Chapter 21 : The War Begins To Roar Up
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A/N: This one's a long one but i hope you enjoy it. It's a quite dark chapter but it is only the beginning so please enjoy and i hope you had a great Christmas and New Year or Holiday. Please Review my fabulous readers! :)
Ruby walked tentatively down into the Great Hall early Saturday morning. The Hall was relatively empty as she came in sitting down at the Gryffindor table. She reached forward grabbing the pumpkin juice and pouring herself a goblet full.
She turned as she felt someone approaching and looked up into the face of Regulus Black, flanked by Rosier and Wilkes. He paused, his gaze never leaving her face.
‘What do you want?’ Ruby asked rolling up her nose and looking at him as though she were looking at a pile of manure. They didn’t reply instead remained staring. Ruby turned away from them cutting her bacon and trying to ignore their presence. This became increasingly hard to do when Rosier and Wilkes sat down on either side of her.
‘How are you and my good for nothing brother?’ Regulus asked looking at the back of her head.
‘That is none of your business.’
‘We’re family it’s always my business,’ Regulus said his hand now on her shoulder. Ruby grew tense rolling her shoulder away from his grasp, which tightened as she attempted to do so.
‘You’re not his family,’ Ruby said her tone harsh as she looked down at her plate. It was only then as Regulus thought about what he was going to say in response that she noticed just how tightly she was stuck in between the two seventh year Slytherin boys.
‘But I am, Mudblood. He will join us; he will join the Dark Lord. After all he is a Black, it’s about time he started acting like one and you will not get in the way of that.’ Regulus said his gaze still on the girl his older brother was in love with, his grip on her shoulder tighter than ever. He moved away indicating that his fellow Slytherins follow him. Ruby turned slightly breathing deeply watching as they walked towards their own table. She felt ill. Was her love for Sirius going to end up getting him hurt?
Ruby turned back to her food, pushing it around the plate, her hand shaking. Lena Lupin was frozen in the doorway of the Great Hall. She’d watched the display quietly wanting to interfere but finding herself unable to move.
‘Abby, keep an eye on Ruby for a second,’ Lena said to her friend who nodded. She turned and started running. She knew it was early especially for a Saturday but if sleeping beauty Ruby was awake then so should the Marauders.
‘Baubles!’ She yelled as she reached the portrait of the Fat Lady, flying through the common room. She headed up the stairs, bursting through the seventh years door.
‘Get up!’ She yelled causing the boys to stir slightly and drop back off to sleep. ‘Sirius, its Ruby, get your fat ass up.’ Sirius opened his eyes looking at her to see her face red and sweaty and a look of panic in her eyes.
‘Your brother and two of his cronies had a word to her and...’
‘He had his hand on her shoulder and she seems pretty shaken up,’ Lena said now looking to her brother who was dressing quickly. She led the way back down to the Great Hall; staying with them as they approached Ruby who had was still in the same place she had been before.
‘Ruby?’ Sirius said as he started towards her. He paused as he noticed his brother heading for the exit. His facial expression changed quickly as he turned heading in his direction.
Sirius’ eyes were darkening as he stormed towards his younger brother. As he reached him Regulus turned and looked at him. Sirius grabbed him by the front of his shirt pushing him backwards, hard against the stone wall of the Great Hall.
‘Don’t ever touch her again, don’t ever talk to her, don’t even look at her. Just stay away from her. Stop doing their bidding,’ Sirius growled the need to protect her was overwhelming.
‘I’m not doing their bidding. I’m a Black it’s not my fault you choose to fuck a mudblood and dishonour your family.’ At Regulus’ words he pushed him harder against the wall his forearm lying across his throat.
‘I love her and I choose not to be a Black if it means following a lunatic around and killing and torturing innocent people and I thought just maybe you would come to your senses and let me help you.’
‘To do what?’
‘Get away from those people.’
‘I don’t need your help. But I’d save it; others will need help when we’re finished with them.’ Regulus said looking over at Ruby who was being held back by Remus.
‘Don’t go near her or I’ll break your legs.’
‘They’ll heal, she won’t…’ Sirius clenched his fist punching his brother who just stood there smiling. ‘Poor pathetic scum.’ Again Sirius hit him in the face before punching him in the stomach.
‘Sirius, stop!’ Ruby said trying to grab his arm. ‘Sirius.’
‘Yeah Sirius, listen to your bitch. Stop,’ Regulus said as Ruby tried again to pull Regulus’ hands which were now holding Sirius by the hair, glaring at one another. Regulus released his grip on Sirius’ hair bring his arm down across Ruby’s face. She pulled away gasping looking at the flash of defiance in the younger Black’s eyes.
