Forty two seconds. That’s how long it took for the ice inside me to melt. In my life I could probably have spent that amount of time doing absolutely nothing. Sitting in class watching the clock. Standing in line at the apparation office. All of which wasted that span of time. Standing there I wished I was in those two situations. This was the most anxiety worn forty two seconds of my life.
When I walked in I took off my shades. I regretted that decision deeply now. My face was no trouble to compose but my eyes weren’t that effortless. It normally took a bit of difficulty to manage my usual cold, emotionless façade. Now it was impossible. With him starring at me with such intensity I couldn’t think. I can’t even breathe. All the others were looking at me too but I didn’t care. I knew that they didn’t trust me. The funny thing about Hogwarts is you can be a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw and a Gryffindor and associate with one another casually. But if you’re a Slythern you are treated like dirt. No one but Slythern’s talk to you. So if you don’t get along with them then you don’t get along with anybody. It’s been awhile since I’ve been glared at in that perspective. I’ve forgotten how quickly the hatred for them spreads to my veins.
“Well that convenes this meeting,” Dumbledore breathed pressing his finger tips together thoughtfully. “I hope to see you all on Wednesday. Sirius, Benji and Remus don’t forget to pick up your assignments for tonight.”
“Yes sir.” They answered in three identical low grunts.
Dumbledore smiled down the table at the other Order members. “You may all leave.”
A few of them stood up and left. One –I think his name is Rick Vance- gave me a fleeting smile. Which isn’t much but at least he doesn’t hate my guts. Hesitantly I decided I would just go talk to Dumbledore briefly and then leave. The remaining members conversed among themselves. On the way down the long table I heard that unfortunately they were all gossiping not-so-subtly about me. Emmeline Vance was the most evident. She waited until I walked behind her to whisper to Dorcas Meadowes that I was a bitch. Dorcas didn’t say anything in response but I felt her gaze on my face. Distantly I found that interesting because I can’t ever remember talking to her. Funny huh? Dumbledore seemed to be the only one immune to feeling instant hatred towards me. He smiled at me warmly as I approached.
“You don’t have to call me Professor anymore Juliette.” He reminded me with a chuckle.
I shifted my weight self consciously. “Mr. Dumbledore sounds….awkward.”
"Why not try my first name?"
"I would feel far too rude referring to you by your first name." I laughed shakily.
He conceeded, “Well then why don’t you just call me Dumbledore?”
I frowned and thought it over. “Alright… That will work.”
“Feeling out of place?” He commented quietly as a few other people left the room.
It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how incredibly dry my mouth was. “You could say that…”
He put his hand on my shoulder, “You should go over. They want to apologize.”
“I should,” I sighed and gave him a half-hearted smile, “ But I don’t know if I can be the bigger person.”
"You've come a long way since Hogwarts. You should let them see that."
I nodded and walked away.
It had nothing to do with Lily and James. The reason I didn’t want to go over there was because Sirius was sitting right in between them. Dumbledore looked at me and again I felt like he was x-raying me. In my vulnerable state I was unsure of whether I was just getting paranoid or if Dumbledore was just more powerful than I knew. Seconds later he broke the glance and smiled. It wasn’t like before either. This smile was knowing, like he just understood my life story with that one brief glance. It wasn’t really creepy but it wasn’t exactly heartwarming either. I checked my watch and tried to think of a good enough excuse to leave. I should be a stronger person. I should be able to take this. To be able to just walk right up to him and not feel a thing. The funny thing is if it were anybody else I would have. But with Sirius I never could.
“Well …I’m going to-“ I began but Dumbledore cut me off before I could escape.
The pair stood up and walked over. They both looked like they were going to the dentist. “Um...” Potter started in an unenthusiastic tone. “I want to apologize for," He paused to clear his throat,"…jumping to conclusions.”
I faked a very very weak smile. “It’s fine.”
“Thank you.” Lily muttered sincerely but quietly.
Dumbledore intervened before the conversation died out. “May I ask where you found her?”
“A building in downtown London.”
James grimaced and wrapped his arm around Lily. “Was she really badly hurt?”
I could have bragged. I could have told him the truth and said that she would have died if I had left her there but I didn’t. “She’s fine now.” I made a point to look down at my watch. “Well, I’ll see you all on Wednesday.”
“Bye.” The three of them echoed.
