Chapter 15 : Rule 131: Catching a Break
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Author’s Note: So this chapter takes a bit of a turn at the end. We know it may be a bit controversial, and that it might feel like our characters always get the bad end of the stick, but we only ask that you give us a chance to play with this plot line and see where it leads the characters before you write it off. That being said, the beginning of the chapter is just business as usual, so please enjoy! We look forward to hearing from you if you get the chance or feel like you want to review. Thanks for reading, and again, we hope you enjoy chapter 15!
Lovely and amazing chapter image by callisto over at TDA!!
Rule 131: There will be times when you feel like you can’t catch a break; times like these are when you must look to your fellow Marauder’s and prepare for the battle with fellow pranksters at your side.
Lyla’s Point of View
“James, we have apologized time and time again. What else can we do?” When my pleading was met with continued silence, I let out an exasperated sigh. Alexa knocked on the door to the bathroom that James had holed up in and pressed her ear to the door.
“We really are sorry, James,” she reiterated, a sadness in her voice. “We wanted to tell you, but we really didn’t even know the complete truth of what was going on; Blair wasn’t telling us anything.” Alexa pressed harder against the door in the hopes of hearing any sort of response.
To her surprise, the door flew open and a sullen looking James emerged, making a beeline for his four-poster bed. “I guess that makes two of us,” he said angrily. He grabbed the towel lying on his bed and headed back to the bathroom. “Now, leave me the fuck alone.” The door slammed behind him and I was filled with my own sense of rage.
I beat on the door with my fist with as much energy as I could muster. “James Potter! Come back out here so we can talk this out!” I shouted at the boy behind the door. I know my anger was really more directed toward myself than at James, but I had to yell at someone. My hand made stinging contact with the door one last time before Remus grabbed my hand to still it.
“Lyla,” he cautioned. “You need to leave him be.”
I pulled my hand away and shook my head. “No, you need to talk some sense into him. Both of you,” I said nodding to Sirius as well. “He is one of our best friends, he’s like a brother to us, and the godfather of our child. He needs to forgive us. I need him to forgive us.” Remus reached out and gave my hand a squeeze. “Come on, Alexa, we have to go and try to get through to Blair.” I headed for the door and Alexa followed after me
When we were down in the common room Alexa threw her arm around my shoulder. “He’ll come around, Lyls,” she tried to assure me. “Blair will come around too. They forget how persistent I can be. I will bother them until they have no other choice but to talk to us.” I gave her a smile and we continued out into the fairly empty corridor. “Now, I checked the Maurader’s Map before we left, and Blair is in the Ravenclaw common room, no doubt celebrating the win. Believe me, we shall address her traitorous deeds at another time. So, I say we just march over there and demand we get this all settled.”
I gave her a nod and headed off in the direction of the Ravenclaw common room. Once we arrived before the statue of the raven that marked the entrance to the Ravenclaw sanctuary, we quickly realized that we were wildly unprepared for the mission that we had set forth on. “Password,” the raven demanded of us.
“Well, shit,” Alexa said.
“That is not the correct password,” the raven responded.
Alexa rolled her eyes and turned back to the stone bird. “I know that’s not the password,” she remarked. “I obviously don’t know the bloody password.”
“If the password is not known, you are required to solve a riddle to prove your intellect is worthy of admittance,” the keeper of the gate informed us. “To pass, you must answer this simple question: What is given to you that you rarely use yourself, but that which is used much more by others? Answer carefully, for you only receive two attempts.”
My mind immediately started to pick apart what the raven was asking. Alexa looked at me in disbelief. “A riddle?!” she exclaimed. “This is ridiculous. And only two chances? You are a right git.”
“That is incorrect,” the raven told us. “You now have one final chance.”
Before Alexa could deliver some choice words, I grabbed her and pulled her away from the entrance. “Alexa, calm down, if you say something else we’re never going to get in,” I told her. “We’ve just got to figure this out, calmly and quietly.”
“That giant oversized bird is a pain in the ass,” Alexa said matter-of-factly. “It’s being an arse on purpose.” I nodded my head and calmed her back down as we both fell into a silence to think. What is mine but is used far more by other people than myself? We could figure this out. I mean, Ravenclaws are smart and all, but surely this could be too hard to figure. “I’ll just start screaming for Blair if it comes down to it,” Alexa muttered quietly. “I will outsmart that overgrown avian, or my name isn’t Alexa Noel Parker.”
