Chapter 25 : Into Sirius's Mind
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L.C. Lenny Crowley. Lenora Crowley. It just wasn’t clicking in my head. They couldn’t be the same person. They just couldn’t. They were two entirely different people. L.C. was charming, creative, beautiful, and walked to her own beat. Lenny was… well, I suppose Lenny was just like that. Actually, I sort of thought I had just described her right there instead of L.C. So maybe it wasn’t too far-fetched.
I still wasn’t willing to believe it, though.
I twirled my wand in my hand, small sparks falling from it, burning out before they reached anything. Figuring out who L.C. was had been my goal for the past few months. Now that I knew, I wish I could rewind it all. I didn’t want to know that it was Lenny. I didn’t want to know that it was anyone, honestly. I didn’t want to feel this way about someone who was real. I was used to thinking someone was attractive, sure, but not actually loving someone.
Who would have thought Sirius Black would fall for Lenny Crowley? I had spent years making fun of the way she dressed, the way she talked, even the way she walked. There was something always different about Lenny. She didn’t follow what everyone else did. She didn’t care if she looked funny or if she sounded strange. That was what made her so different. Hell, it was why I had made fun of her for all of those years. She was always an easy target.
Teddy Crowley, her twin brother, had forced her to join Quidditch our second year. Our third year when I was properly introduced to her, she had given me “the talk” about how she was born. That day was the day I had flagged her as weird. That was the day that I began to make fun of her. That was the day that my dislike for Lenny Crowley had grown. This year all of that had turned around rather quickly.
L.C. had come around. At first, she was just another challenge to me. She was another girl that thought she didn’t want me and couldn’t be charmed by me. I was going to prove her wrong. Along the way, things slowly had changed. So many things had happened. Remus had made me open up to Lenny. Lenny had done the same. We had an electrical bond that I wasn’t aware could ever happen. And something else was going on with L.C. She was becoming a figure. Sure, she didn’t have a face, but that wasn’t the part I had fallen for about her. It was everything else. The part I wasn’t willing to admit was that I was falling for Lenny at the same time.
The pathetic part? They were the same person.
I know, I still don’t believe it.
For some reason, I had always hoped that James would pop out of somewhere and tell me that L.C. wasn’t real. Tell me that he had made her up. Hell, I was willing to believe Regulus had made her up. It would make these feelings make more sense. They knew what type of girl I would fall for. It wasn’t going to be the perfect, model girl that giggled at all the right times and blew kisses at me across the classroom. It was going to be an independent, didn’t take the nonsense people dished on her, shockingly beautiful girl.
It was going to be someone like Lenny.
“Padfoot? Mate?” I heard James’s tentative voice from outside the bedroom door. They all were treating me like I was going to crumble into a mess any moment. I was fine. Men don’t crumble. James peeked his head around the corner of the doorway, staring intently at me. “We’re leaving for Moony’s place. You coming?”
“I’ll catch up.” I mumbled, staring up at the ceiling that I had become accustomed to over the last few years. James’s spare bedroom ceiling. Ever since I had ran away from Grimmwald place, this had been my home.
“You sure, mate? I can wait if you’d like,” James suggested. I felt my jaw clenched. I was a man and men didn’t need help!
“I’ll be fine, Padfoot.” I said through clenched teeth. He took that as his hint and left the room.
I got up and made my way towards my trunk across the room. Opening it, I dug through the contents and produced the L.C letters. Both versions. I thumbed through them, seeing the ink stains where I had strained for words. I saw the loops in her words as I was sure she had rushed through writing them. I saw her simple signatures. I saw my gradual increase of feelings through each page. I remembered the smiles I had when I had wrote them. I remembered staring at her letters for hours, trying to figure out who she was.
And she had been right in front of me the whole time.
The memories that took me over weren’t those of L.C; the memories were of Lenny. Playing Quidditch with her. Being partners in Potions. Dueling in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Laughing at James and Lily together. Fighting Bagman for her (more than once). Sitting next to her in the hospital. Dancing with her at the ball. Kissing her. Then snogging her in the Gryffindor common room. Finding those letters.
