((Takes place New Years Eve and on into New Years Day.))
After the breakup, Lily made for her room, walking quickly, almost running in her haste to be away. It was over. She had ended it.
What had she done?
It took every ounce of control in her body to not run back in and beg him to take her back. Because today, six months from now, a year - it didn't matter - they'd be right back here. And it would only hurt more then than it did now. If such a thing was possible. Right now Lily felt as if she'd literally turn inside out from the pain.
Finally pushing herself to her feet, Lily made her way back to her room. Once inside, she honestly did try to distract herself - for an hour she sat, staring at the same page of a book, idly doodling dark scratches on a bit of parchment. Then, changing out of her clothes (which she had to resist the urge to burn to extinguish any reminder of this evening) and into a t-shirt, she attempted sleep. Which, yeah, lasted all of five minutes before Lily was up and pacing around her room like a caged animal.
Finally, her eyes lit on her cabinet. In which were several bottles of various liquor. That'd work.
Halfway through the first bottle of Firewhisky, Lily started to feel just the most remote corners of her mind go blessedly fuzzy. Halfway through the second, the entire world was blurry around the edge. By the time she'd also worked her way through an entire bottle of Scotch she was shitefaced and feeling much better. She even started an owl to Sirius, which she got bored of midway through her fifth glass of wine.
Which reappeared, along with the rest of it, as Lily got spectacularly sick in the corner of her room. Her internal organs felt like they'd curled up and died and her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth. For a long time she just lay on the floor, miserable and wishing the rest of her would die as well. At the same time, the agony she was in now was nothing compared to what it'd been before, so all in all she counted it as a win.
Finally able to move a bit, Lily vanished her mess the best she could. Bugger. All the alcohol was gone. And she was in no condition to wander down to the bar for more. Or summon a house-elf. But then she spotted the parchment she'd been writing to Sirius on and managed to add a few more lines before sending Mr. Quackers off. Slowly, she dragged herself to the bathroom and curled up by the sink, moaning softly.
(Mr. Quackers, looking VERY WORRIED, delivers. Note not warded and quite obviously was attempted to be charmed, though all it actually does is shoot off random puffs of pink glitter and smell vaguely of burning paper.)
I am SINGLE NOW!! And it is ok. It wasn't but now it is because I AM PISSED.
ALCOHOL MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR HEART GOT RIPPED UP INTO LOTS OF LITTLE PIECES.
I fucked everything up, just like I said I would. Maybe I can see the future! OH OH MAYBE I SHOULD BE DIVINATION PROFESSOR. You can be my TA and we will make everyone walk around backwards to divine the positions of Uranus.
WE SHOULD GO DANCING. And then we can -- (here the handwriting trails off, as if the writer got distracted.)
(Further down the page it picks back up, though much shakier and quite obviously written by someone who was either drunk out of their mind or had never held a quill before.)
got sick. out of alcohol. don't want to feel anything - need more. be a love and bring some.
Sirius had been accustomed to hearing the, well, quack of Mr Quackers outside the door to the Slythendor suite. It was usually a rather polite quack, albeit a loud one, and this time was no different, although had Sirius been paying attention, he might have detected a note of urgency, or perhaps concern, from the little guy.
As it were, however, he was not paying attention. Instead, he was engaged in a very exciting round of Ace Combat 4 on his new Play Station 2, and indeed, had he not just crashed his plane and essentially ended the game for himself, he probably wouldn't have even heard Mr Quackers above the din of the game playing on the telly.
Tossing the game controller on the bed, he got up and went to the door. Once he had taken down the wards, he swung it open to find Mr Quackers standing in the middle of the doorway. It was always such a funny sight - the little duck standing there, looking self-important and professional as he clutched a roll of parchment in his beak.
"Hey, mate, wanna come in? I've got some toast left over from breakfast if you're interested." He leant down to pick up the parchment.
Well, that was a weak charm - just little bits of pink glitter?! Ha - Sirius could do better than that - and he planned on bragging about it to Lily in his return duck.
Holding Mr Quackers between his forearm and his body - "Blecch, I'm sorry to say that you stink," he informed him - he walked back to his room to read the parchment. As he unrolled it, he realised it was actually the paper that smelled, not Mr Quackers, and so, as if to atone for his misjudgment, he reached over and, off of a bedside table that was otherwise bare, pulled off a large piece of toast and set it and Mr Quackers down on his bed. Then he proceeded to read the note.
Immediately, his eyes widened. She was single? What did that mean? She and Cox had...no, that couldn't be it. He read on.
Oh, no, that was it. Sirius's heart started pounding, and his lower jaw dropped somewhat as he breathed softly in and out of his mouth. What had happened? A bigger piece of himself than Sirius ever wanted to admit was starting to feel very light and hopeful all of a sudden, and Sirius hated himself for it. Again, he read on...
...and started laughing in spite of himself when he hit the part about Divination and Uranus. Come to think of it, he had never seen Lily drunk before - at least not drunk like this. And hell if it wasn't hilarious.
His smile fell somewhat when he hit the last part, however. After a moment of staring at the parchment, at the name that had come to mean so much more than he had ever thought it would, he tossed it on his bed and got up.
There was no way he was going to bring her more alcohol, not if she had been sick already. But...well, he didn't know if she was happy or upset or what. Hell, he didn't know what the hell had happened. But he did know that he was going to go over there and find out - and, most important, see if she needed anything.
Quickly, he turned the telly off and then, Mr Quackers nestled in the crook of his arms, headed out of his suite and over to Ravenclaw.
A brisk walk across the common room later, he ended up outside Lily's door...where Steeler was lying, looking displaced and perhaps a bit distressed.
"Hey." At Sirius's voice, Steeler scrambled to his feet, tail wagging. "What happened to you? Your mum lock you out?" Maybe Lily hadn't wanted him to see her drinking. Whatever had happened - it must have been bad.
Sirius bent over to scratch Steeler on the head. Then, straightening up, he knocked on Lily's door. "Hey," he said loudly. "You all right in there?"
Perhaps the pounding in her head was the same as the pounding on the door.
That profound thought floated through Lily's consciousness for a moment before dropping out of sight, just like most of the rest of her higher brain functions at the moment. She'd managed, with great effort, to pull herself up and scrub a toothbrush through her mouth, scouring out the taste of vomit and alcohol. Cold water in cupped hands was splashed on her face just as Sirius' voice finally penetrated the haze.
Oh, good. More bloody alcohol.
Stumbling slightly, she made her way to the door, wrenching it open to find a face full of duck. Oh, and Sirius. Steeler was watching her warily and she grimaced at the sight of the puppy. "Come in," she mumbled, swaying a little. No wards were lowered because none had been raised - she didn't fucking care anymore.
Turning, Lily then headed over to her bed, collapsing onto it and curling herself into a tight little ball of agony and drunken grief. Her skin was far too pale and clammy, her eyes bright with inebriation and tears, and her hair wildly in disaray. In short, she looked completely wretched; which was another thing she didn't care about. Legs bare under the t-shirt were tucked under her chin and her arms wrapped around her knees. It was a defensive position, if she'd realized, where all her vital spots were protected.
"Where's my alcohol, Black?" she managed. "Need it. Can't feel anything if I have it. Don't want to feel. Not ever again. Except sick, but I was that already. 'S not as bad as the other. Win-win. That's what that berk in Slytherin would say. Win-win. Perry and I shouted at him." Then her face twisted into some sort of agony, a spasm that lasted only for a moment before her head came up slightly and she forced her features to smooth out. "Need it," Lily repeated, plaintively, holding her hand out.
Wow, Lily looked a right mess. No, she clearly was not all right. And she very clearly was drunk.
Sirius stared for a moment and then followed her inside. Steeler came in, too, tail wagging tentatively as he approached Lily. Quickly, however, he turned in the other direction and trotted off towards a corner of the room, where he lay down, resting his chin on one paw.
Pulling up a chair next to the bed, Sirius sat down and continued to watch Lily, not entirely sure what to say. On one hand, he wanted to know what had happened. He hadn't foreseen her breaking up with Cox at all, and so he had absolutely no clue what had transpired. His suspicion was that Cox had broken up with her, but for what reason, he couldn't imagine.
On the other hand, however, he didn't want to bring up anything that might upset her more than she already seemed to be.
After a brief glance over at the corner by the window - yeah, Lily hadn't really been all up ons the Scourgify spell in her drunken state - Sirius looked at her with a soft, sympathetic smile and then pulled out his wand. Summoning a glass from her table, he filled it with water from his wand and then held it out to Lily.
"Here, drink this." First rule of dealing with a drunk: Never directly deny alcohol to him or her.
"D'you want to talk about it?"
Taking the glass, Lily took a drink and then glowered at it. "Funny, Black," she muttered, sitting up on the bed. When he asked her that...
"No, no, no, no, no," she said, eyes going wide and head shaking. At least, her head did shake until she got dizzy and had to stop, hands clasped to her temples in an effort to get the world to stop moving. "I had to. I had to do it because of lobsters and sugar biscuits and because we didn't fit. But," here she paused, a huge, heaving breath wracking her frame.
He was too far away. He was in the chair and not next to her and damn it, she needed someone to be next to her. Unsteadily, Lily moved from the bed into Sirius' lap, tucking her head under his chin and gripping his shirt. "I love him, I do. So much. But we couldn't keep going, or else I'd love him more and then we'd try to leave and it would all fall apart and I would die. Only, that wasn't a very good plan because I hurt so bad, Sirius."
She pulled back to look at him, tears tracking down her face even though Lily would have sworn it wasn't possible for her to cry any more, she was so raw and empty inside. "I fucked up. I fucked everything up. And I had to do it but I didn't want to, but he couldn't tell me it would last and I just keep falling in love with him and, oh God, Sirius, it hurts so much." Her face crumpled and she bent her head forward, forehead resting on his shoulder as if she couldn't hold it up any longer. "I don't want to be strong, anymore. I just want it to stop hurting. Please, please, make it stop hurting."
Huh. Sirius had not seen that coming at all. Lily, in her inebriated, wrecked state, looked like a woman who had been dumped by her boyfriend, not the other way around. And the reason for the breakup was completely boggling.
"Wait. You broke up with him...over food - OOF!" Suddenly Lily was up off the bed and flopping down into his lap. As she
Wincing, he stopped for a moment when she said she loved Cox. As much as he himself loved her, he saw her love as reserved only for James, because James would come back, dammit. He had to. And when he did, none of whatever else had happened would matter any more. Her words sent a sharp pain shooting deep into his throat and radiating down into his chest. The hurt only deepened when he realised that this wasn't the only reason he felt so bad - that it was also because it was Cox she loved, and not him. It was nothing personal against Cox - hell, he liked Cox - but rather the strange, deep-seated selfishness that even something as beautiful as love can trigger.
Eventually, he gave up the struggle to find some sort of comfortable position on the chair that included his legs not being completely squashed and Lily not being half on the floor. Gently, but firmly, one arm around her waist, Sirius heaved her up and then pulled her down onto the bed. If she had felt remotely interested in him, he might have considered it a dangerous place to be, but considering she apparently loved Cox - there was that stabbing pain again - Sirius figured he had nothing to worry about.
Doing his best to haul her into a seated position, Sirius pulled himself up against the wall next to her and put an arm around her. He still didn't get exactly what had happened.
"All right, okay. You're going to be fine." With his other hand, he reached over and put a hand on her arm. "You don't have to be anything. If you're in love with him - " Sirius paused, biting down on his lip " - then why did you break up with him?"
He didn't really expect a coherent answer - she reeked of alcohol - but he figured he'd give it another shot, since she seemed to want to talk about it.
