Chapter 6 : Chapter Six - The Bet
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“Don't be so dramatic.” Lily stopped furiously scribbling her essay and gently placed her quill down. “What is it you need help with?” She leaned over to grab Brooke's barely started essay.
“All of it.” Brooke groaned into her book.
“It's not that hard.” Marlene rolled her eyes at Brooke which only agitated her more. “It's simple if you put your head to it.”
“I'll put your head to it in a minute!” Brooke grumbled the threat under her breath. Lily stifled a laugh whilst Marlene glared at Brooke, deciding not to respond.
“How about we have a little break then?” Lily's voice rang like bells.
“Why don't we go find the boys?” Marlene smirked suggestively causing both the others to roll their eyes.
Brooke grimaced. “As much as I hate to admit it, that could actually be a good idea. James is surprisingly good at transfiguration.”
Lily shook her head. “Please no. You both know I can't stand Potter.”
“And you also know he's family to me. Please just make a bit of an effort.” Brooke pinched the bridge of her nose and took a deep breath. “I love you both but your bickering doesn't half get on my nerves.”
“That's exactly how the rest of us feel about you and Black bickering.” Lily looked to Marlene for back up. Marlene, however, had chosen to ignore the pair of girls and was too busy engrossed in checking out a boy at the other side of the common room. Lily rolled her eyes and turned back to Brooke.
Brooke chuckled. “No Lils, it's completely different. Black and I don't like each other. He just doesn't treat me like I'm fragile, like everyone else does. You and Potter, you're different. There's something there between you.” Lily pretended to throw up upon hearing Brooke's words. “Whether you want to hear it or not, it's only a matter of time that you finally see James for what he is.” Brooke's eyes never left Lily's for a moment. “He's not that immature and arrogant toad that he once was. You just need to open your eyes and see it.” Brooke paused to take in Lily's thoughtful face. “And you will see it Lils. So please, just give him a chance. James is one of the good ones.”
“But he hasn't changed Brooke!” Lily's eyes were thoughtful as she tried to process what she had been told.
“Yes he has. You just don't want to accept it.” Brooke shrugged and a small smirk appeared on her lips. “Maybe you're just scared of what you'll feel? But I promise you that there is something there. It's so obvious.”
“You know me better than anyone!” Lily whined. She was still not accepting anything that Brooke had said to her. “How can you possibly believe you can see something that isn't there.”
Brooke chuckled. “Because I know you so well. I know things you don't even know about yourself yet.” Brooke stood up to go find the boys. “But please, if anything just go a bit easier on him. He really does like you.”
A light blush appeared in Lily's cheeks and she couldn't keep Brooke's gaze which told Brooke all she needed to know. That she was right about Lily; there was something there.
“Come on. Let's go find them.” Brooke decided better than to wait for Lily's response.
Marlene, who had paid absolutely no attention to anything they had said suddenly appeared interested at the prospect of finding the marauder's. Her and Lily both got up to follow Brooke's lead.
“Let's go find my man.” Marlene's voice was flirty and full of hope.
“Who's that, Lene?” Lily was shocked at the thought of Marlene being involved with anyone for more than one night.
“Black, of course.” Marlene spoke as though the others should have known but Lily just rolled her eyes, not even entertaining the conversation.
A scoff escaped from Brooke's lips causing Marlene's eyes to snap onto her. “He's no ones man. I would have thought you would know that having seen how he has been for the last few years. You'll just end up getting hurt.”
“What do you care?” Marlene snapped as her eyes narrowed in frustration.
Brooke thought for a moment and just shook her head in the end. “You're right McKinnon. I don't care.”
The three girls walked in silence from the common room to the lake, where they found James and Sirius laying on the ground, Sirius with his top buttons undone which revealed his chest. Remus was sat resting against the tree with a book in his lap. His hair was unusually untidy and the bags under his eyes were basically black. Peter was sitting close to Sirius, as he was every time they were together.