I set the letters back in my trunk gently as though they’d disappear if I wasn’t careful enough. Shutting my trunk, I collapsed back on the bed again. I needed the time that break was going to give me to just think by myself. James had already tried multiple times to try and break me out of my spell from bad-talking Lenny to trying to make me play far too much Quidditch. I didn’t want to think about Lenny. I couldn’t do it right now.
I stepped out of the fireplace, brushing the inevitable soot off of my jumper. Floo was one of the dirtiest forms of transportation. The dirtiest had to be the London Underground. That was repulsive. Last summer was the last time I let James take us on an “adventure”. Adventure my arse. More like suicide mission. I think he was trying to do just that. Evans hadn’t responded to his sixteenth owl that week.
“’Ello?” I shouted. Normally everyone was in the sitting room, waiting for everyone else to arrive. I didn’t get an answer. With a huff, I exited the sitting room, slinking my way up the Lupin stairs. I got to the top and heard Remus and James muttering angrily at one another.
“Did you have to say that, Prongs?” Remus huffed at him. James threw his arms up in the air in frustration.
“I didn’t seriously think she was crying! How was I supposed to know?” James countered. I approached them and Remus turned towards me, his eyes widening.
“Padfoot! Mate! What are you---err… come this way!” Remus squeaked. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and guided me away from the hall and back down the stairs.
“Wait, what? What’s going on?” I asked, stopping in my tracks. Even if Remus was a werewolf, he was stopped in his tracks at my movement. He glanced at James who looked around, panicked.
“Let’s go play Quidditch!” He said enthusiastically. I frowned at the both of them (though it wasn’t much of a change from the face I already had on).
“Who’s crying? Your mum?” I asked Remus. That’s when Teddy came rushing up the stairs, his hair disheveled as he glanced around at us.
“Lenny in there?” He asked simply, pointing to the door behind James. They both nodded. Teddy didn’t so much as acknowledge me as he rushed past them and disappeared into the spare bedroom. My jaw nearly smacked the floor.
Well, I didn’t see this happening during my break.
“That’s her crying in there?” I asked in disbelief. Remus nodded, the expression on his face pitying me. I immediately felt my body tense up. I didn’t need Remus’s pity.
”Her mum and my mum are friends. They go way back,” Remus tried to explain.
“Why is she crying?” I asked in a soft voice. I barely recognized it as my own.
“Mrs. Crowley took them to see Mr. Crowley in Azkaban today. She came back a wreck,” Remus told me. I immediately wanted to comfort her. I wanted to hold Lenny in my arms. I wanted to be that stable person for her. Ever since the Ravenclaw game, Lenny could barely trust Teddy, I was sure of it. I had been the last person she had trusted.
And I had ruined it.
“Maybe you should go talk to her, mate,” James suggested. I looked at him in disbelief. Not only because I couldn’t do that, but because he had never been supportive of L.C, let alone of Lenny. Those two butted heads in a way that Lenny and I hadn’t.
“She needs someone. Someone who isn’t her brother,” Remus added. I blinked at the two. Weren’t they marauders? Weren’t they always on my side? Mates my arse.
“No. That isn’t going to happen.” I said, shaking my head while not making eye contact with either of them. They had no idea how bad I wanted to do what they said, but I couldn’t.
“We’re going to go help mum with dinner,” Remus said. James looked ready to protest, but he was dragged quickly down the hall by Remus.
I stared at the door where Teddy had just disappeared behind. I could practically see Lenny’s shining brown hair flowing onto her shoulders. I could smell the coconut soap she used. I could feel her soft skin. I envisioned her small hands engulfed in my own large ones. I could see myself wiping the tears from her eyes. Before I knew what I was doing, my hand was raised to the door, almost knocking. I immediately pulled it down. She didn’t want to see me. I hurt her.
I ran my fork through the peas Mrs. Lupin had prepared. I wasn’t hungry. I haven’t ate in a few days. Nothing seemed to fix my appetite. Even Mrs. Lupin’s cooking (which came in second to Mrs. Potter’s cooking). James was devouring his meatloaf. Remus was watching me with careful eyes. Mr. Lupin flipped lazily through the Daily Prophet as he sipped his tea.
