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Chapter 8: 8. Take Away My Pain
Characters; Anna, Sirius
Image by: Ladywolf at TDA
Chapter 8: Take Away My Pain
After the breakfast, Anna sat in the livingroom, listening to Frank and Patricia tell her about the upcoming wedding. Anna found out that Patricia was very nice, a truly warm person, and she couldn't help but smile when she noticed the worshipping look her dad had on his face everytime she spoke. No matter if it was about the china for the wedding, or the flowers in her garden - the look on Frank's face never went away. She was happy that her dad was happy - and if there was someone who deserved peace and love in his life, it was her dad.
"I'm terribly sorry about Rob, again," Patricia said, and blushed faintly. "Sometimes I wonder if he was brought up by a pack of wolves!"
"It's fine," Anna said for what seemed to be the ninth time. "Atleast he might've been traumatized for life, considering that I'm going to be his step-sister soon."
Patricia laughed, and Frank chuckled quietly next to her. "Yes, well, that might do the trick - I sure hope he remembers to knock from now on, rather than just dash into the room!"
"Where is he, anyway?" Anna asked, looking around expectantly. She hadn't even noticed when the boys had disappeared; one minute they had all been standing in the doorway, looking slightly put out among the delicate livingroom, and the other, they were all gone, and the house was quiet.
"Probably somewhere in the garden," Patricia said, frowning. "He spends much time there."
Anna stood up, and smiled. "Do you mind if I take a round in the garden, then? I would very much like to know him. He seems to be a great guy - if you put aside his lack of manners, yes," she rushed to say, as Patricia opened her mouth to apologize again.
"That's a brilliant idea, darling," Frank said, and grinned.
"I'll be back soon," Anna promised, as she disappeared into the kitchen, and through the back door. She almost tripped, as soon as she was out through the door, but quickly regained her balance. "What--" she started, and her eyes widened as she saw that the thing she had almost tripped over, was actually Rob himself.
And Rob himself was holding a smoke in his hand, his eyes wide with surprise, as his friends throwing a frisbee to each other.
"Hey, there, sis!" he said, and waved.
"Is that..." Anna started, and sniffed carefully. That was no ordinary cigarette. "Is that pot!?" she demanded, her eyes wide with shock.
"No, no, no!" Rob hurried to say, shaking his head wildly. "This, my friend, is very rare herbs rolled up in a environment-friendly filter - it's really good for your health, you should try it!" he said eagerly, and held up the herb-smoke.
Anna eyed it suspiciously, and slowly shook her head. No matter how good for your health it was, she refused to smoke anything - especially when she couldn't be 100% sure what it really was. "No, thanks, I'll pass."
"Scared to try something new, huh?" the boy who had commented on the colour of her bra called and grinned widely.
Anna hoped the frisbee would hit him in the head.
"No, I'm just too old for that kind of stuff, thank you," Anna said stiffly.
"What she means to say is," the other one stated coolly. "That she prefers to live on the safe side of life, and thinks she's above us in some sick way."
"Cool," the first one said.
"What?" Anna asked blankly, staring at them in confusion.
"That's Finn," Rob put in, and the first boy waved. Anna smirked, as the frisbee hit Finn in the head as he waved at her. "And the other one is--"
"Jeremy, miss," he said, and dodged as Finn threw the frisbee with fierce force at him. "They call me Jerry, though."
"Hi," Anna said quietly, and waved weakly. She watched as Finn and Jerry started yelling at each other for cheating - how you could cheat in throwing a frisbee was beyond her understanding - before Finn growled loudly, and started to chase Jerry, who fired every legal term as his defence.
"He's a real smart arse," Rob said, as if he was reading Anna's thoughts. "He plans on becoming a lawyer someday."
"Don't you think he should hang out with someone more mature, then?" Anna asked, as Jerry climbed up in a tree.
Rob shrugged, and patted the space next to him on the stairs. Anna sat slowly down, eyeing Rob and his herb-smoke the entire time. There was something about his face that made him look almost boy-ish, and she couldn't help but feel a sudden urge to protect him from all the bad things in the world.
Anna blinked rapidly, trying to understand this feeling; she barely knew the boy, and already she was becoming overly protective of him.
"So," Anna started. "We're siblings, then!"