She was drunk. She was more drunk than she'd ever been in her life. But she was also still Lily, and, when asked a question, could very rarely not answer it. Besides, she'd thrown up what felt like everything she'd ever ingested in her entire life. Now she was getting into the hazy sort of disconnected portion of the drunkenness.
As soon as he'd put her on the bed, Lily had cuddled up next to him, as if freezing and desperately clinging to his warmth. As if he was some sort of life preserver and she was drowning. As if... Fuck, she used a lot of analogies when pissed. Tilting her head back, Lily regarded him seriously. The alcohol made her words a bit more ponderous than normal, and the agony she felt was clear, but her tears had stopped just as suddenly as they'd begun.
"Because we wouldn't have worked outside of Hogwarts. And it wasn't fair - to either of us - to keep going when we'd just wind up either breaking up later or trying to force something that wasn't meant to be and hating each other for it."
Absently, one hand played lightly up and down his chest. She didn't even notice it - all her blurry attention was going into the conversation. "So, I had to. And it hurts and I... I'm never doing it again. Ever." With all the sincerity of the really sloshed, Lily looked at him. "I'm done. You have the right idea, Black. Obviously, I'm too fucking fucked up for love, for anything real. I had this amazing, brilliant man and I couldn't even make that work. I'm done. I'll just...fuck whomever I like and bugger love or commitment or anything like that. I can't lose someone else. I can't."
Her head plopped back down on his shoulder and Lily burrowed into his neck. "Why does it hurt so much?" she asked in a pleading voice. "Is this what it's supposed to feel like? Like every bit of me just got ripped into shreds and then shoved back inside me? Merlin, how does anyone live through it? How am I supposed to? Why would anyone want to?"
As Lily talked, Sirius brought his hand up and pulled one side of Lily's hair back. It was really messy, and his fingers got caught as he tried to smooth it back. He did his best to move it away from her face and then dropped his hand back down.
He really wasn't sure what to make of the situation between her and Cox. Obviously, she was upset - really upset - and so that was bad. But...well, he hadn't really thought about the long-term prospects for her relationship with Cox. The truth was, he hadn't really thought about long-term anything in general. The only long term he had ever known was a life sentence in Azkaban. And being generally inexperienced when it came to relationships, he didn't really have anything of substance to offer. On top of that, he truly had no idea whether Lily and Cox's relationship would have worked outside of Hogwarts or not. At this point, life outside Hogwarts was a big question mark for Sirius.
But he didn't want to confuse her more, so he just looked down at her, his brow furrowed and his eyes concerned. Something dark and painful flashed across his face, however, when she brought up his supposed personal philosophy.
You have no idea, do you, Lily? I've not given up on love. I had, but somehow it refused to give up on me. And not only can I not stop - I don't want to stop, even though all I get out of it is hurt and frustration, because I couldn't imagine thinking any differently of you any more. And I don't even fuck whomever I want any more, either, because there's no one else out there who's you.
"It's - I...." Sirius was at a loss, so he simply tightened his embrace around Lily's shoulder and let her continue. And what she said next made one side of his mouth curve up in a bitter smile.
Is this what it's supposed to feel like? Unfortunately, yes. That's how I feel every time I see you kissing him. Every time I think about the fact that I want you so badly, and not just in the naughty ways, but even - no, especially - in the simple, familiar, comfortable ways, that's exactly how I feel, because I know I can't have you, because I know you don't feel the same way...because I know it would be a horrible betrayal on my part even if you did.
But he couldn't say any of this either, so he just sat there clenching his jaw. After a moment, he squeezed her shoulder again and said, "You're going to live through it because that's what people do. And because you've got Harry." After a pause, he couldn't stop himself from adding, "And because I'd be pretty annoyed if you died again and left me with all your damn animals!"
Sirius was truly at a loss, so humour was his last hope!
A choked sort of chuckle broke through Lily's stupor and she sat up, absently worrying at the collar of the oversized t-shirt she was wearing. "Yeah, well, the entire point of me consuming pretty much every drop of alcohol in my room was so I didn't have to feel. Or talk about it. So I'm not."
Well, that had been decided. She looked around the room, brow furrowed. "Where's my drinks, Black? You were supposed to supply alcohol."
With the true attention span of the completely drunk, Lily got bored of searching for the mysterious disappearing alcohol and turned back to him. "No one should live though this," she decreed. "Which is why I'm never doing it again. If I have an itch, I'll...itch it or whatever the fuck that saying is. And that's it."
Her hand was resting on his stomach and suddenly, blinking, Lily seemed to realize this. Instead of moving, though, she looked up at him, eyes locked with his. "After all," she continued, voice dropping slightly, "if I'm so fucked up I can't have love, at least I can have a good shag now and again, yeah?"
Brain sloshing about in all the liquor she'd poured into her body, numb with grief and anger and pain, Lily felt an overwhelming urge to just connect with someone. To feel something, anything, that wasn't this. Moving so she was pressed against him, lips hovering over his, she murmured, "I just don't want to hurt anymore." Not just about Cox, either. But about James. About coming back from the dead. About losing her life. Lily had just...had enough. She was done - done caring, done trying, done doing anything but whatever felt nice at the moment. No more worrying or planning or thinking about what she should do. Sirius was here, he was in her bed, and she needed a distraction. And that was the literal end of her consideration on the matter.
Eyes flicking to Sirius, Lily then lowered her lips to his in a soft kiss. For a moment, it was sweet and tender and tentative; but then, her hands sliding up his chest, Lily deepened it into something hungry and desperate. Pouring every last ounce of the tumultuous feelings that had been ripping her apart into her lips, into the motion of her tongue and her mouth on his, Lily tangled her fingers in his hair and let herself just forget.
It was pretty tough to have a coherent conversation with Lily while she was drunk, so Sirius didn't bother protesting her dropping their line of conversation (actually, he was rather relieved!), nor did he attempt to justify his failure to comply with her request for alcohol. Arguing with a drunk about the availability of alcohol never ends well. She seemed to have moved on from being heartbroken, at least acutely so, and Sirius wanted to keep her calm.
He also had to admit that he liked the way she was snuggled up against him. Mildly tickled by her drunken "profundities", he looked down at her with an amused smile on his face...which suddenly froze and, without the movement of a single muscle, turned into another expression entirely as Sirius found himself looking right into her eyes. His breath stopped in his chest, and his heart immediately kicked up a frantic rhythm. That look...she had never looked at him like that before. Her eyes were slightly unfocused, but at the same time, they were focused on him, on his eyes, and something completely invisible snapped into place in that moment.
Sirius was so mesmerised that he didn't have the presence of mind to react when Lily suddenly shifted to face him, pressing up against him in a way that was far more intimate than any hugs or embraces they had ever shared. She was right there, and he simply couldn't move. No, he didn't want to move.
And then she kissed him and it was as if his breath had been sucked out of his lungs. The shock of the moment, of this amazing thing happening that he had wanted so badly, but thought would never happen, should never happen
And then another something snapped into place, or maybe it was the force of her kiss as it deepened. Whatever it was, it was as though all the air had rushed back into Sirius's chest.
Relief. Sweet, wonderful relief.
In one swift motion, he slid his hands down her back and then up to her face, cupping her cheeks, pulling her in towards him, and kissing her back with the full force of weeks of pent-up desperation and longing. She was his. She was finally his.
She was frantic and sloppy, and as his lips moved against hers, pulling and pressing with greater and greater urgency, he could smell the alcohol emanating from her mouth and pores - she tasted mostly like it, too - but Sirius didn't care. Her lips were soft, and even when he bumped his teeth against hers in his frenzy, his own lips parting more and more as he searched for something, he only felt an increasing sense of desperation. He wanted this - he wanted everything about this.
His mouth was fully occupied, and so he breathed deeply out of his nose, in and out, in and out, in a faster and faster rhythm, the sounds of his breaths impossibly loud in his ears.
Had he been thinking, he might have questioned what they were doing, what it meant, how it would change things. But he was definitely not thinking. Not at all.
All of a sudden, her entire world narrowed down to him. All of the other things - the pain, the self-loathing, the desperate ache - were wiped away in favour of his mouth on hers, his hands on her skin. And she wanted more. She wanted to lose herself so completely in him that everything else would just fade away into nothing.
If she hadn't been so drunk, so lost, she probably would have... Well, she never would have kissed him in the first place. But now she was, and there was no thinking going on. Just one hand sliding under his shirt to play against his chest, and her leg wrapping around his and pulling him towards her, rolling them over so he was on top of her.
Frantic and demanding, Lily met every thrust of his tongue, every pull of his lips, with her own. She felt like she was being consumed - indeed, she wanted to be consumed. She wanted Sirius to swallow her whole so that there was nothing left behind. Because nothing couldn't hurt anymore, nothing couldn't lose someone else, nothing would never have yet another thing to grieve.
She moaned his name into their kiss, breaking away only to press heated kisses across his jaw and down his neck, teeth scraping lightly at his skin as she devoured the taste of him. He smelled good - that slightly spicy, warm scent she always associated with him, like fall or cinnamon or a quick dive on a broom - but he tasted even better and she moaned again, this time a wordless plea, a shaky sound of desire.
Lips returning to his in another deep kiss, she begged him with her ragged breathing and the sound of her heart pounding to not stop, to take more, to take all of it. Because this felt good; nothing about her felt anything but miserable, except where his lips touched, where his hands rested. Wanting as much of herself as possible to feel this way, Lily arched into him slightly, hips meeting his briefly as her hands pushed under his shirt and her fingers stroked and kneaded his back. She needed contact, she needed him, and nothing else in her drunken state seemed to matter. Not the fact she was using him horribly, not the fact this was Sirius, nothing except the wild flicker of want that curled around every inch of her.
"Sirius," she gasped against his lips before once more crushing her mouth to his and all of her breath was lost in her wild, desperate kiss. If she was feeling this, then she couldn't feel anything else. If she could somehow channel everything into him, then she wouldn't be alone again, she wouldn't have to listen to the pounding thought that she'd never have that - that illusive something - ever again. Once more her body moved under his and Lily pressed herself closer, the heat of his body mirroring hers.
Sirius hadn't had a drop to drink, but it didn't matter. Lily was his liquor, and the more he tasted, the more of her that began to flow through his veins, the more inebriated with her he became. His head was spinning, and his flesh was hot and prickly in the most exhilarating sort of way. If Lily wanted to be swallowed, he wanted to be the one to drink her in, to subsume her, to taste her lips, her mouth, her everything.
Her hand on his bare chest made him shiver in spite of the heat flashing across his skin, and he answered it by kissing her even harder. Easily, he rolled over on top of her as she pulled him over, and there was something thrilling about her being right there under him. Nearly out of his mind with desire, he kissed her with renewed fervor, his heart leaping even further into his throat when she moaned out his name. His name, coming from her lips, in that tone....
Sirius could barely contain himself.
"Lily," he whispered back as she kissed his neck. "Lily, Lily...you don't know how much...." He was silenced as her lips met his again.
He wanted to take it all. She was the only person he wanted to be with this way, the only person who managed to make him feel like he had a chance at being whole. And to know she had felt the same way
It was impossible to kiss her more thoroughly than he was, but he tried. And as he did so, as her hands rubbed up and down his back, he slipped a hand under her shirt and pushed it up her side, his thumb lightly touching the fabric of her bra as it curved around the side of her breast. Emboldened, he brought his hand up and forward so it was splayed out over her breast, squeezing lightly as he pressed his lips against hers and explored her mouth with his tongue.
Lily, light of my life, fire of my loins! And oh, was she firing up his loins! Exhaling heavily, Sirius shifted against her, pressing down, complementing her motion as best he could in his frenzied state. He didn't think about where this all was leading. It was not a moment for introspection. All he knew is that he loved her and he wanted her. At that moment, it was all he needed to know.