Even as Alexa continued to ramble on, the answer tore through her words and arrived at the forefront of my mind. “Alexa, what did you just say?” I asked, stopping her from continuing.
“That this was just one more reason to loathe all winged creatures?” she clarified. I shook my head, “No, before that.” She thought for a moment, reviewing what she had said before and then spoke again, “That I would outsmart the bird, or my name isn’t Alexa Noel Parker?”
I pointed to her excitedly and clapped her on the back. “That’s it! Don’t you see, that’s it! That’s the answer!” I told her.
Alexa’s eyes narrowed and she cocked her head to the side. “Lyla, you know I don’t see this magical revelation you’ve had,” She informed me. “I’m going to need you to enlighten me.”
I grabbed her once again and took her back to where the raven was permanently stationed. “We have an answer to your riddle,” I informed the statue. The statue nodded and beckoned me to continue. “You asked what we were given that we used far less often than other people, and the answer is our name. We are given our names, but other people use our names more often than we use them.” Alexa’s eyes widened as the raven nodded and we both shared a victorious look. The statue shifted and the entryway to the common room was revealed. I started through the entry way but Alexa had a few more words for her new nemesis.
“No hard feelings there birdie,” she said smugly as she walked backwards to follow me. “You just can’t stump the Parker sisters, we’re just too good.” I rolled my eyes at my gloating sister and waved for her to come along.
We could hear the raucous celebration coming from the common room almost as soon as we entered the entryway. When the common room can into view our senses were assaulted with the colors of blue and bronze everywhere and the strong smell of fire whiskey among other assorted beverages.
Alexa and I tried to stay hidden close to the wall as we scanned for Blair, but we still attracted a number of questioning gazes and a couple of ‘boos’ that were not appreciated. Then again, we practically entered into the lion’s den given the fact that Alexa and I were both glad in our Gryffindor colors.
Face after face passed by, and none of them belonged to Blair. “Lyls, I think we’re going to have to venture into the crowd,” she concluded. “Why don’t you stay here and I’ll go and find her.”
Just as I nodded and Alexa was about to take off, a familiar face walked past us. He stopped after a few steps and then turned to look back at us. Matt looked at us as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Lyla, Alexa,” he said, coming over to where we were standing. “How’d you guys get in here?”
Matt was holding two drinks, one in each hand, and we could tell that he had been having a fair amount of fun before we had shown up. “It really wasn’t that hard to get in,” Alexa said curtly. “You guys should probably look into that, for security reasons.”
Picking up on Alexa’s hostility, he nodded his head appreciatively. “Well, thanks for letting me know. I’ll definitely check into it.” Alexa just shrugged her shoulders and gave him a look that said she really didn’t give a damn what he did or didn’t do. “Can I get you guys anything? Lyla, we have plenty of non-alcoholic stuff if you’re interested.”
“Thanks, but we’re not here to celebrate,” I informed him. “We just need to talk to Blair. Would you mind pointing us in her direction?”
He nodded and shifted nervously where he was standing. “Why don’t I just go and get her?” he suggested. Alexa gave him a very snarky thumbs up of approval.
“And tell her that we are not going to leave until she comes talk to us,” Alexa added. “Tell her that I will ruin this party so quick, if that’s what it takes. I can’t hold my liquor, Matt, but I’ll sure as hell drink up your alcohol like a fish and make one hell of a scene.” She gave him a sickly sweet smile and he hurried off into the crowd in search of Blair.
Alexa and I shared a laugh as we watched him disappear. “Nice threat there at the end,” I commended her. “I have to say, I’d actually be quite interested to see the scene you would make, might be good for a laugh.” Alexa gave me a nudge.
“And what about him asking us if we’d like a drink?” she exclaimed. “Like we’d want to celebrate their team winning with all these fools! Unbelievable. You know, for a Ravenclaw he doesn’t seem very smart.” She wasn’t wrong.
Moments later we saw Blair emerge from the throngs of people. She was clad in Ravenclaw colors, her cheeks were slightly flushed, and she already looked quite annoyed with us. “What are you guys doing here?” she questioned.
“Oh, I don’t know, Blair, maybe we wanted to talk to our best friend who has been ignoring us. Maybe, we care about you and want to make sure you’re okay,” I responded. She looked away from me and let out a sigh.