Brooke instantly walked over to James and plopped down beside him, flashing him a smile as a greeting whilst she nodded at Remus. Lily wasn't far behind Brooke which had peeked James' attention but he didn't say anything.
“B! To what do we owe this pleasure?” James' eyes wouldn't leave Brooke's as he tried to avoid Lily.
Marlene basically sat directly on top of Sirius as she squeezed between him and Peter, her hand going instantly to his bare chest as she flirted with him, laying it on thick.
“I'd had enough of that awful transfiguration essay.” Something in Brooke's eyes caused James to roll his eyes.
“I'll help you out with it tomorrow.” He flashed a grin at Brooke before his eyes moved to Lily. “Evans. Didn't expect to see you here.” His voice was cold and his eyes moved onto Marlene and Sirius, which shocked Lily. She'd been expecting some sort of flirting, not just dismissal.
“Do you two have to do that here?” Brooke was disgusted as she watched Marlene climb on top of Sirius and start kissing him.
Sirius pulled away and flashed a cocky grin at her. “You jealous Anderson?” He winked at her. “I'm sure McKinnon won't mind sharing.”
“Oh Merlin, no! I'm quite happy without catching anything.” Brooke stood up. “But if I have to watch that for one more second I'll have to claw my own eyes out.”
“The green eyed monster doesn't suit you, Princess. Don't worry you'll get your turn.” Sirius let out a chuckle at the disgusted look on Brooke's face.
“I really hope not!” Brooke and Lily started walking away from the group before Brooke turned around. “You coming? James? Remus?” Her eyes hovered on Peter for a moment. “Pettigrew?”
Instantly Remus and James glanced at Sirius and Marlene and decided being with the girls would be the better choice for their sanity. At the sight of James getting up to join them Lily let out a sigh but decided to head to Remus and talk with him. James wrapped his arm around Brooke's shoulders.
“Definitely. Otherwise it won't just be you clawing your eyes out.” He glanced over at Lily. “And there are definitely a couple of sights I wouldn't want to be living without.”
* * * * *
Sirius rushed into the common room and found Brooke exactly where he had thought she would be. On the arm chair in the common room, facing the door he had just come through.
His face was awash with fear and worry as he slowly made his way over to her sleeping restlessly, her face in a frown and her eyebrows knitted together as she thrashed about in the arm chair.
Making his way over to her, Sirius took in the vulnerable sight before him. The whimpering that escaped her mouth at random intervals.
“Anderson.” He spoke softly as he was leaning into touch her shoulder. His fingers clasped around her gently and he shook her. “Brooke!”
Brooke shot up, her eyes darting around the common room as she took it all in, finally letting them rest on Sirius' worried face, his eyes saddened under her gaze.
It was the first full moon of the year and Brooke had still not managed to turn animagi, much to her dismay. The thought of not being able to help Remus didn't sit well with her and she found herself unable to go to bed. It wasn't that she knew something would happen but this was her routine every full moon. That way she would make sure everything went alright.
“Remus! What's happened?” Brooke finally managed once she'd finally registered the lack of anyone else's presence.
“Come with me.” Sirius held his hand out for her as his eyes pleading.
Brooke glanced at his hand before slowly taking it, her eyes searching Sirius' face for any hint that he was pulling her leg. Instead, as soon as their fingers were linked he dragged her off the arm chair and out of the common room. “What's happened?” Brooke's voice begged Sirius as he dragged her to the hospital wing. “Black!” She planted her feet on the floor refusing to go any further until she knew what was going on.
“Brooke, please just trust me!” There was something in Sirius' eyes that made Brooke do just that and she let him drag her to the infirmary without another word.
When they got there Brooke rushed over to Remus, who was in the bed furthest away from the door. As soon as she got to him he looked away from her, not wanting her to see the shame in his eyes.
“Remus?” Brooke whispered as she grabbed his hand. “Are you alright?”