That wasn't Ginger's hand. The thought flashed, unbidden, through Lily's mind even as she moaned her approval of the touch. It was a thought that made her breath catch in her throat in a little hitching sob and her hands still, just for a second. Oh, God, it wouldn't ever be his hand again. He would never touch her again, never hold her, never look at her in that way that always made her heart stop.
With a soft growl, Lily kissed Sirius harder, as if by the intensity of her kiss she could stay back the tide of grief and loathing that was threatening to overwhelm her. She just needed to disconnect - from her thoughts, from the longing to go back and fix what she'd broken, from the guilt - and so she blanked out her mind of anything but Sirius, anything but his body above hers.
When his hand reached her brest she arched up into him, a hissed, 'Yes', escaping from between her clenched teeth, her head falling back. She needed him, all of him, to be closer. She needed skin sliding on skin. She needed to feel something completely outside of the fact that she'd just lost a man she loved through no one's folly but her own. Even if it had been the right thing to do; never in her life had Lily wanted to be right less.
Hand sliding between them even as her other hand tangled in his hair and brought his head down for a long, hungry kiss, Lily fumbled for a moment at the button of his trousers before managing to undo the fastening. She pushed them down his hips before gently brushing her hand under his boxers and wrapping her fingers around him.
Fairly trembling, now, from the force of her want combined with the alcohol and the barely repressed grief, she deepened the kiss, lips pressed tightly against his, heaving breaths in and out, through her nose, as she tried to meld her mouth with Sirius'. Her hand dropped from his hair to quickly reach around and undo her bra, shrugging the straps off of her shoulders slightly to grant him better access. Then she tugged up on her shirt, exposing her stomach, but she stopped when she realized she'd have to leave off her light stroking in order to completely take it off, and Lily wasn't willing to break contact that long. Instead she returned her hand to under his shirt, thumb teasing at his nipple.
He wasn't Perry. He wasn't James, either. But he was there, and that was enough. It was sick and wrong and, if she remembered this in the morning, it would be one more thing she'd hate herself for. But, at this moment, she was hurting enough and drunk enough to not care.
It made all the sense in the world, of course: Lily was feeling guilty and miserable and depressed. She had just ended a relationship. There was no way this was not a rebound, a distraction. If anything, it should have been pretty evident that she was plastered and wearing inch-thick Butterbeer goggles. But Sirius wasn't considering any of this. All he knew was that the girl he loved wanted him just as much as he wanted her.
He was so wrapped up in kissing her that at first he didn't notice her working at his trousers. She was already sliding them off when he realised it, and he shifted about to give her manoeuvering room. There was no planning or analysing; there was just doing, and he liked very much what she was doing. Any bloke in Sirius's position - he'd have done the same. Blokes simply don't turn down this sort of thing with beautiful women, especially beautiful women they're deeply in love with.
Shakily, but forcefully, he exhaled as Lily gripped him, pulling his lower body away slightly to give her more leverage. "Lily," he breathed against her lips and then went back to kissing her, responding to her motions in the stop-and-start of his kisses. It felt so good - not what she was doing with her hand, although Merlin, that felt amazing - but just being there with her, lying there against her, feeling her lips between his.
It wasn't how he had imagined their first time together - a first time that he had thought was just a private fantasy, something that would never materialise. He had pictured tender kisses and slow lovemaking; what they were doing now, on the other hand, was desperate and aggressive at best. But it didn't matter. Sirius wouldn't have been able to control himself if he had tried. He couldn't wait, not with the things she was doing to him. He had to have her now, without romance, without sweetness. And it was absolutely satisfying in its own way.
Lily had somehow managed to loosen her bra (Sirius had been paying far more attention to other things to notice the sequence of events), and so Sirius tugged on it, trying to remove it. He pulled it part of the way down, but it was trapped under her shirt, so, hovering over her, he pushed her shirt up over her chest and shoulders and then her head. A moment later, the bra ended up on the floor, leaving him full access, which he eagerly partook of.
Now there was so much more to explore, and at that moment Sirius wanted to know it all. Firmly kissing her a few more times, Sirius finally pulled away and started kissing softly down her neck, working his way to the hollow of her throat. He paused there and ran his lips over the area, his hands pushing up against her breasts, tracing the curves, running over her nipples, which quickly hardened at the touch.
Lily's stroking felt so good, and he paused in his kissing to moan soft approval into her throat. "Mmmmmmmm," he said, unconsciously squeezing his toes together. He pushed a little bit against her and then resumed his kissing, moving down to graze his lips over the top of her chest.
Of course, had he thought about the situation, had he known Lily's mind, her thoughts about Cox - and James...especially about James...he would have been terribly disappointed. He was just a warm body in the right place at the right time to Lily. But none of that occurred to him.
Drunk or not, depressed or not, grieving and angry and hurting or not, there was very little one could do to control a physical response to a stimuli. Even if she'd wanted to, the second Sirius' fingers brushed over her nipples, the option of stopping was gone. Moaning softly as she thrust her tongue against his, her kisses becoming demanding, Lily tugged gently at his lower lip.
When his lips left hers, she whimpered a little in frustration, though the whimper turned into a low sound of pleasure at the attentions of his mouth and hands. "Merlin, Sirius," she muttered fitfully, fingers delving into his hair and clenching a little when he hit a sensitive spot. She wanted to taste him, all of him, and she moved her hand from his boxers up to tug at the hem of his shirt, roughly pulling it off and over his head.
If she hadn't been so drunk, the little voice in the back of her head would have prevented her from getting to this point. Lily didn't do casual sex. She just didn't. It wasn't how she worked - at least, she'd never really considered it an option for her. She'd been with two men her life - James and Perry. Her and James' first time had been six months into the relationship; she and Perry had waited over a month. To Lily, sex was a big deal. Perhaps it was because she tended to throw herself wholly into relationships as it was; the added intimacy of, well, intimacy made the whole thing too important for a bit of one-night shagging. Added to that was the fact this was Sirius, and she didn't feel like that about him. At all. Never once had she considered being with him like this, not once had such a thought crossed her mind.
Though, to be fair, not many thoughts were crossing her mind at the moment, either. And, as much as she, personally, might not have wanted casual sex before, now it sounded like a sodding good idea. While someone's hands were on her body, while someone's lips were pressed on hers, the only sound was the rush of her breath, the pounding of her heart. No nagging doubts or heartbroken agony - just the teasing heat rising slowly, erasing everything else. She'd just keep shagging people until she was so numb she couldn't feel anything. Brilliant plan.
As soon as Sirius' shirt hit the floor, Lily's mouth set about devouring the newly-exposed skin. Starting at the crook of his neck, Lily pressed heated kisses down his chest. Then, tongue flicking and teasing at his nipple, Lily sucked, hard enough to leave faint marks. Her teeth softly nipped, tongue soothing and lips caressing hungrily. As if with every inch of him she could taste it would fill up the bone-gnawing emptiness that was hiding behind the lust.
Her hips went up to roughly grind against his and she whimpered again, low in her throat, a wordless plea for more. Working her way back up to his face, Lily kissed along his jawline. "Please, Sirius," she murmured in his ear, once more moving against him. Her body was prickly and hot with desire and her chest slid against his, skin to skin. Hands exploring his back, dipping down to caress his arse, and then back up to play along his chest, Lily kissed him again. If he thought he'd been kissed before, he had another thing coming - every piece of lust and want and displaced emotion was poured into the way her lips moved on his. Her tongue moved almost languidly in contrast to the frantic motions of their bodies, exploring his mouth, delving in and pulling back in a dancing mimicry of other activities. Deeply she kissed him, heartbeat harsh in her ears as her hips still moved slightly against him, as her arms went around his neck and pulled him to her. "Please," she whispered hoarsely again, the word slurring slightly from the alcohol and the waves of want crashing through her.
((Aaaaand we've hit the two-posters!))
Unlike Lily, Sirius did do casual sex. The ironic thing was that to him, what he was doing with Lily was not casual sex at all. He wasn't really considering what it actually was, but he didn't take it lightly or casually in the least. It was vigorous, unsubdued, and frenetic, to be sure. Still, in Sirius's mind, it was something far deeper, far more emotional, than a strictly physical encounter, whether with a friend, a stranger, or a lover.
Later, he would probably feel ashamed and stupid for assuming that it had been anything more than that to Lily. It made absolutely no sense for her to want him like that, the way he wanted her. She may have loved him as a friend, but she wasn't in love with him; hell, she didn't even fancy him. If any of that had been the case, she would have been with him - or, at the very least, she wouldn't have been so broken up about the end of her relationship with Cox. There was no logic in thinking that her sudden interest in passionate kissing and intimate touching and sex (for that's the direction in which things were very obviously headed) had anything to do with a sudden interest in him. Yet that's what Sirius thought, or at least that was his underlying assumption, probably because he wanted so desperately for it to be true.
But right now, it was just him and Lily, and that was simple enough. Easily, he ducked out of his shirt as she pulled it off and then plunged one of his hands into her hair as she craned her head up to kiss his chest. There were no words in his mind any more, only instincts. The other hand found its way back onto one of her breasts, and he squeezed and cupped it, pressing his fingers into the surface of her skin, trying to bring every inch of the surface of his hand in contact with her skin, which was so incredibly, unbelievably soft. Blokes were rougher, hairier, drier. Lily's skin, however, was smooth and silken, like the surface of a waterfall or the flesh of an apricot.
She was nipping at his chest, and amoung the broken, incoherent thoughts racing through his mind was one that hoped she'd leave her mark everywhere, that there would be lasting proof that he finally belonged to her, and she to him.
His hands dropped back down onto the bed to support himself as she pushed up against him again. His breathing was ragged, and he couldn't help but push back against her motion, rubbing somewhere around the inside of her hip. Her voice in his ear, begging him, saying his name, was driving him crazy. Every moment he thought he couldn't be more turned on, he found he was wrong. The way her hands were moving, the feeling of the softness of her breasts pressing into his chest, the way her kiss suddenly turned simultaneously intense and tender - it was almost more than he could take.
How did he ever get so lucky? He couldn't believe this was happening to him.
His mouth was fully open and pressed against against hers, his tongue encircling her tongue, one of his hands kneading her side as the other held his body up.
She pleaded again, and he moaned a sort of blurry "uh-huh" into the kiss. Whatever she wanted, it was hers. He would be hers, and she his, and then there was nothing more he wanted in the world. Pushing himself up, he freed one of his hands, hooking his fingers under the band of her knickers, starting to push them down. Reluctantly, his lips grazing over hers several times, he broke off the kiss so he could get a better grip on the knickers.
((Continued from the previous post))
And that's when he looked down. At her.
At first, he saw a beautiful woman, gorgeous even in her dishevellment. It was Lily, his Lily - the thought sent a pulse of red-hot ecstasy straight through the veins into his head.
And then something happened - maybe she moved, or maybe her eyes shifted towards him. But whatever it was, it made Sirius see something else. Someone else.
It was still Lily, but with a jolt of horror, Sirius realised something else about her: It was James's Lily. Lying below him. Almost completely naked. And with the unfocused, half-closed eyes and the slack features of someone who's extremely intoxicated.
What was he doing?
With a sudden gasp, he pushed himself up and off of her. His arousal was obvious, and it was painful; his body was screaming at him to finish what he had started, and it took all of his willpower not to drop back down and push aside the one piece of cloth that stood in the way and do just that.
"I'm sorry," he panted hoarsely. "I'm so sorry, Lily. I can't - we can't." He scrambled off the bed, nearly tumbling onto the floor before he managed to right himself. Snatching at the covers, he attempted to pull them out from under Lily so he could cover her up.
