Chapter 9 : Awkward Situations
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The next morning I awake with a pounding in my head. I roll over and am greeted with a bright streak of sunlight beating in from the window near my four-poster bed. I take my pillow and put it over my face to shield my sensitive eyes, groaning.
“Rora…you up?” a groggy voice floats over from the bed next to me.
“Barely,” I say, yawning loudly. I feel absolutely foul. The long and deep sleep had not washed away the uneasy feeling from my stomach. Whether from my drinking the night before, or the way the night ended, I wasn’t sure.
I glance to my side at Marigold, whose hair is frizzed out and haphazard in the extreme, her mascara smeared under her tired eyes, and her dress (unchanged from the night before) is on inside out. She stretches out her body, as she leans over the side of the bed with a yawn and untangles her feet from the curtains above her four-poster bed.
“Well last night was a complete success,” she says with a beaming smile.
I mutter bitterly, “Yeah, maybe for you. I just feel utterly ill.”
I hear her rise from her bed and walk over to me. “I know, I heard that you left early,” she says with a knowing and patronizing glance over to me. “Spill, now.”
I sigh and groan. This is not what I’d prefer to be talking about. “I just…wanted to leave. I was tired,” I say, avoiding eye contact with her.
She snorts with a quick laugh, and folds her arms in what I assume is meant to be an intimidating fashion. “As if, Rora. Come on, tell me the truth! Emmeline said you looked wretched,”
“Thanks,” I grumble. “I don’t want to talk about it, okay?” I snap.
Marigold raises an eyebrow and purses her lips. “Fine, but if you don’t want to talk about your night, don’t you want to know about mine?” She gives me an impish grin.
I sigh. “Fine, when’d you get back last night?”
“I got in this morning around seven,” Marigold says slowly, her voice unmistakably smug. Her grin deepens as she says in a faux-offhand tone, “Me and Alexander went up to his dormitory last night.”
I am silent and unsurprised. She is still watching me, expecting me to probe her further. So I humor her. “And? Was it…nice?”
She giggles. “Oh my Merlin, Aurora! It was the best I have ever had.” She leans back now with a dreamy sigh. “I think I’m in love,”
I roll my eyes and mutter, “Well I’d hold off. Love’s rubbish,”
But Marigold isn’t listening. She’s rolled on her back now, gazing dreamily up at the ceiling and twirling a piece of her golden hair in his fingertips.
I hear another stirring from across our dormitory. Emmeline has awakened.
“Ugh...what…urghh.” I hear a sputtering of unhappy sounds. I have to hold back a sudden laugh as I see her slowly rise from her bed, hair disheveled, eyes squinting.
“What happened to you?” Marigold asks at the sight of her.
“Shove off,” she mutters sourly in reply, wildly reaching around for the water cup on her bedside table without looking, which only caused her to knock over her wand and picture frame. “Bloody hell…”
“When did you get back last night, Ems?” I ask. “Did you everyone make it back unnoticed?”
“Around two or three I think?” she answers as she finally locates her water cup and heartily sips it down. “I came back with Remus and Peter.”
“And what happened to everyone else?” Marigold inquires eagerly.
“Oh, most everyone left when I did. But James and Lily stayed behind for a bit.” Emmeline says through a yawn. “Rora, did you make it back okay?”
I ignore her, however, and get up suddenly, feeling even more ill than I had before, and make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and make myself presentable.
As I get my toothbrush out from my spot in the smooth stone cupboards, I can hear Marigold and Emmeline quietly talking about me. Their voices are being carried into the bathroom through the cracked open door. Without turning on the tap, I lean closer to eavesdrop.
“So why she leave? Did she tell you?” I hear Emmeline ask.
“No, she refuses, naturally. So like Rora to not talk about anything,” Marigold replies.
“Well I think it had something to do with Sirius, I saw him chase after her and I think they fought or something,”
“So strange. I thought everything was going well last night too….”
“I’m just glad we all didn’t end up murdered by any intruders,” Emmeline jokes and they share a giggle.
I quickly turn on the tap, drowning out their voices. My cheeks flow red-hot as I stare into the slowly steaming flow of water below me. How could I even explain my stupid embarrassment to them? I had made a huge mess of everything. It was all just a stupid mistake.
