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Chapter 28: Just A Kiss
No I won't ask you, you to just desert me.
I can't give you what you think you gave me,
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables.
– Turning Tables, Adele.
Just A Kiss
It wasn’t easy admitting to myself that I had fallen for Sirius. In fact, it was downright torture.
I just couldn’t really get my head around the fact that the one guy who used to set my blood boiling so violently in fury – could now have the insane ability to cause a flurry of butterflies in my stomach with just one look.
I mean, what had changed really? He was still the same egotistical prat that he had always been. Only now he had started spouting some crap about wanting to save me from the evils of the world and had me going all weak at the knees?
Merlin, I think we have a problem.
But it’s not like any of that mattered anyway, I thought to myself as I yawned and touched my feet on the chilly, stone floor of my dormitory. It was early morning – and I had to get to the Hospital Wing so that Madame Mellick could change my bandages to fresh ones before breakfast.
I stretched my arms out above my head – wincing a little at the pain in my abdomen as I tried to push all thoughts of the night before out of my head. They were the very same thoughts that had kept me awake half the night. My meeting with Dumbledore, the mysterious involvement of Deryk Lynch, Lucius and Bellatrix’s disappearance, Evans proposal, Sirius’ kiss. All of it was rolling around in my head like an untamed cyclone – adamantly refusing to die down and leave me in peace.
I could hardly tell which was worse. Being kept awake at night by my own chaotic thoughts, or struggling through nightmares of yellow-eyed monsters with bloody claws.
And on top of all that, I can safely say that I’ve never been a morning person.
I grumbled to myself as I changed from my pyjamas into my uniform, and searched the floor around the bed for my bag. I found it, eventually, carelessly pushed underneath my four-poster next to a pile of old, unopened Birthday and Christmas gifts.
After a quick splash of warm water on my face and a few coats of mascara and gloss, I trudged down the stairs into the empty common room – pulling a black, woollen cardigan over my uniform to ward off the morning chill.
Still half asleep I ambled through the stone corridors of the dungeons – which were even more eerily silent during the early hours of the day – rubbing at my eyes lazily. I let out a loud yawn – and in fact would have missed it had I not stopped long enough to remove my fists from my heavy-lidded eyes.
Barely a foot from where I had halted – breathing lightly as he dozed against the gilded-edge of his frame – was Deryk Lynch. Now the way I saw it, I had two options. Either I could head on to the Hospital Wing and talk to Deryk at in another point in time when he was preferably conscious.
Or I could wake the sodding prat up and demand some answers.
“Oi, Lynch!” I leaned towards the frame and hissed, rather croakily. I cleared my throat and waited for Deryk to wake up – but to no avail. His dark eyelashes fluttered against his skin for a brief moment, but he remained as asleep as ever.
So I had no choice left but to shake him awake, I supposed.
I reached out for the frame – taking in a sharp breath as my fingers rested upon the ice-cold metal – and started to give it a small shake, just enough to wake Deryk up. Of course I hadn’t counted on the portrait weighing a million pounds, and instead of shaking, it tipped to the side violently – quite nearly falling off the hook it was hung on – and tossed Deryk in the opposite direction to where he had been sleeping soundly.
Aghast at the sudden, rude awakening, Deryk let out a rather loud curse word before he noticed me, wide-eyed with arms flung out to support the large frame, in front of him – my teeth clenched tight against the sharp pain it was causing me to hold the thing upright. So my plan hadn’t worked out exactly as I had thought it would – but it had worked.
Instead of the verbal bashing I thought would follow, however, he merely stood up straight – well, as straight as the crooked frame would allow him to – dusted off his robes and sniffed, “Well, it’s nice to see you still wandering the land of the living.”
I scoffed up at him disbelievingly – amazed that he could still hold that air of pure arrogance in any situation.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
Deryk raised a dark eyebrow, studying me rather intently.
“Let’s just say that the last time I saw you, you weren’t quite as charmingly conscious. Now do you mind setting me right, love?” He gestured to the lop-sided frame.
