Chapter 20 : Chapter 20
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A/N: To my darling readers, if I have any left, words cannot describe how sorry I am to have stopped updating for such a long time! I honestly could not find the time, as much as it killed me. I hope some of you are still out there and can find it in your hearts to forgive me and to continue reading. Your encouragement means the world to me. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter-related characters, names, places, objects, spells, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling. I only own the original characters and the plot.
Lily’s bloody alarm goes off at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Its sound seems magnified times a thousand.
Then it stops. Thank Merlin.
Then five minutes later, it goes off again.
That can only mean one thing.
Lily hit the snooze button.
Now this may not seem like a big deal, but when you’ve known Lily Evans as long as I have, you know that the circumstances must be extreme for her to hit the snooze button. She’s only done it three times in all the years I’ve known her. The first was the day after her birthday first year when Petunia didn’t send her a card. The second was in third year after she’d found out her cat died. The third was in fifth year, when James had hung a banner saying “Lily Evans, will you go out with me?” in the Gryffindor Common Room and people wouldn’t stop calling her “Mrs. Potter.”
So this is bad.
As much as I don’t want to, I get out of my bed and walk over to Lily’s. My head throbs with every step I take.
“Lils?” I ask. “Are you alright?”
A muffled noise from inside the hangings tells me she’s at least alive.
I open the hangings to find Lily with her head buried underneath her pillow.
“Are you alright?” I repeat.
I can’t help but laugh. Mistake. My head pounds.
“It’s your first hangover, sweetie. Don’t worry, it’ll pass.”
She rolls over to face me. “I’m never drinking again.”
“Yeah, that’s what I usually say,” I tell her.
Just then, Alice comes in. I hadn’t even noticed she was gone.
“Good morning!” she says cheerfully. “I’ve been up since eight, helping the boys clean up. Last night was so much fun, don’t you think?”
Lily and I glare at her. Clearly, Alice hadn’t had anything to drink, as per usual. And now she was deciding to rub it in.
“Not in very good moods this morning, are we?” asks Alice. “Well, birthday girl, there’s a pile of presents waiting for you in the common room, as well as your boyfriend, who, if I recall correctly, is the ‘sexiest man alive’?”
Lily groans. “I was hoping that was a dream.”
“It’s okay,” I say sympathetically. “I got into a bitch fight with Lauren Ellison.”
Her eyes widen. “Maddie!”
I shrug. “She started it.”
“Come on,” says Alice. “Everyone’s waiting.”
I offer Lily my hand and pull her out of bed. Together we descend the stairs to the Common Room.
As we walk down the stairs we hear James’s voice. “What if she’s not alright? I shouldn’t have let her drink so much, what was I thinking?”
“Prongs, I’m sure she’s fine,” says Remus reassuringly.
“If she’s not I’ll never forgive myself, it’s all my faul-Lily!” Upon seeing her, James runs over from in front of the couch where he had presumably been pacing back and forth. He nearly knocks me over as he embraces Lily. I take the opportunity to go sit down on the couch next to Sirius, who kisses me on the forehead and puts his arm around me.
“Are you okay?” James asks, picking Lily up.
“I’d be better if you put me down,” says Lily weakly.
“Right-sorry,” says James apologetically, putting her back on the ground. “But seriously, are you alright? Do you need anything? Can I-”
“James!” says Lily. “I love you for caring so much, but I’m fine, honestly.”
There’s a moment of silence as a grin wider than the ocean spreads across James’s face.
“What?” Lily asks him, looking puzzled.
“You just said you love me,” says James, in a voice that implies he can hardly believe it. “You love me!”
Lily adopts a look of panic, which alerts the rest of us to the fact that they haven’t exchanged these words before. “No,” she says hastily, “I said I love you for-”
“You said it again!” says James triumphantly, still beaming.
But James isn’t listening. He’s run over to the window and thrown it open. “She loves me!” he yells out. “Lily Evans loves me!”
Lily can’t help herself. She starts to smile. “Come over here, you dolt,” she says. James obeys.
“I love you,” she tells him seriously.
“I love you too,” he replies, and then they kiss. I think they’ve probably forgotten that the rest of us are sitting here.
