Chapter 8 : Peace and War
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Hi guys! Things are really started to get going in the story now that we're done with all of the preamble so expect some excitement around every turn.
I would like to dedicate this chapter to Puresnape, who gave me my first review and made me cry happy tears :)
All my love- A
I woke up stuck to my bed sheets again. This nightmare was unrelenting. It was, of course, more of a memory than a dream but I could handle a nightmare more than I could a memory. I had a piping hot shower in the infirmary before Madam Pomfrey could say absolutely anything. I felt dirty and all I wanted to do was wash off the memories from yesterday. I dressed in a simple tank top and jeans. It covered most of the still pink scar on my back but it would have to do. I wouldn’t hide the things I had lived through. Battle scars were for the survivors and I was a damned survivor. I was going straight to Dumbledore to explain what had happened with Sirius, what he had told everyone. I’d have to leave but maybe he could help me find a place to go. I was alone in the world. I had an uncle who was sympathetic but I couldn’t know if they had got to him yet either. But none of this mattered, I thought determined. I would not let Voldemort win, not against me. Each day I resisted, each day I lived was one more victory against him.
“Yves?” said a small voice from behind me.
I swung around to see Alice, Mary and Lily. All three of them had strange looks on their faces. I couldn’t say anything. I wasn’t ready to face them, I didn’t want to do this.
“Alice.” I said setting my face.
“How are you feeling?” She asked in her small voice again.
“Better.” I said monosyllabically.
“Um… I’ve got that date tonight with Frank and I was hoping, if you got out of here today or tonight, that, uh, maybe you could help me get ready.”
What the hell?
“Uh… that’s a nice offer Alice but I don’t think I will be able to.”
“Oh, I see.” She said dejectedly. “When I saw you up and about I thought you’d be out in time…”
“I, uh, don’t think it’s about that.” I said not sure what to say. What was going on?
“What is it about?” Mary said looking at me knowingly.
“Do you really need me to say it?” I looked her straight in the eyes.
“Say what?” Lily said. “We’d like our friend back.”
I looked away. How could they do this to me? Did they think I would be stupid enough to trust them after what Sirius had done. I had been nothing but nice to them. I went to my bed and started to get my things out of the bedside draw. I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
“What?” I screamed! “What do you want me to say, yes, I’ll come and braid your goddamn hair and chat about boys like you didn’t ever hear anything? You heard what Sirius said, he wasn’t lying. So lets just leave the Death Eater’s daughter leave in peace.”
The three of them looked at me with shocked, rounded eyes but they didn’t move.
“Look Vee…” said Mary and I rounded on her but before I could say anything she raised her voice much more loudly than mine and said, “We don’t care that your parents are Death Eaters. Sirius told us that the rest of the letter explained that you left because you didn’t join them. We accept Sirius and his parents are the same if not worse. We aren’t judging you and we haven’t told anyone else. No one needs to know. You’re our friend and you’ve been going through this right under our noses and we didn’t even know. But now we do and we can be there for you, help you, maybe protect you like friends are supposed to. And yes, we’d like to, well, maybe not braid each others hair, that’s a serious fashion faux pas at this point, but definitely chat about boys if you want.” She said in such a typical Mary way that I couldn’t help by smile.
“Sirius told you?” was all I managed so say.
“Yeah,” Said Lily coming forward bringing my school bag closer. “He sent someone to get us out of bed last night. Obviously it was mortifying when he we had to go down in our PJs.” Lily said pink cheeked. “James was down there with him.” She rolled her eyes in horror.
“He told us about his parents and stuff and told us about you.” Alice said softly. “He seemed very upset.”
“I think he is sorry about what he did.” Mary said looking at me carefully like I would explode at any moment.
“I don’t care.” I said. “He can’t go around treating people the way he does and then think he can simply apologise and things will go back to normal. It doesn’t work that way. He is never sincere.” I said turning my back on them before they could see the tears that would show just how betrayed I felt.
“Merlin Vee. Look at your back!” Mary exclaimed.
“That’s a bit difficult.” I said trying to be lighter.
“Seriously,” Said Lily, moving the fabric out of the way, “Isn’t there anything they can do?”
“I’m sure it will heal more. It doesn’t bother me.” I said not trying to sound resigned.
“Ok, ok. Let’s see if we can go braid my hair already.” Said Alice with uncharacteristic humour. We laughed and went to see if Madam Pomfrey would let me leave.
Back in the dorms we sat discussing what Alice should wear. All of her clothes were so plain so were trying desperately to get something sexy together.
“No! This can’t be all you have?” Mary groaned after having thrown all of her things out all over the floor. “We seriously need to get you to Hogsmeade!”
“It’s not my fault.” She said looking disparagingly at the heaps of clothes.
“No, don’t worry, it’s fine. We’ll find something right Vee?”
“Uh…” I hesitated. Then suddenly I remembered, “Wait!” I said gleefully.
I threw my trunk open and right at the bottom I saw what I was looking for. “We may have to use a pressing charm to get it looking a little less rumpled but I think this will go very nicely with your skin tone.”
