I lifted my head from my hands so my eyes could see more than the snow on the ground, and I saw Rose running toward me. I felt Remus shift next to me, sitting up a little straighter. Rose fell to her knees in front of me, and she looked worried.
“Thea, are you okay?” she asks.
“No, but I will be.” I tell her honestly, they felt like the first honest words I’ve spoken in over a year.
“You know we all love you right?” she asks hugging me.
“Yeah, I do…” I tell her, but in my mind I’m thinking not Sirius.
“I know I probably ruined your Christmas, and I’m sorry, but there is still time to recover it.” I tell my friends as we sit around the lit fireplace in the living room.
“Thea you didn’t do anything wrong.” Lily says quickly.
“That… that can’t happen,” I say “I can’t be treated like a china doll; all that will do is make me hate you. Just trust me when I say I’m okay now.”
“But how can we trust you of you didn’t tell us this to begin with.” James says, and Lily hits him.
“Well it was never any of your business, any of yours, so I didn’t have to tell you.” I say
“But it is m-“ James starts.
“No, it’s not. It’s mine and mine alone, and I’m not letting it ruin today for me. So shut up about it before I’m forced to hit you with something.” I snap
“Let’s open presents then.” Alice says, saving me from any further humiliation.
“Good,” I tell her smiling, and handing out presents.
I give Lily and James theirs first, then Remus, Rose, but then I come to Sirius. I pause, and look at him. “It’s, um, weird isn’t it?” I ask him
“Yeah, but it’s not like anything real actually changed.” He says and I feel foolish.
“Right…” I say and I hand him the present moving onto Alice.
After all of us have passed out our presents we tear into the wrappings, reminding me of kids. I laugh to myself thinking that; we are still kids; this is something we should cherish now, because when we grow up we won’t get this.
I open the present from my brother first; he got me a new book bag.
“Thanks…” I say looking up at him.
“Yeah, well we haven’t been on the greatest speaking terms as of late, so I just guessed.” James tells me as he opens his gift from me, which is a new journal.
“Like you said, bad speaking terms.” I tell him laughing.
He smiles at me, and puts the journal down, and grabs for another present. I do the same, this time it’s from Alice. I tear off the paper and open the box, and sitting inside is a shirt. It’s red and reads ‘Pride’, and it’s short sleeved.
“Alice…” I say looking up.
“You don’t have to wear it, it’s just something to think about.” She says shrugging. “Thanks for the bracelet.”
She holds up her wrist so I can see the charm bracelet on her, its silver and at this point only has one charm; a flower charm, I think it’s a rose, so she has opened the one from Rose too. Rose, Lily, and I decided that we would work together on Alice’s gift this year, the bracelet from me, and charms from everyone else.
I reach for the gift from Lily next, unsure of what to think. Lily and I had been fighting for months, so I shouldn’t expect much. But then I pull the lid off the box and suddenly feel bad for doubting her. Inside is sitting a new hat. I laugh at the memory that probably inspired her to get this for me.
“Do you like it?” Lily asks, smiling.
“How could I not?” I laugh putting the hat on.
I remember us sitting out by the lake last Christmas, it was frozen, and there was a few first years tenuously walking on the ice. Lily and I were bundled up; I had on jeans a long-sleeved shirt two jackets, and a black knit hat. Lily stared complaining about having cold ears, and I getting tired of her whining, threw the hat her. She thanked me and pulled it on; well at about that time a first year threw a snow ball and hit me in the back of the head. In retaliation we both started throwing snow balls back, we were outnumbered though, and they backed us up to where we were standing on the ice. It broke and we both fell in, it was only two or so feet deep so we were fine, but sometime in the process of Lily getting her footing back, she lost my hat.
“Open yours from me.” I tell Lily still smiling.
She tears the wrapping off the box and pulls up the lid; she smiles down at the box.
“It’s to say sorry for me being such a bitch lately.” I tell her as she picks up the bracelet.
“Thank you.” She says smiling still.
I reach for the next present, it’s from Rose, and I pull the tissue paper out of the bag, and retrieve the present from within. Two books, one entitled ‘Obscure spells’ the other ‘Living with a prat; the girls guide to terrible boyfriends’. I look up and give Rose a weird look.
“What?” she asks “I was mad at Sirius, so I thought you could jinx him then dump him?”
“That’s great Rose.” I say to my best friend “Sometimes I don’t know what to do about you.”
“Well got me a scarf.” She says holding up the present I bought her.
“My choices were limited because you went shopping with me!” I tell her “Any way it’s cool it changes color and design according to what you want.”
She just laughs and reaches for her next present. I do the same, it’s from Remus. I notice it’s a particularly small box; I pull the lid off and see a bracelet with a locket charm. Out of pure curiosity I flip the locket open. Inside is a picture of me, Remus, and Sirius from third year. I remember the day we took the picture because it was after a full moon and Remus looked terrible, Sirius had just decided to grow his hair out and it was at an awkward length where all it would do was stick up, and I had this god awful bow in my hair.