Alice Prewett, Dan Crestner, Tom Lengthen and Sirius were the only people left at the table as I went out. Before I reached the door I looked back just once. He was staring at me. I walked away and felt my body trembling. When I reached the door I felt myself losing control. It was like slicing a knife through an old but never fully healed wound. I apparated back to my loft.
For a second I worried Renee may be home. After saying hello three times I began to appreciate the fact that she wasn’t. Then right there in the living room I broke down completely. There he was. Just sitting there. Staring at me. He didn’t say a word to me. I wouldn’t even think he knew I was there if he wasn’t constantly looking at me. Why didn’t he say something? Something mean, something nice. Why didn’t he just say something? Running into the bathroom I didn’t even bother to take off my clothes. I tugged the nozzle on and sat in the tub as the shower dropped cold water onto my body. Rocking back and forth I hugged my knees to my chin. Memories I avoided for years came back to haunt me.
“What happened to you?” Parker asked me quietly as I lowered the book from my face.
My face was automatically dark and sullen, “I’m disowned…You shouldn’t talk to me.”
“Jules what happened?” His voice was low and worried.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I paused to bit my lip, “Believe me you don’t want to know.”
He placed his hand over mine. “Jules you’re starting to scare me. You’ve been MIA for two weeks and you look like …”
“Hell?” I finished for him with a bitter expression.
“Who did this to you?” His voice was soft but there was a protective undercurrent of rage.
I closed my eyes and rubbed my right temple. “Just go okay?”
“I’m not going to ditch you. Why would you think that?”
“Look around. In the past day have you seen Angie and Taylor even glance in my direction? I had to move out of the Slythern common room last night because they wouldn’t even acknowledge me when the other girls made me leave. I’ve been disowned. My family doesn’t want me anymore. My friends pretend I don’t exist.” Hollow tears filled my black eyes, “If you know what’s good for you, you will leave me.”
He didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t the type to give in to depression but back then it took me over. I couldn’t draw breath without feeling agonizing pain. Not just emotionally either.
Yaxley shot another crucio through me with a smirk as Nott held me back. Blood rushed out of my mouth and down my jaw. My eyes were bloodshot and hazy. After so many hits I was beginning to lose consciousness. It was getting to the point where I was losing the will to fight. Nott was no longer holding me back but holding me up. I was getting weaker by the second. I should have been stronger. I’d been through worse but I couldn’t make myself care as much I needed to.
Coming up Yaxley grabbed my hair and lifted my head. “This is what we think of blood traitors.”
“Why don’t you look in the mirror when you say that?” I whispered in a weak tone.
“What did you say?” He growled in a threatening tone.
I took a series of uneven breaths then gritted my blood covered teeth. “Go fuck yourself.”
It wasn’t the smartest response but I was half dead when I said it...Clenching my eyes shut tighter I tasted blood on my lip from where my teeth were. The bathroom door suddenly opened and Renee came in. “What are you doing?”
“Remember that guy I told you about? The one who broke my heart?” No need to be subtle. Not now.
She squinted her eyes and squatted down next to the tub. “Yeah.”
“I saw him today.” I must look like how I feel by the sudden understanding her eyes. “I just joined the Order of The Phoenix and he’s in it.”
“The Order of the Phoenix? Like the Greek order?”
“Yeah except it’s against Voldemort.”
She frowned concernedly. “Did he say anything to you?”
“No. He just... stared at me.”
“Come on.” Renee grabbed the tops of my arms and lifted me to my feet. “Merlin you’re trembling…”
I shook my head, “I’ll be fine.”
She glared at me for lying but didn’t say anything.
Calmly she took me into my room and tucked me into my bed. For someone who just took a warm shower I felt so cold. Somehow I didn’t have to say anything else. She just covered me in covers and shut my door shut. His voice echoed in my head, ‘“I’ll come after you. Always.”’
The next day I woke up to a headache. It was awful. Clumsily I headed into the living room. I pressed my hand to the side of my head achingly and found that the flat was empty. She left a note. It reminded me that I had a mandatory day off today. Renee thought I should lay low and if I go out only to visit Mim. It was a good idea. I hadn’t visited Mim in a month. Grabbing some headache medicine I shoved the pills into my ajar mouth and sipped some tap water. I knew the worst was over. My headache was entirely stressed produced and the only way to calm it down would be to actually take a day off. I’d never really taken a day off since I started working. Even on the days I was required to take off –they force us to take so many days off of active duty so we don’t crack up- I usually still go into the ministry and file paperwork.
