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Chapter 15 : Keeping Secrets
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"You'll wear out the floor in no time if you keep pacing up and down like that," Remus commented, as he made his way over to his bed.
"He's been doing that all morning since we got back," Peter replied, passing the Quaffle he and James were playing with back to James.
"What happened?" Sirius asked, stopping his pace in front of Remus' bed. "Is she okay?"
"I thought Lily told you not to tell him what happened," Remus stared pointedly at James who shrugged his shoulders.
"He didn't tell me. It was pretty obvious something was wrong with Cora when Lily went sprinting out of breakfast." Sirius replied, taking a seat on the edge of Remus' bed, "So, is she okay?"
"Yeah, she's fine now." Remus replied, picking a book off his bedside table.
"That's it?" Sirius asked, and Remus nodded in reply. "Aren't you going to tell me what happened? Was it another panic attack? Did she faint?"
"She's fine, Padfoot."
Sirius growled in response, "I can't believe you aren't telling me anything. Did Evans tell you to keep quiet?"
"No," Remus stated, "Actually it was Cora. She told me specifically, don't tell Sirius anything. He'll only freak out." Sirius paled.
"Look, she was right too." Peter teased.
"Shut up, Wormtail." Sirius muttered, storming out of the room.
"Well, now he's gone you can tell us what's going on." James grinned, almost missing the Quaffle as Peter passed it back to him again.
"Actually, Cora also told me not to tell you anything because you'd just go and tell it to Sirius anyway." Remus replied.
"You're kidding me," James frowned.
"Well, she's got you too figured out" Peter replied with a chuckle.
"What about Pete?" James asked, his eyebrows furrowed.
"She doesn't mind,"
"What?" James' mouth dropped open. "I'm the one that helped her this morning."
"It's not that she doesn't trust you, James. It's just, well you proved her right, Sirius already knows about this morning even when you weren't supposed to tell him." Remus sighed, closing his book.
"She trusts Pete more?"
"Yes," Remus stated, "He didn't tell Sirius this morning, did he?"
James fell silent at this before falling dramatically back onto his bed. After a moment of staring blankly up at his roof, he sighed, "I suppose I better go find Sirius and calm him down."
Remus and Peter watched him go, before turning back to face each other, "I suspect you want to know?"
Peter shook his head, "If Cora wants me to know or needs my help with something, I'm sure she'll let me know. I don't think it's any of my business until then."
Remus stared in shock at his best friend for a moment, before a smile crossed his face, "You really are a great friend, you know that, right Pete?"
"I should go. I promised Mary I'd help her out with Transfiguration," Peter smiled, before leaving Remus alone to his thoughts.
The moment he was alone, the conversation he'd had early with Coralie and Lily replayed in his mind.
"He's a guy, from France" Coralie had said, "He's the reason we left. He's threatening my family, me. We came here to get away from him but he's not giving up."
Remus couldn't get that haunted image of his friend out of his mind. Coralie had always seemed so carefree and whole to him. He could never imagined this, even knowing it as he did now, he refused to believe that someone would ever go after Coralie. What could she have possibly gone wrong? Something told him she didn't really know either.
He didn't understand why it was him. Sure, they were friends and he was honoured that she told him. Surely Sirius was the better choice? They fancied each other, even if neither of them wanted to believe it or admit it to to one another. Even more than that, he could protect her in a way Remus couldn't. Remus wasn't cut out for this sort of thing, but Sirius had dealt with this kind of stuff before. Why wouldn't Coralie trust him enough to tell him?
"Please, Remus, don't tell Sirius. I don't want him involved in this."
After Remus left, the girls fell silent again. Coralie had completely calmed down by now, though there was this nagging voice in the back of her mind that told her she'd just gotten Remus tied up in her mess too. She hated thinking that she'd possibly just ruined both Lily and Remus' lives. What if he even caught up with them? She couldn't bare to think of what would happen. Maybe that was why she hadn't told Sirius. She told herself she just didn't trust Sirius enough, but maybe there was something inside her that wanted to protect him. She wanted to hate herself for putting his safety before Lily and Remus' but she couldn't.