It was a light blue pleated dress, cinched at the waist but not enough for Alice’s birdlike frame. It would fit her, with some accessories.
“I think this,” I said pulling out a thick black, sliver embellished belt, would go nicely around your waist.” I said.
I looked at Mary and Lily and their faces were stunned.
“You just had this laying around?” Said Mary. “What else are you hiding in there?” I pulled out the only other extravagant piece I had. It was a skin tight black dress, elegant but sexy.
“Oh wow! Now we just need an excuse for you to wear it.”
“Maybe someone will ask you out.” Said Alice looking at me hopefully.
“Yeah, maybe.” I said absentmindedly.
“Well, you know Sirius dumped Marlene.” Mary said and Lily shot her a dirty look.
“What? He did, didn’t he?” She said, looking at Lily, realising her error, “Anyway, he didn’t really give her a reason but I’m sure she’s going to think you had something to do with it.”
“Obviously Sirius hates me,” I said, “If recent events are anything to go by...”
“I wouldn’t be so sure. I mean, he is always joking with you and stuff…”
“Yeah, that and the outing my family as Death Eaters.” I said and everyone flinched. “Those stories about a guy treating you badly because he’s into you is just another excuse someone made up so men could go on treating us like shit.” I said rather dispirited.
At the end of the serious pamper session Alice looked fantastic. Lily had given her a pair of silver dangle earrings that elongated her neck. Mary had done a messy side braid, which tucked into a simple messy bun. We left her make up simple- a dusting of shimmer, some mascara, and a light pink lipstick. She looked so beautiful.
At six thirty, we went down to the Great Hall for dinner wishing Alice well for her date at seven.
My stomach was in knots. I hadn’t spoken to Dumbledore about what Sirius had said even though I should have. Walking down to dinner I was beginning to realise that it might have been a mistake. A wave on unease pushed over me.
We sat in our usual places and a little while later The Marauders arrived. When they saw me sitting at the table all of them except Sirius hesitated. He slipped into the table in front of me and instead of grabbing everything in sight as usual, he waited for me to look at him. I didn’t. Remus slid in next to me not saying a word.
The whole thing was awkward. I ate in silence, suddenly the peas on my plate very interesting.
“I am sorry.” The gravel voice said and all other sounds stopped. I looked up to see Sirius leaning forward, his hands outstretched, his palms upwards. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was staring at him, looks of wonder plastered on their faces. Sirius obviously didn’t do much apologising.
“We’ve decided that you guys don’t get to just get away with a stupid sorry anymore…” Mary said recovering first, pushing herself forward, giving Sirius a look that was most unlike her. She could be grumpy sure, but she was never aggressive, almost protective.
“Ok.” He said still looking at me. This was so strange. “How can I make it up to you?”
I just looked at him. I never thought this would be his reaction so I never thought of anything he could do to make it up to me.
At that exact moment I felt ice tumbling over my head and down my shirt. I was drenched from head to toe. Instinctively I stood up and turned around only to be slapped hard on the cheek.
“Serves you right you stupid bitch,” screamed Marlene, Emmeline standing at her back as support, “you stole my boyfriend!”
Swiftly, Sirius leapt over the table and planted himself between Marlene, Emmeline and I.
“Back up.” He said assertively.
“No!” she screamed in defiance, “she deserves everything she gets!”
“She isn’t the reason I broke up with you.” Sirius said softly but his eyes were trained on her dangerously.
“Rubbish!” she yelled manically, lunging forward to grab me. Sirius, grabbed her and gently but firmly pushed her away.
“You will stop this now.” He said grumbling dangerously. It sounded like he was growling. It put my teeth on edge. “Back up now Marlene.” He demanded. He was seriously scary.
“But Sirius, baby…” She said rearranging her face, “I only did it because…”
“I don’t care why you did it.” He said ruthlessly in a voice so cold I actually began to fear for Marlene.
“Padfoot, mate, come on. Let’s go.” Said James, trying to pull Sirius away but he was immovable. He shot a worried look at Remus who stretched his arm out to Sirius but let it drop midway as though he thought better of it. Instead, he looked at me meaningfully, inclining his head toward Sirius, his eyes pleading for help.
Marlene was still putting on her best seductress act, posing and cooing in his ear but Sirius’s body was coiled tightly like a spring, tension evident in all his muscles, “She can never give you what I can, she’s just a stupid whore, you know she’s jealous because she saw us the other day and now she wants you…”
I could see the veins in Sirius’s arms pulsing and the muscle in his jaw clinch and unclench tensing. There were bunches of Slytherin’s standing a little way away from the commotion whispering conspiratorially.
I moved to stand in front of Sirius, his eyes, seemingly automatically, slid from Marlene to me.
“Sirius,” I whispered, “we need to go now.” And took his hand.
