I’ve always thought it was weird that Muggles have school reunions. You come back twenty years later for what? To see who made something of themselves and who become slobs. I never wanted to return to Hogwarts. I didn’t want to go back down memory lane. It was painful enough the first time around. We were dropped into the Hogsmede square. From the moment I saw the castle from the distance I felt my heart drop. I prayed silently that this would be quick. That we would get in and get out and I'd never have to see this place again. I think somehow I knew that we were just going to leave after we saw Dumbledore.
Silently I followed her down the path I knew all too well. My stomach started tangling up in knots as my emotions got the better of me. My body moved but I took no recognition of it. After a twenty minute walk we stopped right in front of Hagrid’s house. She took an interest but I stopped paying attention to her. The light hit my face as wind flowed around the grounds and I felt myself zoning out into my thoughts. I watched light wind ruffle the grass, skim the icy surface of the lake, and shake the leaves on the trees before finally grazing the side of my face. I felt the grip of the ghosts of my past. Away from here i could fight it with a strong dose of denial and pretend it wasn't as bad as it was.
Off in the distance I saw me and Parker chasing each other the fields of grass mercilessly. His short blonde flickered in the wind as I ran past a close group of trees, we were twelve. Then I saw me and Taylor racing up those trees after our finals. We were laughing hysterically the whole time as we each tried to go faster than the other without falling, we were thirteen. I saw Lestrange and me playing a very competitive game of chicken against Malfoy and Narcissa. Narcissa giggled as I tossed her tiny bikini claded body into the water. Lestrange dropped and I screamed our victory loudly and proudly, we were fifteen. Regulus and I were by the lake, our feet in the shallow part of the water as we laid back and tanned. We laughed and talked about where we'd been in twenty years, I was sixteen, he was fifteen. By the tree next to the lake I saw me sitting against the tree by the lake reading, Parker raced by and threw me over his shoulder and ran around with me screaming on his back. I begged him to put me down but he just ran faster until finally dropping me inches above the lake's surface, we were fourteen. I saw me, Narcissa, Taylor, Parker, Malfoy, Lestrange, Angie and Nott all laying in the grass counting the stars after a night of partying; we just started our seventh year of Hogwarts. I glanced by the lake side and saw me and Sirius, we were dancing in the moonlight half-drunkenly, we were seventeen.
Lexi came back and tapped me on the shoulder. I jumped slightly and turned to her. The bright sun beating down on us I had to squint to see her. I tried to make myself believe that was the only reason my eyes were watering. She motioned for us to keep going up to the school. I shoved my hands into my pockets and allowed my feet to glide up the familiar steps. Steps I often sat on during days like these to studying with my friends for finals. She opened the door and I attempted to louder my rapid heart beat. It didn't work. I was lying to myself. I knew why we were here. Somehow I already knew what was going to happen.
“Mate?” James called walking into Sirius’s flat. “Paddy?”
James let out a sigh of relief. “That guy …Parker I think it was…Is looking for you.”
“He said that she was safe. Just freaked out.”
Sirius relaxed. “Good…I wish I knew why she ran.”
“Maybe it’s your body odor.” James muttered loudly.
“Oh yeah,” Sirius rolled his eyes half-heartedly, “That’s it.”
“Oh! Her brother’s looking for her too.”
“Okay how did you run into all these people?”
James’s face darkened and he sat on Sirius’s bed. From that point on he refused to look anywhere but at the floor. “…Lily had a miscarriage.”
“Merlin…Man I’m sorry. Here I am bitching-“
He held up a hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll…be..fine…I don’t know what I’m going to do about Lily…”
“Where is she?”
“With her mom at our place.”
Sirius walked over and clamped his arm around his shoulder. “If you need anything-“
“Paddy you have enough problems.” James frowned, “I still can’t believe you got married.”
His face was solemn as he turned to look at Sirius. “Why didn’t you tell us?”
“I don’t know…” Sirius lowered his face. “I just…didn’t want to ruin it.”
“How would we have ruined it?”
“That’s not what I meant…Everything was complicated but us. I didn’t want to scare her off by bringing you guys. Not to mention she thought you would hate her.”
James furrowed his eyebrows, “Why would she think that?”
“Think back. In the midst of our rivalry with pureblood Slythern’s would you really have accepted her? It’s taken a lot for Lily not to openly hate her.”
“That’s true.” James let out a sigh. “I can’t believe I didn’t notice.”
Sirius shrugged, “I tried to be subtle.”
“She was pregnant.”
James’s face became uncomfortably pale. “You …she…”
Sirius’s eyes watered slightly as he shook his head.
“Just a few weeks after we got married…I never knew. She didn’t tell me.”
James looked at him. “She was trying to spare you.”
