Chapter 14 : A Dark Day
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Professor Flitwick looked up from the textbook in surprise. “Ah, hello dear, can I help you with something?”
The young girl shuffled nervously in the doorway. “Professor McGonagall would like to speak with James Potter, sir.”
The marauder’s turned in their seats and James looked up, his brow raised curiously. The girl blushed and Sirius snickered under his breath while Professor Flitwick looked back and forth between the girl and James. “Oh- well, you heard her then Potter, off you go!”
Sirius snorted. “What did you do now?” He shook his head and tisked playfully. “Always making trouble.” The class tittered and Professor Flitwick rolled his eyes. James smirked. “Right then Professor; I hate having to miss out on such an invigorating lecture, but Minnie calls.” He cried dramatically, throwing his bag over his shoulder and winking at his mates before sauntering outside.
James knocked on McGonagall’s office twice before he heard her invitation to enter. He opened the door a fraction and propped his head through the door cheekily. “Minnie.”
McGonagall looked up and James’ grin fell at her grave expression. “Potter, come in.”
He walked inside curiously and shut the door firmly behind him. “So what am I in trouble for this time?” He asked, taking a seat.
Professor McGonagall took her glasses off, rubbing her eyes wearily before gently placing them on the table. “You’re not in trouble Potter.” She answered quietly. Something about her uncharacteristically soft demeanour gave James an uneasy feeling. He took a nervous breath. “So uh, then what did you want to speak to me about Professor?”
James was shocked when McGonagall’s eyes glistened with the threat of tears. “I’m so sorry Potter, there is no easy way, for me to tell you. Your parents were killed, in a raid last night.”
Silence followed and James simply stared back blankly. “I’m sorry, what?”
“They were unprepared and ambushed. No one had been expecting an attack on such a large scale. By the time help arrived, it had been too late.” She answered quietly. “I’m so sorry James, the Wizarding world has suffered a great loss.”
James wasn’t listening. He shook his head frantically. “It’s not possible, you’ve made a mistake. It must have been someone else.”
“I just spoke to them, just saw them. It isn’t possible. Check again.”
“Potter there was no mistake.” McGonagall replied solemnly, shaking her head slowly.
James pushed off the chair violently. “NO! She promised me, she promised! There’s been a mistake! They aren’t-
He choked and continued to shake his head angrily.
McGonagall fell silent and the only sound heard was James’ labored breathing. A shuffling sound came from the door way and upon turning around, James fell back into the chair with a broken sob, his heart breaking into a million tiny pieces.
The deep sadness reflected through Dumbledore’s eyes, told no lie.
“Evening boys!” Sirius called cheerfully as he fell into the empty seat beside Peter.
Remus raised his brows curiously. “What’s gotten you so happy? On second thought...I don’t want to know.” He said with a grimace at Sirius’ dishevelled hair.
Sirius winked and stared at the empty seat across him. “Where’s ol’ Prongsy?”
Remus shrugged. “He wasn’t in class. My guess is he’s still speaking to McGonagall.”
Peter eyed them fearfully. “You don’t think she knows about the animagi, do you?”
“If she knew about that, why would she only call Prongs?” Sirius replied with a roll of his eyes.
“She probably has him shining trophies or something. Blasted troublemaker.” Sirius muttered.
“This is ridiculous, how long does it take to tell someone they have detention?” Sirius exclaimed as they made their way back to the common room after dinner.
“Filch probably cornered him and fed him to Mr. Norris as cat nip.”
Sirius grinned. “That’s not a bad theory Wormy. I call his bed and his Nimbus!”
Remus grinned. “Then I call dibs on the cloak.”
Sirius scowled. “Damn! Forgot about that.”
They climbed through the portrait and Sirius shot a dirty look as he tripped over a second year sprinting after what looked to be his teeth.
“Is it just me, or do the kids get weirder every year?” Sirius grumbled under his breath while Remus and Peter chuckled behind him.
“Check the map. He might be in the kitchen?” Remus said leading the boys up the staircase.