‘Ahhh,’ Sirius screamed loudly as he practically picked his brother up, throwing him against the hard wall. Regulus opened his eyes and for a moment looked at his brother with respect and pride with a hint of love, before he blinked, glaring clutching his side as he got painfully back to his feet. Remus had stepped forward now as Sirius approached Regulus again.
‘Come on, mate that’s enough,’ Remus said as he put a hand on each arm and physically turned Sirius away from his brother.
‘Ruby,’ Sirius said looking down at the floor.
‘Sirius,’ Ruby said bending down slightly and lifting his face so she could look at him. Sirius looked up at her, putting his hands gently on either side of her face.
‘I’m so sorry,’ Sirius said before he turned and walked away from her.
‘God damn it, Black,’ Ruby said loudly. ‘This changes nothing!’
Remus and Peter stood watching Sirius’ reaction while Lena kept her gaze on the girl who was so like a sister to her. Yet Sirius continued to walk from the gaze of the small number of early risers there to witness the brotherly brawl. Ruby went to take after him only to be stopped by Remus.
‘Just let him cool off,’ Remus said watching as Ruby nodded. Lena came over looking at the now darkening bruise that surrounded Ruby’s eye.
‘You should get that healed,’ Lena said pushing her now long, light brown hair back off her shoulders.
‘I’m fine I just need him,’ Ruby said heading out of the Great Hall.
‘Where’s she going?’ Lena asked looking to the side at her big brother.
‘Probably to find Lily, if she couldn’t talk to Sirius than she’d go there.’
Ruby walked towards the Heads common room, focusing on talking to Lily and James. It was the first Saturday back at Hogwarts and already a girl chat was needed. James and Lily had told the others the password the morning after they arrived and how to find their common room and it meant that it had become the new hang out for the expanding group.
‘Lily?’ Ruby said loudly as she same into the shared common room. She could hear James snoring from where she stood so she assumed Lily was still in her new bedroom and moved towards it. She knocked before pushing the door open.
‘Hey Roo,’ Lily said as she came in from her bathroom. She was in her undies and a singlet, her hair wrapped up in a towel. She rubbed the towel against her head, drying her hair before placing it on her trunk, her wet red hair curling slightly as it fell against her back. She moved towards her wardrobe, about to pull out a pair of jeans, when she noticed Ruby’s progressively darkening eye.
‘What happened Roo?’ At that moment Ruby’s strength began to crumble slightly and she moved to sit beside Lily on the bed, getting teary as she told Lily everything that had happened.
‘He walked away, Lily. He walked away.’
‘No I’m sure there’s another explanation. Come on have breakfast with James.’
‘I’m just tired I think.’
‘Want to sleep for a while in my bed?’
‘No I might go sit on the couch or something if that’s alright?’
‘Yeah sure,’ Lily said before she followed Ruby out of her room. She watched her sit down leaning her head against the arm before Lily opened James’ door.
‘James please wake up.’
‘Lily, beautiful Lily,’ James mumbled.
‘Please James I need your help,’ Lily said shaking him more roughly now.
‘Lily?’ he said rubbing his eyes. Lily smiled before she began telling him everything Ruby had just told her.
‘I’m going to speak to Sirius. I know he doesn’t particularly like me but…’
‘You don’t want me to?’
‘No he’ll have less of a fighting chance of convincing me that leaving Rubes is better for her. I just need you to watch her.’
‘Ok,’ he said climbing out of bed. Lily stepped backwards admiring his topless chest before she blinked and walked from the room.
‘Anytime, your forgetting Lily that I love her too,’ James said before watching her go. He quickly tugged on a shirt and walked from the room, smiling softly at his brother’s girl who was curled up on the couch.
‘Walk into an apple tree hey Rubes?’ Ruby looked up at him as he approached.
‘Not exactly,’ Ruby said as he sat down beside her tilting his head to the side as he looked at her. ‘Nice boxers.’
‘Thanks,’ James said smirking as he looked at his muggle superman boxers. ‘He won’t leave you. He can’t.’
‘He didn’t stay though; he left even though I needed him. I don’t want him to protect me if it means losing him.’
‘You won’t lose him.’
‘James I can’t lose him. It may sound dramatic but I wouldn’t be able to function,’ Ruby said her voice breaking.
‘Listen to me Rubes before you begin to sound anymore like a thirteen year old boy whose parts are dropping.’ Ruby pulled a face at him as he continued. ‘He loves you too much to walk away from you.’
‘No buts, I know him, he’s not going to leave you unless it’s absolutely necessary,’ James said stroking her hair before putting his arm around her shoulders and watching as she accepted his words nodding and began to drift off to sleep.
