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 Chapter 23: You Tried to Turn Away

 

Thursday February 26th, 7:02 am

 

By Sunday everyone had heard of my breakup with Sirius, they were so consumed by the fact that Sirius and I had broken up that few had noticed his separation with James, Peter and Remus. Meals in the Great Hall had gone from loud boisterous affairs, to quiet moments at the Gryffindor table, reserved for only eating and no banter or laughter. Sirius's usually loud laughter no longer filled the giant space and the missing of his presence didn't go unnoticed by anyone. Sirius had taken to avoiding social gatherings of any sort altogether, opting to eat at other times where he wouldn't have to face people.

 

In order to distract myself I had taken to studying classes, realizing that having the Marauders in my life had kept me from my studies and my grades had started slipping. Any spare moment I had was spent in the library, keeping my head in the books, not looking around or listening to other people's conversations. It seemed anywhere I went people were talking about me and Sirius, they didn't even try to hide the fact they were talking to me when I passed them.

 

As for James, Remus and Peter they tried to go unnoticed as well. When I looked at them it was like looking at a jewel that had been thrown in the dirt, something that was once beautiful and shined but had been reduced to a dull sparkle. I had hardly talked to them since that night, it was like we were trying to avoid the thing that had torn everyone apart.

 

At breakfast Remus sat down next to me for the first time in a few days. He looked at me, his eyes dull. “Have you talked to him?” He asked, trying to sound casual as he smeared marmalade on his toast.

 

I shook my head as I took a sip of my pumpkin juice, hoping the liquid would prevent my voice from cracking. “No, he's tried to talk to me. Whenever I turn a corner I'm afraid I'm going to run into him and have to face him.” The weekend had been easy enough to avoid Sirius, I was either in the library or in my dorm room, neither or which would contain him. Now that I had class it had become increasingly more difficult to avoid him. “What's happened with Snape, as far as I know he hasn't let word slip on what happened the other night.”

 

“James was smart and took Snape to Dumbledore right away. Luckily, Snape was so hung up on exposing me for being a werewolf that he completely forgot about the fact we were animagi.”

 

“How did Dumbledore manage to get Snape to not tell anyone?”

 

Remus smirked, “well he said it was either not tell anyone or he would have to rather unfortunately erase his memory from that night.”

 

I was grateful for the constant support he showed for Remus's condition. I looked at Remus who seemed to feel the same. For a moment things felt resolved as we smiled at each other, but then Sirius came into my thoughts. “How is he doing?”

 

Remus's smirk fell from his face and he glanced down the Gryffindor table. I was shocked to see Sirius sitting at the end of the table by himself. I hadn't noticed him walk in. He was hardly recognizable at the moment, he looked like he hadn't brushed his hair in days or shaved and his robes were wrinkled and looked like he hadn't changed his clothing.

 

Sirius reached up and brushed his bangs away from his face, his eyes were cast down and he picked at his food, none of it actually reaching his mouth. Despite his disheveled appearance he was still incredibly handsome and for a moment I let myself miss him and longed to have his arms wrapped around me again. I shook my head and quickly let the thoughts fall from my mind.

 

“How have you been?” Remus asked as he placed a gentle hand on my shoulder.

 

I looked at him briefly but was unable to meet his eyes as sadness overcame me. “I miss him but I'm still incredibly mad at what he did. I thought I knew him, I thought he was more mature and careful, but clearly he's not. How could I ever trust his judgement after he did that?”

 

“I know what you mean,” Remus said with a heavy sigh as he dropped his hand from my shoulder and raked the hand through his hair. “I can't figure out what he was thinking when he pulled that stint, he was incredibly stupid. I know he realizes what he did was reckless and I'm sure he'll never do something like it again after this-”

 

“You sound like you're forgiving him,” I said sharply.

 

“In time I will.”

 

“How could you ever forgive him?” I said in shock, I couldn't quite believe what Remus was saying to me.

 

“Sirius made a mistake, a huge mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. He's realized what he's done and he's learned from it, I'm not ready to forgive him, but when the time comes I'll be happy to have him back. He's like my brother, no matter what family does to you you can never abandon them. Well, not the family we've created anyway,” Remus said in reference to Sirius's actual family who had abandoned him. Remus cast a sideways glance at me, “are you saying you're never going to forgive him?”

 

“No,” I said firmly as I stood up from the table and threw my backpack over my shoulders. “And I don't know how you could either.”

 

I ignored everyone's stares as I excited the Great Hall. I managed to sneak a glance at Sirius whose eyes were locked onto me. I almost stopped walking when I saw that his eyes held nothing in them, they were blank as if no life existed behind them. He stood up from his chair and I turned away from him, hurrying my pace to class, realizing with dread that I had Transfiguration next and that contained Sirius.

 

“Avery,” I heard my name call from behind me. I didn't turn around, knowing it was Sirius calling for me.

 

I started walking faster, my backpack bouncing noisily behind me. I had almost reached the classroom when I ran into something hard. I fell backwards and my books spilled out behind me. I looked up and there was nothing that explained the sudden impact. I reached out and my hand came into touch with an invisible barrier. I looked behind me and caught Sirius stuffing his wand back into his pocket. I angrily shook off my backpack and started piling my books back into it.

