Chapter 26 : I'm Not Okay
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Well if you wanted honesty
That’s all you had to say
I never want to let you down or have you go
It’s better off this way
-I’m Not Okay (I Promise) – My Chemical Romance -
“I can’t believe him.” Lily was angry. She was glaring across at James, who was laughing as he retold the story of hexing Snape earlier in the corridor. February hadn’t brought any more warmth with it, though it did bring rain. We were inside on a wet break time, sitting in a packed classroom.
“He’s always hexing Snape.” I pointed out.
“I never said I liked it when he did. But this year I really thought he’d changed. He’s left Sev- Snape alone all year.”
“Maybe it really was provoked this time.” But Lily’s green eyes were narrowed.
“He’s a bully, isn’t he? Just a bully.” She turned away from him. My gaze flickered from James to Sirius to Remus. He was sitting aside from the other two, with Peter, and they were talking quietly.
“I think he’s a nice guy, Lily.”
Lily had been acting a bit weird over the past few weeks. She seemed fixated on guys. I hadn’t wanted to bring it up, but she came out with it all on her own now:
“I just want someone, you know? I mean, Alice has Frank, and you…”
“I have nobody.” I pointed out. “Not anymore.”
“Yeah, but guys like you. Sirius certainly does, and you dated Remus.” Lily frowned again. “When’s it going to be my turn?”
“You dated David.” I said.
“It’s not the same!”
“Then neither is Remus.”
“Still.” Lily’s gaze flickered back over to the Marauders. “I thought maybe James would be… I mean, I know we’ve done nothing but fight for years and I’ve always rejected him, and I know I said before that that was what confused me but… the truth is, I think I always kind of liked him. And not being friends with Severus anymore… I saw him in a different light this year. But then he went and did that this morning.”
I wasn’t sure if I was surprised to hear Lily say this or not.
“Why don’t you just talk to James?” I suggested. He’d be overjoyed if he found out Lily actually liked him.
“I’m not going to do that. I’d only show myself up!”
I shook my head. It didn’t make any sense, really, but at least now I understood the reason for Lily’s behaviour.
“It sounds like James really did change, Lily. Maybe Snape provoked him.”
The second Hogsmeade trip was scheduled for the following weekend, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Last time, I’d been on a date with Remus which hadn’t gone exactly to plan, but it had been something. This time, I would once again be in the presence of Remus, but I had a feeling it was going to be even more of an awkward experience, not only due to our break up and the fact we hadn’t really spoken since, but because of the presence of the other Marauders, Lily and not forgetting Perry. Sirius had talked me into it, but I was still trying to think of excuses to get out of it.
“You have to come!” He pleaded.
“No, I don’t, and neither do you.” I retorted. We were sat in Ancient Runes.
“Of course I do. Someone has to protect James from Lily. I can’t get out of it, so why should you be able to?”
“James can look after himself, I’m sure. Why don’t you just get a date?” Sirius was never short of female attention, especially now he was single. When I said this though, his grey eyes clouded over strangely.
“I would, but I don’t think the girl I was thinking of asking would agree.”
“You were going to ask someone?” I tried to keep any sort of emotion out of my voice, though my curiosity had been captured.
“Not seriously,” He answered cryptically. “But the thought had crossed my mind…”
“Oh.” I said.
“Besides, it’ll be much nicer spending it with our friends, won’t it?”
“Lovely. Trying to stay out of reach of Lily’s wand, whilst my ex-best friend gives me dirty looks and my ex-boyfriend drools all over her. Sounds unmissable.” Sirius smiled at me.
“It won’t be that bad. Remus is alright, you know, and forget Perry.”
“I was thinking of staying at school and getting some work done.” I admitted. “At least it would be productive.”
“Boring, you mean.” Sirius rolled his eyes. “I promise, it’ll be fun.”
