"You never know how strong you are... until being strong is the only choice you have." ― Cayla Mills
In light of recent events, James decides to cut our little vacation short, and kindly suggests that we leave the next day. I can't help but agree, for Sirius won't come out of his bedroom at all, keeping himself cooped up; we hear occasional thumps as he throws something across the room, slams a door, and a few times even a strangled cry.
"Poor guy," James mutters at around 11 o'clock that night. We're all seated in the living room again, trying our best to keep it together.
"I can't take it any longer," Remus suddenly announces, standing up and stretching. "I'm off to bed. Dora?"
"I suppose I'll go, too," I say, reluctantly standing and meeting him at the foot of the stairs. "Night James. Peter."
"G'night," they mutter in unison, their hearts not in it at all. Remus and I climb the stairs, our foot steps heavy, and forced. He grabs my hand as some sort of consolation, but it doesn't make much of a difference. He leads me into his room, and flops down on the bed without taking his clothes off. I stand by the door in the near darkness, watching him situating himself across the room.
"Bed time," he calls, throwing his sweater to the ground. A beam of moonlight shines across the bed, illuminating his pale, scarred chest. "Come on."
"I can't," I choke. The tears come like two waterfalls, dripping down both of my cheeks. "Remus, I can't."
"Oh, love," he says, noticing my dismay and quickly crossing the room to wrap his arms around me. We stand in the dim light, his warm, strong arms tightly wound around my torso, mine limped helplessly at my side. I cry freely into his chest as he croons in my ear. "I promise, everything will sort itself out eventually."
"No," he shushes me, placing a long, thin finger to my lips. "Try to forget about it."
I take calming, deep breaths and bury my head into his chest once more. The tears cease their flow, and my breathing becomes normal again. Our bodies intertwined, we stand so still we could be mistaken for a statue. I feel his heartbeat against my cheek, his warm breath brushing the top of my head. "I'm okay."
"Good," he mutters, pulling away so he can look down at me. I look up and notice there are tears shining in his eyes, too. I reach up wordlessly and wipe them away; he smiles, blushing. "Bed time," he repeats, guiding me over to his bed.
He flops down, his arms still keeping me anchored to him. It takes us a few seconds to get comfortable, but when we do, we lay motionless for a long, long time, and I have the same sensation of us being one body, one heartbeat, one soul. Suddenly, his soft, tentative voice breaks the peaceful silence. "Dora?"
"I've been thinking…" he starts uncertainly.
"Well… we don't want to end up in a situation like Sirius," he says, and my eyes snap open, landing on his pale face in the moonlight. He looks embarrassed, almost sad.
"You mean…" I answer, wondering if I was putting this as delicately as I could. "Like a baby?"
"I'm just saying we should be more careful," he interjects, the blush on his face spreading at an alarming rate. "You know…"
"No, I agree," I say, looking down at the flowery fabric in between us. "We can't be put in that situation… now."
"For now," he agrees, and our eyes meet once again. "I promised to marry you, didn't I?"
"You did," I admit, blushing. We stay silent for a long time, both absorbing the conversation we just had.
"Goodnight, Dora," he says suddenly, jerking me from my thoughts. He closes his eyes sleepily after winking at me.
"Goodnight, love," I respond before letting my eyes fall closed, too.
"Wake up, Remus," I croon through the stiff, early morning air. He shifts in his sleep, moaning.
"Five more minutes," he pleads, pulling the covers up over his head. I sigh, placing a kiss over the blanket where his lips are.
"I suppose," I respond sleepily, then crawl off the bed and over to the closet, where I start slowly packing away my things, my heart still dropped into my stomach. I then take a moment to strip the ratty t-shirt I had been wearing for my favorite Weird Sisters tank top. I take a quick glance in the mirror, determining I look like death, before sliding back into bed next to Remus.
"Time's up," I mutter in his ear. He groans, rolling over to face me.
"I'm not ready to get up," he whines, burying his face in my shoulder.
"James will be wondering what we're up to," I insist. "And I think Sirius will be anxious to see us."
"Who are you kidding?" he scoffs, sitting up to face me. "He's probably still in his room."
"Maybe he'll come out today," I say optimistically; Remus grimaces, obviously not believing my optimism.
"Maybe," he says, nonetheless. With that, he slowly slides out of bed and stretches, the muscles in his back and arms flexing; I feel shiver run down my spine.