We head down to breakfast together after Lily’s opened her birthday presents. We’re sitting enjoying our meal as we have the luxury of doing on Sundays, since there are no classes to rush off to, when Lily drops her copy of the Daily Prophet right onto her plate, a horrified expression on her face.
“What?” asks James, startled. “Lily, what?”
She shakes her head without speaking. James picks up the paper and looks searchingly at the page Lily was reading.
“Oh no,” he says, looking from the paper to Lily.
“Would you mind enlightening the rest of us as to what’s going on?” I ask.
“It’s awful,” says Lily. “Those poor people.”
“See for yourself, mate,” says James, passing the paper across the table to me. Maddie scoots closer to see and we read together:
FAMILY ATTACKED, TWO KILLED
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Cresswell, of Aberdeen, were attacked and murdered at their home at eleven o’clock last night. They were discovered by Muggle policemen and then by Ministry wizards after a neighbor phoned in what was believed to be simply a break-in. Mr. and Mrs. Cresswell were Muggles, leading officials to believe that this attack was purposeful and unwarranted. They are, however, survived by one son who is currently attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This attack was believed to be the work of Dark wizards, who left their mark above the Cresswell home. The Ministry does not currently have any information on who is responsible for this crime.
Maddie and I finish at the same time and look up at each other. I feel like I might be sick. Maddie’s first to speak.
“Poor Dirk,” she says softly, and we follow her gaze over to the Ravenclaw table, where Dirk Cresswell would normally be sitting. I assume they pulled him out of school last night to tell him.
“It’s awful,” Lily repeats. “I-I can’t-I’m sorry-” She gets up from the table and leaves the Hall. James is up from his seat faster than I would’ve believed possible and follows her.
“She’s frightened for her family,” Alice says, stating the obvious. “Imagine getting taken out of school in the middle of the night to be told your family’s been killed.”
“And these people didn’t even do anything wrong,” Maddie adds. “It was just because they were Muggles with a wizard son. They-the people that killed them-they just don’t want anyone connected to the Wizarding world who’s not a wizard.”
“So they killed them…for existing?” asks Frank. No one replies, considering his question and not wanting to give the answer.
I can’t take it anymore. Without making excuses, I follow Lily’s idea and get the hell out of that Hall.
I hear Maddie as I leave. “Sirius?” I’m sure she’s following me, but I really don’t want to talk right now, so I take a shortcut back to the Common Room James and I found back in second year.
When I get there, James and Lily are sitting together on the couch, and Lily is crying into his chest. He and I meet eyes for a second before I head up into our dormitory, and I know he understands exactly what’s going through my mind.
Sirius leaves the hall without any explanation, so naturally, I follow. By the time I get into the Entrance Hall, he’s already disappeared. Probably one of those bloody shortcuts he and James are so fond of.
I can’t think of where he may have gone besides back to Gryffindor Tower, so that’s where I go. There are only two people in the Common Room when I arrive, a crying Lily and James, comforting her.
“He’s up there,” says James, gesturing to the dormitory. “But I’m not sure if he feels up to talking at the moment.”
“Well that’s too bad for him, isn’t it,” I say flatly. “He can’t just disappear like that and expect me not to worry.”
Without waiting for permission, I head up the boys’ staircase to the door marked “7th Years.”
I knock on the door as more of a courtesy; I don’t expect a response and I’m certainly not going to wait for one.
I enter to find Sirius, standing facing the window.
“Sirius?” I say tentatively.
“I don’t want to talk right now, Mads,” he says without looking at me.
“Well that’s a little unfair, don’t you think?” I say, my temper getting the better of me. “You disappear from breakfast without a word of explanation and expect me to let it go?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” he says harshly.
I’m stung. “Why don’t you try me?” I suggest coldly. “Seeing as I’m your girlfriend and all, I’m supposed to be able to help you through things.”
“Because no one can. No one understands,” he says, still not turning around. “So if you don’t mind, I’d like to be left alone.”
“I do mind,” I say fiercely, “but when you’ve decided to stop being such a bloody loner, why don’t you let me know?”
I turn and leave the dormitory, furious at this sudden turn of events, and wondering what it possibly is that Sirius thinks I won’t understand.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading, please leave a review and let me know what you thought! I'm sorr y this chapter wasn't longer, but hopefully the next one will be. I will do my best to keep updates regular from now on!
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