And I certainly hoped they wouldn’t pester me further about it. Though once they found out about our detentions, they’d be wanting a full explanation.
After I’m done washing up, I reenter our dormitory, making a careful effort not to look at Marigold or Emmeline.
“Well, shall we go grab breakfast?” Marigold suggests quickly when she sees me walk back in. “I don’t know about you, but I’m starved,”
“I’m not hungry,” I mutter, not moving from my bed, which I have firmly laid back down on. “I still feel sick.” In reality, my stomach was uneasy not because of the aftereffects of the alcohol, but rather the nerve racking realization that I would have to face him again so soon. And going to breakfast now would be a sure fire way to do so, and I wanted nothing to do with that.
“You need food to combat your hangover, Rors,” Marigold prodded, attempting to grab my arm to lift me up. “Trust me, I know these things,”
My heartbeat skips merely at the thought of dealing with another confrontation with him. But my hungry stomach gives a rumble at that moment and Marigold pointedly raises her eyebrow at me.
“Fine, but can we just make it a quick breakfast?”
“Oh stop being so difficult, really,”
When we enter the Great Hall, I follow Marigold and Emmeline quietly towards the Gryffindor table. I scan the seats, willing Marigold not to sit with the Marauders this morning, so I won’t have to face him now. But, seeing as there was rarely an occasion when we didn’t sit with them, I knew I’d be pushing my luck with such hopes.
But before we get a chance to go any farther, Remus and Peter come up behind us. “Hey girls,” Remus greets us amiably. I turn and give him a weak smile. He is looking at me knowingly, the concern from last night returning to his expression. I am all too certain that Sirius had filled him on the night’s events.
As we near James and Sirius, who have chosen a seat on the far end as if to make the experience of slowly walking towards them even longer and more torturous for me, I begin to feel the uneasy feeling return.
“Morning,” James says brightly as we sit down. “Did you enjoy yourselves last night?”
I make sure to sit as far away from the end Sirius is on as possible, but I am still less than five feet from him. I avert my eyes, hoping he won’t notice me. But out of the corner of my eye I notice him shift uncomfortably in his seat.
“Oh yes, it was the best party yet!” Marigold exclaims in reply, as she grabs a large steaming pot of tea from across the table, leaning over Peter as she does so.
“Marigold sure had fun with Alexander Nightingale last night, too,” Emmeline taunts.
Marigold silently gives a nonchalant smirk, as if she didn’t wasn’t secretly giddy inside, and James raises his eyebrows.
“Fraternizing with the enemy team, are we?” he accuses. But Marigold just giggles as she daintily pours a teaspoon of sugar in her mug of tea, the smug look still on her face.
“I believe you owe me two galleons, Black,” James jokes, but Sirius only gives a weak smile, not taking his eyes off his plate.
“Merlin, nothing beats a hangover like meat and potatoes,” James says a moment later, his mouth overflowing with food as he digs in eagerly. I notice that his hair is mussed, and he’s wearing the same clothes from last night, his shirt collar unbuttoned at the top and his shirt untucked.
“Where’s Lily this morning?” Marigold asks slyly, with a coy smile on her lips.
James stops his gorging for a moment to look up at us. “Freshening up I s’pose,” he says nonchalantly. “She had quite the night last night,”
Remus snorts. “I still can’t believe it,” he mutters, shaking his head. My head snaps up towards him at the sound of his voice, but he’s not looking over at me.
“You offend me with your constant doubt, Moony,” James says with a boyish grin plastered across his face as he continues eating.
“So you’re official now, then? Emmeline inquires. “You’re a couple?”
James shifts uncomfortably for a moment. “Well, not officially, but I suppose in a way, yeah,”
Sirius’s face darkens even more. He is pushing his eggs around his plate.
“So, lads. We need to talk Quidditch,” James says hurriedly. Clearly he too wants attention deflected from any discussion of his relationship.
“What’s to say? We’re going to destroy the Slytherins,” Sirius says.
“Yes but we need to strategize,” James answers, pulling out something that was stowed in his pocket. It’s a piece of parchment. He lays it out on the table in between the plates of food and positions a quill at the top. “We need to make some plays,”
“Can’t this wait until practice tomorrow?” Sirius says, annoyance becoming more apparent in the tone of his voice. I wonder if that’s really the source of it. “I want to eat in peace,”
“Absolutely not,” James says, eyebrows raised. “You of all people should realize that! Plus, I’m calling an impromptu practice later today.”
