Chapter 11 : The Heart on My Sleeve
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Four days, Evie whispered to herself, four days and I’ll know.
Evie shivered in the cold despite the layers of clothing she had on, as she sat at the top of the Astronomy Tower. She’d seen that look on James’s face and to her surprise, Lily’s as they danced.
It was at that moment that she knew she had to get out. Out of the way. No more meddling. Now was the time to let the two of them find their own way.
More than that, something inside of her was saddened.
Evie shook the thought from her head, chastising herself for being overly feminine. She was young. She’d find love. Eventually.
If it existed for her.
At that thought, Evie felt someone put a very warm overcoat around her shoulders and then sit down next to her.
“Why are you sitting here alone in the dark?” Sirius Black asked before turning his dark eyes on her.
Evie laughed a little, pulling the cloak tighter around her shoulders.
“Thankyou,” she replied ignoring his question.
Sirius Black smiled, his dark eyes still lingering on Evie. For a moment, he watched as the stars in the night sky were reflected in her blue eyes.
“I thought you were at Slughorn’s party tonight. This is an early night to have,” he said, a small smirk on his face waiting for her retort.
“I just couldn’t…”
“Was it all a bit too exciting for you?” he laughed.
“No! There was James and Lily…”
“Come on you can be honest. You are getting old Evangeline.”
“I certainly am not!”
“Ah young ones these days so full of energy. Just can’t be around them for too long, ay?”
Evie shoved at Sirius playfully as they both laughed.
“Lily and James were dancing,” she said, stopping Sirius’s laugh short.
But instead of saying anything as she had expected, Sirius just let out a low whistle.
“Was it their idea? I mean, were they actually willing?”
“Yep. Very willing.”
Sirius laughed at Evie’s suggestion, pulling his knees up to his chest and leaning his arms on them.
Sirius looked over at the now strangely silent Evie.
“Oh yeah of course! I mean it’s what we wanted right? It’s what we’ve been plotting and planning for, it only took a few hundred years…”
“But you’re sad,” he interrupted her.
Evie stopped and stared at him trying to shake her head but unable to blatantly lie to Sirius Black’s dark honest eyes.
“N-I mean…well I’m not sad…for them.”
There was a pause that seemed to last for many longer moments. Such pauses are when two people suddenly realise that there is this unexplainable flow of hot energy coursing quickly between the two of them. Sparks that once noticed will never be unnoticed.
And although Sirius had known for a long time, Evangeline Ford was just opening her eyes to it.
Although not quite fully yet.
“You want the same thing,” Sirius almost whispered. He could feel his entire body tense, the very muscles in his arms seize up as he waited on her. He was always waiting on her. But this moment was different. It was the moment when you couldn’t breathe just before you plunged into darkly cold water from a cliff. When you’ve lost someone dear and the very breath has been swept immediately from your lungs. It was the moment before those words that you want desperately to be said, could possibly be a reality.
But Evie just shrugged and turned her attention once more to the view off the Tower.
“Can I ask you something?” Sirius suddenly said, not bothering to pause, “There’s this…”
“Girl?” Evie threw in.
“Yeah,” Sirius let out a long breath, his eyes flickering up and then away from Evie, “There’s this girl and I…I have these amazing feelings for her…”
Evie chuckled and Sirius looked up at her sharply in shock.
“I know about your ‘feelings’ Sirius Black. What number girl is this now?” she asked jokingly.
And completely oblivious.
“No this girl…she’s not a number to me…”
“No. Really,” he said firmly staring right through her, “This girl…the way I feel about her is not something I’ve felt before. These feelings…they’re not about how she looks or how she would look next to me…”
Evie felt something prick at her heart, a sharp splitting pain almost, that spread through her chest. First James, then Lily and now Sirius…It was a pain that told her she wasn’t handling the idea of being left behind.
And the idea of being left behind, as it always had done before, had Evangeline Ford going into defensive mode. A mode that meant her heart would protect itself at all costs.
“I don’t just want her, I want to protect her, keep her safe. I want to be there for her through anything and everything that comes our way. And I mean that. Our way. It’s not I want her to be at my side. I want to be at her side…”
“So what are you doing about it?” Evie said quickly and rather too casually for Sirius’s liking.
Sirius paused, his mouth hanging open a little as he contemplated what to say next.
“What…would you tell me…to do?” Sirius finally asked. His dark eyes stared purposively and meaningfully at Evie, waiting for an answer that wouldn’t be spoken with words.
One more breath.
“I would tell you to stop loving her. Whoever she is,” Evie answered finally.