“I don’t know her very well but I’ve been watching her since she joined…She’s very careful. She stays back, doesn’t say much and always wears sunglasses…I always thought that she wasn’t being secretive she was just hiding.”
Sirius put his head in hands. “I can’t believe I didn’t fight harder. I should have known that she wouldn’t just give up.”
“I know this a lot to ask but…” James cleared his throat emotionally. “I don’t know what to say to Lily…When we left her checkup she wouldn’t even look at me…I was going to ask Juliette to talk to her.”
“She can say no. I would never hold it against her…I just don’t know who else to ask.”
“Things are just bad all over.”
There was a loud knock on the door, Sirius walked over and opened the door. There was a man a few years older than he, about the same height, with dark skin, black eyes and a sharp jaw. Sirius vaguely recognized him as Juliette’s brother.
“Are you Sirius?”
He blinked unsurely, “Yes.”
Then he was sent to the ground in agony as Nik decked him as hard as he could in the face. “That’s for beating the shit out of her you bastard.”
We were almost to Dumbledore’s office when we stopped. I wasn't paying attention. Every hallway I saw held a memory and so far most of them had been pleasant tedious ones. The strips of memories weren’t strong; they were just wisps of time that would appear whenever I walked by them. They weren't real. The clearest one so far was the one occurring right in front of me. McGonagall was pulling my arm up the stairs in my snake costume. I had just turned seventeen.
“Ms. Paxton…” McGonagall shook her head furiously. “I cannot believe you would do such a thing!”
I snorted, “Oh it’s so not that bad. I’M fully clothed...” I implied heavily.
“That’s another thing! I’m going to send to detention if you don’t give me there names!”
“I’m not telling you professor. So you might as well give me a detention for me out after hours.”
She glared down at me knowing that despite what my friends were doing I could barely be punished.
I blinked and saw Lexi looking at me oddly. I gave her a loose nod and followed her up the stairs.
I'd never been to Dumbledore office before. The day McGonagall caught me Dumbledore was out. So she just gave me a bunch of detentions and sent me back to my dorm. I rose up the steps gradually, taking in every little new detail of my surroundings. When we got up to the final step she simply knocked on the door without any hesitation.
"Enter," A calm voice answered through the door.
Lexi pushed open the door and beamed at him. "Professor."
For the first time in the time I’d known Dumbledore he looked...confused. Lexi walked over to his desk with a letter. The letter had his name on it in red ink and ...familiar handwriting. She handed it to him and watched his reaction. After a few moments he shifted his gaze up to her.
"Very well." Dumbledore glanced over to me. "Juliette trust her." He almost ordered.
"Ah..." I scrunched up my face trying not to quesiton him. "…Alright?...” I let out a sigh of frustration before finally giving letting out my frustration. “Okay I’m really getting tired of this. Who is she?”
Dumbledore looked over at Lexi tentatively. Her gaze was focused determinedly at the floor as her eyes flashed the slightest hint of depression before returning back to indifference. If I hadn't been watching her so closely i would have surely missed it. A jolt of emotion rushed through me. It wasn't one i recognized. My instincts where screaming something at me but I couldn’t make out what it was and it was driving me crazy. I knew i was here for a reason. I couldn't fight the sense that she had a purpose for bringing me here instead of just asking Dumbledore to meet us somewhere. I wish i understood her intentions.
“Don’t worry. I’ll tell you soon enough.” She answered in a quiet voice barely being able to look me in the eye. “Let’s go.”
I trailed after for a few minutes then stopped. This was too far. “Okay what are we doing?!”
“You said if I got Dumbledore to show his trust-“
“I don’t care anymore alright!” I paced anxiously, “I’m so sick of this shit! The lies, the secrets! Why can’t you just say why you’re here and what you want?!”
She approached me with her hands in her pant pockets. “If you come with me and just do as I ask. I will leave you alone after that if that's what you want.”
“Promise?” I scoffed immaturely.
“I don’t make promises,” Lexi replied firmly moving towards the steps.
For some messed up reason I felt compelled to continue following her. I called her name but she kept walking till she was on the second floor. As she stopped I paused too. My eyes closed as I inhaled sharply and a strong memory all but consumed me.
I blinked, this time having a hard time coming back to reality. “For what?”
Lexi said nothing in response.
She grabbed a bag out of her pocket, took a pinch of the dust in side and threw it around the room. It felt to the ground and laid there motionlessly. I was about to speak when the dust rose and began spinning around us. I closed my eyes involuntarily. When I opened my eyes there I was, seventeen, in a red gown with Sirius in front of me. It was real. Unlike the other memories I actually saw every detail as if it was happening at that very moment. I became nervous. I knew what happened and I didn't need to see it happen. I lived it. Lexi came over and stood next to me, her face as impassive as ever.
