"It all happened so quickly." Sirius explained for what felt like the hundredth time. He was sat at a table in the corner of the common room with James, Remus and Peter having just told them what had happened, again. He was yet to tell them the whole story and he had a feeling James could tell. As much as Sirius wanted to tell him, a part of him wanted to give Brooke the chance to do so herself. He knew deep down that he was only doing it as a punishment for lying to James for so long.

James, who had never done anything but be there for her, had never lied to her. Even when he found out about Remus' furry little problem he talked Remus into telling her. As far as anyone was aware he had never had a secret that Brooke didn't know anything about. The moment he managed to become an animagus she was the first to know. When they finally managed to get the Marauder's Map working James had used it to find her and show her instantly.

Yet she had managed to keep a secret from him for almost three years. A secret that could very well change the dynamics of everything, to the point of no return, if he heard from anyone other than her. It was because of this that Sirius made sure that he didn't once let slip about anything that would hurt James.

"I don't understand why she doesn't want us to do anything." James held his head in his hands as he thought of all the different ways he could get back at Avery.

"Maybe she just wants to forget about it all for now?" The voice of reason spoke through Remus.

"Or she's in love with him." Peter added his thoughts, but they only caused James to laugh at his supposed stupidity not realising just how close he was to being right.

Sirius on the other hand looked over at Peter, inspecting his face to see if he might have known anything. Even though he knew there was no reason for him to be trying to work out, as Peter was never one to pay attention, he couldn't help but wonder why that idea had been what he said.

"I think Moony is right though." Sirius interrupted the laughter. "Her and Avery were close once. It's not going to be easy on her after what he did."

Thoughts of Brooke entered Sirius' mind. Where she had never stopped talking to Avery, he must have been one of the only people she trusted, and for him to hurt her like that must be having some negative effect.

Suddenly he was scared for Brooke. The thought of her reverting back within herself flashed through his mind as he saw her writhing in pain. Imagining her eyes void of all emotion again or not eating. She had finally started to go back to the old happy-go-lucky girl that gave him a run for his money. All Sirius could do then was hope that she didn't let it get to her. Even if he did doubt that she could do that.

They all knew that if she did revert back to her ways she wouldn't have a say in what James did to Avery. And as James' best friends Sirius and the others would surely be involved in whatever it entailed.

"He better pray to Merlin that she's alright after this!" James' jaw clenched as anger washed over him. Anger that seemed to be contagious as it was only a small amount of time later Sirius felt the exact same feelings.

This anger scared him though. All he could think about was hurting Avery in ways he had never dreamt of hurting anyone, not even his family. Thanks to who his family were Sirius knew a lot of magic that would make any normal wizard cringe away, and this source of anger is the very thing that could fuel it. It had taken every ounce of self control for Sirius to just send Avery away instead of hurting him like Brooke had been hurt. At that moment he really had been tested; and he almost failed. And that terrified him more than anything.

Taking deep breaths, Sirius managed to calm himself down, pushing all the dark thoughts out of his head. He couldn't afford to start thinking like that. If he did it wouldn't make him any better than any of those Slytherins.

He was already too close to them than he liked to admit. He for one, could begin to understand why they are the way they are. Especially those from the Sacred Twenty-Eight families. The pressure that was thrust upon them to believe that they, pure-bloods, were better than anyone else. And the discipline those sort of families inflict on those that don't agree with it. So many times Sirius almost gave into his mothers ways. So many times he almost took the easy way out rather than standing up for his own beliefs. So he did, he understood why they were the way they were. Most of them anyway. But that didn't mean he would ever let them know that.

There were so many times that Sirius thought that it could have been him in their places. It could have been him standing where Avery was today. If he had decided to stay with his brother, who knows what could have happened.

Quickly shaking the thoughts out of his head Sirius looked upon his best friends and realised that no matter what he did before he got to Hogwarts, as long as he met these three boys he would have always turned out fine.

"She's strong, Prongs." Sirius said hoping to snap James out of it. "You should really start seeing that. Give her a couple of days and then go and talk to her. I'm sure she'll tell you then what to do about it."

All three pairs of eyes turned around to stare wide eyed at Sirius in shock at what he had just said.

"Since when do you say anything about Brooke that's not an insult?" Remus raised his eyebrow suspiciously making Sirius internally kick himself. Of course he'd look into something like that. Everyone else would normally just let it slide, especially after what happened, but no. Now Sirius would have to be careful what he said in front of Remus. He really did enjoy looking into things a little bit too much, more often than not getting the wrong outcome.

"When she's not around." A bark of laughter escaped Sirius' mouth, shortly followed by Peter following his suit. Like he did every time. James just shook his head but Remus was still studying Sirius intently.

"Maybe you should start being a bit nicer to her when she is around." James started, bringing up the topic that he had brought up at least once a month for the last six years.

