Chapter 19 : Tickle Wars and Belly Laughs
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Oh my god.
I didn’t mean that.
No I couldn’t. I’m not that kind of girl. I don’t say things like that. I don’t deliberately hurt people.
And Regulus was hurt. So hurt, he looked like he could have cried and this was Regulus Black. He didn’t cry. No he didn’t. And he was looking at me through tear filled eyes.
I did that.
I broke through his walls. He used to tell me everything, he let me in and let me see his heart.
He thought that it was enough? That caring about someone was enough to make a lasting relationship, a marriage, a life partnership work?
It wasn’t, and I couldn’t forgive him, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I ever would be.
But I didn’t mean what I said. At least I hope I didn’t.
Fuck. I did mean that. That was the most horrible thing I’ve said to anyone ever.
How could I?
He was my best friend once upon a time, the one who I could tell stories of things that I’d done wrong without judgement- because no doubt Reg had done worse. I can justify what I said, sure. I could say that he tortured me, that he deserves everything that he gets. It would be true really.
I could say that I don’t believe a word he said and that I couldn’t give a damn if he lived or died and that it was okay for me to feel that way.
Other people would nod along and believe me. But there was no way I’d believe it. Not really.
I took a left turn up an abandoned corridor, not even a minute away from the great hall. Tearing aside a ratty old tapestry I threw myself up a dark dimly lit hidden passage way, it was the first hidden passage way James and I ever found at Hogwarts, back in the days before the marauders were formed. I sunk to my knees, my shoulders heaving, running my fingers through my unfamiliar raven hair, looking down at my perfectly manicured nails.
Who the hell was I?
Where was Kirsty Potter? I wasn’t her- I was some imposter, some fake glossy girl that needed a make over to get over a boy. Who held grudges against the boy who used to be her best friend. The girl who lied to herself about who she was every day.
I let out a scream punching the walls around me and pulling at my hair.
I couldn’t do this anymore.
I couldn’t be the girl that vented her pent up anger on the closest available bystander. Granted Reg wasn’t exactly innocent. But I told him that he was dead to me…
That was cold on a new level.
Hugging my legs against my body I cried.
Nope, I didn’t even cry, I snotface sobbed. I didn’t know what to do anymore. Burying my face in my hands I attempted to muffle the volume of my sobs to no avail.
I saw a streak of dusty sunlight creep into my passage way and noticed someone’s presence. I didn’t even look up, they were either here to comfort me or be horrible to me. No matter which is was I’d find out without looking up.
A pair of manly arms wrapped themselves around me. I clutched on to the piece of comfort thinking that it was James who had found me.
I buried my head in his chest, still shaking with tears.
That was when I noticed that it wasn’t James who was holding me. The arms that were enveloped around me were slightly more muscular, the sent of this man was familiar to me, and having his arms around me was like a second nature.
“Sirius?” I hiccupped softly, my hands still holding fistfuls of his shirt as I looked up at him with wide, tear-filled, eyes.
“Shh,” he murmured as he stroked my hair.
I didn’t know what was going on here. I didn’t know if Sirius had forgiven me, I didn’t know if everything was going to be back to normal.
But in that moment I didn’t care. I just let myself curl up in his embrace and took the comfort he gave me.
“So what exactly was said?” Lily asked eagerly, leaning forwards on her knees to get closer to Alice to hear the girls answer.
It was a few weeks later and mid October, Halloween was looming and excitement was building around the castle and everyone was over my little rant over dinner. Alice, Lily, Leigh and I were all sitting in the heads common room, lounging on the sofa’s eating popcorn and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
“He just said that he wanted to see me this Christmas.” Alice answered, unsure as to where this was going. “It’s not a big deal Lil’s we spent last Christmas together too!”
Meh, that was skewed logic, technically true, but actually we all just spent last year at Hogwarts for Christmas, so she spent Christmas with all of us.