"You need to consider it, Cora." Lily cut across her thoughts. When Coralie turned her attention to her friend, she saw that she was watching her with a stern expression on her face. "I hate myself for saying this, but it should be Black. Before you refuse again, you need to think about it. I hate myself even more for this, but Potter is right- he clearly cares about you a lot."
"Lily-" Coralie whispered.
"For Merlin's sake, I'm not telling you to marry him. Just tell him, would you?" Lily snapped, her face softening immediately afterwards, "I can tell you fancy him, so what's the problem?"
"I don't want to," Coralie replied.
"Don't want to what?" Lily asked, her eyebrows furrowing.
"I don't want to fancy him." She said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "He drives me crazy, Lily. I can't sleep most nights because I stay up telling myself to just get over it, to just stop thinking about him."
"You've got it bad, Cors" Lily whispered, sounding more than a little shocked at Coralie's confession. "Does he know?"
"Merlin I hope not." Coralie sighed, burying her head in her hands while Lily chuckled. "If Kiki had her way the entire world would already know"
"You told Kiki?" Lily asked.
"No, she guessed."
"Well, you weren't exactly great at hiding it." Coralie shot her a dirty look, "It's not the end of the world. So, you fancy him. He obviously fancies you back. What's the issue?"
"He doesn't," Coralie replied, Lily went to say something but Coralie shot her another dirty look.
"Fine," Lily sighed, holding her hands up in surrender, "But you still need to think about telling him, okay? Just tell me you'll think about it."
The next few weeks were quiet. No new letters appeared, and Lily had taken and hidden the latest one after she'd found Coralie staring at it late one night. Coralie had just been getting back into a routine when Gryffindor's next Quidditch match rolled around. They were playing Slytherin, and though the game had been a vicious one, Gryffindor came out on top which meant one thing for Gryffindor house. It was party time.
After a particularly homework filled week, Coralie would have been happy to just return to the dormitory after dinner and spend the night reading a good book before heading to bed reasonably early. Kiki, however, had other plans.
Somehow, she'd convinced all the other girls that this was Coralie's chance. They'd gotten out all of their clothes and pooled the best ones together in an attempt to put together a 'killer' outfit for her. She'd tried desperately to get out of it. She'd hidden in the library for a little but they'd found her there, and she even tried hiding with Peter and Remus but the two boys gave her up like the traitors they were. That was how she ended up having clothes thrown at her for most of the afternoon while the girls argued what looked best. She wanted to tell them that everything looked terrible. Nothing they picked out was her, she just wanted to wear a nice sweater and a pair of jeans but they wanted to see her in a dress, or a skirt or something.
"Come on, just one last outfit" Kiki begged, passing Coralie yet another dress.
"That's not the one," Alice piped up, taking the dress out of Coralie's hands and passing it back to Kiki. "I think you should just wear your own stuff." Kiki made a noise of disagreement, but Alice ignored her. "If Sirius doesn't like her as she is, then he's a loser and he doesn't deserve her at all."
"Couldn't have said it better myself," Lily chirped, throwing Coralie's original outfit at her and motioning for her to go and change. After Coralie was done, Lily linked her arms in her friend's and the two of them made their way downstairs.
The party was already in full swing, proof of how long the girls had taken to get ready. There were Gryffindors from every year in the Common Room, some of the dancing in the middle of the room, others hanging around the butterbeer and some talking on the couches. Kiki and Mary joined the group dancing, Miranda and Marlene broke off to get drinks and Alice and Lily led Coralie towards the couches. She didn't realise until it was too late, that they'd bought her directly to Sirius.
"Hey Sirius," Alice grinned, "Boys," she nodded to the others, taking a seat next to Peter. Lily moved to be next to Remus, which left Coralie stuck in between James and Sirius.
"Hey Alice, Evans" Sirius nodded at both of them, before turning to Coralie and grinning, "Cora. How are you?"
"I'm fine, Sirius. How are you?" Coralie asked, trying to keep her face as blank as she could.
"I'm excellent now you're here," He replied, his grin growing with every word. It took all of her self-control not to grin like a maniac back at him.
