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Broken by Yasmin93
Chapter 11 : Chapter Eleven - Tears
 
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Over the rest of the week the dynamics of the group had changed a lot. Brooke found herself spending less and less time with the marauders, hoping that by doing so Sirius would forget about 'getting back at her'. This meant that Brooke found herself spending a lot more time in the library with Lily, so for the first time since being at Hogwarts she was finally on top of all her work. Remus had also taken to joining Brooke and Lily since he was in the library a lot of the time anyway.

Deciding that it was too nice outside to be cooped up in the library the three wrapped themselves up before going sitting by the lake. Lily was laying on her stomach with her legs bent upwards at her knees whilst she casually worked on a potions essay. Brooke was laying on her back reading a book of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen that Lily had given her for Christmas a few years back. Then Remus was sat cross legged, facing the two girls, absentmindedly flicking threw his DADA text book.

No one was saying anything, which had also become a regular thing. Not that they didn't have anything to say; but every now and then it was nice to not have to say anything. Or in Brooke's case she just decided that she didn't have anything to say to anyone and had closed herself off completely from everyone throwing herself into her books whenever she wasn't working.

Letting out a bored sigh as he slammed his textbook shut, Remus then fell backwards onto the grass. "If I read one more word about defensive spells that we learnt two years ago I'm going to go crazy." He threw his arm so it was covering his eyes from the sun.

Brooke couldn't help but smirk at the sudden outburst from Remus. Considering he could sit with his nose in a text book all day, it always made him seem a little bit more normal when he couldn't take any more. It was those moments that Brooke realised he wasn't another Lily in the making.

"But Remmy." Brooke rested her book on her stomach and propped herself up on her elbows. "You're already crazy."

Lily sniggered at the comment, glancing up at Remus from her parchment.

A shy smile appeared on Remus' face as he looked between the two girls. "And what gives you that impression?"

It wasn't that Remus was shy at all, not around Lily or Brooke, and definitely not around the other marauders. There was something about him that came across as coy. He wasn't as in your face as Sirius and James. He didn't thrive with being the centre of attention; so it was times like this when he did come across as a shy person.

"Have you seen your best friends?" Brooke just shrugged at him as though he should have already known what he was going to say. "To spend all your time with those three, you definitely can't be all there in the head."

"Is that right?" A laugh erupted from Remus' chest. "So what does that make you? I can't imagine you're all that sane having spent your whole life with Prongs."

"Oh, haven't you heard?" Brooke looked at Remus as seriously as she could before laying back down. "I'm a stark raving fruit cake. There's absolutely no hope for me."

"I'll vouch for that." An unmistakable voice came from behind Brooke as a shadow cast over her face. She scowled at the sound of it as she pushed herself back onto her shoulders before chancing a glance at the athletic figure.

"Speak of the devil and he shall appear." Brooke sighed and turned away from Sirius as he chuckled at her words.

Making his way over to Remus he threw himself down onto the floor, resting his arms behind his head. "All better being the devil than the stark raving fruit cake with no hope." The smarmy grin on his face grew wider.

The cocky attitude radiating from Sirius was enough to try to patience of a saint. Now Brooke knew she was no saint, so as soon as she started feeling herself getting riled about just by the presence of someone she knew it was time to remove herself from the equation.

Brooke had barley stood up when James came barrelling into her sending her flying into none other than Sirius' lap, James landing on top of her so there was no escape. Feeling the heat of Sirius' hard chest on her back sent shivers down her spine. A reaction that she couldn't believe she was having.

Not attempting to move, James lay there cackling about his clumsiness. He was laughing so much that even if he had attempted to get up he had no control over his stomach muscles.

Using all her strength Brooke tried shoving James off of her. "James!" She groaned through her teeth as she tried again to get the giant lump off her.

From behind her Sirius was shaking as he silently chuckled to himself. Lily had delicately covered her mouth with her hand as she tried to stop herself from chuckling at the scene. Remus, having gotten used to the antics of his fellow marauders found himself shaking his head at the trio.

Finally regaining his composure James rolled off of Brooke and carried on laughing when she shot up as fast as she could, her face far from impressed.

"If you wanted to get close to me, Princess, you only had to ask." Sirius sent Brooke a wink that made her stomach do a flip. "You really don't have to get James to make it happen."