“Pfft,” Lily grunted, most unladylike. “Don’t try to pull that one on me! We all spent Christmas together last year! Why does he want to this year? Is he coming to Hogwarts? Are you going to his? What do you think he’s gotten you?” Lily was a firey whirlwind of questions.
“Look he just said he wanted to talk to me about something important! And I think he might be coming to Hogwarts. I told him that I wanted to spend my last Christmas here with the girls.”
I smiled at that one, throwing myself at Alice in a giant tackle/hug.
“OH Ali!” I squealed lying on top of her. “We love you too!”
“Kirsteeee!!!” Alice squealed from underneath me. “Get off!”
“Nope,” I grinned, trying to make it reach my eyes. “Come on guys,” I lifted my head and motioned to Lily and Leigh. “Join in the love!”
So basically we were lying in one big lesbian loving pile when the door to the heads common room opened.
Still hugging it out, we looked up to see who was standing there.
James, Remus, Peter and Sirius were standing at the door staring at us, their expressions as follows. James- horny. Remus- amused. Peter- scared. Sirius- passive. He never showed emotion around me anymore.
It was quite funny really, the four completely contrasting reactions from four boys who were, in all honesty, very similar boys.
“So, what’s going on here? And can I join in?” James asked, eyebrows raised and sending a wink at Lily, who ACTUALLY blushed! I’m not even kidding you the girl blushed!
She’s so into him. I know she says that she isn’t really but that’s lies. YOU’RE A LIAR LILY EVANS!
She loves him.
I can't wait ‘til she realises it.
I CALL MAID OF HONOUR AT THE WEDDING!
Uh, sorry, just wanted to get in there before Alice and Leigh… seriously though, I deserve to get to be maid of honour. I was Lily’s first friend and Hogwarts! And I’m the groom’s sister. And Sirius would be his Best Man… and everyone knows that the best man and the maid of honour hook up after the wedding…
I mean. NO… it’s just ‘cause I’m Lily’s best friend. Oh yeah right. I can't lie to you guys. The sex is EXACTLY the reason I want him to be maid of honour. That and I still love him and want him to love me back.
“Eww Jimmy!” I said, wrinkling my nose at him. “I’m in this big lessie pile here. What are you into? Incest?” I raised both my eyebrows as James slipped into a pout.
“Jeez Kirst, I didn’t mean it like that. Shut up!” He crossed his arms looking at the Marauders for help.
Remus said, “You brought it on yourself mate,” and went to help Leigh up, giving her a small kiss on the cheek and Sirius just shrugged in a ‘what you gonna do?’ manner.
Ah, yes, I see that you noticed that little kiss between Remus and Leigh?
Well think back to Hogsmeade weekend my friends… yes the one where Sirius and I were going to go into Hogsmeade and the winner of the pet name competit- does it really matter? God you people should just get it already!
But yes, Leigh and Remus went into Hogsmeade together had a great time, made out a bit and the rest is history!
They’re all loved up. And Alice and Frank seemed to have something big coming up. And Merlin James and Lily wanted to just snog already! The sexual tension was getting on my nerves!
Then there was Sirius. What can I say? He’s virtually ignoring me ever since that day when I told Regulus he was dead to me. He came, he comforted, I stopped crying and he stood up and left. He left me in even more pain than I was in before. I missed him, the boy was more than just a boyfriend to me- he was someone to talk to. It was ineffable really, I loved and trusted him long before we were together, he was my best friend- but don’t tell Lily I said that. And watching everyone around me fall deeper into love and relationships, trusting ones where it was about talking and caring rather than just snogging, it was something that was tearing me apart day by day.
I sat on the sofa staring into space as everyone else bantered back and forth, Leigh laughing on Remus’ lap, James trying to sneak his hand into Lily’s on the sofa, and Peter charming bits of paper to hit each of the Marauders at various intervals from the squashy armchair.
Then there was Sirius. He was looking at me. Just looking, I was desperate to know what he was thinking. His eyes were penetrating deeply into me, scrutinising me.
What was he seeing?
