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EPIC by Solmussa

Format: Novel
Chapters: 33
Word Count: 180,109
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Spoilers

Genres: Romance, Action/Adventure, Young Adult
Characters: Lupin, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, James/OC, Lily/OC, Remus/OC

First Published: 08/12/2019
Last Chapter: 12/18/2019
Last Updated: 12/29/2019

Summary:

"I would rather poke my eyes out with a quill than spend time alone with you, actually” I said coolly. Black ran a hand through his dark long hair, visibly exasperated.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous! I'll have you know that any girl in the school would kill for a chance to spend an entire evening alone with me” he said. Arrogant bastard. Not that he wasn’t right, but you know.



Chapter 12: Rumours

Jocelyn’s POV

 

A Siberian Husky. I was very pleased with my ‘spirit animal’ as I liked to think about it. I had been worried I’d transform into something horrible, like a rat. I made my way back to McGonagall’s office feeling happy and absolutely broken at the same time. I had read, and she had told me, that the first transformation was painful and scary, but I had clearly underestimated how much. I had never been more terrified in my life. It took all I had to keep control and not fight it, but it was over now. I had made it. All that was left was practice transforming faster and with more ease each time.

 

Despite the late hour, she was waiting for me. “Well?” she asked.

 

“A dog. A Siberian Husky” I said, smiling weakly. She smiled proudly. I realized I’d seen her smile very few times and it made me feel giddy that she was so happy for me.

 

“I knew you could do it. I’m proud of you, Miss Silverway. Now, you must practice but you can call yourself an animagus. Congratulations” she said. I sat on the chair opposite her desk.

 

“Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without your help”

 

“Don’t be silly. All I did was give you a nudge” she dismissed me. “A deal is a deal, you don’t have to work with Mr. Black during transfiguration lessons anymore”

 

I had completely forgotten about that. “Actually… I’d like to stay paired up with him. I’ve changed my mind,” I said. I did not like the small smile that played on her lips. I did not like it the tiniest bit.

 

“Very well”

 

“Will you help me with the registration process, professor?” I asked. At that, she looked somber and leaned forward over her desk.

 

“I hope you understand that I would never, ever, in normal circumstances, sanction breaking the rules” she started. Where was this going? “However, I am sure you are aware of the rumours surrounding the disappearances of witches and wizards all over the country”

 

“I’ve heard some things” I said. She nodded.

 

“We have reason to believe a dark wizard might be on the rise. It is still speculation at this point, but I have discussed it with the headmaster, and we think that registering you would be a mistake”

 

“What?”

 

“It takes great skill and magical prowess to accomplish the animagus transformation at such young age. We believe registering you would bring unwanted attention. If there is, as we suspect, a dark wizard on the rise, his first move would be recruitment”

 

“I would never join him. No matter what they said or promised,” I said feeling utterly outraged. What did she think of me?

 

“We know. That’s the problem” she let that sink in. Oh. Oh.

 

“You think I’d be in danger?”

 

“It is a possibility,” she said. “Nobody knows you have mastered the transformation other than Professor Dumbledore and myself, am I right?”

 

“You are”

 

“We suggest that you keep it secret and stay unregistered until we know if it’s safe. We can always lie on your registration and say you mastered it later. I am not suggesting you stay illegal indefinitely, but I would not risk your life just to put your name of a piece of paper,” I was speechless.

 

“Thank you,” I managed to whisper. She nodded.

 

“Make sure to practice as much as you can, but keep it a secret. And, congratulations again. You have outdone the master. I was seventeen when I managed it,” she said with a hint of pride in her voice. I smiled widely at her and stood up.

 

“Thank you, and thank professor Dumbledore too, please”

 

*

 

I woke up late that Saturday morning. James’ grueling training session followed by the painful transformation had taken a toll on me. I realized with horror I had only half an hour to get ready for my date. I hoped I was still going on a date. I wasn’t sure if James would want to take me out after the events of the past two days.

 

Alice had refused to come to Hogsmeade today. She had planned a pampering session for herself and was going to spend the day in the prefect’s bathroom using Lily’s password. Our firecracker friend was going with Cal and had already left.

 

“Good morning sleeping beauty,” said Alice.

 

“I am so tired,” I groaned, getting out of bed.

