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Not So Simple by ExplosiveBlunderbuss
Chapter 29 : How We Do
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3

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‘Cause when the sun sets baby on the avenue

I get that drunk sex feeling, yeah when I’m with you

So put your arms around me baby

We’re tearing up the town ‘cause that’s just how we do

~ How We Do  (Party) - Rita Ora ~

February’s weather was even more miserable than January’s, and it seemed like this term was never going to end. I couldn’t wait to get home for Easter and see my parents. Although I had realised I had feelings for Sirius, we seemed to have hit a rut, where neither of us were prepared to make any move towards progressing into a relationship. He had been surly ever since he turned Regulus in, which I thought I could understand. He did have times of normality, where he would laugh and joke, but all of us missed the days when this was the dominant side of him. Now, the dominant side was the one we only used to see fleeting glimpses of- the moody, dark Sirius who spent most of the time in brooding silence. I was worried about him. Regulus had refused to show Dumbledore the Dark Mark tattoo, and Dumbledore hadn’t forced him. However, he had resolved, apparently, to keep an eye on Regulus. He was also encouraging Sirius to make an effort to guide his brother towards the right path. As he had been trying to do this for years to no avail, he receded into himself even further.

I found myself in the library with him and Lily one evening. Frank had Prefect duty, and Alice had gone to bed early with a headache, so it was just us. It was the full moon.

“Aren’t you going out with the others?” I asked Sirius, after several long minutes of Lily and I communicating silently, wondering why he was still here.

“No. I don’t feel up to it.” He answered.

“Maybe you’re coming down with whatever Alice has.” Lily suggested half-heartedly, giving me an odd look.

“Yeah. Maybe.” Sirius agreed boredly.

“It’s not like you to turn down a chance to cause trouble and study instead.” I intended this as a joke, but it came out wrong, as I was so bemused by his behaviour over the past few weeks anyway. We were nearing March now, so I hoped the warmer weather which was hopefully on the way would have a cheering effect on him somehow. It was a feeble hope, but it was there.

“If you don’t want me to study with you guys, I can leave.” Sirius said, glaring at me and Lily.

“I didn’t mean-“ I began.

“I don’t know why you’re interrogating me like I’m some kind of criminal for wanting to do well on these mock NEWT exams after Easter.”

“We weren’t interrogating you.” Lily snapped angrily. “Can you stop jumping down our throats? We’re your friends and we’re worried about you.” None of us had ever actually voiced our concerns to his face, and he seemed surprised to hear them.

“Worried?” He repeated.

“You haven’t been yourself. I know you’ve been upset because of Regulus, but there’s no need to take it out on everyone else when we’ve just wanted to help support you through it. Of course we’re going to question things when you’re acting weird!” Lily’s voice was rising in volume and I glanced around.

“Lily, we’re going to get kicked out of the library…” I said hurriedly.

“I don’t care! I’m sick of this! Sick of everyone acting weird! First James, and now you, Sirius! Get over yourself!” A few people at the next table looked over at us curiously, and Madam Pince appeared from around a shelf.

“Excuse me, but you can’t have this kind of noise in the library!” She spoke as if she was personally offended at the idea of sound in a place of books. “Get out!” I sighed, annoyed, but led the way out of the library. When we reached the corridor outside, I turned to find Sirius and Lily glaring at each other.

“I know you like to do this poor-little-me act, but there are people who care about you!” Lily was yelling.

“What were you saying about James?” His mood must be a little better for Lily’s outburst, I thought, as his curiosity was outweighing his anger slightly now. Lily’s cheeks pinkened and I winced. She didn’t need any of the Marauders knowing how she really felt. She barely admitted it to herself after all, but now she’d given the game away.

“Just- just- oh it doesn’t matter, Sirius, for Merlin’s sake-“

“Oh, it does matter.” Sirius interrupted, the glare leaving his gaze as he watched Lily squirm with humiliation. A cruel smirk was gracing his handsome face now. “Who would’ve thought, Lily Evans finally gives in and gets a crush on James. I suppose you miss the attention, Evans?” I was surprised he was being so mean to her, really. Sirius and Lily usually got on really well.

“So all you needed was a stupid piece of gossip to snap you out of your mood!” Lily exclaimed, trying desperately to spin the situation on its head, but it failed miserably.

“James will be very interested to hear of this new development…” Lily abandoned all hope and grabbed his arm suddenly.

“Sirius. Please. Don’t tell him.” She whispered, horrified.

“Why shouldn’t I?” He asked spitefully, looking down at her. The whole thing made me so angry that I acted without even thinking. My Stinging Jinx hit his arm and he jerked away from her, yelping in pain. They both turned to look at me.

“You are such a- a- there’s not even a word bad enough for you!” I cried, frustration bursting forth. “You’re getting your kicks out of being horrible to someone! Are you proud of yourself? Not only do you make us suffer your bloody moods, but you also bully us to make yourself feel better?” Sirius’ eyes softened. And then he looked down at his feet. I knew I’d gotten through to him then. I knew that was how he thought of his family: bullies. And he’d never wanted to be like them.

“I’m sorry, Lily.” He sighed. Her cheeks were still red, but she was gracious.

“That’s quite alright.” She assured him, dignified. He looked over at me.

“Erin, I…”

“No, you’ve made me feel bad enough these past few weeks, thank you.”

“What?” He looked shocked, “What do you mean by that?” I noticed out the corner of my eye that Lily was sidling away up the corridor, not looking as if she wanted to be in the middle of this at all. I can’t say I blamed her.

“I know it’s my fault, because I pretty much made you turn your brother in. I know, okay? But I was putting other people first.  I can accept the blame for that. But I can’t do this, anymore. I can’t let you make me feel this shitty when I know I did the right thing!” Tears rose up out of nowhere and splashed down my cheeks. “If I felt I could, I would do anything to keep you happy, Sirius! But I couldn’t have that on my conscience, letting a Death Eater run loose!”

“I didn’t know I made you feel that way.” He said quietly.

“Well, what did you expect?” I turned my head, trying to wipe my tears on my hair without him noticing. He reached out and held my wrist, and I reluctantly turned to look at him. His grey eyes looked unusually bright.

“I’m sorry,” He murmured, “Truly. I know I’ve been acting like a dick… but it’s not your fault. I didn’t mean to take it out on you, or Lily, or anyone else. It won’t happen again.”  I blinked away my last few tears. There was a lot of sincerity in his face, and I felt myself melting, even though I kind of still wanted to be annoyed with him, I just couldn’t be.

“Come here.” He said softly, pulling me into his chest and holding me. It was so nice to touch him, to feel his arms around me, and for it to not be going down the forbidden avenue of lust. I felt safe there. When he finally let me go, my face had dried. “You’re right, I’m going to go and find the guys.”

“Have fun.” I said. As he turned and left, I called out involuntarily, “Be careful!” He looked back, smiling and rolling his eyes at the same time.



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