I steadied the portrait – then once convinced it wasn’t going to come smashing down on top of me, reached one hand into my pocket for my wand before levitating the heavy frame back into place.
Once righted, Deryk crossed his arms across his chest – smirking at me contentedly. I narrowed my eyes darkly – but then remembering that I kind of owed the guy my life, settled instead for a pointed stare.
“Anyway,” I began through gritted teeth. “I’m sure you know why I’m here?”
He grinned – his thick, Irish accent only more accentuated by his amusement. “I suspect you’ll be wanting to repay me for my noble deeds.”
I let out a snort of bitter laughter, before replying. “I hardly think that staying up an hour or two past your bedtime is worthy of repayment.”
Deryk raised a finger to his lips, as if in thought, before answering. “Perhaps not, but alerting Professor Slughorn of a certain damsel in distress has got to be worth something, am I right?”
I clicked my tongue impatiently, and he knew that he had me.
“I suppose you do deserve a little gratitude.” I resigned stubbornly, and Deryk grinned smugly before I had the chance to ask the question which had really been bugging me. “But before we get to that – I want to know why exactly you were up at that hour of the night. It can’t have been by chance”
“I couldn’t sleep.” Deryk shrugged absently, and I narrowed my eyes.
“I highly doubt that.”
He crossed his arms across his chest stubbornly. “It’s true. Ol’ Nick was having a party down here and they were making a right, royal racket.”
“Just tell me the real reason, will you.” I snapped, knowing that if Nearly Headless Nick had really been throwing a party, I would hardly have been kidnapped unnoticed by the ghost.
Deryk let out a defeated sigh. “Alright, you got me. I might have had a little warning. But let me tell you, it was no easy task-“
“Who warned you?” I interrupted anxiously – completely disregarding the rest of his sentence and ignoring the dirty look he was throwing me.
“For Merlin’s sake, hold your horses. Is that any way to treat your saviour?”
I raised my eyebrows impatiently and Deryk sighed in exasperation before folding his arms across his chest. “Well I can’t tell you his name – he was in a right hurry. Told me there would be a bit of a disturbance through these corridors later on and that if I could keep an eye out – warn one of the Professors of what was going on – that he’d make it worth my while.”
My forehead creased into a frown. “What exactly was he offering you?”
“That he’d get me out of these godforsaken dungeons, of course.” Deryk answered with a wave of his hand.
I glared at him. “Why didn’t you warn Slughorn after he’d told you this – before they’re dragged me out of my dormitory.”
“Because the lad made it pretty clear that I should wait until after I had seen you. And I wasn’t taking any chances, love. I haven’t always been down here, you know. Not before that grisly old Squib took a disliking to me and carted me down here in his wheelbarrow. And unlike some people I know, I don’t particularly like it down here.”
I raised my eyebrows, wondering if that’s why he had always been so unpleasant.
“So tell me. What did this guy look like?”
Deryk offered a dark grin. “I’ll make you a deal. I’ll tell you what you want to know, if you make right the deal the other little prat backed out on. Get me out of here.”
I shrugged. What other choice did I have?
“Where exactly did you have in mind?” I asked, eyeing his heavy frame rather unenthusiastically.
Deryk tapped his chin in thought. “The Ravenclaw Common Room would do nicely, I think.”
“Ugh,” I responded, disgusted. “So you can spy on that student you were talking about?”
“What do you mean student? You have a right filthy mind, you know that? I’m talking about the lovely Anabelle,” Deryk explained, his voice getting all dreamy as he spoke of Anabelle. Whoever that was.
He must have sensed my confusion because he added, “Anabelle the Fair. Her painting hangs up in the Ravenclaw Tower, and it’s a right bloody hassle getting all the way up there. Do you know how many frames I have to go through each day?”
“I don’t really care, to be honest,” I remarked dryly, glad to hear he hadn’t been stalking some poor student after all and wondering if that’s where he had been when I was looking for him the night before.
“Well,” Deryk disregarded my rudeness. “Get me up there and I’ll be sure to give you a thorough description of the lad.”
