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Not So Simple by ExplosiveBlunderbuss
Chapter 19 : Bittersweet Symphony
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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CHAPTER NINETEEN: Bittersweet Symphony

‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life

Trying to make ends meet

You’re a slave to money then you die

~ Bittersweet Symphony ~ The Verve ~

As December rolled in, bringing snow and Christmas decorations throughout the castle, I felt at an all-time low. Perry and I still weren’t speaking, and Sirius was avoiding me. I knew this for a fact because I’d actually seen him turn and walk in the total opposite direction when he saw me coming more than once.

My parents wrote to say they couldn’t wait to have me home. I hoped there, at least, normality will have returned. I was looking forward to the holiday, to be honest, as at the very least it would be an escape from my current situation in Hogwarts. Although Alice maintained she was not a part of mine and Perry’s argument, she inevitably ended up spending more time with Frank and less with either of us girls. I saw Perry on her own a lot, or in the company of the seventh year Ravenclaw boys. Meanwhile, I ended up spending more time with Lily.

“What are your plans for Christmas?” I asked her as we walked through the freezing cold grounds- the only place big enough to have some privacy from other people.

“Well, I was going to go home but then I found out my sister is engaged and she doesn’t want me to have anything to do with her fiancé because apparently I’m too much a freak.” Lily laughed bitterly.

“Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Not anymore, really. I know Vernon Dursley- he’s this big, fat, arrogant prick who thinks he’s better than everyone else. Petunia hasn’t wanted anything to do with me in years.” She shrugged. “I doubt I’m missing out on much.” I thought of how Sirius was wrenched apart by his separation from Regulus. He could learn a thing or two from Lily and her refreshing attitude towards people like Petunia Evans.

“So you’re staying at school then.” I guessed.

“Yep. Last year it was just me and Sirius out of the whole of Gryffindor house.” Lily added, “But I think there’ll be more people staying this year, what with the war. There’s nowhere safer than under Dumbledore’s nose.” I had to agree with her here.

“I just need a break, and to sort things out with my parents.” She looked at me with her pretty green eyes and surveyed my expression.

“Everything will blow over.” She said quietly. I sighed.

“I’m just sick of feeling like shit, Lily. I feel like all I ever do is complain- but most of this is my fault anyway.”

“I don’t see how. You didn’t ask for any of this from Sirius, or from Perry.” It had transpired that Lily knew Remus was a werewolf, and had known since fourth year. It was kind of a relief not having to keep that from her.

“Oh, I should’ve seen things coming with Sirius, especially after-“ I stopped myself just in time, but it was too late. Lily’s curiosity was peaked. She kept questioning and eventually I gave in. Besides, she probably had more of an idea how to handle the Sirius situation than me because she knew the Marauders better. And thus, I recounted the events of the Halloween party. At the end, she looked stunned.

“I know you two disappeared for a while, but then Remus showed up and I assume you’d gone to convince him to come to the party.” She gasped. I shook my head. “This changes things…”

“I’ve regretted it since it happened, you know? But I felt completely out of control while it was happening- I wanted it. Is that wrong?”

“No.” Lily answered me quickly and clearly. “Of course, it was wrong of you to cheat on Remus, but it’s not wrong for you to have wanted it. I know… you won’t let him kiss you anymore. This explains a lot.” I stared at her after she shared this information though. Her sheepish expression said it all.

“He told Perry, who told David…” She admitted.

“Why has he been talking to her?” I demanded.

“It was before you fell out.” Lily hurried to assure me, “But he was saying he didn’t understand…” My hands twitched. I had the most violent urge to hunt Perry down and jinx her into oblivion for this. It was one thing for Remus to confide in her (I knew, obviously, that he confided in her in general, them having some weird bond since she realised he was a werewolf), but for her to tell David?

“I can’t believe her.” I said this over and over again until Lily stopped me and grabbed my hands, forcing me to look at her.

“Erin, listen to me: I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it. She vents everything to David. I mean, I’m not exactly comfortable with how close they are, you know? But, if Remus has been pouring onto her half the stuff Perry sifts off onto David, then it must be driving her crazy.” She said rapidly.

“But Lily, all that girl has done lately is lie to me and hurt me! And blame me for things that are out of my control! Why should I believe she hasn’t been gossiping just to be a bitch?” I cried. Lily just stared at me sadly.

“She’s been one of your best friends for coming up to six years. You can’t let the boys ruin it.”

*

I was in a constant state of internal debate: did I confront Remus about the kissing thing, confront Perry, or even David, or did I ignore it? It wasn’t as if it was untrue- Remus and I had barely kissed on the lips in weeks. It just hadn’t felt right since I kissed Sirius. My reaction to Sirius’ lips had been instantaneous. I hadn’t wanted to stop. With Remus… I still felt shy in front of him in so many ways. It wasn’t that I liked Sirius more- I didn’t think I liked him in that way at all. But there was something there, a physical attraction, a frisson that was absent between Remus and I. I found this highly disconcerting, but I knew I couldn’t force it to happen, so I found myself avoiding kissing him, turning my head so he got my cheek, turning it swiftly into a hug, or pretending not to notice him leaning in.