Sirius rolls his eyes. “For fucks sake, Prongs. It’s Sunday. Day of rest. Ever heard of it?”
“Not for us, if we want to win. And with you being out of training all week,” James says, looking annoyed. He is now manically scribbling on his spare bit of parchment, organizing plays. “We need to beat Slytherin if we want to progress towards the Cup,”
“Wait, why are you out of training all week?” Emmeline says, looking at Sirius.
Sirius shifts uncomfortably. “Er, well, I have detention,”
“For what?” Marigold and Emmeline ask in unison.
“Well, Rora and I may or may not have gotten caught coming back last night,” Siriuus mutters, lowering his voice. “By that Auror Clarke,”
“What?!” Marigold gives me a betrayed look, as if I had owed her a full run down of the nights events. I slink down in my seat, wanting nothing more than to disappear.
“But he’s letting us off with only detention and not telling any staff, namely McGonagall,” Sirus stresses, looking over his shoulder. “So keep your mouths glued shut about it,”
Marigold and Emmeline are staring intently at me know, evidently expecting me to comment. So I just shrug and say, “Could have been worse, with the tightened security curfew,”
James, who seems thoroughly bored with the conversation, probably out of frustration at his fellow Marauder for his lapse in sleuthing, gathers up his parchment page.
“OI! McKinnon! I’m calling for Quidditch training today at five, pass it around,” James calls down the table to where Marlene was sitting with Lily, Alice and Dorcas. My stomach tenses when I stare at her, with all her blonde hair and slim form. I try not to let the resentment show. She just beams and turns to pass on the information to the rest of the team.
Feeling suddenly ill again, and taking advantage of the distraction, I buss my table setting and slip off.
“See you back at the Common Room,” I mutter to Marigold and Emmeline before hurriedly heading off. I wouldn’t miss the chance to escape.
Much to my dismay, however, just as I’m entering the Hall of Portraits, I hear a familair call from behind me.
“Rora! Hey, wait up!’
I stop in my tracks, though I don’t turn around. The light is low in the hall, the watery sleet and hazy clouds outside casting a gloomy shadow over the shapes inside. I take a deep breath, my insides seeming to writhe in anxiety.
“We should talk,” Sirius says when he’s finally reached me. I feel his hand on my shoulder.
“About what?” I answer unhelpfully, not bothering to turn around still. My stomach feels foul again.
“Last night,” he says pointedly. I turn around to face him now. His hands are shoved in his pockets, his face somewhere between perplexed and hopeful. “I don’t like how we ended the night.”
“I don’t know Sirius. Just forget about last night, okay? We were drunk.” I say, not meeting his gaze.
“Maybe were were,” he says slowly. “But I think we need to talk and…figure some things out,”
“Just forget about it, okay?” I snap. I can’t handle facing this right now. I feel ready to explode from the tension. I want nothing more than to disappear. “I don’t even really remember last night anyway-“
“Rora, come on, I know that’s not true-” He grabs hold of my arm now. This makes me angry.
“I will not,” I snap again, jerking myself away from his grasp. “You’re the one who should work out why I’m upset, not me.”
And before I give him the chance to respond, I yank myself away and practically run up the stairs from him.
* * *
I sit in my four poster bed that evening, curtains drawn. I am pouring over my star charts, attempting to distract myself by reviewing for my class tomorrow. My feet are crossed and my caramel hair is falling over my face in messy waves. Marigold is off pursuing Alexander again, and Emmeline is probably downstairs in the Common Room with the boys. But that is the last place I want to be right now.
The clock strikes eleven. My stomach gives an uncomfortable and loud growl.
I shouldn’t have skipped dinner, I sigh angrily to myself. But there was nothing for it. I couldn’t bring myself to deal with their questions. And with all the schoolwork I had to do piling up, I had decided to avoid my friends.
But I was so hungry. I angrily throw down my quill and fit my feet into the slippers at the foot of my bed. I grab a cardigan and pull it over my skirt and blouse. I walk down the stairs, preparing myself to ignore the Marauders. But when I reach the bottom, I realize that they’re nowhere to be seen. Only a handful of younger students catching up on their Sunday night studies litter the plush chairs. Emmeline is over by the fire, quietly reading. I call over to her:
“Hey Ems, want anything from the kitchens? I’m gonna go grab some food.”