 

“Why?”

 

“I think James didn’t like my little flirt with Ken. He put me through my paces during practice yesterday”

 

“Oh no, he didn’t!”

 

“Yup. Sirius joined in, the evil bastard,” I said. She laughed.

 

“You make an interesting trio”

 

“What do you mean?” I started rummaging through my clothes, trying to decide what to wear.

 

“It’s just a bit scary how well you get along with them. I thought nobody could click with James and Sirius. They’re an item, if you know what I mean. And then, you came along and it’s like you were the piece they were missing all along,” I stared at her like she’d grown horns.

 

“What are you on about? Sirius and I spend a lot of time bickering”

 

“You do not. You like to think you do, but it’s not really bickering; it’s more like teasing banter. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s flirty banter. Plus, you and Sirius spend a lot of time silently communicating with each other”

 

“What?” I tossed the jeans I had picked up aside and kept looking.

 

“It’s that beater team thing you’ve got going. You’ve developed a secret language with each other. I swear to Merlin I’ve never seen two people understand each other so well without actually speaking a word”

 

“I have no clue what you’re talking about, Alice” I shook my head. She was imagining things. She had to be.

 

“Fine, whatever you say. You’re not wearing that, are you?” she rushed to my side and took the jumper away from me.

 

“I don’t know what to wear and I’m going to be late,” I said. “Help”

 

“Wear this,” she took a nice black jumper dress out of my trunk.

 

“Isn’t that a bit much?”

 

“Do you want James to forget your little indiscretion with Ken or not?”

 

“Amen, sister” I grabbed the dress and ran to the bathroom. I heard her laughing and smiled to myself.

 

James’ POV

 

“Moony, where’s the map?” I asked as soon as I got back to our room. Padfoot, the selfish bastard, had left me to put away the beaters’ equipment all by myself and it had taken me ages to clean the mud off the bats. I couldn’t really blame Jocelyn for running away. I had been a dickhead to her and I was feeling terrible about it.

 

“No idea, it was on my bedside table when I went to the library,” he replied, shrugging. “Padfoot or Wormtail must have taken it”

 

“Great” I moaned. He looked at me curiously. “I was thinking I should probably talk to Jo. We’re supposed to have our first date tomorrow and I’m not even sure she’ll show up”

 

“I know she’s upset over the Alice thing, but you didn’t do anything” Moony said. His face made a grimace at the word ‘Alice’. I couldn’t blame him, the situation was shit.

 

He had freaked out big time at finding out he had hurt Sirius so badly we had worried he might not make it. It wasn’t the first time he hurt one of us, but it had never been so vicious. We didn’t know what it had been, but Remus’ wolf form had refused to go into the Shrieking Shack that night, and had fought us trying to go towards the back of the castle. We’d held him off but in doing so, he’d got angry and violent. By the end of the night, he was ripping into Padfoot with a viciousness we’d not seen before.

 

All the work we’d done to convince him he had nothing to be ashamed of, that he had every right to enjoy his life like anyone else, had been futile. One look at Sirius’ bloodied state and he’d taken off to find Alice and break up with her. He thought it was the noble thing to do. It didn’t matter that we’d told him, time and time again, that this wasn’t only his choice, that she had a right to know and decide. He wouldn’t hear it.

 

“I still think you should tell Alice the truth” I said. He shook his head and went back to his book.

 

Padfoot didn’t come back until very late that night. Turns out he’d taken both the map and the cloak to ‘get to Iris and back faster’. I didn’t understand what he saw in that girl, but each to their own. I went to bed feeling frustrated, guilty and, above all, terrified that Jocelyn would stand me up the next day.

 

I was awkwardly standing by the girls’ staircase, debating with myself whether I should try to make it to their room or not. She was only a couple of minutes late, there was no reason to panic just yet. I saw Matt and a couple of his friends give me a funny look before leaving and felt even more nervous. Everyone would know if she stood me up. Sighing, I decided that sitting on a sofa looked less conspicuous if anyone else saw me.

 

Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail came down the stairs and waved at me. I waved back and smiled weakly.

 

“Boys” she said icily.

