9. Gryffindor Bravery

"Do you think he even read it?" sighed Cole as the group sat in the Great Hall for a quick lunch between classes.

Lily's attention was immediately caught, but she had no idea as to how to respond to the query. "I have no idea," she shrugged, trying not to wonder about it, but curiosity easily got the better of her.

With a humph, Cole set down her muffin and said, "Well, fine, be that way. In the meanwhile, I'm going to find out," and, without another word, she was on her feet and briskly walking toward the end of the table where the Marauders always resided.

She smiled warmly at the four troublemakers and a few of their friends, taking a quick seat between Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, not afraid to push her way between them. Lupin and Pettigrew, who she knew rather well through Charms class, greeted her, and she sent a short smile in their direction.

"Hullo, Sirius," she said, turning back to him quickly. "Don't mean to bother you, but I was just wondering if you ever got around to reading that note I gave you before."

His eyes darted up at her and then to her friends in the background before he responded casually, "Yeah, I did."

"Okay, great," Cole replied. "That's all I wanted to know, thanks." She was immediately up on her feet again and returning to Lily and the others, who were watching her in slight amazement.

"Well?" said Wendy when no-one else spoke.

"He said he read it," she replied nonchalantly as she returned to her seat and picked up her muffin once more.

Beside her, Lily was slightly aghast. She didn't know quite what she had expected. Well, maybe she had expected him to throw it away without ever reading it, without even considering it. But, then again, despite all the awful things the Marauders had ever done, she now knew them to be rather considerate people… with a few minor defects. Of course he had read it.

A part of her, though, had desperately wanted him not to—just a small part. Overall, she was glad that he did. No matter what he did with that knowledge, she had achieved her goal. She had shared a part of herself with him that she had never shared with anyone else, and she felt much more like a true Gryffindor having done so. There was that Gryffindor bravery she had been searching for all these years. It was amazing how easy—and yet how very, very difficult—it was to find it, hiding deep within herself. She supposed, the Sorting Hat wasn't wrong, after all, no matter how many times she had thought that it was.

Looking around the table, though, she decided, eyeing Cole, Dave, Wendy, and Annabel, that she wouldn't have been able to be so brave without them, and they truly had no idea how much they helped, Cole especially. Slowly, she reached her hand out to Cole's free one and squeezed it. "Thank you," she said quietly, sending her a wan smile.