“Nah, thanks though,” she calls back absentmindedly, not looking up from her book. “Be careful, the curfew is still in effect,”
I shrug her off. “I know, I’ll be fine,”
When I have climbed out the Portrait Hole, I glance cautiously around. The corridor is deserted. Only the infinitesimal flicker of the candle lanterns along the walls give any sign of movement. I take a step out.
“Do be careful, it is a strange night tonight, the full moon is high,” The Fat Lady warns. I turn to her and shrug. “I’ll be alright, I’m just going to the kitchens,”
She simply shrugs in response as she closes the hole up again. “Suit yourself,”
I take a few more steps. “This would be a great time to have that bloody map of theirs,” I mutter to myself as I scan the corridor for any sign of Filch or professors. Nothing in sight. I gently move out of the portrait hole and head towards the kitchens.
As I glance distractedly to my right, I suddenly barge into something very solid and person-shaped. I start and look up. And it is the last group of person I want to be seeing right now; Sirius. He is with Peter; and to add insult to injury, the body I was now awkwardly wedged against and nearly tipping over belongs to Sirius.
“Oh for fucks sake,” I mutter angrily as I jump to right myself and neaten my sweater and skirt. “Where did you come from?”
“Didn’t see you there, sorry.” he says quickly. “You alright?”
“I’m fine,” I answer. I survey Sirius, holding the map out in his hand and Peter, who is holding a silvery looking cloth. I am perplexed.
“What the bloody hell have you lot been doing?” I ask. I was used to the Marauders sneaking about and talking in code. I had known them nearly three years now and had observed their strange behavior; nightly jaunts on the grounds doing Merlin-knows what, and always having an air of secrecy and adventure about them. So this didn’t come as a surprise. What caught my eye was the bloody scratch extending down Sirius’s torso. It had ripped through his sweater and shirt and was a bright and angry red.
Sirius’s eyes follow my gaze to his wound and he quickly tries to cover it up. “Oh nothing, just an accident. I’m fine,” he explains. But he sounds vaguely nervous. I don’t think they meant to be seen here.
“How did that happen?” I inquire. I cross my arms. My recent frustrations coupled with my agonizingly grumbling stomach has caused me to become somewhat irritable.
“Just an accident, like I said,” Sirius answers casually.
“Why are you out so late?” Peter asks nervously. “You’re not going out on the grounds, are you?” For some reason, Sirius gives him a swift elbow in the side.
“I was hungry,” I say simply, still raising a skeptical brow at the pair of them. “I’m headed to the kitchens to get some late night food…”
“Well, we’ll stop distracting you then, you’re clearly is in a rush,” Sirius says firmly and almost coldly, ushering Peter through the portrait hole.
“Right…” I reply, a bit surprised as I watch them disappear as suddenly as they had appeared.
Somehow, I feel a bit miffed at him leaving so suddenly. As if he had been mad at me. I hadn’t expected that. Somehow, I thought I should only be allowed to be mad at him, not the other way around.
“Fine, whatever, I don’t even care anymore,” I mutter to no one in particular, as I make my way to the kitchens.
I trudge down the long staircase, cautiously. Though I was confident that I wouldn’t suffer too much of a punishment for getting food when I was so obviously hungry, I still didn’t fancy getting apprehended by a teacher in my current angry state. And with my current set of detentions ahead of me, to boot.
When I enter the corridor where I knew I would find the painting of the bowl of fruit leading to the kitchens, I suddenly hear lowered, hurried voices ahead. I stop dead and press myself against the wall.
I see two figures on one side of the corridor. I can’t make out who they are, but they’re definitely students. I can just make out pieces of their conversation.
“This was a mistake, James…”
“No, no, don’t you dare say that…”
They’ve moved closer now, their voices louder and once their forms are illuminated by the warm glow of the lanterns on the wall, I finally see that it’s James and Lily.
Lily’s arms are crossed as she stares at James with a furrowed brow.
“We aren’t good together, we can’t make this work-”
James is pleading now, and he grabs one of her arms as she attempts to turn away.
“No, not if you just gave me a chance-“
“I’ve given you plenty of chances, James!”