“Fine. I’ll be back later.” I assured him, wondering if I could persuade Xavier to help me out with one last thing before he decided to turn his back on me forever.
Highly doubtful, but I still had to give it a try.
I wandered through the corridors, trying to figure out myself who it could be. We’d already established that he was male, though nothing else Deryk had said had really helped a lot. It had to be someone who already knew what was going to happen, I thought. Was there anyone else apart from those who were there that night who could have known?
I was still trying to decipher this mystery as I was approaching the Hospital Wing, and the sound of the doors swinging open made me halt, until I recognised the sandy-haired boy who had just emerged, running a hand through his dishelved locks.
“Remus!” I greeted him – my voice echoing off the stone walls surrounding us. His head snapped in my direction as I approached and his lips quirked up into a grin.
“Merlin, Alex. I’m so glad to see you’re alright.” He spoke as he clasped a hand on my shoulder and pulled me into a tight hug – his breath tickling warmly against my hair.
“I’m fine,” I answered stiffly, realising now what had brought Remus to the Hospital Wing. "But what happened to you?”
Given the chance to take a proper look at the boy standing in front of me I was aghast to find thick, red scars running across the width of his face. The scars ran in three lines – lines that I swear resembled the strike of a claw – and were still red and swollen around the edges, as if they were only dealt recently.
“Oh, this?” Remus shrugged – not seeming the least bit phased by his injury. “I had the unfortunate luck of being paired with Peter in Transfiguration and, well – let’s just say that Transfig isn’t exactly his forte.”
I raised a sceptical eyebrow. “You’re telling me that a spell did that?”
“A bloody mess of a spell – but a spell all the same.” He nodded with certainty – but I wasn’t so sure that I was convinced.
“It’s just that they look... they look like –” I stopped short when I noticed the questioning look that Remus had thrown me. Did he know what I had been trying to say? That the scars across his face were nearly identical to the ones on my own body.
But how could I even let the words slip past my lips? I couldn’t accuse Remus of lying any more than I could bring myself to believe that his wound had been dealt by a Werewolf. And there had been no idication that he had been in the Forest the night of my attack.
It was just a coincidence that they happened to look like that, I told myself. Though a rather unnerving coincidence nonetheless.
“It’s nothing to worry about.” Remus persuaded – flashing an encouraging grin. “Madame Mellick’s taking care of me.”
I nodded unsurely. Something seemed off, but I didn’t feel right prying into it.
“So,” He began again – taking a seat on a stone bench which sat opposite the Hospital Wings doors, and motioning for me to sit beside him. “Is it true what Sirius says? About you and Rosier, I mean.”
I let out a sigh as I sunk down onto the bench – carefully avoiding aggravating my wounds. “So he told you about last night then?”
“Everything.” Remus answered – his eyebrows furrowed darkly. “What are you doing, Alex? Thinking of marrying a guy like that?”
I bit my bottom lip tentatively before answering. “I know how it looks, Remus. Believe me I do.” I explained – searching his face closely. “But you have to understand that I’m doing this for the right reasons. I can’t leave Hogwarts and step into even more danger than I’ve already gotten myself into.”
Remus took in a slow breath. “I understand the need for safety, Alex, and I’m sure that you think you’re doing the right thing.” He explained – watching me intently. “I think you’re choosing the easy way – but that doesn’t exactly mean that it’s the best way.”
“Remus, I’m not – “
“Just listen to me.” Remus interjected – holding up a hand to halt me. “You agreed to this marriage with Rosier because he’s familiar, right? You’ve grown up with the guy. You know what he’s capable of and where his family stand in the wake of Voldemorts uprising. But,” He continued in a low voice, “Are you sure you can really trust him? Voldemort has a will of his own – he won’t be governed by his followers.”
I sighed, resting my head in my hands wearily. “I trust Evan – because of how he feels about me. He’d do anything to protect me.”
“Anything except risk his own neck.” Remus countered sceptically.
“Remus, don't.” I warned – narrowing my eyes darkly as I pushed myself to my feet.