“Just like that? Stop loving her?”
“Yeah,” she answered again, this time turning to him, “Love isn’t that big of a deal.”
Sirius laughed, a bittersweet thing that Evie had never heard before. Rubbing his chin, he smiled as though he’d really just got it.
“You can’t say that Evangeline,” he then said, a venom in his voice, “You can’t say that love isn’t a big deal when you’ve just spent months trying to get your best friend to fall in love with my best friend. You can’t brush the concept of love away like that. And you definitely can’t tell me to stop loving someone just like that. It’s not that easy.”
He sat there incredulous, staring at a shocked Evie. She gripped her knees and looked back up at him in confusion.
“Sirius I don’t understand. Clearly this girl isn’t worth it. If you think she’s so incredible how has she not noticed how incredible you are yet? Why keep loving her? Why put your faith in love at all?” she said with a passion that rivalled Sirius’s own.
“You can’t tell me to give up on love Evangeline,” Sirius answered.
Evie almost snorted, rolling her eyes before turning to face Sirius front on, as though she was quite ready for this to become a fight.
“Why ever not?”
“Because you exist.”
It was there that he saw the realisation in her eyes. That he loved her. That he always had.
Now she knew.
And a stunned Evangeline tried desperately to come out with words. Any words.
But Evie didn’t have a chance to say anything.
Sirius Black had gone.
Evie Ford found Lily sitting on her bed, Margie and Ana surrounding her. The three of them were giggling like three year olds on a sugar high.
It made Evie smile, just a little.
“What happened here?” she asked, holding Sirius’s jacket to her chest as she stood at the end of Lily’s bed. The three girls looked sneakily at each other, their knowing smiles almost driving Evangeline crazy.
“Whaaatt?? Tell meeee!” Evie whinged, reaching over and grabbing at Lily’s foot, causing her to squirm.
“Just…I just had a lovely night…with James Potter,” Lily answered, fighting to keep her grin in check.
“HE KISSED HER ON THE HAND WHEN HE SAID GOODNIGHT,” Margie rejoiced throwing her hands up in the air. Her smile was so wide it was infectious, causing their laughter to erupt again.
“And, she didn’t hit him in return,” Ana pitched in.
“He treated me like a right princess which is how every boy should treat every girl, thankyou,” Lily defended herself, her cheeks burning.
“OH, so you admit it then? We were right all along?” Evie said, pointing her finger jokingly at Lily, “That James was so right for you.”
If the sudden bright pink flush in Lily Evans’ cheeks was anything to go by, she was certainly agreeing.
“You and JAMES!” Ana teased.
“Good,” Margie began abruptly, “So Lily has James, Ana has Remus and Evie has Sirius. Now we-“
“Excuse ME?” Ana squealed, “I don’t have Remus!”
“Oh please that boy is so smitten with you it’s disgusting,” Lily threw in before laughing at the embarrassment on Ana’s face.
“He’s just nice to me, that’s all,” Ana shrugged a little.
Evie was enjoying the attention focused on Ana and Lily, trying desperately to ignore what Margie had said about Sirius Black.
She didn’t quite realise how haunting regret could be.
But then again what she did regret was the fact she didn’t have the opportunity to explain herself to Sirius. How could she possibly love him when every ounce of strength she had was being used to stop herself from screaming at the world?
And every time she even thought about being with him, the possibility of her losing Sirius too was so painful that it split across her chest and shattered her strength.
There was no way she could be with him. Not now. He deserved a girl who was whole, who would focus her life on him. He deserved someone other than her with all her screwed up problems.
For a moment, the thought of trying to protect Sirius Black was almost amusing.
“Evie, isn’t that Sirius Black’s jacket?”
Evie was brought back to Earth by the painfully direct question. She’d completely forgotten that she was still holding it.
“Uh…yes,” she hesitated, “It is.”
“Why do you have Sirius’s jacket?” Margie frowned.
Evie stared at her, her mind racing at a million miles an hour trying to come up with a convincing reason.
“Oh I just had to get some air from the party and he happened to be walking past,” she shrugged, hoping desperately that they believed her, “He can be nice that way.”
Lily gave her the look.
The look that said, liar liar pants on fire.
“He just happened to be walking past….” Ana said slowly, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively causing Margie to giggle.
“Is that what they call it these days?” Margie added.
“Yes. He just happened to be actually walking,” Evie repeated scoffing at the three of them, “I’m not lying.”
“OH you so ARE!” Lily exclaimed, “What the hell happened between you two?”