“Blair, regardless of your questionable house loyalty right now, shit is in ruins. We just thought you’d care that James is destroyed and everything is so fucked,” Alexa explained. “You dropped a bomb on all of us and then just disappeared. I’m sure you had your reasons, but help us to understand them. We need to figure out a way to fix this. Will you please just come with us so we can talk about this? Just us.” Blair hesitated and wasn’t taking the bait.
She looked back at the crowd of people, and I could see in her eyes that the last thing she wanted to do was come with us, and that really made my heart hurt. “Fine, we can talk, but whatever I decide after this, you guys have to promise to accept it,” Blair negotiated. Alexa and I half-heartedly nodded our heads.
We all headed up to the Room of Requirements, figuring that would be a neutral place where we could talk and not be disturbed. When we entered the room there was a fireplace roaring with a large table in front of it. There were three comfortable looking chairs sitting around the table and a steaming pot of tea with three teacups on the table.
As we all sat around the table, Alexa poured out the tea and no one dared break the silence. Finally, Blair spoke softly. “What if I don’t want to fix things,” she said.
Alexa’s gave her a confused look. “What do you mean you don’t want to fix things?” she asked. “Look, I know you and James are going through a rough time right now, but you’ll work it out. I mean, Sirius and I have broken up a number of times now, but we always find someway to put things back together again.”
I watched Blair’s face carefully, and I could see the sadness in her eyes and the tears start to form. She truly meant what she was saying. She absolutely had no intention of going back to the way things were. “James and I aren’t like you and Sirius,” she told Alexa. “Even when you guys broke up, you knew that you still loved each other, you both were just too stubborn to admit it. I don’t love James anymore. I’ve been lying to myself for a while now. Telling myself that we were just in a bit of a rut, going through a rough patch together, but we weren’t. We weren’t going through anything together. We haven’t been an ‘us’ for a long time. I know it’s not Lily’s fault, and I know James won’t admit it right now, but I think he will eventually see that he’s in love with Lily.”
She quickly wiped at her eyes and then took a sip of her tea. I reached out my hand to her and she slowly placed her hand in mine. “I know you can’t go back to how things were, but I think we can all move forward together as something new,” I tried to convince her. “Just because you and James won’t be dating doesn’t mean that we can’t all still be friends. I know that may not happen right away, but we can at least take some steps to getting back to being friends. We miss you and we want you in our lives.”
“I’ve missed you guys too, it’s just been too painful to be around James,” she said quietly. “How’s he doing? Is he really upset?”
“You saw him today,” Alexa said, not letting Blair off too easy. “He left in the middle of the game and abandoned the team. Do you think he would do that if he was okay? Not to mention the fact that he won’t have anything to do with us because he thinks we kept all this from him.”
Blair gave us an apologetic look. “I never meant for him to take it out on you guys,” she assured us.
Alexa’s shifted in her seat as she prepared to unload some truth onto Blair. “Who else was he going to take this out on, B? You haven’t been around for him to be mad at,” she countered. Alexa and I both knew we were being harsh, but we had a lot of pent up emotions, and she honestly needed to hear the truth about what the consequences were to her actions. Blair looked down at her lap with a slight sense of shame. Alexa’s face softened and she leaned in. “You need to talk to him. You need to just say something so you both can start to heal. I’ll be honest, it probably won’t go over super well with James, but you at least owe him the decency of recognizing his hurt.”
I could tell that Blair was really struggling with what Alexa had said. Blair was never one to confront her problems head on; she avoided confrontation at all costs. I mean, she once apologized to us for something we did to her just so we could keep the peace. But, I think in her heart she knew she had to talk to James and that it was the right thing to do.
“I will talk to him soon, I promise,” she finally conceded. “But, I have to do it in my own time and I want to wait for the perfect moment. This isn’t something I can just casually toss out after class.” Alexa and I both nodded in agreement. She could do it in her own time, as long as she arrived at that time in the very near future. Blair let out a sigh the conveyed both relief and nervousness and then looked back up at Alexa and I. “So, what happened to James during the game? Why did he leave?”
“I expect it has something to do with the fact that he saw you surrounded by a bunch of Ravenclaws cheering against him and your own house,” I told her honestly. “And to be frank, we were all a bit miffed about that.”