"Yep," Rob said, and shrugged again. "Sorry 'bout earlier, though... if I had known my sister was going to be butt-naked in my room, I wouldn't have barged in like that, what with the guys there, too..."
Anna's cheeks warmed up again, as she looked down at her hands. She was thankful that Rob cringed slightly at the memory; it would've been awful if he had enjoyed the view.
"I wasn't 'butt-naked'," Anna muttered, rolling her eyes.
"Well, naked enough to make the guys go all whoo-haa!" Rob chuckled, as Finn got a hold of Jerry's foot, and pulled him down from the tree. "Don't worry, I gave them a lesson."
"Thanks, I guess," Anna said, frowning. "How old are you, really?" she asked suddenly.
"Eighteen," he said with a nod. "Well, in a month... next year."
"You're sixteen!?" Anna gasped, completely gobsmacked by this information.
"Pure and innocent," Rob said dramatically, and mashed his smoke against his shoe.
"But dad said--" Anna started, and fell silent as she met Rob's curious eyes. "Well, my dad said you were my age, but I suppose dad still sees me as a sixteen-year-old..."
"Daddy's little girl," Rob teased, nudging her with his massive shoulder.
It almost knocked Anna over, if she hadn't reacted quickly.
"Mama's boy," Anna shot back, and narrowed her eyes playfully at him.
"Ooh, impressive!" Rob chuckled, and folded his arms on his knees. "So, Anna," he started with a mock sweet tone, which reminded her so much of Patricia's motherly tone - it was really weird to hear Rob talk in that tone. "I heard you got proposed to - should I beat someone up, since there are no wedding plans yet?"
Anna snorted. "Was that what my dad told you?" she asked. "Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I actually said 'no'."
"Really?" Rob said, sounding genuinely surprised. "Wow. Never thought a girl would say 'no' to a proposal - don't you lot plan these things from the age of five, or something?"
"I suppose I'm not one of those girls, then," Anna shrugged. "It just wasn't the right time."
"When is the right time, then?" Rob asked, now curious to hear Anna's answer.
"I don't know," Anna said after a moment. "Third time's the charm, I suppose," she grinned - but it came through as a grimace, as she remembered Alex's words.
"What, he has proposed to you twice!? And you said 'no', twice!?" he asked, his eyes wide again. "God, is this guy still around!?" he laughed, and shook his head.
"Shut up," Anna snapped, blushing a deeper shade of red. She didn't like it when people made fun of Alex like that. So he had proposed twice, so what?
But in Anna's head, the same question echoed as Rob had just asked out loud. Was Alex actually still around, even after two rejections?
"So what's so horrible about this guy that you haven't sealed the deal yet?" Rob wanted to know.
"He's not horrible at all!" Anna called out, looking outraged. Alex was the greatest guy she knew; he was kind, caring, had his priorities in check, loved her no matter what she turned into once in a month, and he truly respected her and her choices. And she loved him for those things. "He's very, very kind."
"Oh, that's charming!" Rob guffawed, and Anna frowned at his reaction. "So there's no tingling feeling when he looks at you, he doesn't drive you up the wall from time to time?"
"What?" Anna snapped. "That's not love, that's--"
"No, that is love, sister," Rob said, and sighed. "That's what mum and dad were like."
"What happened?" Anna asked quietly, not sure if the topic was a sore point or not.
"Oh, dad died about eight years ago," he said with a shrug. "Ice fishing - he fell through the ice."
"I'm sorry, Rob," Anna muttered, looking down at her hands.
"It's fine, it's so long ago," he said and frowned thoughtfully. "But I can still remember the look mum got when she got annoyed at him whenever he left his fishing stuff around the house... it was love, though."
Anna let his words sink in, and smiled. She could picture his dad, leaving stuff lying around, while Patricia gave him an annoyed look, but behind that look, there would be unconditional love. She loved the man no matter how messy he was, and Anna liked the idea of that.
Unconditional love - what was that, anyway? Was it the kind of love James and Lily had? Probably, yes. Had Remus and Cat loved each other unconditionally? Maybe, yes... it was just the white little lie that had tore them apart, though.
What about what she had had with Sirius? Had that been unconditional love? Just thinking about how things had been seemed so far away. Had she really been that happy once? No werewolves were involved, no drama - well, nothing she couldn't handle - and no dark secrets about her mother, either.