Lily walked quickly through the castle, pulling her coat more tightly around her as she headed outside. It didn’t take long to spot him walking around the Black Lake his shoulders hunched over.
‘Hey Black,’ Lily said as she neared him, her cheeks slightly pink in the cool morning air.
‘Red? I thought for sure James or Remus maybe even Ruby herself but…’
‘Yeah well you got me.’ Lily said falling into step beside him. ‘You’re giving up?’
‘No, I’m being practical.’
‘That’s a first. Sirius our groups are meshed together and even I have to admit it’s a good thing. Can you really pull away from her even if it is to protect her? Can you force our groups apart? Can you take Remus and James away from her?’
‘That’s not what I’m doing.’ Sirius said indignantly.
‘Then what are you doing?’
‘I’m…I don’t have to explain it to you, Red.’
‘You’ll have to explain it to Ruby and well you know her, she won’t exactly take it lying down.’
‘I can handle Ruby, its better this way. Then my bloody family won’t get to her. My parents, my brother, my cousins, aunts, uncles they’re all bastards and they will do anything that that Voldy dude tells them. It’s much better this way,’ Sirius said still looking ahead as he continued to walk relatively fast.
‘Just shut up for a sec!’ Lily yelled and Sirius froze gazing at her shocked. ‘You love her yeah?’
‘Can you live without her?’
‘If it means keeping her alive then yes.’
‘We can keep her alive, Sirius. Do you even realise that she’s alive now because of you. If she doesn’t have you she’ll crash she’ll be as good as dead. Do you want that?’
‘She’ll be fine, she’s strong, she got through all that stuff with her sister fine.’
‘Because she had you, Sirius just listen to me for a minute. I know you’re scared of losing her, I get that she makes you feel these amazing things and because of that you want her to be safe and happy, well guess what black eye or not she is even after what happened this morning all she’s worried about is your stupid head.’
‘My what?’ Sirius said smirking. ‘What do you mean you get what I feel for her?’
‘Just I assume.’
‘Do you like the new Head Boy after all?’
‘Of course not,’ Lily said thoughtfully realising that maybe after everything she was beginning to feel something. ‘Sirius, you guys have the relationship where you would die for each other, where you would sacrifice your happiness just to protect them. That kind of relationship people would kill for, I’d kill for. You have to understand that yes they may hurt her but they can’t hurt her as much as you could.’
Sirius looked at her taking in what she was saying and just how right she may be.
‘You could have it you know?’
‘Shut up we’re talking about you and Ruby not me and James.’
‘So there’s a you and James now is there?’
‘Black would you stop thinking. Now are you going to go see her or do I have to drag you?’
Sirius nodded starting to walk back towards the castle his hands in his pockets.
‘Thanks Lily and…’
‘I get why James liked you,’ Lily stopped, she smiled gently before beginning to walk knowing she needed a chat with Ruby but it would have to wait just a bit.
James stayed sitting on the couch with Ruby dozing on him wondering when his best mate was going to come back to Ruby. Sirius walked in spotting his girl straight away.
‘Yeah, I had some sense knocked into me by Red,’ Sirius said sitting gingerly on the couch opposite.
‘Good,’ James said though you could see that he was concerned. ‘Sirius I know you just want her to be ok but…Sirius she wasn’t completely shaken up by Regulus, she was shaken up more by trying to work out how you’d take it. She was only ever worried about you mate.’
Sirius nodded. ‘That’s our girl right?’ Sirius looked at Ruby and knew no matter how much danger she may be in he needed her in his life, he was after all hers.
‘I’m just going to have some breakfast, maybe run into Lily,’ James said standing slowly trying not to wake her but with little success. Ruby blinked, waking herself up and spotting Sirius immediately. She smiled softly as Sirius knelt before her placing his hand on her knee as she sat up looking at him.
‘I love you, Ruby.’
‘And I love you. Sirius no one ever said this was going to be easy. We’re in the middle of a war and whether I’m with you or not I’m a target, in their eyes I’m just a mudblood.’
‘I know but you have to know how scared I am of losing you, especially to those bastards.’
‘I do and I know how angry you are that you can’t doo more for your brother but baby it was his choice you’ve tried to help him.’ Ruby said and Sirius smiled at how lucky he was that his girlfriend could still see the good he did in his younger brother. He gently reached forward and stroked his fingers against her darkening eye.
‘Do you remember what I said to you when we got together?’
‘That you were mine?’
‘Yeah and that it had always being you. I’m going to stay with you and protect you because I can’t live without you. But if something happens…’
‘It won’t,’ Ruby said placing her hand flat against his cheek. ‘Now I’m starving so can we go eat?’