"I think I'll go see what James is doing," I announce, following him out of bed.
"Right," he says, leaning in to place a quick kiss on my cheek. "Meet you down there."
I exit the room, and survey the lower floor from above; James and Peter are alone in the kitchen, eating breakfast at the island. I sigh, realizing Sirius isn't out yet, but continue to join them, begrudgingly.
"'Morning, Tonksie," James mutters through a mouthful of egg.
"G'morning," I answer, taking a seat next to Peter at the bar. They obviously have themselves quite a feast before them, probably set out earlier in the morning by Lowen. James stands on the other side of the island, eating his eggs while pouring over the Morning Prophet; Peter sits beside me, shoveling all the food he can into his mouth. I sit there, too uneasy to take anything, my stomach in knots. "Has he not come down?"
"No," James answers, shrugging. "I heard him earlier, though, making quite a racket in the bathroom."
"Sirius?" a sudden voice questions behind me. I glance over my shoulder and see Remus has joined us, clad in a t-shirt with a navy blue cardigan overtop.
"Who else?" James responds, retrieving a plate for Remus, who takes it and starts piling food high on it. "Not hungry, Tonksie?"
"No," I answer, frowning slightly. "I can't-"
"Come on, Dora," Remus urges, handing his full plate to me. "I'll make another one."
"I don't want to eat," I insist, pushing the plate away. He shrugs, pulling up a chair next to me to begin eating. The four of us sit in an awkward silence for a few minutes, broken only by the clinking of silverware to plates, and sound of food being chewed.
"Oi!" James sudden exclaims, eyes widening as he finishes reading an article. "Everyone, have a look at this."
He slides the paper across the island to where Remus and I sit, and we all crane around to have a good look. It reads:
NEW INFORMATION ABOUT RECENT MURDER
New information has been reported to the Prophet today about the recent murder of Alan White and his family, who were found dead in their London apartment early yesterday morning. After being autopsied, the staff at St. Mungo's claims daughter Scarlet White was five months pregnant at the time of her murder. White, a seventeen year old about to begin her seventh and final year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, hadn't told anyone about her pregnancy, family members said. Her aunt claims that she new absolutely nothing about this strange new detail. Who the father was, authorities do not know at the moment. If you have any information, please contact the Auror Department.
"Wow," Remus breaths, sitting back in his seat. "You don't think he'll say anything, do you?"
"Of course not," James replies, taking the paper back to continue reading. "He'll try to pretend it didn't happen, you know him."
"But it did happen," I insist, placing my chin in my palm, resting my elbow on the counter. "He can't pretend he didn't have a daughter, even if it was only for a few months."
"Like I said," James starts, setting down his fork. "He'll try." He suddenly glances up at something behind us, his eyes widening. "Sirius."
Remus and I crane around in our seats to see a very bedraggled Sirius standing at the top of the stairs. His curly hair, usually styled to perfection, a mess; dark circles loom under his eyes, as if he didn't get any sleep; his pajama pants hang loosely on his body, his torso bare, revealing the scar from the Whomping Willow on his ribs.
"Come," James calls, eyeing him critically as if he were a ticking time bomb. "Have breakfast with us, mate."
"No," he mumbles, dragging himself down the stairs, each step forced and heavy. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. "I'm not hungry."
He shuffles over, eyeing our feast warily before taking the paper from James and scanning the front page. His eyes land on the article about Scarlet, and he chuckles darkly before reading it. We all sit nervously, waiting to see his reaction, hoping he won't explode again. In my opinion, this Sirius is better than weeping, screaming, breaking-down Sirius.
"HAH!" he exclaims, finishing the article. "Who the father was, authorities do not know at the moment. If you have any information, please contact the Auror department."
"Sirius-" James starts, running his hand down his face.
"Well, you know what Auror department, I'm right fucking here!" he exclaims, throwing the newspaper back down again. With that, he turns on his heel and stalks for the back door, his hands in fists. "I'm going for a walk…" he mumbles, before slamming the door shut. The four of us sit in a shocked silence for a moment, the vibration of the door slamming still ringing in our ears.
"He didn't take that well, did he?" James says, sighing and picking up miscellaneous parts of the newspaper.
"Not well at all," Remus agrees, staring fixedly at a spot on the counter, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.
"This will be fun to deal with for two months," James mutters sarcastically. "I'll do my best to keep him from going mad, but…" He trails off, grimacing.
