Avoiding the Truth
Sirius Black ran a hand through his hair, slumped heavily on the couch and watched as Remus Lupin knelt beside an unconscious and out cold James, checking his pulse. It was he, Sirius, who had stunned James when he found that the pressure of his own guilt was far too great on him to handle.
He knew it was rash a thing to do; he shouldn't have acted so impulsively. He knew that he would have to face James' wrath when he'd regain consciousness, but what in the name of Merlin could he have done? His friends' eyes were boring into his intensely, demanding him to tell James if he had kept his word. They were bombarding him with too many questions, and the look in them was of sheer pain, loss and confusion, and that was too much. He could not bear it any longer, he could not.
His guilt and shame flared in the inside of him at the exact moment he had contemplated on how he was supposed to confront James with the truth. How could Sirius tell him that he had left his son, Harry, in the care of relatives that showed no love to the boy nor any little care for him? How could Sirius tell him, that instead of raising Harry, he had rotted in Azkaban for twelve solid years, wallowing in a pool of shame, anger and self-pity?
The very thought of how James would react to this reality that they had never contemplated to befall etched a feeling of fear and apprehension that he rarely felt. The sensation, though normal, was foreign to Sirius Black, for he was known for his self confidence, and at being at complete loss as what to do, he pulled out his wand instantaneously, and stunned James right at the spot, causing his friend to fall quiet and limp.
His heart beating quickly still, Sirius dropped his hands that were covering his face into his lap, and watched James motionless form, feeling James' questioning gaze upon him still though his eye-lids had slid shut. Clenching his stubble jaw, Sirius turned his head around and looked out of the window, still feeling those hazel eyes boring into the back of his head.
James Potter, momentarily bound to the ground, closed his eyes and laid his head back upon the wooden floor letting out a shaky but relieved breath. For the first time since Sirius had seen him, James seemed to be a bit relaxed, almost content, with the thought that his son was safe and sound.
Though he possessed no eyes that could observe the interior of any human being, Sirius could practically see his friends' shriveled and ripped heart being pumped back with life. The pain that had plagued James like a noxious disease tonight was healed with the mere words that Remus had uttered, and Sirius knew that no magic, not even of its greatest, could mend James fractured sole but those words of reassurance.
A smile played upon James' face, and Sirius could see the holes and emptiness that he knew all too well leak into the floor beneath James as sheer joy restored its place. But as quickly as the smile had graced James' face it slid off slightly and he opened his eyes with abruptness, raising his head as much as the binds would allow him to.
"What about Lily? Is she alright? Did she make it Remus?" James asked with panic.
Remus, slightly shocked that James had assumed Lily was alive when he only claimed that Harry was, reeled backwards and turned to Sirius though he knew not how to help. Turning to James once again, Remus opened his mouth and let out a choked sound. It was as though his throat was too tight to speak, and instead, Remus shook his head, averting his sight from James who had let his head drop back with a dull thud upon the floor.
And a stifled sob of anguish escaped him.
It was as though all the pain that had left James rushed back into him with a great force, andyet he was trying as hard as he could not to flounder in a sea of numb pain. Sirius knew that James was fighting against his misery and sorrow for Harrys' sake but his efforts were almost futile.
"Un…Unbind me Remus….I want to see my son. Take me to him. Where is he?" James said huskily as he screwed his eyes, stopping the flow of tears that he knew would leak like a broken dam if one seeped out of his hazel eyes.
Sirius and Remus stared into each others eyes as their hearts skipped a beat, asking one another the same repetitive and unanswerable question. 'Should we tell him?' Mutely, yet knowingly, the same thoughts were tracking through both their heads, and their two opposing consciences started to debate like they had done all night.
'He has every right to know', the moral and reasoned part of them said, jogging their brains. But their compassionate part screamed out in despair for their hearts did not have the conscience to enlighten James with the truth. They did not have the valor to tell him that Harry had lived a great deal of his life with an Aunt and Uncle that held no affection or little warmth towards him. How could they, his friends, his brothers, heave upon his shoulders more sorrows --which he was already burdening a mound of-- further than any man ever could?
"Why don't you rest for a while James?" Sirius said, running a hand through his black hair, his eyes still interlocked with Remus' amber ones. "It's been a tiring day for you."
"No, I want to see—"
"Sirius's right," Remus started, ripping his gaze away from his dark grey eyes. "It has been a long—"
"I don't give a damn!" James snapped angrily with a croaky yell. "He's my child and I have every right to see him whenever I wish to! Where is he?" He demanded craning his head to stare at Sirius.
Sirius Black lurched backwards as though struck hard in the stomach. His grey eyes wide with apprehension started to dart from Remus to James now. He did not know why he was so taken aback; he should have seen this coming. He was Harrys' godfather after all, and it was not out of the ordinary for James to assume that Harry was in his care…but how could he tell him that all had been otherwise?
