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[A/N] Hello all! I know, I've been.. what.. 2 months? I completely suck, I know. I've been.. uhh.. busy.. hehe. Not that that is any excuse... but well better late than never right? Right. And I'm sure (or at least I'm hoping) that you'll all like this chapter even though its sorta.. really sad.. but whatever. =) Enjoy and leave a review if you care to share your thoughts, tell me what you liked/disliked or if i made any stupid mistakes.. or if you just want to rant. ;-) Later taters! Lova y'all!

Chapter 14 - Tears and Truths

"Professor Dumbledore!" Peter was standing in front of the gargoyle that blocked the way into the headmaster's office. He tried again. "Professor Dumbledore!" There was no answer. He cursed in frustration, his mind racing for the password.

"Fizzing Whizzbees! .. Uhh.. Chocolate Frogs? No.. um.. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans... Uhh.. Butterbeer!.. Honeydukes... Zonkos! Mars Bars... Kit-Kat Bars... Droobles Best Blowing Gum... Ice Mice!.. Bloody hell what is it? ... Liquorice Wands! Smarties! Toffee! SKITTLES!"

To his immense surprise and relief, the gargoyle sprang to life, revealing the staircase which lead to Professor Dumbledore's office. He ran up the stairs, pounding on the office door, completely forgetting to be respectful in his panic. He fidgeted and knocked on the door again, meeker this time. Upon hearing the headmaster's welcoming voice, he rushed in.

"Professor Dumbledore, you've got to come quick. There's something wrong with Lily.. well we knew that there was something wrong since the day of the funeral, but she wouldn't tell us, and she's been fine since then so we thought nothing of it, but something happened and she's crying and she wont let anybody near her and..."

He trailed off as Professor Dumbledore held up a hand to silence him. The headmaster did not question him. "Lead the way, Mr. Pettigrew."

* * *

"Lily sweetie..." Carina's head was beginning to pound. 'Why did we have those stupid pina coladas?' "Calm down.. Shhh... We're here to help you honey.. we love you.." Lily didn't take any notice of her words. The redhead was sobbing fiercely into Carina's pajama top, mumbling things she couldn't understand.

Carina looked up at her friends, tears in her eyes. "I don't know what to do for her!" She said, tears pouring down her face. "I hate it. I can't help her! Why can't I help her?" she asked, her voice slightly slurred. Remus knelt down beside her.

"Cari, have you been drinking again?" Carina blushed, but ignored him and resumed rocking Lily back and forth. Remus looked into her face and sighed. "Rina, it's not your fault Lily's like this."

"But I can't help her.." Carina cried, hugging the still sobbing Lily to her even more tightly.

Remus kissed her gently on the cheek. "She'll be fine. We just have to get her away from here. Let go of her now sweety.." Carina shook her head. Remus tried to pry her arms away, but was startled when a somebody behind him yelled at the top of their lungs.


Carina immediately let go of Lily and backed herself up against the wall. She looked down at Lily, who was now being comforted by Aria.

She felt Remus' arm around her waist. She felt lost. She could hardly form a full thought and there was something the matter with Lily.

Remus looked around at his friends. Pete was gone to get Dumbledore, Sirius was trying to reason with his parents.. well, arguing viciously was more like it, and James was just sort of standing there, staring at Lily.

"James!" he said sharply, jolting him out of his stupor.

James jumped, blinking. He fell to his knees beside Lily and Aria, trying to soothe the redheaded girl and help Aria keep a straight head.

Lily heard somebody else beside her and looked up with frightened green eyes. She saw James' messy hair and froze, staring at him in fright. 'He yelled at me earlier.. he's going to hurt me!' She slowly backed away from him, breathing heavily, not knowing what to do or where to go. Alcohol and fear were both clouding her senses. She felt as if she was struggling to find her way in a fog.

"Lily... Lily I promise I will not hurt you. Lily, can you hear me? I will never, ever, hurt you. I promise you that. I promise, I promise, I promise on my life... on behalf of my poor little sister Sarah..." He was saying. Lily paused, looking at him. Looking into his hazel eyes.