Brooke was starting to wonder whether it was actually Sirius that wound her up, or if it was the reactions she got when she was around him. Reactions that she'd pay someone to take them away from her as long as it meant there was nothing between her and the womaniser.

"If it was my choice I wouldn't go near you with a ten foot barge pole." Despite her insult Brooke couldn't help but smile sweetly at Sirius.

"A ten foot what?" Sirius responded in confusion.

"It's another way of saying that the thought of touching you repulses me." Brooke sighed, trying to make sure that Sirius had no idea about the effect he seemed to be having over her. "What was all the rush about, J?" She asked as she turned to face James, her voice slightly harsh.

James looked at Brooke through his wonky glasses and wrapped his arm around her, pulling her tight into his side. "I have an idea for the ball tomorrow night." The grin was still yet to leave his face. "And I need your help." His eyes danced between Remus and Brooke.

Sirius' uninterested look make it clear to everyone that he already knew about what James was going on about. He sat there checking out a group of girls who were walking past them all giggling at the looks they were receiving from him.

The head girl looked at James with a disapproving look. "You better not be thinking of pulling any pranks tomorrow, Potter." Her eyebrows furrowed at the thought of the head boy pulling a prank in front of most of the school. "You're meant to be setting an example."

A look of innocence appeared across James' face as he looked into Lily's green eyes. "Of course not Lily." He flashed her a charming smile as he forced himself to not be as in her face as he usually was. "I wouldn't even dream of it."

Lily, who was still slightly shocked at the lack of nicknames and how James had seemed to stop asking her out just raised her eyebrow at him. There was something about the lack of attention she was receiving from the boy that tugged at her stomach. "You and I both know that's bull." James went back to grinning and winked at Lily before their eyes locked.

She knew there was obviously something going on, she wasn't stupid. She also knew that there was no way any of them would let her know, just to make sure that she didn't try and stop them from doing whatever it was. Sure that Brooke would have nothing to do with it she decided to stay where she was anyway. If James wanted to speak to them without her, he'd have to wait until later. She wasn't going to run away at the sight of him any more.

Watching the two of her friends look at each other longingly, Brooke couldn't help but snigger as her eyes moved to Remus. It turned out he had also noticed the same thing as he too was trying to suppress his laughter so that he didn't ruin the moment.

"As much as I like to see here and watch you two ogle each other I kinda want to know this plan." She spoke loudly making both James and Lily jump and look anywhere but each other. Both of them had a pink tinge to their cheeks; Lily more so that James.

Moving his glaring eyes onto Brooke he pulled a face that she had grown to know as his 'I can't believe you just did that' look. He was probably right in sending it to her as it had been the first time since on the quiddich pitch that they'd even been close enough to each other to talk to each other. For some reason Lily had taken to avoiding James; much like Brooke was with Sirius. Except, Brooke could put money on the fact that it wasn't for the same reasons.

James' grin instantly came back though, which meant one of two things; they were definitely planning a prank, or he was planning something to do with Lily. If it was the latter Brooke wasn't sure if it was a good idea. The pair might have been able to hold a conversation for more than two minutes without it breaking out into world war three; but that didn't make it a good idea for James to suddenly jump back into the whole trying to hard to get her.

"Well, if you're up for a quick walk I can spill the beans to you." James stood up and held his hand out for Brooke to take. "Don't worry Lils. I won't be leaving your lovely self alone. Moony and Padfoot will keep you company." He turned to face Sirius. "Be on your best behaviour Pads. We don't want you scaring the beautiful lady away."

Lily's face turned a light shade of pink as James flashed a charming smile in her direction before pulling Brooke to her feet. The pair walked off with James' arm draped over Brooke's shoulder, not saying anything until James was positive no one could listen in.

The pair decided to walk around the lake so that they could meet up with the friends they had just left. "What do you need from me?" Brooke was sceptical. More often than not it was her who always ended up doing the grunt work, being the smallest out of everyone.

James gave a light-hearted laugh. "Just some information." James pulled Brooke in tighter as she wrapped her arm around his waist. A simple act that was so common between the pair of them that neither of them thought anything of it. "I need to know what Lily is going to wear to the ball."