 

“Remove the shield,” I demanded as Sirius came to a stop in front of me.

 

“I need to talk to you,” Sirius said quietly.

 

I shoved the last book in my backpack and stood up, looking up at him. “I don't want to talk Sirius. There's nothing to talk about.”

 

“Please, Avery,” Sirius begged as he stared at me.

 

“Don't do this,” I said, hardly able to contain my emotions with Sirius standing so close to me. “Leave me alone.”

 

“I'm so sorry,” Sirius whispered. Without having time to react he reached out his hand and placed it on my cheek. Without thinking I let myself rest in the palm of his hands and a sigh almost escaped my lips before I realized what I was doing. I looked at Sirius who looked hopeful and jerked away from his touch.

 

“I don't care,” I hissed. “I want you to leave me alone.”

 

“Avery don't do this, I love you.”

 

My heart seemed to stop beating as the words left his lips. I was frozen in my spot and couldn't shake off his words. I felt sadness sweep through me as I realized that I had lost the person I loved.

 

I stood staring at him in the hallway, not quite sure what to do. My initial reaction was to immediately respond with 'I love you too' after having said it so many times before. The full realization of what had happened the other night hit me like a ton of bricks. In that moment I realized I'd never say I love you to Sirius Black again.

 

People started filing out from the Great Hall and their presence broke my train of thought. I turned away from Sirius and stepped inside of the Transfiguration room, taking a seat near the back corner to avoid being seen. Slowly the class started filling up and I kept my eyes cast towards my desk in order to avoid seeing Sirius. I sensed someone approach my table and they hovered awkwardly by the empty seat.

 

“Is it alright if I sit here?”

 

I looked up and saw a girl from Hufflepuff that I recognized but didn't know her name. She was short with blonde hair and brown eyes, a small hesitant smile on her lips. “Sure,” I responded dully as I retrieved my parchment and quill from my backpack.

 

“Thanks,” she said as she sat in the seat next to me and took out her things as well. “I'm Cassi Ames by the way, we've never been properly introduced before.”

 

“I'm Avery Muze,” I said in a half-hearted introduction.

 

“I think everyone knows who you are at this point,” Cassi said in a conversational manor.

 

I looked at her for a moment, not quite understanding the point of her comment. I hope she didn't sit next to me in order to get information out of me. Before I could question the reasoning behind Cassi's seating choice the girl in front of me spun around abruptly and pointedly looked at me.

 

“Is it true that Sirius threw you in front of a heard of Thestrals while you two were having a row?” The girl asked me point blank.

 

I opened my mouth to respond but was instantly cut off by Cassi. “Oi, Diedra, what business is it of yours? Bugger off.”

 

“What are you, Avery's body guard?” Diedra huffed angrily.

 

“Maybe I am,” Cassi said retrieving her wand from her pocket and pointing it at Diedra. “Want to test me?”

 

Diedra looked at Cassi through narrowed eyes and scoffed before saying, “whatever,” and turning around in her seat.

 

I looked at Cassi gratefully, “where have you been the last four months of my life?”

 

Cassi smiled as she put her wand in her pocket. “Even I'm getting sick of how often people are talking about you, I couldn't even imagine being on the receiving end of it.”

 

“Thank you,” I said before McGonagall came out of her office and stood in the front of the class, tapping her wand on the front board and gaining everyone's attention.

 

McGonagall explained our lesson for the day and we were told to transform a hat into a rock and then back to its original form. McGonagall demonstrated the task we were assigned and left the steps on the board. She stalked the isles as we began to do our assigned task.

 

“When would it ever be useful to transform something into a rock during battle?” Cassi muttered under her breath, “what are we going to do, stone them to death?”

 

I laughed for what felt like the first time in months. “If you transformed enough objects into rocks I'm sure you could create a rock barricade of sorts, I'm sure that would prevent Voldemort from attacking us.”

 

Cassi laughed loudly at my comment which gained McGonagall's attention. Her lips tightened as she swooped over to us. “What are you finding so amusing about this lesson?”

 

“Nothing Professor, I was merely choking,” Cassi said instantly, keeping her calm.

 

McGonagall raised a strict eyebrow at Cassi and I, “is that so Ms. Ames? Well I'm sorry about your current health condition, but assuming you are back to health would you and Ms. Muze care to demonstrate the lesson for the day to me?”

 

“We would be delighted,” Cassi said pointing her wand at her hat and instantly changing it to a rock and then back to the hat.

 

“Very well,” McGonagall said before rounding in on me. “Now you, Ms Muze.”

 

I took a steading breath as I pointed my wand at my hat. Unfortunately I didn't have the same result as Cassi and my hat just turned grey.

 

“You could use a bit more practice Ms Muze, why don't you try paying closer attention.” McGonagall stalked away as I slumped in my seat and looked at my hat dejectedly.

 

“It is not my week,” I said dejectedly as I placed my wand on the table and rubbed my eyes.