Her fear was slowly deteriorating, her rational side was starting to come forth again. James wasn't going to hurt her. 'James wouldn't hurt me... I know he wouldn't... he may be an annoying prick at times, but he would never, ever hurt me..' Realizing this, she fell into his arms, feeling a fresh wave of sobs come over her.

James hugged her tightly, his worry winning out over his anger for the moment. His arms encircled her protectively. He wasn't going to let go.

Suddenly he became aware of Mrs. Black screaming about Carina's marriage to Snivellus, he suddenly realized that Cari was cowering in Remus' arms, and Sirius was screaming at his parents. He realized that they had acquired a rather large audience and that Aria was sitting on the floor holding Lily's hand, a somewhat dazed expression on her face.

The girls were drunk, scared and tired. They needed to get back to Gryffindor Tower. He looked down at Lily, gathered her up into his arms bridal-style and lifted her delicate frame as he locked eyes with Remus, who understood.

Remus bent down and pulled Aria from the ground so he was supporting both Aria and Carina on either side of him. Carina was still staring at her parents wide eyed as they screamed at Sirius.

Suddenly, the crowd parted and Professor Dumbledore appeared there, a look of pure outrage etched upon his normally passive features.

"What is the meaning of this Gertrude?" The headmaster asked with an even voice, although nobody missed the animosity in his gaze. "I was under the impression you were coming to the school to calmly discuss important matters with your children. You have no right to yell, scream or degrade them in any way. Also, I remember you promising that there would be a ministry official with you? To foresee the arrangements, as you put it."

There was a pause. The tension in the room could be cut with a knife. "Get out of my school." Professor Dumbledore said, venom not hidden in his voice. "You shall not be welcomed back until you can properly address your son and daughter as able, young adults with their own opinions and rather different values than yourself."

Mr. and Mrs. Black stood glaring at Professor Dumbledore, but neither spoke. "Get out."

Sirius and Remus exchanged glances, and decided that it would be better for them to leave. Peter, having returned to the Entrance Hall with the headmaster lead the way back to Gryffindor Tower in silence. Once through the portrait hole, the boys had an unspoken coversation and carried the half asleep girls up into the boy's dorms, so they could keep an eye on them.

James laid a now sleeping Lily on his own bed, covering her up to her chin with blankets, and tucking her in tight. Next, he conjured a cot for himself and sat down on it. He looked around the room at his friends. Aria was sitting somberly on Sirius' bed, staring at Lily. Sirius and Peter were sitting on Pete's bed, and Carina and Remus were sitting on Remus' bed, holding hands.

James looked over at Sirius, and caught his eye. Sirius made his way over to his best friend and sat down next to him on the little cot.

"We should probably try to get some sleep. The girls are still half-drunk, and Lily's asleep. We can't talk to her tonight, but tomorrow.. we are not going to leave this room until everything is out in the open, okay?"

James nodded, Sirius stood up and clapped him on the back, worried about his friend's forlorn expression. He walked over to his bed, and was almost surprised to find Aria sitting on it. He sat down next to her, and even with everything going on, he still couldn't help himself admire her albeit rather glossy, turquoise eyes.

"Are you going to be okay?" he whispered. She looked at him with her gorgeous big eyes. "I just feel so helpless... I only wanted tonight to be fun... Me and Cari were going to try to figure out what was wrong with Lily tonight.." She said, sounding distraught. "I didn't know that it was so bad.. I mean.. I..." but she trailed off as she started to break down.

Sirius didn't know what to do, so he did the only thing that seemed right, and put his arms around her, hugging her and trying to dismiss his rapidly beating heart at being so close to her, even if she was in distress.

Eventually she calmed down and pulled away from him. He gave her a weak smile, she returned it. "Thank you Sirius." she whispered, Sirius only managed another stupid weak smile. He stood up. "You can sleep here tonight." He told her quietly while conjuring a cot for himself.

She shook her head while massaging her forehead. "No, no. I couldn't do that. I'll sleep on the cot."

Sirius rolled his eyes and lay down on the cot. "Aria, just sleep on the bed."

