A/N: I actually wrote this a long time ago, but only just now decided to post it. Enjoy.

If there ever was one thing your father said that was actually useful, it was, “Loyalty and honor, son. Never forget those two words. You are a Black; act like it.”

Of course, you completely defied him four years later, broke all of his codes of loyalty and honor, and left them lying on your empty bedroom floor. The fact that you broke three priceless vases beyond repair on your way out didn't help.

All loyalty and honor to family aside, you never did forget your father's words. That little rebellious streak in the back of your mind just decided to throw your loyalty and honor in a completely different direction. You follow a different set of rules now, owe a new family your loyalty.

You create your own loyalty, your own honor, which is what makes this whole thing so hard.

You owe him your loyalty, you know that. You shouldn't be doing this, you know that. This never should have started, you know that!

She's walking down the hall towards you now, reading a book. This is wrong. You feel for the map in your pocket. This is wrong. A quick check shows that everyone is in the common room, and no teachers are in the vicinity. She looks up to see you standing there, smiles. This is wrong. You place a hand on her elbow and jerk your head towards the nearest door, an empty classroom. She nods, her eyes sparkling. This is wrong, so very, very wrong. You pull her in and shut the door behind you. She turns to face you, and quirks one slim eyebrow. You shouldn't be here! You shouldn't be doing this! You should have picked a safer spot to–.

And your lips are on hers, and your hands are fisted in her hair, and it's so right. The taste of her on your tongue, the feel of her hands on your neck, and you can't stop.

You stumble backwards as the kiss deepens, running into the desk, a sharp corner poking the bruise you got last full moon when –.

You wrench your lips away from her mouth, your hands from her skin. You need to move, to move away. You stumble away, hitting the wall and sliding down to collapse on the floor.

She still stands where you left her, her eyes betraying hurt and confusion. She catches your gaze for a long second, before you drop your eyes to stare at the floor.

She is motionless for a minute, before slowly padding over and sitting next to you, your knees touching. You shift, and the comforting brush of skin is gone.

She leans over to kiss you softly, but you turn your head sharply, and she gets a bit of ear and hair. Even so, it's enough to make you shiver.

She leans back slowly. Neither of you move.

“So that's it, then?” her voice is oddly calm. You turn your head to find her brilliant eyes filled with tears, a hopeless expression on her face.

Her eyes search yours, and you wonder what they find there. Are you sad? Disappointed? Hurt?

Because right now your thoughts are so jumbled, so screwed up, that you can't even think about what comes next.

Loyalty wars with Loyalty. Honor with Honor. Self-respect, Love, Honesty, Faithfulness swirl through your head. You are torn.

You were so sure. You were so sure. You saw her dot on the map, and you were so sure, you knew you needed to do this. But then you saw her smile, the way her lips curled up so easily, exposing a dimple on the left, then you kissed her, held her in your arms, and you were so sure you didn't.

She was right, she was good, she was all you ever needed, all you ever wanted –.

And then the feel of her was gone, and you knew.




You shut all else out.

Loyalty. She sees the shift in your eyes, and her eyes spill hot tears down her cheeks. You long to reach out, to hold her, kiss every tear away, and you almost–.

Honor. Your resolve stiffens and you break her gaze to stare at the floor. With some difficulty, you pick yourself off the floor and brush yourself off in a business-like fashion. Her face tilts up, and her eyes plead with you, to reconsider, to take it back, to tell her that you never meant it. You meet them with a hard stare.

Doesn't she know what you're doing? Doesn't she know what you're giving her?

You have been the most selfish person in all creation, if only for a few short weeks.

Doesn't she know? Can't she tell?

You have two options. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Be the most selfish person in the world . . .

Or do the noble thing, and walk away.

Family. You blink, shift your gaze to the door, pull it open, and start to leave.

“Why?” the broken word, splintered on a sob, causes tangible pain in your chest. Your fingernails dig into the wood of the door frame. You would do anything to not have heard the raw pain in her voice.

Answers fly through your head, but only one is right. You whisper it slowly, knowing that every word is the absolute truth, wishing that the circumstances were somehow different, hoping that it doesn't mean anything.

“James loves you.”

Your vision blurs even as you forcibly pull yourself over the threshold and shut the door quietly behind you.

You do the noble thing. Crack. You take a step. Crack. You're walking away now. Crack..You're hoping with every step, (Crack) that you'll hear the door open, (Crack) that she will come flying out after you, (Crack) that she'll shout that it doesn't matter, (Crack) that she doesn't care–.

The door opens.

You keep walking.


Footsteps quietly exit the room, stop, then pad slowly in the opposite direction.

Your heart stops its feeble cracking, and shatters into a million tiny pieces.

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