“You know it’s true, Alex. If he would do anything to protect you – I mean, really do anything – than maybe you wouldn’t have found yourself wound up in this Greyback mess to begin with.”
“And maybe Evan would be dead!” I struck back.
Remus shrugged – before staring up at me sternly. “He’s not the only one who cares about you, you know.”
I let out a short sigh. “If you’re talking about Sirius, then I hardly think he’s going to come running to my aid now.”
“I’m not just talking about Sirius here.” Remus countered in exasperation, pushing himself up to stand before me. “Forgive me for thinking that I might actually have a say in this matter. Or was it deluded of me to think that we were friends?”
I faltered – feeling more than a little guilty. “We are friends, Remus. And I’m sorry but there’s not much that anyone can say now that would change my mind.”
“I can’t believe you’re really going through with this.” Remus sighed in defeat, turning away from me and although I couldn’t quite see, I think he was tracing a finger down the scars on his face.
I let out a small sigh and shrugged my shoulders helplessly. I didn’t want to argue about it anymore when it was clear that neither of us was going to see the others point. I just hoped, foolishly I suppose, that making this decision wouldn’t result in losing Remus’ friendship. Though I could hardly blame him if it did.
“So, what happens now?” I asked – quite dreading the answer and thinking how deeply it hurt to be stuck on the middle of the fence, torn between two sides.
Remus turned back – running a hand anxiously through his hair. “I really don’t know. I suppose I’ll have to see how Sirius deals with this, and then take it from there.
I nodded softly – feeling something incredibly miserable rising up inside me. It seemed that no matter what I did, no matter what decision I made, someone would always end up getting hurt.
“Just remember one thing, will you,” Remus said suddenly, watching me intensely. “Sure, Sirius can be an obnoxious brute at the best of times, even to his best mates, but under all of that he’s still human. He has a heart like the rest of us – and that heart can still break.”
I swallowed the thick lump that was forming in my throat. “I hardly think that I could break the heart of Sirius Black.”
Remus studied me for a short moment, before answering. “You’d be surprised.”
And then he walked away, and I forced myself into the Hospital Wing before the tears could start falling down my face.
Madame Mellick kept me in the Hospital Wing for what felt like an eternity – making me do various exercises and stretches that were supposed to help my body retain its strength as it healed. And let me tell you now that being forced to do any kind of exercise was bound to put me in a sour mood – especially when said exercise was being done at such a ridiculous hour of the morning and I was already feeling utterly miserable.
It was my thought that she was just a sad, lonely old woman who got her kicks out of tormenting poor, injured students. That would certainly make a whole lot of sense in my book.
After finishing the exercises, and assuring her constantly that I felt fine, she finally let me go and I hobbled out of the Hospital Wing – in pain and utterly convinced that those stupid exercises had only worsened my wounds rather than help them – and started heading down the staircase towards the Great Hall.
This was until I thought about what kind of scene might be waiting for me there, and I halted.
Maybe I should just skip breakfast, I thought. After the little scene with Sirius at Kings Cross before Christmas, my run in with Greyback – and now my impending engagement to Evan – I just knew that the entire student body would be running wild with rumours and speculations.
It didn’t help that the seventh years were all but celebrities at Hogwarts – the younger students following our private lives as carefully as they could manage, which was often not careful at all and more irritating and invasive. And my own life had hardly been dull this year. I couldn’t think of one other student who could have collected as many rumours around them as I had so far.
Still, I’d have to face those rumours – whether they be true or not – sooner or later. And I hadn’t exactly given Evan a proper answer as yet, which I really just wanted to get over and done with.
So I braced myself – continuing on towards the Great Hall and scooting through the open doors, hoping, stupidly, to get through unnoticed. The hush that fell across the Hall when I entered however, told me otherwise.
I didn’t slow my pace – I hardened my face instead, wiping it clean of emotions. There was something that I needed to do. I couldn’t afford to get distracted.
After a few awkward moments, the chatter started up again and I caught more than a few pairs of curious eyes trained on me as I tried to walk as straight as possible on my aching leg.