She huffed. "Fine." She sat down and smiled. "Thanks."

"No Problem." He looked around at everybody else. Rina and Remus were already asleep on Remus' bed, cuddled up together, Lily was sleeping, Peter was sleeping, James was lying there on his cot, most likely not sleeping. Sirius sighed and closed his eyes, willing sleep to come.

* * *

James was the first one awake in the morning. He stared out the window, thinking about.. well, everything. He suddenly wondered what the date was, and realized that they'd missed Halloween. It was November 4th.

It was a very grey day outside. Dark clouds filled the sky, warning everybody that it was going to rain. It was going to be a very dreary day.

It fit his mood. A million things were going through his mind, and he didn't know how to process all his thoughts. He looked around the room at his sleeping friends and flicked his wand at the door. Nobody was going to leave that room until everything was out in the open.

They all needed to have a good long talk.

* * *

Lily was the last to wake. Groaning, she pulled the covers up over her head to dull the sounds of voices that were making her head pound.

All of a sudden the memory of the night before vividly flashed through her mind and she tightened her grip on the blankets, ashamed and afraid.


Her muscles jerked at the sound. She took a deep breath and pretended to still be asleep. Aria spoke again. "Lily, we all know your awake."

The redhead burrowed her head into the pillow, not getting up. She breathed in deeply. The pillow smelt good.

"Lily." Came another voice, male this time. "Lily, come on we've got to talk to you." It was Remus. She shook her head against the pillow.

Shame was burning at her stomach. How could she have been so weak? How? She didn't want to face her friends. They were going to make her tell them finally what happened. She was afraid.

She felt somebody sit down near her feet. "Lily, please.." Carina whispered.

Realizing that she couldn't stay curled up in bed forever avoiding her friends, she sighed and sat up slowly, massaging her temples.

She looked around the room and jumped as she saw that all 6 of them were staring at her.

She felt very self-conscious. "What?!" she asked nervously.

Nobody spoke. She considered her options. She concluded that she could either stay put with their powerful gazes on her, hide under the covers again, or make a run for the door.

A second later she threw the covers from her and bolted for the door. It was locked. She cursed out loud and slumped to the ground near the door, resigning herself to talking to her friends.

It was silent for a time, until Aria spoke. "Why are you hiding from us, Lily? We're all worried about you. We love you, whatever happened, you can't deal with it by yourself."

Lily closed her eyes and took a deep breath, willing herself not to cry.

She felt Aria sit down next to her, followed closely by who she suspected was Carina. A moment later, her suspicions were confirmed. "Lily, don't you know that we're here for you, no matter what?" Carina took her hand.

"She's right, you know." came Sirius' voice. "We've known each other a long time, even if we only really started hanging out this year. You've always been Cari's best friend, and the marauders have always looked out for you."

"You’re the one who's always telling me to talk to you, to confide in others and to not forget to live because of my condition, Lils." Remus reminded her gently.

Lily fought as hard as she could against the lump in her throat. She took a big shaky breath, biting her bottom lip. Her eyes were closed tightly.

"You can't deal with your demons by yourself Lily. We want to help you." Aria told her firmly.

"Let us help you Lily, please." Carina's voice broke. "Ria's right. You can't keep it all inside. It's not healthy."

Lily still didn't speak. She doubted whether her voice would have worked anyway.

"Please don't try to deal with it on your own. It's impossible. Believe me, I know. You can't do it by yourself..."

Lily cut Sirius off. "Yes I can." She said quietly.

She felt a pair of arms encircle her. "No, you can't."

Lily couldn't hold it anymore as she heard the truth in his words. She started to cry into Remus' shoulder. He held her close, rubbing her back. They'd been friends a long time, and it just about killed him to see her like this.

After a long while, she pulled away from her friend and looked him in the eye, thanking him without words. She looked around at everybody as she sat on the floor. Remus had pulled Cari into his arms, and Aria had placed herself on Lily's right side, picking at a dent in the floor, while every so often she'd glance over at Lily, her turquoise eyes watery.