Was it the dark circles beneath my eyes? The circles that had been becoming more prominent as the weeks since our break up progressed. The last good night sleep I’d had was when Alice OD’d me on dreamless sleep potion.
Whenever I slept I had to relive it. Every night I watched him walk away without anything I could do about it. I had to experience the fear I held at his rage, repeat the pain I felt at the hurt in his eyes, the betrayal. I heard the words he said to me, “Really? So my girlfriend didn’t slut around with my brother.” It broke me. The sarcasm, the disbelief.
I’d wake up, wanting to cry, needing to cry, but no tears left my eyes. I just acted like I was fine.
I wondered if he saw how my clothes were hanging a little bit loose around my body. If he noticed how my feminine curves were slipping away due to my lack of appetite.
Here I was at a girls’ night with chocolate, ice cream and popcorn and I hadn’t touched any of it, sure I stuck my hand in the bowl every so often. I kept up appearances.
I still went to meals every day. But the lump in my throat never went away and forcing food past it was becoming more and more of a chore.
Did he see that I’d gone dull behind the eyes? That I’d lost my smile?
Did he even care?
I wanted him to, I really did. But no one else did so why would Sirius? I’d hurt him, I had no right to want him still to care.
Was it so wrong that I wanted him to care? I mean we have a lot of history, he’s been there for me since half way through second year when James and I had a huge fight because he had seem me peck Diggory on the lips at the back of the Greenhouses for a dare. Sirius was the reason that we stopped fighting; he was renowned at Hogwarts for being the only person able to break up a Potter Twins fight.
I missed him. It was my fault that I missed him though, it was because I kissed his brother and also because I avoid him. Sirius and I could have been past this awkward stage. But I can't bear to look at him knowing he’s not mine. I can't bear to watch as other girls through themselves at him and I can't do anything to stop it.
“What?” I glared at James who had just roused me out of my inner turmoil.
“What’s up with you?” He looked worried, a little frown line cropping up between his eyebrows. “I’ve been calling your name for the last five minutes. You seemed so out of it.”
I rubbed my eyes with my fists, you know in the same way a sleepy toddler does- I have no shame. “I’m fine James.” I sighed giving him a wan smile. “What was it you wanted?”
He frowned at my blatant lie but didn’t call me on it. “I just wanted to let you know we have practice again tomorrow. And you HAVE to come to this one. I’m not covering for you anymore, its giving the rest of the team a bad impression.”
I looked down at the ground feeling bad for James. I had been taking advantage of the fact that he was our Quidditch Captain this year and hadn’t turned up to anything. I missed the tryouts for a new chaser and keeper. I didn’t turn up to the first practice of the year… or the second. And now it was time for the third, and I knew that if I didn’t go James would have no choice but to kick me off the team. I was surprised he had let me off with so much already actually.
“I’ll be there,” I promised, putting on my best smile- the one that I practiced in the mirror to make sure it looked sincere.
“You’d better be Kirst.” He glowered, ignoring my winning smile. “I’m sick of covering for you, and I’ll ground you or something if you don’t show up!”
I looked at him for a moment, staring at the sincerity on his face before busting out laughing, a good proper belly laugh. And the first one I’d had in a while.
I was drawing the attention of the group, who looked both shocked and pleased by my outburst.
“It wasn’t funny Kirst,” James pouted- yeah I mean proper full on pouted. “I was being serious.”
I just kept giggling, tears steaming down my face- I know it wasn’t actually all that funny. I just had one of those moments. You know the ones? Where all of a sudden someone says something that reminds you of an easier time, and everything seems normal again. Even if it’s only for one moment.
“I know Jimmy,” I smiled at him genuinely, wiping the tears out of my eyes. “That’s what made it funny. What makes you think you could even ground me anyway?” I asked. “As if.”
I looked towards the girls for support.
“She’s kinda right James-“ Lily started.
“Ah ah ah!” James interrupted. “But she isn’t Lily, my love, for you see who did the parents leave in charge until Christmas?”
I’d forgotten about that.
Quite surprising really. I’d have thought James would have Lorded it over me all term. But then so much had happened, I guess what with everything that had happened he left it.