Blair started to roll her eyes, but stopped mid roll because she thought better of it. “Look, Matt is really helping me through all this,” she explained. Under her breath I could hear Alexa mutter something along the lines of ‘I bet he is.’ I gave her a quick glare and then focused back on Blair.
“We understand that you have to deal with this in your own way,” Alexa started, “But you have to look at this from James’s point of view. He doesn’t look at it as you working through the intricate details of your feelings, he sees it as you dumping him and immediately jumping into another guy’s arms. All I’m saying is that you should maybe consider toning down the public displays of Ravenclaw affection.”
And with that, we were all in agreement. Blair would talk to James and we could all start to travel down the road of friendship redemption.
There was that feeling again. My hand automatically went to my ever-growing stomach as I waited for the strange sensation to pass. I had been getting this feeling off and on for a couple days now, but it always resolved itself so I wasn’t too worried about it. After it passed, I focused back on what Alexa was saying to Sirius and I.
“I don’t understand why Blair is still avoiding James,” she said, cautiously peeking back at James, Remus and Peter walking behind us. “She promised that she would talk to him, but I hardly ever see them in the same room. How does she expect to chat and make up if they aren’t even in the same place?”
I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. It had been a few days since we had had our sit down with Blair, and it was becoming increasingly more clear that Blair never had any intention of patching things up with James; just an empty promise to get us off her back.
Sirius threw his arm around Alexa and leaned in slightly. “I’ve been giving much thought to this current predicament, and I feel like I’ve come up with really the only viable solution,” he informed us. Alexa signaled him to continue. “What is the one thing that brings everyone together?” I gave Alexa a concerned look, and when neither of us answered, Sirius filled the silence. “Babies!”
“Sirius, under no circumstances are you bringing my unborn child into this mess,” I cautioned him.
“Now, you haven’t even heard my plan,” he pointed out. Not that that would put me at ease. “And besides, it’ll be like her first prank; bringing her into the Marauder tradition.” Alexa removed Sirius’s arm from her shoulders, clearly sending the message to me that she had no part in this. “Look, during this next class we’ll all be together and it will be the perfect opportunity to bring our two dear ones together.”
Knowing that this was going nowhere good, Alexa bravely inquired about Sirius’s plan. “And what exactly are you proposing we do?” she questioned.
A mischievous smile came over his face and there was a glint in his eye. “The only thing stronger right now than their hate for each other is their love and concern for you and Little Lupin in there,” he explained. I grimaced at the nickname, but Sirius didn’t pay any attention. “It’s all very simple. During class you pretend to go into labor, they’ll both run to your aid, they’ll realize they are both being petty and ridiculous, and we will all be friends once again.”
Sirius waited for us to react, but our reaction wasn’t the one he was looking for. “Sirius, I don’t see this playing out like you envision it,” Alexa told him. “Even if they do come to Lyla’s help, that doesn’t mean that they will magically just decide to patch things up.”
“I also don’t want to worry them,” I added.
“Come on you two,” he pleaded. “This is all we’ve got. Nothing else has worked, and I am sick and tired of everyone fighting. We need to settle this.”
Alexa and I both looked at each other tried to communicate telepathically. I gave her a nod and then turned back to Sirius. “Fine, we’ll do it,” I conceded. “But I’m not going to pretend to go into labor in the middle of class, this information is going to be on an exam, and I’m not going to miss it. I will do it once class is over.” Sirius nodded in agreement. “And you have to tell Remus what’s going on. I don’t want him to get freaked out by this.”
Sirius assured me that everything would be taken care of, all I had to do was pretend to be in excruciating pain that only came with trying to push a small human being out of my body.
We all filed into the potions classroom and took our seats. I glanced over at Blair on the other side of the classroom as Slughorn prattled on. She seemed to be blissfully unaware of our existence. That strange cramping feeling appeared in my abdomen again, which caused me to shift uncomfortably in my seat. I must have made a face because Alexa gave me a concerned look. I waved her off and focused back on Slughorn.
That focus was shattered as the pain resurfaced, even more intense this time. I let out a painful breath and clutched my stomach. “Lyla,” Alexa whispered, “Are you okay?” I could barely hear what she was saying as another wave of pain washed over me. A strangled sigh escaped my throat as I bent over to try and find some relief.
“Lyla, what are you doing?” Sirius leaned forward and asked. “I thought we were waiting until after class to do this.” I reached with my free hand and grabbed Alexa’s hand. I looked Alexa in the eyes and I could see the panic cover her face.