Though I couldn’t help but cringe as I passed the Ravenclaw table and heard my name being called out.I knew the voice, unmistakably. It would have been unforgivably rude of me not to turn and face Xavier with a false smile – pretending desperately not to care about the extra attention he was drawing my way.
He was beaming – really, genuinely happy to see me safe and sound and I felt a tremendous wave of guilt sweep over me as he engulfed me in his strong arms and murmured into my ear, “I was so worried.”
“I’m fine.” I repeated with forced exuberance, for what felt like the thousandth time that day. I glanced around nervously – not because I wasn’t happy to see Xavier, but because I was worried about what kind of image I would be presenting to certain people who may have been watching.
Xavier held up his hands. “Before you say anything else, I want to apologise for how I acted before Christmas, when Bellatrix was saying how you befriended me only to break me and Lily up.”
“Xavier, you don’t have to apologise.” I answered, quite horrified at how nice he was acting considering what I was about to do.
“I do, Alex, I felt horrible about it all Christmas break. And then even more when I heard you were in Hospital.” He explained, his doe-brown eyes so sincere. “I know that you’re not that person anymore.”
I stumbled on my words – I didn’t know what to say. How could I agree with Xavier, when everything I had done in my life was for my own good, and that I was beginning to realise that I wasn’t about to change that fact anytime soon. I was absolutely that person.
“Do you want to come and sit down?” Xavier asked – his forehead creased in a frown as if he could see that I was distracted. I noticed Kendra and Isobel motioning to me from where they sat at the Ravenclaw table, but I tried not to respond.
“Actually, can we just meet up in Arithmancy this afternoon?” I asked – desperately just wanting to dodge him, and get out of this aisle where I was standing in full view of the student body. “I need to talk to someone.”
“Okay, sure.” Xavier answered, visibly confused, though I barely heard it as I was nervously making a bee-line towards the Slytherin table, still trying to get my head around what I was about to do.
I spotted the group easily – Evan and Rodolpus sitting across from Severus, Rabastan and Regulus. Narcissa was also nearby, chatting with a couple of girls and appearing happier then I had seen her in months.
I approached Evan, who looked at me expectantly, and took a seat on the bench next to him.
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
Evan smiled – that warm, enticing smile that could make any heart melt – and I thought that my heart must have been made of stone because I didn’t feel a single flicker of hope, love, or any emotion that should be present when you agree to marry someone.
But I was doing this for another reason entirely, I had to remind myself.
“Bad idea.” Rodolphus remarked suddenly from the other side of Evan, before taking a long gulp from his goblet.
Evan’s jaw clenched visibly. “Ignore him. He’s just mad because his girlfriend ditched him.”
“No thanks to yours.” Rodolphus snapped back in a voice I had never heard him use before.
All of a sudden I felt incredibly uneasy. What had I brought myself back into? Rabastan, sitting across from his brother, had his head down – playing with his food absent-mindedly. Severus was shooting nervous glances up and down the length of the table and Regulus, I noticed last, had his eyes narrowed darkly at Evan and I.
Something had changed here. I couldn’t help but notice the present tension, and could only assume that the others shared Rodolphus’ unenthusiastic view on the matter. A small amount of panic started to rise in me as I realised that this was definitely not going according to plan.
Evan composed himself – though I couldn’t help but think that if anyone but his best friend had said that, he would have beaten them to a pulp.
He must have sensed my discomfort because he took my hand in his own, and used his other to brush a few stray strands of hair out of my face.
“You’re safe now,” He assured me, letting his hand linger on the side of my face. “Don’t worry about anything – I’ll handle it from here.”
I let out the breath I had been holding in – studying his sapphire eyes and hoping that I could trust the words he was saying. Then, without warning, he leaned forward and kissed me.
A silence fell over the Hall and I froze, realising that if I had been planning on keeping this whole engagement thing a secret – my chances were pretty much blown.