Evie stared at Lily, her blue eyes trying to give away as little as possible of the turmoil that was happening inside her. Finally she smirked and turned her back to the girls to place Sirius’s jacket on the bed.
“Nothing,” she said gravely, “Nothing happened.”
There was a dead silence from behind her. Evie wasn’t sure if they were waiting for her to continue or they were trying to process the fact that Evie had somehow resisted the charms of one Sirius Black.
And so she waited for them to say something whilst she rifled through her trunk for her pyjamas.
“Evie…is this…to do with the fact the full moon is close?” Ana asked grimly.
Evie began to answer, her head in the process of shaking when Lily interrupted.
“Or is it your family?”
Every muscle in Evie’s body seemed to freeze in shock. She didn’t move for the longest moment trying to register what Lily had just asked.
“Evie?” Margie asked cautiously, “Because if it is to do with your family, we understand. It would be so har-“
Margie stopped abruptly when Ana kicked her.
Evie had stood up straight and turned to them with an expression so pained none of them could describe it.
The pained whisper came from Evie’s lips but she might as well not have said anything. The expression on her face was so hurt that each girl had realised in an instant.
They’d somehow all found out through James Potter that Evie herself was dealing with the news in her own way. But what Lily now realised was that they had never actually told Evie that they also knew.
And so they had all left Evie to cope with so many horrors at once by herself, thinking she was completely alone in the world.
Lily couldn’t take the grief that was clear in Evie’s blue eyes.
“You knew,” Evie continued, taking in a ragged breath, “And you never even…thought to tell me?”
“I’m so sorry Evie,” Lily gasped, putting a hand to her mouth, “I guess we just didn’t know what to say to you that would help.”
“What would have helped,” Evie whispered, staring straight through her best friend, “Was listening.”
There was a silence, louder than any noise that Evie had ever heard. She grabbed Sirius’s jacket from her bed and walked quickly through the door, its soft click sending a painful throb through each girl’s heart.
In fact, Evie had escaped to somewhere that everyone should have thought to look for her.
If someone had gone looking for her, that is.
Sitting with her back up against the bookshelf, Evie stretched out her legs. Although she wasn’t moving, her thoughts were racing.
And her heart along with it.
For the past hour she’d been trying dreadfully to rationalise the fact her friends knew about the disappearance of her family and hadn’t tried to help.
Even when what would’ve helped was being able to let it all out…the anger, the frustration, the immense worry and the sickening feeling every time she considered that they were dead.
But that thought never lasted too long in her mind because it was the point that threatened to crack through her steely resolve.
And as it was, tears began to flow.
Evie sobbed quietly in the darkness of the Hogwarts library, surrounded by the books she had loved all these years. This was her place, the place she went to escape from her life and whatever was happening.
But now her life was closing in on her, pinning her down and even her escape couldn’t help her now.
Especially when her friends hadn’t even wanted to.
She chastised herself again, remembering that she hadn’t told them in the first place because she hadn’t wanted to burden them.
But if information is revealed to one…shouldn’t they act upon it?
Evie’s confusion went in circles.
And if she was truly honest with herself…
The voice echoed throughout the empty library, stirring some of the dust off the shelf above her.
It was a voice she had simultaneously desperately wanted and never wanted to hear again.
“Evangeline, I know you’re in here.”
Evie’s bare feet scraped along the ground as she stood up, dusting her party dress off. Not bothering to try and straighten her mussed blonde hair or wipe her tear-streaked face, Evie emerged from the aisle of books to find Sirius Black standing between the long wooden tables. The darkness formed a silhouette around the tall, powerfully built boy. His wand was the only light in the room, barely covering the space between them.
Sirius looked at her with empty eyes.
“James heard what happened and asked me to come check on you. I’ll let him know where you are,” he deadpanned, not moving.
There was a long silence in that horrible darkness, permeated only by the pulsating light from his wand. It was as though the very library was holding its breath.
“Thankyou for checking on me,” she finally whispered.
“It wasn’t for me. James asked. He was worried.”
The weight of Sirius’s words seemed to be pressing down on Evie’s shoulders. She even tried shutting her eyes tightly to escape from the darkness in his eyes.
Sirius Black turned around with a crunch of his shoes and began to walk towards the exit.
And he stopped, despite what she had expected. Sirius stood motionless, still holding his wand aloft yet his back still turned on Evie.
What Evie didn’t know was how much this was torturing him. When she had walked out from between those bookshelves, tears streaked down her face, absolute grief in her wide blue eyes….How desperately he wanted to just take her in his arms and hold her until her world was perfect again.