“What is this?”
She shrugged softly, “Your memories.”
I turned away from her and watched the younger version of myself slap Sirius as hard as i could across his face. He was wearing dress robes but his tie was undone and his hair was messy. I could smell the firewiskey even though I was a few feet away from him.
“Who do you think you are?!” I screamed at him.
“What did you want me to do?! Let him put his hands all over you?”
“You chose this Black!” I said moving closer to him furiously. “You were the one who said you wanted to end it! You said you couldn’t handle lying to everyone anymore! Remember?!”
He got closer to my face. “What and I’m suddenly supposed to feel nothing for you? While you let Snevillus… manhandle you like you’re his little whore?”
“I SWEAR IF YOU CALL ME THAT ONE MORE TIME-!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
“Well that’s EXACTLY what you were acting like sweetheart.” He told me coldly, hatred shining through his eyes.
I narrowed my eyes at him icily. “And you weren’t?! Correct me if I’m wrong but you weren’t complaining when Tracy shoved her tongue down your throat.”
His lips thinned and he moved away from me.
I didn’t take that. “So quit pretending you care.” I spat at him hatefully, “You’re just jealous because you can’t just take me whenever you want because i'm not you're property.”
“…That’s what you think?” His voice turned soft in an instant. I wanted to give in. To kiss him just one more time but I couldn’t. He broke up with me not the other way around.
“Yeah,” I answered callously. “That’s what I think.”
He whipped around and in one fluid motion put his arms on either side of the wall around me. “I'm not one of them...You know that Jules."
"Really?" I scoffed sarcastically, "Because you're the spitting image of every one of them right now."
"Jules... I...I love you."
I glared at him, my anger rising as disbelief filled my core. “…You didn’t…you don’t….How dare you?!”
“Yes I do.” Ignoring my last response he snaked his arm around my waist and looked at me unsurely. “…I just…I’m not good at this okay? I thought if I broke up with you everything would be easier.”
“And is it?”
Sirius gave me the most miserable look as leaned his head against my forehead. “I haven’t slept at all in the past 48 hours. I can’t stop thinking about you…”
“Really? Then would you mind explaining just why were you just snogging the face of-“
He cupped my face securely, his eyes beating down on my own. “I was just trying to make you jealous. I swear. You know I would never...”
“Well! It worked!” I shouted pushing him off me.
“I’m sorry…Do you think this can work?” He whispered to me gently holding my gaze.
I looked into his eyes hesitantly, my fear growing. “I ..don’t know.”
“Do you love me?”
I pushed him away and walked away. “Stop…You made a decision.” Tears started building up in my eyes as my voice grew thicker, “Just stick to it…”
“Jules…” He spoke quietly giving me a pleading look.
“No…you have to stick to it.” I whispered closing my eyes in defiance. “…Just…stop.”
Sirius scowled at me. “If you don’t love me you can just say so.”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Then what are you saying? Because if you’re afraid-“
“You’re right. Okay? I'm afraid.” I took a few steps towards him. “I am afraid to put my guard down. I am afraid that if you know all that I am, you won't feel the same. And I'm afraid that once my barrier is gone, and I'm comfortable, that you'll walk away. Does that make you happy?!”
He came to me. “Yes. It does because guess what? I’m just as terrified as you are but fuck it I’m willing to give this a shot!”
“What makes you think this will work?! We fight all the time! We have to sneak around!" I was inches away from his face. “So you tell me when enough is enough.”
He stayed silent.
“If two people love each other but they can't seem to get it together you tell me when enough is enough." I pressed him furiously.
“Never.” He replied simply.
Taken aback by the blunt firmness of his answer I furrowed my eyebrows.
“Do you love me?”
"Sirius..." I cried quietly.
He was centimeters away now. "If you don't just say it and i'll leave you alone."
I forced my face away from him.
"Jules." He begged tilting my face towards his.
"...Yes." I told him as tears rolled down my cheeks. "I do."
“Well then. I guess you’re stuck with me until that changes.” He declared wrapping his arm around me. “Because I can tell you right now it’s going to take a long time for me to get over you.”
My throat constricted as the younger me disappeared and the dust reappeared. I watched as it fell to the floor as slow as snowflakes. That's when I really started to lose it. I could sense I was shaking but it was like my body and my mind were separate from one another. I starred at the dust pile hollowly longer than I should have. When I snapped out of it Lexi was dripping an emerald potion on the dust. Before corking the potion and placing it in her back pocket. The dust started bubbling, steaming and evaporating. Before it was gone Lexi left. I went after her silently. She halted at the third step from the top, snatched the bag and threw another pinch of dust down the stairs. Again a younger version of myself reappeared this time I was with Parker.
