I Love You More than Myself Part One

Chapter 89

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not."-Oprah Winfrey

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*James's POV*

My theory about Sirius and Marlene proves itself one evening in April. And, let me tell you, it has never felt sweeter to be right.

Lily and I had run off from the common room to escape studying for N.E.W.T.s, and to… have a little alone time, you could say. After being given skeptical looks by Remus and Tonks, the forty year-old couple whose time with being reckless is long over, we take off, hand in hand, down the corridor. It's around eight o'clock that evening, so the halls are practically deserted. We run, yelling and joking around as we wait to reach our destination: a broom cupboard that is one of my favorite haunts.

Just as we approach, we slow our pace, and Lily turns and pins to me to the wall, my arms above my head. The only light in this dimly lit stretch of corridor is from the moon out a nearby window, giving the scene a mysterious atmosphere. She starts the festivities a little early, not even waiting a few more seconds to open the door and get safely inside. The rest of the world disappears to me, and all I can focus on is her lips working mine. Somehow, my conscious also tells me that she undid my tie and is in the process of slowly undoing my button-down.

"Lils," I suddenly mutter against her lips, breathless. "Come on, it's more private in there."

"Whatever you say, Captain," she purrs, the last part a nickname she's been into calling me lately, since we won the House Cup. She drags me by my loosened tie, sweat already starting to form on my forehead. I'm like a lost puppy, and she's a good Samaritan offering me food and a place to stay. Although, even more pathetically, it isn't food and shelter she is offering.

We reach the cupboard, and she turns around to give me another kiss before opening the door behind her back. We hear the click of the knob, a creak as the door swings open, and a sudden exclamation of shock. We both whip around, and see two figures untangling themselves from each other in the dark. Blood rushes to my cheeks as I realize what we've walked in on.

"What in the bloody hell do you think you're doing?!" he yells, coming forward out of the darkness, his button-down completely undid. She follows, hastily redoing the fastenings on her robes.

"Sirius, what in the bloody hell are you doing?" I reply, trying not to release the fit of giggles I have cooped up inside of me. "Is that Marlene?"

"Yes, it's Marlene," he sighs, leaning on the doorframe. His face is red and sweaty.

"Oh-kay," I reply, awkwardly sighing. "Looks like this spot is taken, Lils. We'll go find another."

With that, I grab Lily's hand and drag her down the opposite end of the hall, still utterly embarrassed about what just occurred. I can feel both of their eyes on our retreating forms. Before I can round the corner, I hear him call, "I'm watching you, Potter!"

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The next morning is very awkward indeed. After the alarm goes off to signal the start of the day, the only people talking are Remus and Peter. They chatter on, obviously unaware of the situation going on between me and Sirius. We throw side-long glances at each other occasionally, sometimes catching the other's eye. Just as we are about to leave, Remus finally notices that something is up.

"Wait, hold on," he says, stepping in front of me to block my way to the door. "What's wrong, Prongs?"

"It's nothing, Remus," I reply nonchalantly, trying to get around him, but he's adamant.

"No, I definitely know something is wrong," he argues, glancing over my shoulder unquestionably at Sirius. "What's up your ass, Padfoot?"

"It would be better if you kept your nose out of it, Moony," he replies behind my back.

"Ooh, did I miss a fight or something?" he says in an undertone excitedly. No one responds. "Come on, guys. We're all best friends here. We tell each other everything."

"James walked in on something he shouldn't have," Sirius suddenly admits, and I blush. It's Remus's turn not to respond.

"I'm sorry, mate, okay? You know I didn't mean to," I say, turning around to face him. He looks annoyed, but not angry or bitter. "It was a mistake."

"I know that," he replies, and walks around the end of his bed to get face-to-face with me. "But I would've preferred it if we could've kept this quiet."

"Why not flaunt this relationship, Pads? It's obviously healthier than the last one," I argue. "By the way, Moony, I was right."

"Marlene?" he questions.

"Yes, Marlene," Sirius sighs before I can respond. "And I dunno, Prongs. I guess I just don't feel comfortable with displaying my feelings like that."

"Understandable," Remus says.

"But she's a good girl, mate. Don't you want to show that off?" I argue, trying to make him see the good in this. When he doesn't respond, I press on. "How long has this been going on?"

"Since November," he replies, fiddling with the strap on his bag.

"And it's been going well?"

"Extremely," he admits, finally letting some walls down. "She's made me… a better person. She's helped my wounds finally heal. She knows me, and knows how handle me, even though I'm a lot to handle."

"She knows?" Remus interjects.

"I told her a few months ago," Sirius admits, sighing and bringing his hand to the back of his neck nervously. "Look, it's only because I was having a bad day… I needed to vent to someone. She was the only one available, and we had enough trust in each other at that point that I felt I could tell her… She's also seen the tattoo."

"Why didn't you tell us, mate?" I ask, hesitantly taking a step forward.

"I told you, I don't know," he replies, finally looking up to meet us in the eye. "I guess I'm just scared of loosing her, and if I make it public, our relationship is concrete."

"That's ridiculous, mate," I chuckle.

"I know," he admits. "I just couldn't even begin to deal with another loss."

The dormitory falls silent, the only sound coming from the wind rattling the windows.

"I'm in love with her."

No one expects this, and we all stand in silent shock for a good thirty seconds.

