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Chapter 4 : The Summons
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“Why don’t you take Lily back to Hogwarts?”
“No. I want to stay.” Lily’s voice shook as she said it, her eyes following the trail of blood across the room which led to Sirius.
Lily had run to James immediately when Sirius collapsed and now she, James and Remus stood quietly waiting for some sign Sirius was alright.
“What did you put on him?”
“It’s a balm of werewolf’s blood and phoenix tears.” Remus answered showing her the salve in an effort to keep her eyes off Sirius’ prostrate form. “An easy formula to make that will heal almost any wound with barely a scar to remain.”
“Easy to make? It doesn’t sound quite so easy to collect the ingredients. How exactly do you obtain werewolf blood without getting killed?” Lily tried to sound as if she was interested, but her thoughts kept returning to Sirius.
“You’d be surprised.” James coughed loudly, trying to hide his amusement.
“But, I don’t understand. What happened to him?”
“His father wants to see him.” James answered, the fury in his voice unmistakable.
“A summoning mark.” Lily was quiet. “I’ve read about those.”
James turned to face her. “While you read about them, we live them.”
“I only meant…”
“Forget it.” James moved to Sirius’ side as concerned washed over him. “Remus, it’s never taken this long for him to come around.”
“James.” Remus put a hand on his shoulder. “Come sit down. All we can do is wait.”
James nodded and sank down in a chair opposite Remus and Lily. He lifted his worried eyes to find Lily star intently at him.
“Something you need, Evans?”
“You really do care about him, don’t you?”
“Silly girl,” James murmured and broke her gaze. “Remus, can we clean this place up or something?”
“Scourgify,” Remus whispered and the room returned to its normal state. “I’m going to get Sirius some clothes for when he wakes up. Lily, are you ready to go back?”
“No. I’ll wait, but thank you.” Lily squeezed his hand and watched as he left then her eyes turned to James once again. “I wasn’t meaning to be rude, you know. I’ve just never seen you worried, I suppose. Or caring about something other than yourself.”
“I worry about him more than you could ever imagine.”
“Is it like this every time? I mean, every time his father summons him?”
“No. Never,” James answered, a puzzled tone in his voice. “It’s never even knocked the wind out of him much less done this.”
“He’s angry then.”
“It would certainly seem so.” A flash of unease crept over James. Lily didn’t know about Sirius’ decision to go against his family. How could that be?
“You and Sirius are getting closer, then?”
“We’ve been friends since first year. You know that.”
James could see her eyes drift to Sirius at the mention of his name. “Here, let me get that for you.” James moved to sit beside her, blocking her view of Sirius. Taking the towel out of her hand, he held it tightly against the cut on her arm. “Did you run into the wall?”
“I think so. Everything happened so quickly. I’m just not sure.”
James nodded. “So, you and him have been disappearing together in the middle of the night.”
“We’ve been doing that since third year.” Lily shrugged. “Is this going somewhere?”
“Things are different now, aren’t they, Lily?” he asked solemnly.
At the sound of her first name, her eyes focused on James. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Not exactly an appropriate time for sarcasm.”
“I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable with this new side of you I’m seeing, James.” Lily’s voice dripped with purposeful sarcasm.
“Ulterior motive.” The raspy sound of Sirius’ voice made them both turn.
“Sirius.” James rushed to his side to help him sit up. “Sirius”
“Yes, now. She has a right to know.”
“Know what?” Lily looked at the two of them in confusion.
Sirius took a deep steadying breath as he checked over himself for injuries. “Help me up, James.” Sirius held tightly to James as he moved him to the couch.
“Rest, Sirius. Your strength will return shortly.”
“Hm.” Sirius let his head fall back hard on the couch and closed his eyes. “Let’s hope so.”
“You’re going to him, then?”
“You can’t.” Lily’s worried voice broke in.
“I don’t have a choice.”
“And back to the matter at hand.” James’ angry voice made Lily turn. “Are you aware of the decision our dearest Sirius has made?”
“He has decided to go against his family in their support of Voldemort.” James continued, ignoring Sirius’ plea.