“You still wouldn’t do it! You don’t have the balls!” I glared.
“Oh you wanna bet?!” he demanded, standing up and getting into a fight-like stance.
“Oh yeah I bet!” I mocked with some serious swagger getting out of my seat lifting my hands into a ‘bring it’ stance.
Two seconds later I was back on the sofa squealing for mercy as James tickled the life out of me.
“JAMES!” I squealed, gasping for breath. “PLEASE! Okay, OKAY, you win!”
James was on top of me now, tickling my neck and arm pits knowing that they were my weak spots.
“Who wins Kirst?” He taunted, grinning down at me. “Who’s in charge?”
“YOU!” I squealed. “You are, James please!!”
He got up off of me, leaving me gasping for breath on the couch, still giggling.
“Thought so, remember your place bitch.” He grinned winking at me in a superior manner.
“You’re such a twat Jimmy.” I rolled my eyes at him fixing my top.
“Are you two quite done?” Remus asked in a bored voice having seen several Potter Twin tickle wars over the years (I’ve yet to win one. It sucks.)
“Yeah,” I smiled. “For now. You may have won that battle James but I will win the war!”
James just laughed at me, throwing himself down beside Lily throwing his arm lazily around her shoulders- something which she didn’t protest to! Progress ladies and gents! That is progress!
Everyone else lapsed back into conversation and I tried my best to stay up on my high.
Sirius came and sat down beside me.
“Hey,” He murmured, surprising me, he hadn’t spoken to me voluntarily in so long. “It’s good to have you back.” He smiled at me, taking my breath away a little bit just by flashing me those pearly whites.
But I was confused. “I haven’t been anywhere Sirius.” I replied, trying to keep the awkward out of my voice.
“Maybe, but you haven’t been here either. Not the real you. You’ve been like a shadow. Here, but absent.” He frowned. “You haven’t been eating, joking, today was the first time I’ve seen you laugh genuinely since… well in a long time.” Sirius said, looking into my eyes in earnest.
I had to look away.
“Well I haven’t felt much like laughing lately Sirius. I haven’t felt much like getting out of bed and putting on my brave face.”
This was one of the things I loved about my relationship with Sirius. It didn’t matter what had happened, whenever we talked we could be completely honest with each other.
“Sorry.” He said, laying a hand on my knee. “I’ve missed you though. Especially at Quidditch, I need my fellow beater.” He grinned at me before starting to move away again, taking his hand off of my knee, leaving it cold and longing for his touch.
He stood up walking over to chat to Remus.
“Oh and Kirsty,” He looked back over his shoulder at me. “If you don’t turn up to this practice I’ll throw you over my shoulder and carry you down to the pitch.”
Oh butterflies get out of my tummy!
That, my dear readers, is a reason in itself to attempt to skip practice! Trying to stop my face going beat red I glanced over at Lily who gave me a look that said we were going to talk later.
Grinning, I wasn’t paying attention to the owl that had just arrived tapping at the window, nor did I notice as Leigh got up to answer it.
The first thing I saw was Leigh breaking down in the middle of the floor sobbing like her heart was breaking.
Something was most definitely wrong.
A/N Hey guys! I know it’s been a while! Too long really, but I’ve been super busy! I’ve had my prelims (exams) an investigation due in for my psychology course, a dissertation due in (which I still haven’t finished **gulp**) an English and a boyfriend who’s pretty new on the scene (that is my life) and is demanding attention! So really those are some pretty valid excuses right? RIGHT? I’m right. But anyway, I have to say I’m not actually best pleased with this chapter, it was really difficult to write and I’m not sure if it flows properly… :/ But please leave a review! Which in general you guys are amazing for!! 210 reviews in 18 chapters! And over 100 favourites! You guys are totally boss! (yeah I said boss, deal with it!) so please keep up the good work and leave me a little comment in the box below (do you see it? I know that you know the one! Go on you know you want to!) Anyway love you guys!- Kirsty xxx
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