‘Sure,’ Sirius said taking her hand and pulling her up before hugging her. She winced slightly before smiling as they separated. Sirius raised his eyebrow looking at her shoulder before moving her shirt across to reveal another bruise. He sucked in a sharp breath and Ruby shrugged.
‘Come on,’ Ruby said putting his arm around her waist and hugging him sideways. He tightened his grip on her body as he leant forward and kissed her head.
James looked up, away from Lily as Ruby and Sirius came in arms around each other. He watched as they sat down and Lily leaned across whispering something to Ruby who nodded.
James had never felt more in need to ask Lily out than he did in that moment. They had now being friends for a while and he was beginning to understand her better then he ever thought he would. Like now as he watched her glancing at Sirius and Ruby in a protective manner he knew how much she wanted them to be ok. He now knew that when she was rolling her hands together she was holding her tongue, he knew that when she was tired she was at her crankiest and when she got a mark she wasn’t happy with she like to overload herself with study and a large amount of Honeyduke’s best chocolate.
They all ate relatively quickly before Lily jumped up and headed off for a walk with the rest of her girls, leaving Ruby by Sirius’ side. Ruby laughed at James who was talking enthusiastically about a muggle sport called rugby that he had heard about. Remus nudged her as Aero came soaring down, landing gently on the table. Ruby smiled a look of joy and surprise on her face.
‘Could it be?’ Ruby thought to herself letting herself believe that maybe her family finally remembered that she was related to them. She slid the envelope open as Remus who was sitting opposite Ruby feed the owl some bacon as he looked at the amazed expression on his best friend’s face.
Her eyes scanned it quickly, her face falling as she read.
I hope you’re well. I hope everything is getting better for you now. I’m writing to ask you a favour. Now I know Lily has spoken to Professor Dumbledore about having a bit of time off for Petunia’s wedding and I was hoping you would join her. She’ll be all on her own at the wedding and I can’t bear that she won’t have a good time. Please come and bring a date and bring that Potter boy for Lily. My daughter is too proud and stubborn to ever admit that she has feelings for him. I love my daughter and I want her to be happy and I think if she stops for a moment she’ll realise she doesn’t hate this boy as much as she thinks. We’ve known you for years and I consider you part of the family and so does Lily. I know my daughters don’t have the best of relationships and I know how left out my Lily can feel and I think having you and a couple good looking wizards there will make her enjoy the night as she should. I know it’s your seventh year and a busy time for you but I hope to see you there. If all goes well meet us at our house on the 10th of October at about 9.30. Lily’s coming home on the 7th so she’ll be none of the wiser that you three will be joining us.
Thank you, Ruby
Love Rose Evans
She placed the letter down and moved subtly into Sirius. He and James hadn’t being paying attention like Remus had and thought nothing of her sudden need to be held. Remus quickly read the letter and moved across the table sitting next to her and squeezing her hand.
‘I’m just going to see Dumbledore.’
‘Why?’ Sirius asked as Ruby got up.
‘Got a letter from Lily’s mum, we’re going to a wedding.’
‘Whose we?’ Sirius asked raising an eyebrow.
‘Me, you and James.’
‘What?’ James asked loudly almost falling backwards off the bench. ‘What wedding?’
‘Petunia Evans,’ Ruby said smirking at his facial expression. ‘Rose, Lily’s mum, wants Lily to have a good time and that means that we’re invited too. You can read the letter just make sure Lily doesn’t see it.’
James grabbed the letter and began to read his eyes growing wider as he neared the end.
‘Her mum thinks she likes me?’ Ruby nodded before continuing to walk from the Great Hall.
‘I’ll see you guys later,’ Sirius said jumping up and following Ruby. He scooped her up as he reached her and spun her around. She clung to him, squealing slightly as her hair flew out behind her. Lena Lupin whistled loudly as she watched him carry her from the Hall, tilting her from side to side.
Ruby and Sirius walked out of Dumbledore’s office smiling, knowing they were off for a few days soon.
‘We’ll have to get you two tuxes,’ Ruby said her hand linked up with her boyfriends.
‘Yep, tie and all,’ Ruby said picturing her boys in suits. Sirius pulled a face before picking Ruby up, hugging her tightly. He loved her so much; he loved her daggy personality, her body, her eyes, her passionate fighting spirit. He couldn’t believe how much his life now revolved around her existence. ‘You’ll look sexy…’ Ruby said as her feet rested on the ground. She grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him closer to her. He watched her, barely breathing as she twisted one of her legs around his lower leg, her hand disappearing down his pants. Sirius sucked in a sharp breath as she leaned in kissing him.
‘You ok, big boy?’ He nodded unable to form words. He’d being in this position many times before yet with Ruby it was like her touch was electrifying. She removed her hand running it instead up his back sending shivers up and down his spine. ‘I’ve being thinking about that fantasy…’
‘Really?’ Sirius asked his voice almost squeaking.
