Chapter 23 : Love's A Loaded Gun
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One down, one to go
Just another bullet in the chamber
Sometimes, love’s a loaded gun
~ Love’s A Loaded Gun ~ Alice Cooper ~
The weekend approached and I never got a chance to speak to Remus. I didn’t know whether he was actively avoiding me, but I knew that I couldn’t break up with him in Arithmency, which is the only time I had anything like alone time with him. I saw him walking through the grounds with Perry a few times and this annoyed me, but I didn’t say anything. I may be fighting with her but that didn’t mean anyone else had to. When I entered the Ravenclaw common room on Saturday morning on my way down to breakfast, I noticed a group of sixth years, including Frank, Alice and Winnie, clustered around the notice board.
“Apparition lessons!” Alice told me enthusiastically as I approached. “They start next week.” She handed me her quill and I signed my name on the list beneath hers and Frank’s. I noticed Perry had been the first on the list, and deduced she’d woken up unusually early for a Saturday. I mentioned this to Frank on the way down.
“She gets up two hours before everyone else lately. I know because I saw her a few days ago at about five in the morning. She said she was meeting someone.” I had a feeling I knew who this someone was, but I kept my mouth shut. I departed Frank and Alice at the Ravenclaw table and went across the hall to the Gryffindor equivalent, where Lily was sitting.
“Did you see the notice about Apparition lessons?” She asked me immediately.
“Yes. Listen, Lily, have you seen David?” Her green eyes darkened at the mention of his name.
“I haven’t seen him since we got back. I think he’s been avoiding me.” She told me. I glanced down the other end of the table, where the Marauders sat, though Remus was not with them.
“I know the feeling.” I mumbled.
“I’ve seen Perry. She nicely deflected my hex, actually. I have to hand it to her, she’s swift.” Lily’s eyes glinted.
“Well, I think me and you ought to find him.” I knew I was being dramatic, but I knew that Remus and Perry were probably off in the grounds together again, and it was about time this whole situation came to a head before anything got worse. To do that, all of us- myself, Lily, Perry, Remus and David, had to be in one place. So, actually, did Sirius. We were, after all, the subjects of two insane love triangles that had reared their ugly heads over the past few months.
The truth was, I had known for a while that Remus was in love with Perry. I couldn’t deny that, and I wasn’t even hurt by it. Remus and I had been over before we’d barely begun, after all, and I really thought of him as a good friend who deserved happiness. But Perry and I were at the centre of hurting everyone else- I’d hurt Remus enough, even if I wasn’t sure he knew it, I was hurting Sirius and Perry, and Perry herself had hurt me, Lily and David. This had to end, now.
Lily rose from her seat and followed me down the table to Sirius. He, James and Peter looked up at us as we approached.
“Sirius, it’s time. Where’s Remus?” I asked gravely.
“No idea, he was already gone when we woke up.” Sirius answered, frowning.
“He’s been gone everyday this week, actually.” James noted.
“Yeah, well.” I sighed, “Sirius, come on. We have to find him…” Looking nervous but resolute, Sirius nodded and stood.
“What’s going on?” Peter asked confusedly, looking from me to Lily to Sirius and back.
“Don’t worry about it, Pete.” Sirius muttered. Peter looked across at James who shrugged, looking equally confused. “See you…” Sirius waved as we set off across the hall. I spotted David at the Ravenclaw table, and approached him. He cowered a little, considering I’d hexed him last time I saw him. He gulped loudly as well when he noticed Lily just behind me. I saw her hand twitch towards her wand, but shook my head at her.
“Not now.” I murmured to her. “You,” I commanded to David, “Come with us.” He looked too terrified one of us was going to jinx him to refuse, so he got up and walked away from his seventh year friends, who looked curiously after us. I led the way to the grounds, where I stormed across the frosty grass towards the lake. There, sure enough, was Remus and Perry, standing staring out at the surface of the water in almost the same spot I’d first really met Lily. The two turned when they heard us approach and Perry’s eyes widened. Remus just looked baffled, and I realised with a pang that he was the only one who didn’t know the full extent of the background to the scene I’d created. This would be a harsh way of doing things, but it’d gotten to the point where it was the only way, if he refused to talk to me alone.
“Sirius,” He said hoarsely, “Erin, wha-?”
“We’ve decided it’s gone too far, Moony.” Sirius spoke frankly, and I was relieved that he took up responsibility for this part.
“All of us need to- to sit down and talk about everything.” Lily stammered.
“Talk about what?” Perry asked, but it was David who surprised us all by answering (he wasn’t the brightest spark from the wand, after all):
“Perry, you clearly don’t want to be with me. It’s him you want to be with-“ He pointed at Remus, “-so why did you even start this thing between us again? I know you felt sorry for me, but I cheated on Lily, and I wish I hadn’t. You knew how I felt about you and you used that. It has to stop.” Once he’d finished, we all looked at each other. Perry was staring at David; Sirius was looking at Remus, and Lily was looking at Perry, expectant.
“You’ve just always been mine, David. Then you were hers.” Perry whispered.