"Where the hell is my child Sirius!" James shouted out in anger and impatience as he started to struggle against the binds strength that were still stubbornly fastening him to the ground.
His heart pounded harder against his ribs as though his heart too was nagging him to spill out the truth, but he stood still on his spot, stiff and rigid, staring numbly as James screamed out, cursing and swearing. He did not even help Remus who was trying to calm James down. He did not move an inch out of place as James started flaying and fighting hard against the binds.
"James!" Remus yelled. "Calm down. We'll explain everything in due time--"
Livid, James let out a thunderous roar of rage and suddenly, a loud snap cracked like a whip in the air. The binds that held him to the ground moments ago broke apart from what Sirius thought to be a powerful surge of emotional magic that surged out of James.
"James wait," Remus said in a tone that suggested he was being unreasonable. "You've got to listen to us—"
"Listen to you?" James cried in rage as he walked up to Remus. "I've been listening to you the whole night, and you've told me nothing! I want to know what's going and the both of you've been hiding the truth from me! I don't know where my child is and Lily's—" James took an intake of breath not daring to utter the words that would confirm the death of his wife. The words that would make it final.
He took in a deep breath."—Get out of my way Remus or I'll do it myself."
"Get out of the way,'' he said in threatening manner.
Remus stood his ground firmly not even wavering at James' menacing glare when others would have. Weakly, James pushed passed Remus without a word and moved towards the door, grabbing the door knob, but to James fury, he found that it was locked. He shook the door, kicked at it, butit would not open for it was locked with magical enchantments.
"Damn it Remus! Let me out!"
"I told you, I can't just let you wander—"
"For Merlin's sake, I'm a grown man!"
"You don't understand!" Remus said who was almost as angry as James was. "These are not safe times! Death Eaters are swarming the country and if they catch a glimpse of you—"
"I'm a fully trained and qualified Auror Remus, I think I can handle myself," James snapped.
"And alot that'll do you when you don't even have a wand on you."
James stared at Remus for a moment then let go of the door knob, and breathed heavily through his nose. "I've had enough of this," he said quietly, then walking passed Remus again, he went to the very end of the room where a small pot lay shattered upon the ground with it's contents—floo powder—sprinkled all over the ground.
Bending down on wobbly knees, James quickly gathered all the floo he could in one place and took a small yet sufficient amount in his hand. Standing up again, he rushed towards the fire place before Remus could stop him and threw the floo powder into the fire.
"No, James!" Remus yelled.
Something seemed to click inside of Sirius' as he heard the first two syllables of the word Hogwarts. James was going to Dumbledore and Dumbledore would surely tell him everything…but that could not happen… it must not happen. Sirius would have to face James and what would Sirius tell him then?
He knew that there was nothing he could do or say to redeem himself in his friends' eyes whenthe time came to confront James,but right now, he was not ready for another load of remorse upon his heart. He had lived with guilt and regret for twelve years and he did not want to do so any more.
Impulsively, Sirius reached for the inside of his robes, pulled out his wand with agility and pointed at James. "STUPEFY!"
: Authors Note :
1) I am so very sorry! (ducks as reader chucks fruit) really, really, really sorry! I had extreme writers block and believe me, I was annoyed with myself just as you are. I just hope this chapter's good though. I'm not that confidant about it but I thought that it was about time to update something :p!
2) I know I said this chapter was to be called "Decisions" and that we'd be seeing Dumbledore…It was what I had in mind but it just didn't work out…Next chapter perhaps? (I'm not promising anything!)
3) I know I've been neglecting review replies, but I want to say that I still appreciate them. So to these following people (for both reviewed version and not reviewed version of chapter 7!) Thanks!
Emuerz: Thank you!
Atropa Haven: Unclear? Well that's why I did a whole revised version! Err...Oh, yes I bet you are super intelligent :P
Hypa4eva: LOL! Errr…thanks!
Pandas Rule the World: I don't think I can answer that! Maybe…but things get complicated…
Cooroo: Thanks a heap! I'm glad you liked it! Yes we all love Sirius! When will we see Harry? Err…not the next chapter for sure …but soon…
Daniele-Marx: Thank you! Hmmm, it won't be as simple as that. Harry's not going to accept this quickly ((The title clearly states that.))
Thegodfatheroftheboywholived: Thank you!
Mandie Weasley: Ooh thank you! I'm really flattered!
Mirax Myra Terrik: Thank you so much! I'm thrilled that you think this one of the best ones you've read! Ooh I'm glad you haven't read it before it was revised…It was plain horrible.
DDwelling: Yeah, you can say that again. Thanks for the review!
Al: Thanks. I try to update as soon as I can…
Thank you all again and please, please Review! Oh, one more thing. I was just wondering, has anyone guessed why James came back? There's another reason other than "utter and pure magic." I did put in something that should give you an idea...if you know where to look. ;) A cookie to anyone who can guess!