Sirius was still stood by the door of the hospital, slowly making his way to Brooke. But when Remus didn't answer her she glanced around the room. “Where are James and Peter?”
Her eyes shot round to Sirius as he came up to the side of her. His eyes told her everything she needed to know. James had been hurt. And the way Remus couldn't even look at her told her it was because of him.
“You didn't mean it Remus.” Brooke squeezed his hand trying to comfort him. They all knew the risks of going with Remus on a full moon but that would never stop any of them. Even if it was the last thing Remus wanted.
“We can't see him yet.” Sirius explained as he eyes landed on the curtained off bed opposite Remus causing Brooke's eyes to fall on it too.
“I'm coming next time. I'll start preparing myself tomorrow.” Brooke demanded, causing Remus to flinch and pull his hand out of hers.
“No. None of you will.” His chocolate eyes grew cold. Brooke went to object but Remus shook his head cutting her off. “I've just put one of my best friends in the hospital and we don't know the extent of the damage I've done. I'm not going to risk that again.”
Sirius let out a bark of laughter causing both Remus and Brooke to stare at him in disbelief. “Do you really think that anyone is going to let you go through that on your own?” He planted himself on the end of the bed. “Prongs won't have any of it.”
“It's too dangerous.” Remus' eyes were pleading with the pair to just let him have his own way. “Tonight shows that all it takes is one bad night and for one of you to get momentarily distracted. I could have killed him.”
Brooke took in the look on Remus' face and pulled him into a hug. “Stop beating yourself up over this. James will kill you himself if he catches you doing this.”
Brooke pushed every urge to run and see James to the back of her head. She knew she had to be there for Remus right now. They all did. He was bad enough for a few days after a good full moon. He needed them now more than ever. Besides, she knew she couldn't be any help to James right now. But that didn't stop crazy thoughts about losing him rush through her head.
Remus fell asleep pretty quickly afterwards leaving Brooke and Sirius awake both their eyes not moving from the curtains around James bed.
“What actually happened?” Brooke moved her eyes to Sirius, noticing him sigh before his eyes met hers.
“Moony threw me against a wall which distracted Prongs for a second too long.” Sirius paused for a brief moment. “Next thing I knew Moony had Prongs in his mouth. I had to get Moony off him and send Wormtail and Prongs back through the tunnel in human form. Madame Pomfrey said he got here just in time, any later and he might not have been so lucky.”
Brooke put her head into her hands. “I should have been there. I need to attempt this animagi thing again!”
“Nothing you could have said would have changed Prongs' mind. Even if you could do it he wouldn't let you go.” Sirius shrugged trying to make Brooke aware that there was nothing that could have been done to change the outcome.
“If I had been there I could have stopped it.”
“There's no way you would have been there so there's no point in thinking like that.”
“He's all I have left.” Tears threatened to escape Brooke's now bright blue eyes. “I could have lost him.”
Without a second thought Sirius moved to Brooke and took her in his arms where she sobbed into his chest.
“But you didn't lose me.” A voice croaked from across the room as Madame Pomfrey exited the curtains.
“You have two minutes before you need to go back to bed. Mr Potter needs his rest if he is to be out of here by morning.” Madame Pomfrey snapped as she glared at Sirius and Brooke.
James clocked Sirius' arm around Brooke and cleared his throat causing Brooke to jump away and run to his side. She threw herself into his arms and clung onto him, causing him to wince.
“Don't you dare do that to me again! Do you understand?”
Sirius was right behind Brooke and as soon as she let go of James he pulled him in for a brief hug, patting each other on the back as they did.
“I've got my first battle scar!” James' face lit up as he pulled his top down to reveal two already healing werewolf bites at the base of his neck and on his shoulder.
Brooke couldn't help but let out a giggle at her friends inability to see the seriousness in anything. Even if it did get him into danger all of the time.
“Right. Back to bed.” Madame Pomfrey appeared next to James' bed with a sleeping draught and made Sirius and Brooke head back to the common room.