Sirius couldn't help but scoff and roll his eyes. As much as he hated to admit it, he was a lot nicer to her than he had ever intended on being. And he didn't even know what it was. When he was alone with her his mind seemed to forget that he hated her. Whenever he was around her he felt the need to wrap her up in cotton wool and make sure she was protected from everything that life could throw at her.

When they were together it was as though there was some sort of magnet drawing him to her. All he wanted to do was make her feel better and make her laugh. He even wanted to make sure there was that shine in her eyes that stopped them from looking dead. Yet when he wasn't anywhere near her she never crossed his mind. And if she did the thoughts just made him angry.

The only thing he could put it down to not wanting to see anyone he had to spend time with so broken. So yes, he had gone out of his way to help fix her. But as soon as she was fixed he could go back to his normal life disliking her.

"I'm as nice as I can be without wanting to throw up." Sirius laughed again, relieved that the conversation had moved on. It meant he could finally stop all the thoughts from haunting his mind.

"She's really not that bad if you actually got the chance to know her." Remus' voice stern, as though he was talking to a little boy. "In fact, she's actually a really good friend to have around."

Sirius looked at Remus, raising his eyebrow, not wanting his eyes to betray him. He knew Remus was right. Brooke really wasn't that bad, he had seen that this year. He had seen a side to her that he never thought he would see. A side that made him realise that Remus and James had been right all this time. She really wasn't that bad. But he would never admit it. He had spent too much of his time making a fuss of how much he couldn't stand her. There was no way he was going back on it now.

* * * * *

Sunday came and went pretty quickly with no word or sight of Brooke or Avery, not that it bothered Sirius. All of Monday went pretty much the same way but he knew it wouldn't last the whole day. It was Quiddich Monday evening which meant one thing, Brooke would be there. And Sirius thought he had given her plenty of time to come clean to James at this point.

Sirius made his way to Quiddich practice with Marlene hanging off his arm. Something that was really starting to get on his nerves. He promised himself that he would break things off with her after practice. After all, she was never meant to last very long and was merely there to prevent boredom from kicking in. He could find another Marlene before he went to bed if he really wanted to.

It wasn't anything personal, but Marlene just didn't interest him enough to keep her around. Yes she really was such an attractive girl, most blokes where after her, but there wasn't much other than looks. She was shallow, ditsy and didn't have much behind the ears.

Tugging his arm out of her grasp he said his goodbye as he jogged off to the changing room where he bumped into Brooke just about to leave.

Brooke's eyes were glazed over slightly and completely emotionless. Her face was stern and she let out an audible groan when she had bumped into Sirius.

As he looked at her he realised just how much she had gone back to the way she was before. It shocked him because he could have sworn she wasn't that affected when he had spoken to her afterwards. He couldn't help but think that she had probably spoken to Avery since.

"Anderson!" Sirius put on his charming smile that was reserved for any member of the female population. "Just the girl I was looking for." Brooke glared at Sirius having been avoiding this moment for as long as she could. "I was starting to think you were avoiding me."

Sirius knew full well that she had, in fact, been avoiding him. He also knew that it would irritate her by making it clear that he knew exactly what sort of game she was playing.

"I don't know what you're on about, Black." Her voice was cold and uninterested. She walked around Sirius and went to make her way to the pitch.

Sirius grabbed her arm and pulled her back to face him. In that split moment her eyes became alive with emotion. As quickly as he'd seen it though, it went away just as quickly. "Have you spoken to Prongs?"

Brooke glared at Sirius to tell him that she wasn't finding any of this amusing but he couldn't help but smirk at her. Despite the face she was putting on there was no denying that her heartbeat had at least doubled at his touch. His hand stayed on her arm, above her hand, making it extremely difficult for Sirius not to notice.

"No. I can't." Brooke's voice was still as cold as her eyes, not wanting to show Sirius any emotion.

"Let's make this a game shall we?" Sirius eyes lit up at the prospect of getting a reaction, that he was yet to receive, out of Brooke. "I'm breaking things of with Lene after practice. If you don't speak to James by the time I'm done, I'll tell him myself. Got it?" His eyes made the threat a promise. They both knew that she only had a couple of hours to grow a pair and talk to her best friend. "See you on the pitch." Sirius winked at her, feeling her pulse racing even faster, before letting her go and heading to get changed.

The team had been playing a practice match with some of their reserves to make up numbers. Brooke and Sirius were the only two beaters in the whole game, which wasn't a problem. Even if they didn't get along there was no denying they were the best team of beaters that any of the four house teams had seen in years. The two bounced off each other, working with each others energies. Just as one of the teams caught the snitch Sirius relaxed and started flying in circles around the team.

Suddenly a bludger came out of nowhere, hitting Sirius in the ribs and knocking him off the broom. He heard James shout his name as he fell from his broom, pain shooting all up the side of his body. All the voices started getting further away as his vision went fuzzy. Trying to prepare himself for impact with the ground as he got closer but he never did. Instead everything went black.

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