 

I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding and looked her way. Wow. Looking like this I could forgive her for being late. I could forgive her for pretty much anything. She ignored my friends and walked over to me. I didn’t know where to look. The short black jumper dress she was wearing was undoing me, and I couldn’t form a coherent thought. I had no idea how she expected me to get all the way to Hogsmeade without combusting.

 

“You ready?” she asked me, giving me a quick kiss on the cheek. She smelled glorious. 

 

“You are killing me.” She smiled wickedly and flicked her hair before leaning closer to me again.

 

“I haven’t even started,” she whispered. Oh my. I swallowed hard and tried to think of something else. Something awful, like Snivellius in a bikini. Yeah, that would do it. Focus.

 

I took her hand and led her to the portrait. All three of my friends were still standing exactly on the same spot, trying hard (and failing) to not to look at Jo. I gave them a look that said, ‘out of bounds’ and helped her out of the common room.

 

“So, on a scale of one to ten how pissed off at me are you?” I asked her as we sat in the Three Broomsticks. I had secured us a small corner table, so we had some privacy.

 

“A hundred,” she replied, taking a sip of her firewhiskey.

 

“Oh, come on” I protested. She was pure evil today. She’d spent the entire way to Hogsmeade flirting with me like she’d never done before, and it was all I could do to not start snogging her in the carriage.

 

“You knew Remus was playing with Alice and you didn’t tell me,” she said, glaring at me.

 

“I didn’t know until that morning in the infirmary,” I held my hands up. “Look, when Peter said he’d gone to find her I knew something was up but, and I’m sorry for this, I cared more about Sirius recovering than I did about Alice’s heart breaking.”

 

“You swear you didn’t know before then?”

 

“I solemnly swear” I replied. She eyed me suspiciously.

 

“Why did he do it? Everyone swears it was unexpected, it makes zero sense”

 

“Remus’ got issues, Jo. He’s got some serious fear of commitment. I think he likes her a lot, but things were getting serious fast and he freaked out” this was the agreed excuse, so that when interrogated we’d all give the same explanation. Being friends with a werewolf was sometimes very tiring.

 

“Well, he needs to get over his issues. He’s never going to find anyone as good as Alice” she said.

 

“I agree. Now, can we… erhm… discuss something other than our friends’ relationship?”

 

“Fine. What do you want to talk about?” she sipped some more whiskey. I much preferred the flirty Jo to this angry Jo.

 

“I’m sorry for yesterday’s practice. I was way out of line. I shouldn’t have used my position as captain against you,” she did look surprised at that. I bet she wasn’t expecting an apology. Remus’ suggestion had been good. It was crazy how he gave the best relationship advice to everyone but was incapable of following it himself.

 

“You shouldn’t have…” she said, looking into her glass. “But I shouldn’t have flirted with Ken just to make you jealous.”

 

“You did it on purpose?”

 

“Obviously,” she smiled.

 

“Well, it worked,” I replied. “Come here,” I moved down on my bench and she came to sit next to me. “Don’t do that again, I was this close to causing a scene in the Great Hall”

 

“Really? I think a lot of people would thank me for causing a Winger vs. Potter fight,” she teased.

 

“You must really not care about him if you have such little regard for his wellbeing,” I replied, grinning mischievously.

 

“Uuuh, you’re so scary James”

 

“If he had gotten any closer to you, you would have found out just how scary I can be,” I said, leaning towards her. I could see her beautiful blue eyes darken in anticipation, but she’d been toying with me and I wasn’t going to let her get away with it so easily.

 

“I never thought you were the jealous type,” she said.

 

“I wasn’t,” I replied, truthfully. I think pinning after someone who never even looked at me helped me a lot with that. After all, I couldn’t exactly go around getting into fights with everyone Lily had dated until this year.

 

“Good to know,” I did not like her smile one bit.

 

“Jocelyn Silverway, if you do something like that ever again just to annoy me…”

 

“What? What would you do, James?” she looked into my eyes intently and I felt my resolve to make her work for it vanish.

 

I did not reply. Instead, I kissed her.

 

Jocelyn’s POV

 

“James, James, stop” I whispered. He stopped immediately.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“We should get out of here,” I said. I knew we were fairly out of view, but it was still a public place and I was dangerously close to doing something wildly inappropriate if he kept kissing me like that.