At the exact same moment, Marlene grabbed my hair and pulled me back. I could do nothing but follow the direction she pulled me but I did manage to turn around but before I could say or do anything, she threw a punch that connected squarely with my jaw. I felt a familiar flood of dizziness and felt myself crumple to the floor. Sirius shot out faster than I would have thought possible and caught me, as he always seemed to do, just before I could hit the ground. Out of nowhere, sensing a moment of vulnerability, Severus Snape shot out an Expulso Curse. Instead of hitting Sirius as it should have done, it hit Lily behind him. She flew back, into the dining table and screamed in pain. James roared and flung a dozen curses at the Slytherin’s while backing up to get to Lily who was now incapacitated and bleeding profusely. Remus moved between James and Lily and the Slytherin’s trying in vein to deflect some of the curses, Mary aimed some well powered curses of her own towards them and before long, there was an all out war between the Slytherin’s and the Gryffindor’s. Sirius held me protectively, angling his back toward the Slytherin’s but still keeping an eye on them. He saw a gap and hauled me out of the way and under the table before grabbing his own wand and joining his friends. Peter hid under the table, never really confident enough to join the fight, even when his friends were some of the most powerful and accomplished wizards of their age. Instead of focussing on the pain in my head, I focussed on Sirius. James and Remus had flare, dodging curses and hexes, deflecting them and casting their own with immense power, speed and accuracy. But Sirius looked simply extraordinary. His eyes were so alive and though his face was dead set on causing as much damage as he could muster, I could tell he was enjoying himself. I think they all secretly were. They cast spells wordlessly, something some wizards never seem to grasp, which was a tremendous advantage because all of the others but Snape couldn’t do this.
Finally James landed the curse he intended from the very beginning. Snape lay Stupefied on the floor and in walked a horrified Professor McGonagall, using an Amplifying Charm, screamed: “ENOUGH!”
Each house teacher took their respective houses out of the Great Hall, and detained any student implicated in the ‘Great Hall War’ for interrogation. For Gryffindor, that meant all the fifth year students went to her office.
“Who is responsible for this?” McGonagall asked in her most icy voice. The Great Hall had been trashed and several students had been injured. She was beyond furious. But, being Gryffindor’s, our sense of allegiance was more powerful than our fear of punishment. That was, for some of us.
“Professor,” Marlene began and everyone shot her looks of hatred, “Yves started all of this when she stole my boyfriend.”
She proceeded to tell Professor McGonagall her own twisted version of events about how I had seduced Sirius and stolen him away and then tried to tempt him away further when she had ‘politely’ asked me to back off. Sirius beside me was on fire. His entire body was vibrating with spleen but he did not say anything; that was the Gryffindor way.
“And then someone, I’m not saying who,” she said, eyeing me accusingly, “Shot a hex or something out at the Slytherin’s and then…”
There was a roar from Sirius, James, Mary and Remus.
“You lying bitch!” screamed Mary, the loudest of them all. “You just made up all of that to keep yourself out of trouble. Professor, I can tell you now, everything Marlene has said is a lie! She started this whole mess between the Gryffindor’s, Snape shot the first curse from Slytherin and then we all got involved. But Yves literally didn’t do a single thing.
“I want a new room. I don’t want to stay with them!” Said Marlene, crying frustrated. “I can’t, I just can’t.” She said dramatically, waving her arms in the air, Emmeline beside her started crying too and together they became completely hysterical and ran from Professor McGonagall’s office. McGonagall rolled her eyes, gave us all two weeks worth of detentions and removed Marlene and Emmeline from our dorm room before a fresh hell broke out again. I didn’t think it was possible for Mary to look so furious.
"I can't actually believe Marlene!" said Mary as we all walked back to the dorm. "McGonagall had better give her, her own room because I'm going to kill her..." She went on an on, the others joining in. James was so worried about Lily, he was walking agitatedly, stopping and starting again, turning to go back the way he came when finally Sirius said, "Just go mate. We'll be find." and James ran off to the hospital wing.
I tried to stay away from Sirius but he matched my pace no matter how fast or slow I walked. Eventually, he took my hand and held me back slightly when we had reached the fat lady.
"Can I, uh... Can I have a word." The darkness had taken hold of his features, his voice far ore gruff than I had ever heard it.
I turned to look at him and waited.
"I am sorry. I should never have done that to you Yves. And I meant what I said, I need to make it up to you. What can I do."
"Don't worry about it Sirius." I said trying to keep it light.
He darkness deepened around his features and he pushed his hands through his long hair in tension.
"Please Yves, please tell me what I can do."
"Sirius," I said, turning my body to face his, "There is nothing to do. What happened happened, how I feel is how I am going to feel. We both know where we stand with each other now and that is just how it is."
"No!" he said softly, taking a step closer to stare into my eyes. "That's not good enough."
"It is what it is Sirius." I said too tired to be angry, I turned to the Fat Lady and gave the password, "Delphinus"
"No, it's not. This is not what it's supposed to be, I won't let it be like this." He said softly behind me. I didn't hear what else he was saying as the portrait closed behind me but I did see him. I had never seen anyone look at anyone else the way Sirius was looking at me. The intensity in his gaze tonight with Marlene and the Slytherin's was nothing compared to the look he was giving me. He was smouldering and I wasn't sure whether to expect him to get back at me for not accepting his apology properly, or whether he was going to do something else. There were flutters in my stomach as I walked up to the dorm, ready to collapse in my bed. Sirius Black was going to me the end of me.
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