“Okay? Do you see what they are capable of?” James motioned to Sirius’ ashen face.
“I know you worried, James…”
“He’ll be killed, Lily. They will kill him because of his stubborn loyalty to people like you and me. Do you want that on your shoulders?”
“It’s his decision, not ours.”
“You really don’t get it, do you? He has other options that will keep him alive. He could pretend to join them. He could stay away from me. He could stop seeing you.”
“I know what it means. I understand the ramifications of his decision.” Lily said tersely. “What I don’t understand is why you seem so ungrateful to a man who is willing to risk his life for you.”
“I want him alive! Not honorably deceased!”
Sirius coughed as he sat up. “Could you two please stop talking about me as if I’m not even here?” Sirius stood up slowly, testing his strength so as not to collapse. “I think you’re both putting way too much thought into this.”
“Or maybe, as usual, you’re not putting enough.” James returned.
“After I deal with my father, I’ll deal with that comment.” Sirius said lightly as he wandered around the room to check himself.
James shrugged rather than respond, and slumped down on the couch as Lily moved to Sirius’ side.
Slipping his hand to the small of her back, Sirius directed her into the hallway so they could talk privately.
“Are you alright?” He asked softly. “James can be just a tad overprotective at times.”
“As can you. Why didn’t you tell me all this?”
“It’s my battle.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to face it alone.” Lily argued but them immediately softened. “Are you okay?”
Sirius’ eyes followed hers. His white shirt hung open still covered with his own blood. The salve had healed the deep gash across his chest, but the dark red scar was still painfully visible.
“I look much worse than I feel, I assure you.”
“Your family.” Lily’s voice cracked as she let her fingers slip into his shirt and slide across the mark left behind.
“They are who they are.” Sirius managed, trying to distract himself from the comfort her touch was providing. “Lily,” Sirius tried to say her name with detachment but something in his tone gave his emotions away. He could see her thoughts change as her cloudy worried eyes began to sparkle again.
“Lily,” Sirius said again, trying to get her attention as she let her lips kiss the scar his father had left behind.
“I have to see my father.”
“Yes.” Lily whispered as her lips moved to his neck.
Sirius closed his eyes as her caresses warmed and strengthened him. He knew James was just paces away. He knew he had an obligation to his father. And he knew that, without her help, he could not pull himself away from this woman.
“I can’t afford to be distracted,” he murmured, forcing himself to open his eyes and look at her.
Lily was watching him intently, a small grin on her face. “It’s only a kiss, Sirius.”
Sirius didn’t hesitate. Slipping his hand behind her head, he pulled her into him. Her arms locked around his waist and, as his kiss deepened, she pressed her body hard into his. In the silent hallway, e could hear her gasp for breath. He gave her only a moment before kissing her again.
“Excuse me?” Remus’ voice tore them apart immediately. “Are you two going to be at this all evening or can we get this ordeal with your father over with?”
“Way to embarrass a lady, Remus.” Sirius grinned as he watched Lily fight to compose herself.
“My apologies, Lily.” Remus nodded her direction as he tossed Sirius his clothes. “Get yourself cleaned up. We’ll figure out how to get Lily back to Hogwarts.”
“James.” Sirius said as he changed his shirt. “I need James to take her back.”
“Lily, will you excuse us?” Remus asked quietly. Lily nodded and left the two alone. “James isn’t going to want you to go alone.”
“I won’t be. That is, if you’re willing to come with me.”
“Of course I am. You know that. It’s just…”
“James hasn’t got his head on straight, Remus. Until he does, he’s endangering himself and all those around him.”
“I know.” Remus nodded. “He’ll come around. I speak from experience.”
“He will, but until then” Sirius trailed off. “Will you go with me?”
“Do you have a plan?”
“Plans are over-rated.” Sirius winked.
“Don’t be so serious, Remus. It’s homecoming for the Black family. What could possibly go wrong?”
A/N: Thanks to everyone for your continued support with this story. All of you who have reviewed have helped influence the story tremendously and where it goes with each chapter. Thank you so much!
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