This was a huge mistake. How had he let this happen? He still wanted her - even more badly than before now that he had stopped things right as they were getting to the point of no return - but he couldn't do this. How could he face James?
Merlin, how could he face James? He had nearly had sex with James's wife. What would he say when James came back? Sirius suddenly felt very ashamed of himself.
And Lily - she was drunk. She was upset. She was confused. She didn't know what she was doing.
But he did, and he had allowed himself to take advantage.
"I'm so sorry," he repeated as he continued to claw and pull at the covers.
One moment there was the rushing heat of two bodies tangled together, his mouth on hers, his hands sliding down her body. And the next he was up and across the bed and saying...
"Fuck, Black," she muttered, sitting up, ignoring his attempts to use the covers to, well, cover her. "What are you going on about?"
At least, that's what she intended to say. The moment she sat up, she swayed slightly, blinking owlishly against the sudden roaring in her ears. She felt as if she'd gone to jump off a cliff and, just as her feet had left the earth, someone had jerked her backwards. All her words were jumbled together and her voice was shaky and hoarse.
Moving over to him, Lily cupped his face in her hands. "Need to feel something," she mumbled over a tongue that was suddenly thick and ponderous. "Don't stop." Then, lowering her lips to his, Lily kissed him hungrily, trying to pull him back on the bed.
For a moment, or maybe several, Sirius's resolve weakened, and he allowed Lily to kiss him again, dropping down on his knees onto the bed next to her. She wanted him to, and it was hard to resist that. Never mind that what she said wasn't, "Need to feel you" - that what she said was that she needed to feel something, and Sirius just happened to be the closest, most willing something available.
His hands gripping her sides, he kissed her back, this time more tenderly. The fact was, as much as he wanted her, he also loved her, and his kiss reflected that. But in the middle of the kiss, he remembered why he had got up in the first place.
Gently, he gripped her hands and pulled them away from his face. "No - Lily, we have to stop," he said against her lips and then pulled back. "You're drunk - I can't do this."
He shifted her wrists so he was gripping them with one of his hands. Then, leaning and stretching back towards the floor, he snatched up her shirt from where he had dropped it earlier.
Except her shirt was his shirt. She had been wearing his shirt. He hadn't noticed it before, but it was definitely his shirt. And it was not the one he had been wearing; it was a different colour.
He was oddly touched, but he didn't have much time or energy to dwell on it. Releasing her wrists, he gripped the shirt and shook it out.
"Here, I'll help you put this on." He held out the shirt so Lily could put it over her head.
Not comprehending in the least, Lily blinked blearily at him. "You don't understand how this works, apparently," she muttered, glaring. "You need to be naked and near me or else it all just falls to pieces."
Still, compliant, she reached out to pull the shirt on over her head. Now that he wasn't touching her, wasn't providing a distraction, all of the upheaval of the day came crashing down on her. Sighing, Lily turned from him and curled up in a ball on the bed.
"I forgot," she said. "I disgust you." Her eyes had been falling closed, everything about her feeling heavy and disgustingly real, but she managed to look over at him and gave him a small, shaky smile. "Don't worry. I disgust me, too."
Shivering slightly, Lily buried her face in her pillow. She felt like she wanted to die, as if her body was rebelling against her by continuing to exist. She'd tried alcohol, she'd tried sex, now Lily could sense the combination of too much of the first and not enough of the second causing the edges of her vision to darken out. Oh, thank Merlin.
Unconsciousness was a blessing. If she was unconscious she couldn't hurt, couldn't rehash every horrific moment of the breakup, couldn't replay over and over in her mind the sound of glass hitting the wall and Perry's voice screaming in wordless anger and anguish. And maybe - oh God, please - when she woke up all of this would have been a dream.
Or maybe she just wouldn't wake up. Miserable, Lily curled herself up tighter and probably couldn't have said exactly which one she was hoping for. Slowly, unaware of anything else in the room except the buzz in her head and the ragged sound of her breathing, Lily drifted away.
((Part 1 of 3))
Sirius wanted to be naked and near her. He was still aroused, and her advances were making it really difficult for him to stop, to tell her no. Thankfully, though, she put the shirt back on.
His relief, however, turned sour when Lily said she disgusted him. That was the farthest thing from the truth, and her saying that made Sirius feel as though he had been slapped across the face. The things they had just done together should have been proof enough that she didn't disgust him. He opened his mouth to argue, but the words died in his throat when she flashed him that sad, hurting smile.
Merlin, this had been such a mistake. She was depressed and quite possibly heartbroken, and Sirius had made things worse by not having the restraint and the presence of mind to stop things before they had gone way too far - to stop things before they had started at all. Now she probably thought he was just out to sleep with her, just like he had done with the other people in his past - and she didn't even know that she was the only one he really wanted to sleep with, and that was because he loved her!
"Lily...you don't disgust me," he sighed. "Not...not at all. We just - we just can't." She might have been drifting off, on the verge of passing out at that point, but Sirius didn't know it. Suddenly tired and frustrated, he fell silent. His body was still aching for him to finish what he had started, and he was beginning to get scared that he just might have ruined his relationship with the one person he wanted to be with the most.
But what was more important was Lily, and right now, she looked as though she needed to be put to bed. Bending over, Sirius picked up the covers and pulled them up and on top of her. She didn't move, and Sirius silently cursed himself once more; she was probably angry and confused about him having stopped things, about them having started things in the first place, about whatever had happened with Cox...about everything.
But Sirius couldn't exactly leave her there and go back to Slytherin. He wasn't so much worried about her drunkenness; she had already got sick, so a lot of it was out of her system, and she didn't seem as though she had alcohol poisoning or anything like that. Instead, he was more concerned about how she was feeling in general. It just seemed like a bad idea to leave her alone right now.
But it was also a bad idea to get into that bed with her. After putting his clothes back on, Sirius brought a large armchair over from the other side of the room and set it down by the head of the bed, although several feet away. Right now, he had to refrain from being too close to Lily. Clearly, his self-control was extremely lacking.
And the more he thought about it, the more he realised what the true situation was - that Lily had been very inebriated and extremely upset, and so she had come onto him. He wasn't angry; she probably didn't even know what she was doing. But he was very angry at himself for taking advantage of the situation, of her.
He settled down into the armchair and watched her for a moment. Dammit. He couldn't just leave things like this. She had to understand what had just happened. Which meant he had to tell her the truth. About why he had nearly allowed them to have sex. About everything.
Sighing heavily, he extinguished the candles in the room with a quick wave of his hand. His wand was Merlin knows where. He'd find it sometime in the morning. Right now, he had more pressing matters to deal with.
((Part 2 of 3))
He swallowed hard. "Lily? There's something I have to tell you. Just - ...don't say anything, okay? Just listen and don't say anything." He wanted her to hear him out, to hear everything he had to say before ordering him out of her life or telling him that everything was different now - awkward, strange, uncomfortable.
Taking a deep breath, he continued, "I - I'm sorry for letting all that happen. I never should've - ...you're drunk, and I took advantage, and I'm really sorry. But...." His voice caught in this throat, and he cleared it loudly a couple of times. Merlin, this was hard. What he was about to tell her - it could change everything. Worst of all, it could cause him to lose her if she didn't take it well, if it made her uncomfortable.
But now, after what they had just done - and what they had almost just done - she needed to know. She deserved that much, deserved to know why he had reacted to her advances the way that he did. She needed to know it had meant something to him, that she wasn't just some one-night hookup to him. She needed to know, even if it meant losing her.
Staring through the dark at her curled-up form on the bed, Sirius cleared his throat again and moistened his lips, which were rather dry from all the kissing from before. "Lily, I want you to know why I did it, why I let it happen. I promise, Lily, I wasn't just using you. I...." He looked down, away from her.
"I'm in love with you, Lily." There, it was said.
Quickly, he went on, not wanting to hear her reaction, deathly afraid that she would stop him, would groan, would cry, would tell him to get out - would anything but continue being his friend, the person he had grown so close to over the past half-year.
"I'm in love with you, and - and I know that's wrong, but I can't help it. My life - it's been a mess for so many years now, and you - you've changed some of that, Lily. You've been there for me even though I'm different, even though I look different." There was a note of bitterness in Sirius's voice as he thought about the way the other James had reacted to the marks Azkaban had left on his body, on his face. He folded his arms across his chest, suddenly conscious of how skinny he was, how old he looked, especially compared with Lily, who looked to be in her very early 20s.
"You've listened to me and laughed with me and given me things and trusted me - especially with Harry. You've trusted me with Harry even though he's your son, and not mine. And you've taken care of me when I was too sad to do it for myself, and...." His voice caught in his throat again. Saying all of this - the truth, things that he could not have been more certain about - it was so beautiful that it hurt, slicing through his heart like a sword. It wasn't even the hopelessness of his love that hurt so much; it was the love itself, its strength, its genuineness, its purity. He loved Lily so much that it literally hurt. Finally, he understood what Stephen had meant when he said love inflicts great pain. Sirius's chest physically ached right now as he tried to put his sentiments, his reasons for loving Lily, into words.
"...And you've become my best friend, Lily...but I...I can't help it. I want more than that." He swallowed, his chest on fire and his heart pounding. "And I know I can't have it. It's not fair to James - he could come back any day now, and I can't - I can't do that to him." Sirius buried his face in his hands. The things he had just done with Lily - he'd have to answer to James for them. He couldn't lie. He had nearly had sex with James's wife. It was one of the worst kinds of betrayal, something a true friend would never do to his best mate.
((Part 3 of 3))
Miserably, Sirius lifted his head back up and continued, "And I know you don't feel the same way about me. And I don't expect you to. I don't expect anything from you. I don't even expect you'll want to be around me much any more." That thought sent another sharp jolt of pain into his chest. "I'll do whatever you want. I - I'll stay away from you if you don't feel comfortable around me. But - I want you to know...."Sirius felt as though he had just sprinted for several miles, and he stopped briefly to catch his breath before continuing in a more measured tone, "I told you all this because I want you to know that what happened tonight - what just happened between us...I wasn't just using you. It wasn't just sex - " well, almost sex " - to me. I respect you, and I - I love you, Lily, and...I got carried away, but I swear, I promise you, it meant something to me." He paused. "Even if it meant nothing to you."
He fell silent. There it was. Everything had been said, and now she knew. He braced himself for her wrath - or, at the very least, her distress.
But there was only silence, save for a soft snoring, the deep breathing of someone who's had too much to drink and passed out.
No response. Sirius's eyes widened, and the pace of his heartbeat picked up again. How much of what he said had she heard? Had she heard any of it? He had absolutely no idea, and he wasn't sure if he'd be able to generate the courage to repeat it all over again. And now there was nothing he could do but wait until morning to find out.
It would be a long night. And he probably wouldn't sleep. Settling into the chair, he watched Lily as she slept, hoping this wouldn't be the last time she trusted him to be alone with her.
Except for her breathing, the room was quiet; not even Steeler was stirring. The room was also dark; the night was cloudy, and not even moonlight was filtering in through the window. The only light came from the soft blue glow of a clock on a nearby table. Squinting, Sirius looked at the time.
12:32. Midnight had come and gone, and another year was finished. He had been kissing Lily when one year had turned into another. The thought was both thrilling and painful: He had had a New Year's kiss from the woman he loved, but it was a huge, colossal mistake.
Rising from his chair, he stepped over to the bed and leant over Lily's sleeping form. After brushing her hair back from her face, he bent down and kissed her softly on the cheek.
"Happy New Year's, Lily," he whispered. "I'm so sorry." He straightened up and went back to the chair. Eventually, he slipped into a fitful sleep punctuated by nightmares and an overall sense of terrifying anxiety.