Sirius was leaning against the bed closest to them, his eyes closed, and Peter was sitting cross-legged on the bed. James hadn't moved from his spot at the window. Lily stared at him as he glared out the window at the grey sky. She remembered the night before.

She got a hollow pang in her heart as she watched him. He was on the other side of the room. At the moment, she didn't want him so far away.

"Lily?" She looked at Aria, who had taken her hand in her own. Lily looked into her friend's eyes and knew what she was asking her.

She nodded and steeled herself. She tried to organize her thoughts, and opened her mouth. "He.." she swallowed painfully. "I.. I..." Tears filled her eyes. "I don't know where to start." she whispered, frustrated.

Aria squeezed her hand. "How about after... the service." Lily nodded, her eyes filling up once more as she thought of Sarah.

"I came out of the church with everyone... and I.. oh god I don't remember... I saw James..." Lily's eyes flickered toward the aforementioned boy "..and Cari talked to me... but then everybody disappeared... I didn't know where everybody went... so I started to follow everybody... somebody grabbed me by the arm, and I turned around to find it was... him.."

She paused for a second. ".. Brandon... he's always been a down right prat.. I mean, he's an ass.. but I... he.. James knows him, he's a stuck up prick.. but..." She realized she was rambling and took a deep breathe and plunged on.

"Anyway.. I'm not really sure what happened, but he was being his normal conceited self... but he wasn’t, you know? He was acting different.. like, he was actually being nice... and he comforted me... Argh! I hate him! I hate him! I hate him!" She let out a small sob as Carina pulled her into a hug.

"I was so.. so stupid!" Lily cried, "He told me he'd walk home with me... and I let him because he was being nice, and I thought that maybe he wasn't that bad after all... and then he told me he knew a shortcut home through the woods... and he convinced me to go... I figured that he knew more about the place then I did, being at Hogwarts so much... so I... I followed him..."

"It was a really long path... and it started to get a bit dark... and.. all of a sudden.. he.. he pushed me against a tree and... and kissed me..."

Lily was breathing heavily, her heart racing as she remembered. She forced herself to keep going. "I tried to get away.. but he hit me.. and I tried to run.. but I tripped and sprained my ankle... I didn't have my wand with me.. I'd left it at home.. and I couldn't get away... then a few other guys I didn't know showed up and.. and.. they all tried to.. to... they made me... they... I had to... to..."

She faintly realized that she was crying so hard that her stomach muscles hurt from the strain and that she'd curled herself up into a ball. She was picturing vividly the wild look in their eyes. She could feel the ghost of their meaty hands groping her, forcing her to do things she didn't want to do... She shuddered and forced herself to keep talking.

"And then... He made them leave.. he said he wanted me all to.. to himself... and then it was just us... and I tried to crawl away, but he hit me again.. and he kicked me.. and... and..." She trembled at the memory.

"But I managed to get away before he... he could.. he tried... to.. to..." She took a deep breath and licked her dry lips. "..but something distracted him.. and then I ran.. I ran so fast. I don't think I'd ever ran that fast in my life. Then i found you guys."

Mentally and physically drained, she collapsed into Aria and Carina's arms, crying in earnest.

She looked up at them with watery green eyes and whispered, "I'm sorry."

She felt somebody's arms around her, making her look up at them. "For what?" Sirius asked, his eyes ablaze with anger and concern.

More tears spilt from Lily's eyes. "For telling you.. for not telling you.. for being so stupid.. for burdening you with this when everything else is going on too."

"Lily, look at me." She looked up into Sirius' pale blue eyes. "You have nothing to be sorry for. You are not a burden. You're our friend. If anything, I'm sorry."

She looked at him, wondering what the hell he could be sorry about. He answered her unasked question. "You’re like another sister to me Lils.. I'm sorry for not protecting you like I should have, like a brother should."

Lily couldn't help but smile at him through her tears. "Oh, Sirius.." He pulled her into a hug and she dissolved into tears again.

James still hadn't moved from his place at the window. He wasn't sure Lily wanted him to. He wasn’t sure he could look at her. He wasn’t sure that he would be able to be strong for her if he looked at her. He wasn’t sure of anything, so he sat there, staring into the grey sky as the clouds finally opened up and rain poured down in torrents.