“Please Lily, I’ll do anything-“
“For the love of Godric Gryffindor, you won’t give up will you?” Lily stops to look at him. I hope they don’t notice me.
“Never, Lily. I care about you…a lot.”
“Well you need to stop caring, James.” Lily’s speech is firm now.
“I can’t. I won’t.” James says, his voice weakened. Almost saddened.
I am surprised when I hear a strangled sob followed by Lily saying, “Merlin…this isn’t fair. I-I can’t do this.”
“Lily, I’m in love with you,”
“Don’t say that,” she sobs. “I can’t,”
She turns around from James and puts her head in her hands. I can see the glistening of tears on her face. She starts to make her way down the corridor. Towards me.
Panicked, I back away slowly, trying hard not to be seen or heard. I wildly try to come up with a good excuse for why I’m standing in the dark eavesdropping on their conflict.
But Lily mercifully turns in front of a portrait, one I had no idea even lead anywhere, mutters an unintelligible password and disappears suddenly.
I glance back towards James. He is standing, staring at the spot Lily had been just seconds before. His shoulders are slumped, his face downcast.
I hesitate. I consider saying something to him, to comfort him, as a friend who can certainly empathize. But I decide to save him the embarrassment. I creep back the way I came.
I freeze. Merlin, it’s too late now.
“Uh…yeah?” I turn around a give him a weak smile. “Hi James.”
“Why are….where…?” he asks, confused riddled across his bespectacled face.
“I…um.” I consider lying, telling him I was just now getting there, on my way to the kitchens, that I hadn’t seen or heard anything. But I know he realizes that I had to have overheard.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to overhear, I was on my way to the kitchens and I didn’t know what to do so I just waited and-I-I just….“ I blurt out.
But he just sighs and shrugs. “It’s alright. These things happen.”
“I’m sorry about…Lily,” I say quietly after a moment. “I know how that can feel.”
But he shrugs again. “It’s not over. It can’t be,”
“How can you be so sure?” I ask, before I can help it.
“I know her. I love her,” he answers simply, surprising me with his confidence in that idea. In those words.
And with that he holds out his hand to me with a smile and continues, “Shall we make a kitchens run together, then? I think we could both use a pick-me-up… "
I slowly smile back and nod. “Yes, that’s just what I need.”
We walk over to the portrait that leads to the kitchens. James bends down and slowly tickles the pear in the bowl. It gives a small, high-pitched giggle and the painting swings forward, granting us access.
When we creep in, we see that the kitchens are more or less deserted; all the house-elves seem to have gone to bed by now.
James, looking to know exactly where he was going in the expansive room, strides right over to a high wooden cabinet on the right end and opens the door. Rising onto tiptoes, he reaches into the back and pulls out a luxuriantly colored wooden box.
“Here,” he says, holding it out to me.
I smile and pop open the box’s lid. Inside there are two rows of delicately made chocolate truffles. I pick one out and pop it in my mouth, reveling in the rich chocolaty flavor.
“These are delicious,” I say through my mouthful. “How’d you know where they were?”
“They’re the best kept secret in Hogwarts history. Found the supply my third year here,” he says with a wink as he himself takes a hearty bite of one.
“Nothing heals heartache like chocolate,” James says, gesturing for me to sit down at one of the stools by the large stone counter. “Or at least that’s what Moony always tells me…”
“Remus does have the strangest fondness for chocolate…” I agree with a smile. “Personally, I prefer hot cider."
“James immediately drops his truffle and dashes over to another cabinet. “Well why on earth, Aurora, didn’t you say so?”
He returns with a goblet of piping hot apple cider.
“Ah, thank you, you’re the best,” I say, taking the warm goblet from him gratefully. “You really should consider a career in hosting parties,”
“I am the best of the best at that, it’s true,” he agrees haughtily with a laugh.
James gets himself a mug of cider and we sit together for a few moments, drinking our warm beverages and nibbling at the truffles some more.
“Really though…you have a knack for presentation,” I say between mouthfuls.
James just gives me a tip of the head. “And you have knack for stars and Arithmancy. Everybody’s got their something.”
“Hmph. I wish I could use Arithmancy to sort out my problems at the moment,” I mutter darkly.
