Chapter 3 : Where Do We Go From Here
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AN - Hello! So this is the last chapter of this story, I hope you enjoy it and don't hate me too much! If you get the chance I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!
The quote marked with an * is an edited quote from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and was given to me as part of EstrellaBella's The Les Miserables Challenge.
‘That was bloody amazing!’ Sirius announced as they left the small cinema. ‘The fighting and the adventure... I mean, they were riding on horses and he was fighting with that whip thing! And we could see it all happening and hear them! Bloody amazing!’ He continued with a look of pure glee on his face as he continued to ramble enthusiastically.
Lydia just smiled in amusement at his reaction. She still couldn’t quite believe that Sirius had never been to watch a film on the big screen before, it was pretty much the thing to do on a date these days. She often wondered if he’d been living under a rock for the past few years – he was so inexperienced about the world. It was a wonder he managed to get by day by day.
After much deliberation she had brought him to watch Indiana Jones in the end, even though it wasn’t particularly her kind of film; s much preferred a good comedy or romance herself. She had a feeling he would like it though and she clearly hadn’t been wrong. Surprisingly enough, she had quite enjoyed it herself.
‘Yes, you can watch them and hear what they’re saying. Honestly Sirius, I’ve never met someone who hasn’t been to the cinema before! You really need to get out more.’ She laughed at him as they walked out into the cool night air.
‘Boarding school for you,’ he answered with a grin, his eyes still shining with excitement. ’So, what do you want to do now?’ he asked slipping his hand into hers. Her heart fluttered at the small touch, although she couldn’t help but roll her eyes inwardly at how unpredictable he was. She’d spent the whole of the film wondering if he was going to hold her hand and he chose to do it now. Men.
She stopped on the pavement and thought about what she wanted to do. She really didn’t want to go home, the night was still pretty young and she didn’t want to part with him just yet; things were going too well. Looking around she noticed a photo booth just to the right of them and was suddenly filled with a childish urge to go and use it, the idea of pulling stupid faces to the camera suddenly appealing. Sirius was clearly rubbing off on her. She turned back to him with a mischievous grin lighting up her face that made a wary look cross over his own.
‘Can we go and have our photo took?’ She asked pointing behind her.
Sirius pulled a face. ‘Have our photo took? That’s really what you want to do?’ He asked disbelievingly, the excitement in his eyes now gone and traded with utter reluctance. Lydia nodded back at him, pulling her best puppy-dog eyes face, although she knew she probably looked more like she was in pain than anything else. He glanced up at the photo booth and a confused look replaced the disdain on his face. ‘That thing takes your photo?’ he questioned unsurely.
‘Oh come on! You’ve got to be kidding me? You’re not going to tell me now that you’ve never had your photo taken in one of these?’ she asked, her disbelief matching his. He’d definitely been living under a rock she decided.
Sirius sighed and she watched with satisfaction as he resigned himself to the fact that she wasn’t about to let him get out of this one now.
‘Nope, I haven’t.’ he admitted.
Lydia smirked at her small victory and stepped back, pulling Sirius with her.
It was late afternoon and the sun was once again shining brightly overhead. The weather had been way too hot for this time of year, but this only made Sirius feel like it was mocking him. It kept everyone so warm and happy while he himself felt cold and empty. He’d never felt so numb in his entire life.
He was sitting alone in the more shaded area of the small garden, tired from doing fuck all for the last three days. His appearance had changed considerably in such a short time, not that he cared. The stubble on his face had grown darker and thicker while his hair had become a scraggly mess from neglect. The circles had grown darker under his grey eyes, reminding him of all the sleep he had missed, but it was the look in his eyes that was truly frightening. All the hope and light in them had evaporated.
Hunched over like an old man he sat fighting back the tears as he stared at the set of four pictures he held of a boy and girl, both looking at each other, both smiling. She’d had them in her pocket that day and he had no idea why and now he’d lost the opportunity to ask her. His hand trembled as he touched the girl’s cheek with affection, knowing he’d never feel its warmth again.
‘Padfoot?’ James said quietly as he approached slowly and sat beside him on the small bench. Sirius just ignored him, too engrossed in the picture he was clinging on to.
‘I know you’re hurting mate, trust me I do. You need to talk to someone though; you can’t just hide out here.’ James continued when he realised Sirius still wasn’t in the mood for talking to him.
‘Well it’s alright for you isn’t it? You’ve still got Lily and Harry to run home too.’ Sirius said coldly. He felt James tense at the side of him, but he bit back the response Sirius knew he had. It didn’t matter anyway; as soon as the words had left his mouth he’d regretted them. He knew he didn’t blame James for any of this but he just needed to get some of his anger out.
‘I’m sorry.’ Sirius said quietly. ‘It’s just, it’s all my fault James,’ he continued hoarsely without letting his eyes leave the picture, ‘I left her there. I didn’t get her out. I let my sick, twisted bitch of a cousin murder her!’ he yelled, his eyes filling up with hot tears as he let his feelings spill out. He screwed the strip of photos up and threw them as hard as he could across the garden and buried his head in his arms, not wanting James to see the tears.
‘It wasn’t your fault, Sirius. You can’t blame yourself for this.’ James replied placing a hand on his friends shoulder as Sirius broke down into sobs, unable to argue back. ‘You didn’t know you were being followed and you certainly didn’t know just how… far Bellatrix would go.’
Sirius let out a humourless laugh through the sobs. ‘Of course I knew how far she’d go. I just didn’t expect… I didn’t realise…’ Sirius trailed off, the guilt was eating away at him. He should have known. He should have been more alert. So many things he should have been and he wasn’t.