He gave up trying soon enough. He would hold my hand in the corridors, he’d kiss me on the cheek or the forehead, but he stopped trying to kiss me on the lips. The part I hated the most? That I felt relieved by this.

In the end, I decided not to say anything to any of them about it. Remus was refusing to get involved in my feud with Perry, and I had to respect that. Alice and Frank continued to avoid the pair of us and I just hung out with Lily. Ancient Runes was the worst part of my week on a Thursday, when I had to sit beside Sirius for two straight hours. He didn’t even acknowledge I was there. Of course, he hadn’t even registered my existence before the train ride to school, and I’d sat next to him for the two previous years too, but it still hurt after all that’d transpired between us. I know this was my fault, too, for refusing to discuss Halloween with him, but he had pressed the issue.

Two more weeks passed- in fact, there was only a week left before I was due to go home for Christmas- when it finally happened.

I was walking back towards Ravenclaw Tower from the library. It was quite late, but I’d had to finish a long Charms essay due the following morning, when I turned down a fourth floor corridor, heading to the stairs, and saw them. Perry and David Leonard were making out against the door of a broom cupboard. They’d obviously been at it a while, as they were very passionate, and David was reaching for the handle to the cupboard, groaning as Perry’s hand slid down his trousers. They were so engrossed in it they never saw me standing at the end of the corridor watching them. I felt all my anger and disgust welling up inside of me. If she knew what I’d done with Sirius behind Remus’ back, she would give me the world’s biggest mouthful. She always maintained she hated cheaters- but here she was with David, behind Lily’s back.

Fury gripped me as I pulled out my wand and screeched “IMPEDIMENTA!” It was the first jinx that came into my head, but it did the job. It hit David square in the chest, throwing him against the opposite wall. His movements slowed by the jinx, he couldn’t reach his wand. Perry turned and saw me, and pulled out her own wand, looking flushed and horrified.

“WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” She screamed.

“ME? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND!”

“THIS IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” Perry was getting beside herself now. She sent a silent hex my way, which I deflected.

“I HAD YOU PEGGED FOR A LIAR AND A BITCH BUT NOT A CHEATER TOO!” I sent a curse flying her way, which she in turn blocked.

“Erin, I can explain,” David had thrown off the jinx and was trying to talk in a calm, reasonable manner, but neither me nor Perry were in the mood for being reasonable. In unison, we both turned to him:

“SHUT UP, DAVID!” We wheeled back to face each other.

“You’re one to talk!” She was still shouting, but less hysterically now. “I know what you did!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, my blood going cold.

“Oh yeah?” She didn’t say it and David looked nonplussed, so I couldn’t be sure exactly what she was talking about, but dread was overtaking my anger all the same. “Stay out of my business, alright? You can go and tell Evans to go-“

“Woah!” A new voice had entered the conversation. I turned round and found Sirius standing there. He was staring between me, Perry and David in apparent shock.

“Oh look who it is!” Perry chided.

“You know you’re making enough noise to wake up the whole castle, girls?” Sirius asked. “You can get suspended for duelling in the corridors.”

“Suspension would be a small price to pay.” I noted in disgust.

“To be honest, I’m mainly shocked to find out you’re the one duelling, Erin.” Sirius told me. “Flinging jinxes around didn’t strike me as your style. I thought you were more of a, smash their hearts into pieces and cold shoulder them like it’s their own fault kind of girl.” What he said stung so much that I didn’t retort.  “No seriously, I saw Filch’s cat not far away. I’d scram now if you don’t want to get pulled up in front of Dumbledore.”

Perry snorted, throwing me a dirty look, before whirling around and storming off. David paused awkwardly for a moment.

“You’re not going to, um, tell Lily, are you?” He asked me.

“Of course I am you disgusting piece of-“ I started angrily.

“Leonard, get out of here, okay?” Sirius snapped. David rushed off after Perry and left me standing there. Sirius turned his grey gaze on me and I looked at my feet, not sure what to say. We both seemed to be rooted to the spot. A couple of minutes passed before we heard the approach of Filch, muttering in a deranged way to his cat.  “For the love of Merlin-“ Sirius seized my hand roughly and yanked me into the broom cupboard just as the hapless caretaker rounded the corner.





 

A/N: So a bit of a dramatic chapter! Sorry for the gap, I have a new job so I've been concentrating on that rather than updating this. I'm definitely more up to it now though, so leave me a review if you like! :)


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