 

“If you want I could help you with Transfiguration later,” Cassi offered.

 

“Thanks,” I said offering Cassi a weak smile as I picked up my wand and tried to complete to assignment.

 

 

I was on my way back to the common room after lunch when I heard a loud commotion coming from down the hallway. I listened intently and could hear a couple of voices, but I was too far to recognize any of them. As I got closer I heard a low drawl and immediately recognized it as Snape's voice. I moved to turn around but the next words that came out of Snape's mouth stopped me.

 

“Not so tough without your friends, are you Black?”

 

I hurried over to the voices and peaked around the corner of the wall. I saw Snape with his wand drawn and pointed at Sirius who remained hunched over without a wand. Sirius didn't even look like he was going to fight back, he looked helplessly at Snape as if he wasn't sure what to do. Surrounding Snape was Bellatrix and Regulus who both had their wands drawn and were looking at Sirius victoriously.

 

“Did your friends finally come to their senses and realize how pathetic you truly are Black?” Snape said menacingly.

 

“Don't do this,” Sirius said halfheartedly, sounding almost pleading to Snape.

 

Everyone but Sirius burst out into laughter. “What is this, is Sirius Black asking to be released. Why aren't you fighting back, Black?” Bellatrix added as she neared Sirius, prodding his back with her wand. Sirius stiffened but did nothing as they continued to taunt him. “Poor pathetic Sirius, not even his own family wanted him.” Bellatrix kept her wand on Sirius's body as she moved around him. “First your family, then your friends, and now your girlfriend. Merlin Sirius, how many people are you going to scare off until you realize you're better off alone.” She stopped once her wand was pointed at his chest, looking at him menacingly. “No one is going to miss you if you're gone. Levicorpus.” Bellatrix said as Sirius was lifted off the ground and hung upside down.

 

His arms dangled pathetically above his head as he closed his eyes and breathed heavily. I could see his wand jutting out from his pocket, it was at his disposal so I couldn't figure out why he hadn't used it to fight back yet.

 

“What should we do with him,” Bellatrix mauled over as she stared at Sirius. “Severus, you have some useful curses at your disposal. Why don't we try some of them out.”

 

Snape happily stepped forward, his wand drawn and a determined look on his face. “Sectum sempra,” Snape declared. The curse was sent to Sirius but another spell was casted from behind me and detoured Snape's curse, sending it so that it hit the top of Sirius's arm, creating a gash.

 

I looked behind me and saw Lily rushing forward, her wand held up in front of her as she looked at the scene. “What is going on here,” she demanded. “Let Sirius down now,” she said sternly.

 

Snape looked at Lily and was about to fight back but his face softened the smallest amount and he flicked his wand, letting Sirius fall to the ground. Sirius picked himself up from the ground and placed his hand over his wound as blood stained his shirt.

 

“Thirty points from Slytherin,” Lily chastised. “Don't think I wont be reporting this to Dumbledore, I expect all of you to follow me to his office now. Avery,” she said whirling around and turning to me. The rest of the group turned towards me and looked shocked, not having noticed me before. “Take Sirius to the hospital wing to get his wound healed.”

 

“But-” I started to argue.

 

“Avery, I can't deal with this right now. I have to take this lot to Dumbledore, I”m afraid you're going to have to escort Sirius to the hospital wing to make sure he's okay. Can you do that?”

 

I looked at Sirius who was staring at the ground and numbly nodded at Lily. She turned around and had her wand drawn as she marched Slytherin's forward, standing behind them with her wand drawn. Sirius said nothing as he walked past me, not even acknowledging me.

 

I moved to follow Sirius, obeying Lily's orders but Sirius quickly turned around and stared down at me, a sudden anger radiating from him. “You don't have to look after me, I can make it to the hospital wing on my own, thanks.”

 

“Are you sure? Lily told me to help you-”

 

Sirius scoffed and rolled his eyes, “help me? I could've used that back there when they were hexing me.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“I saw you standing there,” Sirius said, his voice rising with every syllable. “You saw them hex me and you did nothing.”

 

“Sirius I-”

 

“Forget it,” Sirius said cutting me off abruptly. “You hate me, I get it. I just never thought you'd get satisfaction in seeing me get injured.”

 

“It wasn't like that,” I tried to reason.

 

“Oh really, then what was it like? From where I was standing it appeared to me that you stood by and watched as they tortured me.” I stood in my place not knowing what to say as Sirius looked down at me, his grey eyes intimidating me, his height and size working in his intimidation factor. Sirius scoffed when I said nothing and turned around, walking away from me.

 

“Why didn't you fight back,” I called down the hallway.

 

Sirius stopped in his spot but didn't turn around. “That's what got us here in the first place,” he looked at me over his shoulder and pain radiated in his eyes. He shook his head before he turned around and walked away from me.

 

A/N: Alright so this chapter was a bit shorter than the other chapters but I'm pretty satisfied with it. What do you think of Cassi? I'm actually quite fond of her myself and can't wait to develop her character :) I hate writing Avery and Sirius fighting. What did you think of their dispute at the end? Does sirius have grounds to stand on to be mad? Let me know :)

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