He stopped walking, "Yeah?"
"I need to tell you something...Well I need to ask you something too-"
"Just spit out Jules," Parker snorted offhandly.
"Willoubeemibestman?" I blurted out quickly making give me an odd look.
He snorted, "Come again?"
"Will you...Actually," My face became red in embarrassment. "Will you be my best man?"
"Oh?" He teased, "To whom are we marrying?"
I opened my mouth to say his name but the words wouldn't come.
Coincidentally Sirius came down the stairs with his bag over his shoulder. I thought he was going to keep going until I felt him standing right next to me. Parker didn't acknowledge him at first. Slythern's didn't talk to Gryffindors on principal. When Parker saw Sirius wasn't leaving he crossed his arms and took a step towards him aggressively.
"You have a problem Black?"
Sirius shook his head, "No."
"Then do you mind?" He questioned gesturing he move but Sirius stayed put.
"Ah Parker," I muttered uncomfortably. "You know what we were just talking about...?"
Parker looked at me like i was insane. "Yeah?"
Sirius checked to make sure no one was coming before taking my right hand with his left.
Parker laughed hard. "Funny! I have to say this is a good one. I can't believe you guys would go this far for a prank though."
"Parker...I'm not joking."
"Of course you are." Parker voiced back, the smile sliding off his face as he examined mine.
I pulled the ring out of my pocket and put it on my left hand ring finger. Parker just about fainted. His normally pale skin grew paler than parchment as he stared wild-eyed at the scene in front of him.
"Now I know this is a lot and I’ll understand if you're mad that I didn't tell you-"
Parker held his hand up to silence me. "How long has this been going on?"
"A few months." Sirius answered calmly.
"Does anyone else know?"
We shook our heads.
"Look," I approached Parker carefully, "I understand if you don't want to be apart of this-"
"Firstly: You're my best friend of course I’m there." He interrupted me sternly, "Secondly: Who the hell is going to walk you down the aisle?"
I hung my head slightly. "No one."
"Wrong. Wrong and wrong!" He faced Sirius, "I'm walking her down the aisle if she gets married you understand me?"
Sirius said nothing.
"And if you're going to marry her you need my permission to do so."
I smiled. "You're really okay with this?"
"If he passes inspection..." Parker glared at Sirius doubtfully.
I threw my arms around Parker. "Thank you!"
"No need to thank me..." He eyed Sirius darkly, "I haven't cleared him yet."
That memory faded and died like the last but I had a feeling it was going to get worse. These memories were baby ones. She was starting it off light to prepare me for the worse. We did this with family of a deceased colleague. First we say what they accomplished in their career, what they meant to the ministry and how their sacrifice helped pave the way to save the lives of dozens. If we just started out with, “Hey you’re husband/father/brother/nephew/cousin/godson/son/brother is dead.” It would be too direct if we said it like that. Too blunt and cold for the grieving relative. So we sugar code it. We start with the easy stuff so they can ease into it and not cry. Auror’s don’t handle crying well. From training we are taught to conceal and withhold emotions from difficult situations. A sobbing woman kind of puts a damper on that. But I wasn’t a sobbing widow. I was still rational enough to know what was happening and I wasn’t going to go along with it.
She came to me with a smile. “You really are a whiner.”
“Excuse me?” I retorted lethally.
“I said you’re a whiner." She snapped back fearlessly, "I told you I would leave you alone if you just went along with everything and you can’t even manage that.”
I was about to deck her in the face. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“I know what you’re scared of.” She sneered, “It’s the reason you didn’t fight for Sirius. It’s the reason you assumed he didn’t fight and it’s the reason you refuse to come with me now.”
I scoffed darkly. “Oh what is that? I would love to hear from a twelve year olds perspective.”
“You know it’s your entire fault.”
She sighed sadly. “The baby.”
All the oxygen in the room seemed to cease to exist. I’d never been so angry in my whole life; Not at Bellatrix for ruining my life, not at my father for nearly killing me. I started visibly shaking as tears of fury rocked in my eyes.
Chapter Sixteen: Loosing All Control By: Rooney
Chapter Seventeen: Uprising By: Muse
Chapter Eighteen: Won't Stop By: OneRepublic
Chapter Nineteen: Yesterday By: The Beatles
Chapter Twenty: When it Rains By: Paramore
Thank you for reading! I really appreciate it. I worked really hard on this chapter so do me a favor PLEASE REVIEW! I don't care if it's just a line i just would love to hear anything from you guys! Oh and can someone PLEASE make me a banner? I can't stand mine and i can't seem to make a better one. So if someone would PLEEEEEEASE make one i'd be eternally in their debt.
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