His fists were clenched, his heart broken, his pulse rapid, his temper short, and his cheeks wet. He didn't know what to do. How had he allowed this to happen?

Brandon Stone was going to get what was coming to him, that was for certain.

He finally allowed himself to look at her. He could only see the side of her face as Sirius hugged her. He could see the tear stains. Her hair was messy, her makeup from the day before was smudged, she was pale. She had also fallen asleep.

He watched as Sirius carried her to his, James’, bed and laid her down. He felt as if he was rooted in place. He didn't know what to do. He just stared at her as she lay on his bed, asleep. 'Merlin, she's beautiful...'

He was abruptly wrenched out of his reverie as Aria stood before him and slapped him with all the strength she could muster.

He stared at her in shock. "What?"

She stood there, her expression mutinous. Her now-short blonde hair was a mess and her cheeks were wet with tears. He had no idea what he had done.

"What is the matter with you?" she asked him, looking as if her energy was spent in that one slap. He opened his mouth to speak, but she cut him off. "You say all the time that you love Lily so bloody much, but now, when she needs us all the most all you do is sit there!"

She waited for his response, her hands on her hips. James had never seen her lose her temper like this before. It was frightening. "She wouldn't have let me.." he trailed off.

Aria scoffed. "She let you yesterday!" she pointed out. "She needs us all now. And you can't offer her the support and comfort and the friend's ear that she needs if you sit there and stare at the rain, James!"

Anger started to rise within him. "I don't know what to do for her, Aria!"

"You didn't even look at her." Her voice was like ice. "James, sometimes you are so bloody stupid! I saw Lily look at you. Did you think that for one minute during that speech, that maybe it would have been nice for her if you met her eye while she was baring her soul to us, to you? Or something that would have shown you care? In the name of merlin, James! For somebody who claims to be so desperately in love with Lily, you sure have a bloody great way of showing it!"

Her words stung. He didn't know what to say.

His eyes burned with tears. He felt like shit, but he was angry too. Fury was welling up inside of him. "Don't you think for one bloody minute that I don't care about Lily." he said in an even voice. "Don't you dare imply it. I would do anything for that girl."

"Then why.."

"I couldn't look at her!" he exploded. "I couldn't bear to see the look on her face. I hate to see her hurt. I hate it! I can't bloody stand it when I can't help her. I'd give anything for her to be okay, for her not to hurt, for her to smile."

He stopped talking when he saw the look on Aria's face. Her face was lit up with a big, watery-eyed smile. He was flabbergasted when she gave him a huge hug. "There's our James back." she whispered. "Now, prove it."

* * *

As Lily slept, the rest of the friends took the time to calm themselves down, to clear their minds. Sirius was doodling on the back of somebody's essay that had been lying around, Peter was reading a comic strip, and Aria was picking through Sirius' trunk to find something to do. Meanwhile, James was still slightly disconcerted about Aria's little.. confrontation, and Carina and Remus had disappeared behind the hangings around Remus' bed, which would explain Sirius' not-so-casual glances toward the bed.

"Hey, what's this?"

As she was desperately trying to distract herself from her thoughts, Aria started to pick through Sirius' trunk and had pulled out a black, folded piece of paper. Her eyebrows rose. 'Now.. what could this be?'

The blonde highly doubted that Sirius would have had this carefully folded piece of parchment hidden in his trunk if it was just a regular piece of paper.

Sirius, having looked up at her words, made a mad jump for the parchment. "Hey, leave that alone!" Aria held it out of his reach, grinning.

"What, this?" She grinned coyly. "Now what would you want with this blank, unremarkable piece of parchment?"

Sirius growled. "Blasphemy!" he screamed as he made another wild leap for the paper. Aria laughed.

"Then if it actually isn't a blank piece of parchment, what is it?"

Sirius glowered at her. She grinned widely. "Oh, well then I guess you wouldn't mind me keeping it. I'm running a little low on parchment."

"Arianna!" Sirius yelled, reaching again for the map but Aria moved at the last second and he fell head first over his own bed. The blonde burst out laughing.