But that’s not what she wanted.
“I’m so sorry…” Evie began.
“No, Evangeline I am sorry. I should never have…” Sirius’s voice seemed to crack, “There is no reason for you to apologise.”
“Yes. Yes there is, because I had no idea…”
“Exactly. You had no idea.”
Evie looked up to see a Sirius Black still staring towards the door. Her heart seemed to have disappeared from inside her chest.
“You know…you know I can’t be with you now. My family are missing Sirius and I don’t think I have anything left inside of me to give you…”
Sirius started to walk towards the door shocking Evie into shouting.
“Sirius PLEASE understand!”
This time instead of stopping, Sirius Black spun on the spot, changing direction. Walking determinedly towards her, Sirius spoke, his dark eyes on fire.
“I have never wanted anything so much as to take every burden you have, every tear, every care, every worry away from you, and carry that all myself so that you would never again have to feel the grief and sorrow that you are feeling right now.”
With every word Sirius got closer and once he’d reached her, he took her face between his hands and kissed her.
Beneath his hands and the touch of his lips, Evie’s skin burned. They moved together, her intense grief spilling over, his fiery desire to make everything alright causing them to cling to each other in desperation.
Evie’s fingers gripped at his t-shirt whilst his became entangled in her blonde hair. It wasn’t until this moment that she realised just how much she had been keeping inside, how much it had been clawing at her. The destructive power of grief and fear.
But that grief and intense sorrow was causing her to cling closer to Sirius and the more she did, the more overwhelming the painful loss of her family and the incredible paralysing fear of her first full moon became.
And for just a moment Evie was suspended somewhere between her desire to hold desperately onto Sirius and the pain that threatened to crush her.
“N-nostop,” Evie said pulling away from him, her voice breaking severely. She remained so close to him she could still feel his breath upon her lips.
Evie could feel the very pain in her chest making her feel ill. Her body ached with it.
Pulling completely away, she started to shake her head, holding the back of her hand to her mouth as the sobs suddenly came thick and fast.
Quite suddenly, she couldn’t breathe.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
Evie ran through the library and out the door leaving Sirius standing alone in the darkness.
Fear causes people to do crazy things.
And Evangeline Ford was certainly no exception.
It seemed to her that every other Seventh Year that complained about the sudden overload of work just before the Christmas break had absolutely nothing to be concerned with.
But lucky for her it was the fact that every student around her was buckling down to study that allowed her to stay hidden.
That very same night that she had run from Sirius Black, she had made a decision. The decision to try and conquer that crippling fear about what would happen to her in just a few days time.
And so she spent every waking moment in the library, throwing herself into research. Every book she could find that mentioned werewolves, she read from front to back. Every mention of the word she noted down on paper.
It was the research that kept her going, kept her determined and kept her from worrying until the day of her first full moon.
Not one of her friends had spoken to her in those four days. None of them had even spoken to each other, too wrapped up in their own guilt. A fact that Evie had counted on.
So by the last day Evie had nothing. A whole lot of research and none of it joined up. Theories that went in every different direction and none of them concluded in a proven cure or prevention.
Until one sentence from Professor Slughorn changed everything.
You see, Evangeline Ford’s intelligence was the type that only came around once in a generation. Professors at Hogwarts wouldn’t see it again until a certain frizzy brunette with buck teeth came along.
And so what Professor Slughorn had said connected with every piece of research she had collected over the past few days, caused Evie to make a surprising conclusion.
One that was completely crazy.
The sun was almost set outside the windows by the time Evangeline ventured forth from the library on her fourth day, with more than a hint of an oncoming blizzard.
Evangeline knew that she needed to get out of the school. She couldn’t risk being around any students with what she was about to do. She had absolutely no idea what would happen.
The potion vial was heavy in her hand.
Evie donned her best cloak, pulling the fur hood over her head. Stepping out into the cold, her teeth began chattering immediately. Despite how her fingers seemed to have snap frozen, she kept a firm grip on the vial that would be her lifeline.
She counted on three things. That the blizzard would keep her out of sight so that no one would interfere. That Remus Lupin would already be in the Shrieking Shack with his friends around him. And finally that her intelligence was going to make this work.
What Evie didn’t count on was the fact that Sirius Black was waiting for her.
She trekked, slowly, through the stirring blizzard that was quickly darkening the sky to the edge of the Forbidden Forest just beyond the Whomping Willow. If something went wrong she wanted to have people she knew close at hand.
