Chapter 17 : Chapter 17
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I see Trevor on the way up to the Common Room. Might as well get this over with.
“Hey,” he says, looking at me carefully.
“Hey,” I say. “Look, I’m really sorry, but I think we should go back to being friends.”
His face falls, but he doesn’t look surprised. “I kind of thought you were going to say that… I shouldn’t have kissed you the other night, it was stupid.”
“No, it wasn’t,” I tell him. “I just…I can’t. It wouldn’t be fair to you.”
He doesn’t ask me for any more details, which is probably just as well. “I’ll see you around, Maddie.” He walks away, and I continue up the stairs.
I should feel horrible for doing that to another boy. But as I reach the Common Room, Trevor’s not the boy on my mind.
I walk out onto the grounds, crunching through the January snow. I’m mad. Mad at Regulus, mad at Maddie, mad at myself.
The reasons for being mad at Regulus are obvious. I mean, aside from the fact that he’s damaged my flawless face (if only temporarily), he insulted two of the my closest friends, including the girl I love.
I mean, he insulted almost all of the friends I have, including Maddie.
Yeah, that’s it.
I don’t love Maddie.
I mean, how can you love someone you’re not even dating? Have strong feelings for her, yes, feel an urge to protect her, sure. But I don’t love her. No way.
And I’d believe that, if it weren’t for one small problem.
I do love her.
“Hey,” says Lily when I enter the Portrait Hole. “Are you alright?” she asks, concern evident in her voice. “Did you and Sirius have another row?”
“You could say that,” I answer, plopping down in an armchair next to the couch and folding my arms across my chest.
“What about this time?” she asks.
“I don’t even know! All I did was ask him why he had a black eye, and he completely snapped at me. I mean, when did it become a criminal offense to ask a friend if he’s okay? When did it become acceptable to be rude to someone who is only concerned for your wellbeing? When did it become okay to say you’ll be someone’s friend and then not treat them the way you used to?” I’m breathing hard at the end of my rant, still so angry at the way I’d been treated.
“When that person is your ex-boyfriend,” says Lily gently. “Look, Maddie, I’m sure Sirius didn’t mean to be rude to you. I’m sure you two will work it out like you always do.”
“Maybe,” I say. Then I stop and think about it. No. “No, Lils. I’m done with this cycle. Fight, work it out, fight, work it out, fight, work it out. It’s all the two of us do! I’m done with that. I’m done with Sirius.”
I get up and disappear into our dorms before she can object.
Sweet Merlin, why? Why would you do this to me?
Hey, Cupid, I think you’ve got the wrong guy! I’m Sirius Black, I don’t fall in love!
Are you sure you weren’t aiming for Remus? He’s a nice bloke, probably wouldn’t mind being in love. Hell, even Wormtail over me. Anyone but me.
This is not how it works.
These are the thoughts that fill my head as I head back up to the castle, trying desperately to sort through the crazy place that is my mind.
I run into James in the Entrance Hall. “Hey, mate,” he greets me. “I was just about to come and find you. What the hell happened to your eye?”
I re-count the fight between Regulus and me, conveniently leaving out the part where Regulus insulted Maddie. James shakes his head.
“What a prick,” he says. “Well, do you want to head up to Madam Pomfrey and get that fixed?”
So we do, insulting my brother the whole way there.
“What I’m just not clear on,” says James, as Madam Pomfrey bustles away, having applied thick paste around my eye and instructing me to sit for five minutes, “is what pushed you over the edge. I mean, how many times have people called Lily a-you know, or me a blood traitor? I thought we were past those insults, mate.”
“Guess it just got to me,” I say, avoiding making eye contact.
“Are you sure Lily and I were the only ones he insulted?” James asks, looking at me carefully. “He didn’t happen to bring a certain brunette into this argument, did he?”
“He might’ve,” I say, still not looking at him.
“What did he call her?”
“A slut,” I say, finally turning to face him.
James looks at me knowingly. “So she gets the tamest insult and the biggest reaction.”
“You could say that.”
There’s a moment of silence in which James studies me carefully.
“You love her,” James states, breaking the silence. I don’t have to ask how he knows. He’s my best mate. And he knows what it’s like to be in love.
I take a deep breath. “You could say that, too.”
I’m walking down the dormitory staircases for dinner when I hear two voices in a hushed discussion, coming from the Common Room.
“Lily, you can’t tell her, alright? Sirius trusted me with this. I wasn’t even supposed to tell you, but it’s not my fault you can tell when I’m hiding something.”
I stop dead in my tracks to listen.
“But James, don’t you see what this means? Sirius defended her when he didn’t defend us and her insult wasn’t nearly as bad! He obviously-”
“I know, I know, but that’s not the point, Lils, it’s not our place to intervene!”
A pause. “Fine, I won’t tell her.”
I wait about thirty seconds before emerging. “Hey, ready for dinner?” I ask them nonchalantly.
They exchange a glance so slight I might’ve missed it.
“Yeah,” says James with a smile. “Let’s go.”