‘I’ve being thinking about you a lot lately…’ Ruby said her hands now on his ass.
‘I’m always thinking about you.’
‘Me too but I mean…’
‘I know what you mean Rubes,’ Sirius said smirking as he grabbed her waist, holding her tightly his eyes flashing. ‘As I said I’m constantly thinking about you.’
‘Well maybe we’ll have to remove some of those pent up thoughts,’ Ruby slipped her hand behind his neck and pulled him down so she could kiss him. His lips moved softly against hers with a feverous desire. He held her close as they headed towards the castle exit.
‘Yeah?’ Ruby asked not paying attention to anything other than him.
‘Evans,’ Sirius said his eyes indicating to Lily who was coming out of Hagrid’s.
‘I’ll be back, you go find the guys,’ Ruby said gently kissing his lips before letting her fingers slip from his hand as she headed towards Lily. Sirius stood for a moment watching as Ruby ran and jumped up on Lily who laughed at Ruby’s elated face.
‘Hey Roo, you look happy,’ Lily said smiling.
‘That’s because I am, Sugar. So want to disappear for a while?’
‘What if we get caught?’ Lily said looking nervous.
‘Lily, we’re in the middle of a war, who cares if we get caught by teachers? Let’s go enjoy ourselves,’ Ruby said beaming.
‘Ok, but we have to at least tell someone we’re leaving so that people don’t panic.’
‘Whose people?’ Ruby asked poking her tongue out slightly as she smirked. Ruby waved her wand, sending a patronus. ‘Going into London, don’t worry, don’t follow, see you soon.’
‘Who’d you send it to?’
‘Sirius, he’s with the boys so they’ll all know,’ Ruby said as she linked arms with Lily and headed towards the Whomping Willow.
‘Where are we going?’
‘It’s our way out, leads to the Shrieking Shack. Trust me,’ Lily watched as she immobilised the tree and headed towards its roots. ‘Come on.’
‘Roo that place is haunted.’ Ruby bit her tongue as she shook her head.
‘You don’t believe in that rubbish do you Lils?’
‘Guess not,’ Lily said as she followed Ruby down the hole and into the tunnel. ‘My god since when has this being here?’
‘Always I think.’
‘How’d you find out about it?’ Ruby turned her head and looked at Lily raising an eyebrow. ‘Marauders.’
Lily followed Ruby through the tunnel and into the Shrieking Shack. She wrinkled up her nose as she followed her best friend to the front door and back out into the cool air.
‘We can apparate now,’ Ruby said putting out her hand. Lily took it and breathed deeply as they turned on the spot disappearing from Hogsmeade.
‘Ok if it’s that easy for us to get out, then it’s got to be that easy to get in, right?’
‘Don’t worry so much, Lils. No one can get into Hogwarts without Dumbledore knowing.’
‘What so he knows we left?’
‘I reckon he does.’
‘Right…’ Lily said her green eyes twinkling as she realised the rules she had just broken. ‘So where are we going?’
‘Well I need a dress for a surprise Sirius said is coming and it’ll need a second opinion so lets shop and then we can go have a cappuccino and talk,’ Ruby said as she walked out of the alleyway and headed towards the line of shops.
An hour later they had found the perfect dress for the wedding that Lily didn’t know Ruby and the others were coming to and had headed towards a café. They sat down and ordered drinks and a plate of shortbread before Ruby rested her chin on her hand, looking at Lily expectantly.
‘So what’s on your mind, Sugar.’
‘Nothing…You looked beautiful in that dress, you’ll blow Sirius away.’
‘Thanks and don’t lie to me.’
‘You are, stop being strong and proud and tell me whatever it is, you’ve being dying to tell me for the last few days.’
‘Well you know how James and I have being talking more lately?’
‘Well on the train in the Heads compartment we just talked you know, like you do with them. And then we went to leave at the same time and had one of those movie moments…’
‘You know where you both get stuck in a doorway or whatever and you freeze and you can feel them breathing and…’
‘Oh my god, Lily Evans had a moment with James Potter,’ Ruby said almost clapping with joy.
‘Roo I don’t know what’s being happening of late its just that…well how he talks about his parents for example, there is so much love and respect and I don’t know it’s amazing to watch and then today with you, he said ‘don’t forget that I love her too’ and I was blown away by how serious he was about you…’
‘Well when we were on the train, I asked him to call me Lily instead of Evans and when he tested it out kind of a thing, I felt this shiver run down my spine and then in the doorway, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. He has the most gorgeous eyes and his body…’
‘When have you seen his body recently?’ Ruby asked trying to hide the enormous smirk that was threatening to explode across her face.