 

He didn’t waste another minute. We stood, grabbed our coats and left the pub together. I saw Ken glancing our way from the table he was sharing with friends, but I pretended not to notice. James led me back to where the carriages waited and we jumped on the first one available. Just as it was getting ready to leave, a few fourth year Hufflepuff students jumped in with us. I had to suppress a chuckle. Pure annoyance was written all over James’ face. The two boys kept staring at me, until the girl that was with them told them off, clearly annoyed.

 

“It’s rude to stare at people,” she said. They blushed furiously.

 

“Are you, like, together?” one of the boys asked James. He looked at the boy and smiled wickedly.

 

“Of course they’re not, don’t be ridiculous. She’s with Sirius Black,” said the girl before we could reply. I felt James stiffen next to me and my mouth open in surprise.

 

“Is it true?” the boy asked me this time.

 

“No, it’s not.” I said, simply. I didn’t know what to think. Kids these days were so nosy.

 

“Are you sure?” I was thrown off by the look of disappointment in the girls’ face. I would have expected her to be happy, like most girls were when they found out Sirius was single.

 

“Positive” I insisted.

 

“But why? You are so perfect for each other. That thing you did against Slytherin… how could you trust someone that much and not be together with them?” she looked at me with adoration and I felt very uncomfortable all of a sudden. James had a blank expression on his face, and I felt compelled to say something quickly.

 

“Teamwork, which is what our captain works with us on every practice,” I said, smiling at them and leaning into James a little.

 

“So you are together! I knew it!” the first boy said, looking smug.

 

“I don’t believe you,” the little girl insisted. I wanted to punch her in the face.

 

Fortunately, it seemed like my answer had satisfied James, because he looked at her and said, “I don’t really care what you believe,” right before kissing me like the end of the world was upon us.

 

The boys started cheering and we broke the kiss, laughing quietly.

 

“One day, I’m going to find a girlfriend as cool as yours,” one of the boys told James.

 

“I’m sure you will, buddy,” he said as the carriage came to a halt. He jumped off and helped me.

 

We walked back to the castle in comfortable silence, and he led me through a series of corridors that, I realized, led to the same room we’d been in after the party a month ago.

 

“So… kids these days, huh” he said as I sat next to him on the sofa.

 

“I am sure we were not so nosy when we were in fourth year,” I rolled my eyes.

 

“I think we need to put these rumours to bed, don’t you?” he asked me, looking straight at me. I nodded, waiting. “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since New Year’s Eve. I know our friendship is important, and I wanted to prove to you we were, first and foremost, friends but I’m sick and tired of it. I find it hard to be your friend; I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want to get jealous that this guy or that guy is talking to you, or to wait a month to steal some time alone together again”

 

“What do you want, James?” I whispered. My heart was beating very fast.

 

“I want you to be my girlfriend,” he said.

 

“I’d like that,” I replied. And I did, I really did. The nagging feeling at the back of my head was just that, and I ignored it purposely.

 

We spent hours in the room after that, kissing and exploring each other, taking our time. It was sweet, and romantic, and just perfect. I realized I wasn’t ready to go all the way with him yet, and he surprised me when he told me he had never done it either. We agreed to take things one day at a time, and let it happen whenever it did. No pressure, no expectations.

 

 

Dating James was so easy. He was like a very good friend that I just kissed whenever I felt like it. We spent a lot of time hanging out with his friends, and I liked that. Now that I knew about the existence of some secret passages, James took me on night tours of the castle sometimes on our own, sometimes with the rest of the boys. We played chess, and snap, and I even helped them plan pranks now. Luckily for me, they never asked me to be involved in the execution part, so hadn’t been caught and sent to detention yet. When the boys were in detention, which was often, I gossiped with the girls. Life was good and simple.

 

“I’m getting tired of having to wait around for you boys to finish polishing trophies, you know,” I said as the marauders walked out of the Trophy room.

 

“You could always join us, we’d finish faster!” said Remus grinning at me.

 

“I’m starting to suspect you actually enjoy detentions,” I gave them a side-eye as we started walking.

 

“We do!” Peter declared cheerfully.

 

“But I thought you weren’t supposed to be able to talk to each other?”

 

“We aren’t supposed to do a lot of things, yet that’s never stopped us before,” Sirius beamed at me with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes and I laughed.