“Where in the world did you find this?” I ask surprised “I thought between me and Sirius we had burned all the copies.”
“I still had a copy, and I shrank it to put it in there.” He tells me laughing.
James had demanded that we get a picture to commemorate the day because Sirius and I had gone all of ten minutes without fighting, which was rare even then. So we got together, and just as James was about to take the picture, we started fighting because I told him his hair looked really stupid, so Remus got in the picture too to stop us from fighting.
“Why did I get a rock?” I hear someone ask, and I look up.
Sirius is holding up a rock in his hands. I laugh.
“I gave it to you; it’s a very nice rock.” James says smiling over at me.
“It’s a rock!” Sirius exclaims
“Hey, you are dating my sister, you’re lucky it’s just a rock and not something worse.” James says then he turns back to Lily and they start talking again.
I had only two presents left, one from Peter, it was a bag of candy, like every year, and one from Sirius. I couldn’t bring myself to reach out for the box; I couldn’t even look at it. I felt like the box was poison and if I touched it I would die. It was as if the end of the world would come if I opened it. So instead I looked over at Sirius, he was looking at my gift to him in much the same manor I was looking at his gift to me. I feel the weight on the couch shift a little as someone sits down next to me.
“You don’t have to open it.” Rose tells me, looking at the box.
“I don’t want to, I don’t want to know what he bought me or how much he spent, and I just want it to disappear.” I tell her in almost a whisper.
“Then just give it back to him, tell him you don’t feel right about it now that you two aren’t anything.” Rose tells me. “You aren’t right? You ended whatever it was you two had, right?”
“Yeah, it’s over, it never really happened, but it’s over.” I say looking back over at Sirius and feeling a loss which I had no business feeling.
Everyone had gone from the room, migrated upstairs to talk to Thea. Not me though, I had no right to be there, she didn’t care about me anymore, if she ever did. I stared at the two unopened presents sitting side by side on the coffee table. I couldn’t bring myself to open the gift from Thea, or take back the one meant for her. So they sat there untouched, unopened, and unwanted.
“Sirius, what are you doing down here?” I hear someone ask.
“Staying out of Thea’s business,” I say not looking away from the presents.
“You’re the only one who cared enough about her to tell me, you belong up there with her.” James says.
“I was drunk; I didn’t want to tell you. I wasn’t ever going to tell anyone. I thought she was okay.” I say sounding defeated.
“That doesn’t matter, it was you who told me, not Remus, not Alice, you.” He says
“And that’s why I’m the one she never wants to see again.” I yell finally looking up.
“She’s just mad; she’ll calm down and see that you did what was best for her.” James says unfazed by my outburst.
“No, James she won’t. She told me it would be best if we were over.”
“I know her, and she will come around.” James says “She… she really loves you.” He sounded pained as he said it.
“James, you don’t know anything about her, or me, or what actually happened these past few months.” I tell her laughing humorlessly “If you did know anything you wouldn’t be here, you wouldn’t even be up there with her.”
I’m not really sure what I was thinking, but I just walked out after that. I just left.
“He didn’t mean to hurt you Thea.” Alice tells me.
“I don’t care anymore Alice, I don’t I just don’t want to talk about Sirius. It’s over, and I’m fine with it.” I snap
“That’s the fastest I’ve seen someone get over a break up.” Lily comments.
I want to laugh and tell her that there couldn’t be a break up if there was never a couple to begin with, but I don’t. I may hate Sirius, but I won’t put him through what James and Lily would say if they knew everything was fake, things couldn’t get worse for me, but they could for him.
“I’m perfectly fine Lily, it’s not like I didn’t know Sirius and I would break up.” I tell them.
“Then why would you go out with him?” Alice asks.
“I don’t know, he seemed… genuine when he asked me out, I guess.” I say not sure if that would be enough to convince them.
“I think he should be up here, apologizing.” Rose says looking out the door as if he would walk up the stairs any minute. But I knew he wouldn’t, not ever.
Tears began to pool in my eyes, but I blinked them back, reminding myself I never had Sirius Black, I didn’t lose him, I couldn’t.
“You should at least talk to him, he really cares about you.” Remus says.
Why was he getting into this? He knew as well as me that Sirius and I never had feelings for each other. Not really.
“No, I’m not reopening a wound for either of us. It’s over, done, no more, and I’m fine, Sirius is fine, everything will go back to normal soon enough.” I say to all of them hoping to end the conversation.
“In all the chaos earlier, I never got to give you your present.” I tell Remus and I absently run my thumb over the silver pendant he gave me.