As we walk down the stairs, my mind is racing. What were they talking about? I think I can safely assume the “her” is me. He defended me…defended me against who? Whoever gave him the black eye.
“Sirius defended her when he didn’t defend us and her insult wasn’t nearly as bad!”
So someone insulted James and Lily—assumedly pretty badly—and Sirius didn’t defend them, then the person insulted me—with an insult that wasn’t as bad, and Sirius defended me.
I can think of one person who hates everyone Sirius is friends with and would be looking for a fight, and it’s his own brother.
But that’s not the point.
He defended me. He didn’t defend Lily, or James, but he defended me.
I feel touched that he would do something like that.
And then I feel angry.
How is it fair that after he did that, he didn’t even think he owed me, of all people, an explanation? How could he clearly care about me enough to defend me, and then be so rude to me?
I need to talk to him.
I skip dinner and hang out in the Common Room. I don’t know how much time passes, but suddenly people are pouring through the Portrait Hole and Mads is marching over to me, eyes ablaze.
“We need to talk,” she says sharply. “Now.”
She grabs me by the arm and hauls me out through the Portrait Hole.
“Where’s somewhere we can go where we won’t be disturbed?” she asks, dropping my arm.
I don’t give her a response, just gesture for her to follow me. I lead her to the seventh floor corridor, to a room that has served multiple purposes over the years. When we enter, it looks like the bedroom of a married couple. A bed, two night tables with lamps, oriental rugs. I don’t have time to dwell on the decor right now though, and I close the door behind us.
I speak for the first time since she pulled me from my seat in the Common Room.
“Alright, I’m here, what do you want to talk about?” I ask her.
“What do you want from me?” she asks seriously, her voice dangerously tense. “You say be friends, so okay, we’re supposed to be friends. Guess what, Sirius? We’re not friends!” she yells. “You don’t treat me like a friend! Friends don’t snap at other friends who ask them what’s wrong! They let their friend try to help them! And then I find out that the reason you got into a fight, the reason you got a black eye, was me!”
“How did you find that out?” I demand.
“Didn’t you think I had a right to know that?” she shouts. “You wouldn’t even tell me what happened, let alone let me know that I was the reason it happened!”
“Oh, don’t flatter yourself!” I hurl back at her. “Everything I do isn’t centered around you!”
“Obviously!” she yells back. “If it were, you would’ve considered my feelings earlier when you decided to be a complete prick to me!”
“Right, I’m the prick! I stand up for you against my slimy Slytherin git of a brother, and I’m the prick!”
“I thought you said that wasn’t about me,” she says sarcastically.
“Yeah, well I lied!” I bellow at her. “I seem to do be doing a lot of that lately. Like, let me think—telling stupid Lauren Ellison that I had a great holiday! Or telling Lily a Bludger broke my hand, when I really punched a fucking wall after I saw you snogging Trevor! Or telling you that the best thing for us was to go back to being just friends!”
“Well stop lying!” she screams, verging on hysteria. “Start giving me some real answers!”
“Where would you like me to start?”
“How about with why you defended me to your brother when you didn’t defend Lily and James? And don’t tell me it’s because I’m your friend, because Lily and James are your friends too and because you sure as hell haven’t been treating me like one!” Mads is staring straight at me, hair falling all around her face, breathing hard. “I want a real reason, Sirius! Why did you do that?”
“Because I’m in love with you!”
The words are out before I can stop them. Her eyes widen, I see her take a sharp intake of breath. She doesn’t say anything, just stares at me. “You’re what?” she asks in disbelief.
“I’m in love with you,” I repeat. “Merlin, Mads, isn’t it obvious? I am head over heels, ridiculously and hopelessly in love with you. I have been since Christmas, and maybe even before that. And it has been absolute torture to see you with Allen, and Trevor, and to know that someone else was getting to hold your hand, kiss you, and look into your eyes. Because I want to be doing all that stuff. Because I love you. Because I’m in love with you.”
She stares at me and I stare at her. For a minute, neither of us says anything.
And then suddenly we’re snogging like we’ve never snogged before. My hands are on her shoulders, pulling her into me. Her hands are on the back of my head, both of us desperate to be closer. My lips capture hers and she doesn’t protest, both of us moving together in perfect synchronization.
As we kiss, we back up until we reach the bed, which, as the Room predicted, serves to be very useful. I lay her down and settle myself above her, arms on either side of her body, our lips still intertwined in a series of continuous kisses.
Her hands are all over me and mine all over her, kissing for what feels like forever. I don’t know how long we go on for but it doesn’t matter; we are the only two people in the world.
We stop for a minute, and I look down into her eyes. I know we’re both thinking the same thing.
“Are you sure?” I ask her.
“I love you,” she says, and pulls me in to kiss her again.
A/N: I'm so sorry this took so long to upload! I had some time to write recently so I've got two more chapters already written and the next one in the process! I hope you guys liked this chapter, leave a review and let me know what you thought--what you liked, didn't like, favorite lines, anything :) Thanks for reading!
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