Brooke couldn't help but roll her eyes at her friend. "And why would I tell you that, Mr Potter?"

As James looked down at her he saw a twinkle in her eye that he hadn't seen in a long time. A twinkle that he had only seen when she had been around Sirius. He took a proper look at Brooke, thinking that maybe this time she was actually getting on the road to recovery, so to speak.

"I just need to know who to look for so that I can direct my attention at the right person." James admitted to his best friend.

Brooke pulled away from James and stopped him from walking by turning him to face her. "Listen, J. You're finally getting somewhere with her. She no longer snaps at everything you say. Every now and then she almost forgets to call you Potter. Don't mess it up by throwing yourself at her again." Her eyes bore into James' as she tried to get through to him, not wanting him to mess anything up with Lily.

James just laughed in her face and yanked her into his chest to hug her. "This is why I love you." As he let go Brooke raised a questioning eyebrow. "Besides, I'm not going to be throwing myself at her. She's not going to know it's me spending the night with her." The grin was back, but this time Brooke couldn't help but grin along with him. "She won't know until she's had the most amazing time and then when she realises it was with me she'll realise I'm serious about her."

Continuing to make their way back to where the others were Brooke glanced at James, noticing just how happy he was at the prospect of this working. "I can't tell you what she's wearing. But I promise you'll know exactly who she is." Brooke smirked at him. "I can't ruin the surprise. It's your face that I'm looking forward to seeing the most."

His grin finally faltered for the first time since Brooke had seen James that day. "Oh come on. Please Brooke. I will do anything." James dropped down to his knees and he grabbed Brooke's hands as he begged her, his eyes gleaming as he finally felt like he could stop walking on eggshells around her.

Snatching her hands out of his hands, she pushed him over so he fell backwards onto the grass. "There is nothing you can do for me that I can't do for myself." Brooke tried to suppress her laughter but ended up snorting by doing so.

On hearing the snort escape from Brooke's nose James cackled loudly, which in the process made the snorting worse.

"Besides, I really doubt you can do everything for yourself." James laughed with a wink as he stood back up to join Brooke in the rest of the journey back.

Brooke cringed before punching him in the arm. "You're disgusting." Brooke shook her head as James rubbed his arm. "I think you've been spending too much time with Black."

A single laugh erupted from James. "I said nothing wrong. You really need to get your head out of the gutter. And there was me thinking you were better than that." He feigned being shocked as he nudged into Brooke.

It was the first time since the beginning of the year that the two of them had managed to joke around with each other like they did before. It was rare for them to actually be alone together for more than five minutes and even if they were it just didn't feel as relaxed as it used to. Finally it felt like home to both of them.

It wasn't long until they reached where Remus, Sirius and Lily were sitting, talking about the upcoming ball. Sirius had been trying his hand at seeing if he could get any information out of Lily for James but she was being tight lipped.

James felt a pang of jealousy when he watched Lily laugh at something Sirius had said but instantly pushed it away, telling himself he was being silly. Sirius was after all one of the marauders and they had a code. A code that Sirius wouldn't break even if his life depended on it. James could safely say he had nothing to worry about when it came to the marauders and girls.

Sirius and Lily both stopped laughing instantly as they looked at something over Brooke and James' shoulder. Lily automatically grabbed her wand out of her waistband, anger filling every crevice of her face. Remus too had pulled his wand out but kept it firmly in his hand which was down by his side. Sirius however had shot up and made his way to Brooke so that he was between her and Avery.

Turning around to see what they were looking at, Brooke tensed up instantly at the sight. Heading their way at some speed was Avery. His face didn't look hostile but that didn't stop Brooke from instantly thinking back to what he did to her the last time she saw him.

James still hadn't turned to see what was going on by the time Avery got just behind him. "Butter...Brooke. Can I have -"

At the sound of a voice that James had known so well he spun to face him before grabbing him by his collar and throwing him up against the tree. Moving his face close to Avery's face his lips turned into a snarl. The dusky scent that James had always ascociated with Avery and his family filled his nostrils.

"You've got some nerve." James growled, his voice was low and just the tone of it was threatening. "What makes you think I'm ever going to let you be alone with Brooke again?"

