A/N: Hello to all my readers! Thank you so much for your reviews! Like, immediately after I updated too, haha. I was so grateful to hear from you, though. Anyways I had a review earlier saying that they hoped Hermione wasn't going to be all weak and helpless for long, and I'm pleased to announce that no, she will not be all weak and pitiful for long. Hermione's a strong woman, haha; she's been through hell and back, and this will only slow her down for a little. The long healing process is important though, for reasons I can't necessarily explain. Just bear with me, I promise it'll only be for a little while. As always, thanks for your continued and everlasting support, apologies that this isn't very long, and that it took so long to get it posted. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

Chapter 17: Walking

Sirius POV

It had been nearly a week since their arrival at Hogwarts, and Evangeline still had not woken. Her wounds refused to heal magically, and they had to do some disgusting muggle process Lily called a 'Blood Transfusion', which deeply disturbed Sirius. Even though he didn't want to, he had to admit that she seemed to be improving after they did it. She had started mumbling in her sleep, and sometimes moving around, but never fully waking. Dumbledore claimed it to be a self-induced coma, and that she most likely retreated within her mind to escape the pain. Sirius found that he couldn't be around Evangeline after that. Even though he still hardly spoke at all, he knew that his face would give him away to his closest friends, and it wasn't something he wanted to confront at the moment.

In his mind, Sirius had deluded himself to believing that he himself had done this to her. In his mind, he could see that if he never would have mentioned his feelings to her, she and Harmony would never have been in that fight, gone missing, and consequently landed them in their present situation. Where Evangeline was trapped in a coma because of pain he was forced to inflict upon her so she wouldn't die. He wanted to believe that he wasn't just feeling sorry for himself, but he knew it wasn't true. He was moping around the castle, and everyone knew it. All he wanted was to be alone with his emotions, and try to suppress them enough to be around her a few times each day. So he walked. Sirius walked, and walked, and walked. He walked to clear his head of the guilt of Harmony, he walked to free himself from the emotional strain of being close to Evangeline, he walked to escape the piercing gazes of his closest friends, terrified and ashamed that they might suddenly be able to see what troubled thoughts lurked in his mind.

The more he walked, the clearer things became for him. He began to understand his conflicting emotions in regards to Evangeline. Before she had been taken, he enjoying everything about her; her laugh, hair, her fierce determination, especially when it came to people she cared for. Now….now that he had been forced to believe her dead, only to have her come back nearly dead, and to suddenly have her life thrown directly in his hands, he knew it was not that simple. He knew with an absolute clarity that he was in love her, a thought that both terrified and thrilled him to his core. She had taken a greater hold of him laying unconscious in a hospital bed for seven days, than she had in the few months they had spent in each other's company. It was physically painful to see her lying in that blasted hospital bed, knowing that he had driven her away with harsh words, and his own stupidly proud demeanor. And so his guilt drove him away from her, and into the hands of his mind where he was currently contemplating if he would even be able to speak to her once she woke up.

"Sirius?" A soft voice called, shocking him back into reality. He paused in his step and looked around for the source of the voice. Lily stood in a corridor to his left, her hand on the wall, looking concerned.

"Hey, Lils." He replied, his voice a whisper of non-use. She left her place against that wall and came to join him in his walk. Truthfully, Sirius was a little nervous to have Lily walk with him. She always had the ability to make him talk, when nothing and no one else could. Kind and sweet all the way to the core, he supposed he always knew she would seek him out eventually. He wasn't quite as sure about talking with her; she had the uncanny skill of knowing exactly what was going on in your mind, which happened to be the very reason he had been avoiding everyone thus far. Lily didn't say anything to him, seemingly waiting for him to make the first move.

"So…" he began awkwardly. Lily clasped her hands together behind her back and smiled encouragingly up at him. "How are things?"

"Evangeline is awake; well, she was when I left the Hospital Wing."

"A-Ah." Sirius managed to tremble out. His heart suddenly began to thump wildly in his chest.

"She asked after you." Sirius stopped quite suddenly, breathing hard.

"D-d-did she?" Why couldn't he talk straight?

"Yes. We haven't told her about Harmony yet." Sirius threw a glance over in Lily's direction. She was facing him full on with a determined expression on her face. He looked away again just as quickly.

"Why?" He ran his fingers along the smooth stone of the castle walls.

"Would you tell her?" He dropped his hands back to his sides.

"No." he replied firmly. He wouldn't tell her.

"You love her." Sirius exhaled sharply. "You don't have to answer that Sirius, I already know the answer."

"Then why did you ask?" he snapped.

"I didn't. I just wanted to make sure that you knew it." Sirius scoffed at her, but continued to avoid her piercing emerald eyes. "Listen," she said in a softer tone, placing her hand on Sirius' upper arm. He stiffened and looked over his shoulder sharply. "I understand, you're frightened; terrified probably. You don't have to admit it to me, or James or anyone, but I know you. Just don't let it consume you; You have to confront it, and face it head on." He sighed. Did she always have to be so perceptive? He was thankfully spared having to come up with some sort of reply because Lily turned and started back, most likely, to the hospital wing. Sirius stayed firmly rooted to his position next to the wall, attempting to collect his thoughts.

"You ought to go and see her nonetheless, Sirius." He heard Lily say from somewhere behind him. "Before the term starts."

But Sirius did not go and see her; he couldn't bring himself to do it, and cursed himself for being such a coward. Instead, he spent the next innumerable hours walking aimlessly through the castle, ignoring the increasing darkness.