“It’s fine Rose, you didn’t have to give me anything.” He says
“No, it’s not!” I exclaim “You gave me a lovely gift, so now I’m giving you your gift.”
I take a deep, nervous breath as I reach for the violin case that was resting behind the couch. I had never done this before, played in front of people. Barely anyone knew I could play, much less had seen it, so this was a nerve testing experience that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to get into. I looked over at Remus, he looked absolutely thrilled to have me play for him, so I knew I had to do it.
I take another deep breath and I position the instrument on my shoulder. I begin to play, and I’m thankful that everyone is either gone or asleep; I didn’t want anyone but Remus to hear this song. I had written it, the first song I have ever written, and I poured my heart into it. I thought that if anyone else heard it they would know something far too personal about me, something I was only ready to share with Remus. I had high hopes that after this he would finally share his secret with me too.
As my bow danced over the strings with persecution, and practice I was suddenly glad that I spent so many hours perfecting this song, far longer than I bother to spend on most other songs. I smiled in spite of myself and how nervous I was. I even looked up to see Remus’ reaction, something I swore to myself I wouldn’t do. He looked really happy, and was just staring at me, his eyes watched as I moved the bow across my instrument, as I watched him he watched me.
Finally the song was over and I lower the violin back into its case at my feet. I looked up the see Remus still staring at me from his spot in one of the chairs. I walk the short distance between us and sit on the arm of the chair. I look down at him, expecting him to say something.
“Well, what did you think?” I ask realizing I’m going to have to drag it out of him.
“It was beautiful, as were you.” He says taking ahold of my hand. “I’ve never really gotten to see you play, even though I knew you did it still felt like a secret.”
Taking what might be my only chance, I said “Speaking of secrets, are you ready to share yours?”
I was nervous asking, not because he would get mad, but because I knew he might be about to tell me that he’s a werewolf, and even though I knew, and I was okay with it, hearing him say it might make things different.
“Rose…” he says “I’m not sure you really want to know.”
I lean down a little so we’re eye to eye and close enough that I can hear him breathing. “Nothing will change this, what we have. You literally saw me at my worst and that only makes me care about you more, Remus, I don’t care what it is. I just need you to be honest with me.”
He looks at me and I can see the decision being made in his eyes.
“Rose I’m a werewolf.” He says quickly like if he doesn’t get it all out now he never will.
I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react, I can’t tell him I already knew because that could make him paranoid that other people know too, and so I just sit there for a second.
“Rose, are you okay?” he asks sounding worried.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I smile hoping that he would just accept that I accept him. To prove my point I kiss him lightly.
He pulls back and looks at me.
“Are you sure? Most people run away, or freak out, or accuse me of lying.” He says putting a hand on the side of my head.
“For god’s sake Remus, I told you nothing would change this, the only difference I now I know why Sirius jokes about your time of the month and why Sirius got me a charm bracelet with a wolf on it and couldn’t stop laughing about it.” I tell him.
“Well now I don’t feel so bad telling you that Sirius is literally a dog.” Remus says looking at the charm bracelet I was wearing.
“That’s why you gave him a dog color!” I exclaim that had actually confused me a lot.
“Yep,” he says smiling wider than I had ever seen.
“Does Thea know?” I ask
“Yeah, Thea is a raven.” He tells me.
In response to my many questions about him and my four animagus friends Remus spent that night telling me all about the full moon and why they were always so beat up afterwards.
I stared up at the ceiling above me, my room was quiet, Lily and Alice were sleeping, and Rose was gone. I wished I could sleep too, but too many thoughts plagued my head. Sirius was gone. Just gone, he just left. James told me that he just need to calm down, Lily told me that I shouldn’t worry, Alice told me that Sirius was fine and I need to worry about myself, Remus told me that he knew that Sirius would come back by morning, and Rose told me that he loved me, nothing more than that.
As much as I wanted my feelings for Sirius to just disappear they wouldn’t, not the anger at him telling James, not the sadness I felt for him when he walked away from me looking so defeated, not the hatred I had built up over our years of fighting, and not the worry at him being gone. And not the longing I felt for him to just tell me everything was okay, and for him to hold me close to him as he had every time I cried.
Before I knew what I was doing I was out of my room and down the stairs about to walk out the door. I knew it was a stupid venture to walk out that door, but I did any way. My bare feet didn’t feel the cold of the snow as I walked through it, I just knew that finding Sirius would make things better, even if he was the reason they were bad to begin with.
“Sirius!” I yelled out into the night, not caring if anyone else could hear, just caring that maybe he could. “Sirius where are you?”
I wanted him to answer me; I needed him to answer me. I needed to know why I felt this way. I had never needed anyone, and now he was all I needed. I had never felt like this before, but I knew that if I didn’t see Sirius again this feeling would be torcher. I felt pathetic that I needed him so much, but I also felt stronger because I knew this meant that I felt something for him.