“Fine.” I growled. “If you’re going to be insistent…”
I wished, though, that Alice and Frank would be coming with us. However, they always liked to spend Hogsmeade days together, alone. I was glad that generally, they weren’t always all over each other or embarrassing to be around, and so couldn’t begrudge Alice a day alone with her fiancé every now and then when they got to be as disgusting and lovey-dovey as they wanted.
“Maybe you can get a move on with Sirius while you guys are there.” She suggested as we sat on my bed in the dormitory the night before Hogsmeade.
“In front of everyone? Sure.” I scoffed. “Anyway, I don’t know if I want to get a move on with Sirius.”
“Why not? You like each other. I thought this year was the first of the rest of your life, Erin? And you’re not going for the guy you obviously like because of what?”
“I don’t know, Alice. That’s all you guys ever talk to me about lately, Sirius-bloody-Black-“
“-Um.” The voice interrupted us, and we both turned. Perry had entered the dormitory and was looking over at us- well, she was looking at a point above both of our heads.
“What?” Alice asked, unusually sharply. She hadn’t been able to forgive Perry for letting go of her own principles and going behind Lily’s back with David.
“I just, um, well I have a message for Erin.” I didn’t answer, just waited, holding my breath. “Regulus Black wants to speak to you. He’s in the corridor.”
“Regulus Bl-?” I started, shocked.
“Yeah. He just said for you to go down there.” Perry said, and turned away, stalking over to her bed. Alice looked at me.
“I’ll come with you.” She told me quietly. I nodded and we headed downstairs. As Perry had said, Regulus was waiting for me outside Ravenclaw Tower, leaning against the same part of the wall his brother had once leant, waiting for me. His eyes flickered over us as we made our presence known.
“I came to ask about your blood, McNamara.” He drawled arrogantly. I stared at him, nonplussed.
“My brother and I might not be on speaking terms, but blood is important. If he’s dating some Mudblood scum and our family finds out…”
“Don’t use that word!” Alice thundered furiously.
“And I’m not dating Sirius.” My hand twitched towards my wand.
“I’ll use whatever language I want.” He fired at Alice. Her wand really was drawn, and Regulus followed suit. I brought mine out reluctantly, though he ignored what I’d said.
“I’m a Prewett,” She scowled, “My blood is as pure as yours, but I know blood is meaningless. You keep your mouth shut.”
“I have a responsibility to protect the noble name of Black.” Regulus insisted, his gaze returning to me.
“I’m half-blood, Regulus, but like Alice said, that doesn’t matter. The only responsibility you have is saving your own arse from your mother’s disapproval. Sirius has told me that much.” He began to turn an ugly shade of pink.
“Sirius should be ashamed of himself, becoming the blood-traitor he is now and allowing himself to mix with scum like you two and Potter. He has wasted his talents when they could be put to greater use…” Something about the way his left arm twitched when he said this caught my eye.
“Is this you speaking, or your Mark?” I asked quietly. He looked at me anxiously then.
“What? I don’t know what-“
“He’s a Death Eater.” I told Alice. “Only just sixteen, and he’s already signed his life away. And he’s really here to try and recruit Sirius, show him the Dark path.” A bang issued from Alice’s wand, and a deep cut appeared on Regulus’ cheek. He yelped and dropped his wand with a clatter onto the floor.
“You’re disgusting. Stay away from us.” She growled, before seizing my arm and banging the door knocker. The cool voice issued from the eagle’s beak, and I was about to answer it’s questions when I saw something move from the corner of my eye.
“PROTEGO!” I yelled, forcing the Shield between us and Regulus before his spell could hit us. It rebounded and hit him in the chest. He crumpled to the floor.
“I should never have turned my back on him.” Alice said, shaking her head.
“Forget him. Someone else will find him soon.” I was so angry I was shaking as I entered the Ravenclaw common room.
A/N: Hello, sorry for the slow updates! I hope you like this chapter, I enjoyed writing it and getting to throw some spells around! While I'm here I just want to say, I really don't like the new format of HPFF. I'm sure I'll get used to it but even so, I find it off-putting! Anyways, please leave a review letting me know what you think!
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