By now, everyone’s eyes were on me, Blair included. Remus came around his desk and knelt in front of me. “Lyls, what’s wrong?”
“It hurts,” I managed to get out. I was starting to feel dizzy and very nauseous. “I need to get out of here.” Remus stood up and helped me up from my seat.
As soon as I left my seat, supported by Remus, Alexa gasped. “Lyla, you’re bleeding,” she said as I looked back down at the dark red stain on the chair. “We need to take her to Madame Pomfrey.” We started for the door, but I was slowly losing the feeling in my legs. I began to stumble, even with Remus’s arm propping me up. I eased myself onto the floor, the pain continuing to intensify. I suddenly felt fear like I had never felt it before. I held onto my stomach with such fervor as I lay on the cold stone floor. My vision was blurry, but I could see the faces of all of my friends looking down on me. Blair’s face joined the others and then I saw nothing but black.
“Lyla! Wake up, Lyla” Alexa shouted as she shook Lyla’s shoulders. I looked back at the blood stained chair where she had been sitting and I was overcome by a sudden urge to vomit. Lyla’s skin was pale and she had an eerie look about her that sent chills down my spine.
Tears were making their way down Alexa’s face as she looked to me. “Remus, we have to do something,” she pleaded. I heard her words, but my mind couldn’t process any of it. I just kept staring down at Lyla’s still body. Fear had paralyzed me in that moment.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and when I looked up, it belonged to Sirius. He was crouching down beside me and was slipping his arms under Lyla. “Remus, don’t worry mate, we’re going to get her some help. She’ll be okay,” he attempted to assure me, but I knew he didn’t totally believe what he was saying. “James, you and Blair take care of Remus and meet us in the Hospital Wing. Peter, you run ahead and tell Madame Pomfrey what’s going on; Alexa and I will be right behind you.” With Lyla’s limp body in his arms he looked at me once again before he and Alexa took off.
I managed to get up off the floor and Blair immediately grabbed my hand in hers. As much as I needed her in that moment, I could tell that she equally needed me, so we held onto each other for dear life. “Mate,” James said, breaking through my fog. “You’ve got to snap out of this, Lyla needs you.” I nodded my head as I felt a million emotions bubble to the surface as the shock faded. Within seconds, the three of us took off in a sprint toward the Hospital Wing.
When we got to the Hospital Wing, there was a flurry of movement around Lyla. Sirius, Alexa and Peter were standing a good distance away, and the look on their faces told me that there was no good news. As I stood there watching Madame Pomfrey checking over Lyla who was still unconscious, the most terrifying thought crossed my mind. “I don’t know what I’ll do without her,” I confessed softly. Blair let out a sob and buried her face into James’s chest as he wrapped her arms around her.
Alexa came and wrapped herself around me. “I don’t know what I’ll do either,” she told me. “We can’t lose her.” Those words floated around my mind and I watched the scene before me. I couldn’t lose Lyla, but it was completely out of my control. There was nothing I could do to save her or the baby.
Madame Pomfrey came over to where we were standing, and she had the saddest look on her face. “Mr. Lupin, I’m afraid the help Mrs. Lupin needs is beyond what I can give her,” she told me. “I’ve contacted St. Mungo’s and we’ve arranged for her to be moved there.” She then looked past me, and when I turned I saw Professor Dumbledore standing by the doors. “Headmaster, with your permission, Mr. Lupin can travel with her.”
Dumbledore moved toward us and he put his hand on my shoulder. “By all means, Poppy,” he agreed. “Do whatever is necessary.” He squeezed my shoulder and Madame Pomfrey went back to where Lyla was lying. “My dear boy, there are no words that can soothe your aching heart or banish the fear that lies just below the surface. You have survived many hardships in your life, and you, too, shall survive this.”
“Professor,” Alexa spoke up, “May I have permission to go with them? I can’t leave my sister.” After a few moments of silence, Dumbledore nodded his head. Watching Madame Pomfrey prepare Lyla to be transferred, I couldn’t help but wonder what Lyla would say to me in a moment like this. She would probably say something about how this was just a new path that the universe had set before us. That’s what she said after she got pregnant. That path was terrifying at first, but I was becoming more comfortable with that path. I was totally unprepared to walk anymore of life’s paths without Lyla by my side.
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