* * * * *
“What's going on with Potter?” Lily whispered to Brooke after he walked past their desk only acknowledging Brooke. James had been ignoring her and taking a back seat in her life since Brooke had told him to a few weeks before.
The whole time he had been doing it Lily had been getting visibly agitated by the fact that he wouldn't even acknowledge her during their duties as head boy and girl.
“What do you mean?” Brooke feigned ignorance. She couldn't help but smile at the fact that her friend obviously had a thing for James but refused to admit it.
“He's barely said two words to me for weeks.” Lily was exasperated. “And even when he does he's cold. Patrolling has become extremely awkward.”
Brooke sniggered and threw a look in James' direction watching the way he was larger than life already, even considering the near death experience he had had the night before. “I thought you would have liked the break from all his 'cringey flirting'.”
A pink tinge appeared on Lily's cheeks as she opened and closed her mouth, trying to think of something to say. “I...I do. It's just gone from one extreme to another.” She managed to get herself together. “Trying to work with him the last few weeks has been awful when he just pretended I wasn't there. How can we work together if he can't even talk to me?”
Brooke took in the sight of Lily and couldn't help but let out a laugh causing not only Lily to look at her in shock but other students threw glances at her, James included.
“What's so funny, Brooke?” Lily asked, a bit shocked by her reaction. She was still refusing to admit that she felt anything but dislike towards James, even if it was making her miserable for doing so.
“You totally fancy him!” Brooke's voice was a loud whisper as she laughed at Lily.
“No I don't!” Lily was shaking her head but her eyes flickered to the back of James' head and the blush reddened. Brooke had known Lily for too long for her to successfully lie to her. “He's arrogant, cocky and so full of himself.”
“I think you're confusing him with Black.” Brooke couldn't help but let the dig slip into the conversation.
At the sound of his surname, Sirius looked up at the two girls, revealing that he had been listening in to the whole conversation. “Oh please stop, you're making me blush.” He winked at Lily who looked mortified, her eyes wide and mouth open.
“You've been listening this whole time?” Her voice was short and cold as her eyes narrowed at the boys. She stammered in utter disbelief, not wanting them of all people to think she was in anyway affected by James not talking to her.
Sirius let out a hollow chuckle. “It's hard not to listen when you talk that loud.” He swung onto the two back legs of his chair, his hair falling out of his eyes as he looked at Lily. “Besides, it's my duty as best friend to make sure that I report anything said about him back to James.”
“Mr Black. Could you please turn around and face your work rather than distracting the girls.” Professor Slughorn's face had a pink tinge to it, as it did every time he had to confront Sirius or James.
“But, Sir. It was Anderson who kept trying to get my attention.” He had a sly grin on his face as he glanced back at Brooke.
Brooke looked at him in utter disbelief, not quite understanding why he was getting her in trouble for something she hadn't done. “Stop lying, Black. You know full well this was all you. Again!”
The rest of the class turned to watch the altercation between Brooke and Sirius. This had become a regular occurrence over the last few weeks. They'd bicker constantly but it seemed to be more light-hearted than what it used to be. Neither on of them had actually gone out of their way to be nasty to the other. But if the opportunity was there to get a reaction they would take it.
Brooke mentally kicked herself for letting her think that the night before meant they might actually be able to be civil to each other rather than keeping up this thing where they go out of their way to wind each other up.
“Why would I lie, Sir? What would I get out of it?” Sirius addressed their teacher with that innocent smile on his face that everyone knew all to well.
“This isn't funny any more, Black. It wasn't funny the first time. And it still isn't know.”
“Both of you detention tonight. You will be here at 8pm.” Professor Slughorn sighed. “Stop distracting the class and get on with your work.”
Sirius turned away from Brooke with a mischievous grin on his face. Brooke sat there chucking ingredients into her cauldron refusing to talk for the rest of the lesson.
When they finally got dismissed Brooke and Lily made their way quickly out of the class and to the great hall so they didn't have to speak to James or Sirius. After they'd sat down though it wasn't long before they were joined by the two people they didn't want to see.