Finding a spot where she was sheltered against the blowing wind, Evie looked down at the vial in her cold shaking hands. Looking up at the night sky, she took a deep breath uncorked the vial and held it up to her lips.
Sirius grabbed at her wrist, pulling the vial away from her mouth.
“What the hell are you doing?” he shouted through the ever increasing wind.
“No, it’s a potion that will help me,” she shouted in return, trying to pull her hand out of his.
“And you think this potion will cure you?” Sirius’s voice was almost drowned out.
“No, it’s meant to just…just help me through the transformation.”
Sirius was about to retort when his eyes met Evie’s. The desperation, the pleading in them said it all. But his instinctive reaction to keep her safe overwhelmed what she wanted.
“Did Slughorn give this to you?”
Evie’s hesitation told him what he needed to know.
“Evie is this…a brand new potion?” he shouted at her above the wind, his very heart racing.
“Look, there is no proof that love works and you still believe in that! This is magic. I know what I’m doing…”
Sirius grabbed at her hand again, holding tighter to keep the vial away from her mouth.
“No. No you don’t!”
“Why not then?”
“Because I need you!”
Evie stared at him for a moment, her hand still clasped in his. He could see how torn she was becoming. And how despite her initial confidence, Sirius was making sense.
The more the determination died in her eyes, the more Sirius’s grip slackened. Finally he let go entirely and her shoulders slumped.
“What else am I supposed to do?” she yelled.
Sirius looked at her, making sure she was focused on him before answering.
Despite the deafening wind, Sirius and Evie both heard a loud cry above it. In a moment of confusion Sirius turned toward the direction of the noise.
Only to turn back and find Evie drinking the entire contents of the vial.
“NO!” he screamed as she collapsed to the ground, snow clinging to her jacket. Sirius cradled the now unconscious Evie in his arms, shaking her gently.
“Come on Evie. You better wake up. You’ve got to wake up right now,” he mumbled continuing to shake her. Deciding it was best to find the nearest shelter he spotted the groundskeeper’s hut only a short distance away. He shifted so that Evie was entirely in his arms, picking her clean off the ground and struggling through the storm til he got to the door.
The hut was empty yet thankfully unlocked.
As soon as he had closed the door, the sound outside was muted. He lay her on the bed, quickly stoking a fire in the hearth before removing her frozen jacket.
It wasn’t until he noticed her chest rising and falling normally that he himself breathed again. He had never felt so afraid.
And so Sirius Black sat there, watching as Evie Ford’s body came under her first full moon.
He watched amazed as her body transformed from animal to human again without a cry, her potion clearly doing its job. He sat with her all night long in the otherwise empty hut, ensuring that the fire would never falter and that Evie herself was always comfortable.
As her eyes fluttered open in the early morning, Sirius finally brought himself to smile.
“You are one hell of a witch you know that?” he whispered to her as she rubbed at her sleepy eyes.
She looked up at him in confusion.
Sirius started laughing and nodding in disbelief. Evie tried to sit back up only to find herself incredibly dizzy.
“Oh-ho not sitting up for a while,” she said lying back down with a frown on her face. But looking again at Sirius and his obvious relief, brought her smile back to her face.
“Don’t ever scare me like that again,” he finally said, “I don’t care how smart you are. Just. Don’t. Okay?”
Evie’s grin widened.
Back in the castle, James Potter, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin staggered back up to the Gryffindor Common Room. Desperately hoping that no-one would spot them, they all collapsed onto the couch in front of the warm fire.
“That,” James panted, “was not a pleasant night.”
Remus looked over at him, their eyes meeting before they both burst into exhausted laughter. A hand suddenly touched gently at James’s shoulder.
“Lily?” James spun around, “What are you doing up so early?”
Lily didn’t speak. She merely opened her hand to reveal a piece of scrunched parchment.
James frowned as Lily handed him the message. He recognised the scrawl at once.
“This is my father’s handwriting, how did you get this?” he asked quickly.
“When your owl can’t find you, naturally it goes to Evie. I just happened to be here when he was trying to get in.”
Lily finished the sentence on a note that sounded as though it had just had all hope ripped from beneath it.
And once James read the note, he truly understood why.
James Potter’s legs gave way beneath him.
Chapter Twelve is close behind and I'm rather excited about it! You see there's a scene in there that was the very first scene I ever wrote of this story and inspired me to continue writing it. Guess you'll just have to wait and see what it is...
Also I wanted to say thankyou for the incredible reviews you leave for me. They not only brighten my weeks but keep my writing dreams alive. Thankyou. From the bottom of my heart.
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