"So, uh- Alice, you want to dance?" James asked, breaking the silence that had fallen between the seven of them. Alice nodded, standing up immediately and heading to the dancefloor, the others all follows her without a word. Coralie watched them go, she was considering standing up and following after them but she made the mistake of looking over at Sirius. He was watching her with this look in his eyes that she couldn't describe, and a smirk.
"And then there were two," he whispered, leaning closer to her so that she could feel his breath on her neck. She shuffled down the couch slightly, suddenly realising that they had the entire couch to themselves and there was no point in them being so close. "How are you really?"
"What do you mean?" She asked, her voice sounded shaky in her ears.
"Now that everyone else is gone and it's just us, how are you?" He continued to stare at her intensely.
"Hungry," She replied, causing Sirius to throw his head back in laughter. Coralie could feel the glares of other girls in the room on her.
"I suppose we should get you some food then," Sirius stood up, before offering her his hand- she took it and pulled herself up. She meant to let go, but as they made their way towards the portrait hole she felt herself gripping his hand tighter, he didn't let go either. "Are you sure you're alright?" He asked once they were out of the Common Room.
"Yeah, there's just a lot of people in there. Kinda makes me nervous," She revealed, the words practically slipped out of her mouth. "Sorry,"
"What for?" Sirius replied instantly, when Coralie motioned to their hands he just laughed, "Cora, if I didn't want to hold your hand I never would have offered it to you. I'm just surprised you took it."
"Why are you surprised?" Coralie asked, suddenly feeling incredibly self-conscious. She felt like she was sweating, but Sirius still didn't let go of her hand.
"With everyone in there, I mean." He answered and then paused, "You care a lot about what people think of you. I figured you wouldn't want everything thinking you liked me or something."
"Maybe I don't care what people think of us," She shot back.
"Us?" Sirius smiled and Coralie felt herself go bright red, "I like the sound of that." Coralie couldn't help but agree. "Now, come on, let's get you some food."
"You know what Sirius? That's the best idea you've had all night." Coralie didn't bother to hide her smile.
"You got back late last night," Lily commented as Coralie joined her in the bathroom to brush her teeth.
"I was with Sirius," Coralie replied, before blushing slightly, "Not like that. He took me to the kitchens to get me food since I missed dinner, and then we just talked for ages. We lost track of time."
"You don't have to explain yourself to me," Lily said, "I'm happy for you."
Coralie grinned, before going back to her teeth. When they were both done, Coralie sat back down on her bed. "I want you to tell me something."
"Hm?" Lily murmered, shuffling through her trunk for a jacket, "What do you want to know?"
"I want you to tell me about Shelena." Lily diverted her eyes and took a sharp breath, "I don't want to know everything. I understand that would be too painful for you. I just want to know about her and Sirius."
"Cora-" Lily started.
"I tried to ask him last night, but he kept changing the topic away from himself." Coralie sighed, "I just need to know what happened."
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Lily asked, looking up at Coralie again.
"Is it that bad?" She asked worriedly.
"It's not good." Lily replied, looking down at her lap. "I'll tell you, but..." She sighed, "He's different with you, you know. Last night, when we were all there, that's how he's always been with girls. Arrogant, indifferent, that's the Sirius Black that Shelena dated, the one I know. When you two went off together, he was completely different. He was, I don't know, nervous. Like he didn't want to stuff it up." Lily broke off again, "Just keep that in mind when I tell you this." Coralie nodded, "They started dating fourth year, at least properly. There was always something between them though. They broke up a lot, argued and screamed at each other until they had no voices left but then they'd be back together before the day was out. Are you sure you want to hear this?"
"No," Coralie admitted, "But I need to hear it."
"The beginning of fifth year, Shel changed. She had become cold, she lost a lot of weight, she stopped sleeping. I was freaked out, but she wouldn't tell me what was wrong. I figured it was Sirius. They were apart more often than they were together which was weird." Lily paused, "I thought she might have been pregnant or something." She trailed off again. "She wasn't. I found her one night, while I was on patrol, her and this guy. It went on, different guys, and she just kept getting worse. It wasn't just her, you know?"
"Sirius cheated on her too," Coralie finished, and Lily nodded solemnly. "Keep going."