Anna sighed. "That sounds so great..." she whispered.
"Is that what you have with this guy, then?"
Anna was silent. She loved Alex, she really did, but... Anna felt awful for even thinking about it, but somehow, she expected more from life. She couldn't quite say what, but something was missing, that familiar thrill she had had once so long ago.
What was missing?
Or was it who instead of what?
"Of course," she finally said, biting her lip. "He loves me, and I love him."
"Do you love him because you feel obligated to love him, or...?"
Okay, what? Who did he think he was!? Did he really think he had the right to sit there, waving his herbal stuff in her face, pretending to be some Dalai Llama on drugs, and give her any advice or comments about her love life!? No! He was a snotty little sixteen-year-old kid, with too big words for his mouth!
"I will not tolerate this," Anna said through her teeth, and stood up. "And you better run fast, because I'm telling your mother about those herbal thingies, so if you thought I would be a cool sister and let it pass, you had another thing coming, mister!"
"Be my guest!" Rob chuckled, as Anna stomped back inside, her fists clenched tightly.
"Dad!" she called. "Dad, guess what!?" she said, fuming.
"What, what's wrong?" Frank said, looking slightly alarmed.
"Rob is smoking some herbal products on the stairs outside!" she announced, feeling slightly childish for ratting him out.
Patricia appeared into the living room, carrying a cup of tea which she handed to Anna with a smile. "Oh, dear! Don't worry, those things are completely healthy - they're actually from Australia, you know, some rare plants there that even the bushmen chew and smoke to get the vitamins they need. If you only knew how healthy they are, I mean, those people can go on for days without any food thanks to those plants. They're amazing, really! Of course, I really think one should eat everyday, just to get the needed nutrients and--"
Anna stared at her, completely stunned. When had this household turned into a hippie community!?
"Anna, what's wrong?" Frank asked, frowning at her expression.
"Nothing," Anna said stiffly. "I just remembered that I need to be somewhere..."
"Oh, okay," Frank said and stood up. "Do you want to change back to your own clothes, or...?"
"But they might still be wet," Patricia said and smiled to Anna. "Feel free to borrow Rob's clothes - he won't mind."
Anna nodded once, and grabbed her bag on her way out. When she turned to say bye, Patricia was already there, holding a neatly folded pile of clothes. Anna took them, and shoved them quickly into her bag, her cheeks red.
"Thank you," she muttered, and noticed as Rob appeared behind the couple. "For everything," she added, glancing quickly at Rob. "I'll see you at the wedding, yeah?"
"Of course," Frank said, and smiled. "It was nice of you to stop by, dear."
"You're welcome to barge in anytime you like, sis," Rob said with a grin, and Anna didn't even feel guilty for glaring back at him.
"Send our love to your fiancé," Patricia called after Anna, as she walked down the stairs.
Anna froze for a second, not even bothering to correct Patricia. Her dad had probably told about the proposal, and maybe forgot to mention what the answer had been. Or then he had told Patricia, but Patricia thought it would be nice to call Alex fiancé anyway.
Alex would've been thrilled.
The way back home was quick. Anna didn't need to worry about upsetting anyone by Aparating home as soon as she had rounded the corner, and too lazy and distracted to wait for a bus, she let it pass.
This one time.
She sighed, as she crossed the living room quietly while she twirled her wand in her hand absent-mindedly. Easy travelling was the only good thing about magic. You didn't need to spend any money for train tickets, or whatever you needed - just a small pop, and you were already there. It sure was faster, if anything.
"Back so soon?" Sirius asked dully.
Anna stopped, and looked around at Sirius with wide eyes. He was slumped on the sofa, as if he had been there the entire time. He had been staring up at the ceiling when Anna had arrived, and was now more than willing to give her his entire attention.
"How did it go?" he asked curiously, before Anna could even answer his first question.
Anna stared at him for a moment, before sighing. "Stop it, Sirius," she whispered, and looked down.
"What, I just asked--"
"I know what will come next," she said, rubbing her forehead. "You'll just suggest that we'll stay friends, and you know that won't work - not anymore, it's too... complicated."
"You're just making it complicated," Sirius sighed, and looked back up at the ceiling. "It's not a very difficult thing to do, you know... moving on, forgetting, and all that crap."