 

“Fine, don’t tell me,” I shrugged. “Common room?”

 

“No, I’m hungry. Let’s go get some food,” Sirius replied.

 

“Dinner finished half an hour ago. I couldn’t grab you guys anything, I think McGonagall suspects I’ve been helping you out, she was watching me the whole time,” I complained.

 

“I think it’s time we let you in on another secret,” he said, casually running a hand through his black hair. We were walking in our usual formation: the Sirius and James sandwich, then Remus and Peter either flanking us or closely behind, depending on how wide or narrow the corridor in question was.

 

“Oooh, this is always good” I clapped my hands and he grinned, running a hand through his hair. They’d been showing me secret passages they used to escape after pranking people, and I was loving it.

 

“We’re going to show you how to go to the kitchens,” James chimed in. I turned to look at him instead, his hand shooting up to his already messy looking hair.

 

 “You know how to get into the kitchens?” I shrieked in excitement.

 

“We know lots of things,” Sirius said with a wiggle of his eyebrows. I smiled at him.

 

We walked for a bit through some corridors and passages until we were standing outside a portrait with a pear.

 

“Tickle the pear,” James instructed.

 

“You’re not taking the piss, are you?” I said, feeling a bit suspicious.

 

“We do not joke about food,” Remus chimed in. I nodded solemnly and tickled the pear.

 

“Oh my Godric,” I said before being led inside the kitchens by the marauders.

 

We ended up spending quite a bit of time there, eating and talking about the next prank they wanted to pull. The house elves were super nice and it was very obvious that they were regulars here. I couldn’t blame them, the kitchens were very cosy.

 

**

 

It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, and the air was crisp, perfect for our Quidditch match against Hufflepuff. I was buzzing with excitement. I saluted Lily and Alice, who nodded solemnly my way, and bolted out of the door. James was waiting for me in the common room.

 

“Hey, you ready?” he kissed me lightly on the cheek.

 

“Let’s go win this game,” I replied. Sirius appeared at the bottom of the boys’ staircase that second.

 

“That’s my girl,” he said, grabbing me with one arm and lightly punching my shoulder with the other. I purposefully ignored the small flutter in my stomach I got every time he chose those words.

 

We walked out of the common room together, in the usual ‘sandwich’ formation. They were so much bigger than me I felt like I had my personal bodyguard entourage most of the time. Word that James and I were boyfriend and girlfriend had spread through the school faster than I thought possible. I blamed the Hufflepuff kids. Ken had taken it like a man and been nothing but gracious about it. The team had subjected to us to endless jokes about my having a thing for tyrants, as I had agreed to date him right after the infamous torture session he’d inflicted on me.

 

I had been a bit worried about what Alice would say, but she was genuinely happy for me. She was still heartbroken about Remus, but she didn’t want anyone else to be miserable. Lily was also nothing but supportive. She had even suggested we arranged a double date with James and Cal. I wasn’t sure that was a good idea.

 

We reached the Quidditch pitch and met the team in the Gryffindor changing room. Everyone had their game face on.

 

“As the scores currently stand, if we beat Hufflepuff by 60 points or more, Slytherin will have to beat them by at least 100 at the next game to be in with a chance of winning, and Ravenclaw will need at least 150. So, this game could easily decide who wins the Quidditch cup,” James told us. Sirius and I exchanged a look. We had already done these calculations and spent hours strategizing together on whom he had to take down to help our team.

 

“Any more impressive tricks up your sleeves?” asked Annie.

 

“Do not fly between us, go around us, and you’ll be fine,” was all Sirius said. They all nodded.

 

Hufflepuff didn’t make the same mistake Slytherin did and as soon as I was in the air, one of their beaters had his eye on me. We expected this. We knew we couldn’t do the same thing again, so we’d come up with a whole new play.

 

Sirius and I flew towards the bludgers as soon as they were released, and hit them with our bats sending them forward, exactly towards where the other was flying. We positioned ourselves close to the Hufflepuff defensive area, and began passing the bludgers between us forcing the opponent players to constantly dodge the furious balls.