“I’m not yours- or hers. I’m me. That’s that.” He said with finality. “Look, this is it, we’re done, I’m not getting involved with you anymore Perry. I’m sorry, Lily.” He added, before strolling rapidly away back towards the castle. We all watched him go before turning back to the scene at hand.
“That’s one thing sorted.” Lily said quietly.
“Is it true?” Remus whispered, looking at Perry now. Slowly, she nodded. Then he looked at me, but I already knew from the mixture of crushing devastation and relief on his face what was coming.
“Remus, I’m so, so sorry for everything I’ve done to you. You deserve better than me. I love you to pieces, but I’m not in love with you. I hope we can be friends…” I stammered sadly.
“Erin… I know what happened at Halloween.” He admitted suddenly. His eyes moved to Sirius. “Padfoot, you’re like my brother. I don’t blame you, because I know you care about her more than, well, anything else in the world right now. You couldn’t help that and I’m not going to blame you. But Erin… if you’d told me, I would’ve understood. You say you hate secrets being kept but the truth is, you’re a hypocrite. You do know that?” He added. I nodded.
“No, I am. I should’ve had the balls to talk to you about it, but I never did. You were the first girl who ever really liked me and I was scared to let that go in case… in case nobody ever did again.” I could see how much it cost for him to admit that. I could also see Perry watching him, love etched all over her face, the usually tough mask completely gone as she gazed at Remus.
“If I could go back in time…” I began.
“You wouldn’t.” Remus smiled at me. “I wouldn’t want you to. You’re… I mean, you’re the world to me, so is Sirius. I’m not going to get in the way of my own world, but I don’t know if we can be, you know… friends… just yet.”
“Moony...” Sirius spoke the nickname in a strange voice.
“Padfoot… forget it, alright? I already forgave you.”
“Did she tell you?” Sirius asked accusingly, looking at Perry.
“No, she didn’t.” I said. I looked at Lily. “The only person I ever told was Alice.”
“I saw you.” Remus said slowly. “Well, not literally. But I had the map… the Marauders Map, that is.”
“I thought that the Room of Requirement was Unplottable?” Sirius looked shocked.
“Only if you ask it to be.”
There was a long silence between us. Lily was looking at Perry, but her expression was unfathomable. Those two would never be friends, and I couldn’t change that. I still wasn’t even sure Perry and I could be friends again. I looked at Remus, who looked more relaxed than I’d seen him in a long time, and I realised he was glad that no wands had had to be drawn, in the end. Things would be okay between us, I knew that. Remus and I could start afresh as friends because we had never been friends, really, in the first place. Maybe it wasn’t so simple with Perry, but…
“I’m going up to the castle.” Lily said. “I’ll meet you later, Erin.” I nodded and she departed.
“I’ll see you, Sirius.” Remus patted his friend on the arm as he passed, and I was glad those two could forgive anything of each other. Perry walked off in the opposite direction, away from the castle, towards the Forbidden Forest. This left Sirius, the person I’d been avoiding look at, and myself alone.
“This is my fault. Don’t think I don’t know that, Erin.” He said gruffly.
“What do you mean?”
“You didn’t know how to deal with what I wanted from you, that night. You were innocent in that sense. I took that from you- and I know you consented-“ He stopped me before I could interrupt, “-but it wasn’t done right. I meant what I said though, even if I was drunk.”
“I think I love you.” I’d refused to accept that he’d said those words. I’d told myself he was drunk, he was confused; he thought I was someone else. No matter what anyone told me concerning his feelings, even that stupid poem he wrote me over Christmas, I never let myself think about the only thing he’d said to me after we’d had sex, before we hurried back into the party. Now, finally, I repeated them, out loud.
“I know I love you, now.” Sirius told me. “I know you don’t want to hear it, so I won’t make you listen. That doesn’t seem to work as a tactic on you, as I found out before Christmas. I can’t believe I thought getting James to help me write a dumb, crappy poem was going to make a difference.” He turned and began to head up to the castle.
“Sirius, wait!” I called. He glanced back at me but didn’t stop walking. I hurried to catch him up, sliding on the soggy winter grass. “I spoke to Regulus about that poem.” Just as abruptly as he’d set off, he stopped dead.
“I didn’t straight-out say anything but… he told me that… that you must mean it if you put that much effort and…” Horrifically, I could feel tears welling up. “I said you were worried and…. I think… I think he was glad to know you care!”
“He was?” Sirius’ voice was a whisper now. His grey eyes glazed over.
“Yes.” I said. Eyes coming back into focus, he looked at me slowly, carefully.
“Erin… thank you.” He said quietly, “You don’t know what this means to me…”
“I never will.” I admitted.
“I’ll give you all the time in the world to get to know it, Erin, if you want to.” He left it at that, leaving me standing there in the cold grounds
A/N: I'm aware that the last chapter was far too short, so I hope that this more decent length one made up for it! Also, it's quite an important chapter so I hope I did it justice. If there are any minor mistakes though, I vividly remember writing this one at three in the morning and thus I apologise, I tried to correct it as best as I can. Anyway, thanks as usual to everyone who reviewed, including again more lovely people who sat down and read the whole thing so far in one go. I would love to hear from you all again, as well as anyone else who wants to leave me a review. It would be greatly appreciated!
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