“James had it in his bag. I’ll try his mirror, I forgot it on my table this morning- I swear Wormtail, if you ever eat beans for dinner again, I will shave your head in your sleep. You emptied out the entire dorm this morning with just that one fart, that’s disgusting!”
“Oi there you are!” Sirius cried as he swung the door open. James’ back was to them as he sat motionless on the edge of his bed.
“We thought Filch had kidnapped you or something. So what did McGonagall say? Did she find out about the-
Sirius’ eyes widened as he took in James’ hollow eyes and broken expression. “Prongs? What’s wrong? What happened?!”
Remus and Peter rushed forward as Sirius leaned forward to grab his shoulders. He shook James’ still frame and furrowed his brows. “James!”
James looked up slowly, his eyes wet with tears and his face white. “They’re dead.” He whispered hoarsely.
“No.” Remus breathed, falling back on his bed as Peter looked around frantically in confusion. Sirius was frozen in place, his hands clasped tightly around James’ shoulder. James trembled and pushed his hands away, hunching over with a sob.
“So I’ve decided what we’re going to do this summer!” Chanel beamed, clapping her hands together the next morning as the girls made their way down to the great hall.
Anna shook her head. “Chanel, it isn’t even spring yet! We have four months to get through, including exams! How can you even think about summer vacation right now?”
Chanel rolled her eyes. “Exactly! Four measly months before paradise, besides, aren’t you the one always telling me to plan ahead?”
“Yes, your career! Your future plans for your life!”
Chanel waved this away. “This is my life darling, I’m simply choosing to live in the moment as oppose to mapping everything out. Besides, the only career in my future is lying on the beach, perfecting a golden tan. We can’t afford to let beauty like this go to waste!”
Melody raised her brow. “You are so modest, it’s mind baffling.”
“So anyways, as I was saying -
“Hi girls, sorry to bother you, but have you seen Sirius?”
The girls turned to find Angelica waiting expectantly behind them. Anna raised her brow and turned to point at the usual corner the marauders occupied. The spot was curiously empty. She shrugged. “I guess they’re sleeping in, you might want to check the dorm.”
The brown haired girl nodded with a frown. “Thanks, he said he was going to meet me for breakfast, I guess he forgot.”
Anna pursed her lips. “Yes, perhaps.”
“Okay, well I’ll see you all later. Thanks again!” She chirped. With a parting smile she bounced away to her table.
“Could you make your dislike of the girl any more obvious?” Chanel asked wryly, leading the way to the table. Anna scoffed. “Please! I do not dislike her.”
Melody cleared her throat.
“What?! You think so too?” Anna turned accusatively, glaring when Melody only shrugged. “Well, you do come off slightly...angry, when you speak to her.”
Anna rolled her eyes and waved them away. “Whatever, I don’t hate her.”
“Sure you don’t.” Chanel muttered.
As Anna leaned forward to grab the jar of marmalade a swarm of owls flew into the hall, dropping parcels down to their owners. One particular owl looked slightly tipsy and students had to duck as the disoriented owl weaved between them. The hall erupted in laughter and Chanel gave a shriek as the owl swooped towards them. With a lurch the owl flew upwards, dropping a copy of the daily prophet directly into her bowl of porridge.
Chanel gave a disgusted grimace as Melody chuckled while picking it out of her breakfast.
“Ugh, whose bloody owl is that?!”
Melody giggled and Anna smirked vengefully, still annoyed by her earlier comments.
“Well at least we got a free copy of the prophet out of it.” She said smugly, ignoring Chanel’s glare. “Anything new in that piece of garbage?” She asked turning towards Melody.
The latter’s face held a faint shadow of the smile previously worn on her face, but her expression was frozen as her eyes widened and all color drained from her face.
Chanel grabbed the paper from her hand as Anna watched her friend fearfully. “What is it?! What does it say?!”
Melody shook her head vigorously in denial, releasing a disbelieving sob. “No, no!”
