Prologue, Take 2
Prologue, Take 2
you don't know how much this hurts me
to say these things that i don't want to say
but have to say them anyway
i would do anything to end your suffering
“What’ve you done now Padfoot, you idiot?”
The dark-haired man at the window didn’t stir at the sound of his best friend’s voice, instead taking another sip from his Firewhiskey-laced tea and continuing to stare out at the stormy night sky.
“I take it she got to your place alright, then. Lily looking after her and all.”
“Yeah. And I won’t even start on how scared I was when my sister Apparated onto my doorstep in hysterics, or how worried I am about how my very. pregnant. wife. will react to whatever stupid, moronic thing it is you’ve done this time.” Sirius sighed, gulping his tea, which was then snatched roughly from his hands.
“Hey! I was drinking that!”
“And now I am,” replied James, throwing the mug back and draining it the dregs.
“Oh, now, will you look at that. Tea leaves. I suppose Divination’ll come in handy, after all. Now... I can see one big clump of brown shite, and another, smaller clump of brown shite, which, according to Damus, I’m sure, means you’re either going to die a painful death by congealed tea leaves, or you’ve been an absolutely huge fucking tosser, and are going to need help to get out of whatever mound of crap you’ve landed yourself in.”
“Bugger off, Prongs.”
“Ah. The latter, then, I take it.” Sirius sighed, turning from the window and stalking into the kitchen, where he grabbed the bottle of Firewhiskey from the shelf and proceeded to uncap it, taking a huge swallow. James took the opportunity to let his eyes roam around what he could see of the small home. Sirius had refused to allow Dawn and the girls anywhere near Grimmauld Place, and as a result they’d bought this pretty little cottage – although it was more of a farmhouse, really -- in the Somerset countryside. Cross Tree House
. Lily had sighed, and seemed distinctly jealous that their house had come with a name, not to mention several centuries of history. James just thought it was pretentious, really, although he’d allow that Dawn had done much to improve the place.
“She’s gone.” James looked up at the statement, his eyebrows raised at the slur to Sirius’ voice. Just how much of that had he had already?
“I said, she’s gone, you deaf git. She’s packed all her stuff and she’s gone. And... and she took Beth, too.”
“She would’ve taken Rory too, probably, only I told her she could only take one of them. Divorce means a 50-50 split, after all.”
“Oh Merlin, Sirius, please tell me you didn’t say that to her.”
“’Course I did. What, you reckon I’d let ‘er just bugger off with both my girls? Not bloody likely.”
“What did you do, Sirius?” James asked, his breath escaping him in a rush.
“Told her what she wanted to hear. Lied. Told her to bugger off, that I didn’t want her near me no more. Least I didn’t tell her I didn’t love her, though. Didn’t get that bad. So she packed her gear and shouted at me, threw things... got really angry. Merlin
, she’s gorgeous when she’s angry. Then she went to pack up the twins, and I told her that everything’s half-half in a divorce settlement... bloody hell Prongs, she’s never looked at me like that before. If there was ever a moment I was scared of her, it was then.”
“And then what?” James asked, after a short silence.
“And then... nothing. She didn’t even fight me. She didn’t say anything. It was... scary.”
“What’s she going to do?” James asked softly, every inch of his voice emanating concern for the woman that had been, for all intents and purposes, his sister for the last four years.
“Going home, probably; she’s been real homesick lately. Taking a phleraplane, or whatever she calls them.” Sirius took another swig, and James wrenched the bottle from him, sliding it down the counter and out of his grasp, his eyes blazing.
“If that Muggle contraption leaves and you're not with them, you'll regret it," he said, restrained fury seeping out of every pore.
"No." The point-blank denial only incensed James further, and he near-exploded, slamming his fist down into the countertop.
"Yes! Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life. That’s your wife and daughter, you idiot! You think you can just turn your back on that, just laugh it off with a couple of jokes? It doesn’t work that way.”
“You think I don’t know that!” roared Sirius, hurling his empty tea mug into the sink, where it splintered into a thousand pieces. “What the fuck would you know about it, James? You’re perfectly happy with your wife, your ‘very. pregnant. wife.’, as you were only too happy to point out before. What the hell would you know about having to listen to sobbing in the middle of the night, or having the woman you love more than anything in the world turn away from you at night, or, even worse, to have her turn to you and look at you with these eyes, eyes that are glassy and empty, because of things you couldn’t stop!” James didn’t reply; Sirius was right. What did he know?
“It’s this war, Prongs. She’s better off away from it. They all are, really, I just... I’m a selfish bugger. I want at least a part of her, if I have to push her away.”
“You don’t have to do anything, Padfoot. You don’t have to do a bloody thing. You could’ve just shut your mouth and let her stay and tried to fix
it, instead of breaking it beyond repair.”
“Yeah, well, it’s done now, isn’t it? She’s better off. I don’t want her anywhere near this bloody war.”
“That’s bullshit, Padfoot. And you know it.”
“’Course I do.” And then he fell silent, capping and reshelving his Firewhiskey before mounting the stairs and moving towards his daughters’ room – just his daughter’s room, now.
James would never know what Sirius meant by that.