“What was that about, Padfoot?” Remus asked, catching up to Sirius as they all got to the table and sat down by Brooke and Lily.
“Seriously Brooke. You've had almost as many detentions as Sirius and that's saying something.” Lily piped up, hoping it would prevent the conversation from steering in her direction.
Brooke let out an empty laugh. “Come on, we both know he's just doing it to get to me. Besides, there's no way I'll get any more.” Brooke glared at Sirius who just smirked at her.
“Are you willing to bet on that?” Sirius' eyes danced dangerously. He was up to something and everyone knew it.
“That I'll get no more detentions?” Brooke thought about it for a moment but knew if it came to it she'd get screwed over. “No, you'll just do the same again.”
“How about, that you'll have less detentions than me between now and Christmas break?” Sirius offered.
This time Brooke thought about it. Not being one to miss out on a good bet she nodded at the group.
“So B, if you get less detentions, you win. What would you want?” James started mediating the bet so no one could go back on it.
A sly grin appeared on Brooke's face as she looked at Sirius. “I want your bike, Black.”
Sirius' face dropped and James' mouth hung open. Remus was watching on in amusement and Lily had no idea what they meant by his bike.
“But that would be the worst thing you could ask of Padfoot.” James piped up, trying to fight his best friends corner.
“Exactly.” Brooke continued, her eyes now full of life. It was the first time in a very long time that Brooke had felt a rush and Sirius knew that. He had been trying to make sure that she always had a little gleam in her eye and if this is what it took to try and get her back to normal permanently then he'd do it.
“Okay.” Sirius nodded which shocked Brooke. “What's the worst thing you can think of for yours?”
“A date with Black.” Lily said quietly but Sirius' and James' eyes both lit up at the prospect.
“Not just a date,” Sirius said, “I will make sure it's the worst date you have ever been on.”
Brooke grimaced at the thought of having to go on any sort of date with Sirius. Thankfully, anything she had felt during their detention had never came back and she was back to disliking him with no confusion. Besides, she was almost a hundred percent that she definitely wouldn't get more detentions that him. “Fine. Deal.” She stuck her hand out for Sirius to shake it.
Sirius couldn't stop the grin from appearing on his face whilst the others just shook their heads at the pair.
“Brooke?” A voice came from behind her causing her to spin around to look at the person it belonged to.
Stood behind her was a tall, but skinny, young man from Hufflepuff. His dark brown hair was just a touch shorter than James' but a hell of a lot neater. His face had a huge smile on it and his green eyes were sparkling.
“Ryan?” Brooke was a little shocked by the sudden acknowledgement of each other. They had a few classes together but they'd never really had that many conversations. “Is everything okay?” She tried to plaster her friendliest smile on her face.
“Well, I heard you didn't have a date to Hogsmeade tomorrow.” Ryan waited, as though his was waiting for an answer so Brooke just nodded, knowing what was coming and praying it didn't, especially in front of everyone. “Do you fancy going with me?”
Brooke looked around to find everyone staring at her waiting for her answer. “Urm...yes?” She found herself saying, not able to say no in front of this many people.
The smile on Ryan's face seemed to grow even wider. “Great! I'll meet you at 10am down here?” His eyes were eager as Brooke nodded at him before he sauntered off back to his table.
Lily giggled into Brooke's side who looked a bit uncomfortable.
“Pickery?” James scoffed looking less than impressed. “You could do so much better than him.”
“I'm sure she'll have a great time with the puff.” Sirius was enjoying the situation way too much.
“Shut up guys!” Brooke shook her head at everyone. “I couldn't reject him in front of all of you. Besides, he's pretty easy on the eyes and he's nice. What's so wrong with giving someone a chance?”
Remus shrugged and Lily turned to look at Ryan, admiring him from the distance. James and Sirius just shrugged as they shovelled food into their mouths.
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