“Oh my god.” Chanel shrieked horror-struck, dropping the prophet like it burned to touch and cupping her mouth aghast.
Melody tore out of her seat and flew out of the great hall, tears clouding her vision. It wasn’t possible. They couldn’t be dead. They couldn’t. He couldn’t lose them as well.
She ran up six flights of stairs, bowling herself through the portrait as someone was leaving. She sprinted up to the boys dormitory and threw open the door.
James looked up from his seat on the floor, his face was stained with tears and the bags under his eyes were dark from sleeplessness. She was staring at a broken man. After everything she had done. She hadn’t been anticipating another death, another person to be taken away from him, much less the very two people he loved more than life. It was foolish of her, to think the war wouldn’t take any lives.
She rushed forward and gathered him into her arms, feeling his body tremble in her tight embrace. She didn’t know what to say, so she simply held him, biting her lip to keep from sobbing herself. She needed to remain strong for him.
She couldn’t see Sirius, but she sensed movement in the dark corner of the room. The curtains had been shut tight, preventing any light from passing through.
The girls arrived just a few minutes later, eyes filled with grief and shoulders heavy as the grave threat of war finally sunk in. They joined the boys on the floor and Chanel rested her head against Remus’ shoulder while Anna sat beside her, shooting an anguished glance towards the corner where Sirius remained huddled. None of them spoke.
“Here, let me.” Melody said softly, pushing James’ trembling hands away as he attempted to tie his necktie.
James closed his eyes painfully, and took a shaky breath, clenching and unclenching his fist.
“Have you seen Sirius?” He asked; his voice hoarse.
Melody shook her head apologetically, giving the tie a final tug. “Not since we got here.” She answered gently.
He nodded and collapsed on his large bed. Somehow, his bedroom seemed alien to him, almost like he didn’t belong here.
“I can’t do this.” He whispered in agony. “I don’t know- I can’t-
He choked as his body shook with sobs. Melody gathered him in her arms. “It’ll be okay.” She whispered soothingly, rubbing his back gently.
James shook his head. “No it won’t, they’re gone, and they’re not coming back.”
Her heart broke at his words, so filled with grief and suffering. “Listen to me.” She raised his head firmly to look at her. “They may not be here James, but they will never truly be gone. You’ll always have them in your memories. They loved you so much, everything they did was for you and they will always be in your heart.” She said fiercely.
“You don’t have to this James, you don’t need to go. Everyone will understand. You know that right?”
He took a breath and shook his head. “I have to, I have to say goodbye.” His voice cracked at the end and Melody tightened her arms around him, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead.
“They love you. They will always love you.”
Following the burial, mourner’s apparated back to Potter Manor, where food had been prepared by the elves and set outside in a large white tent.
James had excused himself and made his way into the front foyer with Melody. Together they sat on the sofa silently. Melody watched as James’ fists curled and uncurled continuously.
“Hey, there you are.”
Melody attempted a smile at James’ uncle while James simply looked away.
Charles Potter gave a lingering sigh and ruffled his hair. “Holding up okay kiddo?”
James nodded distantly. “Considering some of the people who showed up may be their murderers...” He trailed off.
“You don’t know that James.” He answered quietly.
James rubbed his face wearily as Charles stepped closer.
“I’m going to go and check on the girls.” Melody said, rubbing James’ arm encouragingly. She shot him a comforting smile before standing. He looked up and mustered the first smile since he’d received the news.
“See you in a bit.” He nodded.
Charles squeezed her shoulder appreciatively as she passed, and then took her discarded seat. “Have you spoken to Sirius yet?”
James shook his head. “No, I figured I’d leave him for a bit. When he’s ready, he’ll come and talk.”
Charles nodded, and they sat in silence for a few minutes before James spoke again. “I don’t want to give away the manor.”
Charles looked up. “I don’t think anyone expects you too.”
“But I don’t want to live here anymore either.”
His uncle shrugged. “It’s up to you. You can stay at my place until you find one of your own. You’ll be seventeen in a few months anyways.”