Going into the bathroom I poured myself a bath and took off my damp clothes from the night before. I never told Renee his name and she never asked. I’d known Renee for two and a half years and lived with her for one. Of all the people I have been friends with in my life Renee is the only person who I trusted enough to tell her how I became disowned. The reason is that I know that she wouldn’t ever judge me. Nik would have been furious that I never came to him. He would have conveniently forgotten that we only started talking four months after I was disowned and that at the time of my renouncement he and I hadn’t spoken in years. Now we were different but he still wouldn’t understand. Parker and I never talked about any of it. I’ve been friends with him for nearly fifteen years but we just can't seem to go there. Mim…I could never tell her. It would break her heart to know the entire truth about her daughter and son in-law. Sure she had her theories but she had never so much as shared one with me.
Lying in the water I held my breath and slipped underneath the water. I heard nothing. Not that sound of the cars on the streets, not the wind on the trees outside. I heard nothing. It was peaceful. When I ran out of air I regrettably breeched the surface and took a deep breath. Loudly my ears popped and I let out a deep and heavy sigh. Ten minutes later I was fully dressed and starving. I’d never been much of a cook. I’m able to make enough for myself but I never could make enough food for another person. While choosing between cereal and eggs I heard a loud knock on the door. With a frown I answered it. Of all the people I didn’t expect to see Lorenzo at my door with a black eye and ice pack. Moving out of the way I shut the door behind him and went back into the kitchen. Somehow him appearing made me choose eggs.
“Want some eggs?”
He shook his head as he lay down on my couch. “No. Where were you today? It’s one and you’re not at work.”
“I have the day off remember?”
“Yeah,” he readjusted his ice pack sullenly, “But you always come in.”
I shrugged in response. I hated that he knew that about me. I hated being predictable. “Want a bigger bag of ice?”
“Can’t you fix it?”
“I will after I eat.”
He didn’t say anything. I felt his eyes on me but I didn’t say anything. Simply I just got the eggs out of the refrigerator and began cooking. Once I was done I turned everything off and put them on a plate. His expression was fathomless as I sat across from him and began eating. After a minute I realized he was watching me. Not in a creepy stalker way but in an observational curious way. Still I found his abrupt curiosity odd.
“So would you like to tell me why you are staring at me?”
“You’re not going to ask what happened?” His voice showed his surprise.
I shook my head indifferently. “If you want to tell me you will.”
“What happened to you?”
That question struck me as odd. I didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have normally said or done anything I wouldn’t normally do. What made him think there was something wrong? “What do you mean?”
“Your eyes are puffy.” He commented blankly.
“Um…yeah.” I responded lamely.
Lorenzo leaned forward curiously. “Not going to share?”
“Nothing to tell.”
“See I think it’s gotten to the point where you are so good at lying you don’t even realize when you're doing it anymore.”
I furrowed my eyebrows. “If I’m so good at it then why don’t you believe me?”
“Because I know you…Something’s off. I’m concerned.” He admitted under his breath.
“You’re concerned?” I raised my eyebrows mockingly. “Thanks… I think.”
“Well someone has to worry about you.” He muttered quietly.
“Ah you’re forgetting about Renee, Nik, Mim-“
“I’m talking about someone who actually knows what you go through day in and day out.”
I wanted to yell at him. To tell him that he didn’t know me at all. That he had no idea what I went through or who I was before he met me. I wanted to explain that if he had known me then he most likely wouldn’t be having this conversation with me now. Looking down I noticed my fists were clenched. I relaxed my hands and put my plate in the sink.
“Alright I give.” I could do the whole …supportive thing. I sat next to him and took out some healing solution. “How’d you get the black eye?”
Chapter 1; Somebody Told Me By: The Killers.
Chapter 2; Take It or Leave It By: JET.
Chapter 3; For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic By: Paramore.
Chapter 4; You By: Switchfoot.
Chapter 5; (Bang, Bang) My Baby Shot Me Down By: Nancy Sinatra.
All the songs behind the titles above. THANK YOU FOR READING! I hope you like it. I know, I know you all wanted there to be a Juliette/Sirius show down but trust me when I say it was neccesary to post-pone it. PLEASE REVIEW!
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