The first thing Lily was aware of was the light. None of the gentle teasing of sunlight accompanied by bird songs and light music that one might see in a Muggle movie. No, this was a giant, blaring shout of harsh yellow light that pounded her eyelids and made her temples throb. As Lily no longer had curtains - or, indeed, any sort of drapery in her room - there was no barrier between the far too chipper morning and her far too hungover head. Groaning loudly, Lily rolled over, hand flailing out to shake Perry awake. "Ginger - " But her hand hit the mattress instead of his shoulder and Lily, still muttering, pried her eyes open to find...
The bed was empty. And cold. Confused, she moved to sit up, a wave of dizziness pushing her back into the pillow, but not before she saw that there was no sign of Cox; in fact, Sirius was asleep in a chair by her bed. What in Merlin's name...
With a rush that made her stomach bottom out and a quick sob catch in her throat, the events of the last evening resurfaced through the fog that seemed to be saturating her brain. She'd broken up with him. He wouldn't be there when she woke up ever again, because she'd fucking ended it.
Pulling the covers back over her head and curling into a little ball of misery, Lily felt as if someone was literally clawing slowly at her insides. Her head felt ponderous and over-large, every muscle ached from grief and exhaustion, and each breath was agony. Not to mention she was so sodding thirsty that the longing for a bit of water was almost more overwhelming than the pain at the thought that Perry was no longer a part of her life.
Fuck, where was her wand? For another few moments, Lily jut lay there, wishing she could cry, but actually hurting too badly to do so. Her mouth felt like sand and she was finding it difficult to swallow. Shite.
Everything was disjointed - all her thinking seemed out of order and just a wee bit off - but Lily managed to unfold herself and cautiously poke her head out from under the covers again. The first thing her eyes lit on was Sirius and her brow puckered slightly in confusion. What was he doing there? Some blurry memory of sending off an owl the night before flickered through her mind, but more than that was completely blank. Huh.
Slowly, wanting nothing more than to crawl back into the dark hollow of her blankets and stay there until all this proved some horrific nightmare or suddenly something shifted so that she could realize how wrong she was and go beg Perry to forget everything and go back to being happy, Lily reached out her arm and nudged Sirius knee.
"Black," she rasped, voice hoarse and tired and flat. "Black. Wake up. Need some water."
((Part 1 of 3))
A long tunnel stretched out in front of Sirius. He wasn't sure where he was, but there was nowhere else to walk, so he followed it. At first, the only noise was the echo of his footsteps, but after a while he started to hear music - faint at first and then louder, until he was able to discern the rich, melodious tones of an organ.
The tunnel opened out into some sort of large hall, turning into an open aisle flanked by rows of people, although he couldn't make out who any of them were.
Then everything suddenly shifted, and he found himself at the end of the aisle, on a riser of sorts, facing...someone. He blinked, and the person came into focus. It was Cox, clad in wizarding dress robes, and he was standing there grinning widely at Sirius.
Confused, Sirius looked to his left to find Dumbledore standing on the riser above him and Cox, facing them - and looking very out of place in an ensemble of blue jeans and a leather jacket. With no T-shirt underneath. Nice.
Eyes widening in extreme confusion, Sirius looked back over at Cox, whose smile softened, his lips closing over his teeth and his eyes simultaneously relaxed and excited. He looked so happy, as if it were the best day of his life.
Sirius looked down at himself and was surprised to find that he was wearing his old Azkaban robes - the ones he had on when he had escaped. The ones he wore for nearly two years whilst on the run. They were ragged and filthy, and he was embarrassed to be seen like this once again, especially in front of Cox, who was looking very sharp in the dress robes.
What was he doing there? What was Cox doing there? In front of all those people?
"Mr Black," came Dumbledore's voice from Sirius's left, both powerful and kindly as he projected his voice out over the crowd on Sirius's other side. "Do you take this wizard to be your husband? If so, please say I do."
Sirius swallowed hard. He was getting married? To Cox?! No, no, something felt off about it. He didn't love Cox. He loved someone else...someone...although he didn't know whom.
Dumbledore was staring at him, waiting for an answer. Cox was looking at him expectantly, too, his face so happy, so pleasant. Sirius didn't know what to do. He couldn't remember why he was there, how he had managed to get engaged to Cox, how he had come to be standing there in front of everyone getting married to him. But he couldn't just run away and leave. He must have made a promise, and now he had to follow through with it.
"I do," he answered, trying hard to sound calm and in control. What other choice did he have?
He looked out over the crowd...and his eyes fell on Lily...and James. James's arm was around her shoulders, and both of them were smiling at him blissfully, as if they couldn't have been happier at that moment.
Maybe...this was all for the best?
Sirius turned back to Cox. That nagging feeling was still there, but it was too late. He had made a promise, a promise he couldn't remember, and he had to honour it.
Reaching one of his hands out, he took Cox's...
((Continued in the next post))
((Part 2 of 3))
...and the scene suddenly shifted, and he and Cox were standing outside an open door in a lavishly decorated hallway.
"Ready, Fido? Think you can handle me?" Cox was still wearing the dress robes, and he was holding a large bottle of Scotch in one hand and a bouquet of red lilies in the other.
At first, Sirius was confused again, but then he glanced through the doorway and saw a huge bed with giant white pillows and lush, satiny sheets. Rose petals were scattered across it and on the ground leading up to it, and a bottle of champagne was resting inside a chiller just inside the door.
Oddly, the main thought that crossed his mind was, "This place looks awfully Muggle to me."
Slowly, as if in a dream (which, of course, it was), Sirius stepped towards Cox. "Yeah, I can handle you." Then, although it took great effort considering how skinny he was and how well built Cox was, he picked Cox up, cradling him in his arms.
He took one step. And then another.The threshold was right in front of him. One more step.
Cox's arm had been slung around his neck, gripping his shoulder lightly, but as Sirius stepped over the threshold, that arm went limp, dropping down from Sirius's neck and onto his back. In fact, Cox's entire body went limp, causing Sirius to stagger under the sudden dead weight. He stumbled over to the bed and dropped the body onto it.
To his horror, he realised it wasn't Cox whose body was now lying on the bed. It was James, and he was unconscious. Or...
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Sirius wailed, throwing himself on top of James. No, he couldn't go through this again! Gasping, he cupped James's face in his hands, shaking his head, trying to get him to wake up. "No, James, you can't! Please, James, please be alive!"
Sobbing, he smoothed James's hair back from his forehead...and to his horror discovered a lightning-bolt-shaped scar there. "No, James," he moaned. "What did he do to you? I'm so sorry, James - I promise I never consummated it! I promise! James...."
((Continued in the next post))
((Part 3 of 3))
Sirius woke with a start. His eyes wide and his heart pounding, he looked around, confused about where he was. Then he saw Lily - a very hungover-looking Lily - and it all came rushing back. The deep, intense, passionate kisses...her body pressed against his, skin on skin...her hands all over him, and his all over her...his confession....
Fuck. Well...she hadn't kicked him out yet.
"Right. Water." Yeah, considering how wasted she had been the night before, she probably did need a glass of water. Groggily, he pushed himself up from the chair and looked around the room for his wand. Spying it on the floor near the foot of her bed, he picked it up, along with the glass she had drank out of the night before, which was on a table by the bed. He filled it from his wand and then passed it over to her.
He really wanted to sit next to her on the bed, and maybe rub her back, but at this point he didn't trust himself. She was sober, but...yeah, he wasn't going to take his chances. Not yet, at least. Besides, he didn't even know if she hated him after what had happened the night before.
"You all right?" he asked. On the surface, the question was about her likely hangover, but underneath it, he was asking if she was all right with him, with what they had done, with what he had told her. He settled back into the chair, rubbing his eyes and trying to prepare for the worst.
Taking the glass gratefully, Lily drank, deeply, suddenly conscious of just how thirsty she was. Merlin, water had never tasted so good. Flopping back in bed, looking longingly at her now-empty glass, Lily shrugged. "Well, I broke up with a bloke I loved because I am so fucked up that I'm incapable of living one day at a time, I drank my body weight in alcohol, got sick in a corner, and, apparently, passed out. So I'm brilliant. How about you?"
One arm was slung across her eyes, her tone bitter and angry. Then, once the silence had clipped off the end of her sentence, Lily sighed, squinting at him from under her elbow. "Sorry," she muttered. "My head feels like cotton. Throbbing, stabbing cotton." She was never drinking again. Either that or she was just not going to stop. Because everything in her body was now rebelling against the natural order of things.
Struggling to roll over so she was facing him, Lily then winced as her eyes then were doused in sunlight. "Fucking sun." Again the covers went up over her head, just a small crack so she could still see him. "When did you get here? I...remember...owling you? Or was that a dream? Merlin, I'm so hung over." Rubbing her face with her hands, she groaned. "And it feels like something crawled into my mouth and died. Lovely."
The silences allowed her to dwell. She didn't want to dwell. Therefore, no silences. Sounded like a smashing plan to her.
"No, you did owl me."
Did this mean...she didn't remember any of it? Sirius had already realised there was a good chance she had been passed out for most, if not all, of his confession, but did she also not remember what they did together?
At first, this thought made Sirius's heart sink deep into his stomach. If she didn't remember any of it, then it really had meant nothing to her. When she was kissing him, when she was touching him, when she was whispering his name and pleading for more - none of it had been real. It had been the alcohol, and that was it.
That was it.
Sirius's insides felt cold, and he looked down at his hands, away from Lily. Right now, it hurt too much to look at her.
On the other hand, maybe it was a good thing she didn't remember. What he had done - not resisting her advances when she was so obviously drunk...it was wrong. And while that didn't change the fact that he had done it, the fact that he would have to answer to James, and possibly even Cox, for his choices, his actions, it did mean that, at least for right now, he didn't have to burden Lily with the truth about his feelings for her.
Especially since it was clear now that she didn't return them after all.
"I'm sorry," he said quietly. Like his inquiry about her well-being just before, there was a surface meaning and an underlying intention. To Lily, it might have sounded like a platitude, an offering of condolences for her situation. Underneath, however, it was an apology for everything he had done. For taking advantage of her. For hoping for things that shouldn't have been anyway. For not being the friend he should have been when she needed it most. Sometimes friendship means saying things the other person doesn't want to hear, enforcing boundaries the other person wants to break. Sirius had been weak, and it might have cost him his friendship with Lily.
Getting up, he took her glass and refilled it. Then, after grabbing some parchment she had lying around, he cast a couple of spells to transfigure it into a large metal square and Banished it over to the window, where it stuck to the windowframe, blocking out the sun.
"Dunno how long that'll last - the spellwork's kind of shoddy - but hopefully it'll give you enough time to get over the hangover. I could try a couple of charms to help you with the headache and the dry mouth, but there are a few annoying side effects. Not sure it's worth it."
Cautiously, he sat on the foot of the bed, careful not to touch Lily. "Do you want any food? Or...anything else? If - if you want to talk about it, that's okay, too." Sirius still didn't know if he'd have anything to say that might be helpful, but he had to offer. If it would help her feel better - well, that's all Sirius wanted right now.
That and to make sure of what she knew and didn't know.
"You don't remember anything from after you owled me?"
Now, normally, Lily would notice Sirius' sudden mood shift. Normally she would have picked up on the tension and awkwardness that seemed to suddenly be between them. And, of course, normally she would have asked and teased and cajoled until she figured out what was wrong and attempted to fix it. But, where there should have been Lily's sharp eyes studying him, in the space where there should have been a question asked, there was just a soft sigh and Lily reaching for the glass.