 

We were too fast for the other beaters, who were getting desperate and annoyed. Sirius and I kept diving, twirling, soaring and maneuvering in perfect sync, keeping the bludgers flying across the field of play and scrambling Hufflepuff’s defense. I was getting cocky, and so was he. Everything was going to plan, and Gryffindor had scored enough points to see us within reach of the cup if Cal caught the snitch.

 

Then, the unexpected happened. In all our planning, we hadn’t accounted for the beaters getting so pissed off they’d do something nasty. Nobody played dirty (except for Slytherin) and so we didn’t factor that in.

 

I dived once more to hit a bludger Sirius had sent right below me and, as I swung my bat, felt the hand holding on to my broom be crushed. The pain was such I lost my vision. All I could see was white. There was a loud ringing in my ears and I struggled to stay upright on my broom.

 

“That was a nasty crash! It looks like Silverway is injured!” I heard the commentator as if I was underwater. ‘I am injured’ I thought. I forced my brain to push past the searing pain and blinked a few times.

 

I regained focus and looked around. James was flying towards me, and so was Sirius. ‘No, no, that’s what they want,’ I thought. I locked eyes with James and shook my head furiously.

 

“GET BACK TO THE GAME!” I shouted.

 

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

 

“PEACHY,” I replied. He nodded and turned his broom around just as Sirius got to my side.

 

“What the fuck? Jocelyn, are you okay? That was disgusting,” he said. His worry was written all over his face.

 

“My hand is broken,” I said. It was more than broken, it was smashed to pieces. The pain was so bad I was cold-sweating and I felt like throwing up.

 

“You need to get that fixed, get to the ground,” he said.

 

“No fucking way. That bastard did it on purpose. He smashed my hand with his bat, Sirius,” he looked horrified at that. I locked eyes with him and, just like I knew he would, he understood.

 

“Can you fly?”

 

“Keep an eye on me, if I pass out you’ll have to levitate me to the ground,” I told him. He shook his head and I knew he was thinking I was insane, but I didn’t care. I was so angry.

 

I focused on my rage to block out the pain and placed my broken hand carefully on the broom. I ripped a piece of fabric from my robe and used it to tie my hand to the broom handle. The pain brought tears to my eyes but I didn’t care.

 

“Jo, I don’t think…” he shut up as soon as I looked up at him again.

 

“Let’s go,” I said.

 

We flew back towards the game and I checked out the score. Hufflepuff had scored enough points to be a threat and I was fuming. The beaters were trying to break our team’s formation with the bludgers. I swung the bat with my good hand and plunged right towards the middle of the field. It was during that second half of the game that I understood why Alice said Sirius and I had a secret language. I didn’t have to tell him or even look at him once, but he knew what I needed every single time. We flew as one, him guarding my injured side and swinging his bat with the opposite hand to mine. Yes, we could only cover half the ground but we were a lethal team and we were angry.

 

When the score was back to where I wanted it to be (James was on fire and scored like a million points), I started to pay attention to Cal. I saw the moment he saw the snitch, with a few seconds of advantage over his opponent. This was my moment to get revenge. I dived dangerously towards the ball and smashed a bludger sending it straight at the Hufflepuff seeker with all the strength I could muster. It collided with her left side, distracting her long enough for Cal to win us the match. As soon as I saw him lift his fist closed around the golden ball, I felt the adrenaline rush dissolve, and a wave of pain knocked me unconscious.

 

Sirius’ POV

 

Jocelyn was batshit crazy. There was no other explanation. She was also the reason we’d won the game by a huge margin. I saw Cal grab the snitch and looked at her ready to celebrate, but her eyes rolled backwards and, unconscious, she fell off her broom.

 

I wondered if she felt anything like this the day she found James carrying me back to the infirmary. I had never experienced anything like it before. All my flying practice, all my agility, all my strength, every crazy dive I had ever done in my life I felt had been in preparation for this single, crucial moment. I didn’t think, I didn’t have to. I flew pretty much vertically, willing my broom to go faster, faster, faster.

 

I knew I wasn’t going to make it in time to pull back up. It wasn’t possible. We were too close to the ground. I had never made an easier choice in my life. I reached down and grabbed Jocelyn’s robes. I pulled her up with all my strength and cuddled her in my arms, twisting around to protect her with my body a few seconds before we both crashed into the hard, frozen ground. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sound my bones made when they broke.



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