"I think that is the first time you've ever called me Arianna." she told him airily before returning to the point at hand. "Now, this couldn't possibly be that thing that you boys are always mooning over, that you bring everywhere, yet I haven't been able to actually look at yet, could it?"

Sirius said up and looked over the bed at her, pouting. She bit her lip to keep from laughing and turned her attention to the parchment. She unfolded it, but it was blank. "Man, I don't have my wand. What is it?" She whined, turning to Sirius and giving him a sad, 'lost-puppy dog' look.

He caved. "It's a map of Hogwarts." He sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. Aria grinned at him. "Show me?"

He took out his wand and motioned for her to come closer. She handed him the parchment and he put his wand to it. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

Aria laughed and rolled her eyes. "Only you four..."

Sirius grinned at her. She looked down as lines started to spread all over the parchment to form words. "Messrs.. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs proudly present the Marauder's Map." she read aloud. "Ooh! This is pretty damn cool, Sirius."

He opened it and she breathed out deeply in wonder, smiling. "Nice." she commented sincerely. Sirius grinned proudly as he watched her pretty face light up as she examined the map.

His heart fluttered as she looked up at him and smiled a smile he'd never seen on her face before. It was a tight-lipped smile that reached all the way up into the twinkle in her beautiful eyes. A smile that expressed something he'd never seen before, and couldn't quite put a finger on.

As he smiled back, the world didn't seem as bad as it usually did, with the rising dark lord and the pricks who try to take advantages of girls. Her special smile lit up the whole world, his whole world.

But, bloody hell, he didn't understand it.

* * *

Remus held Carina close to him as he sat against the headboard of his bed. His mind was racing. He couldn't get Lily's words out of his head. He couldn’t stop thinking about how much he'd love to meet Brandon Stone during a full moon...

But he had other things on his mind as well.

Quietly, he said "Cari?". She looked up at him and sat up, holding his hand between them. Quickly, he placed a silencing charm around the bed so that they wouldn't be heard. "I want to talk to you about something."

She nodded, waiting as she saw the serious look in his eyes.

"That night, when you, Aria and Lily had that girls night, what was wrong? Why did you drink so much?"

"Remus, I told you.." He shook his head. "No, you didn't. Be honest, I know that there was more to it. What's the matter?"

Carina didn't speak for a minute. She looked away, tucking her hair behind her ear. Finally, she spoke. "I just felt alone." she said in a quiet voice that made Remus’ heart ache.


She looked him in the eye. "Because when I eventually do have to marry Snape, because I will, Remus. I can't hide forever.." She felt as if a cold hand was squeezing her heart tight as she admitted her fears aloud. "Because when I do, I'll be alone. Totally alone with that foul monster, and I'm scared. I don't want to!"

Remus squeezed her hand. "You'll never be alone."

She sighed. "Remus.." He cut her off. "No Rina, you are not going to marry him." He told her firmly.

Tears of despair filled her eyes. "Yes I will! I can't hide forever! They'll find me and I'll have to. That's the way it's going to work, and it's time we realized that!"

Remus was shaking his head. "No."

"How? Answer me that. How will I..." She trailed off as he looked her in the eye and gave her a small, sincere smile.

"Just trust me."

Carina sighed. She wanted to believe him so much it hurt, but she didn't know if she could. She didn't want to set her heart up for any more of a fall than it was already going to take. There was nothing he could do that would save her from that fate.

Her eyes burned with unshed tears as she finally gave into the horror which would be her future. She would be married to Severus Snape, and there was nothing she could do about it.

But she could enjoy the rest of the year. She could help her friends get ready for their lives. They had such opportunity, and she would see to it that they took every one. Lily would get better and realize that James was perfect for her. Sirius and Aria would finally get together. Remus would, she choked back a sob at the thought, find somebody else, and Peter would do alright for himself and be happy. Unlike her.

She looked into her boyfriend's handsome face, into his warm blue eyes so filled with the hope that she had given up on. She forced a small, fake smile and told Remus the lie that he wanted to hear. "Okay."

* * * * *

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