Because Lily was so far off of her normal she probably couldn't have pointed it out in a crowd. Completely focused on her own internal misery, she had no perception of anything outside of herself. At his offer of Charms, Lily grunted and shook her head slowly, wincing at the movement. "No. This is better than... It's a distraction. At least I have something else to focus on, yeah?"
The thought of food made her blanch, but with the sun blocked for the moment, Lily pulled herself to a sitting position, propped up against the headboard. She looked...well, like death warmed over. Dark circles were a common appearance under her eyes, true, but today they looked more like deep bruises. Her complexion, usually pale but healthy, was now sallow; and her hair was tangled and mussed about. Even her eyes - so expressive under normal circumstances - were dull and nearly blank of everything but pain and depression. Running one shaking hand through her hair, Lily rolled her eyes at the knots. There was a brief struggle as Lily tried to clumsily pull her hair back with a band from her nightstand - she admitted defeat with most of her locks twisted up into a messy bun and several tendrils still wisping down around her face and neck.
She managed to sip the water more slowly this time and, for a few minutes, her entire focus seemed to be on the glass, her shoulders hunched around it as if to ward off anyone who would try to inturrupt. In truth, she wanted nothing less than to talk about what had happened. So, once Lily had finished the water, she fiddled with the glass for a bit. "I remember," she said finally, seizing on the question he had asked, "the throwing up bit. With clarity. Unfortunately." She made a face of disgust, "I have never, in my entire life, been that drunk. Or that sick. I thought I was going to die. And then...the owl, sort of. And...and then...a duck?" She looked up at him, a desperate attempt for lightness evident in her tone. "Was there a duck?"
Mr. Quackers, apparently feeling that this was his cue, waddled over to nudge lightly at Sirius' leg, quacking softly. "Ah," Lily said, her lips moving to form a ghost of a smile. "Right. So, not a dream, either. So then I..." She frowned, concentrating. "Then I passed out, right? I don't remember anything after the duck at the door. Maybe a bit of...of going to the bed. And you talking, but...just the sound of your voice. Nothing that was said."
Steeler had woken up and now cautiously approached Lily's bed, whining a bit, tail between his legs. It had been an extremely confusing night for the poor dog - the two people who had never once denied him an ounce of attention had both shunned him, one even shouting at him. However Lily, when she looked down, didn't make a move towards Steeler. In face, she stared at him blankly for a moment before turning her head away, pulling her legs up to rest her cheek on her knees. Sharp pain lanced through her chest and she choked back a sob, eyes screwed shut.
"What did I tell you?" she asked, voice rough and low. "About...what happened. I can't remember." And she really didn't want to rehash anything she didn't have to.
It was settled, then: She really didn't remember. Sirius still felt an element of relief; aside from Mr Quackers and Steeler, neither of whom really counted, Sirius was the only one who knew what had happened between himself and Lily. They could just move on. He could just pretend it never had happened. She would never know they had come within inches of having sex, never know that they had even kissed, never know how Sirius felt about her, and they could continue being friends. There would be nothing awkward to ruin everything.
But mostly, Sirius felt a hollow ache in his heart and in his stomach. He had exposed himself to Lily in the most intimate of ways, physically and emotionally, and in the end it had meant nothing. It hadn't even been casual sex between friends - not that it could have been that way anyway, not with the way he felt about her - because to her, it simply hadn't existed at all. In a sense, it was like those years she lost between her death and her return to Hogwarts. It was time that had existed for Sirius, but not for her.
Sirius felt ashamed and embarrassed and vulnerable. He also felt like a jerk for taking advantage of Lily when a little thought, a little consideration, would have easily revealed that she had had no idea what she was doing. He also felt a bit used himself. He knew Lily hadn't meant to - there was no way she had, given that she didn't remember any of what had happened in the first place - but the fact was that he had just been a body to her inebriated mind. She hadn't done those things because she wanted him. And although he knew it was wrong, he couldn't help but want her to want him.
He bent down to pat Mr Quackers lightly when the duck nudged his leg, purposely looking at Mr Quackers so he didn't have to look at Lily. The way he had seen her the night before - lustful, wanting, needy, nearly naked...and the way she had seen him, the way she had touched him, the way he had reacted to those touches.... It was just hard to face her at that moment.
He looked up in time to notice the way she had avoided Steeler. Frowning slightly, he patted his knee, beckoning the dog over and scratching him under his chin. Steeler probably needed a walk and a good bowl of food, and Sirius decided he'd go ahead and do all that when he finished with Lily. The walk would probably do himself some good as well; the pain inside his chest was only worsening the more he thought about the things he and Lily had done together.
Finally, Sirius looked up at her. "Yeah, we talked a little, and then you passed out," he lied. It hurt so much to do that, but he didn't really have a choice. Well, he did, but saying, "No, actually, you started kissing me and then we ended up nearly having sex, after which I proceeded to tell you that I'm in love with you" was not an option. Still, Sirius felt like the biggest jerk in the world.
Glancing down at his hands, he continued, "You told me there was no long term with - with him - " for some reason, Sirius couldn't bring himself to say Cox's name " - and something about lobsters and some sort of biscuits. You said it wouldn't work outside Hogwarts." Sirius forced himself to look back over at Lily as if nothing were wrong - at least, nothing of the sort that was currently shattering his heart.
Swallowing painfully, jaw clenched, Lily nodded. A quick jerk of her head, face turned away so the Sirius wouldn't see her sudden tears, and Lily felt as if she had just sealed the casket on her relationship with Cox. As if by acknowledging the reason behind it she had severed her last opportunity to shout No, no, it's a mistake! Let's go back, let's be happy again.
"I've been... For weeks, for months, I've been asking people about love. About how to know when you're in it. About how to know if it's real. If there are different kinds, and what they all mean, and where do you go once you realize you're in something. And everything lead me to - to realize that love is..."
She paused, heaving a shuddering breath, before she looked back over at Sirius. Quiet tears tracked down her face, which was eerily expressionless. Lily was afraid if she allowed anything to show, she'd break down completely. "Like, all right, my mum used to make these sugar biscuits, yeah? They were hers - every holiday, every special occasion, she made her famous sugar biscuits. And no one elses' quite tasted the same. I might like other biscuits as well - some of them might even be better. But nothing was quite like my mum's. And that's...that's what I think that love is. The kind of love that lasts, the kind where you know you...you fit. There's other sorts, and you can enjoy them; hell, you might even be able to stay in them and be really sodding happy for a while. But, really, if it's not that one love, it's...it's just not the same."
Just the smallest tremble of her lips and then Lily went on, "I love Perry. I do. But...maybe... I just... I can't see us fitting. I can't see a place where we're both outside of here and are really happy and content and not ending up hating the other. I don't know, maybe it's because I already had my sugar biscuit and you only get one. But...but that's why. Why I broke up with him."
Those last words broke something in Lily, and she buried her face in her arms, trying so desperately hard not to start sobbing. The pain in her chest had spread so that now every breath felt like her lungs were on fire, every word ripped her throat raw. "He was it. I can't...I can't do this again. I can't get close to someone and then lose them again. I'm done. Perry was my last relationship. From now on, it's better if I'm just alone. I hurt him, Sirius. I really hurt him, and I hate myself for it. I can't do it again, not to anyone."
She was quiet for a minute before slowly raising her eyes to his, every motion heavy and ponderous. "Have you ever been in love, Sirius? Is this...is this what it's always like, after? I've never... James was my first...first nearly everything. And I've not ended a relationship before. I just... Merlin, Sirius, it just hurts."
((Part 1 of 2))
Seeing Lily so upset didn't make Sirius feel any better. As hurt and disappointed as he was, he didn't wish to see her suffer as well. What made it even worse is that while he desperately wanted to comfort her, he was now a bit scared to touch her. He doubted there would be a repeat of what had happened the night before (as much as he might have wished for it, or at least for what had happened up to the part where he had realised that he had betrayed his best friend - hell, add Cox into that as well - and was on the verge of making that betrayal far worse than it already was), but what if touching Lily, holding her, embracing her, just as he had done the night before, would bring back to Lily memories of the intimacy they had shared after all? Sitting there on the edge of the bed, Sirius felt helpless, but he dared not do anything.
He did listen closely to what she said, however, interested in what had brought her to make what was obviously a very painful choice, and in what she had to say about love. His eyes were trained on her face as she spoke, and when she looked at him, they met hers. She looked worn out and beaten, and he wondered whether he himself looked that way as well. He did his best to try and look neutral despite his own ongoing emotional broomstick ride.
The sugar biscuit explanation made him feel a small burst of relief. It was good to know she hadn't broken up with Cox over actual sugar biscuits! And it was interesting what she said. He couldn't quite identify with the literal part of the analogy - his mum had had Kreacher and other house-elves do the cooking, and anything she had made herself was of no sentimental value to Sirius at all - but he understood its meaning all the same.
What she was saying was that no one would ever be the same as James to her. The burst of relief turned into a huge wave. Sirius already knew he himself would never be James. That was never in question. What felt good to know was that Lily still held James in that regard - that she wouldn't replace him. Sirius wasn't just being sentimental; he truly believed James would come back - he had to - and when he did, it would be devastating if Lily had simply replaced him. He knew she had never had any intentions of doing so, but the reassurance was still really nice.
He wasn't sure he quite agreed with the analogy on the whole, however. "I dunno. I - I see what you're saying, about no other sugar biscuit being like your mum's. But why shouldn't you enjoy other sugar biscuits? I mean, if they taste good, then...why not eat them? Unless you're afraid of getting fat or something." Fuck, this analogy was falling apart in Sirius's hands. He wasn't trying to argue either way for her getting back together with Cox. At this point, he was too tired to think about that. Mainly, he wanted Lily to feel better...and maybe a small part of him wanted the analogy to leave some sort of loophole for himself, some sort of justification for why he might be able to be with Lily at some point, even though he knew it never would happen.
"Never mind." It was all too much for his tired, worn-out brain, and so Sirius resorted to one of his defence mechanisms: humour. "I'm sure James would appreciate knowing he's a sugar biscuit, even if that's not a very manly thing to be, now, is it?"
((Continued in the next post))
((Part 2 of 2))
A ghost of a smile flickered across his face, but it quickly fell when Lily looked as though she was going to cry. He wanted to do something for her, something that would make her feel better...but he didn't know what. Part of him wanted to tell her it didn't matter - that James would come back, and then she wouldn't need to worry about relationships any more. Another part wanted to convince her not to give up on relationships - that there was someone out there who loved her beyond belief, and that maybe, maybe, she could try a relationship with that person - or at least give that person some hope that...
It was useless. Sirius needed to stop thinking about it. The only thing he could do was let her know that he was there for her. As a friend. Because that's all they would ever be. And Sirius had to accept that. And if he accepted that, then it was his duty to do something to help her, even if the only thing he could do was give her a hug. Which he would be very very very careful about.
He started to get up, but then Lily asked him about being in love, and he immediately sat back down at the foot of her bed, a slightly stricken expression on his face. "I - ...yeah, I've been in love." Hell, he wasn't going to lie more than he already was. "But...I couldn't say what it was like after, because there was no after. The person I loved - they didn't love me back." Sirius's eyes flicked back down to his hands before he forced them to return to Lily's face, staring at her in a way that was both hollow and intense. "And that hurt more than I thought possible."
Merlin, she was just so tired. Of everything. And the horrific part was: she just wanted to talk to Perry. She was feeling wretched and alone and all she wanted to do was tell all of this to one of the two people she felt closest in the world to. But, she couldn't. At least she had Sirius - that one thought kept echoing in her brain. At least she had him. She wasn't totally alone. That was good, wasn't it?