"How would you know?" Anna said harshly.
"Well, have you ever even tried, yourself?" Sirius shot back, smiling a cold smile. His eyes were blank, and Anna felt a twinge of guilt stab her chest.
He was still hurting, and she couldn't help him in any way.
"What do you mean by that?" she demanded. "I'm happy with Alex!"
"Sure, sure," Sirius muttered.
"I. Am. Happy," Anna pressed through clenched teeth.
Sirius looked at her with raised eyebrows, and smirked. "As long as you keep telling yourself that, I'll keep believing there's still hope."
"Just get over it," Anna hissed, and stomped towards her room.
"Oh, and loverboy is here!" Sirius called after her, but Anna had already slammed the door shut, and noticed Alex sitting on her bed, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Hey, darling," he said with a weak voice, quite shaken by her reaction.
"Hey," Anna sighed, and walked over to him. She looked down at him, her hands running through his hair. She pressed her lips together, as she thought about Rob's words.
Do you love him because you feel obligated to love him?
"Long day?" Alex asked quietly, and tried to smile, but his worried eyes gave him away.
"Very," Anna sighed, and tilted her head to the side as she continued to study his stunning face. It wasn't even noon yet, and she was already exhausted by today's events. Without giving Rob's words another thought, she leaned down, cupping Alex's face with her hands, and kissed him carefully.
Alex's hands were on her hips at once, and he kissed her back. He pulled away as Anna climbed into his lap, her breathing already becoming ragged and loud. He looked at her with raised eyebrows, and noticed the look in her eyes.
"Are you..." he started, and pursed his lips together. "Have you been crying?" he demanded, his eyes tight, even if his voice was soft and gentle.
"No," Anna said, trying to keep the waterworks back for a little longer.
Alex lift his hand, and let his thumb gently brush against her smooth cheek. Anna closed her eyes for a second, and when she opened them again, her eyes sparkled with unshed tears.
"That's it," Alex muttered, and kissed her cheek gently, before carefully pushing her aside. "I've had it."
"W-what?" Anna said, staring at him with wide eyes as he stood up. She watched him cross the room, his fists tightly clenched shut. "Where are you going?"
Alex spun around to look at her with a wild look in his eyes. "I've had it with him hurting you over and over again, giving you guilty trips every chance he gets. I don't care if he still loves you - of course, how couldn't he? - but he has no right to play dirty, and make you feel bad for his mistakes in life. I've had it, Anna."
Anna watched with wide eyes as Alex wrenched the door open, and marched out. She quickly scrambled on her feet, rushing after him, just in time to see Alex take a hold of a surprised looking Sirius' collar, and punching him in the face.
"NO!" Anna screamed, bolting over to the boys. "ALEX, NO!"
"WHAT THE HELL!?" Sirius yelled, as Alex let go of him. "WHAT THE HELL, ANNA!?" Sirius demanded, staggering backwards.
"Alex!" Anna said, her eyes wide with horror. "Why did you do that for?" she asked.
Alex looked around at her, holding his hand in pain. "He hurt you," he said, looking at her as if she was stupid or something.
"No, he didn't," Anna said at the same time as Sirius said, "I would never hurt her."
"You can't go off hitting people just because I look miserable, Alex!" Anna called out, standing between the boys if a new fight was about to start. "Is this some kind of testosterone thing, or what is it with guys and fighting!?"
"Anna, I thought--"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever!" Anna said, her face red with anger. "You thought wrong, Alex."
"I'm sorry, I--"
"Just get the hell out," Anna said calmly, looking down.
"You heard me," she muttered, still avoiding his eyes. "I can't deal with this many idiots in one day..."
"Just go," she said in a shrill voice, finally looking at him. "Go, or I will throw you out!"
"ALEX!" Sirius roared, suddenly standing beside Anna with a furious look in his eyes. "The lady said go, and you should go!"
Alex stared at them, before reaching stiffly for his coat that was flung over the chair, enver taking his eyes from them. He folded it over his arm, and took a careful step closer to Anna. He hesitated for a second, before leaning in to kiss her on the lips. At the last second, Anna turned her head to the side, and Alex had to settle with a kiss on the cheek. He tried to smile a little, but ended with a small grimace, before inhaling sharply.