“So you and Sirius still aren’t talking, then?” James asks, somewhat exasperatedly. As if our issues were somehow impeding on his life and could have been solved in twenty-four hours.
I nearly choke on my drink. “I thought we came to the kitchens to escape our love problems?”
“Come on Rora, don’t act like I don’t know. He is my best mate, and you would be too if you weren’t a girl.”
“No offense meant.”
“Well Sirius has proven himself to be a supreme twat, and I am over it,” I say enigmatically.
“A twat? For what?” James asks casually.
I look at him in disbelief. Was he not too present at the party, or am I going mad?
“He snogged Marlene not a half hour after kissing me,” I explain flatly.
I was expecting James to be surprised, outraged even, at this. But instead he merely shrugs and takes another vigorous gulp of my cider.
“Well, Sirius and love…it’s complicated,” James starts.
“Well, he’s never experienced love like you or I have,”
“What do you mean?” I wonder.
“I’m not sure he’s ever really had to deal with anything like…you before,”
“Me? Why am I any different?” I say, dejected.
“Because you’re like a best friend that he also wants to shag,” James explains simply. “And that can make a bloke’s head explode,”
“Then why snog another girl and break my bloody heart?” I say bitterly, drinking deeply from my bottle.
James sighs. “Sirius can’t handle his feelings, his family life, and his relationships with girls have always been one-sided,”
My heart hurts. That had never occurred to me. I feel stupid, really. All those times I had listened to Sirius’s family secrets, the pain and abuse he faced at home…
“But he loves you,” I say. “And Remus, and Peter. You are all like his brothers,”
“But that’s different, I think,” James says, musingly. “It’s a different love,”
I let this thought sit in my mind, and we sip our drinks in silence.
“I don’t know where to go from here,” I say softly. “I’m worried we’ve ruined everything…I’m scared I’ve lost a friend,”
James gives me a sympathetic look. “Well, Rora, I was feeling the same thing not two weeks ago in the Great Hall, punching the bogies out of Sirius, and look how we managed to mend things!”
I smile weakly, wiping a tear from my cheek. “True enough,” I feel a rush of gratitude towards James, my friend. He was so determined and sure of everything he did and said, it was hard to not believe him.
Just then there is a creaking sound as the door to the kitchens opens again, and I flinch, readying myself for the inevitable teacher who will probably be marching through to scold us.
But instead, a small and frantically moving figure enters. It’s Peter.
“Oh, hey Peter!” James exclaims when he spots his friend.
Peter, whose face looks white and more frightened than I felt at his appearance, freezes at the sight of us.
“What are you two doing here? I thought-I need-“ he stammers.
James furrows his brow, taking in his friend’s obviously distraught state.
“What’s the matter, Pete? What d’you need?”
“James,” Peter says, his eyes nervously flicking from me and back over to him. “You were supposed to meet us tonight…at the Willow.” He almost whispers the last part.
There is a silence as James contemplates this, and he must realize something because at once he leaps up and puts down his bottle.
“That’s tonight, Merlin’s left soggy-I forgot-I was with Lily and-OH blimey where’s Moony?!” He jumbles his words, frantically collecting his things in some strange state of panic. He runs over to a cabinet and pulls out a jar of Merlin-knows-what and throws it to Peter, who catches it hurriedly.
Peter gestures for James to hurry. I look on in confusion.
“Is everything…alright?” I ask slowly, thinking of Sirius’ bloody wound from earlier.
James turns back to me and practically shouts an apology, “Oh yes! Grand! Got to be going, but we’ll talk later!” And with that, he grabs his things and the last I see of the pair of them are the tails of their cloaks as they exit the door and a glimpse of the old blank parchment of their special map.
Alone now, I sigh. Bloody Marauders and their midnight adventures.
I turn back to the kitchens. Though the cider and chocolate had begun to fill me up, I still needed real food. So I troll through the cupboards, surveying the many boxes and jars full of various ingredients. But nothing that seems to suit my fancy.
Finally, in a large metallic ice box, I find a minced pie. Perfect.
The kitchens’ cold temperature, large stone walls being the root cause, has begun to affect me, so instead of eating the pie there, I quickly stash it under my sweater and creep back towards the door.
Once I make it back to the portrait, I mutter the password and inch forward, expecting the Fat Lady to open and let me pass.
