of no consequence to you – as long as I’m there when you need me then, well, what does it matter about my feelings,”

“I needed to do it,” I said, looking up at him and trying to beg him with my poor tired eyes, “I just had to,”

“Of course you did,” James said, “I’ve just been an idiot to even think... get some rest Evans,” James said, running his hand though his hair and standing up, “I guess you’re getting what you wanted – I’ll leave you alone,”

“Don’t go,” I muttered, grabbing the side of his robes before letting my hand drop back onto the bed, “please,”

“My poor wasted heart,” James muttered with a faintly amused smile on his face, “apparently I like pain too,”

Then he turned away and I was unconscious before he had taken two steps, drowning in seas of pain and hurt and being alone all of a sudden.

*

“You finally did it Evans,” Sirius said, propping his feet up on this of my bed and putting his hands behind his neck, “you managed to make James ditch you too. How many people is that now?”

“Sirius,” Alice said sharply, sending him a reproachful look that he ignored. I wanted to thank God for Alice, because every single digging word of Sirius’s brought me a centimetre closer to tears. All I wanted to do was turn away from them, wrap my arms around myself and weep. Sirius knew that full well.

“I mean, I’m actually impressed, James of all people..? I really thought he was going to persist himself into your good books, eventually,” Sirius said, watching my expression carefully. I wanted to cry. I wanted to block out his words and pretend that nothing had changed.

“Don’t worry, Lily,” Alice said, “it’ll be okay. You’re out tomorrow, aren’t you?” She asked,  and even she couldn’t bring herself to tell that James would be coming to visit any time soon. Sirius was right: I’d achieved the impossible and lost the one person in the world that I physically couldn’t lose. “I’ve packed all your stuff for Christmas, okay? So it’s all ready for you – I’ve got to go find Frank. I’ll come back after dinner,” She said with a small smile and a little wave.

“I knew how he was going to react,” I muttered to Sirius once we were left alone, “I knew James would hate it, I knew... I knew this was going to happen,”

“I hope you enjoy this little fuck up you’ve organise for yourself,” Sirius muttered dryly.

“Oh shut up!” I said wildly, “you and Mary did things like to each other all the damn time, okay? Don’t act like I’m, just, I don’t know -”

“-do you know how close you were to dying?” Sirius interrupted, “because James is pretty aware,”

“You don’t understand," I muttered, sinking back onto my covers and closing my eyes. I don’t think I’d anticipated how much James’s absence would really bloody hurt. I was so used to him being around now, and the soothing presence of the scent of his aftershave, his stupid grin and the way he quite clearly had no respect for my personal space or the usual boundaries of friendship. We had, for all intents and purposes, been very nearly dating. And now he wasn’t here and I needed more than anything for him to walk through the door, kiss m on the cheek and tell me something nice about myself. Maybe there was nothing nice left to say about me.

Did James not care whether I was okay? Did he just not give a shit that I’d been tortured and had been in the hospital wing for nearly a fortnight? Forced to spend every moment of the day locked up with the shadowy lump that was Mary in the furthest bed – as she died over and over again in my dreams.

“He’s been visiting when you’re unconscious,” Sirius added, I pulled the covers up to my  face and closed my eyes. Maybe now I would pretend to be unconscious until the moment he’d visit, then grab his hand and force him to talk to me, “he’s pretty bad,”

“Stop it,” I muttered to Sirius, turning my face to him and blinking at him blearily, “I don’t want to know,”

“How close was it?”

“Was what?” I asked.

“Coupledom,”

“It wasn’t,” I said.

“Because I was betting on it being before Christmas,”

“The holiday starts in three days, Sirius,”

“Now I’m saying about March,”

“Why?” I demanded.

“Mary died in March,”

“What do I do?” I asked, blinking up at him.

“Really, Lily? You’re asking me for relationship advice? You saw the appalling screw up that was me and Mary,”

“You were happy in the end,”

“Was I?” Sirius grunted, “I never really got that chance, everything was always too messed up. Then I knew she was dying – and how could I be happy when I already knew that, eventually, I was going to be, you know, here. You and James already have a better chance – neither of you are going to die before the end of the year’s out. That’s a great place to start, Lily. Now if you could just not go on suicide missions that’s the way that could remain. I can’t talk for anyone else, but I’d probably miss you if you got yourself murdered by my darling cousin,”

“Good to know,”

“But I wouldn’t miss you as much as bloody James, the fool.”

"Thanks Sirius," I muttered, closing my eyes and pretending that I was someone else.

 





 

Thank Mangagirl for the update! I asked the general forum-public what should be updated next and she said this one :)

(also, yay for 200 reviews!)

As of 2012 I'm answering every review as soon as I get it, so if you fancy keeping me busy at all...? :D

And happy New Year!

Oh, quick additional note - I'm editing TAOB at last! I'm going through chapter by chapter and making it well... better.  It’s been a long time coming and I'm pretty excited about it. You'll be able to tell when a particular chapter has been edited because it will say '2012 edit' in the summary, then the name of the lovely beta who has helped me out on that chapter. I'd really appreciate anyone who went back and read the edited versions of the chapter as they come out, and I'll probably weep with happiness if anyone reviews the edited versions of the chapters (as this whole editing thing is actually taking quite a long time). Thanks for reading guys :)
 


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What is the name of the Harry Potter character seen in the image on the left?


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