It was the smallest kiss, only lasting the briefest of moments. But in this Hall, to the students who saw, it meant everything. It meant my re-entrance back into the darkest group in the school. It meant my support of this new terror plaguing the Wizarding World. It meant my severance with any friends I might have made outside of this group, and the disregard of any rumours that linked me to anyone other than Evan Rosier.
Because how could anyone possibly know that for me it meant breaking my own heart just to avoid getting myself killed.
I couldn’t hold down the panic that overtook me next.
“You know what, I- I think I left something in my dormitory.” I stammered, reaching behind me for my bag and desperately trying to ignore the fact that I was centre of attention. I dreaded to think what people were saying about me. “I’ll see you in class.”
And with that I was out of there, streaking out of the Hall, forcing myself not to look at anything other than the door that would get me out of there. Because what would I see? Shocked faces. Disappointed eyes. Tempers flaring.
Most of all I dreaded having to meet those stormy grey eyes that haunted me. I quickened my pace, not stopping for anything until I swung the door of my dormitory shut behind me and let my head fall into my hands.
I was freaking out.
I paced the room, trying to calm my nerves, but it all just felt so wrong. How could I have convinced myself that everything would just go back to the way it was when it was clear now that nothing is the same. I mean, there’s no-one that’s even happy about this marriage taking place, except perhaps Evan himself, and even that comes with some degree of risk.
Letting myself fall to the wooden floor, I took a few deep breaths to calm myself. It doesn’t matter, I told myself, If things don’t feel the same right away. It will take time, and at the end of everything I will be alive and well. I’d just have to stick out whatever was thrown my way until then.
I sat in this position for a while – thinking about everything and nothing – and utterly trying to convince myself that the choice I had made was the right one. Though upon glancing at my clock after a few minutes, I realised that I did actually have to get to my first class. I rummaged through my trunk, looking for something to nibble on since I had bolted from breakfast without even glancing at the food, until I found a peppermint candy cane which must have been left over from Christmas.
A few minutes later I was ambling through the corridors, sucking on the minty confection, and trying to focus my mind on memories from my Christmas with Isobel to keep from thinking of anything else.
I entered the Potions room tentatively – ignoring the questioning stares and quick whispers which had followed me from the moment I had entered the Great Hall. Dealing with other peoples curiosity was the last thing on my mind.
I had been amusing myself with thoughts of skiing over Christmas, until my eyes fell upon a certain raven-haired boy, whose steely gaze I had desperately been trying to avoid all morning. The very same boy who was currently seated next to the chair that I myself was supposed to be occupying.
I let out the breath that I had been holding in nervously, and – realising that I had been moving at about the pace of a one-legged Niffler, and was consequently the only student left standing awkwardly in the aisle between desks – plucked up whatever courage I had still lurking around and slipped into my seat, in what I hoped was a graceful manner.
I pulled my Potions book out from my bag and dropped it onto the desk in front of me – conveniently hiding behind a curtain of dark hair as I did so. I was acting like a complete and total coward – I knew that – but I also knew that the less of Sirius Black that I had to see, the easier it would be for me to transition into my partnership with Evan.
Sirius, predictably, didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow at my presence. I had expected him to act this way, of course, and I supposed that ignoring me was his way of dealing with my sudden decision to marry Evan.
Though, that didn’t mean that it hurt any less.
Professor Slughorn soon came bumbling into the classroom, smiling at me, even though it was against school rules to eat anything in class. I didn’t even try to pay attention. Hell, I didn’t even pretend to pay attention. All I could hear was the thump thump of my heart against my ribcage.
Now that he was sitting mere inches from me, as much as I tried, I just couldn’t tear my thoughts away from the feeling of Sirius’s kiss. I wondered if he was thinking the same thing, or if he was so mad that he had pushed it from his mind altogether. Probably the latter.
It wasn’t until Slughorn had finished explaining our task for the day, and I realised that I had absolutely no idea what we were supposed to be doing, that I thought perhaps I should have listened to the instructions, at least.