‘This morning when I woke him up, he had boxers on and that was it…’
‘So you liked what you saw?’ Lily nodded carefully. ‘So you like him?’
‘No, yes, maybe, I don’t know Rubes. James has always being so arrogant and irritating but lately like when Severus tried to talk to me on the train…’
‘Wait! What?’ Ruby almost yelled, startling a couple of old ladies sitting near them.
‘It was nothing, I just walked past and so did James and I was shocked, absolutely shocked but then Sev pulled out his wand and I couldn’t believe him. He was about to curse James so I pulled out my wand.’
‘So that’s why he got you the sugar quill?’
‘Yeah, said it was a thank you.’ Lily said a blush creeping up onto her cheeks. ‘Ruby the first night in our new dorms when you guys called on that mirror thing…’
‘Well he said that he worries about me?’
‘Of course he does.’
‘But why?’ Lily asked honestly bewildered.
‘Because you mean a hell of a lot to him,’ Ruby said her tone serious now. ‘Lily, haven’t you realised yet that he would do anything to be with you, even if like now it’s just as a friend.’
‘You know that girl who was following him yesterday and the day before and the day before that…?’
‘Yes Nora,’ Ruby said wondering where exactly Lily was going with this.
‘I hate her,’ Lily said shocked with her own words. At this point Ruby couldn’t help but burst out laughing. ‘Why are you laughing, I’m a horrible person…’
‘You’re human Lily. And you like James Potter.’
‘But I can’t what will everyone think after I’ve publically hated him for years.’
‘Who cares? Don’t you think you two deserve to be together?’
‘No I was so horrible to him.’ Ruby snorted sympathetically.
‘Lil, I don’t think he really cares about that.’
‘What?’ Ruby asked carefully her laughter now controlled.
‘Sirius said after I spoke to him…’
‘What did he say Lily?’ Ruby asked watching her friend with a questioning look.
‘He said he got why James liked me.’
‘Well that’s not a bad thing.’
‘No Ruby he said liked, as in past tense.’
‘I really doubt he meant it like that. Sirius knows James better than anyone and he knows that James is crazy about you.’
‘I know. Well what else can we do in London?’ Ruby asked as she finished her drink.
‘I’m not sure let’s do something completely muggle,’ Lily said smiling remembering the things she had done while she was at home during school breaks and long before she had started at Hogwarts.
‘Want to go to a park?’
‘Sure thing,’ Lily said as they walked towards the green of the park down the way. ‘Hey Ruby, has Sirius ever said anything about James?’
‘What do you mean?’ Ruby asked as she sat down on a swing.
‘About him liking me? Whether he’s given up or not?’
‘Not exactly but we don’t really talk like that all the time, it’s more of a silent knowledge. It’s hard to explain Lils.’
‘Ok but your close to him too…do you know?’ Lily had such a uncertain look in her eyes that Ruby was stumped as to how to say what she knew.
‘I don’t think he’ll ever get over you but I think he’s realising that you’ll never give him a go.’
‘What would I have to do to prove that maybe I…’
‘I’m falling for him Roo…I just…I just don’t know if I want to be.’
‘Why wouldn’t you want to?’ Ruby asked smiling softly knowing this conversation would be critical as to whether Lily would say something to James Potter or not.
‘Because what if we get together and then break up and it ruins everything.’
‘He’s really easy to talk to and he’s a great friend and I have fun when I’m around him. It’s like he brings out the carefree version of me. He makes me…’ Lily paused a distant expression on her face and in her eyes. ‘I don’t think I could lose him from my life if things didn’t work out.’
‘Sugar if something happened between the two of you it would be for the long run not just some stupid teenage thing and you know it. You guys are like Sirius and me, meant to be together while well to be honest Remus mentioned the other day that even though he loves Thea, it’s no the same thing as what I have with Sirius and you with James, the kind of thing that changes your life and who you are.’
‘You think he changed my life?’
‘Well didn’t he?’
‘I’m so confused…Things started when I saw his reaction to you last year. How concerned he was and yet how string he knew he had to be for Sirius, it was just another side of him that I…’
‘That you didn’t notice before is all,’ Lily nodded in agreement knowing that deep down she liked James more than she could describe now and yet she couldn’t get past the vulnerable feeling that intoxicated her lately.
‘Don’t move,’ a hard voice announced. Ruby and Lily froze reached carefully for their wands.
‘Knew they were witches,’ someone sneered their voice somehow familiar. Ruby and Lily grabbed their wands quickly, holding them tightly their arms held out strong, pointing at the two men standing feet away from them.
‘That’s her and that one’s Evans the mudblood, uptight bitch,’ Lucius Malfoy said smirking.