‘I should have realised when I saw Regulus, I should have known something was going on but I just carried on, reckless as ever.’ He finally managed the tears still falling thick and fast from his bloodshot eyes.
‘Sirius, this isn’t your fault.’ James repeated.
‘So, why do I feel so much guilt inside?’ Sirius asked.
‘Because you care.’ James said simply.
James sat quietly for a long time in the warm afternoon, allowing his friend to get his anguish out, knowing he needed it. It was probably the longest the two had gone in each other’s company without saying a word and Sirius knew it must be killing James to not be speaking. The man liked the sound of his own voice way too much. Despite it all though, Sirius couldn’t remember ever feeling so grateful to his best friend, the man who had always been there for him since he was eleven years old. It made it all the harder for him to say what he had to, to let his best friend down despite having only the best intentions at heart.
The tears eventually subsided though and Sirius felt himself calm down enough to be able to do what he had to. He turned to his friend, a serious look on his face. The grey eyes met the hazel and Sirius knew James already knew what he was going to say.
‘James – I can’t be secret keeper for you and Lils,’ he finally said with a sigh, a look of deep regret on his already stricken face. He felt a sharp knot of guilt twist once more in his stomach as he said it, even though he knew he was doing this to protect them.
James paused for a long time then answered simply, ‘I understand. It was a lot to ask of you.'
‘It’s not that James, come on. You know I’d die for you and Lily and Harry in a heartbeat!’ Sirius cried. ‘They know though, James. Surely this fucked up mess is enough to make you see that? They already think I will know where you are, or where you will be or whatever. I don’t yet though, so don’t you see though? I can be the perfect decoy!’
James took a moment to process everything before saying unsurely ‘I don’t know Pads…’
‘You could use Wormy instead.’ Sirius quickly interrupted, not wanting to be proven wrong by James. ‘He can go and hide and I’ll lead them on a wild goose chase. It’s perfect,’ Sirius continued; he’d been thinking about this for the last few days, planning and scheming ever since he’d left the forest with Lydia – anything to stop him dwelling on her and the emptiness she’d left inside him. He could see James considering it, seeing the brilliance of his plan.
‘What about Moony?’ James asked.
‘I don’t know if we can trust him anymore James. There’s a spy among us and more than once me and Peter have noticed some rather convenient coincidences where something has been leaked while Remus was out.’ Sirius said sadly. He thought of all the times the four of them had been on adventures growing up and it hurt him to think of his friend in such a way. The evidence was stacked against him though, no matter how much Sirius didn’t want to believe it.
‘Surely not Sirius, not Remus.’ James reasoned. Sirius had expected this reaction though; James had always been so unwilling to think badly of his friends.
‘Look, just think about it at least,’ he offered.
‘Okay Pads,’ James sighed. ‘I’ll talk to Lils. Are you going to come over tonight? Harry’s missing you and I know Lily wants to see you.’
‘Sure,’ was all Sirius could manage, feeling his heart clench at the thought. He didn’t particularly want to spend an evening watching Lily and James together but he missed Harry too. That kid was the one bit of hope in his life right now and James knew it.
James smiled at his friend then pulled out his wand and pointed it toward the garden. A tiny ball of paper came rushing toward them which James caught easily. Muttering another spell the paper smoothed out until it was like new in James’ hand and he passed it back to Sirius, clapped him on the back and then left him to his thoughts, knowing that he needed space.
Sirius looked down once again to see her face silently gazing back at him.
‘So what do we do?’ Sirius asked as Lydia put some change into the machine.
‘We just pose to the camera,’ she shrugged pointing in front of them. ‘It’ll take four pictures. You ready?’ she turned to face the camera then crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue. Sirius just stared at her in bewilderment.
The flash of the camera made him jump out of his skin, which then made Lydia start giggling hysterically. Not appreciating being laughed at, Sirius grabbed hold of her and started to tickle her just as the flash went off again.
‘Stop! Please!’ wheezed Lydia, fighting to break out of Sirius’ grip. He conceded, but rubbed his hands over her head, messing up her hair so when the camera flashed for the third time she looked like she had just been dragged through a hedge backwards.
‘Hey!’ Lydia yelled as she swiped at his arm. Satisfied that he had got his revenge, Sirius stopped and allowed a huge smirk to make its way onto his face.
Lydia smoothed her hair and turned to face him with a grumpy look on her face at the exact same moment Sirius leant in for the final picture. Their noses caught one another; catching them both of guard as they turned. Jerked back slightly, they found themselves sat facing each other with their noses mere centimetres apart. Sirius felt transfixed at the warmness he found in her eyes. The mix of browns seemed to swirl in them, making him dizzy. She had a gold fleck in her left eye that he’d never noticed before.
The camera flashed for the final time, making them both jump. Sirius let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding and watched fondly as a blush crept over Lydia’s cheeks at the intensity of the moment. They both giggled nervously.
‘We better get our pictures I guess.’ She mumbled as she stumbled back out into the night.
‘Yes, we’d better.’ Sirius replied standing up and following her out.
Sirius stared hard at the girl in the picture trying hard to commit every little detail about her to his memory. Her brown eyes and full lips, her smell and the way she laughed in a very un-lady like way. All the things he liked best about her. He felt the tears prickle at the corners of his eyes once again, threatening to make him loose control but he fought back. Still he couldn’t keep his breath from catching in his throat as he whispered, ‘And do you know Lydia Cohen? I believe I was a little in love with you.*’