A small flicker of a smile crossed her lips and she gave a choked half-laugh. "Are you saying I should watch my biscuit intake, Black?" she said, a brief gleam of life in her eyes as she looked at him. Then, considering his question, Lily shrugged. "I...I don't know. To be honest, I have no fucking clue. Maybe there really is only one sugar biscuit. Or maybe there's something special about that biscuit that makes it stand out, and that something can be found in other ones as well. Or maybe I'm just full of shite." Both of her hands went up to her face and she rubbed her eyes. "I just don't know." At his mention of James, the most amount of searching that had been in her expression all day took over and she automatically locked her gaze with his. However, in the end, exhaustion won out and Lily's eyes dropped, her focus turned back inward. "James liked sugar biscuits," she mumbled with an attempt at a light smile. "I'm sure he wouldn't mind being compared to one."
She watched him, brow creasing slightly at his words. This...was new. "Who wouldn't be in love with you?" she asked, sincere even while her tone was low and tired. "They'd have to be right off their rocker. Merlin, I can't imagine a better bloke than you. This bird...or, er, bloke...whomever, they were fucking insane. And not worth it, not in the least. Not if they couldn't pull their head out of their arse long enough to see the amazing person they had a chance at being with."
Seriously, who wouldn't be in love with him? She hadn't known he was with anyone... Maybe this was from before? Perhaps that Jim bloke from Reno? Or...Merlin, maybe it was Remus. Now, that would explain why it would hurt so much - they were mates. A soft expression crossed her face and Lily reached out a hand to gently find his, curling her fingers around his thumb when that was as far out as she could go. "They weren't worth half of you, Sirius," she told him fiercely, eyes meeting his.
Sirius nearly jerked his hand away when Lily touched it. It wasn't that he was angry at her; how could he be? It wasn't her fault. People do things when they're drunk. It wasn't her fault at all that she had pushed his hopes up about something he had never expected in the first place. But with the feeling of her skin pressing against his, her mouth whispering his name in his ear, and her lips on his still fresh in his mind, it was just hard to be touched by her.
The thing was, there was a disconnect: In Sirius's mind, something about their relationship had permanently changed. Even
In the end, though, he kept his hand there, not wanting to tip Lily off to the fact that something was wrong. Vaguely, he wondered whether, if given the choice, he would elect to be Obliviated about the previous night's goings-on or decide to remain aware, simply because that was to be the only time he would have that sort of experience with Lily.
Lily had no idea, but the irony of her passionate statements about the person Sirius was in love with made him feel as though someone had punched him hard in the stomach. If she couldn't imagine a better bloke than him, then why didn't she feel about him the way he felt about her?
"No, it's not like that," he muttered. "They...the person cared about me a lot, all right? They just didn't...fancy me. They weren't in love with me. And that's not something you can force." He looked down, away from her gaze, and added in a very low tone, "They were very much worth it."
Remus. It had to be. Someone who cared about him, but didn't love him, not like that? Someone who Sirius firmly believed was 'worth it'? Who else could it be? That would...actually explain quite a bit. And he and Remus did have a history... Suddenly feeling something other than her own sense of misery - just flickering at the edges - Lily squeezed his hand in sympathy. "No, you can't," she agreed softly. "But you also just can't give up. Look at me and James - he loved me long before I even really noticed him. Before I had a chance to realize what was right in front of me. Imagine if he had listened to me the thousand and one times I told him to bugger off?" She gave him a little smile. "People are stupid, Black. All of them. And they very often can't see past the end of their own noses. But if you really love Re- er, this person...if you really think they're worth it, you can't just let that go."
Then, slowly, her smile grew into a grin. Helpless giggles shook her and she dropped his hand to bury her face in arms folded around her knees. "Merlin, we're quite the pair, aren't we? You love someone who doesn't love you back, I just chucked aside someone who loved me because I'm worried it won't last. We should just go and cloister ourselves away and save ourselves the heartache." Her head raised, eyes full of pain and a slight edge of despair meeting his. "At least I have you, Sirius. Honestly, I think I'd have gone mad months ago if it hadn't been for you."
Slowly, Lily moved to stand up, steadying herself by gripping tightly to her nightstand. Grimacing at the sudden pain in her head, Lily made her way slowly to her bathroom, pausing to scoop up the bra she must have tossed off last night before going to sleep from the floor and shoving it into her dresser. She tugged a bit on the collar of the t-shirt she was wearing. "Need to brush my teeth," she muttered in explanation as she shut the door.
After using the loo and washing her face, Lily pulled out her toothbrush and paste, beginning to scrub the fuzz from her teeth. Meeting her reflection, Lily winced. Merlin, she looked like shite warmed up and served over a side of arse. Attacking her hair with a brush, she gave up after a minute from exhaustion and pulled it all back up. She really should shower, but the thought of even drawing herself a bath seemed insurmountable.
Opening the door again, Lily made her way back to the bed, collapsing onto it with a groan. Nudging Sirius with her foot, eyes closed tight and body curled up slightly, she begged, "Tea, please. Strong tea."
((*sigh* Part 1 of 2))
Sirius didn't pick up on Lily's suspicion that the person he was referring to was Remus. If he had, he surely would've laughed out loud. Oh, there was a time when he had wondered such a thing, but now that he knew what being in love really felt like, his worries about Remus seemed utterly ridiculous. Cooper had been right: You know love when it happens. In fact, Remus had said the exact same thing. There's no need to question it. There's no need to go asking multitudes of people what it feels like to be in love. You just know. Like Sirius knew about Lily.
The irony of her telling him not to give up - on her, although she didn't know it, of course - was almost too much for Sirius to take. Had he not had such a close brush with ruining everything the night before, he surely would have confessed all to her, right then and there. He would have told her that yes, he had to give up. If anything, what had happened the night before proved that. She had been with him in almost the most intimate of ways, but only because alcohol had clouded her mind. Under normal circumstances? Well, that question was answered by the fact that they weren't doing those things right now. That Lily was mourning a breakup with someone else. That Lily had it all right in front of her, but didn't see a bit of it.
But giving up doesn't mean falling out of love. Giving up is a choice. Falling out of love - well, that's as much a choice as falling in love...or not being in love with someone in the first place. In other words, Sirius knew his feelings for Lily would not be returned. He also knew that even if they were, he couldn't ultimately follow through on them; to do so would be to betray James, to devastate him when he came to Hogwarts. But the feelings wouldn't change because of that.
Yeah, it pretty much sucked to be Sirius, at least in this respect.
But, in spite of all of this, in spite of Sirius's knowledge that he had to let go of any possibility that Lily might someday fancy him, what Lily said about not giving up was true in the end. For as much as Sirius knew his interest in Lily was hopeless for so many reasons, he couldn't help but retain that one sliver of hope. The fact was, she was worth it. And because of that, just as she had said, he couldn't let go entirely. Perhaps it was that same mindset that had, at least in part, helped Sirius keep his mind throughout his twelve years in Azkaban, when so many others had lost theirs. As much as Sirius was aware that he was barking up the wrong tree, he couldn't stop doing it. There would be a very small part of him that, on occasion, would keep that hope that things would change. That one day Lily would love him, and somehow they would make it work.
((Continued in the next post))
((Part 2 of 2))
Even her laughter didn't really help the helpless, frustrated, drowning feeling in Sirius's head. Yeah, they were quite the pair, all right. But not quite the pair Sirius wanted them to be. The selfish part of him screamed out, It would last with me! I'd treat you with nothing but the respect and love you deserve! I'd make sure you had everything you wanted, that you were never lonely, that you were happy and taken care of. Yes, let's cloister ourselves away. Yes, that would instantly solve my heartache. It's not a joke. It's real, Lily.
But yeah, at least they did have each other. Strangely, that thought helped and hurt in equal amounts. Things could have been much worse, really. He and Lily had become extremely close in the months following her return to Hogwarts. He truly ought to have counted himself as lucky - and he did. But being that close to the woman you're in love with - it was as though Sirius was Tantalus and Lily was the crystal clear pond in which he was immersed. The closer he got to Lily, the moment he was about to touch his lips to the surface, the more thirsty he ended up. And unlike Tantalus, Sirius had finally got his taste - and it had left him wanting more, with a thirst far worse than what he had initially been cursed with.
"Mmmmm," was all he could manage in response to her, although the depth of feeling in his eyes probably said much more. He watched her as she got up, and when the door to the bathroom closed, he buried his face in his hands, rubbing at his eyes and wondering just how he had found himself in this strange predicament in the first place. It certainly wasn't something he would have predicted at any point in his life. Then again, falling through a cursed curtain and ending up in Reno wasn't exactly high on his "THIS WILL DEFINITELY HAPPEN!" list either.
By the time Lily came back, Sirius had managed to compose himself, although he hadn't got up from his spot on the bed. Lily's nudge actually managed to get a slight smile out of him - he had already established they'd never be a couple, and here she was ordering him around anyway as though they were an old married couple.
"Yes, dear," he said, unable to help himself. He got up, found a teapot and all the tea-making provisions (this was Lily's room, so such things were very much in abundance!), and set to work making tea. Except for the way he warmed the water in the kettle, he did it all manually (as opposed simply to pouring the tea from his wand); tea simply tasted better when made in the kettle, with real leaves, and if Lily wanted a cup of tea, he was going to make her a damn fine cup of one.
As he worked on it, he said casually, "All that stuff about me being in love - it was a long time ago, you know. Nothing that affects me now."
Lies, lies, all lies! But it was better this way. Better to let her think these things were in the past. That there was no way they could apply to her. That he was fine, perfectly fine. That he had given up on love and that was that.
That problem dispensed with, he poured the tea into two mugs, added milk and sugar to both, and passed one of the mugs to Lily. Then, sitting down in the chair he had slept in, he took a sip of tea. "I like ol' Coxy. Don't get me wrong. But...if you don't think it will last - if you really belive that - then maybe breaking it off was for the best. It's like that Muggle saying about ripping off a bandage. You know, the longer you take, the more it ends up hurting in the end. But if you rip it off quickly, it hurts intensely for a short bit, and then...you end up all right." He paused and then added, “You hungry at all?”
Managing to pull herself up in time to take the mug, Lily took a drink, sighing appreciatively. "Thank you," she murmured, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. Merlin, there was nothing like a properly brewed cup of tea. For a moment she simply sat there; listening to Sirius, yes, but mostly just allowing the steam from the mug, the way the tea tasted, the warmth seeping into fingers wrapped around the cup to relax her slightly. Just a slight un-tightening of her shoulders and a few of the creases around her eyes fading, but it was enough.
Able to pull her mind away a bit from the rushing, agonizing thoughts that threatened to consume her, she looked over at Sirius, really looking at him for the first time since she'd woken up. Snorting, she blew on the tea to cool it and took another drink. "Bullshite," she told him mildly. "Complete and utter. If it's something that 'doesn't affect you anymore', then you weren't in love. So you're either lying about that or lying now. Either way, bullshite." One eyebrow quirked up and for a brief flicker Lily looked her old self - if one discounted the dark circles and too-pale skin. "I know you too well, Black. I'm betting heavy money on the latter."
Because the expression on his face hadn't been one of a long-forgotten pain. It was one of a heartbreak still tearing at him. Which was...well, fucking weird, actually. How had she not known this? Even if it had been years ago, if you really loved someone there was always a bit of bittersweet longing about it, no matter what had happened between then and now. She knew that Perry was always going to be a part of her, a small ache, a slight hitch in her heart; that was the price for loving someone. They became ingrained, imprinted in your very self. The thing was, though, that no matter how much she hurt at this moment - and Merlin, she hurt - she wouldn't want it to go away. She wouldn't want his mark to be gone. So who had marked Sirius so? Who had wrapped their lives with his? And how the bloody hell did she not know?
And why the fuck did the entire thought make her chest ache just a little bit more?