Rather lazily I reached out for my book, trying to peek past Slughorns’ large bulk at the blackboard behind him, in hope he had written any information up there. Until, of course, instead of landing on the hard, leather cover of my Potions book, my hand instead found itself falling into contact with the soft, warm flesh of someone else’s hand.
I jerked back, my heart quite noticeably lurching in my chest as I scanned the table in front of me, just in time to see Sirius pulling away from my book, of which he had turned to a specific page. I leaned forward to inspect the page – ignoring the nervous thumping in my chest – and found what I supposed was our task for the day.
A Metamorphose Potion – a Transfiguration aid, used by those less skilled in the art to Transfigure with ease. Hastily, I ran a finger down the list of ingredients, which was rather extensive, before scooping the book up in my arms and attempting to hurry away towards the potion store room. This was until I felt a strong hand clasp around my wrist, holding me back, and a voice command “Wait.”
Immediately, I turned in my seat to find what is was that Sirius was asking me to wait for, only to find that he wasn’t about to give me any inclination that he had spoken at all.
He leaned back in his seat, stretching his arms behind his head casually. I swung back to face the front of the classroom – clutching my book in front of my chest tightly, as if I expected it to keep my heart from lurching out and splattering on the stone floor below. I watched and waited as the other students shuffled to the potions store and back again, dumping various ingredients on to their tables and adding the first drops to their cauldrons.
It wasn’t until the last straggling students were heading back to their tables that I felt a small nudge on my back and I all but jumped off my chair and made a beeline for the store room. Once there, I took in a deep breath and leaned against the corner of a shelf. I couldn’t breathe around Sirius. Especially not with him ignoring my very existence one minute, and then sending me completely crazy cryptic messages the next. I mean, what the hell was up with that?
I pushed myself away from the shelf wearily. It was best to just push it out of my mind, I thought to myself as I began to comb through the various jars and bottles for the things that I needed. I couldn’t afford to lose my cool when it came to Evan – especially not with my safety in such question. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to let Sirius know that he was getting to me.
At least, that’s what I was thinking until a quick footstep behind me prompted me to spin on my heel, and within an instant I was met by the fierce eyes of Sirius Black looking down at me – a surprisingly devilish grin spread across his face.
Before I even had the chance to ask what he thought he was doing, his lips crashed down against mine and I was so taken aback that my book fell from my hands and I half thought I would stumble back into the shelves behind me, but was righted at once by Sirius’ arms firmly encircling my waist and drawing me into him – where I all but melted into his embrace.
I didn’t mean to do it – I mean, it would have made my life a heck of a lot easier if I hadn’t – but my brain sort of took a little vacation, letting my emotions take over and before I knew it my traitorous body was pressed up against the warmth of Sirius’ own, and my hands were curling around the back of his neck – pulling him closer and urging him to kiss me harder.
Somewhere, faintly in the back of my mind I realised a real sense of danger – a warning that this was not the position that I should be putting myself in. But to say that I didn’t find myself actually enjoying the position I was in would just be an outright lie.
There was no way that I could deny that this moment, right now, was the one thing that could make me forget everything that was wrong with the world.
It was Sirius who pulled away first – his breath escaping in ragged gasps, but still holding me tightly against him. Luckily for me – who’s knees were so weak and mind so light-headed that I would have been dropping to the floor had he been doing anything but.
“So when is this unholy union between you and Rosier supposed to be taking place?” Sirius asked lowly – his lips barely an inch from my own.
I tried to hold onto that feeling of contentment – but already I could feel it slipping away.
“Graduation.” I exhaled shakily, barely able to elaborate as I attempted to clear the fog that had taken over my brain. What was it about this guy that turned me into an incoherent mess?
Sirius smiled darkly – lightly pressing his lips to mine once more before whispering against them. “Plenty of time to change your mind then.”
It was then that I faltered.
“Change my mind?” I pulled back from him – my brain now working overtime as I demanded an explanation for his reaction. I’d thought he had been furious at me for my choice. And now he was snogging me and going on about changing my mind?
“You really think I’m going to give you up without a fight?” Sirius enquired – flashing a disbelieving grin as he tried to draw me back into him.