James’ lip quirked. “Sure your lady friends wouldn’t mind?”
Charles chuckled. “They’ll live.”
Again they were silent.
“Suppose I’m your guardian now. Your mother’s turning in her grave as I speak.” Charles finally said wryly.
There was a shadow of a smile reflected in James’ expression. “Dad’s probably having a laughing fit.”
Charles grinned. “Guess I’ll have to get my act together. Looking after two teenage boys-
He laughed. “Don’t really know what your parents were thinking.”
James smiled sadly. “Don’t really have anyone else though, do I?”
Charles threw an arm around James’ shoulder and ruffled his hair. “We got each other mate, and you have your brothers- and Melody. It’ll be alright mucker. We’ll be okay.”
Melody set off to find her friends, looking around the large tent for any sign of them. Unable to find them in the tent, she walked outside, immediately catching sight of a familiar head of silky black hair. She bit her lip and manoeuvred her way towards Sirius’ tall form as he leaned against a tree overlooking the river.
Her heart gave a painful thud as childhood memories ran through her mind.
“Hey.” She greeted softly, the gentle wind carrying her voice through the air. Sirius didn’t move, the only indication he gave at hearing her was the slight movement of his head as he turned to glance at her sideways.
He looked out at the river, watching as a bird flew down to graze the water, before soaring back into the air. “How is he?” His voice was nothing more than a hushed whisper, but Melody heard him.
“Holding up I suppose. He’ll be okay though.”
Sirius gave a slight nod.
“But I’m worried about you.”
This time Sirius turned his head completely to look at her. “I’m fine.”
Melody shook her head. “You’re strong and you’re holding up, but you’re not fine.” She looked out, past the river. “They were more family to you than yours ever were. You loved them and they loved you. It’s okay to mourn them.”
Sirius’ hard mask wavered. “I don’t have the right to mourn, not when James has lost everything. My loss is nothing compared to his.”
Melody entwined her hands through his. “You’re wrong and perhaps what James needs the most right now, is his brother, to mourn their parents. Together.”
Sirius closed his eyes painfully and Melody hugged him close as a lone tear fell down his cheek.
“They were good people. They didn’t deserve this.” He whispered fiercely.
“No one deserves this Sirius.” Melody answered, her stomach flipping uncomfortably. “But sometimes fate works in weird ways.”
Melody recalled a quote she’d heard once. “Sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.”
Sirius gazed down at her. “And what about you?”
Melody returned the gaze curiously. “What about me?”
He ran his thumb across her cheekbone. “I’m more perceptive than I appear you know.” He murmured.
She bit her bottom lip and looked away, leaving Sirius’ hand to fall to his side.
“They loved you too, you know. I know Madeleine hoped you would become her daughter in law one day.”
Melody’s face twisted and she threw herself unexpectedly at Sirius, allowing herself to cry for Madeleine and Harry Potter- for the future they would never have with their son...for the future she would never have with their son.
“Do you still love him?” Sirius asked a few minutes later when she’d calmed, as continued to hold her- rubbing her back soothingly.
The answer blew him away. “So much, it hurts.”
“Can I come in?”
James’ head snapped up and he stared as Sirius stood at the doorway uncertainly, hands buried deep in his pocket. James breathed a sigh of relief as Sirius joined him, feeling lighter than he had in days.
A/N Gah! Please don't kill me! I haven't updated since god knows when, but I'm working on chapters as we speak. We're getting close to the end now, so bare with me as I muddle through. Editing takes longer than writing itself, so you can blame my incessant need to change things and make them sound better.
Anyways, let me know what you think. This chapter was a little difficult to write because of all the emotion I needed to incorporate I tried to make it as realistic as possible, I don't know how well I did, but I suppose that's my take on it. Also, I think it's important to mention this story is just as much about the incredible bond between Sirius and James, as it is about James and Melody. So hopefully I'm doing that justice.
Next chapter hopefully won't take as long as this did, so hang tight and thank you for continuing to read! Hugs and kisses to all!
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