"It got really bad. I suppose they found out what the other one was doing and they blew up. That was the end of last year, and then" She paused again, "And then, she didn't come back."
"Because of Sirius?" Lily shrugged her shoulders.
"I think she broke his heart. Sometimes I wonder if he was actually with any other girls, he seemed destroyed when she went."
"Then I came along." Coralie added, and Lily nodded again. "Am I just a fill-in?"
"I don't think so," Lily whispered, "You aren't like her. You've still got a heart."
Never had Coralie hated a Potions lesson as much as she hated the one that day. It had been almost a full day since Lily had told her all about Shelena and Sirius, and though she knew she'd been the one to ask to hear it, now she wished she'd never had. She didn't know whether it was worse or better than what she'd expected to hear, but she knew it was stuck in her brain on repeat. At breakfast, Sirius had said good morning to her and all she could do in reply was stare at him, which was what she was still doing now.
He sat a couple of rows in front of her with Lily and so she could watch him without him knowing, though Sarah had picked up on it.
"You know, staring is considered rude in most countries," Sarah teased, not looking up from her Potions textbook.
"Merlin, you sound like Tyler," Coralie replied, not looking away from Sirius.
"Oh god, I do." Sarah began to hit her head on her textbook, attracting the attention of several other people in the class including Sirius.
"Stop that," Coralie whispered furiously at Sarah, trying to take the textbook out from under her friend's head. "Seriously, Slughorn's staring at us."
"Nice alliteration," Sarah whispered, finally returning to normal. "Oh god, there really is no help for me. I need new friends."
"If you're nice to me, I might even help you with that," Coralie teased in replied, as she attempted to avoid Sirius' gaze.
"A lowly peasant like me?" Sarah added, holding her hand to her heart in shock, "How will I ever repay you?"
"Generally, Cora accepts payment in food," Sirius cut in, joining them at their table. Coralie stared at him in shock for a moment before he gestured to the rest of the class which was empty,"Potions is over, which you might have realised if you weren't staring at me for the whole class."
Sarah snorted but quickly shut up when Coralie sent her a filthy look, "Well, he's got you there." When Coralie sent her another look, she quickly packed up her bag and smiled, "I should be off now."
"Sarah," Coralie whispered, trying desperately to convey a threat with her eyes.
"I'm not that bad, am I?" Sirius asked, watching her in amusement though she swore she could see a flicker on hurt in them. "Come on, I'll walk you to Ancient Runes."
"I thought you said Ancient Runes was a stupid class," Coralie quipped, as Sirius led her out of the class.
"That may be true, but walking you to Ancient Runes means I miss out on a bit of Divination, which is always good." Sirius grinned, "Besides, it means I can quiz you about why you keep staring at me but hardly actually say anything to me."
"I'm speaking to you right now," Coralie replied, keeping her gaze on the corridor in front of her.
"Yeah, but you aren't looking at me," Sirius countered immediately.
"So, you complain when I look at you but you complain when I don't? How does that work?" Coralie retorted.
"I never said I was complaining about you looking at me," He suddenly stopped in the middle of the corridor and spun Coralie around to face him, "I just want to know why. I thought we were going well at the party on Saturday night."
"We were," Coralie replied, she tried to keep walking but Sirius pulled her back.
"Were?" He questioned, "Did I do something wrong?" Coralie stared at him for a moment before shaking her head, "I don't know if I believe you."
"Well, that's up to you," Coralie snapped, turning on her heel, "Now, if you excuse me I have to get to class. I'll be fine on my own, thanks." In her desperation to get away from Sirius, she ran into a group of Hufflepuff first years and sent all of their books flying. She was going to stop and help them out, but then she heard Sirius laughing behind her and so she stormed off.
"Oh, Come on Cora," She could hear him call as she continued on down the corridor.
Authors Note: Sorry it took me a little bit longer to put out this chapter- I was much busier than I thought. Anyway, I hope you liked this chapter- I'd like to dedicate to ladyrae who's been leaving me the loveliest reviews lately, thank you so much! I'm hoping to have chapter 16 up on Friday for you all- that's right, two chapters in the one week, so I'll see you then!
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