I resisted – pulling my hand from his grip and snapping bitterly. “This isn’t a game, Sirius. This is my life.”
“Which is why I don’t understand why you’re making the wrong decisions.” Sirius countered – more serious this time.
“Why are you doing this? Why can’t you chase after Silver, or any of those other girls who would be thrilled to have you on their tail?” I asked, though the thought of him even doing that shot a sharp pang of jealousy through me.
Sirius hesitated – dropping his eyes a moment before replying. “Because none of them could ever compare to that blue-eyed girl I met on the train our first year. The one who could stop my heart with a smile.”
I hesitated and Sirius took advantage of that to draw me closer and raise a hand to trace his thumb over my bottom lip.
“It’s too bad she doesn’t smile anymore.”
I twisted away from him, bending to pick up the book I had dropped before replying bitterly “There’s hardly anything to smile about.”
“Sweetheart – if you drop that first-class git you’re intending to marry, I’ll give you plenty to smile about.”
I ignored him – instead starting to rummage through a few more shelves – not particularly paying any attention to what I was looking for.
“Alex, listen –” Sirius began to speak, though I cut him off hotly.
“I am through listening to you, Sirius!” I countered in a low scowl – knowing that screaming at the top of my voice would hardly go by unnoticed by the other students’ seated just outside the door in the classroom.
“But if you would just reconsider this whole thing with Rosier.” Sirius persisted, and I gritted my teeth to keep from screaming.
“There is nothing that you or anyone can say to make me reconsider.”
“Yeah? Well, we'll see about that” Sirius said, offering a dangerous grin."Don't act like you didn't enjoy kissing me."
I scowled, pushing the Potions book into his chest roughly before grabbing a few random ingredients off a nearby shelf and stalking from the room.
It wasn’t like I was mad at Sirius, exactly. I mean, of course I didn’t need him making things any harder for me than they already were – but I think mostly, I was mad at myself for the way I felt about him, and for kissing him back, when I knew I should be pushing him away.
I slumped back down in my seat – nervously glancing around the room to see if anyone had noticed anything unusual. No-one was paying any attention to me, at least, which in large part which due to the complexity of the potion we were currently making.
I chanced a peek at the table where Evan and Serenity were working, to find them caught in the middle of some heated debate. I couldn’t hear what they were saying over the racket from the other students, so I couldn’t tell what it was they were arguing about. I thought maybe it was to do with their work, until Serenity threw a brief glance my way and my stomach fell.
She would have been there in the Great Hall this morning, and no doubt seen what had happened with Evan. Had he told her about our engagement? I prayed to Merlin that he hadn’t – the longer I had to wait to confront my parents with the news, the better.
I studied the ingredients I had picked up in my haste. Kelpie hair, Knotgrass, Jobberknoll Beak. I seized Sirius’s book since I had left mine with him, and browsed the list of ingredients. None of which I had picked was any use, so I pushed the jars aside and began to heat the cauldron instead.
Sirius returned with an armful of ingredients and dumped them on the table. We began to work on our potion, Sirius barely speaking a word to me, and certainly not seeming at all happy in my company.
I wondered if this was how it would be from now on. Act like he couldn’t stand the sight of me in front of company while trying to persuade me to break it off with Evan behind closed doors? But if he wanted to make things uneasy between Evan and I, wouldn’t he want to cause suspicion that something was going on between the two of us?
I mean, not that anything was. That kiss, and I suppose the one last night as well, was just a minor setback. From now on Sirius Black would be forcefully and absolutely excluded from my life.
I let my head fall into my hands dejectedly as I wondered why the thought of that sounded so miserable to me.
A/N: Yay so finally I managed to get this out! I've just finished moving overseas so i've been busy busy busy but everythings finally calmed down now. I started up a new blog for this fic, because I know it takes me so long to get chapters out so i'll update it with sneak peeks of upcoming chapters and you can ask any questions or whatever. I'll post the link on my author page so check it out, and if you can become a follower that would be great!
As always, thanks for reading and please review! xx