‘Oi shut your mouth!’ Ruby yelled glaring at him. This cost her as she felt the tip of the other man’s wand against her temple.
‘That wasn’t very polite Mudblood,’
‘Really I didn’t realise, my mistake,’ Ruby said almost smirking.
‘It will be. Now shut up and follow us.’
‘Yes sir,’ Ruby said jokingly earning herself a kick in the guts. Lily turned then firing a non verbal spell at him sending him flipping backwards and landing on the iron slide. Ruby stood back up her wand pointed sharply at Malfoy. ‘Immobulus!’
Suddenly Malfoy froze, immobilized. However Lily screamed collapsing to the ground as the other still unknown man approached snidely.
‘Impedimenta!’ Lily yelled still clutching her leg which looked broken.
‘Furnunculus,’ Ruby said her wand pointed at the slowly moving man as boils began to erupt over his body. ‘Incarcerous!’ Immediately ropes appeared binding up their opponent. Just as quickly as Ruby relaxed she felt pain unlike any she had ever felt before. She felt her body hit the ground, felt her body convulsing against the ground, against the pain that she was being forced to endure.
The curse was lifted, allowing her to breathe for a moment gaining her composure. She rolled over picking up her wand and pointing it at Malfoy who was aiming a spell at Lily.
Malfoy fired a spell at Lily making her legs lift up and hit the ground again. Lily screamed as her legs felt as if they were on fire.
‘Flipendo!’ Ruby yelled causing Malfoy to fly forward, missing Lily. He stood up glaring firing multiple spells at Ruby which she dodged before he caught her in the back on the neck with the Cruciatus curse again. She fell to the ground again, pain worse than before filling every tissue, every organ, every space possible.
‘Stupefy!’ Lily yelled at a distracted Malfoy who was sneering like you wouldn’t believe over the pain Ruby Mason was in. As he fell forward, unconscious, Ruby was released. At first she simply lay on the ground, she couldn’t lift her head, her neck was killing her, as was her whole body.
‘Roo, get up, please get up,’ Lily said almost crying, not sure as to what to do. Ruby could hear her and blinked forcing herself up; she clenched her teeth as she forced her body to move. ‘You’re bleeding…’
‘I’m fine,’ Ruby said as she blinked trying to remove the tears that had filled her eyes.
She grabbed her wand as carefully as she could and pointed it at Lily’s leg. ‘Ferula.’
Lily watched as her leg was bandages and placed in a splint. She looked up at Ruby knowing that they had to find some way to get back to Hogwarts.
‘Ok let’s get back.’
‘Ruby you cannot apparate,’ Lily said loudly.
‘Why not? I’m fine and we have to get you back to get healed.’
‘Ruby you were tortured you cannot possibly apparate, stop being so stubborn. We’ll have to call someone.’
‘No he’ll kill me.’
‘He will not. What are you going to do not tell him?’
‘Ruby even I know that’s impossible for you, you guys are way too together to lie to him.’
‘We’re not calling him.’
‘Fine but we have to call someone,’ Lily said thinking of James but knowing if they called him then Sirius would come.
‘We’ll be fine, let me grab my bag, don’t want to leave my lovely new dress behind and then we will disapparate.’ Lily shook her head at how stubborn Ruby was before a thought occurred to her. ‘What about these two?’ Lily asked looking at the two Death Eaters.
‘I’ll send a protronus to Robert,’
‘Well we should wait for him to come then.’ Ruby looked at her not too impressed before she shrugged admitting defeat.
‘Fine,’ Ruby said as she sent a protronus to Robert Potter. Ruby and Lily waited only a short period of time feeling exhausted before three Aurors appeared before them.
‘Ruby, are you ok?’ Robert asked crouching down beside the girls. Mad Eye Moody turned towards the unknown man with a fellow Auror Frank Longbottom.
‘Moody!’ Frank yelled his wand out as he attempted to stun Malfoy who had just returned from his stunned self.
‘We’ll get Malfoy later, let’s take this in,’ Moody said grabbing the Death Eater by the collar of his shirt. Frank nodded aiming his wand at the man so he was unable to speak or apparate.
‘Need a hand Rob?’ Frank asked Robert who was still leaning over the girls.
‘If you could just take Lily here by side along apparation to Hogwarts Hospital Wing, that’d be great,’ Frank nodded respect eminent in his eyes as he watched the older man send a patronus to Albus Dumbledore. Frank Longbottom had just come out of his three year training, being the top of his class and being placed with Robert and Alastor, to be trained further by the best. At almost 22 he was newly engaged to Alice Chambers a fellow Auror hopeful that was a couple years younger than himself.