Brooke put her hand on James' shoulder to try and get him to let Avery go. "James."

He just shrugged her hand off and then pulled Avery to him before smashing him against the tree for the second time. "If I even catch you looking in Brooke's direction I will make you wish you were dead!"

This time Sirius helped pull James off Avery but instantly got his wand out and pointed it at Avery's neck. "What do you want?"

Avery put his hands up in surrender. "I just want to talk to Brooke."

"Not going to happen." James tried to grab him again but Sirius held an arm out to stop him.

Brooke stepped forward and wrapped her fingers around Sirius' hand to pull his wand away from Avery's neck. "I want to hear what he has to say."

James opened and closed his mouth trying to think of what to say to Brooke to talk her out of talking to Avery. "B, he's not worth it. Why can't you see that?"

In James' head Brooke should have instantly cut all ties the second he used an unforgivable curse on her; so the fact that she as still willing to listen to him baffled him. If he had it his way the Slytherin wouldn't even be breathing the same air as her.

Brooke, on the other hand just wanted to know what he had to say. "You don't have to go anywhere. I'm not asking to be alone with him. Just that you let me hear him out."

"Speak then." Sirius spat as he took a step back.

Avery diverted his sad, pale blue eyes to Brooke. "I am so sorry, Buttercup. I never thought any of that would happen. If I could go back and change it I'd make sure I wasn't there." He tried to ignore the audience watching him.

"Well you can't." Brooke snapped.

Avery sighed deeply. "I know it's too late. And I know I should have thought about the consequences of my actions, but I can't lose you." With his hands still raised in the air Avery took a step towards Brooke. "You are the one thing that keeps me sane in my messed up life. You're my rock. Don't let my stupidity ruin that." He reached out to hold her hand but she flinched away from him causing him to drop his arms in defeat. "I'm so sorry."

"So am I." Brooke's eyes were glassy from the tears that had formed as she watched while Avery walked back to the castle, his shoulders sagging as he went.

Sirius reached out to stroke Brooke's back to comfort her but she flinched away from him too. "Don't touch me, Black." The glimmer in her eyes that James had seen just a short while before had completely vanished.

The small group of people all looked at Brooke with weary eyes, not sure what to expect from her next. Noticing the looks Brooke scoffed at shook her head at them all.

"I've got a book to hand in at the library." She lied before rushing to the castle, her arms wrapped around herself. Unable to take her eyes off the floor as she made her way to the first female toilets she could find.

It was only when she was finally safe in the confines of a cubicle that she let go. Tears cascaded down her face as she thought back to how she had lost her friend. She sobbed silently as she realised just how damaged she was after everything that had gone on. Leaning up against the door gave Brooke the balance she needed as she convulsed because of the harsh sobs. The harder she cried, the more she seemed to suffocate herself as she attempted to get everything out of her system once and for all. Her parents and how she was starting to lose all hope of ever seeing them again. Then she cried about Avery, the guy she'd had a bond with that no one would understand. The only person other than James who had been in her life before coming to Hogwarts, and now she'd lost him. Finally she cried about Sirius and what she'd done to him. Even though their relationship was far from functional she found that most of the time that she was around him she forgot about all her troubles. And she'd went and thrown that away because she couldn't handle her emotions.

Half an hour went by before Brooke even dared to leave the cramped cubicle. Having made her way to the sink she splashed water in her face before looking in the mirror. Her eyes were red and puffy and her cheeks had become blotchy, which was probably the most colour that had been on her face in a long time.

Taking a deep breath to calm the final errant sobs that formed she pushed her way out of the toilets and made her way to the great hall for dinner where she knew she'd have to face everybody. As she walked in she spotted both the girls and the guys all sitting together without her for the first time. Rather than joining them Brooke decided to sit at the end of the table, not wanting to have to face any of her peers.

Fatigue escaped Brooke that night so she decided to not even bother going up to the dormitories, favouring instead the arm chair in front of the fire. Her legs were pulled up to her chest and she had a book open on the arm of the chair but was too focussed on watching the flames flickering in the fire place.

A single tear made its way down Brooke's cheek just as a pair of legs stopped in front of her causing her to quickly swipe it away. With her raw eyes she looked up to see who was looking down at her and was once again disappointed.