A woman walked through the door, sighing as she plopped down in the seat opposite James. I knew her immediately to be Lenny’s mother. She may have held most of Teddy’s features, but I could see the way she sat, the way her lips turned slightly when she saw everyone’s eyes fixed on her. She shook her head sadly and it matched the way Lenny shook her head as well. I cast my face down.
”She won’t budge.” Mrs. Crowley mumbled. Not even a few seconds after she had said that, Teddy slammed down the stairs, shoving the dining room door aside like nothing, and taking the seat across from me. He glared daggers straight away. I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.
“Do you feel satisfied, Black?” He hissed at me. I immediately cringed. I wanted to tell him no, I felt worse than I’ve ever felt. Worse than when my parents used to use the unforgivables on me. Not that would change his mind.
“This isn’t the time or place, Ted.” Remus growled at him. Teddy just turned his glare towards Remus.
“You knew all along, didn’t you? You knew what Black would do to my sister! You knew he’d do what he does to everyone! You let her get hurt!” Teddy bellowed. All parents looked at one another in confusion. Remus’s face turned red.
“I-I didn’t…I thought-“ Remus stuttered, glancing at me. My heart sunk. He thought Lenny would change me. He thought I’d be different after her. I was. I wanted to tell him that. My lips wouldn’t open to protest Teddy. I deserved his fury.
“You thought wrong. He’s a Black. He’s no different than the rest,” Teddy directed his gaze towards me now. He was right. Hurting Lenny was the worst thing I could do. It meant I was a Black.
“Shut up, Teddy. I can fend for myself just fine, thanks.” I heard Lenny’s voice before I actually saw her. She was standing in the arched doorway behind me. Her hair was tied up and away from her face. Her eyes were puffy from crying, but she hid it well (probably splashed a bit of water on her face). She was wearing sweats and a fitted tee.
“Beautiful,” I found myself whispering to myself. She met my eyes and immediately we both froze. My breath caught in my throat. She didn’t move. She didn’t say anything.
“I didn’t think you were coming down, darling,” Mrs. Crowley said. Lenny tore her eyes away from mine and fixed them on her mom. Her lips turned down and I could see her jaw clench in anger.
“You thought wrong.” She said simply, placing herself in the seat next to Teddy. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her. No, it wasn’t like I was seeing her in a new light. She was always beautiful. Her school uniform, her Quidditch robes, or simply the sweats she was wearing were sufficient. Her Halloween costume had made me drool all over myself. Her ball gown had made her the most radiant person I have ever seen.
Maybe it just took me this long to realize what I had been hiding behind for a long while. I was in love with Lenny Crowley. I nearly choked on the water I attempted to drink to calm myself. I doubled over coughing, getting a rough pat on the back from James. I smacked his stomach to keep him from patting me. Once I had subsided my coughing, the room was silent. People weren’t looking up from their plates. Lenny was stirring her peas, just as I had.
I wanted to say something to her. Anything. I wanted to see her smile. I wanted to hear a witty remark come from her beautiful lips. I wanted to hear her laugh. But I didn’t say anything. I kept my lips shut and went back to stirring my own peas. Lenny was powerful and strong. She didn’t deserve to be treated like I had treated. She deserved to be put up on a pedestal. She deserved to be treated like a princess.
“James? Sirius? I’m sure you two won’t mind sleeping on the couches tonight, correct? Lenny and Teddy have the spare bedroom.” Mrs. Lupin tried to break the thick air that had been forming.
“Of course not, Mrs. Lupin! We’d be delighted, actually.” James forced a too cheerful response. Teddy snorted into his pumpkin juice he was raising to his lips. Lenny gave him a very noticeable kick under the table and a telling look. I couldn’t help but let a small smile scratch at the surface. How could I not see my love for this girl earlier?
I never thought I would listen to the advice of James Potter. He could be dumber than Xeno Lovegood sometimes. Sure, he was brilliant with a wand and on a broom, but when it came to women advice…well…he did chase after the same woman for seven years after all. But I stared at myself in the mirror. I could do this. I could explain it all to Lenny. I would explain it all and then everything would be fine.
But then what? Did I expect to ride off into the sunset with her?