Head still too fuzzy to think deep thoughts, she sipped slowly on her tea, grateful eyes going to Sirius' as he went on. "Yeah," she said, voice suddenly rough. "I just... Merlin, I wish I was wrong. I wish I'd think of some way it would work. Or he'd show up and tell me that he's thought of a brilliant plan. Or...or I'd just stop being so bloody stupid and enjoy what I have. I mean, who the fuck am I to try and plan ahead? Obviously the last time I did so... I just keep ruining people's lives and..." Choking back a wild sob which sounded marginally like a laugh, Lily trailed off and clenched her mug so tightly her knuckles turned white. "Yeah."
The mention of food made Lily blanch and she winced, shaking her head. "Er, no. Never again, actually, I think. But if you are...I just...won't look." She tried a smile and looked over at him...then stopped, lips quirking into a quizzical expression. "Um...do I smell, Black? Or is there some other reason that you're ten feet away from me?" She blinked, then looked from him to the foot of her bed and back again in bleary confusion. "You...haven't been near me at all, actually. Did...did I vomit on you?" She flushed brightly and grimaced. "Oh, Merlin, I did, didn't I? And now you're disgusted by me. I'm sorry, Sirius." Oh, brilliant.
Sirius had been lowering his lips to take another sip from his mug when Lily called bullshit on him. His eyes snapped up to look at her, the mug still in front of his mouth. He stared at her like that for a few seconds, not entirely sure what to say.
Why did she have to press him on this? The truth would only hurt her, complicate things between them. But, of course, he couldn't even tell her that.
Finally, looking back down into the mug, Sirius repeated in a low, insistent tone, "It was a long time ago."
Lily's heartbreak was an easier subject to deal with - at least there were no secrets or lies involved - although Sirius still didn't really know what to make of the whole thing. Shrugging, he said, "But isn't that sort of who you are? I mean, youv'e always planned ahead for things. You're organised like that. And...well, if there's no future in it, then...I reckon it's not a bad idea to end it before you get further enmeshed."
Lily didn't know it, but midway through his last sentence, Sirius had begun to speak more to himself than to her. He and Lily had no future together. He needed to do something to extricate himself from the tangle of his feelings. What that something was, however, he did not know.
There was one thing Sirius was certain of, however. "You don't ruin people's lives." He frowned at Lily, not sure why she'd say such a thing. Of course, she very much was complicating Sirius's own life at the moment, but there was no way she could know that, and anyway, she wasn't ruining it. As much as the whole situation with her was causing him a great deal of pain, in the end he couldn't simply wish it all away. It was far too late for that. Indeed, he was, well...enmeshed.
His own expression turned quizzical at Lily's questions about where he was sitting. With a slight bark of a laugh, he said, "No, you didn't throw up on me. That honour was reserved for the corner back there." He gestured to the area of her room in which he had seen the poorly Scourgified mess the night before. "And I arrived after the deed was done, so don't worry, you didn't ruin my image of you as the most poised and graceful girl in school." He grinned and then got up and walked over to said corner.
It wasn't a long walk, of course, but it gave Sirius a chance to try and further digest what she had just said. Was he staying away from her? He certainly was being more cautious; after the night before, he had to be. He couldn't let something like that happen again, nor could he let on that anything had happened in the first place. He hadn't realised his wariness had been noticeable. Or maybe the both of them had become used to a certain level of physical closeness. Was that closeness something Sirius had imposed on her as a result of the way he felt?
So many unanswered questions. So much confusion. It actually made cleaning up vomit seem appealing.
Deftly, Sirius Vanished the remainder of the mess (thank goodness Steeler hadn't tried to eat it whilst they were sleeping - or maybe the thought of consuming partially digested alcohol was too disgusting even for a dog!) and walked back over to the bed, trying not to stand too far away this time.
Then, glancing back at Steeler, who was lying down by the door, looking at them and panting slightly, he said, "I ought to take him for a walk. Think you're going to be all right for a while?"
Shaking her head, Lily sighed and looked away. He didn't get it. He never did. She married James, James died. She had Harry, and Harry was sent off to live with her bint of a sister. She made Sirius Harry's godfather, Sirius' entire life was ruined. And now Perry. She'd been with him, she had loved him - though she was quite certain at this point he regretted everything about their time together, the thought of which hurt almost as badly as the actual ending of the relationship - and now Perry was hurting. Because of her. Because of what she'd done.
"I do," she said quietly, insistently, refusing to look over at him. "I do. And I'm done." She was done; whatever happened after this moment, Lily was never allowing herself to get close enough to hurt another person. Emotional distance was key, apparently.
Blinking, Lily scrubbed her face with her hands, giving a hollow laugh. "A long time ago, eh? That's shite, Black, but I'm afraid I'm not up to arguing with you about it." Her eyes went to his and Lily shrugged, looking disgusted. "And I wish I wasn't. What bloody sort of good has planning ever given me? I over-thought it and now..." a harsh sob ripped through her throat and, as Lily looked at him, tears overspilled her eyes. Merlin, she was so fucking sick of crying. Wiping her face with the back of her hands, she took a deep shuddering breath and dropped her gaze. "Why can't I just be happy? Merlin, Sirius, I just want to be happy."
Then, as if realizing how insipidly whiny she sounded, Lily tried to smile back at Sirius. "Ah. The corner. Right. I... Thank you."
The smile faded quickly, though, as Sirius made to leave. Oh. "Yeah." How could she blame him? Why would he want to stick around; she was a fucking mess? Lily's disappointment and hurt was probably evident on her face for just a moment before she tried to force back a neutral expression. "Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about it, Black. I'm a big girl."
Him leaving (with Steeler, which was actually pretty a good idea, and not only because the poor dog probably needed to go out) made Lily's heart drop. She didn't want to be alone. She didn't want the entire room to be filled only with her thoughts. However, she also couldn't let him walk out the door without saying anything.
"Hey, Bl-Sirius." Lily stood up and walked over to him. Her hand reached out and gripped Sirius' arm, her eyes searching his. "Really. Thank you. I - " she laughed and ran her free hand through her hair. "I honestly don't know what I would have done without you. I know full well what I'm like when pissed, and I was drunker than I've ever been in my life last night. I don't remember a bloody thing. If it hadn't been you here, Merlin knows what would have happened, yeah? I'm just...glad you came. You're the one bloke I trust to never take advantage of a really sloshed, idiotic Witch." She gave him a smile, "Or, at least, not of one who disgusts you, yeah?"
Squeezing his arm, Lily stumbled back to bed and curled up. Head throbbing, she struggled to pull the covers back over herself. "Can't imagine you'd be a good egg and get me some more Firewhisky, yeah?" She glanced over at him and gave him a pleading look. The mistake she'd made was to get too drunk too quickly. A continual buzz was the way to go.
Sirius had been on the verge of turning and heading out with Steeler when Lily got up and started walking his way. The urge to step away from her, to walk out the door, was overwhelming, and so it was only with great restraint that Sirius remained in place, feeling increasing shades of awkward as she moved closer.
He also had to fight hard not to shift his eyes away as she looked up at him, trying to keep his face impassive even as his thoughts churned and swelled and threatened to come crashing over his head in a forceful wave of emotion that quite possibly had the power to bring Sirius to his knees.
As difficult as that was, what Lily said made things infinitely worse. Sirius no longer had the urge to look away, as suddenly he wasn't seeing anything at all. The wave of thoughts that had threatened to overwhelm him a moment before had somehow drained away in the several seconds that it took for Lily to thank him for all the things he hadn't done, for being the complete opposite kind of person from what he had been, leaving him with nothing but an enveloping sense of guilt and a stomach-sinking nausea.
He had to get out of there. He couldn't face Lily any more. He didn't even have the stamina to protest the comment about him disgusting her. He had to go.
Well, at least Steeler would benefit from the canine company - because the first thing Sirius was going to do when he got outside was transfigure himself into his Animagus form and run around the school grounds to clear his mind, to distract himself, to keep from thinking about what had happened and how he had essentially betrayed Lily's trust.
"Sorry, no more alcohol for you," he managed before turning around and patting his leg to beckon Steeler to follow him. But when he reached the door, he found he couldn't just walk out either.
Turning around once more, his eyes not quite meeting hers, he said, "If you need me...just...send me an owl, okay?"
Lily was hungover. She was depressed. She was slowly being eaten away by guilt and regret and angst. But she was still Lily. Therefore, when she got no response from Sirius, when he turned around to leave with barely a word, when he wouldn't even meet her fucking eyes, she knew something was wrong. And not something simple, like she'd vomited on his favourite pair of shoes or complimented his mum. Something was wrong, something big. The worst part being, Lily had absolutely no idea what that could be.
There's very little chance Sirius missed the hurt that hit Lily's expression like a sudden punch. She had sat by his side for days, never once complaining when he took over her bed, when he demanded from her every mundane thing, when he broke down completely. Because it was Sirius, he was her best mate, and that's what one did for the people you cared about. She'd do it again in a heartbeat. And yet, right now she needed him. She needed him to be there for her, to sit with her, to help her figure this out. And he was walking her dog.
Not that she wasn't grateful for that. Or for him coming over the night before. But he was just going to leave and all she got was an 'owl me if you need me'. Something had happened, something had changed, and, whatever it was, Lily had lost something. And all she had was the aftermath of that without the first clue as to what had happened. And the one person who could tell her was refusing to come within ten feet of her.
"Yeah," she said, unable to keep the bitter sharpness out of her tone. "I'm fine." She wanted to go to him, to make him look at her, to force him to tell her what the bloody hell was wrong. But at the same time, she was terrified to do so. Because she could guess. Because, beneath the hurt, she couldn't bring herself to blame him.
He hated her for what she'd done. He thought she was wrong. Lily had hurt Cox, had ruined something good between them, and Sirius was Cox's mate. So he was disgusted by what she'd done. And how could she be mad about that? She felt the same way. But she knew she was right - though that fact didn't assuage any of the pain or guilt. Nor did it negate the feeling of almost wanting to be punished for what she'd done.
Jaw clenching, feeling the rush of hot tears rip her throat raw and not wanting Sirius to see her cry, Lily turned away without another word. Barely had she buried her face in her pillow, back to the door and Sirius, before the sobs came. Everything was ruined, everything was so fucked up. And she didn't know how to fix it. She didn't know where to go from here.
Merlin, she missed her mum. All she wanted was someone to hold her and listen to everything and tell her that she'd done what she had to do. To smooth back her hair and make her tea and not get all fucking weird and awkward and just let her grieve for a bit without needing to take care of them. But her mum was gone and Cox had been driven away and Sirius was leaving. So she was alone. Hugging the pillow to her, Lily tried to keep quiet, to not let the keening wail that was building in her chest escape in case Sirius was still at the doorway.
Lily felt simultaneously very young and extremely old. Tired and bruised, she curled up under her covers and wept. Alone.
Oh, Lily's pained look didn't escape Sirius's notice as he struggled to keep his gaze on her face. And it only made things even more uncomfortable for him. The thing was, he didn't know what she wanted from him at that moment, and even if he had known, it was probably something he wasn't able to give her, particularly when every additional minute he spent facing her made him feel more and more like the world's worst friend. Anyway, she was obviously still torn up over the breakup, and there was nothing he could do about that - not even hug her, because that would only add to the awkwardness and remind him of what had happened the night before. At this point, everything was a step onto potentially dangerous territory.
When she turned away, he silently turned back around and left, Steeler at his heels. Hopefully, a good run and some time spent in the mind of his Animagus form would lessen the dreadful weight pressing on his chest and clear his mind of all the hurt, confusion, shame, disappointment, and the other emotions that were threatening to overwhelm him.