"Are you okay?" Sirius asked, his voice was soft and concerned.

Brooke looked at her book and pretended to read it. "Sad book." Her croaky voice was harsh.

Sirius snatched the book from the arm of the chair and started reading the page it was open on before moving to the previous page. "The Little Mermaid? It doesn't sound sad." He threw the book onto her lap and sat on the table, resting his elbows on his knees. "You gonna tell me what's really wrong?"

With glazed eyes Brooke looked at Sirius, her face was mixed with confusion and annoyance. "Don't act like you care." She snapped weakly. "Just leave me alone. I'm really not in the mood."

With a sigh Sirius stood up and held his had out for Brooke. "Come with me." She didn't respond, just looked at his hand wearily. "Truce. You look like you could do with it. But, it's for one day only." His piercing grey eyes observed her with concern.

Deciding it was better than sitting on her own and feeling sorry for herself Brooke reached for Sirius' hand and he pulled her off the chair before dragging her out the common room. As soon as they got out of the portrait hole they let go of each others hands.

The castle was dark and quiet, even the subjects in the pictures were sleeping. The pair walked through corridors in silence as they listened out to make sure there were no teachers around about to catch them out of bed after curfew.

It wasn't until they got outside that either of them even dared saying anything. "Where are we going?" Brooke asked in a barely audible voice.

When Sirius looked at her he couldn't stop himself for feeling bad for Brooke. Life had completely left her. Any progress people had made to bring her back out of her shell had all gone down the drain. The sight of the completely broken girl with him was enough to pull at his heartstrings. If he thought she was damaged before it was nothing on this.

It wasn't just her eyes that showed it this time. It was the way she nervously chewed on the inside of her cheek, showing that there was obviously things on her mind. Then there was the way her arms were rested across her chest, as though she was hugging herself. Her shoulders slumped and she refused to take her eyes of the floor rather than walking with confidence like she always had before.

"We're going to grab some dew." He shrugged trying to be as casual as possible.

Brooke stopped in her tracks and looked up at Sirius, avoiding to look into his eyes. "Why?"

Sirius stopped and turned to face Brooke, looking at her emotionless face. "Because I said I'd help you. And I told you we're in a truce for the day. So make the most out of this. You have 24 hours."

"Don't do this just because you pity me."

A small smile appeared on Sirius' face. "How can anyone not pity you?"

Sirius didn't know it was possible for Brooke's face to drop even more until it did. Her sad eyes moved to finally meet his worried eyes. "When will it stop?"

"When will what stop?" Sirius' voice was soft and the pair started moving towards the forbidden forest where they were heading before.

"The pain. I don't want to be haunted any more." Brooke looked at the floor again so she didn't have to see Sirius feel sorry for her. "I can't close my eyes without seeing my parents dying, or the look on Avery's face before he cursed me."

"Time." Sirius said flatly. "You won't be lost forever. You just need to deal with it properly. Bottling it all up is just going to end badly for you, or the people around you."

Brooke sighed. "I just can't make myself care. I don't feel anything any more. It's easier this way."

Sirius made a point of not looking at Brooke not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable now that she was finally opening up to someone properly. "But that's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt. You'll deal with things a lot better if you let yourself feel it."

"I felt it today, Sirius, I couldn't handle it." Brooke sniffed.

"It might be hard to begin with, but it will only make you stronger in the long run."

Shocked at Sirius and his ability to come up with things so profound, Brooke remained silent for the rest of their time outside. Thinking about everything that had been said she tried to work out whether or not Sirius was right. Would it be better for her to feel the pain of everything that had happened? She was always led to believe that it was a sign of weakness.

When the couple finally got back to the common room Brooke took the vial of dew from Sirius before nodding a thank you in his direction before disappearing up the stairs to bed.

Sirius watched at she made her way up the stairs, taking a seat on a sofa instead of following suit. Suddenly the thoughts of getting back at her for everything didn't sit too well with him. It wasn't that he didn't want to; but more that he wasn't sure if he could even attempt to knock her down even further when she was already at rock bottom. James wouldn't let him get away with it either.

Sitting there thinking about what he was going to do it wasn't long before his eyelids were getting heavier and he fell asleep there on the sofa.


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