Bollucks. Maybe I couldn’t do this.
“Whoever’s in the bloody bathroom, get out! I have been waiting for ten minutes! I believe that is plenty of time to-“ Lenny’s voice rang. I cut her off by swinging the door open. Words stop coming out of her mouth, but it still hung open. She blinked a few times, frozen on the spot.
“I need to talk to you.” I tried. She closed her mouth, but was still unable to move. I quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her into the bathroom, shutting the door behind.
“This is like kidnap!” Lenny hissed at me. Well, at least she was talking to me. That was more than I expected.
“You’re still in the same house. I just put you in a different room. All’s fair.” I told her. She crossed her arms defiantly. The large bags under her eyes made me feel incredibly guilty. Her hair wasn’t as shiny as it normally was. Her skin didn’t look as smooth as I expected it to be. She was a broken version of Lenny. And I was the cause of it.
“What the bloody hell do you want, Black?” She asked me. Her voice even sounded defeated.
“I…” What did I want? What was my goal in dragging her in here? To make her see why I did what I did? I broke her heart. I made her this crumbled mess. No matter what I did, nothing could fix that. “I figured you could use this. It’s helped me the last couple days.”
I handed her a bottle of the relaxation potion I had been taking and quickly dashed from the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind me as quick as possible. I could charm the pants off of a veela, I could date ten girls at once, I could get caught dating all those girls, and still end up with a girl. But I could not buck up the courage to win Lenny Crowley back.
“Padfoot?” I heard James whisper into the darkness that was the Lupin’s den. I ignored James. Maybe he would think I’m sleeping. I could see out of the corner of my eye that he sat up on the couch he was stretched out on. “Padfoot?”
”What?” I hissed at him.
“What’re you going to do?” He asked me. I sat up now. I was used to James saying some weird stuff, but it always tended to make sense.
“What the bloody hell are you talking about?” I asked him back. James cocked his head to the side.
“About Lenny. What are you going to do about Lenny?” James clarified. I furrowed my eyebrows at him, though he probably couldn’t see that. The only light was the moon (which was almost full, by the way).
“Since when have you cared about Lenny and what I do about that situation?” I asked him. He leaned slightly back.
“Since I realized how madly in love with her you were.” James answered me. I felt my face flush and was very grateful that he could not see the beat red it had become.
“Mate, I don’t love-“
“Yes, you do. You’ve never moped like this for any other girl. Sure, you’ve acted like a prick because they beat you to the punch of breaking up with you, but you’ve never…moped,” James explained. I felt my face growing hotter by the minute. I’m a man! Men don’t mope!
“I’m not going to do anything. It’s all…complicated.” That was the best way I could explain it. Complicated. Like when you’re killing another team in Quidditch, but you’re only up by 140 points. Then suddenly, the other teams seeker catches the snitch and you lose. Then you have to explain it to your bint of a girlfriend how you lost and she still doesn’t understand why.
It’s a bit of an overkill, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.
“Please, you and Crowley are the definition of complicated. Once you get over that, let me know what you are planning on doing. I’m always in for a good adventure.” James sighed, rolling over.
I waited until I could hear his obnoxious snores before I swung my legs off the couch and tip-toed towards James’s trunk in the far corner of the room. I quietly dug through it until I came up with a piece of parchment, a quill, and a bottle of ink. I lit a candle at the far end of the room to make sure James would not be woken by me.
I did need a plan of action. I did need Lenny in my life. As much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong. I was wrong for calling her names and making fun of her all these years. I was wrong for pushing her away the last few months. I was wrong for telling her we couldn’t be together. But I was going to make up for it. I’ll be damned if I lose this girl. I started to quickly scratch a long, extensive list of things I would have to do to get her back.
Romeo and Juliet? No. It’s a Sirius and Lenny love story now. I’d make sure of it.
Author's Note: Long, long, long wait, I know! Yell at me later for that. That is if you are still reading this after such a long wait I put you through. Did you like going into Sirius's mind? Did you like the switched POV? Should I do it more often?
Anyways, my break from writing is over and I'm very much ready to jump back in the saddle. Be ready, HPFF. I'm back!
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