"See, Pads, this is good!" I exclaim, slapping him playfully on the shoulder in a celebratory way. "It's good to see you finally moving on."

"Thanks, Jamesie," he replies, chuckling. "I guess I'll have to let her know it's okay to tell her friends."

"Ooh, that'll be a fun one," I reply, leading the way out of the dormitory and down the spiral steps.

"Just think of how many hearts you're going to break," Remus pipes up, chuckling. "Sirius Black is no longer single."

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News of Sirius and Marlene dating spreads like a wildfire through the castle, almost faster than it did when Remus and Tonks started their relationship. Like Remus said, he did indeed break a lot of girl's hearts. He got slapped in the face on more than one occasion by what appeared to be a random girl feeling scorned by his established relationship. It was a source of the Marauder's and Tonks's entertainment for weeks.

In May, the hoopla finally dies down as N.E.W.T.s loom around the corner. Teachers buckle down their students, piling on more work than seemed necessary. If you think about it, they had seven years to prepare us for this, so why were they suddenly throwing all of this at us last minute?

If we were to learn one thing from this short period in our lives, it is that one reckless decision can result in a life-changing event. Even as the years passed, Sirius tried desperately to forget about this night, but it is forever engrained in his brain as one of his lowest moments.

It is the night of the full moon. Several hours before the moon rose, Sirius had slipped away to visit Marlene, leaving me and Peter to deal with a worried-sick Tonks who wouldn't calm down. Even after all these years, a full moon still brought her nothing but discomfort. It was for this reason that the Marauders had decided not to join Remus this night, for Tonks honestly needed us more. Why she was so worked up, we didn't and would never know, but this simple decision turned out to be a lifesaver.

"Padfoot, where have you been?" I exclaim as my friend enters the common room five hours after he had left, a sly grin on his face and a spring in his step.

"Out," he says, brimming with joy. "Blowing off some steam."

"With Marlene?" I question, already knowing the answer.

"Well I was… then I, uh-" he pauses, smirking. "-ran into someone."

"Who?"

"Who has always been the object of our mischief?" he replies in a quizzical way, and I have to rack my brains to get an answer.

"Snivellus?" I guess, and he nods vigorously. "Pads, I haven't talked to him in years."

"I know that's why this is so brilliant!" Sirius exclaims, practically jumping in anticipation.

"What did you do, Pads?" I ask, already dreading the answer. He bites his lip before answering in an undertone.

"Well, I caught the slime ball following Remus and Madam Pomfrey out to the Willow. So, I stopped him and questioned where he was going. He replied very nastily that he was going to find out once and for all where Remus went every month. I told him it was none of his business. He ignored me, and continued to the front doors. Then, a brilliant idea came to me. The mother of all pranks, the prank to end all pranks!"

"Go on."

"So, I called him back over. He was very rude, he was, all grumbling about being disturbed by an imbecile like me. So, I gave him a little insider information, if you know what I mean."

I feel my jaw drop, and my heart fill with horror as I realize what he has done.

"Sirius Black, you did not-"

"Oh, but I did!" he responds, cracking up at himself. "Isn't it brilliant, James?! He'll just happen to stumble upon a full-grown werewolf, the little git. It'll show him not to pry his long, greasy nose into other people's business, won't it?"

Without answering, I jump off the couch and run through the portrait hole, Sirius confusedly yelling behind me. I fly down the corridor and several staircases in the direction of the font doors, my mind still trying to process what horrible thing Sirius had done. Had he not realized that his was murder?

"James! Wait up! Where are you going?!"

I don't reply, finally reaching the Oak Front Doors and pulling them open without a care that someone will notice. He still stumbles after me, begging me to slow down and explain myself. My feet hit the lawn at an alarming rate, the grass dewy and slippery, causing me to slip and stumble a few times. When I reach the Willow, the full moon has already risen and Remus was unquestionably in his wolf-form.

"JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMES!"

I pick up the branch and hit the knot at the base, the tree freezing as if it had been suddenly transported to the artic. I hastily slip down the tunnel and start crawling as fast as I can down the low tunnel, my once small enough body too big to even stand. I crawl on all fours, still hearing Sirius right behind me. When he enters the tunnel though, he stops his shouting and silently follows, as if trying not to wake a sleeping dragon.

When the tunnel starts to slightly slope upward, he catches up to me, his breath hot on my neck. As the end of the tunnel comes into view, my worst nightmare comes true. I see Severus crouched at the door, peering through a crack at the room beyond. Just as I get close enough, he goes to push the door open.

"No!" I whisper-yell, lunging forward and closing the door with a snap. I turn and see pure hatred in the boy's eyes, fury stemming from deep within him. "You, come with me if you want to live."

I turn and hastily make to evacuate the tunnel, feeling two people silently following my lead. Not a word is said until we make it safely out of the tunnel and out of the reach of the Willow. And when we do reach this place of security, the words that are said are not comforting ones.

"Aha!" Severus yells, his face absolutely glowing with delight. "I've finally caught you, you scum! You'll all be expelled. Consorting with a werewolf,-"

He spits at the ground.

"-I didn't think you could sink any lower."

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Hello, lovelies! I'm quite tired, so I don't have much to say other than I hope you liked the chapter, AND TO PLEASE REVIEW. :*

~AnM XD

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