Moody nodded to Rob before he disapparated from the park with the Death Eater in tow. Robert helped Ruby up before he turned on the spot appearing in the Hospital Wing.
‘Are you alright, Ruby?’
‘I’m fine,’ Ruby said smiling as she watched Frank appear and help Lily to a bed.
‘You did very well today,’ Rob said as he turned to find Dumbledore entering the room.
‘Professor, I am so sorry. I know we shouldn’t have gone out on our own especially now but with the war growing it just seemed pointless to not enjoy every moment we have. I’m sorry if you get into trouble, I really I am I never wanted that.’ Ruby said her eyes desperate for him to understand.
‘No I am sorry I should have come after you when I realised someone had crossed the boundary.’
‘No we should have just stayed here but…’
‘The young cannot realise these things until they experience certain things an din this case Lily and yourself were exceptionally brave in facing those two men.’
‘Not really, all they wanted was us to go with them and well we didn’t want to,’ Ruby said shrugging looking at Robert.
‘I’ve sent a second year to find your friends,’ Dumbledore said looking at the two girls, one on a bed her leg being healed, the other still standing, her face pale. ‘Other than Lily’s leg, were either of you injured at all?’
‘No Professor,’ Ruby said smiling.
‘We’re all fine,’ Ruby said now smiling at Lily who literally looked as though she was swallowing her tongue.
‘Now we will need a statement so we can put the Death Eater we caught away,’ Robert said his eyes still worried.
‘Just the events as you remember them,’ Ruby swallowed nodding, closing her eyes as a lightheaded feeling swam before her.
‘Easy peasy,’ Ruby said as the Marauders flew into the room.
‘Ruby,’ Sirius and Remus said gazing from both girls.
‘We’re both fine. Lily has a broken leg but other than that we’re brilliant,’ Ruby said as Sirius placed his hands on either side of her waist panic in his eyes. ‘You should see the dress I brought, and a gorgeous set to go underneath.’
Even Ruby’s seductive words were not enough to erase the fear that was exposed in Sirius’ face. She pushed past him not wanting to give into telling him what had happened. She walked past Remus who looked as though he was about to say something. She ignored him and continued past Robert, looking back at Lily who saw something in Ruby’s eyes like defeat.
She breathed deeply scrunching up her face to stop the feeling of faintness washing over her. And just as quickly as it had come it past, coming back a second later stronger than ever. Ruby closed her eyes and the next thing she knew she was being held just above the ground, Robert looking down at her with concern.
‘I am, just lightheaded is all,’ Ruby said as she tried to get up collapsing into him again. Robert scooped her up into his arms.
‘There’s a reason,’ Lily said softly.
‘Lily don’t please, don’t…’ Ruby said desperately as she tried to climb from his arms as he slowly made his way towards the other seventeen year old girl.
‘Lily, please…’ Ruby begged locking eyes with her best friend. Lily looked away knowing she had to tell them.
‘She was put under the Cruciatus Curse…’ Lily said and they all gasped looking to Ruby who fell back into Robert’s arms in defeat, her arms crossed angrily. ‘Twice.’
‘What?’ Sirius yelled. ‘Ruby?’
‘Whatever, I’m fine,’ she said sulking. She watched as Lily started telling them exactly what had happened, James, Sirius and the others listening carefully. Remus moved towards Ruby pushing her slightly over so he could sit down beside her.
‘You don’t have to be so proud,’ Remus said quietly.
‘I’m not being proud, I just know that if Sirius knew he’d go nuts,’ Ruby said looking at Remus carefully. ‘If he knew that I was tortured by people that wanted to use me to get to him then…’
‘I’m not stupid; I can put two and two together. I think they want him and they can get to him through me.’ Remus looked at her wondering if she knew that Sirius’ family wanted her out of the way all together.
‘He can’t help how he reacts, Rubes, he loves you. Just as I love you and James and Lily love you,’ Remus said squeezing her hand.
‘But I am fine, really Rems, I just…’
‘Your scared he’ll leave you aren’t you?’
‘It’s just after this morning…’
‘Ruby he’s not going anywhere.’
‘I know. Do you think they’ll kill him?’
‘No, I don’t think so. They couldn’t kill him even if they wanted to.’
‘You’re probably right, he’s too bloody stubborn,’ Ruby said finally smiling gently as she looked over to where Sirius stood talking with his father and brother.
The war was roaring to a beginning and as she sat watching those around her Ruby realised that the pain she had felt today was nothing to what they all may feel soon. What was the world coming to, if they couldn’t simply go to the park, and be with the ones they love without the fear that they may be attacked any moment, being forced to watch those they love lose their lives. How was it possible that she couldn’t just be with Sirius, be with him without knowing she could be the reason he is killed or forced to join Voldemort.
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