"I'll see you tonight," he murmured. "At the restaurant," he reminded her, and glanced at Sirius one last time. "Sorry, mate..."
"Yeah, yeah," Sirius grumbled, rubbing his face with a wince.
As soon as Alex had left, Anna closed her eyes, and counted slowly to ten. She took a small step back, and let herself fall on the sofa. She felt Sirius sit down next to her, and this made her open her eyes again. She looked over at Sirius, noticing how red his left cheek was starting to turn.
"He got you good, didn't he?" she whispered.
"Naah," Sirius said with a shrug. "I've had worse..."
"True," Anna agreed, and stood up quickly. "Come on then, you fool... let me put something cold on it."
Sirius followed her to the bathroom, where she gestured for him to hop up on the sink. He leaned against it, folding his arms over his chest, while he watched Anna work around the bathroom, searching for towels to put under cold water, and then press against the cheek. She met Sirius' gaze momentarily, and pursed her lips. She refused to let herself have a weak moment now, not with Sirius close to take advantage of the situation.
But why did she so eagerly want to help him? Why couldn't she just walk to her room and dwell in her misery? Why did she feel the need, the hunger, to take care of Sirius?
Did she still see him as 'her Sirius', in some sick way?
"Here," Anna said, and handed the wet towel to Sirius.
"Thanks," Sirius muttered, and took the towel, pressing it against his face.
Anna immediatly backed away, leaning against the wall on the other side. She watched his relaxed face closely, noticing every little scratch there. She frowned, but held her lips pursed. She would not let her curiousity get the best of her, she would not ask about his scratches, she would not--
"Those scratches," she blurted out, before she could control herself. "Where... I mean how...?"
"Remus," Sirius sighed, and avoided her eyes again.
"Oh," she whispered, biting her lip. "I'm sorry."
"It's not so bad," he said quickly. "I mean, I can only blame myself, I suppose."
Again, Anna tried to control her curiousity. "What do you mean?" she demanded sharply, mentally slapping herself.
"Well..." Sirius said, dropping the hand he held the towel in from his face.
"Here, let me," Anna said, slightly annoyed to see the towel hanging from his hand instead of being pressed against his cheek. She took the towel from him, and pressed it gently against his cheek, not really paying attention to how close to his face she was. Her eyes ran across his face. She hadn't realized how bad the scars looked close-up; they looked fresh, thin, pink scars, almost healed and not so clear anymore, but still looked pretty nasty in Anna's opinion.
Anna forgot who the person in front of her was, and she let her free hand gently run along the scars, her fingers trembling as she tried to not cause any more pain. One of the cuts stretched along his cheekbone, and to his lips, and Anna trailed it with her finger. She froze, as she reached his lips, suddenly very aware of how uneven his breathing had become.
And how she breathed through her mouth, herself.
Anna looked slowly up, her eyes meeting a pair of grey ones. She closed her mouth slowly, and swallowed hard. She carefully dropped her hand, her fingers brushing against his heaving chest just momentarily.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, and made to take a step back.
A strong arm wrapped around her waist, holding her there. She froze, and stared up at him with wide eyes. "Don't," he pleaded, his brows pulled together in pain.
"What?" she whispered, her voice breaking once. "I can't... we can't... I shouldn't."
"Please," he simply said, and waited for her reaction. She just kept staring up at him, and he slowly pulled her closer, while leaning down to her lips at the same time.
And Anna did nothing to stop him. She dropped the towel, as their lips met, and her mind went blank.
But just for a second. During the kiss, her mind filled with pictures of her and Sirius together. She felt her eyes clutch shut tightly, as she tried to memorize every moment, every smile, every kiss they had shared. It was the most bizarre moment in her life; it was filled with so much pain, and yet, neither of them could pull back.
Neither of them wanted to.
It was like they had never even been apart. Their lips traced and remembered the other's lips just perfectly, remembering every curve, every gentle detail. It was like two pieces - perfect match - were meeting.
Suddenly images - maybe reminders from her conscience - of Alex started to flash in front of her, burning like flames. She wrenched away from Sirius, her eyes wide with shock.
"Anna," Sirius whispered, his eyes still closed.
But when he opened his eyes, he only saw Anna's back, as she walked quickly away from him.
A/N: There. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Value it. Save it for a rainy day :D
- Lily xxx