"You said he'd find a way to get over it," I groan, tracing a pattern in the granite countertop in front of me.
"Not this fast," James argues. "It's not like he lost his puppy, Tonks. He lost his daugh-"
"I know, I know," I cut him off, sighing. Remus scowls, looking down into his lap. James picks up his fork again, cutting through the heavy silence. Yes, this was going to be a long, hard summer for all of us.
Two weeks pass. It doesn't seem right, that time can pass this mundanely without Sirius's daughter.
This summer sets a record for the cloudiest and chilliest days since the early 1900s, which made sense, given the current situation. Clouds loom low in the sky, the sun rarely making an appearance for days on end. The rain comes in droves, sticking around for weeks, giving the whole world a cold, soggy atmosphere. Yes, the war is slowly gaining momentum again, Voldemort and his followers more and more confident with each murder.
I haven't heard from James for about a week now, and I'm getting worried. In his last letter, he told me Sirius had started coming out for meals now, a major improvement from the state we left him in. Surprisingly, there hasn't been any more articles about the White family murder either, leaving the whole of the wizarding community seeking closure to the story. One morning at breakfast, I overhear my father discussing it with Kevin.
I sit alone in the kitchen, pushing around some soggy cornflakes in my cereal bowl. My father sits in the living room, reading the newspaper and finishing his morning tea with Kevin. The day is like any other; chilly, grey, and ominous. I tap my foot against the table leg as my father starts talking; even the sound of his voice can infuriate me.
"I wish they would just publish another article about that murder in London," Simon groans, and I hear a rustle of papers. I realize he's shaken closed the Morning Prophet, and set down his cup of tea.
"The Whites?" Kevin's voice responds. I don't think they realize I'm just in the adjacent room, eavesdropping. "I haven't heard much either."
"The youngest went to school with Remus,-"
A cough from Kevin.
"-I think she was in his year."
"The pregnant one?" Kevin chuckles. My fingers grasp the spoon with white knuckles, anger starting to course through me like poison.
"Of course," my father responds. There's a silence, then another clinking of china. "It's like reading a good book."
"Well, you want to know the ending, right?" Simon explains knowingly. "The suspense is killing me, Kev."
I can't bear to hear any more of this cynical conversation, making the White's death sound like an adventure novel without an ending. I stand roughly from the table, my chair scraping the floor loudly, causing my father and Kevin to fall silent. I stride over to the sink and throw my dishes in, hearing my bowl shatter, but not caring. I make my presence known by stalking through the family room past the pair with dumbstruck faces. I climb the stairs loudly, THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP.
When I enter my room, I slam the door shut, then grab fistfuls of my hair, trying to calm down. Hearing them talk about the death of Sirius's daughter so flippantly pushed me over the edge. I take a swipe at a book placed precariously on my dresser, causing it to fall to the floor.
"Keep it down, you lousy werewolf," I hear muttered from the other side of the door. I freeze, anger boiling up inside me. I stride over to the door and wrench it open to see Kevin's figure retreating down the hall, hands in his pockets, walking jauntily. I decide not to answer, but draw my wand and aim it at his back.
I'm of age, I think maliciously. There's no rule for me not to use magic now.
But I can't bring myself to do it, and I lower my wand just as he takes refuge in his old bedroom. I sigh, mentally beating myself up for not taking the chance when I had it. I shuffle back into my room, and throw myself down in the seat at my desk, taking out a piece of parchment.
I start the letter, venting all my emotions to my beloved girlfriend.
Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been updating lately! I'm actually on my way back from a trip to Mexico! That's right, I'm writing from an airplane! :D I actually think I may have an addiction to Mexico, is that possible? I LOVE everything about it! I swear, America is pretty boring after being there for a week! Sorry, I just HAD to gush. (:
Anyways, thoughts on the chapter? I think I'm pleased! Comments?
I've been reading PoA on my vacation, getting ready to write the first war and all (yes guys, I'm going by the book for this one! Sigh!) and I think I've done some good research! Even I, who've read each book over a dozen times, forget some details, so it's good to go back! I've also had some ideas swirling in my head inspired by my trip to Mexico! Not necessarily about this fan fiction, more about a novel idea, based on one of my experiences that still makes my heart throb. D: If you want to hear it, comment and I'll put it in the next Author's note! (:
Alright lovelies! That was a long note, sorry! How are all of you?! :D *hugs*
Please leave a review! :*