But instead she only raises her head lightly from her slumber and says, “Sorry, dear but the password changed at midnight."
“Fine, what’s the new one?” I ask impatiently.
“Oh dear, I can’t tell you that!” she laughs condescendingly.
“But…how am I supposed to get in?” I ask faintly. I am not in the mood for this at the moment.
“You can’t without the password,” she answers simply.
“But I’m a Gryffindor! You know me, I’ve been here for seven years!” I complain, my voice rising.
“I’m terribly sorry my dear, but rules are rules.” She almost looks sympathetic towards me, but her portrait stays sealed tight.
“Can’t you make an exception? I’m so tired…please?” I beg weakly. But she purses her lips and gives a sharp shake of her head.
I let out a frustrated groan. In all of my years at this school, I have never once encountered this problem. Probably because I usually was in bed at a reasonable hour like normal people. But here I was, trapped.
“Well how am I supposed to go to bed?” I ask angrily.
“You’re the one who’s out past curfew…” she says, contempt obvious in her tone. She tended to get annoyed at prolonged conversation. I glare at her and turn around with a sigh.
“Well, I guess I will be sleeping out here then,” I mutter dejectedly. I really was in no mood to even bother. I was done with it all. Let a teacher find me, for all I care. This weekend couldn’t get any worse.
So I sit myself down on the red carpet that lined the corridors and pull out my minced meat pie.
“Really, my dear, must you eat in front of me? Can’t you go somewhere…else?” I hear the Fat Lady grumble from above me. I only turn to shoot her a dark look. She scoffs and turns away as I bite quite purposefully into my pie and chew loudly.
I shouldn’t be mad at her, really. It’s not her fault. But still. This certainly was not my day.
As I sit there, slowly chewing on my pie though honestly not really enjoying it, I begin to drift. My eyelids droop and I have to startle myself into sitting back up straight to keep from altogether falling asleep. All I can think about it my nice, warm, cushiony bed only a mere staircase away. Oh, how I would love to be snoozing away in it right now instead of on the cold and scratchy carpeting…
Some unknown amount of time later, I feel a gentle prodding at my side. I jump and roll over.
I open my eyes to find Lily standing over me, looking quite surprised to say the least.
“What on earth are you doing?” Lily asks, her face riddled with confusion and concern.
“Wha…I…what time is it?” I ask groggily.
“Just after one,” she says, holding out a hand to lift me up. I take it and sit myself up.
“Oh.” I say stupidly. Suddenly, I feel embarrassed at my state, lying there sprawled out in front of the common room entrance holding a half eaten pie in one hand.
“The password changed, and I was stuck…” I mumble in a lame explanation, not meeting her eyes. My cheeks redden.
“Well here, let’s get you inside,” Lily says, grabbing my bag for me. “Carpe Lacuna.”
The Fat Lady, looking smugly in my direction as she does so, leans forward and we are free to enter.
“How’d you know the password?” I ask weakly in surprise.
“You forget, I am Head Girl,” Lily says with a smirk.
The Common room is nearly empty by now, except for a few older students. The boys are gathered in the corner, all but Remus, that is, and I wonder where he could be... evidently they had finished with their nightly jaunt to Merlin-knows-where.
I spot Sirius sulking on the window seat, a book in hand, his long hair drooping over his face. I notice his side has been bandaged.
I head for the dormitory stairs, hoping they won’t notice us.
“So, why on earth were you outside of the Tower so late, anyway?” Lily asks as we climb the girls dormitory steps together.
“I went to the kitchens for food. I skipped dinner, so I was starved,” I explain quickly, and in the corner of my eye I see Sirius look up at the pair of us.
“Why’d you skip dinner?”
“I…er, well…” I struggle for an excuse. I didn’t really feel like admitting to her that I had been avoiding Sirius. “I felt ill…”
“From last night?” Lily prods on.
“Well…yes, you could say that,” I answer dryly.
Lily gives a scoff-like laugh. “I’m with you there. I would prefer to erase last night and tonight from existence,”
I suddenly feel the urge to ask her about what happened with James. But I know it’s not really my place, so I stay quiet.
“Well, it’s getting quite late, Aurora. We should probably be getting to bed,” Lily says once we reach the top.
“Well, er, goodnight then. Thanks again,” I say as I open my door. She just gives me a light smile before turning to enter her own.
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